Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Forging ahead and other news

Only just over 5 hours left of 2013. Its been a great year for me art wise but now its time to look forward to 2014. The painting I am working on seems very appropriate in this respect as the blacksmith busily creates new from old.

I am really enjoying painting this piece now. The ref photo I am working from is taken with a flash in a dark area so the light in it is very flat and uninteresting. The joy of painting though is that I can change this to make it whatever I want.  I am loving developing the contrast between the warm light of the fire/ the heated iron he is working on and the cool light shining in from outside. I love the focus and intense concentration on the blackmiths face too. Painting it was a good distraction from the chaotic last 24 hours.

A couple of other artists sent me a message yesterday lunch time to say they had got a phone call from the director at Fallbrook (Signature American Watermedia exhibition hosts) to say there had been a big mistake and those who were accepted were actually rejected so to expect a phone call. I waited and waited but nothing. Several other people posted on facebook the same news or that their accepted and rejected paintings had been switched. Several people sent me messages to say sorry because they guessed that I too had had the phone call but I hadn't. I had to say that I had no idea what was happening.

After a sleepless night wondering if i was still in the exhibition or not and how on earth if the other painting had been accepted, which had happened with a few of my friends, I was going to get it framed and shipped in 3 days, I phoned the director.  She was not working today but luckily they phoned her and she phoned me back from her home. Thank you Mary

Apparently I wasnt contacted because my accepted painting Content-Ted is still the same. I'm still in the show and I dont need to get another one framed so it will be packed up in its box tomorrow ready to be shipped the next day.

I feel so bad for my friends who thought they were accepted but got the phone call to say they were not. Being an artist is not for the faint hearted. All we can all do really is to try to continue Forging Ahead.

May 2014 be a good year for us all. ((((hugs))))


Saturday, December 28, 2013

A sneak peak at some new works in progress

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season. I have been having a lovely time watching the snow falling while curling up on the sofa in front of a lovely warm fire.

I have been painting a little but my progress is very slow. I started this painting back at the end of November and have only managed to finish the background so far. Still, I'm thinking positively...at least I have my first painting of the new year well on its way  :) Can you guess what my subject is going to be doing?

 I know many people like to read a book to relax, but I enjoy curling up or lying on the sofa and drawing with my pens. I can happily spend several hours a day drawing with my faithful furry friends beside me or at my feet. I just love the way Harry plops himself down sometimes watching me with his chin between his paws and back legs sprawled out behind him.  I couldn't resist using him as my subject again.

Drawing in pen really forces you to think so much about values and use them to build shape and form. Its such a fabulous way of developing an eye for value. Harry's fur is black but in some lighting conditions you can get wonderful contrasts in value as the sun, moon or other strong lighting source creates highlights and casts shadows on his shiny fur. I had great fun developing the shape and form of his velvety ear and the coarse hair on his paw this way. As you can see I still have a fair way to go on this drawing but I am really looking forward to developing Harry's facial features next... that cold wet nose and those oh so longing eyes.

So which do you think I will finish first, drawing or painting?


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winsor & Newton Award CWA 44th National Exhibition

I was very excited to get a phone call from Ruth Miller, show chair for The California Watercolor Association's 44th National Exhibition today to inform me that their juror Elaine Daily-Birnbaum, who is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the California Watercolor Association, and an AWS Dolphin Fellow  awarded my painting 'Spinning a Tale'  the Winsor & Newton Award. I feel honored to have my painting selected for this award when the quality of work in the whole exhibiton is so high with so many well known artists exhibiting.

The exhibition runs from February 14, 2014 to March 15, 2014.  The Artists’ Reception and Awards will be held February 21, 7-9 pm. I would love to be able to attend but it depends on when my surgery will be scheduled and if I am well enough.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Sorry for being so quiet here lately. I was admitted to hospital mid last week with a kidney infection and heart problems and am still in hospital while my doctors work very hard to make me more stable.

I have been taking my mind off all the monitors and tubes attached to me by drawing in pen.

