Sunday, December 12, 2010

Garden Party ~ Another "recycled" painting

Well, this is one of the most "girlie" paintings I have ever done, but I really like how this one turned out. Again, I used scraps of old watercolour paintings and bits of magazines and some hand painted papers. This time I also collaged over a failed acrylic abstract on a small 8" X 10" canvas.

I've been writing down ideas for more of these collage paintings, and I'm quite excited about them! I haven't been this excited about painting since I first started, so I think I may be on to something. I'm sure I'll go back and forth between my first love of watercolours and collage, but right now I'm so glad to have gotten that spark back! I'm also tempted to do some really bad watercolours just to have them to rip up! LOL
After the holidays I'll be doing more and also hand painting some papers in some of the colours that I need. I will be looking for magazines, calendars, old maps, sheet music, crossword puzzles, almost any kind of paper for my projects.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Recycling can be fun!!

Lately I've been captivated by some wonderful collage paintings by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and my buddy Lauren Everett Finn. It got me to thinking about all of the, shall we say, "less than successful" paintings I had taking up space in my studio. If you look closely at the painting you'll see that some small scraps from old magazines have found their way in there too!
Last weekend I sat on the floor and had a great time ripping them up and pasting! It was quite therapeutic. This is the outcome:

Here Comes the Sun!

I know I'll be doing more of these! Yesterday I kind of organized my scraps into different colour categories. I've got a drawer for yellows and oranges, one for greens and blues and one for red and purples. I also have some earth tones and whites segregated. I need more drawers!
I've also decided that I haven't got a lot of red scraps so I've started creating some new hand painted paper, which is great fun in itself, allowing me to experiment with colour and texture without the worry of "ruining" a painting!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanks Frederick!

"Uncle Homer"

After commenting on a blog post by Frederick Winston on his great art blog about Homer Watson the other day, Frederick contacted me to ask if he could write a post about me! Wow, what an honour! He was interested in the fact that Homer Watson, Canadian landscape artist was my great, great uncle.
You can see the post HERE.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pet Portraits ~ Paint what you love!

I've been lacking inspiration lately....and someone reminded me to "paint what you love". Well I love pets, so I got to thinking that I hadn't done any pet portraits or animals of any kind for a long time!

Also since it is getting close to the holiday season, why not give the gift of an original watercolour portrait of a beloved pet?

It's a win/win situation! I get to paint a fuzzy face and you get an original gift for someone you love!

Here are a couple of examples of previous portraits I have done:

The Life of Riley

Dog Day Afternoon (My dog Jack)

Check out this page on my website for more examples! Prices range from $100-$250 for 8 x 10" or 10 x 14" portraits.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

3 Colours, 6 Tiny paintings!

During my visit with my friends Lauren and Sue in Michigan, we took a day off from Plein Air painting and had a day in the studio. While Lauren and Sue got out their acrylics, I played with my watercolours, using a great triad of colours from the Daniel Smith line of paints. I tried this triad quite a while ago when I heard about them on Wetcanvas, and saw all the interesting paintings using this unusual combination of colours. They are: Ultramarine Turquoise, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, and Quinacridone Deep Gold. I painting all of these on small scraps of paper, none of which are larger than 6 inches on any side.

This one has some pencil added to the outline.

I was trying to use some of the techniques we learned while watching some art DVD's in the evening. Not sure if it succeeded, but it was fun!

Not the greatest apple painting in the world!

I used gel pens on this to create an interesting look.

The beautiful sumacs that we had seen all week inspired this one.

A quick sketch with watersoluble pencil and a watercolour wash of my tea mug.

And this is the painting I did a few years ago using the same triad. It is sold and is living in Belgium!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fun, Friends and Fresh Air!

I just returned yesterday from a great week of fun and laughter at my friend Lauren Finn's house in the upper part of Michigan near Lake Michigan. I drove up there with another artist friend Sue Galos, and witnessed the trees becoming more and more colourful the closer we got to our destination.

We enjoyed some lovely crisp weather, perfect for painting outdoors or "plein air". It's always challenging trying to capture the essence of a scene, while coping with changing light and shadow, and wind. But I love it!

Here are some of the sketches I did, using my prismacolor .01 pen, waterbrush and moleskin sketchbook.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nova Scotia Sketches

We just returned from a wonderful week in Nova Scotia! Most of these sketches were done near the cottage we rented on the South Shore. I wish we could have stayed longer, but I'll always have these great memories...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fire and Ice...maybe!

