Saturday, December 10, 2016

Paint Along with Ona

My Holiday gift to you all this year is a paint along with me. In this video you will see how I create realistic folds in fabric. I hope you will enjoy following along and painting your own version of this simple Holiday themed watercolour using just 6 colours. If you don't have the colours I use, just substitute for ones you do have. You need a neutral colour,  a purple/red, a pink, a warmer orange/red, a mid brown, and an orange/brown.

If you have subscribed to my e mail notifications or you want to see the video full screen please click on the link to my Youtube channel:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Feed the Birds

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is the purest joy you can experience.

I really enjoyed painting this. I think the child's joy must have been contagious. I love painting both children and animals so having both in one painting was a lot of fun to do. I used  5 different reference photo's to create this. The Chickadees were actually visitors to my feeders over this past summer. It took me many attempts to get the references I wanted. The cookies are  a pile of my husband's favourite chocolate chip flavour that I photographed and the child is from an old photo I had.

Can anyone help me out with ideas for a title?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Feed the Birds WIP 2

I am really enjoying working on this painting. I think the child's delight must be contagious, don't you? As promised, here's an update on my progress.

People often ask me what I think as I paint. Do I focus on the colours or the values or where to put the detail? Although I think about all three, more than anything I think about the emotion or atmosphere I want to convey as I paint. In this one I am trying to capturing the feelings of softness, delicacy, joy and sunshine. I wonder if it's my subconscious making up for the shorter, colder days that we have now by filling my painting with light and warmth?

Monday, November 28, 2016

An early Christmas gift

Christmas came early today for my special little boy Harry. Jamie Markle from F&W kindly sent us a special preview copy of the newly published book 'Art Journey Animals' which has my drawing of Harry as the front cover. I hope you enjoy the photo's my husband took as I unwrapped the package and showed the book to Harry. I think he approves, don't you?

'Hey Harry, Santa heard you wish. A package has arrived from F&W'

'Look Harry, it's you on the front cover. Isn't that awesome!'

'That's me, that is. They have made my eyes extra shiny too'

The book can be pre ordered from North Light Books

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Feed the Birds WIP 1

I realised looking back through my blog this year I haven't done a single WIP. I think I've been either so absorbed in the process  or had a crisis of confidence in what I was trying to do that I have shy'd away from sharing as I paint. I thought that today I would change this, as the little face looking at me and my brush right now just radiates such happiness that I hope it will make you smile too.

As you can see I have a LONG way to go with this but the child's delight has reminded me to just enjoy the moment that is now.

Whatever you are doing today, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving as many of my US friends are doing or it's just a normal  Thursday as it is here in Canada, I hope you can find some joy too.

I am not sure how speedy I am going to be with this as the holiday season is fast approaching but I will try to share my progress with this as I go.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Art Journey Animals

Harry can't wait to get his own special copy with my drawing of him on the jacket cover. Art Journey: Animals is now available to pre-order from North Light Books and is estimated to be shipped around the 15th December. I wonder if Santa will manage to get Harry's copy here in time for Christmas? 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Light's Rainbow

As Watercolour artists we know that every colour works as a team to create the white light that we strive so hard to capture in our paintings. Although the light we see in the world may appear colourless, the sunlight we strive to capture in our art is actually white light that is composed of all the colors of the spectrum working together. You don't see the individual colours most of the time but they are there working in harmony: a rainbow is proof of this. The sum of all the colors creates the white light. By working together they create something pure and beautiful and uplifting.

 With this in mind I chose to use all the colours of the rainbow in this painting to help me create an illusion of pure, simple white light on my paper. Its only through the diversity of my palette that the beauty of the light shines out.

 (((Hugs to you all today, whatever your race, colour, beliefs, or philosophies. Remember, just as in this painting, diversity can be our strength not our weakness if we work together in harmony.)))

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Thinking Cap

 With all the hate and animosity on the web and news at the moment I do wonder about how this is affecting our children and how they think and feel about what is happening.

