Monday, October 31, 2011

Work in progress

Today was studio day at Laurie Wonfor Nolan's. An extra treat on Halloween ; ) I began by painting over this piece I started a few years ago when I was in Arizona. My favourite part so far? The cloth on the left! So I had laid in the coral background just before I finished up for the day and it's not working yet. I need to do some compositional work on the left side of the piece, alter the colour and value etc... Still thinking about the colour for the back - maybe something much lighter/neutral? Anyway, just have to think on it for a while! I can feel it coming together!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Studio table - work in progress

This is my progress from the other day. I'm happy with how this is shaping up though there's still more to do. Sorry for the photo quality - I was in a rush and it shows!  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ARTLOVE: Crystal Cook

Today's ARTLOVE is a little different - I'm highlighting the work of an artist I actually know! Well, Crystal and I have never met in person but we chat. And she is a kindred spirit. And she is AWESOME. She is at the top-of-her-game as an artist (wait till you scroll down and see her work!) but she is also an equally gifted writer. Her posts are a double treat because first you are visually mesmerized, and then you read what she wrote and you feel:
1. happy (huzzah!)
2. encouraged (she's a great motivator)
3. pumped! (has you believing you're going to paint your best piece tomorrow!)
4. warm (well, you know, she writes about family life, art, motivation...stuff I'm kind of interested in : )  
and best of all she always makes me smile. And you can't underate a genuine daily smile.
If you don't know Crystal's blog, you must check it out here. And her website is here.
And her paintings!
Self Portrait of My Soul / gouache / 10"x14"
I found out Crystal likes Kathe Kollwitz as much as I do. And I think Kathe Kollwitz would have been proud of this piece. Look at that fierce look in Crystal's eyes! Protection, man!
Daily Escape / watercolour / 6"x6"
You think she just does portraits? Au contraire! Look at the reflections in the tea, and on the table - and at the awesome little wolf. This one blew me away.
Sparkle / watercolour / 7"x9"
One of my favourites. Perfect.
Snap! She can draw like no one's business!
Hope / watercolour / 7"x9"
Warm, rich colour. Crystal makes skin glow.
Pensive / watercolour / 10"x14"
Another one of my faves. So much mood in this piece. I feel like I know this young woman. Perfectly suited palette.
Joy, unrestrained / watercolour / 10"x14"
Well, how can this not fill you with love and joy? Just crazy. 
A-Punk, self portrait / watercolour / 8"x10"
She makes it look easy. Look at that SKIN!
Intensity / watercolour / 10"x14"
Bundled Up / watercolour / 7"x9"
Textures, expression, composition. Love.

I also want to give Crystal a heartfelt thank you for the interview she did of me on her blog. They were interesting (and quirky) questions that really made me think. And the lightning round was completely fun ; )

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Studio table - work in progress

detail: Studio table, work in progress
Studio table so far...
my set-up
My mess! Holy smokes. I really need to spend a day cleaning but all I want to do is paint ; )

Thank you for your title suggestions on yesterday's painting. They made me laugh. You're a creative bunch out there in blogland. Three of my favourites were:
The Chair Moves In 
Chairs Matter Too 
(thank you Barabara Muir - you were on a roll - I love it! Those two in particular really made me laugh)
The Ruby Chair - Wish I Were There 
(from my friend Elisabeth who pointed out it even ; ))

So the piece today is a section of my studio table. Yep. I'm even showing you my painting space. You know I must feel very comfortable with you to share the messy bits : ) That's okay - it will act as a "before" picture and you'll be extra wowed when I post the "after". 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Something a little weird...

A bit of a story here but bear with me:
I had a half hour or so left yesterday and decided to paint Laurie's terrific little red chair again. So overtop an old canvas it went. I had the chair painted, and was going to quickly lay in a ground, background, and rectangular shape down the left, and was pondering it over when Laurie walked by and said: Leave it! 
And I laughed and said: It's a little weird! To which she replied: Yes, it was. And we laughed and looked at it a bit. Then we got silly and she said it brought to mind Mona Lisa - how she always felt the landscape had been kind of artifically plopped in behind her (sorry Laurie - I'm really paraphrasing here!), and that this chair was kind of like that. Then I laughed and said (with the way I had indicated the graphic rectangular shapes to be painted) that if I'd turned the chair in profile it would be like Whistler's Mother! LOL!! (art humour? overtired?)
Someone else said it could be an ad for moving to the country ; )
So, yes, it's odd and quirky and weird, but for now I'm leaving it! Can anyone think of a title, now knowing the back story? Something different from Mona Lisa's Chair? ; ) Although, that's kind of growing on me. 
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist's Mother by James McNeill Whistler.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Studio sink

