Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sounds of Christmas concert

Well here we are during intermission of our latest concert at Markham Theatre this past weekend. Merry is on the left and I am on the right. The two concerts and the Homes for the Holidays Tour kept me too busy to paint for much of Nov. and Dec. 2010. I am hoping that Santa will remember to leave me some artistic gifts this year.

Studying and bullets.

Sounds like we are back in school but both activities are worthwhile for me as an artist. Sometimes a family member or fellow artist will catch me staring at one of my paintings that is in the process of being finished. I am actually studying my work to see if it has all of the elements of a good painting. Is it a good composition? Does it have any repetition or focal point? Where is the light? Is there any contrast? When I answer these questions at the end of a session I put down in bullet form any elements that I may need to adjust the following day. I also make note of which colours I have used or mixed to get this result which is especially helpful if I leave this particular painting for a few days.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Picking

I have been painting steadily lately including this one and several studies. Inspired by my Halloween birthday I painted some spooky trees behind a patch of pumpkins ripe for the picking.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homes for the Holidays/Breast Cancer/Varley

I am now a member of the steering committee for the Homes for the Holidays Tour in Unionville and Markham, benefiting the Breast Cancer Centre at Markham Stouffville Hospital and the Varley Art Gallery. It takes place Nov. 19 and 20th. I approached the Markham Group of Artists and asked for a donation of a painting from any member for this worthy cause.Several artists contacted me to say they would contribute a painting which will be offered as part of a vignette to be won by the sale of raffle tickets. The boutique sale and raffles will be open to the general public at the Markham Civic Centre on Fri. Nov. 19th and Sat. the 20th of Nov.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Scarlet Reflection

Sorry for the poor cropping. This won 2nd prize at the Markham Fair 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010


"If you put off everything till you're sure of it, you'll never get anything done." Norman Vincent Peale. I was telling my little art group this week that even though I want to paint I seem to put it off with any little excuse. I have many ideas about what to paint and what pallatte to choose for it but find myself putting off the actual beginning of each painting. I wonder if that is a sign of being a perfectionist. Once I do start a project and actually put paint to canvas I so enjoy the first sitting or two, splashing the colours freely onto the support. Then about the third or fourth attack I really have to push myself to begin. I think it may be that for the first or second session there is no pressure to complete anything. I know I am there to experiment and have fun. But after that the next few sessions are all about fixing errors and putting the finishing touches to the work and I feel that it is more like work. At that point, it really had better look like something or I may even have to scrap it and start all over.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Charity Silent Auction

During my show at the McKay I was approached by John Liu the student organizer to see if I would offer one of my paintings to be auctioned for the charity Pathways at the Markham's Got Talent Show. I quickly painted a small daisy and delivered it to him the night before the show. I haven't heard how it went as yet but will keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paulette from Sudbury

This is the expressionistic work that I loved that Paulette did. The colours were more vibrant in person.

Irene + live model work

This day we worked from a live model.

Expressionism-- Landscapes

Here is John Lennard with Irene from Don Valley Art Club. Our expressionistic landscapes are in the background up high. Mine is the one with the large black rock. I call it Rock and Roll.


Impressionism -- wine bottles Haliburton School of the Arts

Impressionism bottles taught by John Lennard Aug. 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Final Art Class

The last of anything is bittersweet. While I am anxious to see my family and home, I have enjoyed meeting many new people in the art community. Some of us were treated to a tour of the lithograph studio where John Lennard and wife Marilyn work during the summer months. They shared their work with us. I was very impressed with Marilyn's sculptures particularly the black sandstone sheep. They will be opening a studio and shop in Goodwood soon. In the afternoon we either completed some of our 4 works or started a fifth on our largest canvas, using our gray scale values in either impressionism or expressionism . I decided to do a landscape of a large tree with yellow sky and purple flowers in the foreground. I chose expressionism and got a good start on it. Then we had a critique by John of one of our works and I put up my Ontario landscape in analogous colours, using expressionism. To my great surprise John had nothing to say about any change or improvement to this piece. He told me to sign it, frame it and that he would be proud to have this hanging in his own house. High praise! The class gave me thumbs up and high fives. Maybe I will enter this in the fall show. I will upload some photos on Monday.The students shared their email addresses and one by one left.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Haliburton Day 4

