About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Peek-a-Boo completed

Armed with green gold, olive green, perylene green and sap green I began this painting adventure.  Although the lily pads took a lot of concentration - they were fun to paint.  Monochromatic.   But fun none the less.  The little leopard frogs were trickier to scketch in than they were to paint.  Almost my favourite bits of painting are the tiny little bugs.  I had to take my glasses off to work on them.

The work in progress post is just below!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Work in progress - 'Peek-a-boo"

We have a backyard pond.  The novelty has never worn off.  Each season it is different - offering us many new things to enjoy, much like a natural lake.  Only much, much smaller.  In the spring we have froggie visitors that delight us.  And last night - a frog spooked me when it jumped in front of my path into the pond. 

In the summer months, the lily pads and water lilies captivate us.  They are really parking spaces for dragon flies and darners and the likes.
We make a point to visit each day and look for the changes. What is ready to bloom, what has grown seeming overnight, you get the idea. The daily feeding the kio and gold fish are a huge part of this routine as well.  (We really do not necessarily like to talk about the daily cleaning of the filter basket and other pond maintenance activities that presented this year.)  
We sit on our deck in the evenings and wish the pond was really the ocean with waves or a huge lake.  We imagine the sounds of waves lapping at the shores.  And on more than one occasion during the times of high temps and humidity wished it was large enough to swim in.
So, it is not a stretch that I must paint it (er… again).  The lily pads and water lilies are from our pond.  The leopard frogs are actually residents at the pond at Hooper’s Studio in Hampton, NB.  Their pond is also small and is providing haven to over 40 leopard frogs (at last count).  Beside their pond is a rather large net.  When I inquired what the net was for I was told to catch the bullfrogs.  My puzzled look brought about this explaination “they eat the leopard frogs so Kathy catches them and relocates them to another area of the yard”.   I love this story.
Anyway, after photographing the frogs I knew I need to incorporate a few of them into this painting.  Along with the odd lacewing and dragon fly.  Enjoy looking for them. Peek-a-boo!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Petunia Cascade

I have been working on this painting for about three weeks now.  Between the layering of colors and alternating with masking compound and waiting for it all to dry.  I am so not patient!

I love how deep and rich the colors are.  I went back in with magenta and a really bright pink to add more detail and create more dimension. And of course, viridian green and indigo for the leaves.

After I removed the masking compound and sat back to look at the work - it reminded me of a serigraph print.  I actually thought about leaving it as is.  It had depth and the shaped were interesting.  But, being who I am, I had to go back in with more detail.

Interesting enough, the most difficult stage of this painting was titling it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

WIP - Poured painting of petunias - fingers crossed

This painting is being developed by careful planning and a solid preliminary drawing, pour an application of paint and then mask then repeat.  To get to this stage, the work has gone through six paint pours and six mask applications. I masked our the white areas initially then poured a light shade of pink.  There were three pink pours in total and two shades of green and one of dark blue.

Removing the masking compound is a bit of a work out and somewhat stressful.  The work has to be completely dry prior to removal.  One of the key elements of this method is to not allow the mask to sit on the paper for too long.  Also, I am nervous when I think I should use a hair dryer to accelerate the drying process.  I am really timid that the mask will bond to the paper and ruin the effort.

I am at the stage now where I soften us any harsh edges created my masking.  Then I will start to further develop the painting.  Although this method is laborious, it it still faster than my normal approach.  At least this is what I tell myself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Plein Air painting - Bloomin Artists in Hampton this past weekend

Bloomin Artists

Pretty Potted Petunias
Smiling Sundrops
What a wonderful weekend!  

Painting plein air in beautiful gardens in Hampton.  Wonderful gardeners, mingling with artists and no appreciable amount of rain.

As artists, we are normally working solitary.  When we have a change to participate in events like this, we get to mingle and catch up and view the work that was produced.  Certainly gets my creative juices flowing.