'My Thinking Cap' Transparent Watercolour 24 by 16 inches

 I wanted to capture this in a painting. In the background I have written quotes about love and hate, racism versus tolerance of others, good and evil. The child thinks about these things. They become part of him and how he views the world and the people in it.

 In front of him is largely a blank canvas representing the future. As he stares ahead he will, over time form his own thoughts and this empty space will be filled in.

 Please be kind to others and not hateful towards those who do not feel the same way as you. Show some tolerance, love and understanding of others thoughts and beliefs so our children learn by our example and fill the years ahead of them with love, understanding and tolerance too.

Careful the things you say 
 Children will listen 
Careful the things you do 
Children will see And learn 
Guide them along the way 
 Children will glisten 
Children will look to you 
For which way to turn 
To learn what to be 
Careful before you say 
"Listen to me" 
Children will listen 
 (from Disney's Into the Woods)

I love the idea behind this painting but for some reason I am not totally happy with the way it's turned out. Something is wrong. I think I will just put it away for a while and then maybe look again in a couple of weeks. So for now I'm calling it done but we will see.... I will let you know if I decide to make any changes.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Cheap Joe's Award 2016 NFWS National Exhibition

I had a wonderful message yesterday evening from fellow artist Cathy O'Neill letting me know that my painting 'Thought Bubbles' won the Cheap Joe's Art Stuff Award in the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society's 13th National Exhibition. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the opening reception yesterday afternoon. The composite photo below shows NFWS vice president Cathy Skeeter with my painting and the painting label with juror Thomas Schaller's comment. Thank you both for taking the time to pose for, take, and send me the photo. I really appreciate it.

Thanks to all at NFWS for making this exhibition possible and to juror Thomas Schaller, Thank you also to Joe Miller for donating the award.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Puppy love

   I've spent the last couple of days curled up on the sofa drawing with my faithful friend beside me watching my progress. This is him as a youngster. He is now 14 years old but he still knows how to leave paw prints on my heart with those soulful eyes of his.

' Puppy Love ' Pen and ink (10.5 by 7 inches)

Love, they say, is patient,
Love, they say, is kind,
It sees beyond another’s faults
For love, they say, is blind.
Love will not diminish,
Or rush or fade with years,
But it will gain its strength
From time, from laughter, joy and tears.
Love is God’s own gift to us.
A present from above,
He gives us peace, He gives us joy,
But first He gives us love. (Anon)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Photo's from the Studio Tour

It was a lovely weekend at Covernotes Tea and Coffee House in Richmond Hill. We had lots of visitors. There were many familiar faces and some new faces too. Thank you to everyone that stopped by to see my work.

For those of you too far away to visit I hope you will enjoy these photos. If you are interested in any of the paintings please let me know. All are now available for sale.

These two sold during the weekend. The new owners kindly allowed me sharing their comments about the artwork with you all.

'We went on this life long dream vacation to Africa this last spring for our Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration and your pen and ink 'The Touch of love' just captures EVERYTHING about that special time and our lifelong love for each other. It might only be 11 by 14 inches framed but, to us it is HUGE in the emotion it conveys.'          Nancy

 'I have suffered from Depression for years and at times feel like a huge cloud hangs over me. Your painting 'After the Storm' gives me such hope each time I look at it. However heavy those dark clouds may feel there can be such colour awaiting us if we just plough through. I am putting this piece of work up in my bedroom so that its the first thing I see each day and the last thing at night to remind me of that message. Thank you for reminding me that hope and light and colour and strength and power is just behind those clouds.'        Han

Thank you for all the e mails, messages and phone calls about the weekend and my work. They touch my heart.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Ona invites you to Covernotes for the Richmond Hill Studio Tour

 Details of opening times and address of Covernotes can be found on your invite below.

