Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Since my last post I had my open studio show & sale and traveled to Thailand and Myanmar and home again. Our trip was extraordinary - especially Myanmar where we stayed at Inle Lake and spent our days in long narrow boats taking in the sights of the floating vegetable gardens, floating temples, floating silk factory and silversmith. How clever to grow vegetables in a lake, where you'll never have to water your crops and the roots of the plants cleanse the lake water.

Here are a few photos I took along the way:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5th Annual Open Studio Show & Sale

Hi Facebook friends,

The last 2 posts show works by the artists involved in this weekend's 5th Annual Open Studio show & sale. I've been working day and night for weeks completing new works, making jewellery and planning & reorganizing my house (now mostly devoid of furniture to make room of all the works!). If you'd like to attend, the hours are Friday 4 - 9 pm and Saturday & Sunday 11 am - 4pm. For directions to my house, please e-mail me at



Thursday, October 15, 2009


Mixed-media works and paintings by yours truly.

Blown Glass by Robert Parkes

Shibori Silk by Deanna Welters

Outdoor Container Gardens by June Bergen-Holt

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Photography by Doug Kerr

Ceramics Fountains by Ernie Hall

Preserves by Jeanette Parkes

Vegan soap (Mermaid) by Kathy Neudorf

Glass works by Jill Hall and Freda Yeomanson.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Buzzin' round the studio

I have several unfinished works going in the studio as I prepare for my upcoming Open Studio Show & Sale later this month. I'm hoping to finish some next week and post images for you. In the meantime, I've been busy with administrative preparations for the show and am glad I started a few weeks ahead of time, as there's much to do and it's taking up as much of my time, if not more, as painting time.

Stay tuned ...

Friday, October 02, 2009


Here's Sprout, hot off the easel. I really enjoyed working on the papier mache surface (over a wooden cradle panel). The slick surface of the papier mache made for an interesting finished texture that's quite different than my works on canvas or wood.

For this work I was inspired partially by Germinate and partially by
Tree of Life, and with a little bit of a nostalgic feel thrown into the mix. It's smaller than my usual works, however, I'm enjoying the sense of intimacy I feel pondering this petite work (16x12").

Friday, September 25, 2009

More fish

I had such fun painting those fish in the last painting I posted they're now appearing in my new works. I'm experiencing pure joy experimenting with colours outside my usual palette. I didn't know dioxazine violette mixed with pthalo green could create such a range of interesting colour - obviously I'm not experimenting enough, happy as I've been in my comfort zone. Note to self: EXPERIMENT!


I found my camera!

Here's the nearly completed piece. I'm thinking about reducing the size of the crescent moon ... I'll let it sit as is for a week, then look at it again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Missing my camera

I went canoeing on the weekend, was bitten on the wrist by a wasp, had a bad reaction, gobbled anti-histamines, became dozy but paddled like hell anyway, returned to the dock, went home and slept round the clock and haven't seen my camera since. Turns out the evil wasp had been eating something nasty before he bit me, so my arm became infected, puffed up like a balloon, from the palm of my hand to my bicep. After several days, antibiotics and other pharmacy products, I'm able to paint again and would love to show you my progress, but alas, no camera - blame it on that nasty beastie wasp.

I'll borrow a camera and post some images soon.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

On the easel

Step 1 - red ground, conte sketch, slap on a little background colour.

Step 2 - paint in all the basic shapes in the darkest colours.

Q. Are those wine goblets or fish? A. Both - ponder that.

Step 3 - add mid-tones and a few layers of glazes without totally obscuring the goblet/fish.

Step 4 - take a break for a day or two and play with beads and buttons instead.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm pleased to report yesterday was a productive day in the studio. I started 2 acrylic paintings: one on canvas, the other on linen - I haven't worked with linen before and thought I'd experiment. I like the extra texture of the linen and am interested to see how it may affect the overall look of the painting once I've added several layers of paint, glazes and tiny details.

I'm feeling quite relaxed after taking most of the summer off and perhaps that's why my new imagery is all curves and rounded or oval shapes - quite unlike the sharp-angled works I usual create, like those below from the series Our Town and With Sturdy Shoes.

I'll post some images tomorrow, when my camera has charged.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Studio time

After several months of not doing much in the studio, I'm ready to get painting. I've been busy sketching this past weekend and am excited to turn some of my sketches into paintings... stay tuned

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mini Tree of Life

Here's a photo of the 12x12" reproduction of Tree of Life (1/4 the size of the original). A collector of prints of my work has purchased this reproduction and is interested in others once I have the originals scanned. The ability to have high quality reproductions made one at a time, as they're purchased, is wonderful because in the past artists have had to order traditional fine art prints in quantities of 250-500 or more, which is not only an expensive proposition, but also creates distribution and storage problems, not to mention more than a little anxiety about when and if the remaining 249+ will be sold and the cash outlay recovered. With this reproduction process, the copies are not only incredibly true in colour and clarity, and may be created on canvas, but they're also affordable to a wider audience of art appreciators.

