Halin de Repentigny at Portico Gallery, Squamish.

Halin de Repentigny

Halin de Repentigny

In September a new show opens at Portico Gallery, downtown Squamish, introducing a new show of 21 paintings by internationally recognized Yukon artist Halin de Repentigny. It has caused a buzz amongst local artists, art appreciators and collectors alike. A good number of art lovers turned out on September 19 for the artists reception. Halin was gracious, friendly and spent time guiding his guests around the gallery answering questions and explaining his process. He is an 'artists artist', meaning he is recognized by other artists as well as collectors for his talent and his artistic integrity.

Halin de Repentigny has been painting for over 40 years, his maturity and confidence is evident in this exhibition. Halin's new paintings, many of which have been produced specially for this show at Portico, are bold and energetic in their execution.

Although he works predominantly with a palette knife in these pieces, there is no sign of overworking. His textures are sophisticated and luxurious with a jewel like quality; the effect is that of layered glass on canvas. There is a tension and drama  through his use of high tonal contrasts further accentuating the vibrancy of colour.

"Life Partners"

"Life Partners"

"It's the oil paint" he explained. He uses traditional mineral based oil paints. Pigment particles from minerals such as lapiz, malachite and pyrite are larger and ground coarser than in modern synthetic pigments. They do not dissolve into the paint binder like modern finely ground pigments so they handle differently and appear more translucent under natural light.  It's an expensive process making these paintings.

I'm getting older and my work is getting more adventurous. I feel the freedom to express myself in several different styles, he said

Originally from Montreal, Halin has been an outdoorsman most of his adolescent and adult life. Every year he would take his family into the Northern Canadian wilderness for months at a time. He would build a cabin for them to live in and provided their food through hunting and trapping. He made hundreds of drawings during those months which he would later use as reference for his large paintings. These days he says he prefers to spend all his time painting. He lives in Dawson City in the Yukon and in Patagonia, Argentina.

As I travel and document South America I'm finding new colours and forms, he says

Towards the end of the evening, Portico owner Linda Bachman opened a bid to auction an original drawing which Halin had made earlier in the evening. It depicted one of the trapper cabins he had built on one of his wilderness trips and a food cache hut built on tall stilts. This was a bit of true Canadiana which I coveted so I joined in the bidding. The drawing was eventually sold to Irene Kavanagh and her husband, who have recently moved to Squamish.

Halin_sketch

Halin_sketch

The show at Portico Gallery will be on display through the Winter and into Spring of 2013. It's free to enter and definitely worth a visit. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday 11am - 6pm.

This post was published in the 1st printed edition of the Squamish Reporter, Sept 28, 2012. Look out for it every other Friday at select venues around Squamish!

Newbies Watercolour #2

Lesson #2 - LINE

Recapping on Lesson #1, we learned the 5 elements of design, Line, Shape, Tone, Colour and Texture.

Lesson #2 focuses on the 1st element Line and how it relates to watercolour:

Lines are infinitely variable! They can be thin as hairs, tapered, wiggly, straight, thick, broken etc. It's up to you - you're making them!

Lines can also refer to the line between shapes or the Edge - in watercolour we can make soft wet-in-wet lines, hard wet on dry lines or a combination of both. Lines can define shapes by an outline, they can be blended or faded. Whatever your choices, the lines you make in watercolour should always be gestural and descriptive.

 

Have a look at these samples:

Lesson #2 - Line qualities

Lesson #2 - Line qualities


  1. Hard edged line
  2. Tapered line
  3. Broken line
  4. Fading line
  5. Outline
  6. Soft and hard line
Lesson #2 - Trees

Lesson #2 - Trees

In this painting exercise we practised:

1. Choosing a limited palette - Pthalo blue, Scarlet lake and Lemon yellow

2. Wetting only parts of the paper with a big wet, Chinese brush loaded with Lemon yellow, then carefully painting vertical lines across the paper. This gives a series of varied soft and hard edges lines for the distant trees

3. Laying in progressively darker, richer lines from background to foreground. Notice how the line qualities change as the paper dries at different rates.

4. Having fun with splattering and flicking paint! I like the way this adds sparkle and a sense of light through the leaves.

5. Mixing and blending colours within the tree shapes.

6. Defining and describing leaf and fern shapes on the forest floor and thin branches on the trees.

 

And here is the design so you can try it out on your own!

Line design

Line design

A note about line placement and rhythm:

Example 1. shows lines evenly spaced on the paper. This can feel regimented, repetitive and monotonous. Think about a musical beat that plays out this way, it has a regular rhythm like a military march!

Example 2. shows varied lines arranged at different intervals. Notice how much more interesting both positive and negative shapes are and the tension between them. Think jazz where the rhythms are unexpected and surprising.

