Friday, December 31, 2010

Lempke Lake in Winter

This little study was painted on Boxing Day, a cold, clear winter's afternoon. The photograph does not show the colour of the sunlight on the snow as well as I hoped it would. I may try to rephotograph and repost, but until then this small study can stand and represent a most glorious winter's day.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow on Sunflowers Revisited - a Study - SOLD

The snow in the garden is much deeper now covering the bottoms of the sunflower stems. In this study I was attempting to simplify the scene, while showing the foreground, midground, and background as large colour shapes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pines - a Study

This is a view from my kitchen window of three magnificent white pine trees that grow in a clump at the fence line between our property and our neighbour's. The sunlight reflecting off the snow and the blue snow shadows were my inspiration for this study.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two Cedars

Another opportunity to paint blue snow shadows. This was painted yesterday from my studio window before I went to the hospital for my evening shift in ICU. The days are very short this time of year as it gets dark by five in the afternoon, which is, of course not good for painting, but what is good for painting is the low raking sunlight which lights the winter mornings and afternoons.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter - SOLD

What a gorgeous day! Blue sky and sunshine everwhere, the snow is so beautiful when the trees cast blue snow shadows everywhere. This little sketch was painted looking out of our music room window towards the road.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Hardwood Forest

This was a particularily grey day last week but Marina and I were determined to paint an outdoor motif. We happily sat at her kitchen table drinking tea and painting, despite not having any brilliant colours to paint.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Perched Pear

I found this glass bowl at Walmart last week when I went to finish my Christmas shopping after my evening shift at the hospital. My friend Marina bought a similiar bowl when we went to Walmart in Ogdensburg on our way home from our Carol Marine painting course in New York this summer, and I have been wanting one ever since. The pears were fun to do and I love to use red. The top pear is resting on the rim of the bowl but I thought it looked like it was precarioulsy pearched on the bottom pear.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Little Spruce

This is a view of our back lawn from the kitchen window. I waited all day for some sunshine so that I could paint some blue shadows on the snow. The sun shone briefly, about 2 minutes, so I painted the long tree shadows first and then extrapolated some of the background shadows to the best of my knowledge. I love this time of year when the snow is fresh and pristine, forms become simpler and designs more apparent making composition easier.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Early December

This small oil sketch was done this afternoon from my back deck. It was below freezing but with the sun shining it was warm enough for Phil and I to sit on our back steps and drink our tea after lunch. I figured if it is warm enough to sit and drink tea it surely is warm enough to do a small painting. Unfortunately, the clouds started to roll in from the east and south and just as I was ready to start painting, the clouds covered the sun and I lost all the beautiful blue shadows on the snow. I persevered even though it got very cold without the sunshine and was pretty happy with this little piece.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snow on Sunflowers

The first snow was fairly light but covered the garden and the lawn. The tall stalks of the sunflowers and hollyhocks looked so elegant with tufts of snow clinging to their heads. Marina came over and we sat at my kitchen table and painted these looking through the windows.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oranges in a Glass Bowl

This is the painting that I did last week when I went to Marina's place. We had only a short time as usual and had lots to share. She told me all about her painting experiences with Ian Roberts in South Carolina and the good times they had. We look forward to lots of painting this winter and maybe even some more pleine aire if we get some days that are not to cold.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

White Pines

This is the last of the plein aire oil sketches that I painted during our "Indian Summer" last week. I have not been able to get to my blog for a while but I did manage to paint last week with my friend Marina. I have to photograph the still life that we did together and post it. The above piece has some glare on the left side so I will try to correct that also.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Track into the Woods

A few hundred feet from our house is a beautiful property that runs into the bush. It used to be part of a farm and someone still cuts hay from the fields, which is great for me because it provides easy access to some great painting places. I painted this last week during our wonderful "Indian Summer". It was cold out when I did this sketch but I had such a great time because the fall grasses were so beautiful and the late afternoon November light is so fine for painting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Close to Home

Last week when my husband, Phil, was up on the roof doing some repairs I was below on the lawn being the "ground man/gofer". I knew Phil was going to be quite a while up on the roof so I set up in the front yard looking in to the bush for this view of some of our trees. It was a great day, I enjoyed painting and Phil did a great job on the roof repairs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Late Afternoon

This is another small panel painted the same day as the previous piece, later in the afternoon, finished just as the sun was dropping below the tree line. The sky was a warm, mellow, yellow-green and I really loved the shapes of the trees against the backdrop of the sky. It was unbelievable how cold it got in just a few minutes after the sun set.

