Thursday, 23 November 2017

Back to the Studio and the Dogs

The beautiful Cleo!

It's been a busy couple of months. Depending on what I have to organize things can go either smoothly or extremely messy. This go round....extremely messy. Anyhow it is done and I am happy it is! Now I can spend a bit of time in my studio before the christmas season starts.

So where does the dog journal fit into all this you ask? We have just adopted another yellow lab and she is gradually settling in to our home and routine with our other lab Cleo. Both girls have been adopted at an older stage in life and we are very lucky to have them as part of our family. Cleo has the most expressive and unique face - so different from Kali (the new girl). I don't know Kali well enough yet to capture her personality and features. Cleo having been with us longer has fascinating facial features and expressions.

The first painting is Cleo and will be one of many I hope and maybe a 'big' canvas at some point! The other is just a quick painting of no dog in particular, but just experimenting relying on memory rather than a reference.

This painting is actually 11"X14", but it was too large to fit on the scanner so had to crop it.

~8 1/2"X11"
Acrylic mixed media on
Canson mixed media paper

Acrylic mixed media on
Arches 140lb cold press watercolour paper 

...a little camera shy 

....winter is here! 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

I Think I'm Ready.....

The weekend has arrived and 'I think I'm ready'! This is my first time showing with this group (Artists on Tour) so figuring out the logistics of set up, etc has been a bit fraught at times. Tomorrow is the start of the art festival in our community so if it isn't done now it won't be done!

I will be showing 5 new paintings! The final two paintings were finished a couple of days ago. And if you are reading get the first look!

This reminds me of driving east in the prairie landscape and in comes a spring storm - they don't usually last that long as they are fast moving. Leaving behind some welcome moisture.

'Spring Squall'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas

I 'started' this painting the end of August. Spent several weeks 'staring' at it, adding a bit of paint...more staring. I was starting to feel guilty when I went to my studio and saw it 'staring' at me from the easel. But - I am glad I took the time to wait things out. I was given a push to get going as I really wanted to have a 'big' painting for this show. Over a couple of days it came together. I made some good choices as well as a couple of not so good but you have to like acrylic for being such a forgiving medium - as least I find it that way.  I think what helped me move forward was I stopped planning ahead and 'made a mark and responded to that mark'. I did my happy dance last night as I signed the 'finished' piece.


'Mountain View'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas

....I always seem to think of a 'mountain view' as just that - a view of the mountains. But what about the view from the top of the mountain. I choose to look to the east for my view - aspen parkland and prairies in the distance....

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Plein Air Painting!

I spent a lovely weekend - although a bit cold and damp at times - participating in Bragg Creek's 2nd Annual Plein Air Event. I met some new artists from other parts of Alberta and was able to do some painting! There is inspiration galore where I live. Kananaskis Country is a short 15 minute drive and the scenery is amazing. From rolling foothills and aspen parkland to beautiful mountain vistas. At the end of our painting day(s) we enjoyed going back to the hamlet of Bragg Creek and the Art Country Canada gallery (that organized the event) for a glass of wine and some finger food. My friends and I decided that the owner Angelo should do this once a month! The Bragg Creek art festival will wind up this coming weekend with several art exhibits and local restaurants creating 'arty' food offerings for all to enjoy.

Here are a few photos from the weekend.....

Painting along the Elbow River 

'The Before' 

'The After'
Acrylic mixed media on gator board 

'The Before'

'The After'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas 

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Final Post!

That's a wrap for this month. I thought I was organized and would be able to handle participating in the challenge as well as a couple of other things. Hmmmm....not as organized as I thought.

Congratulations to everyone who participated. I enjoyed viewing as many artists' work as I could. Didn't comment as much as much as I would have liked and thank you to everyone who visited here and left comments. Your feedback is always, always appreciated.

A big thank you to Leslie Saeta for continuing to organize this challenge - you have helped me to realize the value of daily painting - not matter how small a painting, how little the detail or thin the paint!

Best wished to you all for many happy creative times in your studios and I am looking forward to the next Thirty Paintings in 30 Days... January 2018!

'Lucky 13'
from the September 2017 Thirty Paintings in 30 Days

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 29

Acrylic mixed media
on 140lb hot press watercolour paper 

Autumn colour with a few snow skiffs. Time was at a premium today so had to work fast....a bit of a 'palette cleaner'

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 28

'Foothills Profile #3'
Acrylic mixed media on birch panel 

I need to let this 'rest' for a bit. Not sure if needs more paint, less paint, more collage, more line.....maybe it doesn't need anything else or maybe.... 

A rather indecisive painting day.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 27

Back to the Wildlands...and yes I really do want to go back to the Solomon Creek area - maybe next year!

Had a few problems with 'shape' in this one -  it has gone through several 'applications' of paint and collage. I didn't take before(s) but it started off with small shapes - too small really to have any impact. This is something I do struggle with and am trying to start with bigger areas of paint/shapes. This painting has the larger shapes, but not sure if there is enough variety - but they are much better than the 'start!' I am going to call this 'finished' but is a painting ever finished?

'The Wildlands - Solomon Creek #4'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 26

Fall is here!! We woke this morning to gorgeous yellows and oranges interspersed with the dark greens of fir trees. We weren't sure how much colour we would have this year. An infestation of leaf eating caterpillars decimated a lot of the poplar trees of leaves in the spring and then a summer of extremely dry conditions left some trees and shrubs withering away. But Mother Nature is undaunted and has provided us with another beautiful fall.

