Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eastern Elegance  Oil on Linen  11 x 14

I so enjoyed painting this one! I have a great fondness for the complimentary combination of orange and blue, and also the warm yellows through reds, so I managed to put all my favourite colour combinations into one painting. I also experimented with the background, as I wanted it to be dark but not black, so I created a grey green as the compliment to the red, and placed a diffused light band running through it. I'm a bit of a pattern fanatic as well, so I really enjoyed painting the Asian table runner. I think I have a few more persimmon paintings in the works before retiring that fruit until next year. 

I'm using the rest of the holiday season to work on my new website. Once I have it launched I'll let you all know, and I'd love you to visit and let me know what you think. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Silk and Persimmons

Silk and Persimmons  Oil on Linen  11 x 14

This was an experiment with a high horizon line, playing with the rich colours and folds of the silk fabric. I really enjoyed painting the persimmons as well. All the warm nuances and shadows. I'm not sure if I'm completely finished on this one. I may add some glazes in the fabric.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bowl of Mandarines

Bowl of Mandarins  Oil on Linen  8 x 8  NFS

I finished this little painting yesterday, and it wasn't until I posted it, that I realized I don't like the dark background. It's too harsh  and cold, with the warm soft colours of the foreground. So I will go back into it and make some changes to the background, and then repost once I've made those changes. I think maybe a subdued wallpaper, or kitchen tiles. Any ideas for the changes?


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Red Reflected

Red Reflected  Oil on Linen  8 x 10  $300

This one was challenging but a lot of fun. I wanted to create some drama with the lighting, emphasizing the red of the pomegranate, as well as practice painting reflections. I had to really stick to 'paint what you see' because the reflections were not what I expected, in terms of value and colour intensity in some areas. All in all I'm pretty pleased with results.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


Avocado  Oil on Linen  6 x 6  NFS

I'M BACK! ! ! I've been very busy for months, and have had the hardest time trying to paint regularly. Then I started painting again and had to keep scraping everything off, or sending the piece to my painting graveyard. Yes, I have one of those. I've never painted an avocado before, and it was kind of fun. I placed it on an old Canada Dry pop crate I have to make it bit more funky. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my old blogging friends and make some new ones!

I've been busy researching for a new website provider. I need an automated site but one that provides exposure as well.The ones I'm considering are FASO, FolioSnap and Foliotwist. If you have an suggestions or comments or have had a great experience with a website provider, please let me know.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Still Life Painting Workshop

Today I taught my first ever painting workshop! I had so much fun! I hope my participants enjoyed it as much as I did. We started by discussing values and creating form, did a grisaille, an underpainting in earth tones, applying the colour overtop. We were using transparent acrylic colour, working on creating luminosity in the fruits. We then went on to painting a small still life set up following the steps we had learned. One of my participants, who was very talented, told me at the end of the day she is 90 years old! I thought she was at least 15 years younger! I hope that when I'm 90 I'm still busy learning and honing my painting skills. Having her in my class made my day. :-)

On my last post where I changed the background of my painting, after the recommendation of my painting buddy Virginia Floyd. I thanked her and linked to her website, but then I changed the font and didn't realize that the link was broken, so here is the link to Virginia's blog.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pomegranate Again

This is an updated version of the pomegranate painting I posted early this week. It had a lighter, warmer background, and when I saw it online I thought it looked it too subtle, and posed the question whether I should I darken the background. My blogging buddy Virginia Floyd suggested that it would make a more dramatic painting, so here is the changed version. I'm pleased with outcome. Thanks Virginia!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Pomegranate  6 x 6  Oil on Linen

I just love the rich reds of pomegranates. They are such a paintable fruit. I'm not sure I like the background, I'm thinking of darkening it. What do you think? Would a darker background improve this little painting?  I'm currently working on some small pieces for the upcoming Small Works Shows, of which there are many around the Christmas season. This is the first of them. 

BTW I've forgotten to tell you that I entered the Daily Paintworks Challenge for the Children of Africa a while back. I'm really pleased to say that my painting sold, and I will be making the donation to the Canadian Red Cross in the next few days.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lemons & Light II - Still Life Step by Step

I just completed this painting as a practice with acrylics, for an upcoming workshop I'm teaching on October 23rd, at Monterey Center in Victoria BC  -  Contemporary Still Life in Acrylics. I've been painting all of my most recent Still Life paintings in oils, so I had to do a little practice to remember how to blend, layer colours, and create luminous light effects  Below is the step by step of the painting process:

When painting Still Life, I like to do a quick value study first. Because I wanted to create a sun drenched light effect in the fruit and cloth, I used glazes of transparent colours. This allows the light to pass through the layers of paint to the white canvas below creating a luminous light effect. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Train Art

Recently we were in Whistler BC, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Our daughter decided to show us some unusual art in an even more unusual place. Way off the beaten track, in the middle of a beautiful west coast forest, lies a train wreck from the 1950's. Over several decades, many artists have graced the interior and exterior walls of the train cars that are wedged between the trees. It's so colourful and  organic, with trees and plant life growing on and in the cars.

