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...

September 05, 2015

Cherry tomatoes

For weeks I was watching the cherry tomatoes slowly ripen on the vines in my veggie patch and looking forward to snacking on them out doors as I worked in the garden, or picking them for dinner salads. Who doesn't love a juicy sun warmed little tomato? I started this painting two weeks ago with that enthusiasm in mind... now I'm quite sick of the darn things! My vines were loaded this year and we've been eating them every day... every single day... and well, you know how it goes.

But they were fun to paint. I wanted to capture the passage of time in this painting and that in gardening, like many things in life, one must wait for good things to come. The tomatoes will ripen when they're ready, and there's not much I can do about it, but wait.

I call this painting "Waiting patiently for the cherry tomatoes". It's a small piece, only 5 x 7 inches and is available in my shop ($65 USD). I used acrylic paint on canvas board.


August 14, 2015

I love long summer evenings...

...when I can escape the dinner dishes and spend time simply watering the flowers.  

I'd much prefer to stare at the echinacea bobbing around in the lazy evening sunshine and leave the dishes and the busyness of the household behind.

I'm having fun with this change in my painting for now and thought I'd try another one with the acrylic paints. Hope you like it!

I watered the echinacea
This original 8 x 10 painting is available in my shop ($95 USD).
Acrylic paint on canvas board.

August 03, 2015

I let the spinach go to seed...

The spinach has come and  gone in my garden, but I have an envelope of little seeds to plant again soon. I started this painting about a month ago when the spinach was reaching tall and going to seed. Oh, I love the cycle of the garden.

I've tried something new with this painting, incorporating a small drawing on paper with the acrylic painting on canvas board. A bit of collage, painted backgrounds AND plants - I know, I'm getting really crazy over here!

I hope your garden is humming along!

May 28, 2015

Something new... finally!

I must admit, it's hard to find time to paint when the garden is exploding with life outside my door! I've been digging in the dirt a lot, planting veggies, weeding and making room for more plants. But a couple days ago I pulled out my acrylic paints and thought I'd try something new - different paint, looser approach, expressive background... but still plants! It was fun to paint and good to play with thick goopy paint, after doing watercolours for so long.

I've painted the hot pink peonies I planted last year. How can you not love peonies? These bright beauties were bobbing their big heads and stopping me in my tracks every time I passed them!

Hope you're enjoying your garden on these warm days too!

The peonies are here again
This painting is 5 x 7 inches and is available in my shop ($65).
It is acrylic on canvas board.

April 09, 2015

Ahhh.. Spring!

There's so much beauty and sunshine out there that I'm feeling a bit exhausted! Pulling weeds and heaving compost might have something to do with it too.

I often paint in the evenings and this week I've been in a trance of swooping petals. This is what happened... my magnolia painting. I was hoping to capture the magnolia as a celebration of Spring, and to enjoy it's movement, grace and excitement for this amazing time of year.

I call it "The magnolia was most joyous in Spring."

I hope you're enjoying Spring too :)

The magnolia was the most joyous in Spring.

(11 x 14 inches, watercolour on paper)

March 27, 2015

A magnificent tree!

The magnolia is one of my most favourite trees. And lucky me, I've got a friend with an absolutely huge one growing in her front yard! I headed over there with my camera to take some shots for a new painting and even climbed up on some of those lovely twisting trunks. I can't remember the last time I climbed a tree! It was great fun and now I have a new subject to paint and get lost in....

March 18, 2015

Two paintings at the LOOK Exhibition!

I've been so pleased to be part of a local exhibition where I have two leaf paintings on display! Yes, my leaves have left our little house and are galavanting downtown! It's a huge show with over 400 pieces of art in every medium and style you can imagine. Lots of fun!

The LOOK Show is on now and continues until the end of the week, so if you're in Victoria, check it out in the Bay Centre downtown, on the third floor!

February 16, 2015

Painting pears...

There hasn't been anything very inspiring growing in my  garden this week, so I decided  to paint a subject that's an old favourite of mine - pears. I found these three varieties at the grocery store and was quite happy to be immersed in their lovely shapes after a busy week last week. 

And I'm not sure why, but my old style of painting with acrylics has come through into my watercolour painting with this one. I used to paint with acrylics and used a "dabbing" brush stroke a lot. I guess old habits die hard, and it was just a matter of time for my dabbing to appear in my watercolours. I like how it turned out and it felt... good.

As I was dabbing away, these three pears certainly turned into three ladies standing together, each with their own colour, shape and shadow. It reminded me so much of all the wonderful female friendships I've had over the years and how important they are at every stage of life.

I decided to title this one: Friends stand together.

The original painting has sold, but I have 
prints, bags, phone cases, pillows etc. available in my Society6 shop.

February 12, 2015

Movie land...

Well, it really did happen. 
Our house was taken over by a movie crew for a day! It was really fun and so interesting to watch. 

I didn't know that many people could fit inside our little house, let alone all the equipment!

And here is our Canadian home, with an American flag outside and movie lights shining through our front window. It was quite a day!

February 04, 2015

Thank goodness for best friends!

Look what my best friend helped me put together today! Isn't it sweet? I've been in a bit of a whirl getting the house ready for a special event, and my window planters weren't coming together at all (apparently dead irises aren't very welcoming). So my dear friend arrived at my house and within no time she had dirt on her hands as she helped me put together two of these planters with cyclamen and snowdrops. Whew! Check that off the list! Thank you so much T!

And the special event coming tomorrow morning? A movie is being filmed in our house! It's kind of crazy, but it's true. It's not a Hollywood Blockbuster or anything, but it's still a movie...  and these window boxes better make the cut!

January 21, 2015

Have you seen them?

..the camellias are opening for us.

Yes, the buds are starting to open on the camellias around the neighbourhood. If you're having a dreary winter day and need something hopeful, look out for them. Camellias are a wonderful plant - glossy leaves and lovely rose-like blooms in late January, but they won't last long. Enjoy them! I will be!

"The camellias are opening for us"
(8 x 10 inches, watercolour on paper)
This painting is available in my shop!

January 11, 2015

The fern...

...was quietly enjoying the rain.

I suppose this one is a bit of a self portrait with that title! I must admit, this painting was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I actually had planned to do two fern fronds, but erased the second one after I had spent a while struggling through this one. Ferns are so beautiful in their structure and their simplicity, but they don't have a lot of density, grit or deep shadows to really dive into and paint! I still like it though, and I did love all the rain we got this week.

This painting is available in my shop!
(6 1/2 x 10 inches, watercolour and coloured pencils on paper)

January 06, 2015

Getting back at it!

It feels good to get back to some normal routines this week! I've started a new painting... ah painting. It's like an old friend. I've been craving some green lately so I clipped a couple of fern fronds from the front yard and thought I'd give them a try. Now I'm tucked into the den doing a few more late night washes of green. I've always loved the quiet of January!

January 02, 2015

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a very happy 2015!

I am hoping for a year filled with a bountiful garden (less slugs, more blooms) and lots of finished paintings (preferably good ones!). I've got five new tubes of paint to get me started this New Year. Yay! I hope I can use them well.... deep breath, let's go!

May you have a creative and artful year!