About Me

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Quispamsis, NB, Canada
As long as I can remember I have been drawing and painting. Although my subject matter may have changed with time, what has not changed it my attraction to nature. Being drawn in by sunlight, shadows textures and details all with rich colors. I know I am best challenged when the work has a high element of complexity. I spend much time and effort exploring my subjects - striving to gather as much information as possible before I begin working. My first love is working with water mediums - from watercolors, through acrylics and most recently water soluble oils. Often I may explore the same or similar subject in different mediums.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Painting of our Koi - "Circus"

I have decided I really like working water soluble oil paint. I am not as icky picky with details, mainly because I really have not figured out how to yet. (humour) But what I really like is the freedom I feel when I use it.  Having fun. 

I love the movement of the fish - they way they circle around when they think I am offering food.  The water moves creating variations in the reflections and are perfect for painting.  We find antics of the fish  mesmerizing. I often find myself watching them from a deck chair for long periods of time while enjoying the sun.  I called this painting "Circus" as these guys are so entertaining and so brightly colored.

These are some of our koi that live in our backyard pond. Actually I have painted one fish Hoover in this painting three times.  

This one is 24 x 24 - I think the next one will be mush larger!.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A diversion, distraction, digression ... you get the idea

I am currently working on another large painting with water soluble oils. This is still a foreign concept to me - I mean the waiting thing between the layers.

And so, to fill in time frow all the waiting, I am also painting a full sheet watercolor of my Japanese Quince bush - large, lots of detail and almost monochromatic.

Somewhere between lost patience and working so intently on a large pieces, I found the need to, well, digress.  I have been curious about pouring paint and using a masking compound (hate them).  I started a doodle of sorts of my koi fish named "hoover" - mixed little pans of colors and dove in without really a clue what I was doing.

The masking stuff - well in addition to being sticky and difficult to apply with any accuracy, it stinks - I mean really smells bad. Smells worse than nail polish remover! But I persevered.  Layer of paint - hair dryer - mask - layer of darker paint - hair dryer - mask.... and rub, erase, rub some more, erase some more.  And then I got to tidy it up with a brush.

Overall I really like the batik quality of this little painting - and - from a distance, it almot looks like I knew what I was doing!  And you know, I had lots of fun. So now back to the studio!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blue on Blue

Finally finished.  This is a mixed water media piece on Arches 300lb cold pressed paper.  I have never combined acrylic and watercolor previously.  So, I have learned a lot from this process - get over yourself - use a masking solution.  I started with the sky - four watercolor washes and three in acrylic.  The incredibly stubborn part of me resits masking.  So I started with the sky, painting around the flowers - big mistake.  This left a dark ridge around the flowers - several washes later, hmmm... I had a problem to fix.

I subscribe to the theory that is isn't anything you cannot fix.  So, I pulled out my acrylic tube of cobalt blue- mixed it with the watercolor paint I was using and it worked - only took three washes to fix it!  Did I mention that I am stubborn with this stuff?

Anyway, I love the result! On to more experimentation!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blue on Blue - Work in Progress

Since the beginning of this past summer, every morning (or so) I would go out onto our deck and admire the amazing shades of blue in our morning glory vine.  As summer progressed and the vines reached the top of the arbor, the shade of changed to a more intense shade of blue.  Several mornings in a row, I would rush outside with my camera to photograph the back lit blooms.  I was afraid it would rain soon and beat the blooms into oblivion.

As summer started to wane, the intensity of blue in the morning sky also deepened.  This is when I realized this little morning obsession I have would have to become a painting.

I was torn – to paint this in watercolour or in acrylic.  Watercolour being my favourite medium, I drew the blooms out on Arches 300lb cold pressed paper. As I began painting, my strategy had to change.  I started with the sky.  With my normal approach, not using a mask (mistake in this case) I started to paint the sky, ever so carefully painting around the blooms.  Three washes later I still had streaks.  This is where the masking medium would have been my friend.

Hmm, what to do? I decided this would be a missed media piece and layered on two more washes, same colours but in acrylic with a tiny touch of white added to help blend out the uneven tones I inadvertently created around the blooms.  This approach worked.  This is now officially a mixed water media piece.  I love the contract and the way the painting is building.

I do believe I will repaint this piece – larger and in acrylic.  In due time. And maybe next summer!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Small works - no small effort

Small Works
Ah, as Christmas approaches it is often quite prudent for artists to complete a number of small works.  These are good as possible donations to requesting charities but also very marketable this time of year – more so that larger works.

I struggle with small paintings.  They are almost as much work as larger pieces and they take a disproportionate amount of time to complete.  Take this little star fighter lily.  Only 5” x 5”  big, er… small.  The drawing took no time really – but painting that level of detail that small is icky picky work.  I get a great deal of satisfaction with large freer brush work that I apply with larger scale acrylics.  Then the fun really begins with I get into the details.  Love this stage.  It is when a painting comes to life. To me this is magic and very satisfying.

So it would make sense that I would also love the detail and concentration of the smaller pieces. And I do.  It is just they are small and that is the whole point.  You have to be closer to the work to see the amount of effort.

