My Blog

Newmarket Juried Art Show

01/10/2022

Gallery


I'm feeling very honored to have had one of my paintings accepted into the Newmarket Juried Art Show again this year. It was particularly special since there was an in-person show, as well as just online. I enjoyed attending the opening reception and seeing all the other paintings, sculptural pieces, textile art & photographs in the show. The gallery space is beautiful & it felt good to see my work hanging in such a nice setting!


Beginnings & Endings

01/09/2022

My Studio Space


For the last two years I have been painting in a corner of my basement. It's not so bad, I have nice big windows and plenty of space for all my art supplies, but I have always dreamed of having a proper studio. One with good lighting for painting in the evening, which is when I often paint and 'painting walls' where I can hang my work in progress and work on them directly hanging on the wall.

Last weekend I took down my little studio space & cleared away every last bit of painting paraphernalia ready for contractors to start work on building me my dream studio. It felt a little sad clearing away everything knowing it would be a while before I have somewhere to paint again. But now I am excited because the materials were dropped off to make the walls this week, so somehow it all feels more real to me. I will share how it all turns out in a future blog post…so watch this space!

Finding Joy

01/06/2022

My ugly painting

In 2020 I discovered British artist, Louise Fletcher, and she completely changed the way I paint!

I took her online course, Find Your Joy, which is about to start again this month, and I have just done her free taster course for the third time. I am realizing more & more how important it is for me to spend time in play and experimentation. Not just once a year when Find Your Joy comes along, but as a regular part of my art practice.

I have learned so much from Louise about how to have an open mind when I am painting and to try not to aim for a specific result. This can feel frustrating at times when things are not working, but it's very rewarding when they do. I find it is best to focus on enjoying the process, and, as much as possible, letting go of the outcome. That's not an easy thing for most artists, so Louise has us deliberately paint an ugly painting to get away from trying for a result. She encourages us to get creative and experiment with new tools and colours. A lot of the time we will create a real mess, but if you notice the bits you like or feel good when you are making them, then you get closer to finding joy in painting and create stronger work that is unique to you.

Winning & Losing

01/05/2022

A lesson learned

I feel very lucky to have learned a valuable lesson about my art recently, and it's to do with winning awards and getting rejected.

This is what happened. I entered the same two paintings into two juried shows, one right after the other. In one show they were both rejected. The next one accepted one of the paintings & it won two awards. Now, I could have got discouraged that I didn't get accepted into the first show, but I just thought to myself that it probably wasn't the right sort of show for my work. I was more focused on the whole experience of applying to juried shows, which is still quite new to me. I went along to the Juror's Talk for first one & enjoyed the whole experience. Even although I didn't get in, I still felt good that I had applied.

When I went to the opening for the second show, the one I did get into, I knew ahead of time I had an honorable mention, but I was totally blown away when it was announced that I had won a second award & that as part of the award the Mayor had bought my painting to hang in his office. Looking around at all the other paintings, there were so many by very talented artists. I know that they also deserved awards, but the jurors can only pick so many for special attention. So I know not to make winning awards to mean too much about my painting either.

It was a valuable lesson to learn. It can be very easy to get hung up about not being accepted into a show or not selling a painting and make it mean that your art is not very good. I have decided that it is best to focus on the whole experience & enjoy it for what it is, and not worry about the outcome. I love painting and I enjoy my own paintings, and if other people also like them, then that is really encouraging. But art is very subjective and not everyone will like the same thing. I hope that I can hold onto this lesson & remember to enjoy the process without worrying too much about 'winning or losing'.

Two Minutes from Yonge Street

01/04/2022

Story behind the painting

When you see my paintings posted on my website, you don't see the process of how they got there, just the end result. Sometimes there are many layers, because that's how I like to paint. As I explore an idea I try things out and the painting emerges through layers of explorations. Sometimes things don't quite work & I scrape the paint back or even take out the electric sander & sand back the layers. This painting went through quite a few changes as it emerged on the panel, but I am pleased with where it ended up. I titled it 'Two minutes from Yonge Street' because it is inspired by a photograph taken near where I live in Oak Ridges and it's probably not even that far from Yonge. I am always amazed that there is such wild scenery in such an urban area. I love living here because, although we are in the suburbs, we have pockets of nature here and there. Not the manicured nature of city parks, but wild messy nature. I walk past this place nearly every day & I enjoy seeing it in each of the changing seasons & different weather conditions.

I was reflecting on how I love to paint the wild side of nature, not necessarily gentle pretty scenery. I love the vastness of the Ontario landscape, the wildness of it. The tangles of undergrowth and twisted limbs of trees. Rough solid rocks and lone pine trees silhouetted against wild skies threatening with rain. Soggy wetlands brimming with reedy grasses and waving cattails, tall tree trunks with watery reflections.

