Monday, January 26, 2015

Spring flowers in winter

Spring flowers at Stoneheath
Dave's father passed away in his sleep this morning. He had been sick for quite a long time, so not a surprise and actually a relief that it was peaceful for him.  So nice that many of the family could be together and comfort one another. The cycle of life turns. 

Yesterday when I was out at the shops I treated myself to a pot of tulips.  Still green buds, they hold lots of promise of what's to come. Maybe I'll get around to painting them when they open a bit more. You can see that tulips also feature on one of the textile cushions I've been creating.  I'm enjoying making them. I will carry them in my gallery and also at Koru art annex in the spring.

Stay warm out there!  The weather forcast is BIG SNOW for most of the eastern part of the continent tomorrow.

Friday, January 23, 2015

One Day March workshops

small paintings- all works in progress on the shelf in my studio

I've just scheduled three new painting workshops for March:  Focus on Colour.  Each workshop will be one full day of painting at my home studio, and the workshops are for different mediums.  March 10 is an oil painting workshop.  March 11 will be for acrylic painters, and March 12 will be for water colour painters.  The plan is to explore colour relations and colour mixing to achieve exciting and harmonious colour choices in painting.  My studio isn't huge; only 5 places in each workshop, but I find it's perfect for group learning and one on one attention. If you want more information about it, or would like to register, please go here to read more about it.
Last night Dave rigged up a little cabinet for me in my studio to hold supplies; so happy! Thanks Dave. I'm not a super clean freak or anything, but when the studio gets so cluttered, supplies taking up premium surface space, I find it difficult to keep the creative 'flow' going.  at least that's my story and i'm sticking to it. heh  This cabinet holds the jars of acrylic paint I mixed with textile fabric medium for painting on fabric.  Above are some jars and tubes of acrylics.  My oil paints and watercolours fit easily in my big map drawer which also easily stores sketch equipment, and other now I have a place for most stuff. yay!  I love seeing other artists studios, where they work and create.  Here's a link on pinterest I fould Cool Artists Studios  that's a bit of fun.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#3in5artchallenge on facebook

Today I was nominated for the #3in5artchallenge  on facebook, by my artist blogger & friend, Barbara Muir.  Thank you Barbara  for the nomination!  The idea is to spread 'art love' a little.  Each artist nominated is challenged to post 3 works each day for 5 days.  
The 3 paintings I am posting today are my 1st day challenge, and they are from my Pastoral collection, painted a couple of years ago. these 3 are from studies of twilight falling on the land near where I live.  All are oil on canvas, and all gone to new homes now.  
One sort of interesting thing to notice while doing a challenge's like this is seeing the growth in artist's style of painting over the passage of time. 
 The artist who I nominated for the 1st day of the challenge is Victoria's happy artist Linny D. Vine.  I met Linny on a trip to Victoria a number of years ago, she is really lovely.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday morning start

amaryllis work in progress - oil on canvas- 24x36
I've been thinking about painting (putting off) my Amaryllis for about 2 weeks, and so was pleasantly surprised to find myself at the easel attempting it this morning.  I want to find a harmony between the relationship of the flower's sillouette, the winter light coming through the window, and a satisfying design.   I am interested in the stature of the flower.  I perceive an apparent grace, somewhere a soft trumpeting of hope in the winter sunshine.  That's my idea anyway.
For my process, I am working on a vibrant pink ground.  My palette has white, indian yellow, vermillion, cad red, ultra blue, burnt umber on it. So far I've squeezed out 3 gobs of white and worked my way through most of it! I'm tinting it with various palette colours and mixing light neutrals. I think the light and medium toned neutrals will be the main structure for this painting.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hydrangeas 2

Hydrangeas 2 - oil on canvas - 30 x 30
Had only time for a short studio session this afternoon, but got going on the one I started the other day.  Here's where it's at now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

abstracted still life floral

still life set up
It's funny where inspiration comes from. Last week I had set up some hydrangea still life to paint but couldn't really get into it. I love the flowers, but I felt bored with the same old same old approach I was using. 
 This morning I spent 20 minutes enjoying myself looking at the beautiful paintings of Edward Vuillard; that master of design, one of the Nabis movement of painters. He was a decorative painter, but contemporary in his time...I especially love the arrangement of light effects in his work.  
After a while looking at the one posted here, I felt inspired to try the hydrangea still life again, though on a larger canvas and change it up with my method of approach. Working from my 'stage' I am painting over an older work, using it as a ground for the new...I'm working with rags and paint spreaders, hardly a brush in sight for the lay in of tones...kind of liking the first stage...curious to see if I can find a happy balance between what I see and what I want to see.

