Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Acrylic on Canvas
24" x 24"

A few weeks ago, I sold a poppy painting to a lady who told me a very touching story about her dog, Poppy.  Not long after that I had another lady call and ask to purchase the same painting.  Obviously, that was not going to happen.  So, I decided to begin a new series of paintings.  You guessed it, paintings of poppies. 

I have a huge reference library of poppy images that I have taken from various places.  My neighbour across the road grows some real beauties with big heads the size of lucheon plates.  The neighbour across the street often grows salmon coloured poppies, at Beacon Hill Park they have white poppies and out at Buchart Gardens there are Himalayan blue poppies!  They are everywhere. So, I have plenty of material for this series.  Below is the first painting in the poppy series.

"Dee's Poppy"
Acrylic on Canvas
24" x 30"

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Chinese Lanterns & Persimmons

"Chinese Lanterns & Persimmons"
Acrylic - 16" x 12"

This is my latest painting, called "Chinese Lanterns and Persimmons".  I entered this painting in the Federation of Canadian Artists Fall 2013 juried exhibition at Dales Gallery in Chinatown and was very pleased to hear that it received an Honourable Mention.

I have always loved Chinese lanterns and wanted to paint them.  These ones were fresh, but I think that they get even more interesting when they have aged a little bit and the thinness of the papery orange cover begins to get holes.  I still have these ones and may just have to make another painting from them!

The vase is one that I "inherited" from my mother-in-law when we moved into the family home.  I thought that it might be a challenge to paint because of the texture in the orange part, but it came together quite easily with the help of a natural sponge.

I love the curly, strange shape of the leaves on the persimmons.  You have no choice but to truly look at them to draw and paint them because they seem to defy what we "think" a leaf should look like. 

Unfortunately, my camera was not able to capture some of the subtleties in the background.  It comes out looking quite black when in fact, it is a beautiful deep green, lightening ever so slightly in the top right corner.

Yes, those Chinese lanterns are calling me again . . . .

Monday, 7 October 2013

After the Challenge. . .

Half & Half - 8" x 10" - Oil on Canvas

I can't believe that it is already a whole week since the challenged finished.  I definitely needed a break and so did my studio.  It was an absolute disaster with panels, canvases and paints everywhere.  I'm usually pretty tidy and clean up after myself when I'm finished painting, but I found that the challenge really was a challenge.  Just carving out a few hours a day to paint was a challenge, let alone having to clean up after myself!

But, I was determined that after putting all of that effort into painting everyday, I was not going to go a whole week without pickingup the brush.  Artichokes have always intrigued me.  Apart from the fact that they taste yummy, they are so pretty inside.  I love the colours and the way the leaves wind around the choke.   Very fun to paint and it satisfies the Colour Pig in me!!  So here is my offering for this week and I already have plans for this week's painting!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

All Thirty of Them!

"September 30 in 30"
Thank you for organizing the challenge Leslie Saeta  and also for telling us how to make a collage with "Picmonkey".  Here is my collage with all thirty paintings.  Some of them are slightly truncated because they are not square, but that's okay.  

So, it's over!  It felt mildly strange not to be planning what I was going to paint today.  Instead I took a long walk in the beautiful sunshine, then came home and cleaned my studio up!  Oh my. . . .there were things everywhere.  Normally I would have taken time to clean up as I went, but some days it was tough finding the time to paint and then there were the days that I didn't paint and had to do two the next day to make up for it.  I'm really looking forward to the next challenge.  Perhaps January?  I only decided to do this a couple of days before the start so didn't have a lot of time to get prepared, but I now know better for the next one and WILL prepare. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

#30 of 30

"Cannas, Morning Glow" - 30" x 40" - Acrylic on Canvas

So this is not one of the small ones that I have been working on of late, but the majority of the work was done on it in September and it was finished in September, so I felt that it qualified for one of my 30 (since I could have done many more small ones if I hadn't been working on this!) 
This is the 6th in a series of tropical leaf paintings that I have been working on.  Most of the others were a smaller format (24"x 24"). I wanted this to submit for adjudication in the Sidney Fine Arts Show, one of the top shows on Vancouver Island.  I'm very happy to say that the painting was accepted for the show and I will deliver it on October 15.  The show runs October 17th to 20th at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney.