Today we experimented with expressionism which is more aggressive with larger brush strokes, than impressionism. I quite liked it. We all tried a simple landscape using values and analagous colour schemes. In the afternoon we had a live model pose while we sketched in paint and then blocked in the shape. This is not an area that I have any experience in or enjoy, but I gave it a go and it wasn't half bad upon completion. I will post the photos I took on Monday. We then did the walkabout which was more of a drag about as I had been on my feet painting for two whole days. I am still drawn to the mosaics class. I went to the art auction but I was hungry and extremely tired so I left after a half hour. So here I am dear bloggers ready for bed at nine p m.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Impressionism Haliburton style

It is day 3 of Impressionism with John Lennard here at the Haliburton School of the Arts. The chairs are very old and very hard. Unfortunately my room is not air conditioned either. We are in Class from 9 until 4:30, taking notes and doing painting exercises.Yesterday we did a fall water rock scene and today a still life with bottle using the values and techniques that John taught us on Monday.There was a jazz singer after school today and in the evening I saw a great play in the school auditorium put on as part of the Highlands Festival. Tomorrow afternoon is the walk about where we get to visit the other classes and see the work they have been doing. At 7 p m there will be the art auction in the main campus building. The money raised by auctioning art by the teachers will be given as scholarships.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wrap up Art Show

Saturday and Sunday flew by with probably 150 or so people wandering in. More friends and family came as well. Barb Back president of Scarborough Choral appeared as well my older brother Peter who bought Dragon Fire. Many people were intrigued with Aurora Borealis, Poppy Bonfire, Whispering Birch, and the abstracts (with Chariots of Fire being the preferred one). Pat Wheeler the founding member of Markham Group of Artists dropped in with encouragement and a photo to give me from our spring juried show, as well as another member Bill. Close friends Paul and Carol Webb came just after the Markham Classic Car Show at the last minute on Saturday. Son Darcy and girlfriend Alissa were there on Sunday so I introduced them to Nigar and showed off her work. Taking down an exhibit goes much faster than installing. After that it was a quick dinner and drive to Haliburton, Ont. for my art course.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Our Favourite Things ---The Movie

My son Tyler a graduate of Humber Print and Broadcast and intern at Roger's Sportsnet came with his camera to film our show on Friday. So I am hoping to be able to post the video here very soon.

Day 4

We have been so busy with visitors that at the end of each day just sitting is a pleasure. Friends, family and colleagues have been most supportive. I have talked with my Scarborough Choral friends: Judy, Sue, Susan, Barb and my Markham Little Theatre people: Michele, Terry,Angela,Ron and Margaret, as well as good friends Sue, Rolf,Merry, Richard,Carol, Ron, Linda, Paul,Bonnie, Pete,Marie and family members, Paul, David, Lindsey, Judy, Peter,Keith,Tyler and even Duffy made an appearance and was a big hit. I have been surprised by the many artists that come in to look around and chat about technique. Not only is it helpful to network with these artists but as usual we have shared tips on painting, framing or having a show. Both of us have had inquiries about commissions. So there is just one day of our show remaining and on the whole it has been a very positive experience one which I believe all artists should experience at least once. Even if you do not sell a painting you have learned a great deal, made connections as in email addresses and your business cards are now in the hands of many new patrons. I imagine that tomorrow Sunday will be equally as busy as today.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Muse

Here he comes to save the day...... The man with the fan. Thank goodness Canadian Tire was open late as it was stifling in there and Keith dashed out to buy a large fan. Looks like we dressed to match this one.

My favourites of Nigar

I love Zanzibar but unfortunately it was sold. The other one I love is Nepalese Lily and I am trying to get my sister in law to buy it and just redecorate.

Partners in Art--Too Damn Hot!

Here we are just before our official opening in the north room at the McKay. Boy our feet were tired at the end of the night. Keith saved the night by dashing out and buying a large fan. Too Damn Hot! In more ways than one.

Wild Blue Yonder day 1 art show

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nigar with her work

Here is Nigar with three pieces of her art on day one of our show.

