Friday, February 26, 2021

1st Place Pennsylvania Watercolor Society Members Exhibition

 I was delighted to receive the news that my painting 'Cookies Aint just for the Big Guy was awarded 1st places in the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society members exhibition. 

The exhibition has gone live virtually today. I hope you will enjoy looking at all the paintings. Congratulations to all who entered and a special thank you to the juror Dorie Rifkin and the executive of PWS for making this exhibition possible.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The creation of the paper butterfly

I know I have been quiet over the last few weeks but I have spent this last month busily writing the first part of the book I am hoping to write and illustrate this year. I felt that I needed to have a good section of the narrative written before beginning the images so I could get a feel for the progression of feelings, colour and storyline. Last week with the first part of the story written I felt ready to begin the paintings that will accompany them. 

This will be the first  image of the book. I kept to a fairly muted colour palette for all but the paper butterfly herself as, to me, it helps to focus our eyes on her as she is introduced to us. She is , after all, the heroine of my story and sharing her creation visually with my readers will hopefully help them to connect with her too. 

This is the snippet of the beginning part of the story that I chose to illustrate: 

'The long, graceful fingers moved, turned, and folded in what felt to the Origami butterfly to be like a rhythmic dance. As she felt her Makers soft fingers lovingly form each careful fold of her wings and body, she sensed a momentary flutter deep within her folds. It almost felt as if this feeling would carry her high out of his hands and up into the air.'

It was a lot of fun bringing to life that sense of movement in the image. I chose to have just the maker's hands and not anymore because to my paper butterfly this is what she connected with and what she felt made her. She is so small that visually it then also helped me to focus in on her and yes, I spent several days learning how to make an origami butterfly too. The maker's hands were modelled by my husband. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Happy New Year! Looking ahead to 2021

 I have decided this year to shift my creative focus away from stand alone exhibition pieces and want to write and illustrate a book. I am really looking forward to the challenge of creating a cohesive body of work that flows from one painting to the next keeping a similar style for all. I am also enjoying formulating the story in my mind that will be told through the paintings and the words that will accompany them.

My protagonist for the book will be an origami butterfly which is so fun as I actually get to create her myself so there is no need for me meet other people to get reference photos (very useful since we are back in lockdown as everything I need to do can be done from the safety of my house and garden.) My studio table  at the moment is filled with folded pieces of paper  as I learn how to create my paper butterfly and sketches of painting ideas  and excerpts of writing as I work on the first part of the story.  My studio wall is also decorated with completed 3D paper butterflies that I can use for references and just to make the room look cheerful.

Hope you all have created some fun plans for 2021 too.  Many of us may be in lockdown or needing to be home more right now but there is so much we can still do. I am probably going to mostly work on this quietly so please dont worry if you don't hear from me much. I will share the odd painting but don't want to give too much away until the book is complete.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Looking back at 2020


It has certainly been a far different year to the one I had imagined this time last year but in a way (for my art only) I am glad it happened. This may seem an odd thing to say when I was unable to send paintings to exhibitions that I had been accepted into, or to take the reference photos that I had hoped and planned to take for new paintings, but the lockdown forced me to take stock and reflect upon where I was in my art journey and the direction or path I wanted to continue along. 

The four paintings of Isla in the photo above were not the only paintings I did this year but they were significant for me because the lockdown and then the year of social distancing forced me to look again at previously discarded references with a new more imaginative eye. 

I decided in each painting I created to consciously focus in on what was  important and develop a story or capture a certain mood in each through use of colour and value.  I have always loved using the luminosity of transparent watercolour, but this year I wanted to use it with more purpose creating pathways of light and soft high key edges. With no deadlines I was able to take my time. to stop and reflect when needed and sometimes even to start again until I felt the painting conveyed what I had initially hoped for.

Top left: Cookies Aint Just for the Big Guy

Bottom left: Small Wonders

Bottom Centre: Sharing is Caring

Right: Distant Dreams

Painting them has been an interesting  journey and has reinforced both why I love painting and make clearer to me the path I want to continue along in my art journey. (I promise that I will explain more about this 2nd part next year)  For now... I think I have rambled enough for this year.