'Foothills Profile #2'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 25

Well - here we are Day 25.....Hats off to you all who have made it to this point - have been enjoying  all your work!

I thought I would wake up this morning and decide I was going to do something 'different'.....where would the 'paint' take me ....but.....I painted the same thing.....a landscape...this is what appeared on my paper......

Acrylic mixed media on
140lb Arches watercolour paper

.....for me personally ....some of my better work. Only wished I had really taken the challenge and painted bigger!

Thank you to all who have shared your work with me over the past few weeks....has been so inspirational!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 16

A busy Saturday at our house! Took the last couple of hours to finish off this painting. Inspired by our summer vacation in the Rock Lake Solomon Creek Wildland. In the province of Alberta '...wildland parks are large, undeveloped natural landscapes that retain their primeval character....'. And yes they are all that and more!

This view is done from memory - looking to the west from the top of a ridge and seeing the landscape unfold up to the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains.

'The Wildlands #2'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas

Apologies for the picture quality, the original is not as dark as this photo shows it.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 15

'Flo & Mo'
Acrylic mixed media on canvas 

It was just one of those days when you couldn't take things too seriously.....even painting! I am not sure who is who - but what I am sure of is they are steadfast and true barnyard companions.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 14

So - today was suppose to be a 'painting' day other than a visit from the 'cable guy' which turned into a 3 hours later senario! Oh for a studio detached from the house.....that would be amazing!!! Another day of 'it is what it is' and 'there is always tomorrow' and...and.... I am fortunate I do have a dedicated space above the garage - started off calling it the bonus room but in the last year I have started calling it 'my studio'. You gotta claim that space!

Today's offering is not my summer garden but from one that I visited the end of June. This has been the driest summer we have ever experienced. Our water is supplied from a natural spring, so watering flowers was a luxury this season and first priority was for our animals and ourselves. There is always next year!

'Annie's Garden'
Acrylic mixed media on
Canson mixed media paper 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 12

I just can't seem to get painting....and I need to. I love doing the thirty day painting challenge - it gets me painting and I can experiment with a lot of things (colour, values, shapes composition, subject matter, etc). I was organized and ready for September but just haven't got into a rhythm.

Today's 'mini' was done quickly.... a bit of collage, limited palette and some graphite crayon. I didn't paint out the collage which I have a tendency to do and I am happy with what is showing. I was thinking of adding a bit more paint and pencil, but I think I will just leave it....for now!

Enjoy your painting time!

'Prairie Red #7'
6"X6 1/4"
Acrylic mixed media on
Somerset printmaking paper

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 9

I wasn't sure if this would be considered a 'daily', but finally put the last bit of paint on yesterday.

An 8 day back country-horse back trip north of Jasper National Park has provided me with a lifetime (no exaggeration) of inspiration. We rode in one of Alberta's wildlands parks and it was incredible!!

'The Wildlands - Solomon Creek #1'
Acrylic mixed media
on birch panel

I haven't worked this large before. But I love the freedom the size gave me to explore paint, collage, and mark making. 

Enjoy your day wherever you are!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 7

Acrylic mixed media on
140lb watercolour paper


A drive through the prairie countryside - I see a small stand of trees.....all that remains of a farming homestead from a time long past....

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

30 Paintings in 30 days - Day 6

Working on neutrals/tone with a small bit of colour. The sky came together better than I initially thought...chances of doing that again....slim to none! Don't you just love painting! Might crop this, but for now will leave as is.

Acrylic on
Arches 140lb watercolour paper 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days - Day 5

Finally! A post for the 30 in 30. I am disappointed to have missed the first 4 days but it is what it is!

Just some left over paint, a big brush and a small piece of paper. I have been painting - larger (20"X20" and up) - which in the beginning was challenging but now I am really enjoying the freedom it brings. I just returned from an intensive 5 day open studio workshop and finally unpacked everything yesterday. My studio is back to 'organized chaos' - meaning I can find most anything I need exactly where I didn't leave it!

Looking forward to seeing the work other artists have been posting for the challenge. May you enjoy some time in your studio today!

Acrylic on 140lb Arches watercolour paper

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'
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'
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'
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 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'
Acrylic mixed media
on gessoed canvas

'Cherry Blossoms in the Fog'
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'
Acrylic mixed media on cradled birch panel

'Prairie Fields Spring Thaw'
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*

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Workshop: Abstracted Still Life with Brian Atyeo

*Brian Atyeo

*All artwork is by Brian Atyeo

I am very excited to be attending Canadian artist Brian Atyeo's workshop in Calgary next week. I have attended two of his workshops and have learned so much! I am using more layers of paint, mixing and using more neutral colours, designing better compositions and becoming more confident in my painting. I am starting to understand the principles & elements of design and slowly but surely applying them to my painting. How can you not like that!

The subject for this workshop is Abstracted Still Life in acrylic and collage. '.....layering of paint and collage paper will be the prime focus of this workshop.' I am looking forward to being inspired by Brian's painting and the other participants and I will be seeing painting friends that I don't get to see as often as I would like.

You can read a complete description of the workshop here.

I will post a short write-up of the workshop after the dust has settled or the paint has dried! Happy painting to you!

Here are a few more of Brian Atyeo's paintings...

*Brian Atyeo

*Brian Atyeo

*Brian Atyeo