I am dedicating this drawing and the message it conveys to some friends from Art Colony, a couple of friends from Wet Canvas and one locally who although are not able to be with me physically have been with me in spirit each day and who have been checking in regularly and offering support and making me smile.

I am calling this drawing 'Love' because it just sums up the love I have felt from them. Thank you all.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

California Watercolour Association 44th National Exhibition Acceptance

I am happy to be able to tell you all that my painting  'Spinning a Tale' will shortly be off on its travels to the California Watercolour Association's 44th National Exhibition. It is a pleasure to be accepted alongside so many wonderful watermedia artists.

The Exhibition Dates are :  February 14 – March 15, 2014
Venue:  Historic Olive Hyde Art Gallery, Fremont, CA


Friday, November 8, 2013

Burr House Tea Rooms Exhibition

I was invited to exhibit a selection of my paintings at the Burr House Gallery Tea Rooms in Richmond Hill. The paintings along with a selection of my most popular delux art cards and canvas bookmarks will be on display and for sale there from today until December 22nd. There are also some matted prints on display which make great gifts for the holiday season.

The Tea rooms and Craft Store are open each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Gallery Hours are 12:00pm - 4:30pm. Tea Room Hours: 12:30pm - 4:30pm. Burr House is situated at 530 Carrville Road, Richmond Hill, Ontario and is the home to some amazing potters, spinners and weavers so its well worth a visit.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Once Upon a Time

This young child is fascinated by an old typewriter. There is no delete key, no editing button but the mechanics of how it works is intriguing.

I'm really pleased with the lighting which was my main focus in this one. Some other parts I would like to have done better but that always the case with any painting I do :)  The two references I used were taken with inbuilt camera flash so the lighting was dull and boring. I'm planning a series of paintings where lighting really is the key so I wanted to paint something fairly standard just to practice changing and enhancing lighting. This was my result. I did have a lot of fun with the background too.  


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thank you

Thank you all for your thoughts about possible titles. You all gave me so many wonderful ideas. I have decided to use Karla Hott Phillips suggestion 'Once Upon a Time' as it just touches on so many of the elements in the painting... the suggestion of writing, the child like innocence, and the sense of tradition and history so thank you Karla.

 Hopefully later today I can  begin working on the portrait section of the painting.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Work in progess

I've been working on a new painting over the last week or so. Sometimes its fun to really push yourself as an artist. In this painting I am using two references taken with a very basic in built flashlight which produced flat, uninteresting lighting but I loved the potential that each photo had  especially when used together so I am developing the lighting from my imagination creating a a soft warm shaft of light.

I also wanted to create an oldy worldy feel to the scene so have tried to use the space in the background to help with this. I still have lots of work finishing the typewriter before I can begin painting the child but I thought you might be able to help me with a title. I am thinking along the lines of 'when young meet old' but am open to other suggestions.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some more photos of the Exhibition

I managed to get a couple more photos of the exhibition for those of you that were too far away to visit.

Another Ted original 'Impersonate-Ted' sold yesterday and both paintings are now with their new owners. Here they are on the walls of the exhibition just before they were collected.

Thank you to everyone who was able to visit the exhibition and I hope those of you who were too far away enjoy the photos.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Teds are Exhibit-Ted

Its been a great day at the Richmond Hill Studio Tour & Art Sale and it was so lovely to see so many smiling faces both young and old. Caffeinate-Ted sold and My Teds are really enjoying their moment of fame. I thought you might enjoy looking a a couple photos of them.
 Here is Caffeinate-Ted with the real Ted star sitting on the table below (bottom right)

There's just no telling what my Teds are going to get up to next! This one is sitting on top of Distort-Ted. He likes this painting best as he is the star!

As darkness falls it was time to close the exhibition for the evening but we will be back in the morning.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Your Invitation

If you are within travelling distance of Richmond Hill, Ontario, I would like to invite you to attend the Richmond Hill Studio Tour and Art sale on October 19th and 20th from 10am-5pm at Boynton House (on Richmond Green) 1300, Elgin Mills Rd East.

