Wednesday, December 18, 2013

From Drawing to Completed Painting

Many times when someone comes by my studio they are intrigued to see the process that a painting goes through from start to finish. This blog will give a quick over view of the creation of a painting called "All Canadian."

This painting was inspired when I met a beautiful horse that is a purebred Canadian horse, a breed that until shortly before this meeting I had never heard of. He was a beauty and he definitely caught my eye. So much so we purchased his 3 year old son and are hoping that he will become a wonderful mountain horse for us.

So the painting ideas rolls around  in my mind for a while and when I am ready with a clear plan I start drawing.. The drawing is fairly time consuming but when it is right I redraw it onto the canvas with graphite paper. From that point you can see  the painting develop in these stages.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Down by the Creek

Some of my favorite wild animals are not the hard to find ones but those that live down back by the pond.
The rabbits, ducks, owls and coyotes that live on the same property as I do. These are my closest neighbors and I love to watch them. Their lives are busy with many of the same things that mine is, family, food and work. Of course it only follows that I must paint them and here are a few of them. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Favorite Things to do

We all have those favorite things we love to do.The past times that make you smile to think of them, that you love to plan for and look forward to.  Some of mine I have shared here on this blog. Here are two paintings that show a combo of my husband's and mine.
 They are titled Gone Fishing #1 and Gone Fishing #2. The first is a fly fishing painting and shows Neil's fly rod and a brass box given to him by his grandfather full of Neil's own handmade flies. We had some discussion while I was painting these Neil felt I was taking too much artistic license. One of my painted flies was totally vetoed and had to be repainted. (Oh my..... those fly tying wonderful and  temperamental :) This painting was created using watercolour and includes rocks and the feeling of walking on a river's edge...two favorite things of mine.
Gone Fishing #2 is river fishing and shows the different fishing gear and was painted in a more linear format in acrylic.

If fishing, rocks or walking by the edge of the rive are some of your favorite past times and you would like a painting to remind you of them - this original of  Gone Fishing #2 is still available and also prints of both Gone Fishing #1 and 2 are available in paper and canvas.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Artists sharing Art

This last month  I have been fully submerged in ART in all its glory...not just in my studio creating but all over the country involved in art events.
September this year has been spent sharing my art in several large shows, looking at other people's art, socializing, learning about art at workshops and meeting new wonderful artists.

The one thing that sticks most in my mind about this entire month is how wonderful and willing artists are to share their art. It is marvelous to listen and learn how other artists think about the world and how they use their medium  to share their artistic message.

Art is all about communication and many of these artists are masters in communicating their view of the world in paint, pencil, clay, and bronze. It has been a pleasure to spend time with such generous people.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Painted Horse

Well as many of you know we are excited to have not one, not two but three new horses. It has been grand fun to be back riding and working with horses. We have a lovely nine year old Arab and a five year old Quarter horse and Morgan cross.

The last one that we purchased is a 3 year old colt who is a purebred Canadian. This is not a breed that I was familiar with but when we studied, it did sound like a horse that we would we said yes and bought the youngster with high hopes that he will become a great riding horse.

Now these high hopes were in part started by seeing his father, who is a totally beautiful black stallion. Like every little girl (now grown)...I love black stallions..

So here is a  painting of the black stallion, who is the sire of our new  horse. This painting is called "All Canadian - A Waiting Beauty." It is acrylic on canvas and is 35x42" framed. This painting is heading out to Art Walk this weekend in Lake Country......stop by my booth in the Memorial Hall and check out the Canadian horse.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yellowstone as Painting Inspiration

 Here are two recent paintings that were inspired by my trips to Yellowstone  - a buffalo and grizzly painting hot off my easel and ready to go.