Whistler has a lot of artists, but also a lot of mountain bikers. A crew of die hard bikers have built ramps and jumps starting with the car at the highest elevation and continuing down through the train cars, like a crazy obstacle course. We didn't see any bikers while we were there but kept an eye out for bears and cougars. The whole thing had a haunting kind of beauty to it, and certainly a lot of history. I kept trying to figure out what decade the various pieces of art had been painted.  The total quiet and peace of the forest combined with the street art painted train cars and the obvious force of the derailment, gave it a surreal effect. We're still talking about it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Morris Gallery Show

I'm really pleased to tell you that this painting "Pacific Sunrise" was accepted into the Federation of Canadian Artists' Fall Juried Show Sept 28 - Oct 31, at the Morris Gallery, in Victoria BC. If you are in the area, please drop by for the opening Friday Sept 28, 6 - 8pm. There are some wonderful artists and beautiful pieces in the show. You can view the works online once the show gets underway, by clicking here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

10 Minutes Study in Acrylic

I'm teaching my first painting workshop next month, which is very exciting and a little bit scary. It's a still life class in acrylics. I haven't been doing much in the way of still life or acrylics recently, so I've decided to get back into it with some simple little 10 minute studies, a la Carol Marine, to remind myself of all the techniques I use when painting with acrylics. The two things that came back to me quickly were :

  • using layered transparent colours to create the glow in the fruit
  • using acrylic medium and painting wet in wet to blend in some areas
  • so far lost edges are easily achievable but the soft edges will take more practice
If you paint in acrylics and have any soft edges pointers, please share. I don't think I knew what soft edges really were until I started painting in oils. :-)  Well, off to do some more studies. Talk to you soon.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Help the Children - Aid for Africa

Just Desserts  Oil on Linen  6 x 6
To purchase this painting click here.

Proceeds from the sale of this painting will go directly to the Canadian Red Cross Aid for Africa Fund. I thought this painting of simple apples, the biblical fruit, something that many of us eat as dessert, was a good choice for this Daily Paintworks Help the Children Challenge. I hope these apples tempt you into purchasing for a good cause. 

The UN estimates that up to 400,000 children in the Horn of Africa could die if they do not receive aid, and up to 11 milllion people need food assistance at this time. I have donated this painting to the aid effort and invite you to place a bid and help make a difference. Click HERE for "Help the Children of Africa" online auction, and place your bids! The bidding will continue for 7 days and payment will be made through Paypal. It's so easy!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sunnyside Up

Oil on Canvas 9 x 12 SOLD

Keeping with the sunshine theme of summer, I'm reposting a painting that gave me an equally sunny, happy feeling as my last post. I haven't posted much this summer, as we've been very busy with family visiting for one month from France, going in and out of town with them, and each time we returned I had an all day painting event. We even threw in my mom's wonderful 91st birthday celebration! It's been a bit crazy but lots of fun, and definitely great spending time with family. I'm looking forward to getting back to painting regularly, posting regularly and reconnecting with a lot of my blogging buddies. Even Facebook and Twitter are sending me messages about my absence. (It feels kind of good to be unplugged for a while) Enjoy the rest of your summer!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Walking on Sunshine

Original Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30

I'm walking on sunshine, and don't it feel good?! That's the song and sentiment that was going through my head when I painted this scene. Some days are just so beautiful and peaceful. This scene is a walk down the beach from Whaling Station Bay on Hornby Island, one of our favourite places to holiday. The gorgeous big arbutus tree, with it's unique red bark, hanging out over the sandstone shoals was picture perfect. I was quite pleased with my interpretation of the tree, until I browsed through Julie Davis' blog with her wonderfully informative tree studies, and I realized that I could definitely reinterpret this arbutus. However, not wanting to upset this sunshiney feeling, the fact that I could have interpreted differently, applied fewer highlights, created a more active/passive approach to my tree, is not something to feel bad about. It's something to look forward to! I can take Julie's pointers and do my own tree studies, and use that information to inform my next tree paintings. I'm still happy with my tree, I just know I could improve on it. But then Van Gogh felt that way about everything he painted.Speaking of which, I saw on Virginia Floyd's blog, that she is feeling frustrated with her painting process these days, and her husband said "You're not going cut off your ear are you?" I laughed out loud when I read that! We need to take ourselves less seriously, and just enjoy the journey, and keep learning from each other. I strongly believe that apart from a painters need to create, the fact that painting is not static, but a continual learning process, is what keeps all of us coming back to our easels each day. Smile and onward!!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Symphony Splash at the Empress Hotel