Garden Tigers
I produced five paintings over the course of the two days,  A few are shared below - I forgot to photograph the honeysuckle vine.  On Saturday, the humidity was very high.  The excess moisture caused some softening or blurring of details while working with watercolor.  On Sunday, other than the threat of rain the main hazards were the blood thirsty midges.  You know, the little black flies that will even fly into your eyes and up your nose. Nasty beasties.  Distracting.  Irritating and annoying.
Sit a Spell

Ah, plein air painting.  I love it. And all for a good cause.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

WIP -Complete - Longing For Spring

This painting seems to have taken longer than usual to complete.  It is a large acrylic paintng 36" x 30".  For more information on this you visit my posting on my new website at


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Work in progress - Longing For Spring

This is a slow motion work in progress.  I started it late April and worked quite diligently on it until mid-May.  Then I had to get ready for a few art type obligations and had to let it rest for awhile.  So now am back at it as I would like to include it in my show "Full Spectrum" at the Saint John Imperial Theater from August 29th to November 18th.
I have added more tone to the clapboards on the side of the house, worked on the windows and the wreath and a started to tackle the snow.  I have been scumbling various lyres of colors in a circular pattern to get the feeling and texture of the snow.  I have destroyed a round bristle brush in the process - oh well,  just a work hazard.  Also been using paper tower and my fingers building up translucent layers.  

Still have a lot of work to do with the shadows and reflected red tones from the chairs.  Starting to feel the end  - two or three solid more days of painting should wrap it up.  And then on to the obligatory staring and scrutinizing stage.  All is good!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Artists-by-the-Sea, St.Andrew's NB, 2011 in support of Hospice, Charlotte County

Gonna Rain?
King of the Commons
unfinished - have photo to complete it

This was one to write home about.  In spite of the torrential rain dropping 50mls of water in the area on Saturday, we were still able to produce paintings.  A few of us were able to hunker down on the verandah of the Algonquin.  Fortunately, I had the where with all to grab some photos that I had of the St. Andrew’s area from last years event.  I know the whole point of painting plein air is painting what you see outside in front of you – but heavy rain is heavy rain and I opted for the photo route.  
Tide Going Out
Will touch up the little house
During the course of the day, Alma Campbell and I each completed three paintings.  John Colwell was a machine and completed a number of his whimsical acrylic florals with that thick delicious paint.  And it was wonderful to connect with Morag Walsh as well.  She managed to get a few plein air pieces done and completed a few more as well.  The company was wonderful.  Overall a really good day.  
Did I mention the skies parted and the sun came out about 4:00 as we were wrapping up for the day? 
Obviously from a photo
Standing Tall and Proud
Sunday was a scortcher.  Hot humid and 32 degrees.  Complete opposite of the previous day.  We were painting down on the wharf.  Donned sunglasses, sunbrella (neat word – wonderful tool), slathered sunscreen, downed tons of water and decided our next painting would have to be painted in the shade!  Unbelievable, we are so accustomed to foul weather that we cannot tolerate a lot of humidity and heat.
Spent the afternoon on the St. Andrew’s Commons – under a tree. Ahhhh!  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Artists-By-the-Sea, St. Andrews

Wondering About Supper

Weather Uncertain
 July 9th & 10th, 2011

Could Clear up - Could Rain
The annual fundraiser for Hospice Charlotte County takes place this coming weekend.  

In addition to offering the Plein Air paintings that artists complete around St Andrews during the event, the organizers have requested that artists bring along some small works with them – to kick start the silent auction process.   I have been very busy this holiday long weekend getting ready.  

Lone Sentinel
Coming In or Going Out
These are a number of the small paintings (5"x7" matted to 8" x 10") I that I completed for this event.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Old Reliable

Honestly, I think I was more afraid to start this commission than I have ever been when starting a portrait.  The owner of this tractor loves it.  He is more than proud of it. And so my conundrum (I love that word).   Painting nature is a bit more forgiving and less precise than rendering something that has been manufactured.  Tractors are specific, they have gears & grills, shiny parts and mucky parts along with very specific angles, perspective and proportions. 

