Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Workshop news!

I had a wonderful time recently teaching a workshop at the Cambridge Arts Centre. The class were enthusiastic and very eager to learn.


We were exploring the theme of colour. These two paintings were both created from the same reference photo using the same colour palette but just used in different areas of the painting to create very different effects.

Here are a few photos taken during the weekend.



Thank you to the organizer of this workshop Tiina Price and to all 19 artists attending it for such a lovely weekend. I am really looking forward to coming back again next year.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Dance of the Falls




As we gaze at the majesty of the falls and listen to its thunderous music we certainly feel its mystic power. In the power of this moment though we can miss that fact that this thunderous cascade is made of  millions of tiny droplets of water and each of these droplets has an important message for us. If we are flexible falling will not hurt us. There is hope at the bottom of even the tallest  most powerful waterfall and although life can drag us down and at times even tip us over the edge if you embrace the experience and have courage you can move forward. There is calm at the end of even the most raging torrent and maybe you won't actually fall  because you may be lifted you up like the mist that rises from the waterfall. This is the Shamanic dance of both nature and life and is how magic happens.


Niagara Falls Transparent Watercolour 11 by 15 inches

Monday, May 6, 2019

Award of Excellence Illinois Watercolor Society National Exhibition




I had some great news yesterday.

Vertigo' was awarded the Award of Excellence 3 in the Illinois Watercolor Society National Exhibition.

Thank you to awards Juror Laurie Goldstein-Warren and to Ken Call and all the volunteers at the Illinois Watercolor Society.

The exhibition continues until May 24th and can be seen at the Next Picture Show, A fine Arts Center, 113 W. First Street, Dixon, Illinois USA.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Let's Tweet


It's time to put away the snow boots in Canada. New leaves are budding on the trees, and many birds that migrated over winter are back to join those that stay all year. Spring is definitely in the air!

 There is a definite pecking order between our song birds when it comes to snacking at my bird feeders or stealing seeds. It seems though that a few birds have discovered  a new blue bird. I guess the gardener was tweeting about #spring. I wonder what these birds would say if they could join in. Any ideas?

#Spring Transparent Watercolour 24 by 15.5. inches

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Exhibition and Publication News Update

It has been a busy month preparing paintings to be sent to exhibitions around the world.

I also received this e mail yesterday "Congratulations! We are very happy to inform you that your watercolor 'Chocolate Chipadees' has been selected for publication in Splash 21: Capturing Mood!" The book is scheduled to be published August 2020.


 This painting was also juried into the Adirondacks National Exhibition of Watercolors which will open in August this year.

 Another of my paintings 'Vertigo' was accepted into the Illinois Watercolor Society National Exhibition which opens next month.


  This painting is also part of the Grandmasters of Fine Art online exhibition.


 'Once Upon a Dragon' was invited to be part of the World of Watercolor Masters 2019 Exhibition in Holland. This event takes place later next month

 and 'Wings of Enchantment' will be part of the IWS Finland exhibition in July this year.

 I also recently finished a small painting 'I see you' for an invitational to the Joint IWS Switzerland and IWS Thailand joint exhibition in Zurich this summer.


 I would like to thank the organizers of each of these exhibitions. I know how much work goes into the planning of large exhibitions and I am honoured to have been invited to take part in them. Oh, to be able to squeeze into the tube or box with my paintings and visit all the wonderful places they go to.

Monday, April 8, 2019

From an Angel's Wings


'From and Angel's Wings'
Transparent Watercolour 17 by 22.5 inches

'A feather appears when a angel is near.' Whether you believe the feather was sent from your guardian angel in heaven or from a bird it is an equally magical experience to watch it falling down. It sways this way and that, getting caught by the breeze as it gently falls to the ground, so unpredictable but so beautiful too.  The falling feather teaches us that unpredictability has a charm and beauty all of its own.  You just have to embrace it, go with the flow and see where it takes you.

The falling feather is really the symbol of working with watercolour. You have to embrace its unpredictability and expect the unexpected. We may plan but just as when the feather falls, our painting journey full of twists and turns. So embrace it and work with it rather than fight it. Its a magical experience when you do.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Urban Chameleon



Urban Chameleon. Transparent Watercolour 25.5 by 19.25 inches.

Fear of rejection and failure because we are different has taught us the art of adapting constantly to our ever changing surroundings. It is a profound and sensitive reflection on the human condition. We try so hard to fit in, to be valued, to be loved, that we change our approach, our behaviours, and sometimes even our appearance to increase our chances that this will happen. But however hard we try there will, on occasions be failure or rejection. So just be you, be true to your originality and embrace your differences, your imperfection and Be Real!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Richmond Hill Arts Award



I was honoured this evening to be the Richmond Hill Arts Award recipient for mid career/established Artist at the 2019 Cultural Summit. I received a cheque for $1000 and a beautiful engraved glass award. I would like to thank the city of Richmond Hill and in particular the cultural team for making Richmond Hill a wonderfully supportive community in which to live.