Watch this short promotional video for more details.

Hope to see many of you soon.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Mind the Step!

I thought I would share this fun watercolour I did as part of a demo for an Art in the Park event a few days ago.  The event took place in our local park which is actually right next to where we live so I didnt have far to travel. The park has a pond so I couldn't resist painting the ducks that we often see on and around it. They always amuse me how they seem to forget they can fly sometimes, especially when they have to negotiate tricky things like steps!

The painting is 21 inches by 9.5 inches and will be available for sale in the Studio Tour in a couple of weeks.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Grandpa visits the Theatre for the month of October

The painting of my husbands grandfather 'Finishing Touches' which won an award at the Signature American Watermedia Society earlier this year is on display from today until the 31st October at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts as part of the Richmond Hill Studio Tour promotion. If you live in the area pop in any time between 10am-6pm and view all the beautiful paintings on display. You can find my painting on the main north facing exhibition wall on the ground floor.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Demo painting

Over the weekend I painted at Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill as part of the Richmond Hill Studio Tour promotional weekend. For all of you that stopped by to say hi and watch me paint, here is the finished painting as promised. I wonder what the child is looking at? is it you? or is the child peaking into a garden, field or somewhere else?

I am so pleased that many of you stopped by more than once over the weekend to see my progress. Thank you all and hope to see you  at the Studio Tour next month (October 19th and 20th) at Boynton House, 1300 Elgin Mills Road East, Richmond Hill.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Selected for Strokes of Genius 6

 I've just received notification to say that my pen drawing of my gorgeous labrador Harry (with just a touch of watercolour in his eyes) has been selected for publication in North Light Books' Strokes of Genius 6: Value | Lights & Darks. This means I'm going to have work in both Splash and Strokes of Genius next year. I'm very happy :)

This Labrador waits patiently for his owner to return. His soulful eyes reveal his feelings without the need for words.
His love is unconditional.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ted's In print

A copy of 'The Art of Watercolour' magazine arrived in the mail for me yesterday afternoon.

It was very exciting to see my 6 page featured article in print.  Thanks again to Laurent Benoist and Janine Gallizia. You've done an amazing job.

If you are interested in ordering a copy of the magazine follow this link

And to all of you that live within travelling distance of the GTA, many of the Ted paintings will be on display next month at the Richmond Hill Studio Tour so keep the 19th and 20th of October free. I will post more details about the tour in a couple of weeks.


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Stitch in Time

I  finished 'A Stitch in Time' this morning.  I have cropped in very slightly from my originnal drawing as I felt it created a more intimate feel.

 As I listened to Andrea talk about the things she had made and the story each of them held, the phrase   'Memories are stitched with love'  came to my mind.  Isn't this so true? As the years go by  each garment that is hand made  holds within it a moment almost frozen in time that can remind us of days gone by and people that were loved.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Teds featured in new issue of the Art of Watercolour Magazine

I have some wonderful news to share with you today. My Ted series of paintings are featured in the new 12th issue of ‘The Art of Watercolour’ magazine which is published in France and distributed worldwide. Thank you to Janine Gallizia and Laurent Benoist for including my work in this issue. It is such an honour to be part of this beautiful magazine. I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail.

If you are interested in ordering a copy of the magazine follow this link http://www.artofwatercolour.com/  The article is also in the French version L'Art de l'Aquarelle


Saturday, August 31, 2013

'A Stitch in Time' WIP 3

Portraits are such a challenge but at the same time so enjoyable to do. I love the moment when the person begins to appear from the paper.

I feel now she is cheering me on and smiling down waiting for me to paint the rest of her. I'm really looking forward to painting the hands and bonnet section but I need to paint her blouse first.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'A Stitch in Time' WIP 2

I've now basically finished the background part of the painting. I might need to adjust the values a little on the right hand side once I have painted the portrait section but for now I'm happy.