I will have over 20 original pieces of art on display and for sale. I will also have over 40 different art card designs, my new book, and various other gift items for sale or to order.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Leaf me be

There are times in our lives when we just need to take a break, to disconnect, to figure things out. At these times we need to be alone. We don't need to be comforted by others, we just need a quiet moment to take things in, all that has been, time to pull ourselves together again, or time to just let go.

'Leaf me be' Transparent Watercolour 20 by 28 inches

Creating this painting at my busiest time of year, for me has been my time out, my alone time, just me and my brushes, time for me to gather my thoughts. It has just been an odd hour here and there over the last few weeks but my 'alone time' with my brushes during these odd moments was just what I needed. 

Make sure you take the time out to take care of yourself however busy you are. You deserve it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Awarded NWS signature

I had a call today from from Ken Goldman, president of the National Watercolor Society. I have been accepted as a signature member of NWS! This good news couldn't have arrived on a better day as it's our celebrate watercolour day here in Canada today.

This painting 'Sognando' which means to dream, was one of the ones I submitted. I chose it because an NWS signature was my next BIG dream!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

CSPWC Open Water

It's always an honour to have a painting selected to exhibit in a Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour International Open Water Exhibition.

From Little acorns has just been accepted into the exhibition this year. The exhibition is open from October 20th to November 18th at the JOHN B. AIRD GALLERY, 900 Bay St. Toronto, Ontario.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Art of Watercolour Magazine Issue 24

I am honoured have one of my paintings inlcuded in the latest edition of 'The Art of Watercolour Magazine' Issue 24 as part of an article on the latest works of previously featured artists.

 Thanks to Laurent Benoist, Janine Gallizia and the editorial team of the magazine for the excellent job you do.

You can order the full magazine as a pdf to read on line or the actual physical magazine from 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Strokes of Genius 9 Winner Notification

I had some amazing news to end my birthday yesterday evening:

"Congratulations! We are very happy to inform you that 'Forever and Always' and 'Act-Ted' have been selected for publication in North Light Books' Strokes of Genius 9!"

Harry, my labrador, just LOVES being in the Strokes of Genius books. This will be his third. 

and Little Act-Ted.... well you know how much my Teds enjoy being in books! The theme for this one is 'Creative Discoveries' and it will be published in the fall of 2017.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A magic moment

Sometimes you have to grab those magic moments in time. This little cygnet seemed to know I love to paint animals as she lingered in the water beside me just a little longer than her siblings before moving away. I just had to try capturing her wonderful expression with my brushes.

 (Transparent watercolour 7 by 10 inches)
I used a very limited palette, kept it pretty high key to help me to convey the softness and delicacy I was striving for and then added just a few darks to really help accentuate the cygnets coy expression. Sometimes just a few brush strokes can capture so much.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society 13th National Exhibition of Transparent Watercolors and finally a new painting!

It's been a busy couple of weeks with lots of exciting news.   

 I had an email yesterday to ler me know that both 'Thought Bubbles' and 'Accelerando' have been accepted into the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society's 13th National Exhibition of Transparent Watercolors! The exhibition will be in Lockport, NY, October 30-November 13th. The juror is Thomas Schaller.

I haven't done much painting this month because I have been slowly working on framing these newer paintings and getting my new art cards designed ready for printing. The Ted book has also taken up a fair amount of my time but I have completed one smallish painting. It was well out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed the challenge.

Thank you Paul Jackson for challenging me to paint a city night scene. I really enjoyed creating the illusion of light in the darkness. I chose to paint the sparkling city lights of Toronto because, well you know me, there is always a story or some meaning behind my paintings.

Toronto is a beautiful, almost magical city at night, especially when viewed from across the water. But, to me the light in the darkness is on more than one level. Yes, it has its faults, nowhere is perfect and there will always be dark moments but the light that shines metaphorically through the love and tolerance people show for each other here is very noticeable. I hope I managed to capture a little of both the physical light in the darkness and through my colour palette the love, tolerance and acceptance that this city shows the world is possible.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that" Martin Luther King Jr

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I'm so Excite-Ted!!! My book TENDERHEART-TED TALES is now available to pre order. All pre orders will be hand signed with a personalised message and will include a canvas Ted bookmark.

