Sunday, December 24, 2017

Wishing you all a very happy Holiday Season

Look for the magic in the smallest things. The snow gently falling, the twinkling of the lights. Have a wonderful holiday season. See you all in 2018.

Music credit: "Up on a Housetop"
Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Just Ducking Out

Very happy to find out that 'Just Ducking Out' was awarded second Place in the 2017 Georgina Art Gallery Juried Exhibition.

This transparent Watercolour is my fun take on what would happen if I ever tried plein aire painting. I'm such a slow painter that if I ever tried to paint this plein aire my subjects the wood ducklings would grow up and fledge before I ever got a change to finish the painting.

 The painting will be on display until January 21st, 2018. Gallery Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am- 4pm, Saturday 10am- 4pm, Sunday 12pm- 4pm 149 High St. Box 1455, Sutton , ON. L0E 1R0

Friday, November 24, 2017


Transparent Watercolour 30.5 by 21.5 inches. 

This one was such fun to do. It's the 2nd in my new series of  portraits focusing on larger than life expressions. Most people experience a degree of natural fear when exposed to heights but for some it can be overwhelming. 

I was going to call this painting Vertigo but technically a fear of heights and a feeling you are going to fall is actually Acrophobia. Maybe I should just call it Hold on tight! Any other ideas would be very gratefully received.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Vertigo WIP

I love the moment when a face starts to appear on the paper. This is going to be the second in my larger than life series of close up faces capturing emotions. As I was painting him this morning I couldn't help but laugh because, at the moment he looks as white as a sheet!

 I am sure he is yelling out  'NOOOOo!!! What are you doing!!! Don't paint me here!!! (grin)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Finalist: Richeson 75 Animals, Birds & Wildlife 2017 Competition

I was very happy to receive an e mail this evening to let me know that both my entries, 'It's been a Hard Days Night' (Transparent Watercolour) and 'Forever and Always' (Scratchboard), have been selected as finalists in Richeson 75 Birds, Animals and Wildlife online exhibition.

The exhibition will be published online on December 1st.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New 'Paint Along with Ona' Video

I've just finished a new 'Paint Along with Ona' video. I hope you will enjoy watching and maybe even trying your own version. November is a gloomy month so creating your own light in a painting is a great way to brighten up your day. This painting would also make an awesome holiday card. So why not click on the link below, watch the video, paint your own version and send it to your friends.

Painting Light in watercolour is fun because the light is really already there in the white of the paper. All you need to paint is the dark around it and the light magically appears. Have fun!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Once Upon a Dragon

I know I usually write a 'story' with my paintings but this time, I think you all can create the story. What do you think will happen next?

'Once Upon a Dragon' Transparent Watercolour  22 by 16 inches

Friday, October 27, 2017

Once Upon a Dragon WIP

I have to follow my heart when I am painting.

I began working on this idea for a painting back in January this year but abandoned it when it was only half done because I wasn't happy with it.

Sometimes, when you get an idea in your mind, you think you know what you want but, then you start to see it appear on the paper and you realise it isn't your vision. I know some people say 'but no one else will know' and it's true, they won't... but I know... and when I know the creation becomes more of a mechanical technical process rather than an emotive one and that just isn't me.

So.... 10 months later, here is where I have got to so far. I moved the children closer together, tilted the child on the right in a little more to make the scene feel more intimate as I want to viewer to feel that they are there too.

I guess I paint with my heart just as much, if not more than with my hands. Lots of work still to do but hopefully this time it will be finished soon.

Monday, October 16, 2017

So much of what we see with our eyes is transient and ephemeral. Sights rest with us for only a brief moment and then they fly away just like butterflies.  What we feel with our hearts  in contrast is everlasting and eternal.

Thank you to everyone who stopped and watched me paint at the Toronto Exhibition Centre this weekend. Your presence was only fleeting but your lovely comments will remain with me for a long time.

Transparent Watercolour 28.5 by 16 inches. Any ideas for a title for this painting?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Strokes of Genius 9

I was very happy today to receive a sneak peak of my pages in the new Strokes of Genius 9: Creative Discoveries which will be published by North Light Books later this month. (Two scratch boards this time) One of my drawings of my Labrador, Harry, will be featured on page 20 (He is so excited to see the 4th book he will be featured in) and one of my Teds is on page 65

If you would like to pre-order a copy you can purchase it directly from North light books 

 Or if you live in Canada you can pre-order it from

Sunday, October 1, 2017

IWS Canada

I had the enormous pleasure of being part of the team of 4 jurors for IWS Canada's Canada 150 celebration exhibition. With over 1450 entries it was a task that took us over a week to complete. Since then I have been working on creating this video of the 150 finalists. I hope you will enjoy seeing it.