Do you have a favourite?

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

These Cookies Ain't Just for Santa


 'These cookies ain't just for Santa' Transparent Watercolour 11 by 15 inches

Did you know that if Santa took just two bites from every cookie left out for him on Christmas Eve, he would consume roughly 336,150,386 cookies in one night!!!..... Isla thinks this is way too many for even a magical fellow like Santa to eat in one evening on his own but I am not sure she is going to share them with anyone else but Santa. Do you?

 Leaving cookies and milk for Santa—and perhaps a few carrots for his reindeer— really took off as a holiday tradition in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. The practice, brought over by European immigrants, was encouraged as a way to teach children generosity, even during the most meager of times. By leaving out cookies and milk for Santa, children would learn to be more grateful for the gifts they did receive, as well as, hopefully, to be giving to those who didn’t have much to eat during the Christmas season. It was a way to reinforce the idea that if you give, you will receive much more than money could ever buy... the knowledge that you have helped someone else to have a happier time.  It seems especially fitting to remember this motto this year when so many people have had such a hard year. I am sure Santa won't mind if you 'shared his cookies' around this year. See if you can support a food bank or gift drive to help those less fortunate than ourselves and involve the young ones if you can too. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Hanging out to dry

 During this past summer I helped to raise over 20 monarch caterpillars.   In the wild only 1 in every 100 monarch eggs will make it to adult butterfly. Not only do they have to find milkweed to feed on and deal with predators as they grow but they also have to go through the process of metamorphosis. Ideally when ready a caterpillar will climb up and away from the milkweed they have fed on  and find a relatively safe hidden underside of a leaf or twig to spin a thread and hang from as they pupate. I quickly realized though that ideal isn't necessarily reality. My little crew would find all sorts of strange and less than ideal places! These little ones have found some washing drying on a clothes line to suspend themselves from. When they eclose they then need a couple of hours to dry their wings before they can fly. It gives the term hanging out to dry a whole new meaning doesn't it.

Transparent Watercolour  15 by 22 inches

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sharing is Caring

Inspired by a photo I took a while back of Isla eating strawberries and my new garden friend the red squirrel who also adores eating the juicy fruit, I decided to combine both Isla and the squirrel into one painting.... after all it's so much nicer when you can share isn't it. I have given it the title Sharing is Caring for now but am open to other ideas if anyone thinks of a good one. My squirrel friend seemed to enjoy being my model. Maybe it had something to do with the seeds nuts and fruit I put out for him each day. I have a little feeder on my studio window that he thinks is just the right size for him. The photo below is one I snapped while painting the squirrel. It was wonderful to be able to see his markings up close as I painted.

Sunday, September 13, 2020


Had so much fun over this last week teaching an online virtual workshop Eggsperimenting with Texture in Watercolour. This was my demo painting which I have called 'Eggspectant' 

 Momma goose waits for the time when her eggs will hatch (and yes, we had a bit of an egg theme happening all week and much laughter and eggslporation as well as learning). In our virtual group we had artists from California, Minnesota, Alberta, and Ontario. It was a workshop that was originally planned long before COVID that would have taken place in Cambridge Ontario. Being virtual allowed people from much further afield to join us. Thank you to the workshop organizer Tiina Price for being flexible and working with me to find a way to present it online.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

People's Choice Award

 Just before the COVID lockdown, I received news that my painting 'Distant Dreams' had been juried into the Red River Watercolor Society's National Exhibition. Sadly, due to COVID I was unable to frame and ship my painting to the US. The Society very kindly allowed me to be part of the online component of the exhibition but It was not eligible for any awards by the juror. The society did allow it to be included in the people's Choice voting which was done online  and I am delighted to announce that Distant Dreams has won this award.

The painting was also featured in an article about the exhibition.

