Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year Challenge

Lake Como in progress
18 x 36
oil on canvas

Leslie Saeta has generously started a New Year 30 Day Challenge and much as I tried to come up with excuses not to join it I finally realized this is probably just what I need.  Check it out.  I think there may be still time to join up!

The Lake Como painting above was a larger piece that I started before Christmas and isn't finished yet but I think I'll hang it for a while and maybe the issues areas will resolve themselves, ha ha.  If they haven't by the end of January I'll work on it later in the spring.  My how life gets busy...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Whistler in September

Ladner Marsh
24 x 20
oil on canvas

I am so excited to be able to spend a week in Whistler next year having lived there years ago and rarely getting a chance to go back for visits.  The best part though is that I will be attending a workshop put on by the Federation of Canadian Artists and led by some really great painters.  Check out the website for details.

The above scene is a marshy nature reserve and is right across the street from our "city" home.  A great place to go birding or just for a walk to watch the sun go down.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sorry France, I've fallen in love with Italy!

White Lake Trails
16 x 12
oil on canvas

I ran this trail yesterday, 13 kilometres of jaw dropping beauty and the above painting will be in a show at Leir House in Penticton starting Saturday.  As for Italy we had three weeks there in September travelling mostly by bicycle on my beloved Orbea Diva.  Injuries from my crash in June didn't hold me back much and I managed to climb many of the famous Giro d'Italia climbs including the Stelvio, Mortirolo and the Gavia.  We had three days in the Italian Alps and then three days in the Dolomites followed by a week and a half on the Adriatic coast.  After riding extensively in France through the Alps and the Pyrenees I have to say this was the best trip yet.  If you like cycling and want to read more there are two write ups of our trip on the website, go to the travel section or search for Hillier Italy.  And if you live in the Okanagan come by and see the show, details on the poster below.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Social side to painting out

Lower Town lakeside sketch
9 x 12
oil on canvas paper

One of the things I find about painting at home is the isolation that I feel from the world.  I may put on a radio talk show for background conversation but it doesn't help with the fact that most of the time it is a solitary activity.   A nice change is to take it outside and into the public.  It's amazing to see how many people walking by can take some enjoyment from watching the process and many have expressed interest in having a go at it themselves.  If you live in the central or southern Okanagan there is a group that meets Tuesday and Thursday for paint out sessions.  Check the Plein Air BC website for more info.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A big bump in the road

White Lake Trail 
8 x 10
acrylic on canvas paper

Unfortunate and unavoidable I hit a big bump in the road namely a fellow cyclist whilst we were on a big ride in Washington State 2 weeks ago.  With numerous injuries I'm laid up for a few weeks and had planned to paint as a diversion but find I'm somewhat limited in mobility and energy so am painting from photos and back to acrylics as they are easier to manage.  The above painting is of one of my favourite places to bird or trail run.  It sounds like my trail running group had a good one there last week.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Plein Air Tips

Penticton Plein Air Study
8 x 10
acrylic on canvas

I've had the pleasure of having company this week with my plein air excursions as well as with cycling, running and birding, life is as good as it gets!   And the blogging community has been active with generous artists sharing fantastic information on the basics of plein air painting!  Check out Stapleton  Kearns one of my favourites with all the basics as well Michael Chesley Johnson on the oh so invasive greens.

Friday, May 4, 2012

What to paint? Go out and find something!

Summerland Blossoms
8 x 10
acrylic on canvas

It's become such a treat to pack my paints and go exploring looking for inspiration.  It almost never fails, I'll be driving around a bend and there before me is a view that takes my breath away.   I park, put the music on, the seat heater, studio dog asleep beside in his portable bed and I paint away, waving at the occasional passerby.  Bliss...

Friday, April 27, 2012


Reifel Bird Reserve
8 x 10 study

On Saturday Opus Art Supplies challenged all artists to come out and join an outdoor painting challenge.   Before 10 am we were to pick up our canvas, on the large size at 16 x 20, and then paint within a defined area around Opus including some downtown and the waterfront nearby and then hand in the painting by 3 pm, awards at 5 pm.  Setting the mood for the day and first up was a fun interview and photos from a Kelowna Capital News team making me feel like a celebrity and before the photo shoot was over I had spotted exactly what I wanted to paint.    Planting my gear right by the waterfront pathway ensured a steady procession of artists, walkers, joggers and cyclists many making friendly comments as they passed by.  The most satisfying were the excited shrieks from the children as they discovered another painter!  Although the time limit of five hours sounded like there would be lots of time for lunch breaks and socializing the challenges of changing light, sun on the canvas and other peculiarities of outdoor painting had me at the easel for the entire time with only a five minute break for a cookie.  The whole project went sideways for about two hours with brief flutterings of despair till things finally went back on track.  Tantalizingly close to being finished but out of time I had to wrap it up and literally run back to make the cutoff.  The painting has some unresolved areas but I felt many aspects went well and I guess the judges felt the same way as the painting was awarded 1st place! 
The above sketch was done a couple of weeks ago near our home on the coast, the pond usually full of birds but they were shy while I sat there and painted.

Friday, April 20, 2012

More plein air studies

Ladner Fish Boat
8 x 10
plein air study

There is something I find very satisfying about spending the first few hours of the day out in the landscape painting the scene in front of me.   Again in the comfort of my car as this was a dreary cold wet morning.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

International Women's Day

Blueberry Field Study
9 x 12
acrylic on canvas paper

Back in March on International Women's Day I celebrated by packing up my paints and driving to a park near the Fraser River but instead of looking out over the river I parked the car facing the blueberry fields to the east.  The sunrise was glorious, radio playing wonderful classical music composed and performed by women and the heated car seats kept me toasty while the fresh air blew in thought the sunroof.  Then lunch with a best friend and sunset spent out on the dike with my birding partner and daughter watching the short eared owls swooping and diving through the marshes.  Some days are perfect from start to end!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Snowshoe

Okanagan Park 
24 x 24
Acrylic on oak doorskin

Take what might be an otherwise drab winter day and turn it into something!  Snowshoeing, wieners roasted over a fire, a little shot of a warming liqueur and some ideas for a painting.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter Playground

Nickelplate series in progress
24 x 24
acrylic on doorskin

A new year and some changes!  Here is the first of some some acrylic paintings done on doorskin, a thin veneer of wood meant for building doors but giving a nice natural wood grain texture perfect for my woodsy series of winter paintings.  The acrylic is a medium I painted in many years ago and I find less of an issue when painting in confined spaces as the oil even though I use very little solvent still bothers my nose!  We spend many winter days skate skiing and snowshoeing up in the Nickelplate area above the Okanagan Valley and am so happy to finally start painting some of the gorgeous scenery.