Monday, November 11, 2013

Lemons & Lace II

Lemons and Lace II   Oil   12 x 16   

Part of my 'Porcelain' series, Lemons and Lace II, features English porcelain and one of my favourite props, a vintage blue medicine bottle. Blue and yellow is one of my favoured colour combinations as I find the freshness of the yellow lemons against the blue patterning of the china very inspiring. In particular I enjoyed painting the varied depths of the shadow from the wedge of lemon protruding over the edge of table. It's these subtle observations that give me so much pleasure in painting a still life from life.
I've been trying to get back into a regular schedule of painting, following the passing of my father. When you haven't been painting very much, each colour mix and how you approach the painting, seems to be full of challenges. I've decided for the next short while to go back down to smaller pieces and try to get back into the groove of painting, and then I'd like to take a little break from still life and get back into some landscape pieces. Landscapes always feel so freeing as opposed to the close concentration of still lifes. They come off my brush in a much more impressionistic style. I hope that by mixing things up a bit I'll get back in the groove. Have you had moments when the paint just doesn't seem to flow off your brush or you're just not getting behind the easel as much as you used to? What did you do to overcome this obstacle? I'd love to hear some thoughts and suggestions.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Federation of Canadian Artists Fall Juried Exhibition

I am so pleased to have received Honourable Mention for my painting Satsuma at the FCA Fall Juried Exhibition!  The quality of paintings was very high and I truly feel hounoured to be recognized for my work. If you are in Victoria do drop by Dales Gallery in Chinatown and enjoy the show!

Satsuma  Oil  16 x 20  $1200 
Please contact Dales Gallery for inquiries

The photograph of this painting did not really turn out well. I tried shooting it a number of times using a grey card and I still ended up with a high tone photo, so that the value nuances are not really evident. I learned a lot painting Satsuma, because I layered not only patterns, but also white porcelain in front of each other. So the painting became all about values in order to create the form of each object and to have them stand apart from each other in space instead of blending.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Federation of Canadian Artists Juried Fall Exhibition

I'm very pleased to have been accepted into the Federation of Canadian Artists Juried Fall Exhibition at Dales Gallery in Chinatown. The show promises to be excellent, with some of Victoria's best loved artists participating. If you are in the area we'd love to see you. Please drop by and say hello at our Opening Reception tomorrow, Saturday November 2nd from 1 - 3pm, where the artists will be in attendance. Below is my piece accepted into the show - Satsuma.

Satsuma  Oil  16 x 20  $1200
Please contact the Gallery if you are interested in this painting.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ottavio's Olives

Ottavio's Olives  Acrylic  10 x 10  $295

Ottavio's Italian Bakery and Deli is one of Oak Bay's favourite shops and coffee shops. You just can't go there and not go home with a bag of delicious gourmet items and a fine crusty baguette! One day I dropped into Ottavio's and when my eyes lit on these multi-coloured olives I knew I simply had to paint them! 


Monday, October 7, 2013

More Cooking with Colour

More Cooking with Colour  Oil  SOLD

These little Mexican themed still life paintings have been very popular, so I'm hoping to get a few more done in the next little while. This is the most recent Mexican piece that I've completed. I love the vibrant colours and patterns, and I guess that's what draws people to them.

I was very busy over the summer, going to Vancouver to visit my elderly parents. Unfortunately, at the end of the summer, my dad became very ill and passed away at the age of 90. He lived a very full and happy life and was a devoted family man, who adored his wife, children and grandchildren. We all miss him very much. He was always so pleased with my paintings and enjoyed seeing everything new that I'd completed. Now as I slowly start getting back into painting, I'll be thinking of him and his beautiful smile and I'll try to put some of that goodness into my work.


Thursday, July 11, 2013


Marrakech   Oil   8 x 10

Marrakech is another new piece being present at the TD Art Gallery Paint In in Victoria BC on July 20th. This piece came together after a visit to my favourite consignment store, where I found on one trip the brass coffee urn and on another the handwoven textile. I added the fruit and focused on softening edges to create some mystery to the piece. 