Only time will tell if sales of my imagery increase due to this process; later this year the company producing reproductions will take the project on-line and in the meantime they're pursuing marketing opportunities - cross your fingers for me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I haven't any images to show for the past two weeks, although I've been working diligently on marketing - the least enjoyable part of my art practice. I'd rather be up to my elbows in paint and sawdust, completely absorbed in a new painting or mixed media work, than trying to get out there and "get selling". Actually, though, I've been quite excited about the possibilities resulting from a new high quality process for creating reproductions of art work on stretched canvas. I had Tree of Life scanned and a "12x12" reproduction made on canvas - I'm thrilled to bits with the quality of colour-matching and clarity - if I'd had it done in the full 24x24" size of the original, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the reproduction and the original without touching the two to feel for texture. I'm in the process of having Winged Teacher With Sturdy Shoes and Community Advocate With Sturdy Shoes scanned as they're the most popular prints in my Etsy store and other venues - coming this fall they'll be available on-line in a variety of sizes - I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Working outside under the deck today to beat the heat!

Even though the heat was tough today, I was inspired to prep a few small cradle panels and a framed wooden canvas I made over a decade ago. I laid on several layers of torn bits from the local newspaper (classified adds and feature stories), painting under and over each layer with a mixture of matte medium and water to create a slick papier mache covering. The brilliant sunshine was just the thing for quick drying these foundations.

While I waited for those pieces to dry, I washed off the half-mannequin I liberated from a give-away-or-toss-it pile one Spring Clean-up week, also a decade ago. Garsh it felt good to cover up the poor girl's peeling and cracked skin with a couple of layers of Gesso!

I'm not sure exactly what my next step will be, but I'm pretty sure it'll be interesting ... I just need some cooler temperatures than these record breaking ones to get working in the studio again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Too hot to work in the studio this week

Sorry, there probably won't be any updates this week because of this glorious weather - it's seems to be conducive to making one want to flop somewhere comfortable in the shade rather than work.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Promise of progress

I've made progress on my latest work, but haven't unpacked the camera from my weekend trip yet. I promise to post an updated image tomorrow!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I was up late last night coaxing this piece along, painting over the old image with layers of gesso and acrylic paint.

I played with shapes, textures and patterns until I was pleased with the look of the interconnected threads on the infants' blankets and within the womb formed by the negative space of the figure's arms.

Eventually I got the figure's hair on the right track (or is that the left track?) and now I'm painting out the tiny threads on the dress of the original figure and blocking in the community on her apron.

Sadly, I had to take a break to work my shift at the SAGA gift shop. I hated to leave the painting - when I'm on a roll in the studio and have to break, I feel a sense of unease akin to what one might feel leaving the baby in the bathtub to pick up a ringing phone. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but when I'm painting, the canvas becomes my baby.

The artist within awakens

Even before I awoke this morning to the sound of pitter patter on the roof (no, thankfully, not those pesky racoons but rather the third day in a row of rain), I was forming an image in my half-sleep and knew I was going to paint today. As I look back at previous posts, it is with not a little horror I realize it has been 4 months since my last go at a canvas or board.

I've begun painting over the 5x4' painting that was Concentric. I quite liked the concept for Concentric, but was unhappy with the painting itself, so had no qualms about recycling it. Unfortunately, my youngest daughter expressed her horror and is quite annoyed as she claims it was her favourite piece. I have agreed to paint her a mini version and hopefully when I do that I'll work out to my satisfaction the problem I had with the original.

As you can see, I'm keeping the basic shape of the largest original figure. By the time I'm finished the work I'll have repainted 90-95% of the canvas.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In the garden

Here's a view of part of the garden from just outside my studio (note I said "outside" the studio - I can't bring myself to commit to even a 2 or 3 hour session inside the studio when the sun is shining like this!).

My friends June and Mary have a passion for sedums, and I think I'm beginning to understand - I'll post an updated photo in a couple of months once all these "hens and chicks" and the String of Pearls have filled out.

I bought the elegant but dinged container at a discount from Winners a few years ago, knowing it would come in handy one day for something ... sometimes my "junque" collecting pays off. As for my friend the snail it's my nod to a stolen garden ornament - you remember Seymour, dontcha?

Enjoy today's sunshine!

Odd ball stuff

I have been busy in the garden for a month or so and haven't felt inspired to get into the studio - this is the usual part of my yearly creative cycle. The sun comes out so I go to the garden - the rain comes; so I go to the studio. We've had lots of sun lately, so my creative outlet has been my garden. I have, however, done the odd bit of work, including the monthly drawings I send to my niece. When we were together at Christmas, she suggested that as a way of keeping in touch I could send her a drawing each month of the year. We planned a topic for each month and so, with the list tacked to the cork board in my studio, each month I send her a mailing tube containing a 6" x 24" cartoon styled drawing for her to colour. I think of her when I draw it and she thinks of me when she colours it - not a bad way to stay in touch. My niece lives in the United States and has just learned to ride a bicycle, so this month's image features her riding her bicycle and the 4th of July.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First I have to be able to get into the studio

Oh dear ... my studio is a disaster, as you can see, and I don't even have room to move around in there. I began rearranging and adding a couple of upright cabinets a few weeks ago, then got side tracked painting a few other rooms and stored the artwork in the studio, then was distracted by the weeks in the garden ... and now EEEEEK! I can barely get into the room.