My nominator and model for several of my recent portraits, Garry Sugden, video' d me yesterday evening while I gave my acceptance speech and was presented with the Richmond Hill Arts Award by Mayor Dave Barrow. Thank you, Garry Sugden. It is a lovely way for my friends from around the world who were unable to be there, to be part of the evening. For those of you getting this blog post via e mail. Please click on this link https://emotiveexpressions.blogspot.com/2019/03/richmond-hill-arts-award.htmlto see the video.



Thank you to the city of Richmond Hill once again and especially to the cultural department for your support and encouragement.


Photo credit: The City of Richmond Hill Cultural Department

Thursday, March 21, 2019

In the Windmills of Your Mind

I am always fascinated how creating art doesn't happen in isolation. Other things in our world spiral in, influence our thinking, our approaches, the way we work and what ultimately we create.


'Like the Circles that you find in the windmills of your mind'
Transparent Watercolour 17 by 22.5 inches painted using QoR Modern Watercolours

Earlier this year I was approached by Bryce Lampe, Brand Manager for QoR Watercolors and Golden Acrylics who asked if I would like to try a selection of their watercolours. So, I selected a key few colours that, to me, evoked a soft dreamy, far away feel an a couple more warmer tones to create balance and to help me create skin colours.

The QoR paints when used have all the subtlety, transparency and flow of watercolor, with colors that have strong vibrancy even after they dry. I am used to seeing the vibrant colour when you apply the paint wet but many brands, become less vibrant as they dry. This isn’t the case with the QoR colours. There is also much more pigment held within the mixture and the combination of these two properties make the colours simply glow on the paper even when dry.

 I am a curious soul and my mind was certainly spinning wondering why- so I did some research. The exceptional color strength of the QoR range of Watercolors is apparently achieved through the use of a unique binder called Aquazol®.

'Conservators have been using Aquazol since the early 1990's as an adhesive, consolidant, and inpainting medium. The properties that make it ideal for use in conservation also make it a great binder for watercolor paint. It is highly soluble in water and remains re-soluble over time. It remains stable after accelerated light aging tests with no significant change in color, and it is very safe to work with. But what is really exciting is that Aquazol can hold much greater amounts of pigment than the same amount of gum Arabic, while retaining a strong and flexible paint film.' 


When working with people in other disciplines– it can sometimes seem like everyone is speaking a different language as our mind circles round and round trying to understand why or how. But collaboration between disciplines is crucial for coming up with new ideas. Our minds may circle round and round as we play with fresh ideas but by allowing this circular thought amazing new products are born. Thank you QoR for your circular thinking.

Thursday, March 7, 2019


It was a lovely surprise to see my painting 'Just Ducking Out' featured in the latest 'Art of Watercolour'  Magazine. 


My little wood duck painting was created in response to people saying I should actually paint plein aire and not just sketch. I am such a slow painter that the baby wood ducks would fledge before I got a chance to finish the painting.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Honorable Mention Pennsylvania Watercolor Society 2019 Member's Exhibition

I was very pleased to receive the news today that my painting 'Bah Humbug' was selected  by Juror Yachiyo Back from over 200 paintings  as one of the 15 award winners in the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society 2019 Members exhibition. Congratulations to everyone in the exhibition. There are some beautiful paintings.


Click on this link to see the award winners  and the complete exhibition.

We took our Christmas lights down inside the house at the beginning of January but still have our lights up outside. It brightens up a cold snowy winter and is a welcoming sight when you come home of an evening. I had to laugh though. We have a switch on the floor just by the front door which got covered in snow a couple evenings ago during our last snow storm. When I took our dog out first thing the next morning I wondered why half the lights were not working. I checked the main power socket, the power adapter, the fuse lights and still couldn't work out why they were not working. I probably had a very similar expression to this until I suddenly realized my husband must have stood on a switch that was buried in the snow and accidentally turned it off the night before. Luckily it was an easy fix and our lights are now working again!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Skaters Waltz


I am still continuing to embrace Winter this year! 

The other week a group of ducks  landed at our pond just behind my garden so I togged up and rushed over with camera and sketch book in hand, plus a bag full of duck friendly seeds, fruits and vegetables. The ducks were very appreciative and keen to eat the food but some areas of the frozen pond were VERY slippery!  I lost count of the amount of times the ducks ended up on their bottoms with legs splayed out beside them in their attempts to rush for the food! My poor camera battery gave up after just a few minutes as it was VERY cold  so I only got a couple of photos but not deterred I sat there with my pencil and sketchbook and quickly sketched the ducks in various positions for about half an hour until the food ran out.