The whole of the background is painted using only 5 colours (sepia, Perm rose, brown madder,  raw umber and a touch of French Ultramarine blue). I wanted the clock part of the background to be visible but not to overwhelm the painting so have kept the values fairly similar in this section.  I have included much more contrast in values in the face or middle section of the clock as I want the viewers attention to be drawn from my main subject Andrea and into this part of the painting.  I hope it works.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Sold at Art in the Park

As part of the Richmond Hill studio Tour promotion I was asked to paint  at an official Park opening as part of an Art in the Park event. Its always lovely to meet and chat to the public about what we love doing.

I was painting the last in the current Ted series. It's technically not quite a miniature  if you include the painted in mat but the actual painting part is only 6.5 by 2.75 inches so its pretty small.

 I hadn't quite finished it by the end of the afternoon so brought it home and finished it yesterday morning. I promised several people that I would post it here so they could see the completed painting so here it is.

The legendry detective Furlock Holmes is busy investigating another crime scene where fine art has been appreciated a little too literally! Furlock uses his trusted magnifying glass to search for the smallest clue that might lead him to the cupcake tasting criminal. But while he is caught up in the fine details of the case, is he missing the bigger picture?

and yes, the painting is sold. One of the organisers fell in love with it as I was painting it at the park and has reserved it.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


For all of us that love Teddy bears you might not know that we actually owe huge thanks to an artist for its creation as well as Teds namesake Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt.

For those who do not know the story…On November 14, 1902, Theodore Roosevelt attended a bear hunt in Mississippi. During the hunt, Roosevelt came upon a wounded young bear and ordered a mercy killing because he hated to see him suffer. The Washington Post ran an editorial cartoon created by the political cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman that illustrated the event. At first Berryman drew the bear as a fierce animal but later he redrew the bear making it a cuddly cub. The cartoon and the story it told became popular and within a year, the cartoon bear became a toy for children called the teddy bear.

This painting, while not depicting the event specifically, celebrates the idea behind it…. I wanted to capture the focus, imagination and thought that goes into a painting as the artist brings their ideas to life (quite literally in this case) on the paper.
Thank you Paul for agreeing to be my model for this painting. I really appreciate it and I hope I captured even just a little of your wonderfully creative spirit, and the care and thought you put into each painting you do.

Transparent Watercolour 22 inches by 15.75 on Arches 140lb cold press paper. 


Saturday, August 10, 2013

More progress

Blogger seems to be doing strange things today. My post from yesterday seems to have disappeared and I've just got an e mail notification for another post I made months ago instead of the one below.  I guess gremlins are in the works. Apologies if you too got the wrong or an extra e mail or feeder notification.

 I thought I would share my progress today because I finally managed to get a half decent photo of the painting so far (Its a just a touch over saturated in the background).

Paul is now nearly complete. I just have a little bit more work on the hand and brush and some final overall value adjustments then I will be ready to begin work on the objects on the table and the actual section that Paul is painting.

 I'll post again once the painting is finished.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Progress

I've been working on the portrait section of the painting over the last few days. I still have the hair on the right side to finish and the final darkening washes to go over the whole area but I need to paint in the clothes first before I can do this as some of the hair falls over the top of his shirt.

Some of the colour matching isn't as accurate as I would like in the photo above especially with the skin tones and hair which is much darker in the actual painting but hopefully as I paint more it will get easier to photograph.

It was the focus in Paul's face when I was watching him demo at the TWSA celebration weekend in June that initially gave me the idea for the painting. I think his expression sums up, for me, the love that artists have in the creative process. We begin with an idea that only we as the artist can see in our minds and are so totally absorbed in its creation as we put paint to paper.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Finally I'm painting again

I have been busy working away at the background to this painting over the last few days. Its nothing like the background in the reference photo I am using which was taken at the TWSA celebration weekend a month or so ago. I have kept the lighting direction the same but wanted to create a very different feel for this painting.

My subject? Well, can anyone guess who it is from the outline?