Today was my studio day with Laurie Wonfor Nolan. Yay! It really makes me love Mondays ; ) So today I painted her sink. Ever since I walked into her studio I have admired her sink. It reminds me of art school. And today it had these fabulous tea towels hanging over it. In keeping with my resurrecting old canvasses and painting over them, this one used to be this peach tree demo:
So I think I put it to good use! I'm really loving this one.
Studio sink: 12" x 16" / acrylic on canvas

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chagall at the AGO!

Marc Chagall, Dance, 1950‐52 (La danse, 1950‐52), oil on canvas, 238.0 x 176.0 cm. Collection of the MNAM, Centre Pompidou, Paris © Adagp/Centre Pompidou, Mnam‐CCi / Dist.RMN Marc Chagall.

Outside the Art Gallery of Toronto

Today my husband and I went to see the Chagall exhibit at the Art Gallery of Toronto: "Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde. Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris." Great! Chagall's pieces glowed. The gallery blurbs were excellent and enticing. I wanted to know so much more about ChagalI so I bought a book and will start delving through it. He had quite a life. "The Dance" was my favourite piece there, although his "Double Portrait with Wine Glass" was pretty special too. My husband's pick was "The Forge" by Vladimir Baranov-RossinĂ© (hard to find a decent image online for that one). I just loved the floating people, fiddles, goats and peasants. He was very inspiring.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Plein Air Painting at The Good Earth!

Sculpture by Floyd Elzinga
The crew ; ) 
Yesterday was the last Eat.Drink.Paint. day at The Good Earth. I will miss having a gourmet lunch with wine when I'm out painting on my own ; ) Thanks Nicolette and staff (Michael the chef!) for being such great hosts and everyone who took classes over the last few months. I loved it! And I loved seeing what everyone created! I think we're going to try and cook up some fun for a session or two in winter. I'll keep you posted! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vintage party shoes - SOLD

It feels like it's been forever since I did a 6x6. Here's today's offering: my vintage 50s sparkling shoes.
6" x 6" / oil on archival panel / SOLD

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mini paintings so far...

Today I worked on more mini paintings for the HandMade Market I'll be participating in at the end of November. I talked about this in an earlier post. I wanted to have some art for sale at a smaller price point but because I want to keep everything original - thus not making prints -  I decided to paint mini original canvasses. So here they are!
PLUS...there are still a few more openings for the outdoor painting with lunch and wine at The Good Earth THIS Friday (the 21st). Email me if you're interested. It's a fun day!
2.25" x 3.25" / oil on stretched canvas

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Laurie's studio

Piece two from yesterday. This was painted over a failed landscape from a couple weeks ago. There are a few more things I want to refine but for the most part it's done.
16" x 20" / acrylic

Monday, October 17, 2011


Self portrait, painted over a plein air demo from July, below.
Today I had my painting class with Laurie Wonfor Nolan - I *love* them. It's a great group of artists and the atmosphere is creative, stimulating and energetic. It reminds me of being back in school. It's fascinating what  others around you are creating. So in keeping with my theme for these classes of experimenting with painting over used "junk" canvasses and incorporating bits of the old in with the new, I did this self-portrait. It is painted over a quick demo I did in July of hollyhocks. 
I had a mirror set up on the easel beside my canvas and the mirror was old, and half of the reflective finish had worn off. In its place was clear glass. A very interesting thing to work with. Before I had painted in too much of the background I decided the hollyhocks and sky would stay. I think it's cool due to the fact that the self-portrait is merged with a plein air painting (as that's what I've been doing for years : ) 
I did a second piece today and will post it tomorrow.
11" x 14" / acrylic on canvas

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I think I'm done

After many hours, this is what it looks like now. And I think I'll leave it. The thing I left alone right from the beginning was the cabin, and I think it's still the best part. At least I knew what *not* to mess with ; ) I took these photos a split second apart, in the same location, but the colour is a bit off. The grass on the top one is reading too dark and solid yet the sky on the bottom photo is too pale. Really it's a mix between the two. Sometimes I liked something I'd painted over and then couldn't get it back. But, heck, all in the name of learning. The only part I'm not sure if I should paint out/over is the line of trees. Thinking about that. But I do enjoy looking at it.
So, onto a new piece tomorrow!
12"x24" / acrylic on canvas

Friday, October 14, 2011

the work today...