 

Line placement

Line placement

Newbies Watercolour

Lesson #1 - An introduction to watercolour and the elements of design

Lesson #1 set up

Lesson #1 set up

  1. A fresh sheet of Arches 140LB Cold Press watercolour paper stretched onto quarter inch plywood board with brown gummed tape.
  2. Photocopy of original design drawn with a sharpie. This can be traced onto the prepared watercolour paper with a hard 2h pencil and carbon transfer paper.
  3. Leave a small strip of blank paper for testing marks, colour and tonal value.
  4. Sketchbook for keeping written and visual notes.
  5. Thumbnail colour sketch. If you figure out your colour palette on a small scale and it works visually, the chances are it will translate successfully on a larger scale.
  6. A wad of folded kitchen towel is useful for wiping excess water from your brush and drying the brush as you clean it in water.
  7. Palette can be anything from a white ceramic plate, a white butcher's tray or 2nd hand appie dishes like this one. Just so long as you have nice wide spaces to mix washes!
  8. Your small painting exercise 9"x13"

 


Painting exercise #1 - Anvil Island evening. 

Even though this little painting looks simple, each of the 5 ELEMENTS of design play an important role and each has been carefully thought through and used with a purpose. The 5 ELEMENTS of Design are: Line, Shape, Colour, Tone and Texture

 

Lesson #1 Anvil Island evening

Lesson #1 Anvil Island evening

1. Line can also mean the edges that define shapes.

2. Notice the proportion of Shapes for sky, water and Islands.

3. Tonal values create contrast and the illusion of depth and distance. Our focal point might be where the darkest shapes meet the lightest.

4. Colour temperature is used here to reinforce the illusion of depth and distance. Cool colours (blues) tend to recede while warm colours (reds) tend to advance.

5. Texture is created here by lightly brushing with the side of a dry-ish brush to give a sparkle to the water.

In this painting exercise we practised:

1. Choosing a limited palette - Pthalo blue, Scarlet lake and Paynes grey

2. Laying a graded wash using Pthalo blue and Scarlet lake for the sky

3. Laying in progressively darker, richer washes from background to foreground

4. mixing warm and cool colours to achieve a sense of depth and distance

5. Introducing a textural passage by using dry brush, creating a sparkle to the water.

 

And here is the design if you feel like having a go at it yourself!

Intro design

Intro design

Watercolour Evenings #1. Make your Mark!

Bird #7

Bird #7

What's more exciting than coming face to face with a pristine, fresh, springy sheet of watercolour paper? Honestly, doesn't it get your heart racing? or am I the only one who feels that way? Well what's even MORE exciting, is making the first mark upon it. This is the start of a beautiful relationship between you and your support as you create a new painting.

In the first Watercolour evening, we're going to be testing and learning about different grades of papers and experimenting with a range of paint applicators. It's a misconception these days that watercolours are unstable and fragile. The truth is that by using a good quality watercolour paper and modern lightfast colours, your painting has the potential to out live oils and acrylics on canvas or panel board. It's important to know and feel the differences between the wide range of papers available and to understand which papers respond best to your artistic intentions.

Watercolour papers

Watercolour papers

Watercolour is arguably the most expressive medium. Your own personal marks become a very distinctive part of the painting and are visible in the finished piece.  Marks can take the form of lines, accents and shapes - they reflect your mood, your subconscious and your intent. This is where the dialogue between you and the medium happens, often resulting in surprising results.  You can use anything - brushes, sponges, bristle, bamboo pens, sticks, blotting papers, etc the sky is the limit!

Once the first mark is made - there's no turning back - your focus becomes completely absorbed by the fluid interaction of mind, water, colour and paper. The whole process demands concentration and focused energy. Once you've made a start, you'll be quickly adding your discoveries to form your own, unique visual vocabulary. Each week we'll focus on a different combination of techniques to practice and experiment with.

We'll start out with sepia and Chinese Ink. Please feel free to bring anything you think will make an interesting mark. The first class is all about breaking the ice and being playful!

See you on Monday.

"On Whistler Mountain"

This new watercolour was shown in the recent Scotia Creek Gallery at Millenium Place, Whistler. I was one of 32 Squamish artists taking part in the "Sḵwxwú7mesh - Mother Wind" exhibit.

This is really my first snow painting inspired by recent road trips to Mountain Galleries in Whistler. And I finally  took the Peak to Peak Gondola from Whistler to Blackcomb on the SILVER cabin with the glass floor! I really need to get up into the mountains more often - the whites, the blues, the lavenders.... and all the subtle nuances of warm light and shadows on snow. It needs to be studied to get the real hues - my camera just doesn't do the trick. Well OK it's not the camera - I'm just not a great photographer.

On Whistler Mountain

On Whistler Mountain

And the sketch:

Whistler Mountain sketch 5.5"x8"

Whistler Mountain sketch 5.5"x8"