Thursday, November 27, 2014


Pomegranates  8 x 8  Oil  $150

I've had a very strange and frustrating thing happening to the URL of my blog. It was changing on it's own to indicate that it was an address from another country. First it was ending with .tr to signify Turkey and my menu bar was in Turkish. Then it became a British URL. When I checked my settings, everything was as it should be. It only appeared this way on Google Chrome, it appeared normally on Firefox and Internet Explorer. The fix was complicated and arduous and I was not even wanting to start the process, when my son came along and within one minute he solved it for me. He disabled Zenmate, which appears as a green shield icon in the right corner of the menu bar of your blog. If you are experiencing similar problems, you might want to try that.

This little painting is a study in red as you can see. It was all about color temperature and value to highlight the pomegranates and push the cloth back. I added some blue and green with the cream in the pattern of the cloth, to add some contrast and cooler colors.

As I was saying in my last post, I've been reading a great book called Color- A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Findlay available on Amazon. Apart from learning about where all the colors originated, it's full of fascinating factoids to share over coffee.

According to Findlay who has traveled the globe investigating the origin of colors, red signifies many things - red is anger, red is love, it represents fire, stop and power. It's also significant in religions. Think Buddhist robes and the Popes red silk hat, not to mention the cardinals. The color red dates back to the Inca's and Aztec's who made red from (are you ready?) the blood of beetles, called cochineal. These little beetles thrive on the prickly pear cactus. During the Conquistador era, Spain discovered the color red in Mexico in the State of Oaxaca and started exporting these little beetles back to Spain, controlling the supply of red dye all over Europe. They shipped up to 160 tons of cochineal bodies each year! That's a lot of insect bodies! Although the whole world was enamored with red, it was fugitive, it would fade or disappear. It was then discovered that Alum needed to be added to the pigment to help it set. It's rumored that Henry VIII married  Anne of Cleaves for her countries source of alum. How romantic! 

One of the artists who had many problems with red was Turner. He loved those sunsets and big skies and used whatever color best described what he wanted to capture. Although warned by Mr. Windsor of Windsor and Newton, Turner was adamant that he would use whatever colors suited him in the moment and consequently many of his paintings are no longer representative of what he originally painted. 

Luckily we now have paints that hold their color and have UV protection, not to mention varnishes that also include UV filters. But when asked, I always tell people that if a painting is subjected to direct sunlight, even for limited periods of time, it will most likely fade. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Breezy Bay Farm

Breezy Bay Farm     Acrylic    24 x 36   $975

He everyone, it's been a few weeks since I last posted. I've been really busy getting ready for the Oak Bay Artists Fall Studio Tour, coming up this weekend November 15 and 16, 12:00 - 4:30pm. If you're in the area, be sure to drop to by and say hi! For an online tour brochure click here.

This past August my husband and I visited Saturna Island, a jewel of an island in the Salish Sea just a short ferry ride from Victoria, BC where we live. We stayed at a B&B called the Breezy Bay, pictured above. It's a working farm and the farmhouse we stayed in is the original family home from 1889. We just loved sitting on the big wrap around porch at the end of the afternoon, looking out over the orchard and vegetable garden, and watching the cows, geese, and osprey. Every day when we returned from our daily adventures we came upon this view of the farm, and on the third day, I said "Stop the car!". I just had get some reference material to remember this fantastic view.

I paint mainly still life, and although I love a landscape or architectural piece to switch things up a bit, all this green was a challenge! I find green is a particularly hard colour to mix accurately. 

I'm currently reading a book on the origins of paint, called Color - A Natural History of the Palette, by Victoria Findlay. It's a fascinating read with so many interesting stories to help you work any cocktail party with style! In the 1700's newly invented green paints and dyes became all the rage. Everything from clothing to furniture and wallpaper were done up in green. But unfortunately the green contained arsenic and it was a full 100 years of using arsenic filled green, before a researcher Henry Carr, spoke out, outlining deaths and illnesses as a result of the colour green, particularly in wallpapers. Carr pointed out that just two or three grains of arsenic would destroy the life of a healthy man, and that the country was producing 4,809 tons in one year. Most listeners were shocked and agreed with his call for an investigation. Then a Dr. Thudichum stood up and suggested that Carr was being alarmist. He said his eyes rejoiced at the beautiful bright arsenical paper, and when he looked at the abominable grays and hideous browns and dreadful yellows made without arsenic he could not help thinking that green is what he would like to see on his walls! 