The 62 page hardback image wrap book is $85 Canadian Dollars with free shipping to Canada and the US. (Book size: 7 inches square) To reserve your copy please e mail

If you are receiving this blog post by e mail please click on the link to the blog to watch the promotional video or watch it full screen on youtube here

Monday, August 15, 2016

96th Annual NWS International Exhibition Acceptance

I am so thrilled to have had my painting 'Looking down at you looking up at me' accepted into the the 96th National Watercolor Society International 2016 Exhibition! Its been a great few days!

The Exhibition will open in the NWS Gallery in San Pedro, California, on October 22 and be on display through December 18.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

People's Choice Award Transparent Watercolor Society of America 40th Annual Exhibition

It's always a thrill to win the peoples choice award especially in such a beautiful exhibition as the Transparent Watercolor Society of America Exhibition. I am even more thrilled to have won this award two years in a row! Thank you to everyone that voted for it!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Exhibition Opening and Workshop News

I have taken a break from painting for a few weeks while I worked on a book I am planning to publish later this year. More details on this will follow soon.

I also taught a one day workshop in my home town of Richmond Hill. I rarely do workshops at the moment but had my arm twisted to do one here. We had so much fun!

Everyone was learning how to create smooth transitional washes and we painted a misty lake scene to practice the techniques.

Everyone busy at work!

I was also lucky enough to be able to attend the  Pennsylvania Watercolor Society opening reception and awards presentation. Thank you to all the PWS board members for making my husband and I feel so welcome at the PWS awards reception this weekend. Here are just a few photos from the day.

Me being presented with my award by Vice President Karen Frattali

with my painting 'snips, snails and puppy dog tails'

It was a LONG drive (thank you James for driving me there and back) But it was so worth it to see the exhibition, receive my award in person and meet some of the other artists too.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Looking down at you looking up at me

I wanted to tackle this portrait from an unsual viewpoint so I decided to pretend that we, the viewer, are something quite small right down on the ground and are looking up at the child.  I wonder what we are? We are obviously VERY interesting, don't you think?

Transparent Watercolour 24.5 by 15.5 inches. This was so much fun to paint.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

National Watercolor Society Reciprocal Award

I had some very exciting news yesterday evening.

'Congratulations! The Awards for this year’s Pennsylvania Watercolor Society’s 37th Juried Exhibition have been chosen by our Awards Juror, James McFarlane, President Emeritus, American Watercolor Society. Your painting 'Snips, snails and puppy dog tails' has been selected for the National Watercolor Society Reciprocal Award.'


I was also honoured to have the painting chosen to be on the event invitation.

The exhibition opens next weekend at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, Millersberg. It continues until late August.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

From Little Acorns

I finished the painting I have been working on this morning and am calling it 'From little Acorns'. This  is part of the well known saying 'Mighty oaks from little acorns grow' and is so true.  Many great things do grow from small beginnings.

My inspiration for this painting was the parallel between the young child full of hopes and dreams and the young oak sapling.  At the moment both child and oak sapling are small and vunerable and need tender loving care to grow but both are also so full of potential for greatness. Just as the tiny acorn sapling given the right conditions will grow into a mighty oak tree the young child's hopes and dreams given the right support and encouragement will be the gateway to their greater destiny.

Transparent Watercolour  Approx 21 by 20.25 inches

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Childhood memories

Remember all those times when you were young and you had to stand really still while your mom or dad did your hair? I am always reminded of these times when I paint hair in a portrait. Its a slow process and never works as well if you try to rush it. So I just put on some music, relax and enjoy the process.

I thought you might enjoy a small snippit of me at work today. Its a good job the child in my painting is so still. Imagine the hair style she would get if she moved while I was painting!

If you are getting this blog post via e mail, go directly to the blog to see the video.


