Saturday, December 08, 2012

Here's another take on the previous painting.

This one is framed in a simple, narrow black frame and is hanging in The Little Cricket Gift Gallery in Maple Ridge, BC.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Little Added Detail

After seeing the image from my last post on-line, I decided a little more detail was needed, so added swirls to the male angel's robe. It's funny how a painting often looks finished to me until I photograph it and have a look at it in its new format. I think the swirls improve this image - what do you think? Also, the last image was overexposed - this is a truer image.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guardian Angels

I think a pair of devoted parents count as guardian angels, and so I added a male figure to the composition of this painting. This one measures 14x11 inches on 3/4 inch wrapped canvas, and like the others in the series, it's painted with acrylics. 

It'll be on view this weekend at Jeanette and Robert Parkes' Friends on the Farm Art Market. If you plan to be in Surrey, BC, this weekend, come on over for a visit.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Guardian Angel with Children

The latest in the series.

When I was painting at the last weekend of the Loafing Shed show, someone inspecting my paintings and watching me work asked if my ancestry was  from the Ukraine - I laughed, knowing what he meant. These guardian angels are rounded and decorative and evocative of Russian icons and nesting Matryoshka dolls. No, I told him, my ancestry is Scottish and French, however, there may have been a Ukrainian peddler wandering through Europe back in the day and ... (just kidding, Nana!)

Monday, September 24, 2012

First Weekend of Langley Art Studio Tour

Here's my corner in the Loafing Shed Glass Studio

Reproductions and beaded jewelry on the left; original artwork on the right; beading and painting demos going on in the front.

Below is a close up featuring my Guardian Angel paintings, and on the very far right you can see part of the crowd gathered to watch Robert's glass blowing demonstration.

There was a steady flow of visitors all day, both days, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; we calculated just over 40 people came by each day. A lot of Robert's glass left the studio and I sold a reproduction of Tree of Life, several pair of earrings, and a bracelet, so I was pleased to have more than covered my participation fee and still have another two days to go, next weekend. Best of all, though, was the contacts I made with folks interested in seeing more of my work. Also, I was asked if I would be interested in demonstrating my painting techniques to a painting group sometime in November or the new year - a paying gig - yes! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nine Guardian Angel Paintings Completed ... so far ...

At first I wasn't so sure about these folk art angels - they're fun to paint, but seem rather trite as far as serious painting is concerned. However, I've had a very positive response to my postings on Facebook, and after creating one finished painting a day for the past nine days, trite or not, they've reactivated my creative muse and that can only be a good thing!

Combined with other recent works, I now have enough new paintings to fill my exhibition space for the 2012 Langley Art Studio Tour at The Loafing Shed Glass Studio on the weekends of September 22-23 and 29-30. Hurray!

To see more of these wee paintings, check out my website.

Now it's time to get back to that mermaid on the easel ... hopefully she'll be completed in time for the art studio tour as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Guardian Angel with Violet Eyes

Of the four completed so far, this is my favourite angel. I think it's her expression that appeals most to me.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Guardian Angels on the Easel

I'm having fun with these folk art angels - this is the second of six I hope to finish in the next couple of weeks.  I begin with an 8x8" black gessoed canvas and use a white conte crayon to sketch the image, then I add thin layers of acrylic paint - at that stage, the whole thing looks decidedly ugly, but as additional layers of paint are added, the images come to life. You can't tell by this photo, but the canvas is wrapped around to the back and I've painted the edges as well.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A departure in style

Why is is that when I have months yawning in front of me before a show, my mind draws a complete blank and I'm unable to get my ever-widening butt into the studio until the pressure of the deadline looms dangerously close?