In defence of painting small – sometimes they can be outright fun pieces.  You get to experiment with new subjects and or techniques without having to invest mega hours or gallons of paint.

At the end of the day, this little lily is actual size to the bloom and is quite sweet. Point is, you will see a number of smaller pieces painted my me in the weeks to come– tis the season and all!

They will be on display at the Fundy Gallery of Art, Loch Lomond Place in Saint John during the month of December.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras - this painting was pure fun to work on - well...for the most part.  I recently purchased some water soluble oils and decided to try them out.  I had forgotten how long oils take to dry - and yes, this is the case with this type as well.  So, I painted for a few hours - waited a few days, paint again wait again, you get the picture. This went on for quite awhile.  Then one day as I was studying the piece - I realized it was close to finished!

And so today I worked on it for about four hours and I think it is finally finished.

In this painting is Hoover, Nemo,Comet, Guilda, Goldie, Marilyn and Dot....our pet goldfish and koi. I continue to be fascinated by the fish and love to paint them. The next painting they are swimming in the pond - a whole different perspective. Oh - and it will not be in water soluble oils - this media is too frustrating to work with.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ruby Red tuLips

This is yet another adventure working on Aquabord.  I am finding this surface is better when worked in a painterly style as opposed to realism and high detail.  It is a good process to go through as it does help to loosen me up as along as I have large pockets of time to work in.  I find when I grab a few minutes to paint – I work in a tighter manner. 

I love the colours of these flowers, not pink, not red and not orange, but really all shades in between.  Tulips when in full bloom make me happy.  I am not completely sure, but to me they represent free spirits. Out in the early spring, bowing in the wind – leaning into the sun. 

This stand grows in my front garden under an apple tree.  The most challenging thing about gardening with tulips is keeping the deer from eating them completely.  As soon as the stalks are out of the ground, I start applying blood meal.  It does help – I also think a spray of safers soap also keeps the deer from munching. I take a lot of photos as soon as the blooms start to open.  Cliché maybe – but I  really like to get shots of backlit tulips.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Noah - "Learning to Fly"

This is a painting long in the making - I started it forever ago and just finished it this week. I had Noah painted on the swing - painted some of the grass - and finally went in for the face.  Normally I would have started with  his little face - and if that didn't work out for some reason - well, I would either start over or move on. 

This is a painting of the little boy next door - and he is adorable.  I showed the painting to his Grandmother and she turned all red and welled up - you know you have captured the essence of the person when you get a reaction that profound! The painting will be hers!

This watercolor is painted on Arches 300lb paper 12" x 15".

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blue Taffeta

It is always an adventure when you embark to paint a series of related works.  In this case, I am experimenting with the Aquabord watereolor painting surface.  I really like the vibrancy you can achieve once you figure out how to layre  - er, actually, once you realize you have to have patience to let the layres dry completely before you apply the next one.

This is an iris from my garden and one of my favourites.  We grow a number of bearded irises - but thsi one always stops me in my tracks.  The blues are so intense and the white so crisp. 

This flower reminds me of a ballgown, hence the neme "Blue Taffeta"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Few Old Fashioned Ladies....

Ah yes, another watercolor on Aquabord.  Finally think I am getting the hang of the surface! It is almost impossible to do multiple washes or layring on it - the under colour "lifts" or worse yet - mixes with the top wash.  And yet the finished painting is absolutely vibrant.

These pansies remind me of the old fashioned ones in every country garden I saw as a child, or the old china teacup with the delightful pansies on them - hence the paintings title.

So I link it, and once I figure out a framing solution - I will let you know if I intend to purchase more.  I still will admit, for any intricate and serious work, I will always use Arched 300lb cold pressed paper. 

Oh, by the way - I think they are "bluish" not so purple?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New work - and to think I said no more painting with purples for awhile -oh well!

After finishing the "Amethyst Lilac" painting, I was determined to paint somethig less complex and not purple.  Well, being who I am, gravitating towards complexity in everthing I do, I started this painting on Aquabord.  (This is burgundy with some purple....)

Aquabord is a relatively new hard surface for painting with watercolours.  The beauty of this surface is that the completed piece is sprayed with acrylic Krylon archival varnish when completed and framed without glass.  Thie piece is protected.  As so many people now prefer to purchase paintings with out glass in order to emiminate glare from lighting and windows - this is a nice option.  The main thing is, the work becomes a mixed media piece (remember the acrylic varnish?)  Oh yes, the fraing is also less expensive - less the matting and glass.  Aquabord aslo comes cradled - my next purchase will be cradled - then no framing required at all - just finish the edges!

The surface is tricky, the colour holds well, but a mis placed drop can remove the pigment. Also, when painting wet-in-wet, I find it harder to get an edge than with Arched 300lb paper.  So, I love the surface, nice for a change - but will not be giving up working on paper. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finally finished the large Lilac painting! Phew!

I think there should be a drum roll with this.....

This was no small undertaking. I have been working on this piece for what seems like forever and a day.  What makes this piece interesting is that the more you look at it, the more dimentional it becomes!   I went through more paint imaginable on this - I guess this is typical of large works.  Always makes me marvel though.  Watercolours are seemilgly endless in thier supply until you take on a full sheet.

