Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creating Something Different

 Sometimes every artist just needs to shake things up. Take time to learn, experiment and just play with paint. Here are some of my play pieces from the last little while. They all are a bit different either because of what they were created with, how they were created or in their style. This is some my experimental work that does not (always) show up on my website

The birds are on a heavily textured background on board created with layers of moulding paste and heavy body paints. This rough surface was then filled with self leveling tar-gel to re-create a smooth enough surface to paint the detailed feathers of these beautiful Prince Edward Island bluebirds. The grizzley was a quick draw/paint on speciality hard board. The Thunder Jet boat paintings are painted on a background that is meant to represent diamond plate metal. The white boat is painted on various shades of grey to create the illusion of a metallic surface and the black one is using a metallic paint for the silver base. I prefer to make paint look metallic than to use a paint that really shines. Good lesson though. By the way Thunder Jet boats are a great welded aluminum boat that my husband represents in Canada. The birch trees/heron were just a practice with a different thicknesses of  paint.

All fun and some interesting results. Some I would do differently next time but fairly pleased with how each of these turned out.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

William's Art

William has been coming for lessons with me for the past few months and it is a pleasure to see the artwork he creates. He is a young wildlife artist with a real eye for detail. He has been focused on wild birds lately and is developing his skills in presenting them in a realistic manner. It is great to work with him and watch how carefully he takes information and puts it into practice. Just wanted to take this opportunity to share some of his work with you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

104 Years

This last week plein-air painting in Wyoming I used the travel paints that my grandma gave me when I was young. It is a  Lukas fold-able palette with small pans of rich color....and it could be over 100 years old. The paint in it is as good as ever.   My mother thinks that my grandma had purchased it when she attended the Royal Drawing Society in 1908. In one of my old books I found her school papers from the Ladies College in Eastbourne. She was fifteen years old at the time. If she did buy this pallete for her studies at the drawing society, then this paint box  is 104 years old now.

For me two amazing and wonderful things about this are that my grandmother had loved art just like I do and in sharing this paint box...we have put the very same paint to paper perhaps over a hundred years apart. The paint is still rich and vivid.

Also incredibly  the Lukas paintboxes that are sold today still look just like this one. The pans are still mostly full as I have carefully conserved them till now .....keeping them  for the perfect painting.

But finally they had enough of that and called out from the drawer demanding to be put to the use that they were intended for. Perfect painting or not they want their chance to be part of creation.

So when packing up for Wyoming 2 weeks ago, into the pack-sack it went along with a newer version of travel palette. The Lucas paint although so very old was deep, vibrant and easy to wet, much easier to use than the newer one.While plein air painting in the Wyoming hills I was pleased to be involved in a mentorship program with the local high school. I mentored a great young man, Matt and together we used my grandma's paint to create his first plein air paintng.
Many thanks to my Grandma.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bighorn Ridge Painting finally at ArtWalk

2012 ArtWalk is done. What fun it was.  It is a great show...amazing not only for the awesome artists and artwork but also for the wonderful volunteers that run it. This is a huge job to set up a show with about 300 artists working in all mediums. So a big thank you and congratulations to the committee and their volunteers, it was a great success!

For me it was a pleasure to get several of my larger paintings there as well as 7 smaller ones. Last year it was a source of great frustration to have just completed Bighorn Ridge (5 1/2 feet)and not have a vehicle large enough to take it to the show.

That is the issue with the large paintings...sometimes it is really hard to get them out the studio to share with the public.  But this year 3 large paintings made it down to ArtWalk. The show had a great turn out and it was pleasure to participate and be chosen as one of the Top Five Favorite Artists by the public.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Artists Working Together

Well... our Art Show at the Prestige is all packed up and put away.  It was a great show with some amazing artists. It was really fun and inspirational to work with these artists. They are generous people happy to share their artistic vision of the world.

For those of you that did not get an opportunity to stop by, let me share a bit of what this art show was composed of. Gaye Adams is a Blind Bay artist that has the ability to fill her paintings with light. Her landscapes glow and her portraits subjects look to have been caressed with light.

John Burrows, also from Blind Bay creates his paintings with colour used in a masterful way. His landscapes, gardens and folk art are infused with happy feelings from his rich palette of colour.

 Dennis Weber, a Metis artist from Kelowna shares his insight with paintings that really tell stories. His graphite portraits have such expressive eyes.