The drawing has to be precise and representational of all the details.  No room for errors here.  Have to invest the time upfront to get it right.  Typically, I approach a painting with a very loose drawing focusing on volume – how much space the subject occupies, proportions, and the best composition to do it the most justice.  So I had to switch gears with this one. No pun intended.

In order to capture the softness of the spring sky I used a gel medium to keep the acrylic paint wet longer to allow for more blending.  Then I began working on the details of the horizon and the areas between the rail fence. 

Next I fussed with getting the reds right.  I mixed and tested and mixed some more.  Somewhere along the line I began to relearn that acrylic reds are difficult.  The colors deepen as they dry – whereas with watercolor they lighten.  Often deepening for several hours after the color has been applied.  Also acrylic reds have a tendency towards streaking. Layer after layer after layer of red and orange were applied.  The next day more layering of lighter reds. You get the idea. 

And finally, it is complete and I am at the starting stage.  This is when I stare at the painting with squinty eyes and a critical view.  Looking for any area requiring tweaking and fussing.  I generally wait two- three days before sealing the work and framing – just in case….

Friday, June 3, 2011

Peppermint Candy Petunias

Somehow, the whole time I was working on this painting, I kept thinking about Peppermint Candies.  You know, the ones with the swirl of red and swirl of white?   It first occured to me as I was sketching them out - and then as I started to apply the watercolor paint I just kept thinking about them.  
Awhile back, I checked on my framing inventory and realized I had five really nice frame sets for watercolor paintings and so I set out to complete five in one month.  And I did it.  This is the last piece that I told myself I had to do in this timeframe.  

I love the colors of this flower.  The pinks are flaming and yet there are so many subtle shades.  The photos that I worked from were actually more on the bluish side - I chose to modify the colors to the impression they had on me.

This painting is 12.5 x 8" wide (unframed size) and is painted on Arches 300lb paper.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring Delight - Apple Blossoms

Although I said I would never paint them again - I am at it - and am planning at least one more.  

A number of years ago I painted a large watercolor of these delicate blossoms, sold it and received three commissions to do similar ones. And so I thought that I was apple blossomed out.
Only we have five mature apple trees and two young pear trees in our yard.  And they are truly beautiful.  Each year as the blossoms open, I am out in the yard photographing them.  Over and over.  And.. there are so darn many of them! This angle...that angle... maybe with more sky... maybe with less sky.  Obviously I am really attracted to this flower.  Maybe just to anything that blooms in the spring. 
So, once this painting is complete, I hope to paint another on a larger scale with the sky as the focal point – much like the painting Blue on Blue below.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fair Ladies

These lovely flowers grace the inside of our chicken wire fenced in garden.  We moved all our lilies into this rustic enclosure - in hopes to foil the white tail deer population that absolutely belive lily blooms are deer ice cream.  Well our plan work surperbly...well, until last year.

They have leaned longingly into the fence for a few years now - and managed to bend down a section making it easy for them to leap over.  And well, we cannot figure out how to repair it with out completely rebuilding it!

The deer love lilies.  All kinds of lilies - as much as we do.  Only we do not eat ours!  The lilies grow amoung the asparagus (which deer do not eat) and the mint (wish they would eat) and the clematis (crap shoot on this one, well they will sometimes eat the blooms).

And so, in a effort to get to enjoy these lovelies, I must paint them.  This ia a 12"  x 12" watercolor on Arches 300lb paper.  I think as time permits I will paint this again on Ampersand Aquabord in a larger size.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nothing like a pending deadline to motivate an artist!

Fushia Delight
I am so excited to be participating in the Kings County Studio Tour this June 9th and 10th - http://www.studiotour-nb.com/  .  This means, of course, I have to be prepared.  Now I have been painting for quite awhile getting ready for a solo exhibit "Full Spectrum" to be hung at the Imperial Theatre the end of August this year.  So I have a lot of really large paintings completed for this.  The gap I have is for smaller pieces.