Although we don't have arsenic in our modern paints, (I don't think), it's good to remember that you don't want to hold your paint brush in your mouth, or dry sand paints as there is still the possibility of health risks involved with paint. I remember years ago when I painted in watercolours, everyone in the class ended their painting session by putting their paintbrush in their mouths to bring it to a perfect point - until the instructor suggested that it wasn't best idea, and that Van Gogh, and Whistler could attest to that. :-) 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oak Bay Artist Fall Studio Tour 2014

It's almost that time again already! The artists are pretty busy painting, framing, firing and all sorts of other artistic activities. If you're in the area myself and all the other artists would love you to drop by and check out our latest works. Below is the poster for the tour featuring my friend Joanie's paper casting art cards. There is something for every art lover and every art lover's budget, from art cards, to paintings, pottery, jewelry, photography and more.  Hope to see you!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Contemporary Still Life - The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour   Acrylic   30 x 30

Here is my second piece that I am honoured to have had selected into the prestigious regional annual show, The Sidney Fine Art Show. 

When selecting props and designing this painting, I had in mind the opulence and beauty of the still life paintings of the Dutch Masters. In 'The Golden Hour' I wanted to create a contemporary setting of opulence with draped damask, silver, glass, fruit and flowers. Inspired by Jan Davidsz de Heem, I discretely added some (what I consider attractive) insects, and one of the most beautiful subtleties from that time period, the reflection of a French pane window in the highlight of the vase. I usually paint in contrasting colours but opted for an analagous palette and some brighter contemporary lighting.

I attended the Opening Gala last night and so enjoyed seeing all my artist friends and viewing all the outstanding art on exhibit. It was truly a wonderful evening. 

The Sidney Fine Art Show is on October 17,18, and 19 at the Mary Winspear Center in Sidney BC. If you are in the area it will be a fantastic way to spend a rainy afternoon this weekend, or Saturday night is Meet the Artists and Local Samplings Night. As you view the art and chat with the artists, you can also enjoy samplings from our local wineries and cider makers. How great is that? Hope to see you there!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Still Life in Acrylic - The Sifter

The Sifter   Acrylic  11 x 14  SOLD
Available at the Sidney Fine Art Show

I have a collection of vintage goods along the tops of my cupboards in the kitchen. Some of the items are from my family and some were collected from various places over time. I've been eyeing the sifter for some time and decided one morning to create a still life with it. I remember as a child watching my mother bake and she always used a sifter for the flour. So this is a memory of baking day, way back when. This painting entitled 'The Sifter' is showing this upcoming weekend at, The Sidney Fine Art Show, October 17, 18, and 19, at the Mary Winspear Center, in Sydney BC. This is a regional juried show and an annual arts highlight of Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. I'm really happy and honoured to have two pieces in the show. I'll post the second one later this week.

I've been painting mostly in acrylics for the last few months, as I'm teaching a painting class in acrylics. Over the summer I took a workshop with a fantastic artist, Janice Robertson,and learned how to properly use Glazing Fluid. This medium has opened up a whole new world of possibilities in acrylics for me. I glazed the pears and some of the shadows on the tea towel, but most of all I glazed the heck out of the sifter! I love how I was able to create such soft edged reflections in the metal. It's my new favourite medium!


Monday, October 6, 2014


Paint a Cherry, Eat a Cherry   Oil   8 x 8  SOLD

This is the demo piece I painted from life during this Summer's TD Art Gallery Paint In. Several people passing by or stopping to watch, commented on my ability to refrain from popping a cherry in my mouth as I painted. It was the standing joke of the day, so I felt the name should reflect the humor.

I've just taken down my solo show in the Oak Bay Marina Restaurant, and hung another downstairs at the Marina Coffee House. It's such a busy, fun location and with our wonderful Autumn weather, a great place to sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy the view.

