Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Tree Top

Tree Top
18" x 24" - acrylic on canvas
This is for sale - contact me for price if interested.

I started this sometime last winter. It went through several colour permutations before I finally decided to let it be. Once again I was hoping and trusting that a fresh view of it in time would help me assess next steps. When I picked it up again, a few weeks ago, I changed the colour of the tree trunk, and finally was happy with the finished work. It is based on a photo of a plane tree - a subject that I have been intrigued with for a few years and have painted on  larger scale that you can see here and here. In this smaller work I really played with the foliage, transforming them into coloured discs and allowed the tree trunk to be plane. 

Happy New Years Eve and Best Wishes for a Safe, Healthy and Happy 2015!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Abstract Figure Paintings

I was looking through an old sketchbook today and found these drawings done in an Open Life Figure Drawing session a year ago. I decided to push their abstract quality with colour. 

Sketchbook Figure Study 1
approximately 14" x 12" - watercolour - NFS

Sketchbook Figure Study 2
approximately 16" x 14" - watercolour - NFS

Sunday, 28 December 2014

More Watercolour Play

I am really enjoying this recent dabbling with watercolour - in fact it has become rather addictive. Though I will soon be getting back to my regular studio and the "landscapes" that still need work, I think that this diversion with another medium has been a good tonic, and I will endeavour to continue with it in the new year.

The small paintings below are both based on the same photo/scene taken a few years back.

Pathways 1
9" x 5" - watercolour on arches - $25

Pathways 2
6.5" x 5.5" - watercolour on arches - $25

Saturday, 27 December 2014

North Thompson River watercolour paintings

North Thompson River I
 7.5" x 7" - watercolour on arches paper - $25

Every once in a while I get out my watercolours and play, which means that I experiment with the paint, and try to work freely and spontaneously. I love working wet colour into wet colour and seeing what happens. That is what I did the other day. I like to work on several (1- 4+) compositions at once, and even the same image because so often when painting in acrylic, I reach a point when I think oh it would be cool if I did this and changed this and will do another to see what that is like etc., but then don't.  

North Thompson River II
6.5" x 6" - watercolour on arches paper - $25

These two small watercolours are based on a photo I took while travelling in western Canada a year or so ago and show the North Thompson River, near Kamloops in British Columbia. The photo does not do the view or landscape justice - but I hope that my small paintings do! Cheers!

Friday, 26 December 2014

Big Skies

Despite saying that I was going to not paint for a few days over Christmas......I found that I had some time, so out came the watercolour paints and paper and I had great fun playing! I did some big dramatic skies in response to the Daily Paintworks recent Paint the Sky challenge. 
Looking Up
9" x 6"  - watercolour & acrylic on arches paper

Big Weather Sky
11" x 8"  - watercolour on arches paper

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Another Landscape (#2) On the Easel

I mentioned in my last post that I have been working on several landscapes;  this is the second one. It is based on a photo I took last summer at a friend's cottage, and then painted later  in my studio. I really liked this first painting but it was much tighter and more abstract than I had originally imagined and so I wanted to try another version that had a 'lighter' palette and was looser and more painterly.

I was quite pleased with my 'start', the palette and loose brushstrokes. Then I kept painting, trying to define the foliage in the trees in a loose way and trying not to re-create what I did in the first version. It was a back and forth 'dance' with the brush, over several hours and days.....and this is what it looks like now.


Looking at it critically I think the painting looks too symmetrical, appearing to be divided down the middle by a light area, and bounded by dark trees on either side. I always prefer compositions that are more asymmetrical as they seem to be less static visually. My earlier loose vertical brush strokes have been overtaken by a web of horizontal strokes intended to suggest tree branches, but they are too regular and contrived. The curved horizon line separating the ground from the background, also looks too extreme. I do like the foreground pink and yellow colours and the background yellow sky and the way the foliage lightens up in the background. 

Lots to think about and eventually work on - but at this point I am going to take a break, enjoy Christmas with my family and friends and hope that the 'aha' moment strikes when I return to my studio in the new year. 
In the meantime I wish you Season's Greetings and the very best in 2015!

Friday, 19 December 2014

On the Easel - landscape #1

Over the last two weeks I have worked on several landscape paintings, and at this point have only finished one - The Chateau de Bourgane Poppies - the subject of my last post. I was really happy with the painting and to have finally finished something.

The Chateau de Bourgane Poppies
The two unfinished works are still staring at me. The first was inspired by a photo I took near my cottage in Ontario showing coniferous trees and their reflections in water - something I love because of the endless possibilities for artistic play.  I began with a red underpainting and then quickly brushed in the large shapes using lots of colour, including black and white, keeping everything loose and painterly.
stage 1
At this stage it looked a little garish, so I began to tone down the colour, pushed the red back, and changed the palette to a cool and subdued one of blues and violets.
stage 2
This is where I stopped. My husband pointed out that the reflection shapes of the trees and sky holes in the water don't line up, so I need to fix that. I like the defined shapes of some of the trees in the water and the way they contrast with the mushy shapes of the trees against the sky. I also like the palette, and layered blue hues of the background trees. As I write this I am beginning to see my next steps........but I need to leave it for now as the countdown to Christmas has begun in my house. I will get back to it and January, so stay tuned. Any thoughts or comments are always welcome!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Chateau de Bourgane Poppies, Encore

Chateau de Bourgane Poppies
24" x 24" - acrylic on canvas
This is for sale - contact me for price if interested.
I have experimented with this landscape scene several times since my visit to the grounds of this lovely chateau in Provence, last May. While there I painted several abstract versions in watercolour and gouache, but also wanted to paint a larger canvas in acrylic. This is probably the least interpretive version, though I did, as usual take liberties with the intensity of the colour and palette.  Below is a detail of the centre area.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


12" x 12" - acrylic on canvas - $150
I love painting animals.....dogs, cats, cows, sheep, fish (they are not really animals are they).
Nikki is a 6 year old boxer owned by our friends Brian and Pat. I work from photos that I prefer to take myself, and then play with colour. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Promenade III

                                                Les Bassacs Promenade III
                                         24" x 20" -  acrylic on canvas  -   $350

I painted an earlier version of this scene, inspired by a photo I took in May and by my memories of walking along a light-filled path that overlooked vineyards, in the tiny hamlet of Les Bassacs in the Luberon Valley of Provence. I like using paths and roads that lead the eye and draw the viewer into the landscape. Pathways can symbolize are all kinds of personal journeys - physical, mental, and emotional. What is around the bend? Follow the road and see where it leads.