The weeds have been pulled, the rooms are painted, the day is overcast, and I have several hours to dedicate to clearing this room today. Wish me luck!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spider webs

It's a pretty clear indication that I've spent too much time away from the studio when my face is attacked by a spider web when I enter the space!

It's the fault of this gorgeous weather and the weeds in my garden. Another week or so and I'll get back to work. Uh-oh - I see some buttercups in a corner of the raspberry patch - gotta go!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reality can be very good

I'm back in the studio and must admit reality has been pretty positive this first week home: Celestial Messenger has been erected outside the offices of A&A Contract Customs Brokers Ltd. at the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing at the border and 176th Street, and while I was away Tree of Life won the top prize (Award of Excellence) at artSpacific 2009.

Today I'm working on Celtic Maiden and am planning to have it finished next week, in time to enter it into the Arts Council of Surrey's 2009 juried exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Last days before reality

Mazatlan was wonderful, despite the swine flu hoopla - we carried on as usual as you can see in the photo below ...

Actually, there were no reported cases of swine flu in Mazatlan, and the locals had many theories about what was really going on. Some folks talked about conspiracy theories relating to US pressure on Mexico to share its oil - "You won't give us your oil? Let's see what happens to your economy if we shut down tourism for a month. Others believed CNN was having a slow news week, especially as they had already covered Obama's new dog and his purchase of a cheese burger.

I contemplated the meaning of it all from a horizontal position, between margaritas, and couldn't decide anything except that it might be time for a pedicure.

Hasta luego!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lazy Days and Lazy Nights

Hola from Mexico - yes Mexico, the country best known today as ground zero for the swine flu. No cases to date of the flu affecting anyone in Mazatlan. I've had a nasty non-swinish cough for two weeks, so have spent most of my vacation sprawled on a lounge chair on the balcony reading some very good books (The Cellist of Sarajevo, The Reader, and now The Book of Negroes).

My cough is gradually settling down, so I hope to get out and about a bit before I return home.

Hasta luego!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jingling all the way

Although I haven't been painting, I did manage to create a few charm bracelet styled jewellery pieces before closing the studio door for the next few weeks:

This one features freshwater pearls and silver-plated starfish and an embellished toggle clasp. (If you click on the image you'll get an enlarged image and will be able to see how lovely these are.)

This one's made from silver findings, glass, fire polished glass, Swarovsky crystals, and vintage Japanese beads.

I'm pleased to report my Tree of Life painting has been juried into Delta's 2009 artSpacific show. The show at the Firehall Centre for the Arts in Delta will run from May 1st - 29th, with the opening reception being held Sunday May 3 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm still alive

It's been a long time since I've posted anything as I haven't spent much time in the studio lately. We've had a few small renovations since my last post, so I suppose, aside from relocating furniture and boxing decorative items and books, I must have spent more time than I realized peering over Don's shoulder as he worked (Don did an amazing job installing and finishing the hardwood floor and rebuilding and tiling our stairs). And then there were those sunny days when my garden called to me ...

Now I'll be out of touch again for a while as I'll be sprawled on a poolside lounger with a Margarita in my hand.

Hasta luego!

Friday, March 20, 2009

There's lots of elbow room in the studio now

Now that the eagle is out of my studio I have an extra 7 feet of horizontal space to work in and I've already filled it up with a variety of sketches and works in progress. After a long stall, I've decided to make Celtic Maiden into a mixed media work by adding 2-d and 3-d collage elements. I was inspired to take a new tack with this piece after reading Robert Genn's Painters Keys - I realized I was having a difficult time moving forward with this painting because it had become too "precious" to me, a struggle I spoke of in an post earlier this year when I was working on Tree of Life. I'm letting go of that preciousness and am adding textures and 3-d elements to the piece and am once again excited to work on it.

I'm also working on a piece inspired by a difficult few months my family went through half a dozen or so years ago - I was at my wit's end trying to communicate the love and support I had to give to one who was near and dear to me and who just wouldn't/couldn't hear it; words were not enough. It'll be an assemblage of sorts and my amazing Uncle and Aunt, who can create just about anything from a mere stick of wood (this time a 2x4), have created the substrate for me in the form of a shallow box containing a gridwork of compartments. Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flown the coop

Ready to go ...

Rick and his co-worker from BC Lions Society arrived at 10:30 this morning.

and out the door it went...

into natural daylight

rolling along

and into the truck

secured in the truck, along with prolific muralist Elizabeth Hollick's eagle

Bye-bye birdie.