Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NFWS 12th International Transparent Watercolor Exhibition Acceptance

I was thrilled to receive notification today to say that both 'Taking Time' and 'Heart Strings' have been juried into the NFWS 12th International Transparent Watercolor Exhibition. The exhibition will be held at the Kenan Center Gallery, 433 Locust St. Lockport, NY 14094 from October 19th- November 16th, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour Open Water Exhibition Acceptance

I was very happy to receive notification today that my painting 'A Penny for your thoughts' has been accepted into The Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour Open Water 2014 International Exhibition.

It is one of only 40 paintings  selected for this exhibition which will take place at the John B. Aird Gallery, 900 Bay St., Toronto, Ontario from October 28th – November 21st, 2014.


Sunday, September 7, 2014


I thought I would finish the little painting of some nuts and seeds in the autumnal sunshine that I have been working on outside today as it is such a lovely day. I put it down for a couple of minutes and ...

...Do you think I paint a little too realistically?  (grin)

This was lots of fun to create and a welcome break from all the matting and framing I have been doing.  The painting within the painting is 4.5 by 2.5 inches and the whole painting is 6.5 by 10.5 inches. 

I thought you might also enjoy this photo that James took as I was working on it early yesterday morning when it was not so sunny.

As you can see I needed the magnifying glass to paint all the little details on the tiny chipmunks.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Finalist in Richeson 75 International Figure/Portrait 2014 Exhibition

I had some happy news yesterday. My Transparent Watercolour 'Time Warp' has been selected as a finalist and will be on display in the Richeson 75 International Figure/Portrait 2014 exhibition. The exhibition runs from Oct 20-Dec 6, 2014 at the Richeson Gallery in Kimberly Winsconsin US

The painting depicts my son Alex's childhood. I wanted to show him as he grew up and how it feels like the blink of an eye  since he was small and yet him growing up is such a large part of my life too. Time is a funny thing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Featured Artist

I am the featured Artist this week on the 'Art on the Hill' Richmond Hill Studio Tour Blog.

This is the feature I wrote. I hope you will enjoy it too

I am taking a break from painting this week as I prepare for the Studio Tour. I have matted about 15 paintings and am in the process of framing them. I have also been creating the designs for many new art cards.

This year my theme for the tour is going to be based on our senses. My section of the tour will be designed to encourage visitors to discover the art through many senses not just our sight.  So if you live in southern Ontario, come and visit me at Boynton House on Richmond Green on the 17th 18th or 19th of October and see how many of your 5 senses you end up using or see being used in the paintings or drawings. There will even be nibbles to tempt your sense of taste and music to listen to as you look around.  I often use music as an inspiration for my paintings or to help me set the mood as I paint. I will have some of the music playing so maybe you can identify which music I listened to for some of the pieces on display.

My popular demand I have also been designing Ted series bookmarks. I can't wait to get James to print them on canvas and varnish them. They will be ready for sale in time for the Studio Tour and yes, I will be selling them on line too Have you got a favourite?


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Paul Jackson Kolinsky kayak brushes

I have been trying out the 4 Paul Jackson Kolinsky kayak brushes over the last few months

 The info on Paul’s website says-‘These double-ended brushes are perfectly balanced and weighted for the ultimate painting experience. Sizes: 0/2, 2/4, 6/8, and 10/12. Sold only as a complete set.’

Having a brush both ends is so useful. I have been able to load one side with paint and the other with clear water which makes softening an edge of a wet on dry wash so much easier. I can also load the other side of the brush with a different colour allowing me to merely flip and then continue to paint. Previously I would need to either use two brushes or stop and clean my brush and reload with the new colour for a variegated wash. Thirdly I can load both ends of the brush with the same colour and merely flipping the kayak when one brush runs out of paint. This allows me to cover a larger area with one glaze before the paper goes past its optimum dampness and I need to let it dry fully before rewetting. Lastly I can also have one end of the kayak dry giving me a thirsty brush always at hand to lift any unwanted paint.

The brushes hold a point well making detail possible, even with a larger brush than I am used to, but at the same time they are extremely soft (a quality I really look for in a brush so that I can achieve my ultra smooth washes that I so enjoy creating).  

 I still use my Winsor and Newton series 240 goat hair mop/wash brushes for glazing large areas as I have yet to find a large wash brush that ‘kisses the paper’ as gently as they do without moving the paint on the previous layers around but must say having to use two brushes (one for paint and one for water) feels cumbersome after a couple months with the kayaks.

I also use my existing tiny brushes sizes 002-004 for very detailed work e.g. painting eyes or fur or hair but would happily have a kayak version if one existed.

My ideal brush set? Paul’s 4 Kayaks with an added 2 kayaks- a kayak mop and a kayak teeny tiny brush.

An added bonus… the care instructions the brushes come with are very amusing and make me smile every time I read them. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014


It's fun painting somewhere where people can watch you work and see a painting develop as I love sharing my joy of painting in watercolour. I began this painting at the Lake Wilcox Park opening last weekend but the bad weather mean't I couldn't finish it there so it felt right to finish it this morning at our local connecting the community gathering where our local community could still watch. 