I am ready to retire the mauves... for at least another painting or three. I have already started an iris - shades of ivory, burgundy and a little bit of mauve.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Plein Air painting in PEI

.August 1st in PEI
Such a beautiful day. Hot, humid and under threat of rain.  And so, I set up my waterclours.  These are scenes from Howe Point looking at Durell Point.  I seem to be developing the habit of painting outside on days like this.  The humidity causes the paint to act up - makes it difficult to get a clean line and the colours seem to dissipate into the paper more and fade out.  Frustrating.  But I seem to be getting good at painting in these conditions.  My philosophy is to seize the moment.  If opportunity presents itself then I just have to go with it.  The first painting is when the rain was threatening.  The second painting you can see the rain approaching.  I had to back under the eaves of the cottage to complete it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More progress on the lilac painting

When I start working on a painting I have a clear vision of how it will turn out. Often what is missing from the vision is a line of sight into how long it will actually take me to develop the piece. This one of those kinds of paintings.

A full sheet watercolour in the level of detail I aspire to is time consuming - no way around it. It is clearly work. Knowing that I am almost always pulled in by the complexity of a subject. It has to be a challenge or I will not tackle it.

This painting is for all intent and purpose, a monochromatic work rendered in detail – and I think still painterly. I started with a good outline drawing and finessed and filled in as I went along. In the initial stages, a friend saw the work and asked me to do a similar piece as a commission. The hiccup was – there was a tight deadline and I would have to set aside the full sheet paining in order to make that deadline. Yes, more shades of lilac.

And so, I completed a smaller version called “Lavender Lilacs” for my friend. And then to return to this piece you are watching the progress of. At about the half way point I felt discouraged – as I normally do at this stage. The sheer amount of lilac I have been working with coupled with the desire to see more progress, well…..

And so now I see the progress and am re-excited (is that even a word?) by the work and am steadily working towards its completion. I have reverted back to singing and dancing as I work along – and hope to have it completed by August 7th. Fingers crossed. I will post when it is complete.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Plein Air painting with my daughter Jenn

We braved the sun and heat and took the watercolours outside.  The first painting I did (8 x 10) is a little stiff - takes awhile to get the cob webs out when you paint outside.  The second painting of one of our grapevines  is a little larger and more free, so I feel more more satisfied with the results.  A freer style as we were racing with a rain shower. Raing and work on paper - well really mix.  On damp days like this was, it is difficult to get crisp lines

Friday, July 9, 2010

Painting in St Andrew's this weekend - Artists-by-the-Sea, July 10th & 11th

So this delicious fella was the guest of honour at our Farther's Day Dinner earlier this year.  We cooked up quite a batch - and I photographed every stage.  I see the next series of paintings to follow.  I said red - gotta see see some other colour than lilac for a few days!  Artist's by the Sea have asked us to bring with us a few small pieces to get the auction started while we are all out painting in the community.  So, this is one of my small pieces to get tthe day started.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

well - progressing nicely

Well - I have been painting a good part of yesterday and today.  It is just the georgous sunshine keeps calling me to go outside! And on the East Coast - you have to grab the sun when it shines.  I am getting excited to finish this one though - have so many more to start working on. It's almost funny - I started to draw our pansies and set it aside, all the same colours.  May need to paint hmmm.... reds?

Monday, June 21, 2010

still working on it - can see progress

I have been able to pay enough attention to this painting to post a progress photo.  I plan to have it completed by the end of june - any votes of confidence?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Work in progress - very slow progress

This painting I see to have started forever ago.  About a quarter of the way through, a friend saw it and asked me to do a smaller version for her - the catch was - the smaller painting had to be completed first as she was leaving town.  And so, I painted "Lavender Lilacs" for my friend, a similar version - then came back to this one.  This painting is a full sheet watercolour with tons of details.  I am for the most part, drawing as I go.  Initially I scetched out the boundarys of the bloom and then started wortking towards the centre.

A few times as I was lost in the painting - I thought I actually could smell the blossoms.  I guess I have a vivid imagination.

Visit again- more to follow soon......

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lollypop Lily - Asiatic Dancers in the Garden

This painting is a full sheet transparent watercolour of lollypop lilies from my garden. This is one of my favourite flowers. I love the cranberry tips on the petals and the subtle ivory/white shades of this lily and the way the sun spots create litle highlights. This painting took a very long time to complete.

I have painted similar versions in acrylic twice - I this this flower called out to be created again only this time in watercolor

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Town Hall Meeting or Gathering of the Flock

This painting is a composite of many photos of pigeons taken the first really cold day in the fall. It is a watercolour painted on aquabord (claybord) and finished with Krylon acrylic archival varnish. I was torn with the title - "Gathering of the Flock" was my other choice.

Working on this was pure fun... I delibertly tried not to be as detail oriented and to play with the paint. That is the wonderful thing with claybord - it is forgiving and acts differently from watereolor on paper. I intend to do may more this way. Lets me loosen up some