So what does any artist operating under self imposed deadlines do? Why I checked my framing inventory and, this time wrote the sizes down and went searching for subjects that would be fun to paint and coordinate with my three burgundy frames and two gold ones.

Two Beez

So far so good, I have two completed and the others are lightly drawn out.  There are more petunias, a different variety, pretty lillies (I have no idea which variety) and apple blossoms.  I will be ready for any color other than pink.  Oh, by the way, I have a large painting in progress - pretty pink peonies under way as well.  More to follow on this one -just likely not too soon!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

WIP - Longing For Spring

And so I recently started this painting - had it sketched out for quite awhile.  But finally decided to jump and start painting.  My family is making fun of me for painting snow in the spring.  Two things, first I should really be motivated to finish it in record time and second - this spring has been so gosh darn cold - I feel like painting snow.

These are the Adirondack chairs under our side verandah.  I love these chairs and the verandah.  There is a swing off closer to the concrete retaining wall.  This area is our southern exposure - we spend a lot of time there in the spring and fall and on windy days.

When I was painting our clapbords, I realized that our whole house needs to be painting - unfortunately, I do not mean on canvas!  As I started adding in details like the knots and the greenish ting to the gray I realized that while these details may make for a good painting - they do not say this is a well kept house.   Painting the house will have to be a project for next spring.

I started to block in the second window - and have the perspective off - will correct that in the next session. The deck is covered with snow, as are the arms, seats adn the backs of teh chairs.  Once I have the background right - I will start into the snow.

This is a large acrylic painting 36 x 42.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

wanna play wanna play

This is a painting of our doggie.  Sadie is a highly spirited border collie lab cross and is always looking for someone to play with or for someone to pay attention to her.  She is very expressive and communicates with us quite clearly - Almost always about attention and/or food or food and/or attention!

She is getting on in years now.  We think she is about eleven - not sure as she was a resuce dog.  Her hair is turning quite white and she has started to slow down some.

This is a mixed watermedia painting on Ampersand Aquabord.  This surface is wonderful for painting textures such as fur and hair.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Stormy Sunday and what shall I do. Sounds like the perfect day to lock myself in my studio and paint away.  This is a mixed watermedia piece on Ampersand Aquabord of our dog Sadie.  She is so inquisitive. Either looking for trouble or looking for food.  I could not resist painting her.  This was c ompleted in about five hours - the background gave me trouble. You cannot be in a hurry with this painting surface.   

Sadie is a mixed breed - cross between a lab and a border collie - the border collie being dominent.  She has us completely trained!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's next?

Now that I have finished painting the roses, I have to decide on the next painting.  I have a series in mind to create for another show… am pretty anxious to get going with it, but alas, have to wait it out until after my fall show.

I took the opportunity to sketch out a number of piecesmonday evening.  Really rough sketches to see where my heart is at.  I am also anxious to paint some more birds – but they too will have to wait. 

One of the sketches is of a vase of old fashioned pink peonies sitting on our concrete bench.  Another photo has some dropped petals at its base.  Hmmm... merging the two in a sketch would be quite complex and quite inspiring as well.

Drew out my potted begonias on a 22 x 30 sheet of Ampersand Aquabord as well – complete with a Herculean spider!  And also drew out two sketches of our doggie Sadie.  She is soooo expressive.   Makes me smile.

This may come down to a toss of a coin – where I start painting.

And in the fall, I will paint anything but flowers for about six months I am sure!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rosy Red Roses - WIP completed - I think

And so,  countless hours, untold amounts of staring and figuring and color balancing... I think this painting is finally done!

I knew today that it was in my reach to finish this piece.  I hunkered down at 8am and just finished it at 7pm.

I spent a lot of time deleloping the foliage.  After I thought I was all done - I looked at it with squinty eyes and realized that I had to deepen the colors of the leaves.  I went back in with a wash of terre vert (a blueish green) and intensified the leaves.  And then once again thought I was finished.