So, there it is. . . . my 30th and final painting of the challenge!  It was a great experience and I will definitely do something like this again.  I learned a lot from it (like it's not always easy to squeak out a few hours a day to paint) and I think that my style is really evolving and I'm becoming more comfortable with manipulating the paint and making it do what I want it to!

Thanks Leslie Saeta for challenging us!

#29 of 30

"Beacon Hill Magnolias" - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas

Yet another of my reference photos that I took while hanging out at Beacon Hill Park.  Over by the Heron Rookery there is a grove of magnolia trees.  I know this must be from that grove because there was an apartment building in the background.  There was also masses of branches, smaller blossoms and leaves.  I really wanted the magnolias to stand alone and be the star of the show, so I simplified the background down to this.  I tried a few other ones, but I like this the best of all!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

#28 of 30

"Red" - 6" x 8" - Oil on Canvas
$90 - Unframed
I had very good intentions yesterday.   I sketched this little number on my canvas before I left for work/workshop, planning to paint it when I returned home last evening.  Well, that did not happen.  I thought I might actually paint two today and catch back up, but I learned yet another lesson. . . 
If you are planning on setting up your painting and painting it later, make sure that you either print your photo or mark down which one it was!!!  I spent way to much time this afternoon trying to figure which of the approximately one hundred photos of amaryllis I have taken over the years, this was!!  If I had been smart, I would have wiped the sketch and just chosen one of the ones that was close to it!  So I only painted one today.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Friday, 27 September 2013

#27 of 30

"Keeper of the Garlic" - 8" x 6" - Oil on Canvas

This is the second painting of the day.  I figured after all of the colour lately that I would try something a little more subdued.  Now that I am looking at it, I may have to go back in and add a few more darks to the garlic in the foreground and perhaps deepen the shadows on the cloth a little bit.  But, on the other hand, I may just leave it be.

Note to Self:  Do not put your tea cup next to your turps pot.  Bad things can happen, like rinsing your oil filled brush in your cup of tea!

I'm all caught up again.  Only THREE to go!

Second Note to Self:  If you decide to join in a challenge like this again, get your self organized ahead of time and have subject matter picked out etc. so that you can spend your time painting and not trying to decide WHAT to paint.

#26 of 30

"Coffee & Canteloupe" - 6"x 6" - Oil on Canvas
$75 Unframed

Soooo,  I made a deal with myself when I started this challenge that I would post all of the paintings, even the dogs!!!  What the heck was I thinking when I set this one up?   I struggled so much with this one today and I'm still not happy with it, but I included it because I worked on it today and it is #26.  I think I might need to paint a few hundred paintings of canteloupe and  maybe a few hundred cups too! 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

#25 of 30

"Tomato Fiesta" - 6" x 8" - Oil on Canvas
So, every picture has a story . . . this morning I went out to the garden and harvested all of the ripe tomatoes and made a giant pot of homemade spaghetti sauce. Soooo delicious! Makes me wonder why I buy it. 

I was trying to decide what to paint today when I spied my brand new Fiestaware on the table. A little kitchen store that is downtown, Haute Cuisine, is closing and so I went down there a couple of days ago and bought some fabulous Fiestware!   It was so hard to choose between all of the colours.  I ended up with Lemongrass, Turquoise, Paprika and Scarlet plates and a few little ramekins and fruit bowls.   I was looking around to find something to combine with it and there were the lovely tomatoes.   "Why not", I said to myself.   I'll use some of the new dishes and some of the tomatoes from the garden. 

I'm still behind one painting, but I won't be doing another one today because I'm going out to enjoy the sunshine before the storm comes in tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

#24 of 30

"Alice's Tulips" - 6" x 8" - Oil on Canvas
$110 - Framed

I will preface this by saying that I am not in the habit of painting from other people's photographs.  Some time ago, my good friend Alice, sent me some images of a still life with tulips that she had set up.  She invited me to paint them if I wished.  I have always loved the arrangement and had thought that I would indeed paint it at some point.  Well, today was the day!  After struggling with the Harbour Four painting earlier in the day I was looking forward to painting all of the luscious folds in this fabric.  

#23 of 30

 "Harbour Four" - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas

#23 - First one of the day.   UGH! I have such a hard time simplifying the subject matter!! I need to work on this.