The Oak Bay Artists Society has a group show that I'm participating in, at the Community Arts Council Gallery, at Cedar Hill Recreation Center. If you live in the area, drop by and enjoy the shows! You may even find something you'd love to take home with you!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Paint in the Park

I recently participated in a fund raiser for the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria. A group of Victoria's artists came out and painted en plein air in the park behind the CAC and offered their paintings up for auction with the proceeds going to the CAC. It was a really fun and rather challenging day, as I hadn't painted en plein air for a long time. It's quite humbling to go out in the great outdoors, and try to edit the scene down to an 8 x 8 canvas. My first piece was the only one I was happy with - a painting of McCrae House, which is a bit like a still life. The second was a landscape which was so bad I wanted to throw it like a frisbee as far away as possible, but I don't pollute, so instead I threw it face down on the grass under my easel so no one could see it! Below are some of the scenes and my auctioned painting.

This is the one painting that I was pleased with from my day, and it sold! This is McCrae House, an historical house on the park grounds behind the Community Arts Council. I went into the shade of a big tree, and sat my painting on a compost box in order shoot the picture. It has a bit of glare but you can get the idea.

There are some lovely Garry Oak groves in the park, with paths leading through and on to the golf course. The CAC staff came around regularly in golf carts offering us chairs, cold bottled water, and transporting people who wanted to view the paintings in progress out around the park.

I loved the light glowing warm through the trees here, but didn't select this view to paint. I may paint it in the future.

And here's a view of the golf course with a row of tall elm trees. I thought with a few compositional adjustments, this could have been a nice painting.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Art Critic Review & Paint in the Park

Lemons and Lace II

I'm very excited to announce that today a review of my artwork appeared in the Victoria Times Colonist Newspaper. To view the article click here.

Paint in the Park

Also, many of Victoria's well known plein air artists will be gathering on Saturday September 13th for a Paint in the Park fund raising event for the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria. The artists will all be assigned a position along the beautiful Cedar Hill Park & Trail behind the Cedar Hill Recreation Center. We will be painting from 11:00 to 4:00pm and during that time,  completed paintings will be picked up regularly and exhibited, ready for the silent auction. You can also walk the path and get a sneak preview of the pieces being painted. Starting at 5pm a wine reception and silent auction will take place, with the paintings starting under $50 and increasing in $5 increments with each bid. It's the perfect opportunity to collect a small piece or two by leading Victoria artists, have a fun afternoon with your friends, and at the same time help raise money for the Community Arts Council, which works tirelessly on a volunteer basis, to support the artists of Victoria. Hope to see you there!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Bowker Creek Art Show & Sale

Yesterday, August 10th, was the 10th Annual Bowker Creek Art Show & Sale in Oak Bay, Victoria, BC. It was a beautiful warm sunny day, with no wind! When you live on an island, no wind is a blessing. The art enthusiasts came out in droves and helped celebrate the arts in many forms. From paintings to pottery, stained glass to wood turning, sculpture to photography, the 35 artists demonstrated their art forms and interacted with the public. As you can see from the photos below Bowker Creek is a wonderful venue for an art show, with huge leaf canopies creating cool shade, and lovely dappled light along the banks of the creek. 

Thanks to everyone who came out and showed so much enthusiasm for the arts, and great interest in the process of our art making. Thanks also to those who participated in the public art piece. It was a lot of fun seeing people making their mark for the first time ever.

Many thanks to all the artists who volunteered to make this event such a success. Everyone involved helped in some way to make the day happen, and as Joanie says, "It takes a village...". 