With the drop of flowing watercolor paint, luminous colors spread out like thoughts, emerging into the world as tangible works of art.Representing the past, present and future of things to come, all of these elements are encapsulated in one painting, Ona Kingdon’s “Distant Dreams,” one of the 50 pieces included in the Red River Watercolor Society’s 2020 National Juried Watermedia Exhibition.“Our art is our dream, and in this dream we often dwell on our thoughts,” Kingdon says.In her artist statement for a painting pondering a little girl with her mind on nature, Kingdon expresses messages of hope that future generations will be able to grow up in the beauty of the natural world, not a distant dream."

You can view the entire exhibition online

I have been taking a couple months off from painting and have been enjoying our garden and getting lots of inspiration for future paintings. Hopefully I will have lots to share with you once I begin again in a few weeks time. Until then, stay safe and enjoy the lovely summer weather.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Hope you enjoy this Paint Along Video

I was asked  by the Richmond Hill Public Library to create a paint along video. Hope you enjoy it.

For additional information on how to paint, a jpg of my finished painting and the outline please visit my website. Hope you all enjoy it. Have fun and do share your attempts with me. I would love to see them.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Byron Levy Memorial Award

 Oh this news has made my day! The Juror of the Louisiana Watercolor Society's 50th International Exhibition Juror Z. L. Feng AWS, NWS has awarded my painting “Small Wonders” The Byron Levy Memorial Award. I am honoured.

Thank you to everyone at the Louisiana Watercolor Society for making the exhibition online this year to help protect us all. Thank you also for making the exhibition available for so many others to see at a time when many are staying at home. I know it will be appreciated. You can see the full exhibition here. The rest of the awards will be posted on may 2nd.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Use the arts to help you during this difficult time.

'Knock on Wood' Transparent Watercolour 24 by 13.5 inches

 At this moment in time for our own wellbeing as well as staying safe it is also important find ways to cope with the stresses of life around us. Creating this painting was my way of coping with the world news and stress caused by the COVID pandemic. I might not be able to go out much physically at the moment but luckily for me I can go anywhere in my imagination. 

This downy woodpecker is in the process of creating a self portrait. It has taken many hours pecking away at the wood to get to this stage but, as we all know, creating art is such a wonderful way to escape the stresses of life today that the time spent is invaluable not just because we end up with a finished piece of work but also because it helps to improve our own mental wellbeing while we create it. During the process you can just switch off your mind to everything else.

 I am not even sure that this master woodpecker artist is aware that he has an observer. The watching woodpecker is entranced too. Watching a master artist at work is such a thrill and is often a welcome distraction also. So whether you are the artist or the person watching them at work or even viewing a finished piece of art such as this one distract yourself and use the arts to help you relax. Hugs and love to you all and Knock on Wood you all ((((Stay Safe)))

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A Drop of Love

I often get asked how I think of ideas for my paintings...I have an ideas sketch book and sometimes I just like to play around with thoughts in it. This small watercolour 'A Drop of Love' was the result of my 'play' today.

 If you show someone even the slightest act of kindness without expecting anything in return, imagine the ripple effect and just how many people it could affect. Like the tiny water droplet hitting the surface of the water in my painting, a small act of love can ripple far from its source and affect many people. Be that tiny water droplet today and help me spread some love around our world.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Distant Dreams

Our art is our dream, and in this dream we often dwell on our thoughts. Our dreams are possibilities of things to come, records of what is now, or distant memories of things that once were. I hope that when this child grows up the beautiful natural world that we live in is not some distant dream for her.

Distant Dreams: Transparent Watercolour 20.5 by 26 inches

I had a lot of fun with this one playing with the idea of double exposure to capture her thoughts and concerns visually. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Visions Adjoin

'The Little Girl with the Curl' is currently hanging in the Joint National Watercolor Society/ Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour 'Visions Adjoin' exhibition in California US. As both a signature member of NWS and an Elected member of CSPWC it is an honour to be selected to be part of this exhibition.

For those of you who are unable to see the exhibition in person in the US or can't wait until it comes to Canada later this year, here is an online view of the paintings.

Thank you to all the people of NWS and CSPWC for making this exhibition happen.