Once upon a time (seems like forever ago), I used to hang out downtown with my camera and take reference photos! It's been a long time since I've had time to do that. This image was taken way back in 2006 when the Around the World Yacht race was here, so things may have changed in the Inner Harbour  now.  This is a little ferry service that shuttles people from the Causeway to Fisherman's Wharf across the harbour.  This one is called "Harbour Four"

Monday, 23 September 2013

#22 of 30

"Teapot and Lemons" - 6" x 8" - Oil on Canvas

This is my second of the day.  I have a lovely little grey blue cast iron teapot that my daughter gave me as a gift.  I have seen them around and they come in a variety of colours including lime green and deep red and they make a really good cup of tea that stays hot.  This painting is not quite where I wanted it to be.  I may have to go back in tomorrow and tweak it just a little bit in a few spots.  Also, the colour is not true in this photograph for some reason.  Everything is a little too intense and the highlights on the lemons are invisible in the photograph but definitely there in the real painting.  I will try and re-photograph tomorrow.   

I'm hoping to be able to do two again tomorrow and get caught up.

#21 of 30

"Wild Rose" - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas 
$75 - Unframed

ACK!  I never realized how tough it would be to squeak out a couple of hours a day to make a painting!  This is the first of the day, number 21 of 30 and today is the 23rd.  That still puts me down two!

I was really drawn to the movement in the petals of this wild rose.  Was trying to decide what would make a perfect pink for this and settled on a blend of permanent rose and magenta with just a slight touch of ultramarine int he shadows.  Fun to paint!

Friday, 20 September 2013

#20 of 30

"Dance of the Poppy" - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas
$75 Unframed
Last week or perhaps the week before, I was driving on Beach Drive down by the end of St. Charles Street and I spied the most beautiful plant (a bush or tree) of white poppies. They were absolutely stunning. So, I stopped the car and walked back to take some photos. Just then the lady that lived in the house returned home and gave me permission to go down her driveway and take pictures of them so that I could get some better shots. Thank you Kristen!!!
I really liked the movement in this particular blossom.
An aside. . . .used a Windsor & Newton canvas.  The weave is quite coarse (as you can see from the image).  I don't think that I will purchase them again.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

#19 of 30

"Little White Pumpkins" - 6" X 8" - Oil on Panel

So, I've had this photo of these little white pumpkins sitting around for a couple of years.  I never painted it because it had a very cluttered background, so today I thought I would go for it and just simplify the background.  Well . . . . . that was a challenge!  Originally the image had picture frames in the background but when I started putting them in they just didn't look right.  So, I've tried about half a dozen different backgrounds and foregrounds until I settled on this combination.  Still not thrilled with it, but there you go. . . . my 19th painting and I'm on schedule.  :)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

#18 of 30

"Juicy" - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas 

Day 18 -  I think I'm learning!! I had about 1 1/2 hours to complete this painting before I had to start chauffeuring the boys around.  I started in with a rough sketch then immediately jumped in and slathered on the red of the pomegranate.  So fun!  Next came mixing up some variations on white for the fleshy part of the slices.  I'm usually such an anal painter and there was a time when I would have painted all the little bits of the seeds, etc.  It was so fun today to just interpret them and put them down!  Also, I opted to go for a lighter background and foreground in this one and let the pomegranate be the star!!  Pretty pleased with the palette in this one and with how it turned out.

#17 of 30

"Loosey Goosey Lemons" - 5" x 7" - Oil on Panel 

This is one that I started at a workshop a few months ago.  I never liked it very much and so a while ago I went in and changed the background colour with some transparent orange oxide.  That didn't really do much to make it any better either.  So today, I grabbed the brush and took the front back to somewhat of the original colour and darkened down the background.  Also put some loose brushwork into the lemons which I think helped them along.  Not one of my better pieces, but I've decided to post the dogs as well!!!

Monday, 16 September 2013

#16 of 30

"Autumn Sunflowers" - 8" x 8" - Oil on Canvas

These were sunflowers that I bought a couple of days ago and I thought I'd best get them painted before they died on me!!

My object today was to try and work with a very limited palette and capture the shadow on the right hand side. I also found that I was getting really icky picky on the centre of the sunflower in the forefront, so I took a big brush and just swiped around it to loosen it up.  Now looking at it, I see that I could have pulled some of the shadow colour of the righthand sunflower into the outer leaves of the sunflower in the forefront to give it a bit more dimension.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

#15 of 30

"Unfried Green Tomatoes" - 10" x 8" - Oil on Panel
$160 Framed

My goal for today was to stay very, very loose with this painting and I'm really happy with how this one worked out.  It's getting easier and easier to stay loose.  It's interesting to look at the insides of the tomatoes.  This was about an hour and a half.