Monday, August 4, 2014

Still Life - April Afternoon

April Afternoon   16 x 20   Acrylic

This upcoming Sunday, August 10th is the Oak Bay Community Artists summer event, the Bowker Creek Artists' Brush-Up Show and Sale. It's a wonderful outdoor art event in Bowker Creek Park. There are 35 artists this year who will demonstrating their work in the lovely dappled light along the sides of the creek. Join the fun and participate in a piece of public art set for silent auction at the end of the show. As well there will be an art station for kids, some environmental groups helping us understand how to keep our community green, and a gourmet hamburger BBQ presented by The Oaks Restaurant. If you are in the area, please do drop by and say hi! 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wine Art

Merlot Moment    Acrylic   30 x 40    $1350

I was needing some new large format paintings as anchor pieces for my outdoor shows this summer, and this is one of them. I'm really pleased with the outcome, but I went through many challenges in order to complete this one. The original vase was cut porcelain  made by a well know Canadian ceramic artist (whose name I unfortunately forget) and I absolutely love it. It's beauty just didn't transfer onto canvas well, so I painted it out and changed the vase to glass. I think it adds a lot more to the interest and cohesiveness of the painting, with the stems drawing on all the colours in the palette. I was also able to practice my new acrylic painting skills of glazing with glazing fluid, which I learned at Janice Robertson's workshop at the Metchosin Summer School of the Arts. Janice was a great instructor, being very generous with her knowledge, very attentive with her students, respectful and encouraging, not to mention lots of fun! Thank you Janice! I'm enjoying knowing how to properly use glazing fluid.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

TD Art Gallery Paint-In

Wasn't that a party! Yesterday, Saturday July 19, was the 27th Annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In, the largest art event on Vancouver Island. What a blast we had!! There were 180 artists demonstrating their art forms in all different mediums and styles. As well 35,000 art enthusiasts came out to watch the creation of art and interact with the artists. Here I am painting my demo piece, a still life of cherries, painted from life. 

I had four wonderful volunteers who came to help me for the day and this is my friend Marilyn. I could not have done it without all your help. Thank you ladies!!

A few of the paintings I had on display. Fortunately the car in the background coordinates. :-)

The Paint-In stretches from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria down 14 blocks to the water, with artists on both sides of the street all the way. It's the most incredible experience to see the sea of heads belonging to all the people of Victoria who love the arts!

And here is the celebration party in the garden of the Art Gallery at the end of the day. What a great way to end such a fabulous day. In the distance is a real party band with many dancers! It was a great time and I'm so happy to be living in a city that supports and loves the arts.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ba-da-Bing!   Acrylic   10 x 10   $225

If you live in Victoria or are visiting this upcoming weekend, come on down to the TD Art Gallery Paint-In! This Saturday July 19, from 11am - 4:30 pm, 180 artists will be bringing their studios to Moss St., between Fort St and Dallas Rd. An expected 35,000 art enthusiasts will be turning up again this year to take in art in all it's forms! I will be near Fort St. and the Art Gallery. Don't miss the biggest art event of the year! Drop by and say hi, I'd love to see you!

This fun little painting is hot, hot, hot with summer colours!


Monday, July 7, 2014

AGGV Summer Small Works Show 2014

Available through the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Available through the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

I'm so pleased to announce that these two paintings Red Grapes and Silver, and More Fiesta have been juried into the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria's Summer Small Works Show. If you are in the area this a great opportunity to add art to your home. The show has been beautifully curated, and the opening reception is this Friday, July 11th from 5 - 7 pm. Many of the artists will be attendance. I hope you'll be able to join us!

If you are interested in either of these paintings you can contact the AGGV by clicking here.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Radishes - Still Life

A Bunch of Hotties II   Oil  8 x 8   SOLD

This is a commission that I recently completed. My client loves vibrant saturated colours so I placed the radishes on a green striped cloth to make the colours pop. The cloth added that sunny summer feeling and she was very pleased with the feel and the vibrancy of her painting. Which was a relief, because commissions can be a bit stressful, even when they are small... :-)


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Red Pears and Hazel Nuts

Red Pears and Hazel Nuts    8 x 8   Oil   SOLD

This is a small still life I completed a while back, and because I had trouble photographing it, I hadn't posted it yet. The colour of the pears came out much brighter and more saturated than in the painting and when I tried to colour correct, it changed the other areas of the painting too dramatically. In any case, the painting in real life was appreciated by someone who attended my recent Studio Tour and it's gone off to a new home. :-)


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Step by Step Landscape in Acrylic - August Afternoon

My main genre is still life, however I really enjoy mixing in a landscape or an architectural painting, just to loosen up a bit. This image is the entrance to the old farm on Hornby Island, British Columbia. It's a beautiful spot. Every time I visit Hornby I photograph the entrance to the farm. There's something so peaceful about it, and the road leading in makes me want to follow it.