A blogging friend Kathrine Thomas just posted about how paintings look in original form as opposed to photos and now also online. I can honestly say that this painting looks way better in the original form. I photographed it several times, but the figs kept coming out bright purple. They are darker and more subdued in person. Although I use Photoshop Elements  to crop and resize for the web, I don't know who to colour correct. I'm taking a workshop in the Fall on how to properly photograph paintings, and I'm really looking forward to it! 


Monday, July 8, 2013

Bordeaux - Wine Art

Bordeaux   Oil  16 x 16  $650

This is one of the new paintings that I will be presenting at the TD Art Gallery Paint-In (formerly known as the Moss St Paint-In) on Saturday July 20th, 11am - 4:30pm. I'm looking forward to being part of the Paint-In again this year and I will be located at 446 Moss St. at Thurlow St, across the street from the Moss St Market. You can shop for art and fresh farm veggies all in one go! How great is that?

For those of you unfamiliar with the Paint-In, it's a exciting day presenting all forms of visual art. Come on out with your family and friends and enjoy the fun! All of Moss Street from Fort St to Dallas Rd is closed to cars. The street will be lined on both sides with 150 artists who are bringing their studios to the street that day. Each year about 35,000 art enthusiasts come out to enjoy the event. This year my demonstration will be painting a still life from life. If you're at the event come by and say hi. I'd love to see you!

Here I am at last year's Paint-In. It was a beautiful sunny day and we're all doing a sun dance to enjoy similar weather this year!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tea and Tonic - AGGV Summer Small Works Show

Tea and Tonic  Oil on Linen on Board  8 x 10  $300 SOLD

In my last post I talked about a workshop I took with Tanya Bone. This painting is one I did following her workshop, focusing on edges, brushwork and a painterly style. I was quite pleased with the outcome and also because it has been selected into the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Summer Small Works Show. The show runs July 12 - Sept 5, in Massey Hall, and features beautiful small and affordable pieces by many of your favourite Victoria artists. Be sure to check it out when you're in the neighbourhood. 

Tonight I attended the Artists Reception for the Mystery Show at Red Art Gallery. This is such a fun event! There are 40 artists and 40 works. All works are 10 x 10 and priced at $295. The mystery is who painted what? No names appear on the front of the paintings. There is a lottery style draw to determine who gets first pick and so on. When your number is called you have 60 seconds to put a red dot on the painting of your choice. Last year this event was a huge success and a great patron pleaser, and this year promises to be just as much fun. I'll post my mystery painting after the show.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tanya Bone Workshop

I was recently in Vancouver for a weekend workshop with the extremely talented Tanya Bone. It was a fabulously inspiring weekend and Tanya was a very attentive and giving instructor. If you ever have a chance to take a class from her I would highly recommend it. She specializes in still life and was teaching how to paint in a painterly manner. I learned so much about edges and brushstrokes. I have a tons of tips and techniques to now try to put into practice.

Tanya likes to be up close and personal with her set up. She spends a lot of time getting her set up and the lighting just right before she begins. 

One of the things I found the most difficult but that is definitely one of the beautiful aspects in Tanya's paintings, is the loose textured background she does, suggesting foliage and different light patterns. She paints it with a fan brush and transparent colours. Watching her it seems like it would be easy but I felt like I'd never painted before. I wiped my canvas so many times! Other participants were on their second and third painting and I was still wiping!

Here is a detail of the beginnings of the vessel she was demonstrating. She also demonstrated painting the gold edge on the vessel which again was a build up of layers on transparent paint until she got to final layer which was the highlight mixed with white. It was magic!

Tea and Tonic  8 x 10

I went home and spent a two sessions slowly working through the techniques she taught and ended with this first attempt at a more painterly style. It is SO HARD to paint loosely like this! I'm going to keep working on small pieces trying to blend my style of painting with the techniques I've learned from Tanya, and hope to create my own painterly style. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mandarin - Painting Step by Step

I have a favourite consignment store for finding the best props for my still lifes. This Asian inspired  set up is compliments of that store. The large red and gold plate and the gorgeous vase came together  perfectly with the bowl of mandarins and the floral branches from my garden.  I loved the simplicity of the set up and the way the round shape of the plate enveloped the pieces bringing a sense of serenity to the setting. The bowl was blue and white but I changed the colour to work with the other pieces.  

The block in stage, positioning the shapes and starting to define the values, although they aren't very defined in this photo.