If you've been following my posts for the last month or so, you know I've been struggling for inspiration to create new works. With the double weekend Langley Studio Tour now only a few weeks away, the ideas are finally rolling in one atop another at a rate that's taxing my wee brain. I began sketching guardian angels in a folk art style over the weekend and now that I've begun painting them, I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. Here's the first of what I hope to be a series of six 8x8" paintings. It's a departure in style for me, but the nurturing theme continues. Watduyathink?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mermaid on the easel

I've given up on landscapes for now and am having fun with a new woman as vessel piece - Mermaid. After several disastrous attempts at landscapes, I complained about my failure to a wise woman I've recently met. She asked me many questions about my work, my motivations, what I like best about painting and as I answered her questions, so many things became clear to me and I was inspired to take up my brush again and give painting in my new studio one more try: I'm pleased with the progress I'm making and shall keep you posted. Cheerio!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Looking for inspiration

I've decided to try something new in the studio - inspired by the gorgeous vistas surrounding me at our summer place in Secret Cove, I want to attempt some landscape painting. So, a couple of days ago, I spent an afternoon in a kayak, snapping photos of arbutus trees and other lovely elements in the landscape. When I reviewed the pictures on my computer screen, it was the photo above, sans arbutus trees, that inspired me most. 

I played around in iPhoto until I came up with the image above and set up in the studio to create a study on a cheap canvas for my masterpiece. I created some beautiful textures and colours for the sky; lovely hues for the rocks and background trees; however, I stumbled trying to simplify shapes. Despite much squinting to try to blur detail, eight hours and two valiant attempts later this was the end result:

Nothing like a little black gesso to permanently erase failure. 

Today I try again.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Natural distraction

I'm staying at our new summer place this week on beautiful BC's Sunshine Coast. I've set up a studio here - hardly had to purchase anything to equip it as I seemed to have doubles of everything in my home studio. I'll have to purchase some more brushes though as I have favourites that I can't live without and don't want to bring back and forth.  The hunt it on for long thin liner brushes - I haven't been able to find anything even close to the brushes I inherited from an older artist many years ago, even at Opus. If anyone knows of a good source for lovely long liner brushes, please let me know.

I had every intention of getting some painting done yesterday, but then I spotted this critter out the kitchen window. I've only ever seen grey racoons, so I was quite fascinated to see an auburn one, so outside onto the deck I went, camera in hand.

Soon he/she was joined by a friend of the usual colouring.

I enjoyed watching them foraging for food on the rocky foreshore and they didn't seem to mind me spying on their activities.

I never thought about raccoons swimming, but evidently they do.

After about 20 minutes, the two of them disappeared under the neighbour's dock and although I waited another 20 minutes, they didn't reappear.

By then I was distracted by three bald eagles that swept by repeatedly in search of who knows what kind of wee creatures to devour or to take back to their young.

Later I saw turkey vultures, a variety of ducks, Canadian geese with goslings, a raven, hummingbirds, and beautiful little yellow birds.

I'd like a better camera to capture images of some of these birds in flight - the eagles, especially, took my breath away.

Maybe I'll paint tomorrow ...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Here's a truer image of Out on a Limb. I'm happy to announce it was juried into the Arts Council of Surrey's Arts 2012 Show at the Surrey Art Gallery - June 23 to August 19; opening reception June 23, 2-4pm.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Out on a Limb

Worked hard on this one for the last couple of days, trying to have it finished to deliver to a jury tomorrow. Many layers of glazes, several sandings, more glazing, a couple of layers of paint for vibrancy and now it's nearly finished (my back is killing me after 12 hours straight working on this piece). The work has a lot more red in it than appears in the photo. I hope to give it a clear top coat of gel medium - hope it isn't sticky when I deliver it! Wish me luck.
Here's the preliminary sketch.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cover Girl!