Our Favourite Things Day 1

Here I am with Wild Blue Yonder my latest abstract and Pretty in Pinkish. We were very busy all day greeting art lovers who visited the gallery. Nigar and I think there were about 50-60 people.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

D Day Art Show

Well I think I finished everything! Last minute purchases were for guest books, decorative pens, candy and dish, and receipt book. Installation went like a breeze, much faster than I had anticipated assisted by my better half. I even had some time to help Nigar with her work; although she had many helpers so I was able to leave early. Both rooms look quite amazing all hung in small co ordinating groups. Both of us have a few abstracts but on the whole our art is unique. Nigar's is vibrant with dark frames and mine is bright but with lighter colours, even pastel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finishing Touches

This week I am putting some finishing touches on preparations for my art show at the McKay. There are cards to print, guest book and refreshments to buy, final payment to make, borrowing of easels and work to be picked up at the framers, not to mention a tweak here and there to my last few paintings. I will also remind family and friends about the official opening on Thursday Aug.5th.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poppy Bonfire

I have yellow poppies in my garden. Here is my reddish version.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tandem Painting

No I don't mean a dip tic; I am referring to the practise of working on two or more separate paintings at a time. I find this useful for me as I need to step back from a work for a few hours or days to assess what I have accomplished and where it needs to go next. Presently, I am working on three paintings, two of which I will post very soon. One is a rooster awakening to a sunny sky and the other is my impression of three reddish orange poppies. The third painting that I will continue to work on is the smaller abstract from the fusion workshop. It has already had three or four versions. I have changed the palette from the original pale blue/green/pink/coral/white to pale blue/green/white/sand/pale yellow green. I want to create more fluidity in it now.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chariots of Fire

I have put the finishing touches on my abstract from the fusion workshop and voila! The second smaller one I am still working on. It is amazing how peaceful you feel when looking at your favourite colours. I have had many positive comments about this work so far.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ruth and Nigar

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams, 'The Dilbert Principle'
US cartoonist (1957 - )
I have just returned from another two day abstract workshop with Kirstin Bojanowski of Newmarket. My perfectionism got in the way of being playful and creative. I got stuck on the parts of my work which I felt weren't working. I need to lighten up because by the time I got home I quite liked both pieces. They just need a little tweaking here and there. Workshops should be for experiencing a new techinque and the sheer enjoyment of your creative process. Here are a couple of pictures of my dear friends Nigar and Ruth, each one holding her first work from Saturday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Please Mr. Postman, wait and see.....

if there's a postcard in the mail for me. Recently I have been looking into the benefits of sending colour postcards out to family, friends and patrons to advertise my upcoming show this August. They appear to be a good marketing plan. I have decided so far to send them using a glossy colour print of one of my recent works. I intend to leave a blank space on the back where I can either write in a greeting or show details. I could also just make labels to stick on the back with the information about the show. That way I can also use the cards for a seasonal greeting or a method of just communicating about current work, awards etc. with patrons/friends. Another idea is to use them as a thank you card for a recent purchase.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Good Day Sunshine

Here is the newest addition.Cheerful sunflowers on a sunny day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You better shop around.....

Need some printing done? Well start with your local printers and get a quote so you can compare apples to apples or rather business cards. Then check out two online companies who will give you a better deal. and You can even download one of your own images/paintings to use on the item be it a postcard, business card, magnet, pen etc.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Artist Mentors

This is something I have been thinking about for some time. An artist mentor would provide encouragement, personalized support, training, advice, life experience and possibly assessment and feedback on a regular basis through studio visits. The novice artist would gain professional development, technical skills, confidence and quite possibly a friend with a similar interest. Just this week I had the great pleasure of visiting a fellow member of the Markham Group of Artists at her home studio. She spent two hours with me discussing her art and techniques , showed me her studio, shared many tips and even gave me a sample of her yupo paper to try. We planned to attend an art show at the end of this week together as a result. I would encourage all of the veteran artists out there to offer to spend even as little as two hours with a newbie artist. I am sure even the established artist would gain a great deal from this experience.

