Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Plein Air

Looking South
11 x 14

As I was looking south down this lake I couldn't help but think about how much warmer we were a month ago when we were down in Arizona.  It even looked warmer down at the far end!  And speaking of Arizona I was very fortunate to arrive in Sedona in time for their Plein Air Invitational week.  With limited transportation I was only able to attend the 90 minute quick draw but it was amazing and later in the week I went down to the Art Centre to see some of the works.  There is nothing quite like watching the pros paint.
But now I am back with some local pros and am enjoying getting out there even in the cold temperatures.  I throw some toe warmers in my boots and wool socks over my hands and am ready to go.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Beautiful Fall Colours

Delta Farmlands
14 x 11

One of my favourite walks is along the dyke in Delta and though usually I'm looking out across the marshes to the Strait of Georgia on this day I was fascinated by the beauty of the farm fields in their fall colours with the coast mountains as a back drop.  This painting started off as a study for a larger piece but I think sometimes the studies done in a loose and stress free style often evolve better than a tightly crafted well planned piece. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

French villages

Village Water Tap
18 x 14 
oil on canvas

Rained out on our plein air outing but managed to come close to finishing this French scene today in the comfort of home.  Though I'd rather be out since it should be warm and summery I do have a huge backup of French and Italian resource photos from our cycling trips.  This village tap was a common and welcome sight on our travels through the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites enabling us to keep our bottles full.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Paint out day at Skaha Lake

Gray Day in the Falls SOLD
12 x 16
oil on canvas board

June 1st was a paint out day organized by Glenn Clark and the Penticton Art Gallery and all local artists were invited to join in with the only rule being that Skaha Lake had to be in the painting.  This is an annual fundraiser for the local gallery so the artist is expected to donate the painting or one chosen by the gallery.  I decided to join a few artists that I know and really enjoyed the challenge of picking a scene to paint, dealing with the weather and of course enjoying the many conversations with curious onlookers.  The view that I chose was looking east across the lake at Okanagan Falls.  Those hills in the background are my favourite for trail running.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Trail Running

The Mice 1
20 x 16
oil on canvas panel

There are no words that can fully describe the joys of trail running.  And the painting opportunities are endless but...  Chances are that I'll never get my painting gear up into these woods and frankly I wouldn't go on my own so my trail running group is having to suffer for a while with my taking photos every now and then with my cell phone.  So back at the studio or my kitchen to be more precise I am not baking goodies but painting The Mice, an endless network of trails, great for mountain biking, running or just hiking.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Benefits of Birding

Spring up at Anarchist Mountain
12 x 16
oil on wrapped canvas

There are few things I enjoy more than to get out into the bush with the family for a birding expedition. Exploring up old logging roads absorbing the sights and sounds and relishing in the signs of spring.  It is also a great opportunity to collect resource material for those days when the weather doesn't allow me to get outside and paint.  Oh and some day I'll pull all of those bird photos out and paint my favourites. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Maui Plein Air

Palms study
10 x 10
oil on doorskin

Much has happened since the January 30 day challenge.  Not long after we were headed for Maui and after many fruitless searches for art supplies I gave up and took a break from painting.  However I was very lucky to be in Lahaina for the Maui Plein Air Invitational and was able to watch 25 very accomplished artists from across the United States paint outdoors all week long.  Every where I went I was coming across an easel set up and a painter catching the moment, sometimes several painters.  Much was learned about many aspects of the process and I really enjoyed chatting with those that would take the time and with other art lovers.  Any chance to purchase a favourite piece was minimal as even though I was lined up for the opening all my favourites had sold signs before I got to them.  One artist I was particularly impressed with and whose work I liked very much was Colin Page from Maine.  He showed up at the first paint out almost 2 hours into the 3 hour time limit with borrowed paints and a cardboard palette.  It seems his supplies didn't arrive but no worries he sat down on the sand to start painting the model but his palette was soon picked up by a wave.  Moving further up the beach and now with a borrowed easel he dealt with wind, spilled turps, inquisitive school children and us onlookers all the while cheerfully chatting away and actually stopping to answer questions.  And knocked off a great painting!  A truly great role model and one who I would consider taking a workshop from.  All the painters seemed to have their own style and approach and all worked in oils with the exception of a pastel artist or two.  I did find out too late that the local hardware store carries artists supplies so will remember that on our next trip there. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Collages are up!