Symphony Splash, Victoria's favourite summer festival, took place yesterday in Victoria's Inner Harbour. The Symphony and all of the other musical entertainment for the day, were on a barge in the bay, in front of the Empress Hotel and the Provincial Legislature Building. Festival goers from all of the world as well as most of Victoria, came out for this wonderful event. I was one of six artists demonstrating on the lawn of the Empress Hotel. These three girls from Japan were so beautiful in their kimonos!

I had a great time interacting with the public who are always so interested in an artist's process.
Some of the other activities included top class street entertainers, a street dance with lessons from the Arthur Murray Dance Company, painting for kids, and the best, a Musical Instrument Petting Zoo of kids, so they could hold and try out a musical instrument.

As the sun went down the anticipation to hear the Victoria Symphony play from the barge increased. More and more people arrived, more and more boats arrived, and the best seats were in kayaks right in front of the Symphony Barge. The kayakers were thick like rush hour traffic!

Our Provincial Legislature building with it's beautiful night time lights.

The Victoria Symphony, playing on their floating stage. They played many well known classical pieces, as well as some fun pieces by the Beatles that everyone sang along to.

As the final piece of music came to an end the sky lit up with a grand finale of fireworks! What a fantastic day everyone had, and I'm lucky enough to live here!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Any Title Ideas?

I managed to take a few hours today to finish off this painting, while our visitors went downtown and did a few things. I'll probably make some minor adjustments once I've had time to live with the painting a bit. I don't know what to call this one, so if you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Here I am in my backyard painting in the shade. Yes! we're having a sunny day! Maureen the winner of the Rainy Day Painting Draw, from the Art Gallery Paint-In came by and picked up her prize today, the painting l'Aperitif. She said she felt so lucky to have won the painting, that she almost went out to buy a lottery ticket. :-)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Still Life in progress

Thanks to all of you who left such lovely comments on my last post about the TD Art Gallery Paint-In. I had planned to do an interactive painting station for the public to participate, but the weather didn't cooperate, so instead I did a painting give away. This is the grisaille I painted at the Paint-In .

Today I had a bit of time to paint, so I started adding the colour. I started the process by selecting objects and creating my still life. I set up the still life on a table my garden, trying a number possible arrangements, and finally settled on this one and photographed it. I often paint still lifes from life, but because I wanted to capture the feeling on sunshine on the set up I needed to work from a photograph to keep the light constant, as I knew I would be painting it in several sessions.

I realize that lately when I paint, I've been starting at the top of the painting and working my way down through the canvas as it prevents smudging, and as I move forward through space, I layer over the objects just painted. I'm just in a blocking in process at this point.

I now have the whole painting blocked in roughly and will start creating more form with adjustments to light and shadow, and will plan my edges and work on softening some, loosing some and sharpening others. I'll also start to add some details in the cloth etc. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a bit of time to paint again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

TD Art Gallery Paint In

L'Aperitif, is my Rainy Day Draw Prize at the TD Art Gallery Paint-In in Victoria BC, Saturday July 16th.

Saturday was the much awaited 24th Annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In (formerly known as the Moss Street Paint In). The whole week the weather had been very poor, but the Paint-In has an almost 100% record of sunshine, so we all had our fingers crossed. I awoke Saturday morning to torrential rain!! My husband and I loaded up the car with sheets of rain pouring down, set up a tent awning and managed to get all my paintings in underneath. Saturday Victoria experienced a record rainfall for that day, with 11.4 millimeters of rainfall, topping 7.1 mm in 1942! I thought that I might have a very lonely day freezing underneath my tent with just some paintings as company. But Victoria came through and the art lovers came in out in droves, with umbrellas in hand, and within a short time the rain let up, and the artists ventured out from undercover.