The white mallards soft downy feathers make a perfect pillow to snuggle up in while the duck has a snooze in the warm sunshine. It must be wonderful to have an inbuilt feather pillow. The painting is a small one at about 7 by 10 inches. I am calling it 'Repose' and will be for sale at the Studio Tour in a couple of months.


Monday, August 18, 2014

'Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything'

 The quote from Plato was my inspiration for this painting. I am still deciding on the title. At the moment I quite like 'Brioso' which is the musical term for full of life, 'Motto' which is the musical term for movement, Volante which means flying or some part of the quote above e.g 'flight of the imagination'. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Progress and news

Long hair takes such an age to dry. It blows around lots when you are hairdrying it too :)

Ok,  I was just drying the section of hair which will be behind the floaty chiffon and thought you would like to see my progress as I see it when I am painting. I only rarely have the painting the right way up. I tend to tip and turn it according to what I am working on and whether I need the paint to stay roughly in one place or flow in a particular direction. It looks just like the hairdryer is blowing the hair doesn't it :)

For those of you  are relatively local to me that live around Richmond Hill I also wanted to let you know that I will be painting at the new Lake Wilcox Park opening on saturday. Look for the ducks and you will find me there. 

The promenade opening celebrations will be from 11am-3pm.  Lake Wilcox park is a beautiful park right on the shores of the lake. You can park in the north parking lot via Olde Bayview Avenue (Off North Lake Road) Richmond Hill. Hope to see you there. 


Monday, August 11, 2014


The portrait section of this painting and the viola are now basically finished. I have introduced quite a few warmer colours in the skin tones hair and viola and plan to use them in combination with the background colours in the clothes and for the butterflies.

I have no ref photo for the rest  though just my rough sketches and the image I can see in my head.  I hope I can get that image I can see in my mind onto the paper.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Music while I paint

Listening to music really helps me develop the atmosphere in a painting. I have been busily working on the face, neck arms and hands while listening to music like the Celtic women playing The Sky & the Dawn & the Sun. What a great way to spend a saturday. I have also lifted a few more wisps ready for me to paint her hair tomorrow.

Here is the link to the music, the begining part is the atmosphere I am trying to capture

If you have any suggestions for  any other pieces I can listen to while working on the rest of this painting one, let me know.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Developing the background

My new painting is still in its very early stages but I thought you might enjoy a sneak peak at what I am working on. Over the last week I have been creating the effect of a night sky with twinkling stars and a glowing moon. It will form the backdrop to a piece that was inspired by this quote by Plato

'Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything'

  For those of my followers who are artists the colours I used  in the background were indigo, carbazole violet,  Moonglow, Manganese blue, Thalo turquoise, Winsor blue and quin violet. I also used a whole pot of masking fluid! 

For any musician, I would like to use a musical term as my title for this piece. I want something that suggests movement, flight, the giving of life and with feeling. let me know either by e mail or as a comment here if you have any suggestions :)


Sunday, August 3, 2014


I still haven't decided on the title for this. I would welcome any ideas. I guess the message I was trying to convey is best said by this except of the poem by Lysa Schuler.

They are beautiful, proud, and can be feared.
But understand, they are a creation revered.
 We protect to keep the remaining alive.
But who knows how long the few will survive?

The drawing is done completely in pointellism and took just over 21 hours in total to complete.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Working in pen

While I have been planning  and drawing out my next watercolour I have also been working on another pen and ink drawing. The whole drawing is created with dots using a technique called Pointillism. This has taken me about 12 hours so far and I am guessing it will probably be close to 30 hours before it is finished. Its easily transportable though so I can keep it with me and draw at odd moments throughout the day wherever I happen to be.

I just love his developing expression. I wonder what he is thinking. Any ideas?


Sunday, July 27, 2014

The creative process: an analogy

To all my creative friends whether you are an artist, a writer, a photographer, a composer, a choreographer… 

...don't give up, remember the creative process is not a linear one. You don’t begin at one point and travel upwards in a straight line to your chosen goal. Very much like the seed cracking open and completely destroying its outer shell in the process, or the caterpillar breaking its very essence down to the absolute basics and then completely re-inventing itself, the creative process is more of a metamorphosis of thought, of understanding and most of all of belief that the power of your ideas is worth pursuing through the ups and downs. In the words of Cynthia Ocelli,

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To some that don’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

This has happened to me this week as I worked on the idea for my next painting. I had sketched away for days on the idea. On Friday morning I had a finished outline but as I looked at it I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. It was a big fat lumbering catterpillar with too many legs and no wings. So I took it back down to the very essence of my message again. To many, that stage may have looked like almost total destruction, but I had faith because I knew it was just a stage in the process. My greedy fat caterpillar of an idea had to be broken down, and then reformed into the outline idea that I am just finishing now which I hope, when painted will be a beautiful butterfly ready to take flight. Hope you enjoy my analogy. I have too much fun with my pencils and wild imagination sometimes.