30 day Challenge Collage

Check out today's post on Leslie Saeta's blog for a fascinating collection of collages from the participants of the 30 day challenge.   It was a fabulous experience and should it become an annual event I will be joining it again and highly recommending it!  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thank you Leslie Saeta!

Day 30 path to success
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

Day 30 and despite some huge challenges managed to squeak in the last painting.  There was maybe a bit too much going on in this scene for a small format but I liked the path idea which is what this last month has been and whether it was a path to success or not we shall see but one thing for certain I learned a lot.  Ironically instead of procrastinating and avoiding the canvas which is one of my worst habits I found the daily exercise to be my escape to a quiet and playful two to four hours per day and it was the rest of my life I was avoiding.  I learned to love painting again.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another point of view

Day 29 Bridge
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

This bridge would indeed provide another point of view but what I'm really thinking about is the photograph of this sketch showed many things that my eye was passing over and not seeing that need to be worked on.  Oh well, it's just a sketch and I need to move on.  One more day and at this point it's 50/50 whether I'll make it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Benefits of birding

Day 28 Sunset on the strait
6 x 6 
Acrylic on canvas

Some people like to meditate or take yoga to find some peace and connection with themselves.  I like to go birding as it also gives me a huge connection to the world around me.  It also provides me with some amazing vistas at times of the day when I would otherwise be shopping or prepping dinner.  This scene was captured whilst out in Boundary Bay at sunset watching the owls find their dinner.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

The colored version

Day 27 Cars in color
6 x 6 
Acrylic on canvas

Here is a repeat of an earlier painting this month the original being in black and white and this one I did in color - not sure which one I like the best but both were fun to do.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Parks wild and otherwise

Day 26 Park
6 x 6 
Acrylic on canvas

Moving quietly up the snow covered ravine this morning our 5 man trail running group searched the ridge line for movement and finally spotted several coyotes which had been serenading us all the way up.  It was eerie and beautiful at the same time and one of the reasons why I obsess with getting out of the city and up into the hills.  The above painting is not up in the forest but down at the lakeside.   You can see the sand cliffs and then in behind are the hills in which I was running this morning.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Details and simplifying

Day 25 Marina
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

Well there is a lot going on in this marina.   A lot of information and that requires some simplification and weeding out  - kind of like life...
One week to go and will I make it - not so sure right now but doing my best.  Good luck to everyone!

Friday, January 25, 2013


Day 24 Winery
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

My mantra is becoming " there is no value darker within the lights than within the shadow and no value  lighter within the shadow than within the light".  Not sure who this quote came from.  Of course one has to consider the actual color of the subject but it has been show that even a black subject in direct light will be lighter than any area in the shade   - oops I guess the shutters on the second story need to be adjusted a value or two lighter where the sun is hitting them.  I've gone to using 'notan' to sort this out first putting in only two values and then trying to keep everything else within those two ranges.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Head West

Day 23 Coastal Bay
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

The coast of British Columbia is spectacularly wild and beautiful and I am looking forward to painting more west coast scenes.  Enjoyed doing this little study very much.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Farm houses

Day 22 farmhouse
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

Another farm house in quite a different climate.  Langley is generally lush and green all year  and this farmhouse is photographed by many.  It's a place I must go to paint plein air but in the meantime a borrowed photo was used as resource.  Don't think I can do justice to the photo but the simplicity of the scene made it a joy to paint.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Keeping life in balance

Day 21 Barns
6 x 6 
Acrylic on canvas

Today was epic from the start.  An intense somewhat anaerobic hour and a half solo skateski out into the boonies the whole while taking in the beautiful scenery and taking notes on ideas for future landscape paintings, back home to finish off todays and start tomorrows painting and then up into the hills with my petzel light and a good friend for a night time trail run in the snow and back to make dinner and finally put my feet up.  Good thing it's January and I have time for all of this.  Wouldn't happen spring to fall with all the other activities going on...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back in the groove