I reached this point with the painting and then went to see a movie. When I came back I took one look at the painting and knew the center of the plate was not working the with rest of the painting. The center is actually convex, and when I painted it accordingly to how I saw it, the center appeared like a mystical orb, floating in the painting. It was all I looked at. So I scraped it off and painted it as a flat base to the plate, which was a great improvement. I then added a sprig of foliage to the table top beside the bowl. I also corrected the bowl which started tipping down on the right.
Mandarin  Oil  16 x 16

The mystical orb syndrome reminded me that although we have to paint what we see, we also need to interpret and change things for the good of the painting as a whole. I sometimes lose track of that in my effort to capture the subtle light on vessels etc. Luckily I saw the flaw quickly and was able to make the change. Do you ever commit too much to painting what you see and forget to look at the painting as a whole?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

CNIB Eye Appeal

Thursday night was the Artists' Reception for the CNIB Eye Appeal, a fabulous fund raiser to aid those with impaired vision through to those who are blind. As visual artists our craft relies on sight and much of what brings us joy in life is visual. Most likely for that reason, more than 200 artists of Victoria BC generously donated works of art, including paintings, sculptures, fiber art, ceramics, and photography. Here I am with my donated piece, Curb Appeal - Paris France.

The festivities are just getting started, in the Crystal Gardens, an historic building which was once a swimming pool at the turn of the century and is now a part of the Victoria Conference Center. It's a beautiful skylight lit venue for an art exhibition.

A shot of some of the art. To view the pieces in the CNIB Eye Appeal 2013 Event, click here.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Valencia  Oil  16 x 16 SOLD
This is the last of my new paintings to be featured in the Oak Bay Artists Spring Studio Tour, this weekend, April 20 & 21, 12:00 - 4:30pm. I loved this piece of fabric with it's strong design, and decided to combine it with the complimentary colour of the oranges. Things started well, but part way through I was questioning my choice of fabric with all those stripes, folds, shadows and highlights. Yikes! But I just slowly worked through it and bit by bit it came together. I kept a little mantra in my head, from my blogging friend Lorraine Shirkas, "Paint outside the lines", which actually made the fabric come together  much more easily. Although it looks very exact in the photo I did paint outside the lines! I'm pleased with the outcome of this one and the European flavour it has. 
I have some Jazz pieces in the LOOK Victoria 2013 Show, on now through the month of April at the Bay Center in downtown Victoria. There are a few hundred local artists participating in this show, put on by the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria. It's a non-juried show, and one where first time exhibitors can have their art hanging next to well known artists. It's a show with a wonderful sense of community and mentoring amongst artists, and it's such an important show to give newly emerging artists a supportive venue in which to enter the world of shows. If you are in the area the show is on the 3rd floor of the mall and is taking up two store fronts so give yourself some time to enjoy all the wonderful work on display. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

 Lemons and Lace  Oil  16 x 16 SOLD

This is the largest oil painting I've ever done. I'm still learning how to paint with oils and the larger the canvas the more intimidating it seems. I was very systematic with blocking in the entire painting and slowly building the layers and in the end I though "Well that wasn't so scarey after all". It's funny how we psych ourselves out isn't it? The vase and pedestal plate are two new finds from a local consignment store. I absolutely love them, so I'm sure they will show up in many more paintings. 

This is a very high tone painting for me. I usually go for more colour saturation and I frame all my paintings in black front loading floater frames. This one called for a silver frame and because it was on a deep canvas the selection was limited and very expensive, forcing the price of the painting up. So I did something else I've never done before and this was REALLY scarey. I took it off the deep stretchers and restretched  it onto narrow stretchers thereby increasing my selection of framing. I just lined the stretcher bars up along the creases that were alreadyin the canvas from the deep stretchers. I put one staple in the center of each side, working to opposite sides, and then worked my way out to the corners, putting in one or two staples on each side before switching to the opposite side.  The corners were already creased in the folds, so they came together very smoothly.   I do a lot of fabric stretching in my work and have done reupholstery but this was very nerve wracking and I had to do it when no one else was home so I could give it my full attention. I was thrilled it went smoothly without any horrible moments. The custom frame is going to be ready this Saturday and I can hardly wait to see how it looks framed.