 You know, as a juror, you are going to disappoint far more than you can make happy and that it won't be possible to accept many excellent paintings especially in a situation such as this when we could only accept 150 out of 1450. It was such a huge pleasure though to look through and study in detail so many beautiful works of art though and it has certainly inspired me as an artist to strive to work more on areas in my own work and improve. What I enjoyed most about this experience though was how the world united and helped our beautiful country to celebrate its 150th birthday. It truly was a wonderful experience.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Schomberg Street Gallery, Rhythm of Life Watercolours and other news

The weather was wonderful on Sunday for the Schomberg Street Gallery and we had many visitors. Thank you to everyone who popped by.

It's such a lottery with the weather at outdoor events that you can never plan what to actually take with you until the day before. As the weather was looking good I decided to take several matted and framed originals with me. I was very happy I did because two of them sold. 

On the theme of sales, my Rhythm of Life series are now back from exhibition and have all been released for sale on my website.  

So what else have I been up to?

As President of IWS Canada I had the pleasure of jurying the Canada 150 ways to celebrate competition over the last few weeks. With over 1450 entries to look through it has taken quite some time. I think all 4 jurors wished Canada was 350 years old so we could choose more finalists! I am currently making a video of the 150 selected finalists. There are some amazing works of art! IWS Canada will be announcing the finalists and winners in just over a weeks time on October 1st. 

I have also been working with several art associations and individuals planning some exciting workshops for the next two years here in Ontario. I have started to put details about them on my website Hope you will all enjoy the topics we have planned.

Hoping to get back to painting soon.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Demo at the Aurora Public Library

My paint brushes and I had a workout today demoing at the Aurora Public Library. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and watched me paint, shared memories and chatted about art and life. Here is my finished demo piece.

Just as my brushes danced across the paper as I painted this, these ballet shoes create art too. They are the dancer's brushes, and the floor is their canvas. This pair lay waiting to create their art.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


A friend offered to let me take some photo's of her granddaughter a few weeks ago to use for reference photos. I  think we spent most of the time searching for butterflies as she was fascinated by them. I did take over 100 photos though so have plenty of material to work from. This is the first of several paintings I will be doing over the coming months and is being painted for the family. I still have a long way to go before it's done but that moment when an adorable face like hers appears on the paper was I thought worth a post here.

Any guesses what she might be looking at?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

CSPWC 92nd Open Water International Exhibition Acceptance

I am thrilled to have my painting 'Red Alert' selected for the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour 92nd Open Water International Exhibition.
The exhibition will take place at the John B Aird Gallery in Toronto and will run from September 19th to October 13th 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Rhythm of Life: An Exhibition of Transparent Watercolours

 12 of my music themed paintings are now on exhibition at the Colleen Abbott Gallery, Aurora Public Library, Ontario.

Hope you enjoy this video and hearing about some of my thoughts that inspired the paintings.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

It's been a hard days night!

I began this painting in a beautiful woodland garden at the Schomberg Garden Tour a couple weeks ago, worked in it some more at First Friday Richmond Hill yesterday, and put the finishing touches to it at home today. Even rascal raccoons can be peaceful sometimes. This little one is snoozing in the sunshine high up in a tree.

Transparent Watercolour 13.5 by 7.25 inches

Thursday, June 22, 2017

First Place Award International Watermedia 2017

I was so thrilled to find out that my painting 'From Little Acorns' was chosen to receive the First Place Award in the Pikes Peak International Watermedia 2017 exhibition. CONGRATULATIONS to all the other award winners and thank you to juror Soon Y. Warren

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Citrus Sunshine

Some days, when its miserable and rainy, you just have to create your own sunshine. Painting this watercolour has been my way of finding sunshine over the last few days. Since last Friday its been cloudy and rainy here almost every day so just in case your day is gloomy too I hope this sunny painting brightens your day.

Transparent Watercolour 25 by 16.5 inches

Saturday, June 3, 2017

First Friday Richmond Hill

It was our first ever 'First Friday' event in downtown Richmond Hill yesterday evening and I had a lovely time painting in the sunshine and chatting to the people walking around. I think the happy warm sunshine flowed into my painting too. Its not finished yet but this is where I got to by the end of the evening.

Any guesses when type of birds are visiting my painted oranges?

This is a photo of me with our local MP for Richmond Hill Majid Jowhari. Photo credit: Phil Shepherd

Monday, May 22, 2017


 Never belittle a child's game of pretend because everything we take for granted today like our computers, TV's, phones and cars and even the airplanes we use to fly around the world in, began in someone's imagination. While reality has defined limits, imagination is boundless. Our imaginations can be used not just to escape reality, but to create it and shape it's future. So be the master of your fate, the captain of your soul. Imagine, Believe and you WILL Achieve!

