February 04, 2016

I love taking something so ordinary....

...and making it extraordinary! 

This is my evergreen clematis (clematis armandii) which is very common in my neighbourhood - you can see it everywhere climbing on fences or covering the sides of sheds. Mine is just starting to reach into the cherry tree. But it's because it's so common that makes me find it so amazing. This vine is strong and hardy, yet it has the most elegantly shaped leaves and arching limbs which are starting to reach out and climb further. On such a bleak winter day, it's lovely to find something quietly coming to life again, despite the cold.

This will be my next painting... I've already started it. And I'm diving into all sorts of greens and crazy veins and doing my best to make it... well, extraordinary!

January 12, 2016

"It was time to let go"

Here is my latest painting, completely finished (I think... no, I'm certain). It's always hard to declare when a painting is complete. I tend to notice things that are off when I pass by it in the house, or when I see it through my camera lens... "why did I do that stroke? That's got to be fixed".

I decided to call this one "It was time to let go", because this beautiful autumn leaf was falling from my chestnut tree last November and looked like it had been through so much over the year. It had been eaten by caterpillars and survived our dry summer and now it was time... time to let go.

As I was writing the title on the back of the painting I realized that it was also time for me to let go of this painting! I've really enjoyed doing it, especially all those sunny highlights on the bottom leaf - doing that made my heart beat a little faster. And the lovely golden ochre colours were the perfect hues to play with over the last month.

This is a large painting for me, 20 x 24 inches and it's on a thick cradled wood panel. I used my acrylic paints but in a very watercolour style of painting. It is available for sale in my shop.

I hope you like it!

January 07, 2016

I've been working away...

...painting my beautiful chestnut tree leaf in between all the busyness of Christmas. I haven't posted anything in a long time, but I have been painting! This picture is from a couple of weeks ago when I was still building up the layers of ochre, yellow and burnt umber. Painting is a lovely place for me to escape to when daily life is busy and filled up with going to and fro. There were several days in December when I had been out at the malls (dare I say, Walmart) and was very happy to come home to paint all of the bumpy edges and smooth sunny highlights of this humble chestnut leaf.

Now the painting is (almost) finished - I'll post it very soon! 

November 26, 2015

Finding inspiration...

...hmmmm...I like these.

Perhaps instead of doing the yard work, I could sit inside where it's warm and make something beautiful out of this? I love all the gorgeous leaves that are blowing around the neighbourhood, including these from our huge Chestnut tree which are making a real mess of our yard. I'll take some photos and do a few sketches, and maybe I can turn this pile into something lovely? I'm going to give it a try. (I'll leave the raking for later.)

November 09, 2015

It's finished!

Here is "Mrs. Neilsen's Rose" still propped up on my easel. Yay! It's finished! I really enjoyed doing this one and I'll be doing another one this size very soon. I love the brilliant colour I can get from the acrylic paint. I ended up  using a lot of different colours: yellows, greens, dark blues, as well as several reds to create this basically monochromatic painting of a coral pink rose. 

I hope you like it! 

The painting is 20 x 24 inches and I used acrylic paint on a cradled wood panel (1 1/2 inches deep). 
The original is available in my shop ($600 US).

Mrs. Neilsen's Rose
acrylic paint on cradled wood panel
20 x 24 inches.
The original painting is available.

November 04, 2015

Painting... painting...

I haven't posted here in a month, but I have been painting. I decided to tackle a more ambitious project for October and it's been a doosy! I've loved it, hated it, and been everywhere in between. It's good to give myself a push, though, and it feels great to keep learning how to paint. It's still not finished, but I'm oh so close - fussing over details now. I thought I'd give you a sneak peak here and then I'll be motivated to get at it one last time to finish it for good.

I've been painting a rose, and it's much larger than I usually paint - 20 x 24 inches. It's from a rose plant that I was given by my neighbour and I've named the painting after the lady that originally planted the rose, about 30 or more years ago, Mrs Neilsen.  Mrs. Neilsen lived across the street from me for many years, and when she had to sell her house to go live in a home, my current neighbour moved in. There was a traditional rose garden in the backyard, you know the kind that is in a rectangular patch of garden right in the centre of the yard with roses planted in rows. Well, that didn't work for my new neighbour, but she felt so terrible about pulling it all up,  that she asked me if I'd like to take one and try and move it into my yard. It's been doing well in my garden for five years now and keeps getting better and better (except for the white flies... hmmmm). Anyway, that is the story of Mrs Neilson's rose, an old rose that is still thriving, and has now made it into my painting and out to all of you to see.

Now, time to finish the painting...

September 30, 2015

Thank you Taproot!

I'm happy to say that I made another drawing for Taproot Magazine! I'm always impressed with the great people that put this magazine together and I'm pleased as punch to be included! They asked me to do a custom drawing to accompany a poem on the final page of the current issue which is themed "Folk". 

The poem "When We Gathered to Stock Up on Light" by Kyce Bello is about making candles by hand from bees wax. It's a really beautiful poem and I was happy to dream up an image to match it's charm and warm Autumn feel.

If you come across a copy of Taproot in your local book store or if you have a subscription, check out the final page for a peek at my drawing :)

Thanks again Taproot!

September 24, 2015

A fall tradition...

At our house, peeling apples is a Fall tradition. We have several old apple trees in our yard, one of which is very prolific, and I peel a lot of apples this time of year! Apple sauce, apple crumble, apple sauce cake, and of course plain sliced apples are staples for us. I get into a good rhythm peeling apples and can do it quite fast now. I've tried all sorts of contraptions to peel apples with little success - our imperfect, often bruised apples don't lend themselves very well to these devises. I always end up going back to my favourite paring knife and sit myself down in front of the tv to peel for a while.

And so this work inspired my painting for the week. I'm definitely feeling the change in the weather and ended up with a soft grey blue background similar to the cloudy skies we've been having.  And my paring knife... I thought I may as well put it in there too since it's part of what I do. The apple peel was lovely to paint - love the strong reds dappled through the fresh light greens of the skin and the apple itself was all sorts of beautiful creams with the shadows from the cut flesh. I love making those complex (or in other words, muddy) colours.

I call this one "Peeling a backyard Gravenstein". It's 8 x 10 inches and I used acrylic paint on canvas panel.

From my backyard to yours, enjoy!

September 18, 2015

The kids are at school...

...and the house is still. It's funny how it's so much easier to paint when nothing is moving around me! Today I was lost in the curves of a long curling apple peel. It was lovely.

September 15, 2015

It's starting to look like Fall in here!

This past week I've been picking zucchini, baking applesauce cake and drying beans.... yes, the season is definitely changing. I've been enjoying the crisp mornings and cleaning up the veggie garden, but I hate the feeling of my cold fingers in damp gardening gloves...sigh. Best to stay in doors a little bit more - I need to start a new painting anyway. I haven't done an apple yet this year...