Back at home with hot chocolate in my hands to warm up I started composing this painting using my sketches.  I painted it using the White Nights 36 pan palette I reviewed earlier today. I composed the painting so I could illustrate the vibrancy of colour you can achieve with these paints but at the same time show how you can also achieve smooth subtle soft glazes.


Skaters Waltz: Transparent Watercolour 21 by 9.5 inches

White Nights Paints Review

 At the end of last year I was sent a sample 36 pan palette of the White Nights Paints by Nevskaya Palitra, St Petersburg. I have really enjoyed experimenting with them. In Canada you can purchase them via Amazon.ca. They come from Russia so do take about a month to arrive.

The paints are very creamy in consistency and very rich in pigment. This allows you to get highly saturated colours very easily in your work. It also means that a little paint can go a long way when doing thinner softer glazes. 

Before using any new paints I like to check them for transparency and light fastness as these qualities are very important to me and to the way I work. Overall the light fastness is pretty good. I have done my own testing over the last few months and there is only one colour, the violet, that noticeably changed and this is the one that they stated on their box had a low light fastness. It has been over the winter though and it has been a pretty dull winter so I will continue to keep the colours up in the window for a few more months to see if any others change.  

There are 3 cadmium paints and a white in this set that I have not really used other than to test as they are opaque and I prefer transparent or semi transparent paints. That is just personal preference though. A couple of the semi-transparents are more semi opaque too so if transparency is important to you it is worth using the ones that are listed as pure transparent or applying them as the first glaze. I have included a scan of the back of the box so you can see the transparency and light fastness details of each paint colour. 


The 36 pan palette comes in a plastic box which is excellent, light weight  and easily folds down to transport or pack away. It also has 2 main areas for mixing colour with  dividers so you can keep your colours fresh and clean. 


Overall I really like the set. I will probably swap out the opaques and some of the semi opaques and pop in some other more transparent colours instead but I will certainly use the set again especially if I am out and about painting. 

I am working on a small painting using these colours and will post it later today.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A rose... with love



This was my demo piece yesterday evening at the Toronto Watercolour Society. It is created using just 5 colours: Perylene Green, Perylene Violet, Sap Green, Quin Coral and Quin Gold deep. I have put a new paint Along video on my website of the process. Maybe you would like to follow along and create your own rose to send to someone special this Valentines Day.

https://emotiveexpressions.ca/paint-along-with-ona/free-paint-along-videos-for-everyone-to-enjoy/with-love/

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Oh Baby It's Cold Outside!

Sometimes there is a painting that just makes you smile when you are working on it. This was one of them. I just loved bringing his expression to life and making him look and feel really cold by playing with colours on his face and giving him dragon's breath.


Transparent Watercolour 15 by 22 inches

Do you think I ought to let him in to warm up now?

A Glimpse into my process of Creation:



 I guess when you paint pretty realistically, a lot of people presume you just copy a photo. With me, this is so far from the truth. I love taking photos but if I am happy with them as photos I personally feel no need to paint them because I am happy with them as they are. What I enjoy painting is something I can't capture easily in a single photo. So if, for example, I see an expression I love or an icicle that looks super awesome shining in the light I capture these small aspects and file them away in my 'one day....' folder. They aren't great as photos in their own right but the potential in each one is there. Every so often I look through this folder and sometimes when I do an idea for a painting just pops into my head. This usually happens because of something YOU have all written about or said, or something has happened in the world to trigger my idea. So Thank you all. You might all think you are just flittering away hours posting on facebook but you all help me by doing so. Keep it up folks!

With this painting I used a photo of Garry I took at a photo shoot about 15 months ago now, back at a time of year it was a lot warmer than it is now. I had no pre conceived thoughts of a painting when i took this photo. I merely asked Garry to convey a series of different expressions/feelings. In this one I asked him to look a bit pissed off. I had a LOT of work to do adapting this photo and making his expression into someone who was cold but the basics were there! I really accentuated his nose... I wanted to make it feel ultra 3D to really show the cold blues I was going to put on it. I also changed his lips a little (and yes, I did wander around the carpark at Walmart for a good half and hour pretending to look for my car LOL to see peoples expressions in the cold. I also changed his eye brows a touch... it's all very small changes... millimeters difference but enough to adapt his expression to suit what I wanted the painting to say...

... and yes... in -20 I did go outside and actually paint part of the painting there. Why??? because water freezes in these temperatures and so as I was painting the background the watercolour froze and formed ice crystals. Its only subtle because I didn't want it to detract from his face but if you look closely at the background you can see tiny ice crystal patterns. How cool is that!!! (pun intended LOL) So there it is... from start to finish. Realistic... YES but very different from what I began with ... such fun to do!