I had so much fun with this. Steampunk is an eclectic world of steam, goggles, cogs and rivets. It is a playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration so it seemed fitting that I used this style for this painting. Fitting too the I share the finished painting today as it is Victoria day here in Canada and Steampunk's origins are in the Victorian Era. Happy Victoria Day!

Transparent Watercolour 22.5 by 18 inches

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Emotive Expressions Gift Store

You can now buy directly from the Gift Store on the Emotive Expressions website using my newly installed online shopping cart.

All prices are in Canadian Dollars. Happy shopping!

Sunday, May 14, 2017


The steampunk style background scene on my paper is done, so today I started work on the child. I think this is going to be my last portrait for a while unless I get any commissions as I want to stretch my wings and try some other things. So I am just going to take my time and enjoy the process of bringing this one to life on the paper.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


After a busy couple of weeks it has been nice to pick up the brushes again. I'm having some fun with this background creating a steampunk style Victorian landscape.

I wonder what the city I am creating is called and who lives there. My progress is pretty slow as creating the misty/ smoky effect involves many layers of glazing. I am really enjoying both the challenge of architecture and developing a feeling of scale and distance using a very limited palette though.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Splash 19: The Illusion of light

I am delighted to be among the artists selected to be included in North Light Books Splash 19: The Illusion of Light which will be published next year
'A Penny for your Thoughts' has now officially become my most successful painting so far. It has been accepted into 3 big exhibitions, won 3 awards and now will be published in this book too. You can see the full list of winners here

Thursday, April 20, 2017

International Watermedia 2017

I was delighted to receive notification yesterday that 'From Little Acorns' has been accepted into Pikes Peak International Watermedia 2017. The exhibition will take place at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 East Colorado Avenue,Colorado Springs, CO 80903 from June 2- 24th.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors

I was delighted and very surprised to receive notification that my paintings, 'Leaf me Be' and 'Watch Over Me' have both been accepted into the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors. Thank you to everyone at the View Arts Center and to Juror of selection Ken Call.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Art will be Alive at Tour stop #5

I am super excited to be hosted by Kings Ridge Veterinary Clinic for Studio Tour King this year. We will be Tour stop#5, in just a couple of weeks time on April 22nd and 23rd, 2017. We will be open from 10am-5pm each day. You can find us at 1700 King Road, Unit 23, King City, ON, L7B 0N1 (It's in the new plaza on the north west side of King and Dufferin)

Hope you enjoy the video invite above. If you are receiving this blog post via e mail click on the following link to see the invite

I was also honoured to have a painting chosen to be on one of the billboards advertising the events around the town. Thank you to Leslie Whicher for sponsoring the sign and helping us to promote the tour.

Hope to see you soon

Sunday, April 2, 2017

An Egg-xtra special Egg-xercise in Glazing

 With Easter in just a few weeks time I couldn't resist doing this, so here is an Egg-xtra special Egg-xercise for you all to have fun with.

 Using just 5 colours you can create an illusion of depth on a flat piece of paper, and also develop the shape and form of the eggs. Have fun!

If you are receiving this blog post via my e mail subscription, please click on the following link to watch the video


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Brand New Look to my Website!

Very Excited to announce I have a brand new website design! 

I hope everyone will enjoy taking a look around the brand new  with its gift store, interactive galleries, paint along videos and much much more! Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


It has been such fun painting this, just capturing that expression and playing with some really bright colour.

I have always struggled in the past when painting predominantly red/orange paintings because I feel colour as emotion and emotions as colour. So for me to use a predominantly orange/red palette makes me much more daring, determined, energetic, powerful, impulsive and slightly aggressive than usual.  It is a highly visible colour that makes me make spur of the moment rash decisions which is so unlike my style of painting and, in the past, has led to me making mistake after mistake. My saviour in this painting was Dawn's green eyes. when I started to get overwhelmed by all the orange/ reds I would just focus on the eyes and add a little more detail to them until I felt calmer again.

Do you find you are affected by the colours you paint with?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Red Alert WIP 2

I am so slow painting hair. After 2 days work I am still not even half way around. To me the WIP photo below looks just like she is saying " really??? I've been waiting here for days and you still haven't finished???

It's fun using all the bright oranges yellows and reds I don't usually use much though with some purples  and greens thrown in too. This photo above shows just a section of the full painting. It doesn't capture the intensity or the variation in colour in the actual painting but at least it gives you an idea of my progress.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Red Alert WIP

Say Ahhhhh!

