Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Who, me?" - SOLD

Meet "Ton" (as in: someday-he's-going-to-weigh-a...). This is my brother and sister-in-law's puppy. I met him on the weekend and he's pretty funny. He likes to push his face up against things to cuddle, so he was kind of head-butting my shins. So cute : )
6" x 6" / oil on panel / SOLD

Monday, January 30, 2012

The new "Bus!"

Well, thanks everyone for your comments, insight and humour regarding my bus painting. There were a few people who suggested I could probably fix it without repainting the entire piece (optimists!) but I decided the practice would serve me well. So I whipped out a new panel (with the other painting out of sight) and began again. I made a few different decisions but I think on the whole it's a stronger painting. Do you? It's not a 100% bang on but it's closer.
6" x 6" / oil on archival canvas

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Bus!" + oh boy...

So I was all happy with my bus...and then my husband walked in and said: Can I say something without you taking offense?
Me (feeling slight offense that he would think my ego so fragile...lol): Yes!
Him: Your bus is not quite right. The snout is painted like you're looking at it straight on but you can see the side of the bus.
Me: Hmm. Damn. How did I not notice that! Perhaps the bus had been in a collision and the frame was bent? Or...I'm painting it for a 2 year-old. I don't think she'll notice? Ahh...no. I just had to face facts. I got my perspective wrong. And it's a darn shame I didn't catch it in the drawing stage!
I also got an email from a fellow blogger friend pointing it out to me in a very nice way (which I totally appreciated it! It can't be all glitter and sunshine). So although there are things I like about this piece, I am re-doing it. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Bus!" work in progress + a sketch

 This is for my youngest niece who is currently enthralled with buses. I don't usually draw vehicles (stayed away from them because all the precise bits scared me) but if it's buses she likes, a bus I paint! Tomorrow I'll finish the windshield, road and sky. Wish me luck. I would hate to mess it up now.
Speaking of vehicles, I had to bring ours in for the Drive Clean test for license renewal. Across the street is a nice market so I had a cookie + coffee and did a sketch to pass the time. Now that I've made up my mind to regularly sketch, I cart my book around and I'm finding lots of opportunities to pull it out and do a quick study. Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


As in the the butterfly's lunch - I'm not interested in snacking on Monarchs ; ) I remember when my daughter was young - 3 or 4 - she loved observing butterflies on flowers and pieces of fruit and would always point out the proboscis. She had learned about it from one of her books. It was such a great word to come out of a little mouth! I was thinking about that when I painted this today.
8" x 10" / acrylic on stretched canvas / $165

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Scribbling...and DoodleArt!

So today was one of those hectic days where I didn't have time to go to my studio and paint. We've all experienced those days, yes? : ) But my day was not an artistic loss - I have something very cool to share! A while back I found a hip blog called The Scribble Project, brainchild of Lisa Currie. Lisa designs templates that you print and then let loose on, and then send them to her to post on her blog. Fun. And it's open to everyone: no age, geographical or artistic requirements. Reminds me a bit of DoodleArt back in the day (although did you hear they're been re-issued (heart pounding)?! I gave a couple of them as presents last month! More on that in a minute). Anyway, I printed out a scribble page this morning, shoved it in my sketchbook and then pulled it out when I was waiting for my son to finish his music lessons. Problem is I kinda want to do one every day : )
Note on DoodleArt for those that remember the original: markers are way superior. Still over 60 hours of doodling fun ; ) Hey - I just checked out their website and saw that they were a Canadian company. I'd be interested in hearing from my American readers if they were available in the States as well. If this is the first time you've heard about them, hop over to their website and order. You can thank me later : )

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wings - SOLD

How about a nice shot of colour on a January day? I remember being enchanted with monarchs as a child - wings like miniature stained glass windows! Honestly I still get a little thrill when I see them : )
6"x6" / oil on archival panel / SOLD