No such thing as bad publicity

Check out page 21 in June's Snap Markham Newspaper Vol 3 # 11 to see a picture of moi with my abstract painting 'The Sentinel' taken at the Mayor's Art Showcase 2010 (juried show). I am not even going to complain about my photo! I am not sure if it is available online but here is the link regardless.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Koi Story"

Fish fascinate me. I plan to do more koi, as well as other tropical fish in the near future. I also want to do some waterlily paintings. They seem so elegant and serene.This won first prize at the Markham Fair 2010.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Markham Group of Artists Juried Show May 25 - June 6

More exciting news. I entered and was accepted into the MGA juried show on now until June 6th at the Kathleen Gormley McKay Gallery 197 Main St. Unionville, On. L3R 2G8. The official opening is Thurs. May 27, 6-7:30 but it is open tomorrow as well. Again I am excited and feel very privileged to be included with many of our very talented group. So for those who missed the Mayor's Art Showcase I urge you to drop in and see this show on your way through Unionville. Audra Noble has photographed this show with assistance from Allen Class,Donna Bell, yours truly and others and it will be on the Markham Group of Artists website in the near future.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Save money on supplies

I have just returned from a trip to a local art supply store, Curry's in Markham, On. It never fails that they give me my 10% discount. All I have to do is show them my membership card to any local art association. So naturally I think it is a good idea for all aspiring or established artists to join your local art clubs. Joining has helped me enormously in learning the art business and networking with other artists. Your community most likely has an arts council which will inform you about upcoming shows or other opportunities you shouldn't miss. My own abilities have improved a great deal just from talking to or watching other artists in my club as they work during workshops. They have given me many tips on techniques or even organizational ideas for my supplies and studio.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Paddling the Fraser

This is a painting I did from a photo by my sister in law Beth who lives very near Mt. Robson.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Exciting News! May 15th

I entered two paintings into a juried show at the Markham Civic Centre 101 Town Centre Blvd. (in the Great Hall) and both were accepted! It is the Mayor's Art Showcase in my home town of Markham, Ont. The show dates are May 17-22 10:a m - 5 p m. You can meet the artists on Tues. May 18 between 1 and 2 p m. The paintings I entered were an abstract "The Sentinel" and the other was "Whispering Birch Grove". You can look both up in my earlier blogs.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

And now for something completely different....

'Aurora Borealis' done by a technique called "staining" at Haliburton School of the Arts.

Pretty in Pinkish

Pretty in Pinkish.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Two new acrylic painting tips and new works

Recently I had a dent in the canvas I wanted to use when a colleague said that I could remove it by spraying the back of the canvas with clean water.

Another tip I came across recently concerns the quick drying time of acrylic paints. In order to
slow the drying time of a painting you can, again, spray the back of the canvas before you start.

Last week I finished an impressionistic floral resembling pink peonies in a turquoise container sitting under the light of a window.

This week I am working on a square painting of three koi in a pool.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Great Sites for Artists' Business

Alyson B. Stanfield founded in 2002 and published "I'd Rather Be in the Studio!" in 2008. This site teaches artists how to promote their art, gain fans, and make more money. You can subscribe to the RSS feed or follow her on Facebook. Another fantastic site for artists is

Friday, April 30, 2010


This little sparrow was one of my early acrylic paintings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Show and new e-resources

Well the art show at the Heintzman House in Thornhill was wonderful. I met several members from the Markham Group of Artists there and was given a few tips by each. I also met another artist Susan Chater, who is doing watercolour paintings without framing or glass which appeals to me. She took our email addresses as she will be teaching in the fall at her home studio. in Richmond Hill. You can see her watercolours at .The show was well organized with a tea room and door prizes. It is held yearly in the old period home once owned by the Heintzman family.

I have come across two new sites that are very helpful. One is where you can actually upload digital pics of your art to be sold as prints or giclees. The other is which has art tutorials, business advice, research and featured artists.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Free Art Tutorial Site Here is an interesting site I found this morning. It doesn't seem to be in video form but shows how to accomplish each piece step by step.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pink Lady

This floral was started in a workshop with Marianne Bloome. I was excited to learn her background technique.

Beyond the Burren

Dragon Fire - First Prize Markham Fair

This was done using acrylic on paper and saran wrap to achieve the mosaic background. The dragon was inspired by the shapes and colours on the paper after removing the saran. It was enhanced with gold, bronze and silver. I forgot to mention that it won first prize mixed media at the Markham Fair 2009.

Whispering Birch

This one I am very pleased with. I was able to get into two juried shows with this painting and so I chose it for my business cards.