Day 20 grapes
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

After yesterdays frustration and for the first time feeling the pressure of this 30 in 30 challenge I was full of trepidation on todays start.  So back to basics and a favourite subject, grapes.  Why grapes?  A myriad of colors, opaque and translucent and an infinite choice of composition.  Fast, loose and fun -  well it did get a little annoying when my highlights kept drying darker than the darks.  One of the reasons I'll be switching back to oils when all this is done.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Waving the White Flag

Day 19 Poppies
6 x 6 
Acrylic on canvas

Well things went sideways today, my poppies got so tight and finicky looking,  didn't like the design or the hues and so reworked and reworked and in frustration finally just started slopping on the paint!  Lo and behold now I am starting to enjoy myself and I'm liking the looser look.  However dropping the final piece on the floor and smearing the white final touches right across the piece nearly put me into a frenzy.  Enough, just photograph and move on.  Many lessons learned today including when to wave the white flag! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Day 18 flower
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

Seems I'm getting spammed from Korea so I've had to turn back on the word id in the comments window.  Another flower which is a subject I find hard to paint.  My approach is too tight and I must learn to loosen up on these beauties.

Friday, January 18, 2013

More value studying

Day 17 flower
6 x 6 
Acrylic on canvas

This started off being another value study in greys but I just couldn't do it to a flower so had to add a little color.  I started off mixing grey from French Ultramarine blue and Burnt Sienna to have a warm background and then went to cool greys with French Ultramarine blue, Permanent Rose and Phthalo Green but didn't like them so added a little azo yellow to warm them up and then somehow went into pastel colors.  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Working on values

Day 16 cars in greys
6 x 6
Acrylic on canvas

Looking for unique subject matter I came across a photo I had taken a couple of years ago at a friends house.  He has a sizeable collection of old British cars.  They sit in an old foundation and are quite the sight all lined up in a myriad of colors.  Todays challenge was to create a value painting in greys and further along in the month I will do a color painting of the same.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Birds Eye View

Day 15 Birds Eye
6 x 6
Acrylic on Canvas

The hobby of birding has opened up a whole new world of discoveries.  Who knew that these otherwise dull little sparrows had such beautifully decorated faces complete with eye liner and whiskers!  That is my reflection in his eye along with a tree that is beside me caught with the help of a zoom lens.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reifel Bird Reserve

Day 14 Cranes
6 x 6 
Acrylic on Canvas

These cranes are Sandhills currently residing at Reifel Bird Reserve in Ladner and are so much fun to go visit.  They are very tame and will saunter right by forcing those who are a little uncomfortable with the proximity right off the path.  I've got lots of resource photos on these guys and am looking forward to doing some more.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bird Theme

Day 13 Heron SOLD
6 x 6
Acrylic on Canvas

Similar to yesterday's surprise sighting I managed to catch this heron close up with my camera as I was out walking my dogs several years ago and have been wanting to paint him ever since.  This 30 day challenge is a good motivator to get some sketches done of the many resource photos waiting to be painted.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What a Day

6 x 6
Acrylic on Canvas

The day started off with me and my trail running group tackling very snowy conditions in the hills above Okanagan Lake,  a great workout, beautiful as always and in good company.  Then my husband and I decided to try our luck searching out owls lower down by the lake.  I thought we were once again skunked when glancing to my left I found myself staring at a long eared owl equally surprised and staring right back.  He was only a few feet away at eye level so I got a fabulous photo and came home to paint him for todays daily painting.  We also came across a northern pygmy owl so close I could reach out and touch him but he was sleeping and kept his head tucked away so not a great photo.   An afternoon painting and now a movie.  Life is good sometimes. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jail for the wealthy

Day 11 Jail
6 x 6
acrylic on canvas

San Marino, a tiny republic state within Italy has three towers in it's hilltop city of the same name and the above painting is of a jail for the wealthy in one of the towers.  For a sum of money one can enjoy the view for your final days on earth although you have to put up with a wet floor when it rains!

Friday, January 11, 2013

What I've learned so far...

Day 10 Castle Tower
6 x 6
Acrylic on Canvas

One third of the way through Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days Challenge (see sidebar) and I'm still hanging in there.   A few things that are becoming clear:

I'm an oil painter - acrylics are only for speed and ease of correction but will not be my medium of choice.

I can easily stay on track with a simple daily plan and minimal distractions.  This involves choosing the subject to be painted the night before and getting the preparations done so that in the morning I can immediately get to work.