Here is another mixed media piece along the lines of "Tenacity". This may be the beginning of a series! This one started out more red and blue, but I decided to add more "ice". I'm also not too sure about a title just yet, hence the maybe in the title of this post.
Once again I used masa paper, watercolour, fluid acrylics, and fibers. It's 14" x 11" on gallery wrapped canvas. It's finished for now, unless I get another brainstorm, or if some of you lovely people have any suggestions!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Haven't been painting much, but I started work on another mixed media piece the other day. While I was waiting for part of it to dry, I started playing with a piece of paper that I had brushed gesso on a while ago. Part of it looked good so I doodled these trees on the parts I liked and made a dyptych of it. Both are about 4" x 10" acrylic on paper. Just a little fun, nothing serious!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tenacity ~ Mixed Media

This is certainly a departure for me...this is a mixed media piece, Masa paper on canvas, watercolour and fluid acrylics, a bit of ink, gauze, and spider webbing! It's 24" x 12", not framed. I'm going to enter it into a show called "On The Edge", and while it does represent a physical edge, it has also pushed me over a creative edge, which is a good thing!

I have to say, it's hard to get a good photo. I took this one this morning, and you can see the shadows formed by the texture of the paper. Depending on the direction of the light, you get different shadows. It's also hard to see the metallic sheen of the gold and copper paint.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Few from my Garden Journal Sketchbook

Last year, I tried to paint all the perennials in my garden and I think I accomplished that. This year I'm sketching some of my annuals and other things around the yard.
I think I've become more comfortable sketching and I'm learning to simplify. Using a fine point pen and watercolour wash has made the process easier. Now I wish I'd used this technique from the beginning! Oh well, live and learn!

Friday, June 4, 2010


My painting, "Make Hay While the Sun Shines", was juried into the 5th Annual Desmond Juried Art Exhibition and Sale in Ridgetown, Ontario!

My thanks to everyone for their encouragement!

I'm working on another piece for a show in Chatham this summer. The theme is "On the Edge"a nd it's completely different in style from my "Make Hay" painting. Actually it's completely different than anything I've done! I'm almost finished, so I'll post a photo this weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

From My Sketchbook ~ Jackie's House

Last winter our next door neighbour moved into a rest home and sold the house that she and her husband built many years ago. I don't believe that any renovations were ever done to their house over the years, and it still has the same grey "insulbrick" siding and funky turquoise trim. Both we and our neighbours have large "double lots". When we first moved in, 19 years ago, Frank and Jackie's entire side lot adjacent to ours was a huge garden. Frank worked in it tirelessly all summer, even though he was elderly. They were generous with their bounty and would share whatever they had.
Over the years, the garden got smaller and smaller, until Frank could no longer look after it. Once he passed away, it was grassed over, but some of the flowers and shrubs still remain.
The new owners (who bought the house months ago and not moved in) have sent out a notice that they wish to sever the second lot next to us. We are worried that someone will buy that lot and build one of those huge new houses, squeezing as much house as possible onto that land.
I was thinking how much I've grown to like the view of her house from my kitchen window with it's overgrown forsythia bush on the side which houses a large family of sparrows, and our favourite lilac bush that provides us with sweet scents wafting into our windows.
I went out and tried to capture that view this morning, because I'm afraid it won't be there for much longer.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

...and yet more!

Here is the latest: Added more trees, lightened the horizon sky, and put more "sunshine" on the field. I still see some spots that need more attention though.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Revisions, revisions!!

Some of you may remember my attempt last year to paint a landscape in acylics. It was based on a photo of some haybales in the field behind our house. I was never really happy with how it turned out, and it sat in my studio all winter mocking me.

I'm taking a vacation from work this week, a much needed break from stress. I decided my first venture would be to tackle a revision of this painting.

I decided the treeline was pretty boring so I fixed that up by bringing the sky down some into the trees and breaking them up a bit. I also added more farm buildings and a couple of larger trees. A suggestion I had received was to add more texture to the foreground field, so I attempted that, but I'm not sure how successful I was!

Here is the before:

And the after:

I'd really appreciate your feedback on this there too much or not enough texture in the field. Does it need to look more realistic?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Here's my Plein Air Pallette

In my previous post, someone asked what I use for sketching. I've settled on this Homee watercolor pallette. It's about 10.5 X 5 inches when folded up and inside I keep my Holbein watercolor brush and right now I'm using a 01 Prismacolor pen. I also have a pencil and a piece of paper towel.

