Sunday, January 31, 2010

my next challenge

my next challenge ...  12x12    

This is going to be my next challenge.  It's just a small painting, but there is quite a bit of detail.  It's from a photo I took at one of the beaches that I go surfing at - Sombrio Beach.  (Actually, I was just surfing there yesterday afternoon, until it got too dark to see the waves.  It was a bit tricky doing the 10min walk back up to the parking lot in the almost complete darkness!)  In the winter, the storms wash up the kelp that grew all summer.  There are massive tangles of it everywhere.  I love the colours in this photo, with the blue-greys of the rocks and the yellow-oranges of the kelp.  Painting on the black background should give a neat effect, and I won't have to paint in all the darks. 
(...almost finished the "rest stop tree"!  I'll post the finished photo soon...)

Friday, January 29, 2010


Montey   16x16         SOLD    

Time for another dog painting.  This is Montey, a 13 year old german shepherd.    Montey's owner won this portrait during the tele-auction to raise money for Canadian Athletes Now on SHAW TV.  I love the smile on his face!  I think that was why this was one of those portraits that seemed to just flow so easily.
...Sadly, Montey passed away earlier this week.  He will be greatly missed by his family, and they told me that this portrait will be so much more importrant to them now...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

latest in-progress photo

work in progress     24x30    

It's starting to glow!  I'm at the stage now where it feels like it's going in the right direction.  I've done numerous glazes (colour mixed with medium) and veils (colour + white mixed with medium), and have also put in the darkest darks by adding a black glaze to the shadow areas.  I still have to adjust the colours of the sky (it's stark white in the upper corner and needs a yellowish glaze over it) and of the distant water and hills. And general adjustments here and there.  I hope to finish it tomorrow... Meanwhile, on to something else today!
 ... I'm open to suggestions for the title, as right now it's still "rest stop tree" (a bit unimaginative) ...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

capturing the canadian spirit

First Peak 20x24" acrylic

Singled Out 16x20" acrylic

These are my two entries that were accepted into the juried show Capturing the Canadian Spirit. It's being put on by the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) in Vancouver, during the 2010 Olympics. This show features art depicting all aspects of Canada: the place, the people and the spirit that defines this country; our landscapes, cityscapes, sports, arts and lifestyles. There are 127 works of art in this show. It will be displayed at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island from Jan 26 - Feb 28th. I hope you can get out to see it!!!
Of course I had to depict a Canadian surfer (a sport close to my heart). This is from a surf break close to my home here in Sooke, on Vancouver Island. The snow covered tree is from Cypress Mountain on the north shore of Vancouver. This is where a lot of the Olympic events will be taking place, including Aerials and Sowboard Halfpipe. I have tickets to a few events, including Men's Aerials. I can't wait! (I just hope they get a bit more snow, as it's been pretty mild since late December...)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

painting in progress

Only spent half the day in the studio, as I went surfing this morning!  (Had a blast, the waves were a nice size).  Here are a few in-progress photos of my textured painting that I'm glazing.  Got some tips on this from another one of my favourite artists - David Langevin - with whom I took a workshop in October.  His paintings just seem to glow!  He is a master when it comes to techniques and properties of paint - my guru.  And he is incredibly generous with sharing his tricks of the trade...


Not sure what to call this one yet.  For now I'm calling it "Rest Stop Tree" as I saw it at a rest stop in Washington State last summer.   24x30"

Monday, January 25, 2010

seagull on yellow

Seagull on Yellow 10x10"

After a 3 day break from painting, I was happy to get back at it today. I always work on more than one painting at a time - I just need a break when working on each painting, unless they are small and relatively quick. Today I worked on 4 different ones ... I did the finishing touches on a dog portrait (a German Shepherd named Montey, now on my Pet Portrait website), did a few steps in a larger textured and glazed painting (more on that in a future post), started and got more than half-way on a tree beach scene, and started and finished this little guy! This was one of those relatively quick ones. I used the Golden Open acrylics for more blendability, so it was still a bit wet when I took this photo - too wet to wipe off my chalk drawing lines, which you can see here. I'll take another photo when it's dry.

Friday, January 22, 2010

shadow of me

Shadow of Me      9x12"    SOLD

Here's a fun little one that I did earlier this week.  A friend of mine took a photo of her shadow during a bike ride, and when she showed it to me I asked her permission to paint it as I loved the abstract look of it.  I should do that more often, since of course she bought it!   Her husband is now going to get me to do one of him as well, and they can hang side by side.