I'm going to have more than minimal distractions - that's life.

I like to paint bigger, much bigger.

I'm not a daily painter  - there is way to much else to do in life and I want to do it all!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A beautiful city in Italy

Day 9 Urban Colors
6 x 6
Acrylic on Canvas

Bassano del Grappa is one of the most beautiful cities I've seen and everywhere you look is a gorgeous scene begging to be painted.  I've got plans for some larger paintings but in the meantime here is a little corner down a lane that caught my eye.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Abstract Nature of Marine Industry

Day 8 Ship's Bow
6 x 6 
Acrylic on Canvas

Most marine painters seem to choose a photographic approach to painting boats and ships used in the marine industry.  I'm fascinated by the multitude of abstract designs everywhere one looks.  This was a fairly simple block in of shapes providing ample opportunity to play with warm and cool colors and should have been fun and easy but I found it very challenging feeling my way through the whole painting process.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sunset on the Dock

Day 7 On the Dock
6 x 6 
acrylic on canvas

One evening in the fall I arrived on the dock to pick up my husband and the sun setting right behind the bow of the ship produced the most amazing colors and fabulous shadows - hard to duplicate.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Marine Theme

Day 6 Marine  SOLD
6 x 6
acrylic on canvas

I'm switching gears for the next few days and going with some marine paintings.  My husband is great at carrying his camera and snapping a few pics while coming from and going to work and I sometimes get a few when I drive for him.  This is from one of his photos and I loved the abstract design.  The piling in the foreground has a sign on it and though it's inclusion may not read well I'm drawn to the bright yellow so in it goes.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Strange little birds

Day 5 Chukar
6 x 6
acrylic on canvas
One of our Christmas activities this year was birding with the family and on our first day out after fruitless searches for anything with wings we finally hit the jackpot, a large family of Chukars.  These very strange looking and very shy birds were foraging in the fields below the cliffs at Vaseaux Lake and kindly gave us a few poses before scurrying off.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Snowed In

Day 4 The Meadow
6 x 6
acrylic on canvas

No plein air today - it's snowing so hard it's there is nothing much else to be seen!  This little scene is painted from a photo taken two days ago from my cell phone while up the mountain skiing.  A fellow skier was gliding by and remarked that they ( the cell phone) shouldn't be allowed.  Little did he know that I wasn't taking a call but getting a great resource photo.  But as I found out a few weeks ago while participating in a search and rescue mission the cell phone can be an essential tool out there and I won't go out again without one. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Ranch

Day 3 Winter Horses
6 x 6
acrylic on canvas

On my way up the mountain yesterday I passed herds of cattle out in the snow feeding on hay bales and coming up to the ranch I managed to get a quick shot of the horses out having their lunch as well.  I can see this 30 day challenge is going to require some organizational skills and time management.  I'm getting a little more behind each day and still find far too much time is wasted fiddling with details and taking and correcting bad photos.  This is all good though as I should most certainly improve in those areas if nothing else! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Photographing really the challenge?

Day 2 Winter
6 x 6
acrylic on canvas

So this sketch was a joy to do - felt free and fun and although from a photo it has I think it successfully portrays my feelings of a gorgeous sunny day high in the alpines.  A day like I had today up Nickleplate with my skate skiis on.
The problem was trying to photograph the painting outside with the pesky wind blowing it away whilst my camera was talking back to me.  Image too dark! Oh, forgot to remove the lense cap.  Red dot flashing and REC as well.  Had to go inside and dig out my manual.  Hmm - seems I was trying to take a video...I used to be pretty good with technology but I struggle to get the exposure and the white balance right.  Details aside I'm happy with the design and composition.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter colors

Day 1 winter study
6 x 6
acrylic on canvas

Today is the start of Leslie Saeta's 30 day challenge ( see sidebar at right ) and though it is the beginning of a new year I am still sidetracked with the leftovers of a what has been a really good Christmas Holiday so todays painting is a quick plein air study.  My theme for the week is snow as we have an abundant supply these days.  I'm cheating a bit with the plein air part as I'm sitting in the warmth and comfort of my car.  If the wind stops blowing maybe I'll get out for a real taste of outdoor winter painting.