Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A Hen or a Rooster?

I hope I have piqued your interest....this is not a case of which came first the chicken or the egg but is it a hen or is it a rooster!?

This is not my first time with chickens as my subject matter. I did a series of 'chicken' mono prints several years ago - they found their 'forever' homes and I moved on to other subject matter. I have to give a nod to Robert Burridge for sending me back to the 'hen house'. He did a quick demo at his workshop I attended last month using the acrylic skin off his palette as the start for a chicken painting. I finally got around to giving it a try at home. I did add more detailed plumage, head and legs and I guess painted over most of the acrylic skin, but it was a nice surface to continue painting on.  After posting on Facebook I realized some people thought this was a rooster. I know, roosters are the most colourful, but I have decided that my hen's can be too! So, here 'she' is in all her glorious plumage...Ruby!




'The Fairest Fowl - Ruby'
11"X14"
Acrylic mixed media on canvas





Monday, 29 May 2017

Spring in the Alberta Foothills

Last week we had snow, rain and sun. Temperatures in the high 20's and low teens and frost on the weekend. The perennials are up in the garden - never ceases to amaze me that they will survive through our winter. But I won't be getting any annuals until the end of June. We can still get frost in June and into July and even the end of August! So - why do I love living here....don't have to go far for endless inspiration (out the front door), can walk the dog without a leash, have a meadow full of wildflowers, the deer and moose are showing up with their new babes, our horse and mules are just at the bottom of the drive and when the sun shines and the temperatures are in the 20's is my kind of paradise. So while I wait for some blooms outdoors painted some indoors. Wherever you are may you be enjoying 'your' paradise!


'Spring at My House'
12"X12"
Acrylic mixed media on canvas 




Saturday, 13 May 2017

Cleaning off the Palette and Spring is Finally Here!

After I finished the 5 small paintings titled 'Prairie Red' I still had some paint on my palette. So like many of you I grabbed another piece of paper and 'used' up the remainder. I came back to it yesterday and added some collage and continued painting. I don't know if it is because spring is finally here, but I seem to have a new energy for exploring and experimenting with my painting. My father and my husband both worked in the oil and gas industry and I have a background in agriculture. So you are probably wondering what that has to do with painting? Well, when I look at a landscape I am not just thinking about what I can see, but what I can't. Soil profiles, rock structures, root systems - 'what lies beneath' - all food for fodder.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and wishing you a day filled with inspiration!


'Folded & Faulted'
6"X6"
acrylic mixed media on
hot press watercolour paper

Monday, 8 May 2017

Back to Painting!


Finally finding some time to paint. Have been struggling to get back into a painting routine. Spring is finally coming to our neck of the woods and the great outdoors is calling! The last couple of weeks it has snowed just about everyday - the ground would be covered in the morning, it would melt off during the day and snow again in the night. We actually had a wet snow yesterday, but today the sun is shining and the air is warm.


April 29, 2017
.....so sad....this is more snow than we had in November!


I am just painting small dailies but you do what you can do. I used these paintings to experiment with colour mixing, and some varnishing. (Trying semi-gloss and satin  varnish - no high gloss in my cupboard.) I do make colour swatches and have a book filled with different colour mixing 'recipes' and samples of those mixed colours, but decided to incorporate the 'mixing' into some of these smaller works. Much less boring!!

These are small - approx. 5”X5”, acrylic on Somerset printmaking paper. I tend to overpaint so the challenge this past week was to paint ‘quick’ and not obscure all the first layers of paint and collage. I started these just before the dinner hour so time was limited. I added the collage paper with the ‘typewriter’ font and wanted to be able to see it when I was ready to stop. I also used the same palette, and imagery - I am trying to work towards some continuity - thinking series. Although ‘series’ means different things and approaches to us all. I am happy with these and feel pretty successful in meeting my painting goals for them.


I am interested to hear your thoughts on working in a series, making colour swatches and of course the creative process in general! 


'Prairie Red' #'s 1-5

I miss seeing the red barns and granaries. The prairie fields and farm yards seem to be filled with metal structures now -more economical and last longer but I still love the red wood buildings. I you are interested to know why barns were painted red (I was!) click here.

















Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Robert Burridge Workshop - Abstract Acrylic Painting and Collage

It has been a couple of weeks since I attended Robert Burridge's workshop in Calgary and I finally have some time to take a look at my notes.

This was a great workshop - think 'BobBlast' only in person. Bob is an extremely generous person. Loved watching him paint - he is confident when making his choices but also extremely thoughtful. He writes his goals down everyday, always starts the painting day off with several small warmups -practice, practice, practice - 'the more you practice the better you will paint' - sound familiar!

Bob has 4 C's that he refers to when he starts a painting. These will find a prominent place on my bulletin board and will help keep me more focused on my painting.

Bob's 4 C's

1. What is the 'concept' (Always titles his paintings first)
2. What is the 'colour combination'. Follows his colour wheel and only puts those colours on the table
3. What is the 'composition'. (horizontal, cruciform, cantilever, etc)
4. 'Continue' the series. Do more than one. If you only do one tightens you up. Doing multiples gives you a better chance off getting it 'right'. You will stay looser.