I am heading over to Vancouver today for the weekend.  I used to live there, so many of my friends and family are there.  Hanging with my friends tonight, then family tomorrow night for a wedding reception. Looking forward to it.  See you in a few days...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

harmony bowl in summer

Harmony Bowl in Summer 12x24"

Yesterday I finished the mountain scene that I started on Monday. Harmony Bowl is on Whistler Mountain and is a gorgeous place to go hiking in the summer, especially when the meadows are in bloom! Blackcomb Mountain is in the distance. I know, it's not blazing hot in terms of colours but I did warm it up a bit with a yellow glaze (which really doesn't show up well in this photo). However it is still on the cool side. Next time: a red sky (or something like that)!

I'm working on a dog commission today: A german sheperd. I haven't had any requests (until now) for sheperd paintings, although I did two sheperd-cross paintings of my brother's dogs for him for Christmas. They are getting quite old now (15 and 16!) and I thought it would make a nice gift for him and his girlfriend. This painting is for the person who won the bid for a custom pet portrait donation I did for the Canadian Athlete's Now (CAN) telethon auction on SHAW TV last summer ... (My cousin's have been involved in synchronized swimming for years). I'll post it when I'm done, probably next week as I'm going away this weekend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

stir the soul

Stir the Soul 16x16"

Still haven't quite finished the mountain scene that I started a few days ago. I'm sure it will get done today! But I just finished a forest scene that I spent a few days working on, so that's what you get to see today.
Last month I attended a weekend workshop in Vancouver with Mike Svob. I just love his work - his colours are so vibrant and I love his style of painting! One of the things that stuck with me is Mike says he tries to keep his colour palette on the warm side, as that's what people seem to be drawn to. That made me look at my paintings - I love colour, but many of them were mostly cool colours with very few warm ones in there. For some reason I seem to be drawn to cooler colours. When I got close to finishing this painting, I realized that it was all cool colours - purples and greens! I decided to cover it all with a unifying glaze of a warmer yellow. Did it work? It's still on the cool side but a bit warmer. Next time, I'm thinking blazing hot!

Monday, January 18, 2010

the conversation

The Conversation 8x10"

I spent the whole day in the studio, working on a mountain scene. I'm not going to post it yet as it's not quite finished, but stay tuned! In the meantime, here is another of the paintings that I completed on Friday. I have always had a fascination for crows and ravens, and for a while I did quite a few paintings of them. I thought it was time to revisit them. These two look like they are having quite the conversation ...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

gardening, surfing & painting

Happy 12x12"

Well, today I think I'm going to spend a bit of time working in the garden (it's not raining right now - for a change - and there is lots to do outside). And then my boyfriend and I will probably go surfing. Living in Sooke, on Vancouver Island, we are only a 30-60 minute drive away from some fantastic winter surf! I have been surfing now for 9 years and love it (I think I'm addicted), but some days it feels like I just started and can barely catch a wave ... To address the most common question: Yes, it's cold water but as long as you have a good wetsuit you really don't feel it. (And I have to tell you, this is the life - gardening, surfing, painting, not necessarily in that order, what more could a girl want!)

So I probably won't make it into the studio today, but here's one of the paintings that I completed on Friday. It's another painting of my dog Lucy. This is from a hike we did last summer, she was totally happy and in her element. I kept it loose and did it relatively quickly, compared to my usual pet portraits.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Resting 10x10"

I've been really inspired over the past week! I've discovered some great blogs written by other artists, and seeing their work has been so exciting. (Have a look on the right side of this page, and you will find links to some of these blogs). I was super busy over the holidays painting pet portraits for people that were intended to be Christmas gifts. I found myself getting quite detail oriented (which is my tendency). This is good for the portraits, but I was starting to feel bogged down with them.

Now that I have time to paint a few of my own paintings, I'm attempting to do them in a looser manner, without agonizing over the details. Yesterday, I completed three paintings all done in this way. Although I used acrylics, I used the slower drying Golden Open acrylics which allow more time to do some blending. Here's the first of my paintings. Living close to Victoria, BC, we have quite mild winters. As long as food continues to be put out, we have Anna's Hummingbirds around here all year long! I love watching these little guys - they are so tiny and beautiful.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

thanks for your help !

