Thursday, December 31, 2015

Everett's Christmas Stocking

In order for me to get my last post of 2015 out before the year expires, I must give you a rare double header today.

Everett December 31st, 2015 at 3.5 months old

Our first grandson, Everett Marshall Koebel, arrived a week early, on September 18th, 2015  weighing in at a whopping 9lbs. 7oz.  Born in Columbia, Maryland makes him an US citizen which is why his stocking caricature wears stars and stripes ... he's our all American boy!
As I've done for every other family member I made him a stocking for his first Christmas. 

Once I've got the sketch drawn, I make a second one so that I can cut it up as pattern pieces which are used to cut out the coloured felt bits. I hand stitch these to the face of the stocking.

Pieces pinned in place ready to sew

Just when my fingers are weary of pushing the needle around, the hand work is done. Using the sewing machine, I sew the back to the front and add the cuff, thread the ribbon into it and attach the jingle bells.

The finished stocking

Below are the stockings I made for Everett's parents. Laura's for her first Christmas in 1978, Adam's after they had partnered up and his sister's when she was born four years ago. 

Unfortunately, Everett's stocking (which was in the parcel to Manila with Amira's birthday painting) was the only stocking at the Koebel's Christmas this year. Their shipment from Maryland had arrived in the Philippines but it didn't clear customs in time for Christmas, so Everett shared his stocking with his big sister.

Amira and Everett
Sadly, we were without these little folks, and their parents, here in Canada this Christmas. One day I hope that all the stockings will be hung together once again ...

Christmas 2011

Amira's Birthday Painting

Granddaughter Amira turned four on December 9th

As it was being mailed to Manila (with the Koebel family Christmas parcel) Amira's birthday painting needed to be light weight and smaller this year, but hey it was almost on time!
On our back deck on a warm day back in May 2013, Meg Nicks showed me and Win Dinn how she makes acrylic "pours". That tutorial, which I have since forgotten how to do, yielded the rich background below. Until November of this year I never knew exactly what I would do with it, but it proved to be perfect for "Butterflies". 
The richly coloured, very shiny surface of the first and only "pour" I've made
I went with Amira's mother's suggestion for the subject matter. Using a commercial stencil I applied the smaller mauve butterflies. Later I darkened some of the lower ones with thin washes of darker purple.  Without any particular plan I painted on the first butterfly ...

... and then the other two. Laura had suggested glitter, but I couldn't see how glitter would enhance the painting. With my favourite stencil and Ferro, a paste by Viva D├ęcor which provides a lovely relief, l added the flourishes to the top left and bottom right corners.

I wasn't happy with the dull, slate colour of the flourishes

The graphite colour of the stenciled flourishes looked dead against all the pure colour so, with a fine brush, I painted over them with intense, purple alcohol ink, which absorbed beautifully.

The finished 12" x 12" acrylic painting  -  BUTTERFLIES   -  (unframed, with painted edges)


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Avery's 7th Birthday Painting

In an effort to present Avery with a less childlike painting I chose the Prague skyline thinking that it's a pretty adult scene, yet it maintains the magical charm of a fairy tale which a seven year old girl could relate to. I was extra late in delivering this year. We were away on her birthday, October 16th, and I was not at all organised before leaving on September 28th. There are any number of excuses I can give for not getting at the painting promptly after our return (October 21st) but none of them really wash. Except that it was an epic subject to tackle and at times I wondered if I had lost my mind.  

PRAGUE SKYLINE   oil on canvas 12" x 24"

Once I had the drawing established, I added some dried bits of vegetation (using gloss gel medium) to create texture in the foreground trees. Thanks to Debie for the dried plant life. It's yarrow, I  think. The Flower Children can verify this for me ... 

In order to make the vegetation white, I gessoed over the bits taking care to apply the gesso much more thinly over the drawing so as not to obscure it entirely ...

As I often do, I began the painting using acrylics, thinking I'd finish it in that medium but the final coat on the sky was lack-lustre and disappointing so, as I have done so many times before, I turned to my oils. They never fail to give me the luminosity I'm after.

Early stages in acrylic

The oil brush stokes going every which way in the sky capture the light differently causing it to sparkle. As you can see, looking at the right side of the photo below, I powered out (in this session) before covering over the acrylic paint entirely ...

 Here, as above, the foreground tower is much too dark

Almost done ...

... but OH NO, this is when I noticed that so many towers and spires were leaning to the left! I corrected as much as I could but there comes a time in a painting when you have to say "It's enough. It's done. Sign it." And so I did. Please scroll back up to the top of the page to view the finished painting.

It was
December 11th, the night of Avery's school Jubilee Concert, when I finally presented her with the painting ...

I do think she likes it

Studying the Prague Skyline

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Collection of Small Paintings

At this time of year I create a collection of small works to present at our local craft sale. Many of these paintings are available and would make excellent Christmas gifts. If you'd like to make a purchase (or purchases!) I invite you to contact me at ...

CHICKADEE SONG III   oil (bird) on mixed media background   6" x 6" framed   $150   SOLD 

CHICKADEE SONG IV   oil (bird) on mixed media background   6" x 6" framed   $150   SOLD  


BOTTICELLI ON FIRE (parrot tulip)   oil   6" x 8" framed   $195   SOLD  

Fun in the studio at Linderman Law; the lawyer, Karen Linderman, sporting a manicure to match BOTTICELLI ON FIRE

CRIMSON BLUSH   oil rose on acrylic tinted, vintage sheet music   6" x 6" x 2" unframed cradled panel (painted edges)   $150   SOLD 

PEACH BELLINI   oil rose on acrylic tinted, vintage sheet music   6" x 6" x 2" unframed cradled panel (painted edges)   $150   SOLD 

FIERY QUEEN   oil 6" x 6" x 2" unframed cradled panel (painted edges)  $150   SOLD 

EVENING ENCHANTMENT   oil 12" x 9" unframed cradled panel (painted edges)  $250   SOLD     

PINOT GRIS   oil  7" x 5" framed   $150   SOLD 

At the Claresholm Kinette Christmas Craft Sale with my booth buddy, Judy Dahl, November 21st, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dark Side Embossing

For a long while now I've promised my card making friend, Debie, that I'd show her some mixed media techniques and yesterday was the day I finally came good. Debies's craft room is an enviable delight, a sun room really. It has plenty of space with lots of natural light. We didn't need artificial lighting when we started at 1pm, but when the sun went down we turned up all the lights. It was well after dark when we finished.