There were 150 artists, in all mediums from all varieties of painting to sculpture, pottery, fiber arts, and collage and more. There were many opportunities for participation, and kids had passports to try out an art form, get their passport stamped, then on to the next station. It turned out to be a wonderful day all round, and showed that if you live in the Pacific Northwest, a bit of rain never stops you! I met many enthusiastic art lovers and had some great conversations about my demo piece - painting a grisaille, what it's for and how it works. I also had a number of textured pieces on display and discussed texture as an added dimension, to enhance the composition, and create movement in the painting. Sorry I'm lacking photos of my set up. As a thank you to all the art lovers who came enthusiastically regardless of the rain, I had an impromptu Rainy Day Draw Prize and gave away a sunny still life painting depicting enjoying a glass of wine on a patio . The lucky winner was M. O'Neill! The TD Art Gallery Paint-In was great fun and I can hardly wait until next year!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Krafty Pair

Original Oil on Linen 8 x 8

I have an old cheese box that was apparently used as a mold for making Kraft Cheddar Cheese. It's definitely a muse for me. I've painted it with a number of supporting actors. I also love painting Red Anjou pears, as the colours go from deep rich reds into paler versions with undertones of ochres. These ones were the paler version. I really loved how the light was hitting the top and left side of the box and reflecting off of the pears. I'll be showing this painting and the one below, along with several more still life paintings and some west coast landscapes, at the TD Art Gallery Paint In this Saturday. I'll be demonstrating still life painting and will have a station set up for anyone who would like to take a moment to paint with me. Then I'll hang your painting across the top of my market tent for the remainder of the day, and you can pick it up toward the end of the Paint-In. If you're in the area, I'd love to see you and chat, and of course spend a few minutes painting with you.

I've been having a very hectic life recently and haven't been getting in nearly enough painting time. We have visitors from France for the next month, but I do hope to get in some plein air painting and post those.

A Bunch of Hotties

I'm reposting this one, as the picture is so much better than the first one I posted. I'm sometimes a little photography challenged. In fact, what improved this one is a layer of varnish which brought back all the darks. Oh the challenges we face!

Monday, July 4, 2011

On a Clear Day

Original Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 48

On a clear day, the name of my newest painting, is the view that we are lucky enough to see from the beach just a 5 minute walk from my house, when the clouds lift and the air is clear. This is the view from Cattle Point, looking across the Strait of Juan de Fuca toward Washington State. The gorgeous mountain in the background is Mt. Baker, which is always capped with snow. it's truly magnificent and on a day like this everyone asks "Did you see Mt. Baker today?" I had to adjust the tones of the distant islands between the water and the mountain. I didn't have them pushed back far enough. But once I painted in the foreground it was obvious that the tones in the background needed to be lightened a bit. It's all relative...

I had another great day yesterday painting on the lawn of the Empress Hotel again. I won't tell you about the gale force winds when we arrived. I'll just say that EVERYTHING was tied or taped down. I almost attached myself! But, are the skies ever clear now! Not a cloud to be seen! Mt. Baker is once again in full view. I had the opportunity to chat with a lot of tourists and almost all of them were from Texas or Alabama. When I asked why so many people from that area were up here in Canada, they all said "Trying to beat the heat!" I told them that they were fortunate to come from a place filled with so many talented artists, and that I was in awe of the amount of talent residing in Texas. Okay, I know it's a big State but still! I can tell you they were visibly proud! :-)


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Artishow Plein Air Event - Empress Hotel Victoria BC

This past Sunday was the Artishow Plein Air kick off event. Every Sunday throughout the summer, artists will be demonstrating their work at hotels around the Inner Harbour of Victoria. Painters and sculptors will be out interacting with the public, both locals and tourists. It was a great day, and I spoke to people from many parts of the world. I'm very honoured and humbled to be with some of Victoria's best artists at Artishow, plein air summer event. Check them out
Annie Pelletier, David Hunwick, David Goatly, Tara Juneau, and Robert Amos.

The painting I started on Sunday is a view from Cattle Point, a few blocks from my home, across to Mount Baker in Washington State. We can go weeks without seeing Mt. Baker because of cloud cover, but when we do, it's absolutely breathtaking. It just looms up and glows in the sun.

The canvas is 24 x 48, and did I mention that it's always windy in Victoria? We're right on the Pacific Ocean with nothing but wind and water between us and Japan. Luckily I brought bungy cords. I had my canvas attached to the easel with a bungy, and the easel attached to a box holding supplies and a heavy jug of water. I was painting in acrylics, and with each gust of wind, my paint dried at high speed. It made covering a large canvas a bit of challenge, but I got around it with acrylic medium and mixing the colour inside a yogurt container.

I'm posing for my girlfriend Kerry, who came down expressly to capture these photos for my blog. Thanks Kerry!

Chatting to some interested art enthusiasts, who just happen to be locals. We have a vibrant arts scene in Victoria and many dedicated show goers. I'm almost finished the painting, and will most likely post it in a few days. This upcoming long weekend, Sunday July 3rd, from 12 noon - 6pm, we will be out again on the lawn at the Empress Hotel. If you're in the area, we'd love to see you!