We worked with Bob's colour wheel during the workshop. It is straight forward, and simple to use. Line the diamond pointer (4 sided) up with your choice of dominant colour (this will be 80% of the painting) and the other three colours are picked from the other three points of the diamond pointer - focal colour (10%) and two spice colours (each 5% of your painting). Bob uses Holbein acrylic paints but he does provide comparable colours for other paint brands. I struggled a bit with this at first but after practicing with a few smaller paintings it really did become easier. He will refer to his paintings as the 'red' painting or 'blue', etc, depending on the dominant colour.

There were lots of demo's, Bob brought along a portfolio full of samples of his work for the class to look at and we had time to paint. As usual though there is never enough time to do it all.

Now that I am home and getting back into the painting routine I will think more about having a theme for my work - Bob feels this brings more meaningful intentions to your work and it will make your work so much better. Another sage piece of advice is your painting is about you. You won't get approval from family  or friends so don't justify what you are doing. Paint for yourself!

I did some paintings of subject matter that I never would have tried and experimented with a more limited palette. I found Bob's comments about being an artist/painter very insightful and encouraging. I had waited 2 years to attend a workshop with Bob and I wasn't disappointed.

If you haven't checked out his website it is worth a visit. Lots of artwork to look at and he generously shares his favourite studio supplies and has a colour comparison chart for the Holbein acrylic colours he likes to use and lots more!


These are a couple of paintings started in the workshop. I am not a figurative painter, but I sure had fun painting him! The 'cherry blossom trees' were done painting the negative space out around them. It does help to start with a background that has lots of colours, textures and marks.





'Mr Button Down'
12"X12"
Acrylic mixed media
on gessoed canvas




'Cherry Blossoms in the Fog'
5"X7"
Acrylic mixed media
on 140lb cold press watercolour paper






Monday, 24 April 2017

Painting and More

Life has been busy here. I just finished a 4 day workshop with Robert Burridge and I am tired but excited to get back into my studio and painting. Thanks again to Leading Edge Art Workshops for organizing this workshop.

Just before this workshop started I received news that two of my paintings have been juried into the Leighton Art Centre's 15th Annual Juried Members show. I submitted three paintings and was so excited when I received the news.

I find myself at a good point in my art. I had stopped painting in 2010 and returned to art making in 2013. It was a struggle. I didn't return to printmaking but instead started using acrylics. Steep, steep learning curve and at times my level of frustration and disappointment at my results made me think about quitting. A few things happened between 2013 and now. I read Malcolm Gladwell's book 'Outliers' (you know the chapter - '10,000 hours of practice' - I liked the whole book) and reread 'Art and Fear' - if you haven't read this book do! And also read Steven Pressfield's book 'The War of Art'. Lots of food for thought in those books. In 2016 I took my second workshop with Brian Atyeo  (big breakthrough during that workshop) and signed up for my first 30 Paintings in 30 Days with Leslie Saeta in September 2016. None of this was 'luck' (I did have a couple of people tell me that I was 'lucky'). I have been committing myself to practicing my art and continuing to take workshops and grow in my art. I am starting to develop my own style and having a great time doing it. Yes, there are days where nothing seems to be going right and I am struggling and 'uncomfortable' with what I am painting. But I find if I stick with it and push through it I am making some big breakthroughs and growing as an artist. So after saying all of the above I want to tell you not to give up - continue to explore, take workshops, practice, practice, practice and enjoy this journey. At this stage in my life I can't think of anything I would rather be than an artist. It feels great when filling out forms to put under 'occupation' - ARTIST!




Here are the two paintings that were accepted to the Leighton Art Centre Show. The prairies and foothills are images close to my heart.





'Across the Valley'
14"X18"
Acrylic mixed media on cradled birch panel







'Prairie Fields Spring Thaw'
12"X14"
Acrylic mixed media on cradled birch panel







Sunday, 16 April 2017

Preparing for an 'Open Studio' workshop in August

I don't know where the time is going - and I just don't seem to have enough to do all things I want to do (versus 'have' to do)!

The workshop with Brian Atyeo was wonderful. I will do a short writeup as soon as I go through my notes and photos. Brian is coming back to the Calgary area the end of August and I was fortunate to get the last available space. He will be doing a 5 day workshop at the beautiful River Rock Studio near Cochrane, Alberta. It will be an open studio workshop - lots and lots of painting in a small group (12 participants) with daily discussion and critiques. I have started thinking about what I would like to paint and doing some research into my subject. This was suggested by Brian - you don't want to show up without some ideas and pre-planning. The subject I want to explore is 'abstracted/interpretive landscapes'. I am leaning towards the prairies - uncultivated native grasslands and cultivated 'scapes' - although I think the Foothills will probably appear as well. I will be working large - again at Brian's suggestion....30"X30" and larger! Now that is a little scary, but could also be very freeing. I will be starting a journal filled with sketches, small landscape studies, colour swatches and some favourite artist's thoughts on painting and subject matter. I am a bit of a research junkie so this will be right up my alley. I am looking forward to lots of painting between now and the workshop and at least a couple of trips to the prairie grasslands. I will leave you with some inspiration from some of my favourite artists.



**These paintings are done by the artists listed under the images**

*Kurt Jackson*




*Richard Diebenkorn*



*Barbara Rae*