Saturday, December 3, 2016

Studio Dog

Years ago I read on Bob Genn's newsletter that he recommended artists get a dog to keep them company in the studio. Bob was very attached to his dog and took her almost everywhere. I lost my beloved australian shepherd, Blue, back in May of this year. I never thought I would find another dog that I could connect to like Blue, but 6 weeks ago, Havoc came into my life.

Havoc belonged to my youngest sister, Barb, who died tragically in a car accident almost 2 months ago. Barb left behind 4 border collies- Havoc was the only male and was the daddy dog to several litters of puppies.

I didn't think I could handle a border collie- we live in a townhouse and I have seen how ramped up border collies can be from my years competing in dog agility. However, I knew that Barb would be so  happy if I gave one of her dogs a home, so I decided to try. Havoc came into our house and has brought nothing but joy. He is kind, loving, calm, sensitive and very, very smart. He is also fun and a bit of a goof. He makes me get outside every day,  take time to play and is always ready with a hug if I need one. He has helped immeasurably in my grief around losing my sister.

The postscript to this story is that all four dogs have found wonderful homes. My artist sister, Suzanne, took Truly- the baby mama to Havoc's puppies. Suzanne and her husband, David, have found Truly to be every bit as special as Havoc. We get the dogs together regularly and they are always delighted to see each other.

So the studio has a comfy dog bed in it and I am never working alone anymore. I feel very blessed...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What to leave out

"Forest Giants"   24 x 30" acrylic

This is the latest one off the easel. It was painted on panel and my goal was to stay as loose as possible. A lot of the mark making was done with the chewed up brushes that I created with an exacto knife. I spent a lot of time on some areas and painted other areas in minutes. Of course the areas that I painted quickly are the ones I like best.

I'm finding this technique somewhat hit or miss. Maybe that's the risk of painting loose and fast- either you make a mess or you do something exciting.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Edge of the Meadow 30 x 40" acrylic

This painting just won 3rd place at the Federation of Canadian Artists 75th Anniversary show. I was very honoured for my piece to be recognized amongst an amazing collection of paintings. The show finishes on Sunday, Oct 2nd but can be seen online at

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Plein Air

We spent Friday and Saturday painting with a group of invited artists on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver. The event is called "Painting on the Mountain".

The weather was glorious and we really enjoyed the experience. I did four paintings- my three favourites are here .The top two are 11 x 14 and the bottom one is 8 x 10.  Plein Air seems to be the latest craze around here lately- more and more events are springing up. I want to do more of it- I think it's the best skill sharpening tool around.  Not to mention the fun of painting with others in a beautiful setting.

The paintings from the weekend will be on display through the Harmony Arts festival this week- in a tent near the Ferry Building Gallery.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quarry Rock Hike

Woodland Falls
16 x 16" acrylic

Yesterday I hiked to Quarry Rock in Deep Cove with a group of friends. There was a lot of uphill climbing involved, but we came out to one of the most spectacular vistas that I have ever seen in the city. The photo for this little painting was taken on the hike.

I'm trying some new approaches to brushwork lately. Have taken several of my old brushes and mutilated them with an exacto knife. They make very cool marks for texture and foliage. I like the looser look.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hold your Horses

  "Coming Home"
24 x 30" acrylic

I'm back to acrylics for this painting. I considered painting oils over the acrylics to finish it but it didn't seem necessary. There were lots of layers and  I love the fast drying of the acrylics for those kinds of techniques. I found painting the horses challenging- partly because the drawing has to be so accurate  and also because the horses were mostly in shadow, which made for very subtle value changes.

Monday, June 6, 2016


Its amazing what shows up when you photograph your painting. I thought this one was done when I did the top photo. A few things jumped right out when I looked at the photo- the shadows from the middle group of trees were way too symmetrical, and the shadows in the right foreground were too black. Ten minutes spent and the painting looks quite a bit better.

"The Path Beckons"  24 x 30" oil

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Long Beach sky


Here's one of my recent paintings that came from my trip to Tofino a few weeks ago. I worked really hard on the sky and then painted the sand part very quickly.  The sun came out for a window of about 3 minutes and then all the light was gone. Timing is everything when it comes to good reference photos.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Painting by Committee

I finished this painting abut a week ago. The reference photo I used had a flat white sky with no light, so I painted that part out of my imagination. This is challenging for me- I mostly lean on my powers of observation, rather than make stuff up. Changing the sky colours changed every other colour decision in the painting so there was a lot of back and forth-ing before I got something that looked ok. During the process I showed the panting to my husband, sister, and two groups of workshop students. Everyone had something to say and a lot of it was very helpful. I ended up taking a lot of colour out of the rocks, so that the sky could be the star of the show.
"Tofino Sunset"  24 x 36" oil

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Day's End

This is my most recent oil painting. I am still enjoying oils so much and learning with each piece. This painting will be on it's way to the Adele Campbell gallery in Whistler soon.  "Day's End 24 x 36" oil.

I just spent 5 weeks of acrylic classes with this lovely group of people. The next session will be here in Fort Langley, starting in October. Details will be on my website.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


This is the reference for the painting below. The painting was done about a year ago and I just recently got it back from one of my galleries. I think this is a classic example of following the reference photo too literally. After pondering the painting for a while, I decided that the black sand was too somber and also that the featured wave needed to be more interesting.
I decided to repaint the original acrylic painting in oils and to lighten the sand and revamp the waves. I think it's much improved. "Shoals and Riffles"  36 x 36" oil.

Monday, February 15, 2016


We started this year with a trip to San Jose, Mexico. Alan and I have 2 great galleries that we are represented by, down there- The Old Town Gallery in San Jose , and The Golden Cactus Gallery, in Cabo. I love the beaches in the area and since we got home, I've been working on a series of beach paintings. These are oil paintings, and each one is teaching me more about working with oils. Painting #3 is well along.

I've gone through a lot of cobalt blue so went off to Opus yesterday to get a big new tube- wow- cost about $100.00! Too bad I love that colour so much.

Spring classes are about to begin. I have weekly classes starting in Fort Langley in March, plus a weekend class in West Van in April. Just booked a summer class in Whistler in August. All details are on my website if you're interested.