Sunday, December 14, 2014


I have finished my last painting for this year. Time for me to get ready for our christmas holidays now. This one was a huge challenge for me and I must admit I found it hard painting with these bright colours but it was a huge learning experience too so I am very glad I did it.  I am calling it Acceso because this is the musical term for 'ignited, on fire'. In spanish it also means bright, enthusiastic and passionate.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Acceso WIP 3

It is amazing how colour effects mood. I am finding that the vibrant oranges and yellows in this painting makes me want to rush at things. As a result I keep making silly mistakes which I then need to correct. Nevertheless I am making steady progress.

I had some fun today giving the arm a feeling of movement by blurring it just a little. I just thought it would add some more energy to the piece. I can't wait to paint the violin.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Acceso WIP 2

It has taken me 4 days to paint in the hair, layer by layer. I used the hairdryer as I usually do to help speed up the process. Do you think maybe the settings on it were a little on the hot side? Look what has happened to the hair! (grin)

Sorry, the camera is really struggling with capturing the bright colours as they are in the painting itself but hopefully this at least gives you an idea of my progress. Clothes next I think. 


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Acceso WIP 1

I can't believe it's December already. This year is flying by. I have been working on a new watercolour over the past week. It took me 3 days and 27 glazes to build up the background. My subject is Sarah the violinist who I also used for my painting 'Heart Strings'. She is a great model. Heart Strings was all about the quiet inner thoughts as you play on your own and reach that moment when the music can just fly away and you are at one with it. I want this painting to have a very different feel to it. I want it to be full of energy and life with a real sense of movement. 

I've been listening to the music of Lindsey Stirling as I am working on this. It really helps me to get into the feel of what I want the mood of the painting to be. As you can see from the WIP photo I have now basically done Sarah's face, just the odd tweak here and there so I am now beginning work on her beautiful red hair. I am going to have some fun with the hair. If any of you know musical terms, the word 'Acceso' might give you a clue as to what I am planning to do with the hair.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

'Here's looking at you Kid'

I have been busy drawing out, stretching and masking a new watercolour this week. This involves a lot of waiting time as the stretched paper and masking fluid dry so I used this time  to  have some fun drawing "Here's Looking at You Kid".  Little Act-Ted utters the famous line  of the movie Casablanca with the deepest voice he could muster.  Do you think we should give him the part?

 I just couldn't resist doing this one in scratchboard as it really helped me to capture the Film Noir feel.  It is  drawn on a 11 by 14 inch Ampersand museum grade board.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Several of my art friends who do scratchboard have been wanting me to have a go for ages so I decided to try it out.  Harry very kindly posed for me. I used a touch of watercolour in his eyes. Any guesses what he was looking at?

 This drawing sold today. Someone saw it on my facebook page  so will be on its way to the US in the next day or two once the scratchboard is sealed.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Harry's in print!

My copy of Strokes of Genius 6: The Best of Drawing hardback book arrived in the mail today. Of course my now famous pup Harry had to have first look.

 He was so pleased that he is right at the begining of the book right opposite Rachel's introduction because turning the pages with his paws was quite tricky (grin). After finding page 7 and admiring the drawing of himself he had to read what I had written about him. He liked the bit best about him having a soulful expression. He does do this expression so well don't you think?

Hope you enjoy the photo's. If you would like to order your own copy of this book or Splash 15: The Best of Watercolor both are now available in bookstores or directly through North Light Books


Monday, November 10, 2014

Wherever my music takes me...

I had so much fun creating this painting, following my imagination and seeing where it took me. Just me and my guitar, with the warm sun on my skin and a faint breeze in the air.

Transparent Watercolour 32 inches by 17.5 inches


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Progress update

 James took this photo this morning. He was behind and above me  as he was taking it but this is almost the view I get as I am painting. Kind of fun isn't it. As you can see, I have nearly finished the giant guitar shaped platform.  I loved the idea of the fret board at this size acting like a long walkway and was reminded of a quote by Angus Young " I just go where the guitar takes me" when I first thought of the idea.

 There really isn't much detail in the painting so far. I am just trying to create the feeling of space, and a sense of depth and distance. How many of you have been high up in the mountains early in the day as the sun is rising? It's a wonderful sight. That's the atmosphere I am trying to capture.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Journey of Creation

After nearly a month without painting it feels so good to have my brushes in my hands again and to begin another journey of creation. I hope you will enjoy coming on the journey with me.

James took this photo of me earlier this evening well after the light had faded. I was just putting the finishing touches to the background section of the painting and was illuminated only by the strip of halogen lights above me. I have also inserted a separate photo of just the painting so far in the top left side so you can see it more clearly. I wanted to create the atmosphere of a misty morning sunrise in the background. It's sort of symbolic really because in any creative journey, however much you plan, you often have to take a leap of faith and head off into the unkown. It's scary sometimes but very exciting too.

I can't wait for tomorrow when I can continue on my journey of creation.  Hope you like the photo.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Curry's Da Vinci Award CSPWC 89th Open Water International Exhibition

It's certainly been a week of good news. I had a phone call on Wednesday evening to say  'A Penny for your Thoughts' had won the Curry's Da Vinci Award in the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour 89th Open Water International Exhibition. WOW!!!!!!! The award presentation was yesterday evening. Luckily it was in Toronto so not far to go this time.

In the photo I am standing with my winning painting beside Doug Mays who was one of the jurors for the exhibition. 