Top Buffalo memory from Yellowstone -
That day the buffalo were wandering in the meadows beyond the river. They were grazing and resting in groups with the occasional bull prodding them to move. It was September and the bulls are aggressive as they are full into the rut - their mating season. Cows quietly grazed while the bulls grunted and chased each other. The various groups mixed and mingled.  The calves were no longer small but had filled out to be a good size ready for winter. It is always interesting to just watch these iconic creatures.
Then I had an incredible encounter with a big bull. I could hear it coming through the bush, snorting and huffing as it broke small trees and branches.  It stamped its feet and it stepped out of the trees in front of me with just an open trail between us. We had a tense moment when he first saw me.  I stood still, we stared at each other  for a long minute before he decided that I was not a threat. He brutalized a small tree just to make his point and then moved  on. Standing quietly I took a few photos as he moved back into trees. They turned out to be terrible photos but it was an experience I will remember not in the least because it was foolish of me to be that close to a bull in rut.

This particular painting is from a far more peaceful meeting with a shedding buffalo in the spring.

Here also is my painted account of my meeting with a Yellowstone grizzly. He had just swam the river and wandered the far side allowing me to study him in relative safety. I kept pace with him on my side of the river for a short time, took photos and truly enjoyed seeing him.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kangaroos in BC

As a wildlife artist I am constantly watching the woods, the mountain trails and the back yard for animals both big and small. Canadian wildlife is amazing and impressive but I also love to see the creatures that are in other parts of the world.

Had a wonderful opportunity to visit a Kangaroo farm in Lake Country not long ago. It is a real surprise to discover kangaroos right in the middle of the Okanagan. Kangaroo joeys are the sweetest little cuddly creatures that love to be held in a fuzzy fabric pouch.  The farm also has some other exotic animals like these huge rodents. Thanks to the great friends that accompanied me that day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mountain Hiking

The hiking around Salmon Arm right now is great. Warm weather and blue skies.  The flowers are blooming and because of our wet spring the foliage is really thick and beautiful. It does make it a bit more difficult to see the wildlife but there are advantages like the great wild strawberry crop this year. On a warm day like today up on Larch Hills the air smells like wild strawberries. Every day at the high point of our hike...I have to stop to eat a handful.of those tiny tasty beauties...too soon they will be all gone.

The daisies, clover and many other flowers are blooming. It is a real jungle of growth.  Some of the alfalfa and bracken fern are taller than me. There is a tree on Larch hills that I am calling a wedding tree that is blooming with lovely sprays of white dainty flowers right now. Looks like a soft babies breath spray.   In several spots it overhangs our hiking trail making a delightful wedding like arbor....makes me feel like royalty to walk beneath it. While searching for wildlife we often just head out cross country hiking  the over and under method....over streams and under hung up trees etc. But I have to say it is nice and definitely easier to use a good trail system and we have lots in our area.

Last week we headed to the top of  Enderby Cliffs  and that is a simply fantastic view. If you have not been up there you just have to make time to go. It is a decent hike but not hard if you take your time. We walked at a fairly steady pace and  it took about 3 hours total up and back. Plan to take a bit longer if you are not hiking much.  The Trail Alliance have altered the trail and made it much easier than it was 5 years ago. The rope railing portion is no longer used.  Definitely make it a part of your hiking plans.

The view from Mt Ida is also spectacular. You can see right  to Blind Bay. Mt Ida is a great hike that you can adjust as you like it but you do need a truck as the road has been decommissioned and has those interesting ditches that would rip off a car's muffler.

Rose Swanson is another hike that gives a great views towards Vernon..

Well we have done those ones so I think we might head to the Balmoral - Blind Bay hiking trail system this weekend....It is a nice walk in the shade of the trees...It is supposed to be hot.  What is your favorite hiking trail  or spot in the area?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Our Old Horse

One of the main reasons I paint is my affection for animals. All of my life I had an intense connection with animals and this has been fostered by numerous wonderful pets. Those pets have ranged from mice to horses with many wonderful assorted creatures in between. All of them have brought something great to my life. But of that long list there have been a few that have been extra special.

One of those was Sunder, our horse of 31 years that just passed away last week. Some of you may say you thought his name was Thunder...well that was my fault...never in 31 years really understood the name Sunder so I for the most part called him Thunder.