Twin Tamaracks

I was able to get out and paint quite a few times in the past week and a half. The November light is really fantastic and the colours are so subtle and interesting. I love all the shades of the grasses and tree branches which are not so visible when they are covered with leaves. Because it was pretty cold some of the days when I was out I used smaller panels which work up a lot faster than the 8 x 10's that I used most of the summer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Green Roof

A quick little sketch on a piece of pink matboard I did as a study for a larger painting "Sumachs". Another in the ongoing series of paintings done on the abandoned farm down the road from our house.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Farm Building in November

This year summer change to autumn overnight, one day it was hot and the next it was cold without too much moderate weather in between. All of the buildings on this abandoned farm property have the most beautiful weathered green steel/tin roofs, which I love to paint against the constantly changing seasons. I hope to go out again this week to paint on the farm if it is not to cold and the sun shines for a bit.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

White Cup #3

Another look at the White Cup. I have painted about 11 different studies of this object and I like this one about the best of the last 10, it is loose and painted quickly.

Friday, October 29, 2010


After taking Carol Marine's workshop this summer in New York state I really understand the need to be able to draw quickly and accurately, something that I cannot yet do. I painted 4 small paintings of this subject before I started the 'final' one, each of the 4 preliminary studies revealed some more subtle aspect of the subject, making the final painting flow more easily. I am going to spend much more time this fall and winter working on my drawing skills.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Red Delicious

A quick sketch at Marina's a few weeks ago

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Piggy Bank

This little piggy I painted a while ago with my friend Marina and I never posted it. It was a fun afternoon and we did a couple of versions of this delft ceramic bank that my mom gave me a few years ago.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grey Day with Poplars

Marina and I drove around to some of our favorite painting spots but could not get inspired, the day was grey with rain coming in. Finally we turned down onto Schoolhouse Road to look for a spot that we had thought we would come back to one day. The sky was now completely overcast except a thin line of sky to the east which was bright yellow/coral. The bright line of the sky and the brilliant poplars which seemed to glow with light from within gave us the inspiration for the paintings. By the time we were finished it had started to rain. Undaunted we sat in the car and drank a cup of hot tea and felt our day most enjoyable and successful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Guardians

I am trying to keep my paintings loose, describing large colour areas and focusing on design rather than detail. This is much harder than it sounds. When standing outside in nature your eyes take in a million subtle changes in colour and value and it is so easy to zone in on one small area of the painting and keep working there. I find the discipline required to keep it big and keep it loose usually breaks down as I get more tired at the end of the day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

On the Way to Mattawa

This little sketch was painted on the day Marina and I went on our road trip to Mattawa. A lake lies beside Highway 17, with a small park with picnic tables, where travellers can get out of their cars and gamble about enjoying the beautiful natural world. We met a dog called Mary which I thought was cool.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Between the Showers

On the day this was painted rain showers rolled in one after the other all afternoon. It was a beautiful day between, and I did manage to almost finish this sketch before I got rained on.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Poplars

After a very intense day yesterday painting at Crooked Slide Falls near Combermere Marina and I painted nearer to home off one of the small gravel roads in Laurentian Valley. We had only a short time to paint and so had to get things down quickly. I think we were both exhausted but because we had not been able to get out to paint lately we were determined to make our best effort. I had to make a few changes, actually I scraped the poplars off and repainted them completely painting lots of blue sky holes, in my studio that evening.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Slough on Forest Lea Road