Sunday, January 22, 2012

34th World Wide SketchCrawl - Urban Sketchers

Yesterday was the 34th World Wide SketchCrawl founded by Enrico Casarosa. My friend (and fellow artist) Brenda and I met in Jordan Village to take part in the occassion (we still have to upload to the site). I know some artists in the blogosphere have regular sketching get-togethers and I've always thought that sounded so cool! Well...it was! I had a lot of fun sketching with Brenda. We met at Zooma Zooma Cafe and spent a few hours drawing. The staff were good to us and didn't give us the hairy eyeball for staying in their café for 3.5 hours ; ) We tipped them well : ) So here's my afternoon's work:
My lunch. A lobster/shrimp salad on a croissant with salad. 
 A fellow diner perusing the menu. Brenda brought her watercolours so I had fun adding some colour. My favourite part of this one was the flower on the table.
 View of Cave Spring Cellars across the street.
An old gas pump now part of the decor.
Brenda and I at the end of the day. Thanks for driving out to sketch with me Brenda! It made it all the more enjoyable : )

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Provence hills

Another painting from the south of France. This was from the viewpoint looking down from the medieval hilltop village of Crestet. The fields resembled an earthy patchwork quilt. This is oil on Terraskin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another painting from Crestet

Here's the second one. The coulours here are more amped up than reality - I was playing around. I hope to do another  painting in the next week that is a more careful "finished" painting as opposed to these coloured painting sketches. You learn something with every piece though! This is acrylic on Terraskin.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Painting in Crestet

So this is a painting "sketch" I did in the medieval village of Crestet, France. I was working quickly - there are things I would have done differently (!), but that's the nature of it. After I finished this piece I did two other sketches and painted them this week. All were painted on TerraSkin, a paper made from stone that I found out about from my friend Victoria. It was great to travel with since space was at a premium. It's definitley a product to check out.
painting sketch in medieval Crestet
Me painting in a little slice of heaven

Monday, January 16, 2012


Pages from my sketchbook. One thing I plan to do a lot more of in 2012 is get back to sketching! Here are my initial offerings. I don't know how many of you follow Urban Sketchers but it is incredibly inspiring. I just read that this Saturday is their 34th Worldwide Sketch Crawl. Sadly there are none happening in my area but check it out - there are sketchers from cities across the globe!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Art in France: The Louvre (part II) 2011-12

This will be my last post from my trip to France. I have many more pictures but you get the idea ; ) I heard a quote that if you spent a minute looking at each piece in the Louvre it would take about 25 days of 24-hour perusing. That'd be a great way to spend 25 days.
Maria Duglioli Barberini by Giuliano Finelli, 1626, detail
Exquisite! This bust stopped me in my tracks. How was marble carved that intricately in the 1600s? The lace is exquisite and the more you look at it the more you're in awe. Even the string between the pearls is realized. 
 Maria Duglioli Barberini by Giuliano Finelli, 1626, marble
I just thought this painting was so unusual. It was painted in the 1400s and the way the figure in the sky is painted seemed modern to me - almost like something out of a comic book. From what I could make out on the plaque, this painting depicts Blessed Ranieri delivering the poor detained in a prison in Florence, who had written to him asking for help. The notation reads: Stefano di Giovanni dit Sassetta. Connu à Sienne en 1426-Sienne, 1450.
Psyché ranimée par le baiser de l'Amour, Antonio Canova, marble, 1757-1822 (Psyche revived by the kiss of love)
And I had to include this. Horrible shot. It was the closest I've come to feeling crushed. I mean literally, not emotionally. The crowds were just ridiculous at the moment we were in this part of the Louvre. This is the second time I've seen Mona Lisa. The first was considerably more pleasant. It is beautiful to be sure but I left with mixed emotions. Something to behold, but worthy of ALL this fame? Later in the gift shop I purchased the (excellent) book: How to talk to children about art by Francoise Barbe-Gall and this is what she had to say when asked "Was the painting famous in Leonardo's time?"
"Yes. It was very famous. Everything about it was new: the pyramid composition, the idea of showing the subject in a realistic environment, the way the subject is linked to the landscape, the use of light and shade (chiaroscuro), the sensastion of capturing a moment in Mona Lisa's smile. These were not just technical innovations: they showed a new way of looking at the world. An apparently unexceptional woman became a symbol of the whole of humanity, captured for eternity in one moment between a passing light and a shade that holds her secrets."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Art in France: The Louvre! 2011-12