Below, we have just begun painting over foiled papers, which we adhered to cover stock, using spray glue. Win's invention is to use black gesso, but we thought why not experiment with white gesso too? 

Here I am giving my rebel student heck - she marches to her own drum, but she's a keen learner!

Both ladies are in the business of beauty. Lynda is a hair stylist and Debie does manicures so they have access to wholesale beauty supply places. Each of them brought hair foil papers to our day, and not just the usual silver ones.

God love them, they got right into it!

These gals didn't want paint under their finger nails, or the wildly colourful, potent alcohol inks staining their hands so, wisely, they wore rubber gloves. I must say that I came over to their side after the first go around with the black gesso!

Lynda about glue down some of the exotic coloured foils

Debie really got into the alcohol inks

So much so her hand was a blur wiping and dabbing 

My collection at the end of our day

Thanks to Debie for hosting supper in the midst of our mad, creative binge of over eight hours. To her and to Lynda for being such good sports. They displayed much bravery in crossing over to the dark side. It was most precious when Lynda asked "What will you teach us next?"  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Embracing Where I Am

TABLE MOUNTAIN #2   18" x 24" framed oil on canvas   $2500.

Bill and are planning to move to Victoria, B.C. but (so far) things haven't panned out exactly as we wish and we find ourselves delayed in departing Claresholm. Rather than sulk about it, I've chosen to embrace it and enjoy the marvelous space that Karen Linderman makes available to me.

You may recall it was almost two years ago that I set up a painting studio, affectionately called The Art Room, in Karen's law office. After an eight month hiatus, I resumed my residency there last week. It sure feels good to be back painting again.

In my opinion Karen is the best lawyer in town. Those who know her will concur that hers is
a most generous spirit. Giving, on a personal and community level, is second nature to her. Plus, she's a rare non-artist with whom I can talk about art, ad nauseam, and she remains keenly interested. 

Karen patronizes not only me. Her support of all local and regional artists and artisans is remarkable. Her love of the arts prompted her to spearhead Claresholm's first, hugely successful, musical theatre Fame! (January 2015) for which she was the Production Manager. Currently, she is working in the same capacity for Little Shop of Horrors, coming to the stage in January 2016.  

Linderman Law Office, 4916 - 2nd Street West is directly south of the Claresholm Post Office

Should you find yourself in town and notice that "The Artist is In" sign is displayed in the window, know that I'm there, painting, and it means I welcome your visit.

Yesterday, I finished the painting you see me starting (in the first photo above). Here are the progressive stages ...

And finished ...

TABLE MOUNTAIN #2 (Beaver Mines Lake, Castle area, South Western Alberta)  18" x 24"   oil on canvas

In the next couple of weeks I will be working on smaller paintings, such as the one below, to exhibit at the Kinette Christmas Sale on November 21st, 11am to 4pm, here in Claresholm, at the Community Centre. Tickets for Little Shop of Horrors go on sale there!  

PEACH BELLINI   oil rose on vintage sheet music which has been tinted with acrylics   6" x 6" x 2" cradled wooden panel  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Creston Experimentation

Black gesso everywhere and days later I've still got stained cuticles

Anyone who knows me well, knows I loath having dirty hands. This, I'm told, isn't normal for an artist (now there's an oxymoron for you). In Win's studio getting your hands dirty can't be helped and I have learned to roll with it because, well, the experimentation is just that much fun. This past visit to Creston (September 20th - 23rd) was so highly charged and what with Win's studio being adjacent to the master and guest bedrooms those of us sleeping on site didn't get very much owing to all that wild energy flying around the premises!

Meg watches Win demonstrating how she colours the embossed foiled pieces

Win graciously adhered silver foil (from a hair salon) onto masses of card stock and ran all theses pieces through her embossing toy so that Meg and I could black gesso then colour them.

My embossed pieces
Following Win's examples, I made a fun foam plate to print using her Gelli plate
My fun foam plate

Impressions made from the fun foam above were disappointingly faint, so I won't show you them. I need to go in with the stylus to press deeper into the lines, to get a print with strong contrast.

Bill (who has made original prints before) gave Gelli plate printing a try, but it didn't last long as the boys were just passing through on their way out the door to find their own kind of fun.

Meg, Win and John, Paul and Bill

Below Win observes as Meg creates a painted piece of "sun paper" using all sorts of wild and crazy colours, leaves, lots of paint and tons of water.


Once saturated, this paper needed overnight to have all that water evaporate ...

Somewhat of a garish dog's breakfast
But oh, the reverse side is an amazing sight to behold

Meg used other "sun papers" that she had created on these twin panels (in progress) ...

We did come up for air to spend some time outdoors. I had an urge to meander among the grapes, so we walked from the Dinn's to the Skimmerhorn vineyards ...

And oh the maple trees on the Dinn's front lawn are in their autumn splendor right now.

Thanks to Win and John, it was another magical stay in Creston. Good times with good friends in the beauty of one of BC's most charming valleys.