Between the rain and the abyssmal featureless overcast conditions of the past seven days I managed to get out and paint a couple of times. On the day I paintined this sketch I drove a few miles from my house down Forest Lea Road into the bush and set up Marina's Solteck easel which she has lent to me while she is in Germany, and painted looking north across a slough. The colours are beautiful and so inspiring, I had a wonderful time while painting this piece, does it show?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swamp on Barron Canyon Road

This is another sketch from my trip up Barron Canyon Road on Tuesday. The swamp is full of trees that have been drowned and are left standing in the shallow water. The sun was raking across the tops of the trees on the distant bank, the wind had died down and the reflections on the pond were unearthily beautiful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Barron Canyon Road

A very quick sketch of a stream that has been dammed up by beavers. I used a large filbert brush and painted on a Raymar panel. Marina lent me her Solteck easel to use while she is in Germany. Some how I messed up my camera AGAIN so that I can't use the aperature priority, which I was so happy with on the last post. Today the camera would not put the image on the card so that I could load it on to my computer. I ended up using one of the preset functions, which actually worked very well for this sketch. I know eventulally I'll get it.

Last Day of Summer

I have been away from my blog for the past while working out some technical problems, both in photographing my images and working with the images on my computer. My nursing job has also been taking a fair amount of my time so far this month. Monday the weather was gorgeous so my friend Marina and I decided to take a road trip up the Ottawa Valley to Mattawa. On the way north we scouted out some promising painting locations and ended up painting in two of them. This view is at a small park near Mackie, Ontario. It was late in the day so we had to paint fast to finish before the sun went down. We were joined briefly by two friendly truck drivers, Dallas and Gord, who gave us the location of a park on the Ottawa River where we can paint. Looking forward to that, thanks Gord!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

White Cup # 2 - with Cherry Tomatoes

Another session with the white cup, same technique but the drawing is more accurate, especially the centering of the cup in the saucer and the relative sizes of the cup and saucer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

White Cup # 1 - with Cherry Tomatoes

From both of my workshops this summer I learned that I need to work on my drawing skills - especially with the brush, so I have decide to take on a project of painting this white cup under many circumstances, to see the correct proportions of its shape. My friend Marina told me that in a workshop by Jack Reid she once attended he told her it is sometimes necessary to repeat a subject as many as 25 times to really learn how to paint it. The above painting is a value study in Burnt Umber and White.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Late Summer Reflections

The colours of autumn are slowly replacing the greens of early summer, finally. I adore the the fall with it's cool, crisp days and cooler evenings. I always feel more energetic and wanting to get out and do things after moping around the house or at work in the hot humid days of mid-summer. The landscape comes alive with brilliant colour, each day more glorious than the last. I'm really looking forward to getting out and doing some paintings in the next few months.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lily Pond

The end of summer is coming and the rich lush greens that are so difficult to paint because they are all so close in hue and value are starting to change to yellows, golds, and the occasional red. The grasses in the distance in this sketch have begun to make the transition to fall and stand out against the still green trees.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beaver Pond on Barron Canyon Road

On Tuesday I drove up Barron Canyon Road and stopped by a beaver pond and did several sketches of the trees and water. There were still a few black flies and deer flies around to contend with. Despite the aggravation of the insects I hung in and had a great day painting.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Laurentians

A study of a view across a field to the Laurentian Mountains in the background. This was painted a few miles from our house looking north. The photograph of the painting shows the sky darker than the sky in the painting. I'm still working with my polarizing lens and trying to replicate the colour and values on the monitor to match the paintings. Jeff Mahorney has some fascinating links from his blog to sites that explain colour management and the problems that arise when trying to duplicate colour when moving from paint, to camera, to monitor. I'm looking forward to reading what he has to offer in terms of practical advice for art bloggers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cardinal Flowers

This is the final painting after several studies. I liked the 6 x 6 piece but I thought the flowers at the top looked squashed so I changed the dimensions of the painting to 6 x 8 to accomodate the tall bottle and the curving flower stem. The background didn't look quite right so it got changed to a more neutral grey, I'm not sure if I like it or not.