Two Minutes from Yonge Street
Acrylic on deep cradled panel 24" x 18"
$500 Available through Mill Pond Gallery (whoops...it's no longer available...the Mayor snapped it up at the opening reception!)

Time for a Refresh?

04/02/2022

Moving paintings around

The other day I decided to move some paintings around at home, and when I tried this painting, and it's companion piece, in the dining area, I realized that they go perfectly in there with the yellow walls. Until now they had been sitting in our basement with the rest of my completed paintings that have not yet sold. I often forget that I have all these paintings hidden away and I may as well be enjoying some of them on my own walls. It's so easy to get to the point where you don't really notice what you have on your walls any more because the artwork has been there for so long. It's actually a good idea to go round your home and take stock once in a while. Maybe you will find it is time for a refresh, or just try moving things around to give it a new look. I also moved the painting that had been in that spot to the adjoining room, and you know what…it looked even better in there against the darker coloured wall!

Time to get planning for 2022 & setting some goals

01/01/2022

Bullet Journal Planner

This time last year I started using a planner that I set up myself using a regular bullet journal. I know some people like to do very fancy bullet journals, that in themselves are a work of art. This is not that sort of a journal. It is a very practical one, but I like to draw it out myself because that gives me the flexibility to set it up just the way that I want. I learned this method from Louise Fletcher where she teaches about it inside her membership group, Art Tribe. Last year, I set up my journal pretty much following her layout exactly, but this year I am adapting bits of it to suit myself better. I also picked up some organizing tips from Michelle Lloyd inside her United Art Space group. Michelle runs a group to help artists navigate the business side of art and she encourages you to spend time at the end of each month to review the past month & plan the next, so this year I am including that right inside my bullet journal planner. I am sure that using this planner, and being intentional about setting myself weekly goals, has really helped me to achieve all that I have done this year.

For those who want details, the bullet journal I use is called Essentials Large Black Dot Matrix Notebook & I bought it on Amazon. I like this journal because it has lots of nice thick pages that don't bleed through. The pens I use are highlighter pens for colour & a black Sharpie S-GEL for writing with.

I have sections for Year at a glance, Month at a glance and I use a double page spread for each week to keep organized, with a page for Goals & To Do lists on one side & dates on the other. I have also set up a section for monthly review pages, then there are extra pages at the back where I jot down ideas and make lists etc.

Mini Paintings

01/12/2021

My Little Mini Paintings

After talking about going big last month, I am now sharing about my little mini paintings. I love to have a variety of sizes of paintings to offer and I do think these mini paintings are really fun. I enjoy painting them and they are great for gift giving too. I paint my little minis on deep cradled 5" x 5" panels, so they do not need framing & can sit on a desk or a shelf. I paint the edges a crisp clean white, which I think keeps them nice & neutral, and will go with anything. I love how they bring a nice pop of colour, without being too much. Check out these 3 little paintings that have just been added to my Works on Panel gallery.



Going BIG

01/11/2021

Scaling up

I used to paint watercolours all the time because my two aunts who were artists painted the most amazing watercolours and I wanted to paint just like them. So for years I studied watercolour painting & absolutely fell in love with the effects you can get with letting the paint run and mix on the paper and painting wet into wet. Then when I moved to Canada I had a house with lots of wall space. That's when I started to think about switching to acrylics so that I could paint big paintings as it is so much easier to paint big in acrylic than it is in watercolour. I quickly worked up to large canvases and I have several large paintings hanging in my home that I have painted for specific rooms. But more recently I have been painting small little 10" x 10" or 12" x 12" wood panels. Mainly because of doing an online painting class that suggested using small square panels to work on. This worked well for learning new ways of painting, but now I feel like I am ready to tackle larger paintings again. So this past month I ordered some 24" x 24" panels & had a go with one of those. It brought back to me that I love painting big. I am entering this painting into the small group show I am part of at the local Mill Pond Gallery and look forward to getting brave and painting some more big paintings!



Backyard Art Show

01/10/2021

Art Show & Launch Party

A huge thank you to everyone who came to support me by attending my backyard art show in September. It was a really special day for me & I enjoyed meeting some new people along with old friends whom I have not seen for far too long!