Sunday, May 29, 2016


I was honoured to be asked to create a watercolour for the TWSA's 2016 mini painting auction and just had to create one with a transparent watercolour theme. Now we all know that when painting in transparent watercolour preserving your whites is the key. Little white Paint-Ted has been trying so hard to preserve his whites but when you are a young bear with deliciously juicy rich tubes of watercolour to experiment with this is such a hard thing to do. Pigment-Ted, on the other hand is learning, first hand, about the art of glazing. I think someone maybe should have told him that this layering of colour is supposed to happen on the paper though and not on him though, don't you?

 Click on this link to see the other paintings in the mini auction this year. You can bid on line for any of the paintings in the auction at any time over the next two weeks until June 11.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Love on the Rocks

The lyrics of the well known song by Neil Diamond was my inspiration for this painting.

'Love on the rocks
Ain't no big surprise
Just pour me a drink
And I'll tell you my lies
Yesterday 's gone
Now all I want is a smile.....' 

The background tells the story of first their passionate romance on the purple A side of the record and then the break up on the blue B side. I wanted the standing glass with the wonderful refraction of the two lovers dancing on the A side of the record to be the first focal point and then as we begin to look more closely for our eyes to wander down to the more distorted images of them at the back of the fallen glass and then forwards following the flow of the melted ice leading finally to the lonely man from the B side of the record walking dejectedly away in the puddle on the floor.
Transparent Watercolour 20.5 by 26 inches

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Weimer Congemi Memorial Award

Exciting News! My painting 'Animato Assai' has won the Weimer Congemi Memorial Award in the Louisiana Watercolor Society's 46th International Exhibition.

I have to tell you an amusing story about the shipping of this painting. This is my fourth year in the LWS exhibition and all other years it has taken 8 days for the painting to travel down to Louisiana from here in Canada. So I shipped this one allowing the same amount of time. It arrived in only 4 days! I guess when a painting's title means 'very animated' it has an effect on the travel time (smile). Thank you to A Plus shipping for being so accomodating and taking the painting in early.

The LWS 46th International exhibition opened yesterday and continues until May 21 at Place St. Charles, 201 St. Charles Ave. New Orleans.  If you live in the area I hope you will be able to visit.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pennsylvania Watercolor Society’s 37th Annual International Juried Exhibition Acceptance

I had notification today to say that 'Snips snails and puppy dog tails' has been accepted into the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society’s 37th Annual International Juried Exhibition.

Mischief and Giggles, Fun and Love,
That's what I hope this painting is made of.

The exhibition will be held at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, 176 Water Company Road, PO Box 33, Millersburg, PA and will run from July 5, 2016 – August 27, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thought Bubbles

Our thoughts are like soap bubbles floating in a gentle breeze on a summer’s day. Some are large, like dreams that glisten full of hope and promise. Others are smaller and less flamboyant but perfectly formed.  

Just like our thoughts, the fragile beauty of each rainbow coloured liquid orb is fascinating. For a short time they are a floating miracle, until they are no more.  Nothing is permanent, and like our thoughts and dreams, all things change.

Thank you for all your lovely ideas over the past few days about what the child might be thinking. I have a very creative group of friends. I will leave it to your imaginations to decide what thoughts she has in each bubble. (Transparent Watercolour 28.5 by 18 inches.)

Soap Bubbles are such fun to paint. This 10 minute video shows me painting a simplified version of the bubbles I created in the painting above. It isnt an instructional video. It was simply a first attempt at videoing me painting. I am really happy with the mount that my husband has made for the video camera so it can be suspended right over my painting area but we do need to work on better lighting as the glare from the wet paper is distracting and the colours are quite dull. Nevertheless I thought you might enjoy seeing my very first video attempt. (If you are subscribed to my blog e mail notification and are reading this as an e mail you will need to go to the blog if you would like to see the video)


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Portrait WIP 1

Look who has been appearing on my paper over the last few days. I love the dreamy look in those eyes.  Any guesses what the child I am painting might be thinking about?