 It's so good when you get an obliging model as you paint, especially when you are painting an open mouth.(grin)

 Doing big portraits is a lot of fun. This one has a long, long way to go before it is done ( the teeth are still masked out, there are no proper eye brows or eye lashes, my subject is decidedly pale and she has no hair ) but I just had to share this moment as I finished blocking in the main features and my subject starts to 'interact' with us as I paint.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dear Angel

 Life is full of quiet moments that only you and your angels share. Times when you  ask  for their guidance or just need a moment to gather your thoughts and seek reassurance that you are on the right path. Times when you feel remorse for something you know you could have handled better and want to find the best way to say sorry.

Transparent Watercolour 30 by 19 inches

Having a guardian angel with us can be an enormous comfort. Some people believe that their guardian angel is a spiritual being who looks out for their well-being, many believe it is a deceased loved one who offers guidance during times of need, a few, like me, believe it is your own inner conscience, within you always, if you just allow yourself to listen. Whatever you believe, it is good to feel you are never truly alone.

I am still pondering over a title for this painting. Any ideas will be very gratefully received.

Friday, February 17, 2017


I had two exciting pieces of news this week. 'Chocolate Chipadees' will be winging its way to Kenosha this spring for the 2017 Transparent Watercolor Society of America's 41st Annual Exhibition (Jurors, Jean Pederson, CSPWC, AWS and Bruce Handford TWSA MS, NWS)

The exhibition will take place at the Kenosha 5500 First Avenue, Kenosha, Wisconsin from May 6th to August 6th 2017.

 My painting 'From Little Acorns' was also awarded an Honourable Mention in the International Watercolour Societies online contest.

The contest had an overwhelming response and received 1452 entries. To be chosen as one of the top 31 paintings is such an honour. I hope you enjoy the slideshow of all the winners. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Just Ducking Out!

I have always loved the idea of painting outside, capturing the scene as it is right at that moment in time, but I am such a slow painter it just so hard especially when I do love to paint animals. This Watercolour illustrates what I am sure would happen if I tried!

 Ona the amateur plein air painter searches for a suitable subject to paint. Aha!!! a nest of baby wood ducks high in a tree....a captive subject. I can paint them! They look so adorable waiting for mom and dad to return with food. I can take my time and not rush. So each day I returned to the same spot,  set my easel up and paint while the light allowed. I thought... do the babies first and then I can paint the nest around them. I worked hard to make them look as real as possible and was so pleased with how they turned out but before I could finish the nest around them.... well, just look what happened!!! My little painted ducklings fledged and started leaping out of my painting!

I guess I am just not cut out to be a plein air painter am I! (grin)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Exhibition News

I was honoured to receive an e mail from the President of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour to inform me that my painting 'Artist at Work', which is part of the National Diploma Collection, had been selected for a special exhibition to be held at the Peel Art Gallery and Museum, Brampton, Ontario.

My painting (on the left) is of a very special person who sadly died a few years ago. He believed in me as an artist long before I did and encouraged me so much in the early days. When he saw this portrait of himself he encouraged me to apply for  CSPWC elected membership.  I was elected shortly before he died and when I told him the painting of him was the one selected to be part of the National diploma Collection he was thrilled, He said he would now live on forever. You still have a very special place in my heart Denis.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


James 3D printed me some new scratch board blade handles so, of course, I just had to try them out didn't I.  'Memory' Scratch board on Ampersand Museum Series 11 by 14 inch panel. (A touch of watercolour was added in the cats eyes.)

'Memory, turn your face to the moonlight
 Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in.
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin'

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Richeson 75 Small Works Exhibition Finalist

I was pleased to receive an e mail yesterday afternoon to say that my painting 'Incarcerate-Ted' had been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Richeson75 Small Works Exhibition.

Now I need to package him up so he can safely be transport-Ted  to the exhibition. It opens on February 22, 2017 in Kimberly, WI and runs until April 18th.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Happy New Year!

I just want to wish my readers a very Happy New Year and to let you know about some events that will be happening this year. Firstly I was honoured to be asked by the President of the International Watercolor Society to be part of the leadership team for IWS Canada.

I met with Atanur along with the president of CSPWC this week and we talked about building a stronger relationship between the two organisations here in Canada. I am looking forward to working with both presidents to make this happen.

I also wanted to let you know that this year I will be participating in the King Studio Tour in April rather than the Richmond Hill one in the fall. The dates for the King Studio Tour are April 22nd and 23rd. More details will follow soon but save the dates!

From Mid July until late in August I will also have a solo exhibition at the Aurora Public Library. More details will follow for this later this spring.