He was such a part of our lives that we feel a void now, an empty spot that just keeps reminding us that someone is missing. Our field is empty and our routine broken...each morning there is nothing that needs to be done before having breakfast, no trips to the barn are needed at the end of the day. Also it is so very strange not to have his welcoming nicker whenever we come home. 

He was in deed the most clever and kindly horse that we ever had. He adjusted his approach to a ride to suit the rider....for little kids he was so gentle and careful but for myself or my husband he was a delightfully energetic ride. As a part Tennessee Walker he had the long smooth walk that could make our Norwegian Fjords want to cry trying to catch up.

He loved to go hunting and camping with Neil. When the horse trailer would come into the yard...he was ready to go. He took my girls to their riding lessons when they were little, taught them all things horsey and  how be brave and caring.  Every person of my family spend endless happy hours riding him on the mountain trails above our home.

He had an amazing life, outliving all of his contemporaries even though he was the one with the health issues.
Over the years we enjoyed taking that extra care that made that long life possible: buckets of special soaked feed, vegetable and juice pulp, special hay and vitamins. 

We will miss Sunder/Thunder always, but also feel so lucky to have had such a long wonderful friendship with him.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Badgers, Beavers, Bear and Elk

It is a great day when you can see a badger in the wilds. Badgers are not common in our part of BC yet I was lucky to see one the other day, just at dusk. His curious, distinctive face as well as his low slung style of walking quickly distinguished him from some of our more common creatures.  We often see marmots, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes. Less frequently are weasels, beavers and martens. But this is the first time that I have ever seen a badger in the wild. We were delighted to have a few moments to watch him as he watched us. He was cautious but not alarmed by our presence. 

Also last week it was a pleasure to have an up close encounter with a beaver. Hiking past a beaver pond I was lucky enough to spot the resident beaver within 10 feet of me. He looked up at me and continued to eat new shoots of bull rushes. Other than the occasional glance to confirm that I was still non-threatening, he paid me no mind. It would have been wonderful time to have had my camera. Yet it was a great opportunity to study that beaver...he is clearly caught in my mind's eye waiting to become a painting.  

Now I have to say that my bear sightings are at an all time low....not one bear sighting for 2013.  Seems like everyone has seen their first bear of the year and their second bear of  the year and so on. My husband has been doing some mountaineering and is up to 15 -20 bear sightings. Not one yet for me. I am going strong seeing creatures of all types...........but still waiting on bears.

Now I want to share another favorite animal of mine, Elk. They are a creature that is a combination of grace, elegance and power.  Here is one of my recent paintings of an Elk.  I  look forward to creating a large scale painting of an elk sometime soon.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The woods are Alive.

Spring is my favorite time of year. Everything is growing, coming out of the winter dormant stage and coming alive....just love the feel of this season, the smell of the air and the chance to see the animals all out and about again.

My top animal sighting this past week is of a 2 year old moose. I had the opportunity to see him while we were on a hike up the mountain.  He crossed the trail just in front of us and loped up the hillside. Second interesting sighting on the same hike was of a large garter snake swimming across the creek. Always cool to see how well snakes can swim.

But have to tell you this week is full of animal are a few more. Baby mallard ducklings (13 with one mother,) painted turtles, blue herons, eagles, pheasants, squirrels, flock of quail, marmots, kestrels, magpies, red winged black birds and a multitude of other birds at both the feeder and the lake. The year will only get better with more and more animal sightings now that weather is warming. It is, as I said, my favorite time of year!

In celebration of my first moose sighting of 2013, here is a moose painting I painted a few years ago. This big painting has found a wonderful home in northern Saskatchewan.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cats or Dogs?

It seems to me that most people are either a cat or dog person. I enjoy dogs and have had great dogs over my lifetime....but I am a cat person. I like dogs but I love cats.  Dogs are far more loving and easy to live with and yet despite that or perhaps because of it, I prefer cats.