Okay! I have to make a few big changes tomorrow. First I need to tone down that gold! Yikes. Also need to shift that bright green line behind the house and work on simplifying that front field. Now that I compare it to yesterday, I think I liked the simplified colour blocks. Might go back to that tomorrow. This is a real learning piece.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Work in progress

This is what it looks like today (a close-up). It went through a number of colour changes and will go through a bunch tomorrow. It's interesting to see it with different colour schemes.
12" x 24" / acrylic

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just getting started...

I didn't have much time today and so I'm showing the bit I got done. I am painting over a canvas that initially I'd began a tree painting on - not that any will be showing through - just to explain what you're looking at. This is still extremely preliminary, in fact right now I'm leaning to a golden sky so we'll see what happens tomorrow!
12" x 24" / acrylic

Monday, October 10, 2011

Muskoka woods

This weekend I was in Muskoka and it was spectacular! The colours were out in full force and everywhere you turned was a riot of colour and contrasts. It was hard to settle on what to paint because the views were overwhelming. Big thanks to my girlfriend who tirelessly drove me around to check out various painting spots - one more beautiful than the next - because she wanted me to find my perfect spot and not settle ; ) So I came upon this tree - and that was it. I'd found what we'd traipsed all over looking for. I was thinking I was only half done but when my family saw it they said I should stop. So I'll think it over.
16" x 20" / acrylic

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving weekend! In our neck of the woods they're calling for spectacular weather - beautiful! I'm taking the weekend off to just hang out with family & friends, bask in the sun, be thankful and eat ; )
6"x 6" / oil on panel / $100 (includes free shipping worldwide)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paint sketch

This is a paint "sketch". The other day I drove around for a while looking for a spot to paint, set-up and 20 mintues in it began to rain. Love it when that happens ; ) So I made a few hurried marks to kind of finish off the sketch and went for cover. Looking at it with fresh eyes I see the green strip in the field too closely mimics the direction of the cloud streak, and I didn't choose the best spot for my horizon line. But, it is what it is. You learn a lot from the pieces you don't like, eh?
On another note I just wanted to mention how sad I felt to hear of Steve Jobs' passing. He had a creative, razor sharp, beautiful mind. I've worked on Apple computers since the 80s and am a diehard fan. What a vision. Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Branches in April

So yesterday I was talking about painting over junk paintings. And it brought to mind one of my favourites that I did like that a number of years ago. This used to be a dreadful swamp/woods painting. It was one of those you stack in your studio backwards because it's so embarrassing - you know what I mean? Anyhow, one day I was going out to paint a peach tree and I sketched in the branches and then started painting in sky. To my delight, when I stood back and looked, a beautiful thing was happening. The darks from the old painting were  making this cool web-like layer. *chills* (in a good way) It's one I've never been able to sell because of what it reminds me of: Keep going. I could never have achieved this had I painted fresh on a new canvas. Now don't get me wrong - I LOVE new canvasses - a clean slate. I'm going to continue loving them. But I'm no longer hasty in gessoing over the bad ones. They may be the groundwork for something good.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hidden goddess

Hidden goddess / 8"x10" / acrylic on canvas
Today I began studio/instruction class with Laurie Wonfor Nolan. Love it! A whole day to work with a great group of talented artists... *heaven!* On the way to her studio I was trying to think what I could paint for a series over the course of these sessions but drew a blank. I spent a good deal of time working on a still life and with half an hour left realized it was a lost cause, flipped my canvas on it's side and began painting a new still life over top. When Laurie came by she thought I should just leave it (as you see it now). She talked about it working as a painting, that it didn't need to be completely logical to read well and my homework is to study Matisse and Cezanne (the kind of homework I like : ) So there is a good chunk of the previous painting showing through underneath - and I really like it. Also I hit upon what I will do for my series. I have a raft of old painted canvasses and will be using them as a ground for new still life pieces, playing with perspective and abstraction.