The initial painting in a 6 x 6 format

Preliminary Studies

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cup with Tangerines

I haven't been posting much lately as my internet service has been poor. I have lost so many pictures, notes and emails into cyberspace lately that I decided to give it a rest. Yesterday this cup was painted by by Marina and myself at Round Lake. We had a great day painting and finished off the day with wine and pizza when her husband showed up with the goodies! Yay Sergio.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pear 1 - 4

These small paintings were painted in 10 minutes each in the Carol Marine workshop last weekend. I have since done several of these groups of small paintings in an effort to improve my drawing with the paint brush, to practise being aware of value proportions, and to paint on a ground of the most saturated colour and greying the other areas around the focal area.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Red Delicious

I'm home from the Carol Marine workshop in Greenville, New York. It was an unbelievable experience. The Greenville Arms Inn where the workshop was held was a perfect spot: an original inn built around 1890, converted and made very comfortable for the home of the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. Our teacher, Carol Marine, exceeded all expectations as a teacher. She is knowledgable, energetic, and generous. She led the group through a number of extremely helpful and enjoyable exercises, which I feel as I continue them at home I will grow much more quickly as an artist. As a person Carol was delightful to be with, totally funny, sweet, and natural. I would encourage anyone who wishes to grow as an artist to take one of her workshops and follow her blog. The study above is an example of one of the lessons on value that we worked on.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yellow Flowers

I am busy getting ready for my next workshop, this one with Carol Marine. Carol has been posting her daily paintings on her blog since 2006. She is truly one of the very best contemporary artists, and I feel so fortunate to be attending one of her workshops. Marina and I leave Thursday morning for Greenville, New York where the workshop is to be held at an old inn the home of Hudson River Valley Art Workshops.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Train tressel near the Marina in Pembroke

I wanted to return to this site and make another attempt at painting this charming view. Tuesday evening presented a clear beautiful evening with the sun raking over the scene. I kept in mind the technique of painting large colour shapes with the piece being design driven and tried to avoid "knoodleing" (Marina's and my nickname for too much unecessary and confusing detail).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Witherspoon's Pond

I started this painting of a beautiful pond while I was at the workshop in Goderich. The morning had been spent doing some amazing exercises, which although I enjoyed immensly, kind of scrambled my brain. I worked very slowly trying to integrate what I had learned in the morning into my painting. I was't able to finish the piece during the workshop but because I had various pencil sketches and the colour block in done I finished it this afternoon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Farm Buildings

The photo of this painting turned out a bit on the rosy side, I will retake it in the morning and attempt to repost. I was working today on trying to maintain simplicity and retain the original colour shapes from the block in. This is the rear view of the farmhouse and out buildings on the abandoned farm near us on Forest Lea Road. This is now the retake of the photo, much closer to the actual colour.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Driftwood Revisited

After spending time with Ian Roberts at his workshop in Goderich, focusing on colour shapes and design, I felt that I would like to try repainting the scene from the boat launch at Driftwood Park. Yesterday I spent some time on a value study of the sketch using my previous sketch and a photograph as a preliminary step off point. Today's painting is very simple in terms of colour and values with very little detail but I am happy with the new direction that I have taken.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pink Flower

One of the lessons taught at the plein aire workshop was to simplify shapes into colour masses and not to get lost in the detail. This small sketch is an attempt to do that. It is always hard to not keep adding and adding small details which are easily visible to the human eye, but which tend to complicate the design.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rainy Day near Auburn

I am back from the plein aire workshop with Ian Roberts in Goderich, Ontario. It was a wonderful experience, for both personal and artistic growth. The 4 days spent immersed in the fundamentals of painting outdoors; design, composition, simplification, colour mixing, value determination, to mention a few were exhilarating and exhausting. The above painting was done outside in a small park pavilion with the rain pouring down . A damp and cold environment, which however, revealed a subtle beauty not normally available . Marina and I had so many laughs and enjoyed so many good times in this beautiful country of ours during our trip to and from Goderich and during the workshop.