Monday, January 12, 2015


A friend of mine lost her sweet yellow lab to cancer last year. McDuff was a faithful friend; he had such a gentle disposition.  That's what I want to get across in my portrait of him.  The photo I am mostly working from shows him fresh from a dip in the lake, and his fur is wet, so kind of looks spiky, but I think I will try and soften the spiky fur as I go along. It's funny how the treatment of edges can psychologically influence our reading of the nature of something.  Spiky = tough guy, punk rocker,   Difused/blurred = warm and fuzzy/friendly.

It felt good to actually crack out the paints this afternoon and get started on this, as I've been procrastinating something awful these days!  
Ahh...that's January for me.  It's always like that.

'Nasturtiums' lumbar cushion
'Something Fishy' 16x16 cushion
I have been sidestepping my fine arts painting for other creative endeavors...knitting socks (I'm on my 2nd pair already, woohoo!) and fooling around with some textile medium, creating lively designs for cushions and possibly other functional items.  Quite fun.  Here's two of them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

non representational

Untitled - oil on canvas - 26x20
So on second thought I've decided to retract a post I made earlier today, about the Paris massacre and my feelings about the way it's being covered in the media. I'd rather keep this blog for art.
Non representational was the only way to go in the studio today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

blue hydrangea

Blue Hydrangea - oil on panel -6x8"
Setting up still life in my studio, flowers seem to add a little joy to this freezing week. I love blue hydrangeas, i can only get pink and white ones around my place, the soil isn't acidic enough for blue. I suppose I could put additives in the soil to get blue, but it seems a sort of phony way to treat a natural thing. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

be curious

Orchard - oil on canvas - 24 x 20 inch
"If you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do".  Walt Disney said that. He's right. Curiosity leads to things. 
With the holidays over and the first week of the new year seeming like a vast plain of possibilities, I headed for my studio yesterday for the first time in two weeks.  Beginning again, when there's been a significant pause in flow was challenging. Half baked projects I'd been working on before the holidays offered little or no inspiration. 
An old canvas glared at me. I didn't like it's tone.  
Before I knew it that canvas was on the easle...and curiosity was the leader, which felt right for the first week of the new year.  No obligations, no rules, the road un-travelled.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

yours truly by Dan Hughes

Portrait by Daniel Hughes - 12 x 12 " oil on canvas
Way back in the spring of 2014, I arranged to have a commissioned portrait of myself done by Kingston artist Daniel Hughes.  I had enjoyed taking a portrait workshop of his a couple of years before.  He demonstrated for the group; it was fascinating watching the portrait gradually emerge. There was no drawing, just touches of tone and colour, sensitively conjuring a form and a likeness.  My 3 portrait sittings for this portrait were a real pleasure. Dan very openly shared about his process while he worked; we enjoyed chatting about art and painting in general.
Dave using his new tool to polish stones
For Christmas I wrapped up the commissioned portrait and put it under the tree for Dave. In truth it was as much a present for me as it was for Dave!  heh heh. Good thing Dave liked it too. He certainly hadn't expected it!
Nova Scotia granite
Another thing Dave received was an Ameritool Polisher.  Dave enjoys cutting and polishing stones.  Thursday(new years day) we were in Nova Scotia; we took a lovely drive in the sunshine out around St. Margarets Bay to Peggy's Cove. He collected some pebbles by the sea. Today he's busy in the workshop shaping and polishing them.  My favourite so far is the oval one on the bottom.