Monday, January 31, 2011

The Finished Demo

Yesterday I finished the little flower demo that I started the day before at the art club's paint-in ...  

Saffron Lily  unframed oil 5 x 7"  $100.   SOLD

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The Claresholm Artists and Artisans Club has arranged to rent a hall one Saturday a month so that available and interested members can come together for an afternoon of painting.  Yesterday, seven artists assembled.  While some painters prefer to work independently and simply enjoy the energy in the room, others welcome input and guidance.  I look at this as an opportunity for me to share what I have learned over my many years in front of an easel.

Members Judy and Kari opted to watch my approach of using acrylics thinly on gessoed MDF board and tried their hand at it ... 

Photo credit Judy Dahl

On this winter scene, I used such a lot of water to flood and float the paint that it took a good long time to dry between applications.  So, while we waited I began a quick demo using oils on this little panel ...

Photo credit Judy Dahl
To see more photos of the day please click on this link ...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crazy Wild Colours

I can only attribute these wild colours to the fact that it is very bland outdoors.  After some serious snowfall and frigid temperatures we are having a Chinook.  Everything is melting, the streets are slushy and brown and today, under cloud cover, it all looks especially drab out there.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star  unframed oil 6" x 6"  $100.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shelf Art

Needle Point Piano   unframed oil   6" x 6"   $100.

In a phone call from a gentleman, who had received one of my little paintings, which I'd framed and mailed to him, he told me about how he had held the painting up against various different walls around his home.  Unable to decide where it looked best he just sat it down on a book shelf to give it all more thought.  He found it looked very well right there and so that is where it will stay.

I'm very fond of displaying these little paintings on shelves or furniture the way I have placed this one, on our sideboard, surrounded by candlesticks.  Consider displaying these little fellows this way!

Stem Dance
   oil   6" x 6"   NFS

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back to Warm Colours

Requests for more Christmas imagery had me rooting around in the boxes of ornaments stored in the garage yesterday.  I wrapped more empty gift boxes.  Fussing with arrangements and lighting can take nearly as long as making the painting itself and in my tiny workspace it's one great juggling act to align myself optimally with the laboured over set up.

It was all worth it, the painting itself "poured" off the end of my brush.  I suspect it had something to do with the delight I experience working with my favourite colours.

Red and Gold Shimmer unframed oil 6" x 6" $100.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Globe

In comparison to yesterday's warm Red and Gold 'gift' painting today's is a very cool contrast ...

Snow Globe unframed oil on panel 6" x 6" $100.

When I told my painter pal, Linda, that I wanted to paint Christmas imagery she mentioned a snow globe she owns which she thought would make a good subject. As she gave it to me I said "I think it ought to be painted on a turquoise cloth". She replied "And that's exactly what I'm thinking!" We often find our thoughts aligned this way.

I paired the globe with a tiny, silver, ring box. The bright red ribbon brings a spark of heat to the arrangement.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Very Early Head Start

Before I bury the decorations, and completely forget about Christmas for another 10 months, I thought I'd start up the 6x6 paintings with some holiday themes. Here is my first ...

Red and Gold unframed oil on panel 6" x 6" $100. SOLD
Why? So that I'll have some stashed away for the market place when November rolls around. But of course they are available now should anyone feel the urge to purchase early!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Anywhere and Everywhere

You just never know where or how the creativity will spill out. Jenn "invented" this cobweb making technique; Kari wanted to learn how to do it and thus was born "Tutorial Afternoons". Our first was held January 14th.

Jenn, teacher of the day, myself, Patsy and Kari with our finished webs

Branches are drilled with the tiniest of holes. Fine fishing line is threaded through them to create the radial arms and a hot glue gun is used to create the webbing. Here Jenn demonstrates how to use the glue gun ...

Patsy's was very effective ...

Kari's was miniature and matches her petite self ...

Mine was haphazard! You might be asking why make them? For the sheer joy of learning to do something new and to be in the company of fine people. But, what do we do with them? I've got mine parked atop the kitchen cupboards where I am either trying "to convince real spiders the spot is taken" or "don't worry spiders, I keep house casually". (Thanks Fran!)