The Louvre (insert deep sigh). Wow. So much art history in one glorious building it is mind-blowing. This time we spent most of our time viewing sculptures and I have to say I was LOVIN' them! More than the paintings (gasp). I took a lot of pictures and so will post them over a couple of days. You're not allowed flash photography so I did the best I could under the circumstances. I was just thrilled we were allowed to take pictures. Last summer when I was vistiting the National Gallery in Ottawa it was forbidden. The Louvre allows it, Ottawa doesn't? Oh well...
Without further ado!
Winged Victory of Samothrace, 2nd century BC, marble
This was my favourite piece. The craftsmanship is out-of-this-world. If you look at the belly area - you can see the sheer fabric laying over the skin - all marble. Remarkable. It all looks so light but it is massive, heavy marble. A feat.

Aphrodite accroupie dite <>, 1-11 century AD, marble
I copied the above notation from the plaque. I photogrpahed this from behind because I found this little perfect hand so intriguing. I think the plaque says that it was the remains of the carving of Eros (cupid) attached to the back. It was discovered in the ruins of Palais des Miroirs, à Saint-Romain en Gal, Isère, France.
 Venus de Milo, 2nd century BC
There was a crowd around Venus and after taking the above shot I stood back and took in the crowd, taking in Venus. Right in front of me someone was capturing the moment on an iPad. I loved the juxtaposition of ancient and modern.
A wonderfully carved bust. The plaque read: 
Collection Borghèse. Antinoüs Mondragone. Marble. Vers 130 apres J.C. Italy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Art in France: Architecture, 2011-12

 Detail, Eiffel tower (the sky really was that colour)
Detail, Gate (photo courtesy of my daughter Jade)
 Sacre Coeur, Paris
 Arc de Triomphe, Paris
 Archway, (photo courtesy of Jade)
 Church detail
 One of thousands of gargoyles
Carved domed ceiling, Temple d'amour, Versailles

Monday, January 9, 2012

Art in France: Street Life, 2011-12

I may be stretching it a bit with this post (the rest of the posts this week will be art from the Louvre, architecture and some of my sketches) but I think sometimes when you're visiting a new place, you're just so taken with the different sights that all you see is beauty.
By the way - one thing I forgot to mention in yesterday's post was that in the shot of the hot chocolate spoons, you'll notice the spoons on the left have a plastic vile inserted into the chocolate. They're filled with rum and Grand Marnier! 
 Souvenirs (photo courtesy of my daughter Jade)
 Flower market at Aix-en-Provence
 Cheese shop window
Paris litter ; ) (this one also taken by my daughter)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Art in France: Culinary, 2011-12

 Chocolate painted Santa, Chocolaterie du Crestet
Hot Chocolate Spoons, Chocolaterie du Crestet (and I can speak from first-hand experience that these were delicious!)
Fruit Jellies, Chocolaterie du Crestet. Look at that colour and sparkle!
Nougat, Chocolaterie du Crestet. It was delicious and the textures and colours remind me of a Klimt painting.
Chocolate Bark encrusted with lavender, crystallized violet and rose petals, tea leaves, ginger, nuts, Carribean hot pepper and caramel. We bought a bunch of bark for Christmas and New Year's Eve. YUM! Chocolaterie du Crestet.
 Yves-Robert Tolleron, Chocolaterie du Crestet. A generous, talented man!
 Cheese. Gorgeous, yes? Aix-en-provence.
Look at these salts! What a palette. Aix-en-provence.
Maille mustards, Dijon. There was also spring green mustard. Seriously! How pretty! The wall in this shop kind of reminded me of a colourful Louise Nevelson.