Reg Parsons, a bronze artist from Cranbrook with the 3D art was in the centre of our show. His sculptures brought such dimension to our show. With a skilful and complicated  process he creates artwork that will last almost forever.

My nature and wildlife paintings were my way of creating a window to look out at our Canadian wilderness. It was very satisfying to get some of  the large paintings out of the studio and share them.
All in all it was a great weekend.

Please take the time to check out these artists websites to see their artwork.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Inspiration & Creation

The summer search for inspiration is endless. The hikes in the mountain, the wading down the streams, the berry picking on the mountain slope: all of these events are enjoyed not only for the experience of the moment but also for the paintings that will be born of it.  My camera is never far from my side and it records as I go. My pockets fill with rocks, pine cones, funny sticks and wisps of the gray lichen that is so hard to duplicate in a painting. So many beautiful and extraordinary sights to see.

So you would think that all the paintings come easy and that when I finish one, the next idea just rolls out ready to be painted.....but that is not always so. Sometimes the place between paintings is a most awkward uncomfortable place. I want to be painting but the idea for the next painting is in an uncomfortable growing phase that is taking its own time to develop.

 The bunches of other ideas that not long ago made me excited to paint, are just not right to create at this time. So instead of painting ....I am forced to turn the inspiration around and around in my head, then run it through my heart is finally ready to think about becoming a painting.  It is a bit like being horse in the race gate but without a race to run.

But when it is inspiration from all that time out in all comes together to jump start an idea. Then the I am on a quick run to the easel and the beginning of something new!

Photo of me enjoying inspiration on Vancouver Island and a painting called Turtle Creek featuring a close up look at a small island creek rippling its way down to the sea.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Awwww.... Kittens

Still playing with kitten paintings. Just having fun with creating the soft fur, the big eyes and the delightful feeling of awwwwww that you feel when you see one. My daughter has just chosen a beautiful gray tabby kitten to join their family. I really want a kitten also but really not such a good time to add an animal to our household, so in stead this is what I will do .......paint them.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Miniature Artwork

Well this month as well as working on several large painting I have been painting several small painting for the upcoming show at SAGA Gallery in Salmon Arm. This will be an entire show of miniatures - 5 inch by 7 inch paintings.

It was different but fun to work this small.  I used it as an opportunity to try a few new working surfaces. This kitten is on linen canvas, the squirrel is on a special art hardboard and the apples are on watercolour paper mixed media with 140 1b paper attached to canvas. All the processes worked well and here are two of my mini results ready for the SAGA Show.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

High Water

         There has been allot of high water issues in my area this spring and many home owners have had distressing problems due to this. Sicamous was hit with flooding and several creeks jumped their banks with devastating results.
         This painting is because of one of the happier situations created by the high water. This young mallard hen moved her chicks and found a perfect nesting spot above the water line. This was where I was fortunate enough to get very close to her without concerning her in the least.....viewing her from the raised wharf walk. Their spring time antics were delightful. 
         For years a lovely unique narrow frame has been waiting in my basement for a painting. Finally watching these ducklings through the narrow wharf railings provide the inspiration for it. This painting  is 5x20 inches. Here is an image showing the detail also. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Artists for Conservation

It is delightful to be accepted as a signature member of Artists for Conservation. This is a society of artists from 27 countries around the world that are inspired by nature and wildlife. Excellent artists creating beautiful artwork and promoting conservation efforts to protect their inspiration. That is the focus of the 500 artists that are included in this group. I am pleased to be juried into such a group of artists. Together we will work to make a difference with our protect and support what we love. 
Please go to and check out my new web presence as a member of this prestigious art group. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Squirrel on a Stick

Squirrels love my yard, playing in our cherry tree, cedars and wood pile. They are always dancing and darting across the lawn, hanging upside down above the bird feeder trying to steal seeds ( they do have their own seed spot below on the ground.)

While painting this painting there was a perfect moment when I had just paused in my painting to study the result of my work and was leaning back in my chair close to the window. Suddenly up on the outside sill popped a curious squirrel wanting to know what I was up to. We looked at each other for 30 seconds or so before he dashed off.