This painting will be featured in the upcoming Oak Bay Artists' Spring Studio Tour on April 20 & 21. If you're in the area feel free to drop by and bring your friends! For a tour brochure, click here, the tour map link is at the bottom of the page. The link is compliments of Elizabeth Anderson who helped me with the link address. I was having trouble with links on my last post because I was using the permalinks in the side bar instead of the link on the top menu and I couldn't get it to work. Thanks Elizabeth!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Guacamole  Oil  8 x 8  SOLD
Here's the last of the recent Mexican themed paintings. I had a lot of fun doing them because I love colour and pattern. I have a lot of images from my trip that are still beckoning me but I've switched over to some larger pieces as I'm preparing for the upcoming Oak Bay Artists' Spring Studio Tour. I'll post those over the next couple of weeks. If you're in Victoria mark you calendar for the Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21 from 12:00 - 4:30 pm. The tour brochure is available at on the events page. (I couldn't seem to get the link to take, do you something about that?)

This is only the second avocado painting I've ever done. The first was a Christmas gift for my daughter who's favourite food is the avocado.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Cooking with Colour II

Cooking with Colour II  Oil  8 x 8 SOLD

Here's another colourful still life using my new little Mexican bowls from my recent trip. I think I still have some value adjustments to do on the left side of the pepper.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cooking With Colour

Cooking With Colour  Oil on Canvas 8 x 8  SOLD
I knew it was going to be an explosion of colour, but I just had to do it!! I bought  these cute little bowls in Mexico and as I have a special love for hand painted pottery from around the world, I had to incorporate these new little beauties into a painting. I've painted and sold still lifes with plates and bowls from Provence, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia, Turkey and Mexico, so other people must also love hand painted pottery too. So here's some more Mexico and this time it's red hot! I hope you like it.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fifty Shades of Green

Fifty Shades of Green  Oil  16 x 16

This fabulously green cafe sparkling in the Sayulita sunshine was a must to paint! In fact the entire town was complete eye candy!  
I took a long time to paint this one. I hadn't painted in oils for quite a while and it was like learning to paint all over again. There was a fair amount of frustration, feelings of desperation and questioning if I had ever even know how to paint to begin with. But I persevered and ended up enjoying the last stages of the painting. 
Frequency of painting is so important in our development as artists. A hiatus makes everything that should be second nature seem so incredibly difficult. I'm trying hard to paint a few times a week to get the flow of my skills going again and get into the zen of it - a place I love to be. Do you find that taking time off from painting creates a huge relearning curve for you when you start up again? Tell me it happens to you too. Please!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jazz Art

 Backstage Beebop  30 x 24  Acrylic 

Musical Spaces II 48 x 36  Acrylic 

These two Jazz music inspired paintings are part of my Jazz series called Musical Spaces. It's currently showing at Serious Coffee in Cook St Village, Victoria BC. This is a fabulous coffee shop and meeting place in the heart of this busy neighbourhood. If you're in the area please drop by and enjoy the show and a yummy specialty coffee. The works will be hanging for the month of March.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Foxy in France

Foxy in France  Acrylic  24 x 30 SOLD

This is a commissioned piece that was fun and challenging to paint. My client wanted something with flowers, the colour pink to work in the room it was intended for, and to include her beautiful black cat Foxy. The cat became the challenge because I put her into a partially imagined scene, and I was concerned about getting her the right size.In the end I think she's the right size, as she's a very long furred, voluptuous cat. Painting an all black cat is a bit tricky as well, but I had fun using the vibrant colours in the scene to create her form through the highlights. Happily my client was very pleased with the outcome.

I'm off to Mexico for a couple of weeks with my sisters the first week and my daughter the second. What could be better than that?! (my husband and son may have some suggestions) LOL I've decided to sketch and do ink and watercolours on my trip as they transport so well, and don't weigh much. Happy painting everyone and I'll talk to you in a few weeks.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chinatown Victoria BC

Shanghai City  12 x 12  Oil  SOLD
This is an image from our small but very vibrant Chinatown. It has a rich and fascinating history, and Dales Gallery which I have shown in, is just across the street. There are many rich colours on this street, but red is a standout, so I did a red underpainting and left patches of the red showing through.