Then I looked at it again with squinty eyes.  Saw a number of the rose petal has to be deepened and some of them needed a boost of personality (more colors).

I looked at it again and thought I was finsihed.   Then I realised the tiny fly had no legs or antennae.

I fixed up the bug and hung the painting on my fridge - yes my fridge.   And am determined no more squinty eyes.

I am declaring this painting finsihed.  At least until tomorrow when I look at it with fresh eyes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

WIP - Carpet Roses - "Rosy Red Roses"

Apparently I underestimated the time and effort required to complete a detailed full sheet mono chromatic painting.  I always do.  And at this stage-I ask myself — what in the world am I thinking?   Obviously I am attracted to complexity.  And color variances.  And details and textures.  What am I thinking?

I am at the half way mark with this painting.  I have been working at this for about three — four weeks. Ok, I admit I took a divergance with the poured daisy painting.  And I spend as much time studying it as I do painting it.  Part of the process.  Looking for color balance.  Looking for scale.  Looking to see if it is working and what subtle tweaks it may require.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Work in progress - Rosy Red Roses (?)

This painitng of carpet roses has me a bit consumed.  It is 30 x 22 so on the large size again.  I am fascinated by the range of colors in the roses - particularly the fading petals.  If you look closely, you will see the first ant!

I am actually working on two paintings at the same time. The other is another poured painting of daisies.  Loose and fun so the focus on this one will not make me too crazy!.

The name above may not stick but for now I'll use it.

Work in Progress - Daisy Fresh

Currently I am working on a carpet rose - amazing colors - so exciting - so much detail and complexity. 
Often when I am working on a complex highly detail painting, I will work on a second looser and more adventurous piece.   I have been experimenting with sort of batik on paper using a masking compound instead of wax.    

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Follow Me" is finished finally!

This is the finished result of pouring, masking, pouring , masking over and over and over.  This process reminds me of batik - only on paper.  Once I have removed all the mask, I go back in and crisp up the details and intensify the colors as required.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Work in Progress - "Follow The Leader"

I started working on a full sheet painting of carpet roses that grow beside our pond.  Beautiful pink, reds and wine shades. 

Then I had an overwhelming urge just to play.  I set aside the painstaking drawing of roses and found a half sheet of Arches 300lb paper just waiting for inspiration.

Hmmm – whatever can I do?  When ever I get in this frame of mind, I generally go directly to all my pet fish photos.  I played with the composition, this one here – that one there and so on.  Landed on a composition that I liked and loosely drew it out.

Then I got out my little metal cups for mixing large amounts of color – masking compound (again –boy am I a glutton for punishment – this stuff is challenging at best) and started pouring paint.

This process is quite interesting – reminds me of batik with out the wax.  Pour pale yellow – let it dry, apply mask.  Pour darker yellow, let it dry and apply more mask.  Over and over and over.

Now, removing the mask is like a work out.  Need to use a gum eraser and rub and rub and hope for the best. Once I had all the mask removed , I went in and painted the detail work. 

This is by far the quickest I have ever completed a painting of this size.  And you know – I really like it!

And soon - the reveal of the finished painting!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Nelly or Nellie Mosher Clematis Completed

Nellie Mosher - Nelly Mosher

The real satisfaction is in the finishing touches.  The stage of the painting where it is super close to being completed – just requires the last details.  In this case the centers of the blossoms.  I painstakingly painted around these skinny little stamems and as pretty much the last step I got to paint them in. 

Then the scrutinizing begins – I look at the painting more holistically now.  Are the colors true to life?  Are the shadows painted with enough contrast? Are the lights and darks balanced to a believable state?  Are the tones balanced appropriately over the whole piece for the lighting of the day?

The images that I worked from were captured on a hazy day so the shadows are not particularly defined.  So no high key contrast here.

So happily - on to the next work!