Cats are independent, arrogant and demanding yet so unique and intensely affectionate that I am captivated by their strange and wonderful natures. Here are a few of my cat paintings, featuring lynx, kittens, Stanley our great alley cat tom, and the last a big cougar tom.

Now tell me which do you prefer, CATS or dogs?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Black & White.....or Gray

Sometimes a painting does not need any colour at all, just shades of gray to create
not only an image but a good impression of that animal.

Great horned owls are impressive and intimidating. I believe that the gray helps to portray that
 ...what do you think?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Despite the Snow...Spring is coming!

We were happily adapting to the warmer weather and the receding snow banks.  On Sunday all but the most subborn piles of snow were gone from our yard. Then without warning we went from raking the lawn to waking up yesterday to 4 inches of the white stuff blanketing everything and still falling. All morning snow...still falling.... still falling..... till we had 8 inches of the white fuffly stuff. Funny how in November I feel it is so beautiful, almost magical to see the world covered in white. But in March it just makes me grit my teeth and growl.

Today while most of Salmon Arm has lost its snowy covering, we are still holding on to ours but at least the roads are now clear and dry. So we are off for a walk.....I am stubbornly looking for any sign of our great horned owls.....Spring (if it is really here) is almost nesting time for them.

Every spring we watch and wait for any sign of the owls....first you see the adults and then suddenly the little ones are out also. They are big owlets by the time they leave the you can see in my painting they are almost the same size as the adults. They are lighter coloured and fuffy. In fact as they age they shrink in size as their fuffy white feathers are replaced by sleek smooth adult feathers.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Otters, I love Otters

Otters are clever, gregarious and curious. Their bodies dart through the waves with tremendous speed or simply float on the top . I  have to say they are one the cutest creatures on the sea. Every trip we take to the ocean is punctuated by searches for otters....most often...there they are. Here are several paintings from the last year or so that celebrate otters. One otter, two otters and then lots of otters. When you go to the sea...what are you looking forward to seeing?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Winter Visitor

In the winter I just don't see as much wildlife. The hiking sightings of bear, deer, elk and moose just do not happen like the rest of the year. Partly that is because my hiking is less frequent but I do get out on the snowy trails as often as possible. But the best to be seen at this time of year is tracks. Often there will be mice, rabbit, deer tracks and sometimes moose, then there is those questionable tracks that you study hoping that they are something more interesting than the neighbor's dog's footprints.
So I have to say I miss seeing the wildlife in the winter.  But I am fornuate to have one faithful visitor to the bird feeder all winter long.  He is a handsome vibrant ring necked pheasant. Here he is...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sea of Cortez Wildlife Watching

One of the best things about being a wildlife artist is getting out and seeing wildlife in nature. Having the thrill of seeing a creature in the wilderness. The opportunity to have that experience is one of the driving forces of my artwork. When I have an incredible experience in nature I want to relive it in paint and reproduce the feeling of being there to share it with everyone.

Well this month I have been fortunate enough to have a grand experience that I have been looking forward for many years ( on my bucket list. ) Check out these pictures from our trip to Mexico....

LOOK AT ME.......LOOK AT ME!....Here I am swimming in the Sea of Cortez with whale exciting! It really got my heart pumping when I first saw that massive body swimming toward me under water then to have it cruise by with one fin gently grazing my leg......WOW. 

Whale sharks are plankton eating sharks that range from 25 to 50 feet long. They have a dark coloring with spots. These particular ones were around 25 feet long. They are totally concerned with feeding and did not appear to mind our presence at all. It was an interesting feeling when I was swimming at his front flipper and he turned toward me and I suddenly I was looking into a huge open mouth. Biggest mouth I have ever been close to.......It was totally exhilarating.

In these pictures my husband Neil is wearing yellow flippers and I am wearing the full wetsuit and blue flippers.

Thank you to Shirley for the great pictures that she was able to get in spite of the wave action. Check out Shirley's website at  She is a wonderful lady and a world traveler who has taken lovely pictures in the most interesting places.....let her know that I sent you.