So here it is with full squirrel approval, "A Squirrel on a Stick." I know that I need a better name, but this one does make me laugh as it sounds like he is a corn dog. And this particular squirrel is a bit of a teenage corn dog, a squirrel full of fun and mischief.. You can tell as he is a teenager as he is a bit leaner than an adult, with a face that is youthfully curious and his tail has yet to fill out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring Blossoms
One of the nicest parts of spring time is the flowers that start to flourish all around us. In our area in mid spring we have the old apple orchards come into bloom and the air fills with the most amazing fragrance. These delicate flowers are the source of the delightful smell. Each year the flowers attract my paintbrush away from the wildlife and I find myself painting the dainty petals and leaves of some of the gorgeous flowers that entrance me. Here is this springs floral appreciation painting.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Brothers

Everyone seems to have an affinity to one or more natural elements. Something that calls to them more than the other elements. I love the earth, rocks and the wilderness in the woods. My husband loves being on the water. While painting, I think allot about the characteristic of what I am painting, dwelling on all the attractive aspects of it while trying to imbue the painting with those emotions.

Two recent paintings brought my brothers to my mind. My brothers are not only great brothers,  but also great outdoors men. My older brother is drawn to the tops of mountain, that spot where earth ends and sky begins. He hikes and bikes to the rocky peaks in the summer and skis them in the winter. As I worked on the details of rock and snow on this painting....I often thought of Eric and his intense love of the mountains.

My younger brother is drawn to the water that runs in the rivers, pools in the lakes and waves in  the sea. An expert kayak-er, Robert  has taken me on some wonderful paddling trips. One such trip he shared the beautiful spot that is the inspiration for this painting.

 "Healing Waters" was one of the top 4 paintings in the Trout Unlimited Canada 2012 Art competition.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


For a painter, light and shadows are part of the fabric of the creation that we strive to make. They are what adds the final touch of life into painting. The light is what gives the artwork energy.The light reflected in an eye allows us to see its soul in the shadow.

Colour can give art passion but shadow gives it depth and form. Without passion artwork becomes reserved but without light and shadow it  never becomes.
I love a reserved work of art that has the mystery of shadows.  The depth of shadow shelters part of nature 's story that we need to see; the baby rabbits in their nest, the moose grazing in the night and firelight in the shadows of the cedars.
I think that you can tell what it is that I have been working on today in the studio.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Seeking Solitude"

This painting is finished but what to call it?

Painting titles are important and too often they are chosen without enough thought or because of a hurry to meet a deadline. Not today, for this painting I wanted a name that reflected the nature of mountain goats. Something that addresses how they live and where you see them. They are an incredible beautiful animal that find the most remote and rocky crag to look out over the tree line. They are rock climbers and cloud watchers.

I was stuck, knowing what I wanted to say but not finding the words. So I contacted a good friend who spends months in the mountains seeking out these incredible animals and asked his advice.  With all his experience he was able to come up with the evocative title that I was struggling to find. His suggestion after studying my painting was " Seeking Solitude." 

Yes! thank you Mike, that fits.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guy Combes at Wildstreak Art Workshop

Hello all, just a quick note to the artists out there. Wild Streak Art and Denise are hosting another workshop this year. It has been a couple of years since the last one. These are just outstanding workshops and not to be missed. This year's workshop will be April 26-30th and will be featuring Guy Combes. He is a wonderful artist and will be sharing his talent for wildlife art. Guy was born in Kenya and will be teaching about how to paint African animals.  It was a pleasure to meet Guy down in Wyoming this fall and to have the opportunity to discuss wildlife art with him while watching him paint.  So for anyone who is interested contact Denise Soule at

Monday, January 2, 2012

75 year anniversary

Our Salmon Arm Art Gallery, SAGA is housed in a wonderful old heritage building that will be celebrating its 75th year in 2012. So the members art show theme  in January is 75. Now the gallery has allowed us lots of latitude in how we can interpret that 75 theme.

Still at first I was kind of stumped as to what I could or would paint for such a theme. I always like to have a strong nature or animal in my artwork and always try to present the theme in my own style. After thinking through a number of ideas....this is the one I have come up with.

When  building was first built in 1937 it was a post office, then it became a library and finally an art gallery. So my painting has a letter to represent the post office and two large books to represent the library. The title of the top book is "The 75 year Saga" with the dates 1937-2012 on it's spine. The bottom book is simply titled "Art History" to represent the Art Gallery life in this historic building.
On top of these antique books is an orange tabby cat.....our old Stanley cat.  I put in Stanley because....well I loved Stanley and he was a wonderful cat....but also because over the years many cats have been fed out of the back kitchen door at the gallery in the old cedars. Cats are interwoven into the history of the building and had to be my link between this theme and my animal paintings. This was a fun painting to tuck into December between all the busy-ness of the season.