I loved the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes"  however, these were fresh not fried, hence the name.  

Saturday, 14 September 2013

#14 of 30

"Orange Nasturtium" - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas

Work day for me today.  I didn't think I would have time to paint, but I got up early and got this done before I left.  I was trying for a 37 minute painting, but it was more like a one hour painting.

I love nasturtiums!  They are one of my "go to's" in the garden.  They just make me feel happy!!  They are like this little blast of colour amongst all of the green!  The leaves are quite hardy, but the flowers quite fragile.  I haven't eaten any yet, but hear they are quite tasty!

#13 of 30

"Concrete Buddha" - 8" x 8" - Oil on Canvas
$125 Unframed

Yesterday's painting.  I had hoped to make two paintings yesterday, but as usual, life got in the way. This was about an hour and I just touched up the background this morning. It's a concrete garden Buddha that my daughter bought me. I have never put it in the garden though. I have always used it as a door stop in my studio because I thought it was really cute and I wouldn't see it as much if I put it outside.
I found painting the grey values in this interesting and liberating because I didn't have to think so much about colour. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

#12 of 30

"Japanese Tea Cup" - 6" x 8" - Oil on Canvas
$110 - framed

Here is my second offering of the day.  Yesterday my friend, Marcela, mentioned that she had read something by Robert Genn about doing a 37 minute painting.  That was very appealing to me as I had a very limited time to complete a second painting today.  I must confess, this was more like a 47 minute painting, but it was fun to play and I rather like the freshness of it.  I'm also liking the colour palette in this one.

Very happy to be caught up again.  I have no errands tomorrow and I'm hoping to be able to paint at least two. 

#11 of 30

"Rose Hips" - 8" x 6" - Oil on Panel

I am behind one again today! :)  Seems to be the story of my life lately.  Here is my first of the day.  I painted it from a photo of rose hips that I took quite some time ago while trekking around the avenues of Oak Bay.  I was really taken by the beautiful contrast of the red rose hips against the green foliage.  Still trying to get looser and I'm finding that it is coming easier.

#10 of 30

"My Irises" - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas

Here is my second iris painting.  I have some beautiful irises growing in my garden.  I don't feel that I actually captured the colour quite right in this painting because they really are somewhat more blue than this.  I painted this in snatches of time in between picking up kids and dropping off kids for various things.  It was probably under an hour and a half.   I think I may come back and revisit this at a later date and see if I can get a more accurate colour on the irises.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

#9 of 30

"Tiny Dancer" - 6" X 6" - Oil on Canvas

This is the third painting that I completed yesterday.  Just didn't get around to posting it until today.  It was painted from a photograph that I had taken ages ago.  I had originally intended to paint it as a larger painting, but I'm quite happy with it as a little one.  So I'm finally caught up!!!  I will try and paint two today so that I can get ahead of the game.  I probably won't get to paint tomorrow as it's going to be a busy day!

I also managed to finish all of the edges on the little canvases yesterday too!

Monday, 9 September 2013

#8 of 30

"The Crossing" - 8" x 10" - Oil on Canvas

Second of the day for me.  This is a little spot that I happened to come across while I walked the track at our local golf course. It's so serene and very beautiful!

#7 of 30

"First of the Day" - 6" X 6" - Oil on Canvas

Okay, I'm running behind here so I thought I would do a nice easy one to start up, so here it is. . . . . a pear!  I'm liking the looseness, but good thing it was just a starting point because I can see some issues!!

#6 of 30

"Brown Jug with Calendula" - 8" x 8" - Oil on Canvas

Still behind by two days but I will catch up.  This is a brown jug that I bought at Value Village.  I love hunting through the thrifty stores to find items for still lifes.  The calendulas are from my garden.  I actually set this up and photographed it last month, so it was not painted from life.  I found that I was able to paint some of it (the flowers) in a much looser manner, so I seem to be learning something from this exercise.

Friday, 6 September 2013

#5 of 30

"Parksville, Low Tide" - 8" x 10" - Oil on Canvas

I had sketched in this painting quite some time ago and just never gotten around to putting a brush to it.  I also could not find my reference photo so I just kind of winged it! Oh, I so need to work on landscapes.  I seem to have a block when it comes to them.  Still behind one painting, but I did manage to finish my painting that I am submitting to the Sidney Fine Arts show so I'm pleased about that.  Below is a small little corner of the painting.  I don't want to post the whole photo until after I find out if it is accepted into the show or not.