It was a beautiful, if a bit windy at times, day and I was truly blessed that we did not get even a spot of rain. This was just as well since I had all my paintings hung up on the railings of my deck. I enjoyed showing off my paintings and talking about my art journey with people in person. I also made quite a few sales, which was nice, and will keep me in art supplies for quite a while longer. It was also an interesting exercise for me, just to see all of my work together like that. I also displayed a few of my older pieces on the garden fences that I normally have hanging on my walls, so it was interesting to see my new work alongside the older pieces. One thing I did realize is that I want to start painting bigger again. After years of painting in watercolour, I started using acrylics so that I could do some large paintings for my own walls. Recently, however, I have done a lot of experimenting with new techniques, and have been doing small 10" x 10" or 12" x 12" pieces. So, perhaps now is the time to start working bigger again! I have ordered some larger panels, so we will see what happens next.



En Plein Air Painting

01/09/2021

My Plein Air Experiences

'En Plein Air Painting' is just a fancy way of saying painting outdoors. I have done quite a bit of watercolour or quick pen & wash sketches outside over the years, but I've never really tried to do a finished painting, much less an acrylic painting, outdoors. Until a few weeks ago, that is, when I joined in the RHGA plein air event at the Mill Pond Park in Richmond Hill. We were given prepared boards to paint on, so I selected my usual 12" x 12" square and ventured out into the park to find my spot. I was on the lookout for a nice, big, interesting tree to paint. I had decided that since I was out of my comfort zone painting in acrylics outside, then I would at least find a familiar subject to paint. As I had just spent the last few months painting a couple of series of tree paintings, I thought that a tree would be a good subject to tackle. I found a lovely, huge, interesting looking tree & set up my folding beach chair, spread out my painting things on the ground & made a start. Somehow I managed to pull off a finished painting that I was really happy with and it has been part of the display hanging outside the Mill Pond Gallery for the past few weeks.

Spurred on by my new enthusiasm for painting outdoors, I decided to apply for the McMichael annual Plein Air competition. Since my painting style is no longer traditional, I did wonder if I had any chance of getting in, but since it was free to apply, I decided why not give it a go. So now I have received the news that I have indeed been accepted into the competition and I need to make plans to get myself over to the McMichael & complete some plein air paintings to enter.

Wish me luck!



Painting in a series

02/08/2021

Feels Like Summer


I always admired artists who painted series of paintings because they seemed like 'proper artists'. Well, in a course I did recently we were taught how to paint in a series and it really makes a lot of sense. Painting in a series means that I start all the paintings at the same time & work on them simultaneously, putting one aside to dry & moving onto the next, then repeat. I love to use a limited palette when I am painting (meaning I use just a few tubes of paint & mix all my colours from them), so I used the same limited palette for all 4 of these summer tree paintings and I love how it gives them a cohesive look. I have always been drawn to drawing and painting trees. I take hundreds of photos of them, so I have lots of references to choose from. These particular trees are local to me and in fact I walk past them on my daily walks. I find the shapes that are made by the branches so interesting and even the negative shapes (shapes between the branches) make for interest. I have experimented with using pastels with the usual acrylic paint and I think it adds a new dimension with interesting lines and textures. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did painting them!



An Introduction

01/07/2021

My pandemic artist journey…


My mother was an artist, as were her 2 sisters, my aunties, so I grew up drawing and painting as a child and was always surrounded by art. Then I dabbled with painting as a hobby, off and on, all my adult life, but it was when the pandemic hit, and we went into strict lockdown last year, that I began to get more serious about my art.

I got sick early on and had to quarantine in my room for a few weeks (I still don't know if it was Covid or something else) and through sheer boredom I began looking for art videos to watch on YouTube. That's when I discovered Louise Fletcher, a Yorkshire artist in the UK, and I joined her online Art Tribe. This led me to her online course, Find Your Joy (FYJ), and that began a new love for acrylic painting and the beginnings of my explorations of working more freely and abstractly. Up until then I was mostly painting realistic watercolours and had begun to paint in acrylic only because it meant I could paint much bigger paintings. Through FYJ I developed a habit of daily painting, which I have continued, pretty much, ever since. Louise also introduced me to another online course, the Creative Visionary Program, or CVP, run by Nicholas Wilton in the US. I have just completed CVP, and this rather intensive course has given me the art education I never had, but always dreamed of.

I have been a member of Richmond Hill Group of Artists for many years now, but last November was the first time that I exhibited with them in a group show at the Mill Pond Gallery. I had begun to paint on wood panels, and the Small Treasures show was the ideal opportunity for me to display my new work. I entered 10 paintings in total and I sold 9 of them (the last one I keep on my bedroom wall as a reminder). To say I was blown away would be an understatement. Thank you to all my friends, family members and even strangers, who bought my paintings. Since then, I have exhibited in some online shows, posted regularly to Instagram, made more sales and I knew that I wanted to build my own website to showcase my work and have a place to direct people to who showed an interest.

I am excited to share this website with you and I hope you will stay in my art world to follow along on my journey as an artist.