I usually carry my camera with me wherever I go.
It is my visual assistant, my organizer and my memory.
I can’t stress enough the importance of organizing your photos. Otherwise it’s like throwing thousands of photos into a big cardboard box and rummaging through it every time you need to find one. Continue reading →
It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine and blue sky does to lift spirits at this time of year. Tomorrow we’re expecting 12 Celsius- positively heat wave weather! Although we will likely have at least one more winter storm, in the here and now, it feels and smells like spring. I love it! Continue reading →
Earlier this year I was invited to paint a door for a fundraiser for the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
At the time I was swamped with painting my musician series and I almost turned down this opportunity. I thought I could be practical and adapt one of my photographs or an existing painting or drawing for the project. That would save time, right? Easy and fast, right? #famouslastwords Continue reading →
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” – Claude Monet
I just came back from a painting journey to Brier Island. The ocean and meadows were fabulous to experience.. and to paint. Still I couldn’t wait to come home to enjoy the rest of the iris and lupin season. Continue reading →
Iris are my favorite personal flowers. The iris in this painting came from blooms in my grandmother’s garden in Toronto over 60 years ago. I paint them every year and think of my mother and grandmother.
My paintings always reflect my state of mine. While I worked on this, I brooded about a problem in my non-painting life that turned this into a very purple and blue painting. But as the week wore on I changed my way of seeing my problem and that’s when I (coincidentally) changed the focal point in the painting to an optimistic yellow iris.
I actually do have some yellow iris like this one, but they didn’t bloom this year. Well, except for on my canvas. 😉
I started this painting outdoors in front of my ‘model’, the flower bed. I have a wonderful pop-up screened tent to protect me from vicious black flies, who are out in full force in spring. The orange curtain is clothes-pinned to reduce the glare from the direct sun.
I bring in the work to refine it in the studio…along with some flowers.
Here you can get a better sense of the size of the painting.
Right this moment, the iris and lupins in my Nova Scotia garden are in full bloom. The landscape is green and purple. I am so inspired and want to share this with you.
So, I’m taking you with me! Through these peak painting months, I’ll send you a short newsletter every third Monday to share my art experiences – painting iris, painting on Brier Island, co-founding the new Bear River Artworks Gallery. Whew!
On the weeks in between, I’ll send you an image of a recent painting with a little background story.
Just add your contact info at the bottom of this page to subscribe.
Thank you so much, for your interest in my painting news. I’ll talk to you on Monday!
Right now, I’m headed outside to paint iris and lupins. Here is a repost of a blog I made in 2010 about painting at this time of year. I will try today to express the emotional connection I feel for iris as I did in this painting.
There were gorgeous, large bearded irises in my grandmother’s garden over 50 years ago. My mother transplanted some to her garden and eventually I had them in my garden. They moved ½ way across the continent with us when we came to Nova Scotia and are blooming like never before.
I know my mom and my grandmother would have loved the yellow variety that I’ve added to the ancestral iris. And I know they would have loved the wild purple, pink and white lupins that grow like weeds here and especially at our place.
I want to show you how I painted and drew these flowers using fluid acrylics over a base of wet matt medium and I’ve made a tutorial for you about this. Enjoy!
I paint from life and in early June, the lupins and iris are in bloom here in Nova Scotia. I brought some into the studio and placed them in wine bottles so that I could have good close-up examples of the lupin in the distance. Although I prefer to paint on location, at this time of year the black flies are biting, so I paint inside.
I started this painting applying watered-down acrylic on a primed canvas. I wanted to achieve a soft, wet in wet watercolour effect.
When that dried, I applied a thick coating of matt medium over the entire canvas and then painted into it with my fluid acrylic paints. I keep them in sealed plastic containers in a muffin tin. That way they are always ready to use.
I try to limit my palette to five colours or fewer because it creates a better colour harmony in the painting. I paint with nylon brushes and I also use a rubber-tipped scraper to draw shapes into the painting.
I dip the scraper into my paint and draw with it much like dipping a pen into ink. I like the calligraphy effects that I can get by pushing the paint away and creating a line and a texture.
If the medium gets too tacky, I moisten it with a spray of water. The water also makes the paint run which adds an interesting softening effect to the work.
As long as the medium is moist, the painting can be worked on and the scraping will reveal the colours underneath.
I love iris and I deliberately choose purple and yellow because they are complementary colours and they make the painting vibrate.
Although I have an easel, I painted this on the floor because otherwise the entire painting would drip and run if I placed it upright. That’s because I have a coating of wet matt medium on the canvas and that is the tip or secret that I am sharing with you.
I came across this quite by accident and now I almost always paint with acrylic this way. For one, it delays the drying period, which I like; but the biggest advantage is that I can create all kinds of textures and linear marks in the painting by pushing away the colour with a scraping tool and revealing the layer of colour or canvas underneath.
I bought a gorgeous yellow iris at a plant sale this spring and I wanted to make it the focal point in this painting. Unfortunately, by the time I painted this, it had finished blooming, but I used my huge purple bearded iris as reference. That’s the beauty of being the painter. You can change the colours of anything in your painting to suit your mood!
I am thrilled to say that Larry and I and 6 others have formed The Bear River Artworks Gallery The opening is this Friday April 17 at 6 pm and we would love for you to join us. If you can’t come on Friday night, then please join me on Saturday 10 am – 4 pm to view the works. I’ll be sitting the Gallery that day. For sure I’ll post some pictures on my website after the event.
Friday, April 17, 2015 6 pm “Bear River Artworks Gallery” opening – Art, dessert and drinks 7:30 pm “Songs of Myself” Animation, puppetry and shadows
@ The Oakdene Centre, 1913 Clementsvale Road, Bear River, Nova Scotia. The gallery will remain open on Sat (18th) and Sun (19th) from 10-5. Open Daily from May 17 – October 11, 2015 10am – 5pm
Snow, Snow and More Snow
And it’s a good thing we had a new gallery to organize because winter in the Maritimes this year was brutal. The snowfall broke all records.
The trick was to not despair.
The upside of it was that I spent more time in the studio painting than I have any previous winter.
What’s New on the Easel?
Since January I’ve been making regular trips to the grocery store in Digby to buy tulips. They have cheered me tremendously. It’s a good thing too because I need new paintings for a new gallery.
My other big news is that my work is included in a new book about how to paint with acrylics. The book is published in the US and the UK and I am happy to be invited to participate. Here is my back story about this.