I'm thrilled to announce Tree of Life is featured on the cover of Arts Council of Surrey's May 2012 issue of Spotlight Magazine. You can pick up a hard copy by visiting any recreation centre or public library in Surrey this month. Thank you to Arts Council of Surrey, Ursula Maxwell-Lewis, Leah McCullough, and for doing such a great job of showing off my work!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hand painted paper

These are the result of a long day of hand-painting papers and cutting my own rubber stamps last week; all in preparation for a new collage piece.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


At long last, she's finished!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

More work on the mermaid

It's been three weeks since I last worked on the mermaid, and I always find it a challenge to come back to a piece that's been left cold for more than a day or two. I decided to jump right in by developing a greater sense of contrast and depth. I added shadows and highlights to the scales and added another layer of torn patterned paper.
I gave her a serene face, added more paper to her fringe and had some fun adding curlicues to her hair. I like the contrast between the calligraphy-like detail of the curlicues and the roughness of the collaged bits.
Although the improvement in contrast doesn't show up well in the photo, I darkened the stone and added highlights to the crabs, starfish, and to her tail, and they improve the piece substantially - you can compare the difference by clicking here.
For the next step I will collage seashells into the bowl. Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Orleans

I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year - what a hoot! Aside from the crowds and outrageous costumes, I took note of the charming architecture and took photos of several character homes; the tiny facades belie the surprising depth of the structures. I hope to try my hand at painting a few. I won't be the first artist inspired to try to capture the charm of these cuties; check out the artwork of James Michalopoulos, Amzie Adams, Melanie Douthit, Heather Galler, and Terrance Osborne.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Don't think, just create!

Earlier in the week I painted two coats of gesso over a number of unfinished canvases and yesterday afternoon I began a mixed work on one of the canvases. I wanted to try some different techniques than my usual, so thought I'd give a large collage piece a go. I kept telling myself not to over-think what I was doing and as a result I'm having a lot of fun with it - it's all a grand experiment, using a canvas that's already been painted over twice. I worked very quickly and am pleased with the results so far.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Challenge

While I told myself 2012 would be the year I challenge myself to create a new artwork every week (fleetingly I even contemplated creating a very small work every day, as many more disciplined bloggers do) here it is, late January and I have created nothing but the beginnings of something: yesterday's distressed panel.

Every day for the past couple of weeks I've sought inspiration by looking through my collection of travel photos, reading other artists' blogs, magazines, books, sifting through on-line images of classic and contemporary artworks, YouTube demonstrations of encaustic, collage, and painting techniques, and ... zilch ... I seem to be having some kind of mental block. I explained my dilemma to my daughter and she told me it sounded like I'm inspired to be inspired but am stuck. She's right - I am stuck. I notice there is a plethora of information on getting 'unstuck', including an article in the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine I purchased yesterday: 52 Art Prompts for 2012. Must go read it now before I get stuck doing something else ...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Attempt #1 - Encaustic Painting

Over the past many weeks I've been gearing up to begin an exploration of encaustic painting: I've purchased books, equipment and materials, spent many hours researching various techniques on-line, and even signed up for an on-line video workshop with Oregon encaustic artist Linda Womack.

Yesterday, keen to get going, I began work on a 6" x 6" wooden cradle panel. I painted a couple of layers of wax medium (dammar crystals mixed with filtered beeswax - commercially produced) over the panel and attempting a photo transfer from one of the pictures I took of a hallway in Kilmainham Gaol while my youngest daughter and I toured Ireland last year.

My first problem was with the thrift store griddle I'd purchased for melting the wax medium - it overheated and the medium began smoking; second problem - I didn't have the proper ventilation required for drawing away the toxic fumes, so I threw my studio door wide open and the icy breeze cooled down the wax too quickly; third problem was attempting a photo transfer using an inkjet photocopy rather than a toner-based photocopy. My second attempt at the transfer seemed to be coming along nicely until I hit it with the heat gun and the transfer suddenly shrank severely, cracked, and lifted off the waxed substrate - eeeeek!

I was picking the brittle bits of transfer off the wax, silently cursing and wondering if I should attack it with a scraper and begin again at square one. Partway through the picking and scraping, I stopped to examine the distressed surface and decided it was beginning to look interesting; just for the heck of it I added some red wax medium and decided the experiment was taking a turn for the better. I quit then and will continue to work on it again soon, once I've purchased a new griddle and thermometer to ensure a minimum of toxins in the studio.

Must do more research before I return to the panel... stay tuned.