"Untitled At This Point" - 30" x 40" - Acrylic on Canvas

Thursday, 5 September 2013

#4 of 30

 "Plum Crazy" - 6" x 8" - Oil on Canvas -

Well, I'm behind by one day, but I will make it up tomorrow.
I had to work for a few hours this morning, then had more errands than anticipated this afternoon, so didn't get a start on this until 4:30, then I had to whip out and do another errand at 5:30.  But, it's DONE!
I really enjoyed painting this one.  It was a challenge to get the incredible variety of colours in the plums.  Looking at it now that it is complete, I think I could have used some artistic license and added some more of the bluish "bloom" highlights .  To me they just scream "plum".  The background was really loose to paint.
Looking forward to painting two tomorrow!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

#3 of 30

Small Crock and a Peach - 6" x 6" - Oil on Canvas - 

First day of school, getting everyone back in a routine and lunch with the girls, so I was a bit crunched for time.  I grabbed one of the peaches that I used yesterday and a small crock that I have in my collection of still life props.  In hindsight I suppose I could have been a bit more inventive with the set up and propped the lid up on the side of the crock or something.  Oh well, live and learn.  
Today's lesson . . . .transparent earth red is really lovely for the reddish brown colour in the crock pot!
Just glad that I managed to squeak one in today.  I don't want to fall behind.  :)

Monday, 2 September 2013

#2 of 30

"Just Peachy" - 5"x 7" Oil on Panel - SOLD

My company departed this morning so I'm free to paint today!   

Day number two and I decided to give myself a break.  After yesterday's marathon with the mustard pot, I decided to go for something just a little bit simpler.  Peaches are in season right now and I just happened to have a bag of them in my refrigerator.  I really tried to keep this one nice and loose and not to overwork it.  I remembered Liz's comments about people making their stems too dark, so I really tried to concentrate on getting the correct values for things.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

#1 of 30

 "Mustard Pot & Money Plant" - 8 x 10 - Oil on Canvas  

Today is the first day of September and the first of my thirty paintings.  I wasn't sure how I was going to manage a painting today as we have company, but the universe conspired to help me out.  My company needed to take a trip to Nanaimo and my wonderful husband accompanied them.  That left me at home, free to paint!!!

I've wanted to paint this mustard pot for a long time.  I really love the simplicity of it, but felt that perhaps it need more to go with it.  OMG!!! Once I started painting it I wondered what I had gotten myself into.  Why, oh why didn't I just paint the two peaches that are in my fridge.  Oh well, I persevered and this is the result.  I'm not thrilled with it but it can only get better from here! (The photo is a little bit slanted.  The painting is not.:)

Lesson #1  - Don't bite off more than you can chew in a couple of hours! Haha!

Friday, 30 August 2013

A New Adventure

"Calendulas in Blue Vase" - 8" x 10" - Oil on Canvas

I have contemplated blogging for a few years now but was always concerned that I wouldn't be able to find enough to say.  Image that!  Then other things came into my life and time became a factor.  Last year circumstances made me take a serious look at my priorities and after much soul-searching I decided that it was important for me to take the time to do the things that are important to me.  That is to spend quality time with my family and friends, take care of my health and focus on my passion of making art!

Now, I am about to start an new adventure.  My friend, Marcela Strasdas, told me about the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge on Leslie Saeta's blog and I decided to join her.  

This whole adventure really began a few months ago when a group of us took a three day workshop at the Coast Collective Art Centre with Liz Wiltzen.  It was all about small loose paintings.   The focus was about really looking at what you are painting and putting down what you see without overworking the painting.  It was also about colour, temperature, shapes and knowing when to QUIT!  It was a very inspiring workshop and when it was over, a small group of us continued on with the  "Painting a Day" premise.  While we have not all done a painting each and everyday, we certainly have painted much more than we did before the workshop.  Seeing posts by the other artists in the group just makes me want to "go to my room" and pick up the brush. If you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop with Liz Wiltzen I would highly recommend that you go for it!  She is an amazing instructor who is very generous with her wealth of knowledge. 

But, back to the adventure at hand. . . . .  as of the first of September I am planning on producing 30 small paintings in 30 days.  I hope you'll join my on my journey.