Where's my Dinner? 8x8"

The Heartbeat at my Feet 8x8"

Last week on my Facebook Art Page, I asked for help in naming two of my dog paintings that I did just for fun. These were just small paintings, 8x8" each. They weren't pet portrait commissions, just paintings that I did for fun in between commissions. I had quite a few suggestions that were great and have finally decided on two of them ... Thanks for your help! I think I will donate these paintings to the SPCA fundraiser coming up here in Victoria in March - the Just Desserts Gala. Last year I donated a 16x16" custom pet portrait that was bid on in the silent auction, and I have been asked to be part of it this year as well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

bella the beautiful

Bella - Lifejacket Dog 16x16"

I just finished the 3rd painting of Bella, a gorgeous border collie girl with one blue and one brown eye. Her owners commissioned me to do a painting of her shortly before she passed away in November. I did get a chance to meet her, you could tell she was a gentle soul. She was 14 years old and was very much a beloved member of the family. They gave me a whole bunch of photos from when she was younger and healthy but couldn't decide on which one to get as a painting. In the end, they had 3 favourites so just decided to get all 3 painted.

How hard it is to lose our furry family members. It just shatters our hearts, and there is just as much grief as if they were people. I was told that the process of having the portraits done of Bella was way better than grief counseling. I could see that - having the paintings done could give them something to look forward to, in the midst of a very hard time. I know I will be devasted when I lose my Lucy, and I can see myself doing more paintings of her then (although I'm doing lots now too) ...

Here are the other two paintings I did of Bella over the past few months.

Bella - Greasy Eye 18x24"
(This was a typical pose of Bella, just hanging out in the house, watching what was going on)

Bella - Crate Dog 12x24"
(when she was just a puppy, hanging out on top of her crate just waiting to be noticed!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

finally, a landscape painting!

Tangle 6x12"

Although I didn't spend a lot of time in the studio today, I did manage to complete a small landscape painting. My boyfriend and I were surfing last week and I took my waterproof camera with me. Took a few photos, including a great one of a tangle of kelp that was floating by in the current. I thought this would make a nice painting. I might even do it a larger at some point ... Let me what you think!

(Now that camera is in for repairs. I feel a bit lost without it, as it's a nice small camera that I can just put in my pocket when I am out for walks. I think the seal for the battery compartment wasn't working properly and it got water in it. We've had the camera for two years now - thank goodness for extended warranties! They've come in handy before, actually providing us with a brand new camera when our last one couldn't be fixed. So if they can't fix it, we will get a new version of this camera! I'm kind of hoping for that...)

Friday, January 8, 2010

bob the cat

Bob 18x24"

Another cat painting to post ... This one is of Bob, who is actually a female cat! (As a kitten, they were told she was a male, until the time came to neuter her.) This is a painting I did as a Christmas gift, but as it was a late commission I didn't get to deliver it until just the other day. They loved it! It's great to have finally had a few cat portraits to paint. Like I mentioned in my last post, more dog owners than cat owners seem to want paintings done of their pets. In the past year, I've only had 3 cat commissions versus the 30 or so dog paintings I did!

Last year I did do some other cat paintings that weren't commissions for the SPCA "Just Desserts" gala in March 09. Sold a few of them but the rest are now on display at the SPCA Victoria branch and other locations. I will probably do a few more for the next fundraiser I'm involved in with them, in March of this year (more on that in a future post).

I should finish another dog portrait today, then I have a horse one to do. And then hopefully I will have time to work on a few landscapes! It's been a month since I've had a chance to do that. Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

new blog location / silver the cat

Silver 16x16"

I'm switching from doing my blog on my two individual websites separately to finally just doing one and linking my sites to it! This should save me the trouble of writing two separate (yet identical) blogs on two different sites. Well, actually it's three sites as I also have a Facebook Art Page. Life is all about saving time now as I'm busy enough with my painting!

Today I'm driving into Victoria to drop off my latest pet portrait - Silver the cat! He's the feline brother of Olive the chihuahua who I did a portrait of last month. I was so happy to do a cat portrait - not very many cat owners seem to want a painting of their cat, unlike dog owners. I wonder why that is? But it was a lot of fun to paint Silver. Interestingly, I have found cat portraits a bit more challenging that the dogs. Maybe it's because of the short fur with lots of variations in it, which means more detail to paint.