It's nice and flat and will fit into a purse or backpack easily. My pen and brush etc. fit right inside when it's closed. I use a small Moleskin sketchbook for my garden journal and a larger one for landscape sketches.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Digging out the Sketchbook!

I decided to get out my garden journal sketchbook, but there wasn't much yet to sketch that I hadn't done last year.
The only flowers that were blooming in abundance were these dandelions!

It felt good to get outside with the pen and paints!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let Loose and "Wreck this Journal"!

Sometimes I just don't feel like starting an actual painting. It just all seems like too much work, and I just want to play! That's when I pull out my Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith.

When I first ordered and received my journal, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, maybe I'm too old to be doing this, it seems to be for young kids."

Then I started wrecking. It was fun! It was for anyone! You get dirty or covered in paint, or maybe just never know. It gets your creative juices flowing. I just haven't got up the nerve to tie a string around it and go for a walk with it yet!!

Here are some of my favourite pages so far:

This one I did today:
As you can see, it doesn't matter if you are messy, that's the whole point!

Here's one that may never be finished:
And one that I have gotten a start on, but need more materials!

From last spring:

Keri has other great books that help to inspire your creativity, check her out!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bittersweet in Watercolour Finished!

Finally I've finished this one. For such a small and seemingly simple subject, it did seem to take a long time!

I was undecided about the background on this, so I compromised and did a light cerulean wash.

Now...I wonder what I'll do next???

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bittersweet in Watercolour continued

Well, they do say "slow and steady wins the race"! I work on this when I get a chance, but my youngest son was home last weekend and I only got a couple more berries done then.
Wednesdays are my short days at work, so after a nice walk I got a few more done. But then I also have a really good book to read! Dilemma!

Here's where I am now:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bittersweet ~ In Watercolour

Back to a more familiar medium. I liked the bittersweet berries so much, I've decided to paint them in watercolour this time. Since I'm so slow, I'm going to show my progress pictures, so at least I'll have some blog posts to show you!

The first picture shows my reference photo taken last fall. The drawing was done freehand and I used small touches of masking fluid for the highlights. I'm not usually keen on the stuff, but I thought it would be okay for the minute dots on the berries.
As you can see, I don't have a fancy setup, just a large piece of plywood on top of part of an old computer desk.

Here is a bit of a closer look at the drawing and my first start on the berries.

And here's where I am right now:

My only dilema for this painting is background or no background? I'm leaning towards a sky blue background at the moment....but will decide later.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a suprise the other morning to find that I had been given a "Sunshine" award by Christiane Kingsley of Christiane Kingsley's Art.

Thanks so much Christiane! I really appreciate it, and it did give my day a little extra sunshine!
I've been very busy cheering on Canada at the Olympics, so haven't painting anything new to post. I think I'll start something this morning, and hopefully will have something next weekend to show you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bittersweet ~ An Acrylic

Something totally different from my last painting, an acrylic on canvas! I had botched an earlier attempt at watercolour over gesso'd canvas last summer, so I thought I'd gesso over it again. My jar of black gesso was screaming out, "Use me! Use me!" (I guess it was lonely!) So I did.

The canvas sat there, a blank black square for a few days, while I decided what to paint on it. It almost became the background for a collage, but while looking through my reference photos I came across one of some Bittersweet berries I had taken at Rondeau Provincial park in the fall. My original intent was to use the photo as a basis for a watercolour painting, but I thought, what the heck, I'll do this in acrylic!

I almost left the background black, but decided it needed some zip. I liked the way some of the black showed through around the berries and also through the background in places.

I think I'll still do this as a watercolour....I told you I couldn't stick with one medium or method for long!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Poppies Finished!

I finally finished my poppy painting, and I'm pretty happy with it. It's very loosely based on a photo of some poppies in my garden. I wanted to keep this fairly loose, so I had to keep myself from overworking it by walking away, sometimes just after a few paint strokes! So for a small painting, it seemed to take a long time to paint!
I have this whole week off from work, so hopefully I can get started on something else. Now I just have to decide what!

Day Dreamin'
8 X 10"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a little valentine to all my followers. A few weeks ago, right after the new year, I gave myself the challenge to make something new from something old. The original idea was to use an old painting that I didn't really like and make it something new.
What I ended up with was a painting made from three old paintings, and it turned into a little something I called "Modern Romance".

This is the first painting that I ended up using as the bottom layer. I used these old left over sheets from Christmas labels, stuck them on the painting and coved those with gesso. I peeled them off when dry and then painted over them.

Then I dug out these old experiments:

Did some cutting and pasting and stamping and ended up with this:

Happy Valentine's Day!