The other jurors were Joanne Lucas Warren and Barbara Mitchell.  In the last photo  vice president Rayne Tunley is presenting my award.

Thank you to Curry's Art Store for sponsoring the award and to the board members of CSPWC for organising such a lovely evening. The exhibition is open until November 21st at the John B Aird Gallery, 900 Bay St. Toronto, Ontario.


Monday, October 27, 2014

'Heart Strings' wins NFWS 12th National Exhibition

Yesterday we went to the NFWS 12th National Exhibition  opening and award presentation. My painting Heart Strings was awarded 1st place. I am so thrilled.

Here are just a few photo's that we took. My painting is hanging right next to the grand piano. Its a perfect position don't you think?

James took this photo as I was receiving my award

and after my painting got its 1st place ribbon

 Pat Fortunato who won 2nd place and I posed for a photo.

It was a wonderful reception. A huge congratulations to all the artists with paintings in the exhibition which is at the Kenan Center, 433 Locust Street, Lockport, NY. The exhibition will be open until November 16th.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Photo's from the Richmond Hill Studio Tour and Art Sale

It was so nice to see so many people at the Studio Tour this last weekend. Thank you to everyone that stopped by to see my work.  Here are a few photo's for those of you that live too far away to have visited and asked to see the exhibition.

 Boynton House is a beautiful old farmhouse on Richmond Green that has been renovated by the Town and fitted with a hanging system and lighting. Its a beautiful venue to display my work.
The local newspaper Snap Richmond Hill visited to take some photos.

They also posed for a photo themselves with the director of On Richmond Hill Marj Andre who purchased one of my Caffeinate-Ted mugs.

Hope you enjoyed the photo's. If you are interested in any of the paintings or drawings in the photographs please e mail.

For those of you that did visit and entered my competition, the winner  that was drawn at the end of the weekend was Mimi Chan. Congratulations Mimi.  I hope you enjoy your matted print.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

California Watercolor Association 45th National Exhibition Acceptance

Really happy to receive notification that my painting 'Coded Thoughts'  has been juried into the 45th California Watercolor Association National Exhibition. The exhibition will take place at The Harrington Gallery, 4444 Railroad Avenue, Pleasanton, CA early next year.


Monday, October 13, 2014

An invitation from Ona

There are only 4 days now until the Richmond Hill Studio Tour and Art Sale. I hope you will be able to visit if you are within travelling distance. Enjoy  this short slideshow of just a small portion of what Chris and I will have on display during the weekend.

Boynton House will be open on Friday evening between 5pm-9pm and then both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm. Hope to see you during one of these times.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Strokes of Genius 6

My very special labrador Harry is now in print on page 7 of the new Strokes of Genius 6: The Best of Drawing published by North Light Books. You can now order or download your copy of Strokes of Genius 6 from North Light books. It will be available in bookstores 10/23/14. The original drawing will be on display at the Richmond Hill Studio Tour & Art Sale on the 17th, 18th and 19th of October.


Monday, September 29, 2014


Thank you to everyone that stopped in to Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill over the weekend. I thought you would like to see the finished demo painting, 'Flabbergast-Ted' .  

Visitors who came to Hillcrest as I was demoing were asked to guess what the baby and Ted might be looking at.  Some of their ideas were: hundreds of butterflies, snow for the first time, Santa, mommy dying her hair purple, Dad taking a photo with a big flash and a huge hairy spider. I'd love to hear any other ideas you may have.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Demoing at Hillcrest Mall this Weekend

As part of the Culture Days | FĂȘte de la culture Richmond Hill Studio Tour & Art Sale preview show, I am going to be painting at Hillcrest Mall this Friday, Saturday or Sunday (26-28th). Watch me as I work on this new Ted painting.

Any guesses from the painting so far what the Ted word will be?

  I will be located inside the former Costa Blanca store (south/east corner of the Mall, where the three pathways intersect). Several other Studio Tour Artists will be there too so come and see some art and watch us at work!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thank you to the Northern Ontario Art Association

I have had a wonderful few days in Sudbury jurying the Northern Ontario Art Association's 58th annual exhibition. It was a tough task with so many beautiful works of art entered. The photo below shows only half of the entries which were placed around the room on jury day. From around 130 entries my fellow Juror and I were asked to choose between 35-40  which will tour many of the communities in Northen Ontario for the next year and from these to select 12 award winners.

The selected works were then displayed along with the rest of the paintings for the official opening of the exhibition so that the community could enjoy all 130 paintings and hear the announcement of the award winners.

Many local business sponsored awards. Its always so good to see a local community supporting the arts in this way.  Joe Miller from Cheap Joes Art supplies also donated an award. Thank you for your generosity Joe.

Fellow Juror Joanne and I were made to feel very welcome and enjoyed speaking to many of the artists.

I would  like to thank the local art community not only for making me feel so welcome but also for giving me the beautiful hand made gifts, souveniers of Sudbury and flowers. They are lovely momentoes of the occasion.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Strokes of Genius 7

It's been quite the week for good news! I was VERY pleased to get a Congratulations e mail from Sarah and Rachel at North Light Books when I got back from Jurying the NOAA exhibition yesterday evening to say my pen and ink drawing 'Paws for Thought' has been selected for publication in North Light Books' Strokes of Genius 7: Depth, Dimension + Space. 

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.