I started by cropping the image for compositional purposes. I wanted the two trees to fall at the 'law of thirds' intersection. For those of you who may not know, if you divide your canvas into thirds horizontally and vertically, the intersection of the lines in four places, offer good locations to position the focal point.

Using Transparent Red Iron Oxide, I warmly coloured the ground on the canvas, and to blocked in the basic shapes. A warm red tone is a nice counterbalance to the greens in the trees. 

I started to block in the colour in each shape and to develop the foreground a bit. The darker shade area in the foreground and the light of the sky, helped to gauge the values of the rest of the painting.

I continued developing the painting adding a bit more red tone with burnt sienna mixed with some napthol red, creating branches in the trees. I removed the barn because it was distracting from the focal point.

I broke up the solid tree branch shapes with more variety in value and colour,  strengthened the colour of the sky, and cooled down and lightened the background trees so they moved back in space. The foreground was developed a bit more as well. I used acrylic medium to blend the grass shapes and added some more darks.

The name chosen for this painting is August Afternoon, and I felt the colour of the field wasn't reflecting the impression of a hot summer afternoon. I used glazing fluid and glazed a warm golden colour of hanza yellow deep broken with a bit of ultramarine and alizarin crimson. I added some grass in the field, and developed some lights in the trees to finish it off. 

On a hot August afternoon the entrance to the farm is so still and peaceful. You can hear a few crickets and the breeze moving the branches and it's all about sun and shade. Truly idyllic.

August Afternoon   16 x 16  Acrylic  $650


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mexican Still Lifes

 Vine Ripened  Oil   8 x 8  SOLD

 From the Garden  Acrylic 24 x 24 

Ole  Acrylic  36 x 24

Here is the last of my new Mexican small works, along with two larger Mexican themed paintings. I'm excited that I have a presale for the Studio Tour coming up this weekend! If you are in the area, do drop by and say hi, I'd love to see you! For the printable online brochure click here.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Mexican Still Life

More Fiesta    Oil    8 x 8   $175

I just can't stop stacking these colourful little Mexican bowls.  This is another of my small works Mexcian series, which will be showing at my studio in the Oak Bay Artists' Spring Studio Tour this upcoming weekend. If you're in the area do drop by I'd love to see you! For the tour brochure click here.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Mexican Still Life

Aguacate   8 x 8   Oil    $175

These hand painted Mexican tiles that I picked up at a garage sale, were perfect as a background to the beautiful colour and shape of the avocado, or aguacate in Spanish, so my son tells me. Avocados are a favourite in my family so they turn up in my small paintings fairly often. And of course it went perfectly with the Mexican theme that I'm on. 


Monday, April 14, 2014

Fiesta - Mexican Still Life

Fiesta   Oil  8 x 8   $175

Hi everyone! I've been focusing on trying to paint regularly, and therefore, I painted but didn't post! So now I'm going to do a bit of catch up. I've been on a Mexican bender! I love my little brightly coloured Mexican bowls and when they are stacked I like them best. My girlfriend loaned me a beautiful piece of hand embroidered fabric from Guatemala, and the combination was just too exciting! A few tomatoes and a Mexican green background brought it all together. This one painted itself! 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winter Warmth   Oil   16 x 16

Pomegranates are in season and I can't resist these rich red fruits, both inside and out. They are one of those fruits that everyone loves to paint. These ones seemed like the perfect accompaniment to some red wine. I wanted to create a rich, warm and inviting atmosphere. The lighting was important in creating the atmosphere, by suggesting evening with a low or candlelight type of lighting effect. I've been working in a lot of detail in my most recent paintings and decided to try to limit the detail and just suggest the fabric pattern. I used a palette knife for the leaves, again just suggesting rather that forming each leaf. I'm drawn to patterns and detail, so I had to really fight the urge not to say more with the paint.