Friday, August 2, 2013

Featured Artist

I'm the featured artist on 'Art on the Hill' today. Click on the  link to read my feature and find out how I got started in the world of art, who my inspiration as an artist has been, what colours best describe me and the answers to several more fun questions.

Book the dates 19th and 20th of October in your calenders too because I will be part of the Richmond Hill Studio Tour again this year and will have many of my paintings on display at Boynton House in Richmond Hill that weekend. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Framing Little and Large paintings

Sorry for the silence over the last 3 weeks or so. I had my parents staying so spent a lot of time with them. I have been working on several ideas for paintings too though, just nothing yet that I can really share. I am nearly at the outline stage with a large portrait and ideas for my last two Ted paintings in the series are happily progressing too, so hopefully I will have something to share with you soon.

James and I have also been framing a couple of paintings that need to be shipped off to exhibitions next month and while we were doing this I couldn't resist framing one of the miniature Teds too. The two paintings make quite a contrast when seen together don't they.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rhythm 'n' Blues

The saxophone dances the rhythm of her notes across the air and between these notes, our heart and soul beats to her sound.

The painting certainly provided challenges... Working with such a limited palette meant that the awareness of values was a very important key to the success of the painting. It also involved a play with warmth and coolness of colour, not just in the contrast between the golden yellows and the cool misty blues but also within the individual colour ranges. It's hard to see from the jpg (apologies for this) but the blues in the background warm up nearer to the source of the light and there is also graduation  between the warmer and cooler blues on the shirt, getting cooler as you move away from the saxophone. Lastly I had to battle with all the fiddly keys and levers on the saxophone to give the impression of reality but not too much so that it becomes the total sole focus of the painting. I wanted it instead to be more part of the whole... almost an extension of the person. The use of warmth in the hands and face mirroring the warmth in the saxophone hopefully helps with this too.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More good news!

I had another e mail today to say my painting Craft-Ted with Love has been accepted into the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour CSPWC Open Water International Exhibition which will take place at the Leighton Centre in Calgary Alberta this fall.

Yay!!! Another Ted will be off on his travels :)


Monday, July 1, 2013

Pennsylvania Watercolor Society Exhibition Acceptance

I am pleased to be able to tell you that 'Coded Thoughts' has been accepted into The Pennsylvania Watercolor Society’s Annual International Juried Exhibition

The exhibition will take place at the Crary Art Gallery, 511 Market Street, Warren, PA from October 5 – November 15, 2013


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rhythm 'n' Blues WIP 2

I'm slowly working my way down the saxophone. Its taking a while to paint in all the keys and levers. There was a sense of achievement when I got down below the first hand though. 

I still have the golden wash to glaze over on the area immediately adjacent to and slightly below the hand so this area still looks a little orangy red at the moment. This will be my next step and then I can continue on down towards the second hand. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June's Tip of the Month...Painting Fur

I have had many e mails over the last few months asking me how I paint the fur on my Teds so for my June tip of the month here is a simple exercise to teach you one easy way to paint fur.

Please feel free to try the step by step below. 
The usual copyright rules do not apply to this exercise

 Painting a furry Cube

 Paint in washes of color on the cube. I have used quin red, quin gold and ultramarine blue for my cube but you can use any colours you would like. Apply a wash wet on damp on one side of the cube. Don't worry about getting a uniform covering. Once it is dry repeat this step on the other two sides.

Using a fine brush and moderately juicy paint, begin painting in the fur. Begin at the bottom of each section and work backwards following the direction of the fur. Unlike cotton like material, the fibers do not go neatly in one direction, so you can be haphazard with your brush as long as the general direction is similar.

 The effect of the fur develops with layering, so gradually add more layers with slightly different tones of paint or using a very similar pigment, e.g, for the red I used quin red and perylene maroon, for the blue, I used French Ultramarine blue and an indanthrene/ ultramarine violet mix. You can wash over the fur with a clear wash of water between layers to soften the look. Just make sure you really let the paper dry before adding the next layer of fur.

Repeat with each side of the cube...

...until you have finished

Happy Painting!