The next tutorial is on January 31st when I'll be the instructor and we'll be doing mixed-media, free-form painting!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

University of Lethbridge, Alberta

On January 13th, 2011, there was a wonderful turn out in the Main Gallery at the University of Lethbridge for the opening reception of A Little History on the Prairies.

Of the approximately 200 pieces in Jim Coutts' donation only about 50 were on display (mine is not up). Linda Mercer (below left) is pictured here beneath her oil with me and Annie Froese, fellow artist and gallery owner.

The lovely Linda Mercer and her husband Dr. Dennis

University President, Mike Mahon and Curator Josephine Mills thanked and then introduced Jim Coutts ...

... who spoke eloquently of his grandfather's Nanton homestead (where he spends his summers) and the business of collecting art. He thanked reputable dealers Annie Froese owner of Art and Soul Gallery, High River and ...

... Susan Sax-Willock and Tom Willock, owners of Willock and Sax Gallery in Banff (formerly of Waterton, Alberta). It was great to see this fine couple again. Last month, they hosted the launch of Jane Gooch's book, Bow Lake Wellspring of Art.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Little History on the Prairies

The University of Lethbridge opens a significant exhibition today. Jim Coutts has donated a substantial portion of his art collection to the university (approximately 200 pieces). The exhibition continues until February 25th, 2011. Please refer to this link for further details ...

I am honoured to have this painting in the collection ...

Down on the Farm 2006 oil on canvas 14" x 22"

Above is the invitation piece by Ron Woodall,
Coutts Homestead, 1977

I borrow a passage from Jim's statement about the donation:

Business and politics would keep me travelling for decades. But along the way I made a wonderful discovery. Virtually every village in the world has at least one person drawing, painting, carving – sometimes you have to look hard, but they are there. While travelling I often visited them and began collecting works by local blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, sketchers and sculptors. And in recent years I’ve come home to discover first-class artists in Nanton, Cayley, Fort Macleod, High River and Claresholm.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Mystic Muse

Over Christmas I photographed Kari with her gift of a blown glass pear.

Her expression and the way she held the pear begged me to paint the image. And so, for my first painting of 2011, I began on a 16" x 12" panel with acrylic paint thinned to handle like watercolour. There was an incredible amount of dead space around her head and shoulders so I have decided to crop the piece to look like this:

In order for the painting to have my desired angel-like, ethereal quality I opted to paint the background light and to change her dark sweater to white. While I think the work needs some minimal tweaking to her features and some more highlights on her glorious hair I feel it is mostly finished!

My Mystic Muse oil on panel 14" x 11"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Creativity ... it's in the Cards

I am excited to be seeking out pretty papers, pretty ribbons, and all manner of embellishments. Plus it gives me an excuse to add to my delightful collection of rubber stamps.

The pleasure of making greeting cards, like these, might not have happened if I hadn't accepted Debi's invitation to play at her house. For this gig, she's got an incredible amount of toys and a willingness to share them.

The crazy part is that one card takes me almost as long to make as a 6x6 inch painting! So, you might ask why would I do it? At this stage in my life, I have the time to explore any and all creative outlets that might take my fancy. Like when I'm hanging out with Annie, at her studio, flirting with mixed media. She journals. Not just text, but illustrating her written pages. Very cool. It incorporates painting and hand done touches ...

My journal entry, October 11th, 2009

But, I'll always fine art paint. And currently there is an interesting panel underway on my easel. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


On December 30th, with our young family, we went to Castle Ski Resort which is just over an hour from our home in Claresholm. Waking up at the hill and being among the first on the slopes is always a treat. Although it was bitterly cold, the sun shone on relatively fresh snow.

It was Avery's introduction to skiing. For months now she has been saying "Skiing in the mountains with snow!". Well, at two it's not that easy moving about on skis, especially when you won't leave you mittens on and it's -15C out! To see the entire photo essay please click here:

After our day of skiing, we left her parents at the resort and brought Avery home with us. It was dark when we rolled into town and so we showed the little one some houses lit up for Christmas. The house above, on 50th Avenue East, is my personal favourite.

To see photos of our Boxing Day, please click here:

May 2011 bring us all the love, laughter and personal satisfaction we seek!