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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Commission - A Dog Portrait of Timi


This commission was a dog portrait of Timi (right) for a Christmas present.I painted a small acrylic picture (upper left) of Timi to get a feel for her face and shape. I enjoyed this small picture in my office and everyone commented that Timi was expressive and looked like a character. I had a lot of fun painting this one as I did not have the pressure of the final product.

The picture (bottom left) is the commission with the original background. The background was not satifactory to the purchaser so I changed the background (below on right).

Now I was not satisfied, so once again I worked on the background and below is the final picture. It is certainly easier to paint for myself than a commission, but it was fun to do and as always, a learning process. The recipients were pleased with their gift.

 Acrylic on masonite panel in a 16" x 20" frame - Sold

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings to all!

We have snow on the ground, but a sunny warm winter day for Christmas Day. Looking forward to enjoying the day with friends and and out.
Water colour, matted and framed to 16 x 20 - Sold

 Above is a water colour picture of our majestic Rockies with their first blanket of snow.

Warm wishes for a healthy, prosperous, fun filled 2012! And to my fellow artist, may your brushes stay wet throughout the new year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

First Portrait in Ingrid's Class

I went to the previous class and stayed for the demo only as I wasn't feeling well. This week I was able to try my first portrait (between coughing fits). It seemed like a daunting task but Ingrid's demo gave us a starting point. Again it is not finished, but I felt it did look like the subject. I am pleased with the result within the time limit of the class after the demo.

This is my view of my easel and our model behind. This painting was painted in oil on a 12" x 16" canvas board. I am not going to wipe this one off, but keep it to check my skills the next time I do a portrait. I wish I had asked to take a picture so I could of worked on it at home. Working from a picture is certainly different from working with a live model!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mount Royal University Centennial Mural now on display!

The closing of the MRU centennial celebration culminated with the unveiling of the MRU centennial mural. It resides at the East Gate entrance to the university. They have a large touch screen that will zoom directly to the panel you press so you can read about the panel. They had a group of 30 people that wrote about the history of MRU beside each panel. This is not viewed on the website. The website has the artist interpretation of the panel and their reason for doing what they did. The final picture with all the panels together is of the MRU founder reading a book and all the thoughts and history that comes out of the book.

You can go to the website here. Once there if you click on the individual panels, it will give you a close up and the information. The whole panel can be seen on the second grouping. The blank panels had colours and designs or shapes on it that you had to incorporate into your design. That is why some of the colours seem odd choices.

My first panel is #48 based on the aviation program is on the 2nd row, 13 from the right. Then I found out that they needed more panels painted with particular themes. I painted #131, 5 rows down, 11 from the left and #166 on the bottom row, 16 from the left. You can see the size of each panel in the picture on the left of me holding my panel when they were displayed individually.



Our son Curtis was also a student at MRU at the time and he painted #116, 4 rows down, 5 from the right. As he was an aviation student, he painted the cockpit in a spin. As a gift to every artist, they gave us a book with the panel images in it as well as the MRU historical information. It was a wonderful year of celebrations and I certainly enjoyed as many as I could.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I would like to thank everyone that has encouraged, helped, laughed and cheered me on in this art journey I am on. This blog has received over 1500 views so far, way more than I ever dreamed of. I started it to keep me painting, learning, expressing and experiencing the world around me as I see it.

To those that have commented (especially Marie Flynn), I take to heart your words of encouragement and suggestions. I still have difficulty knowing if my responses are posted or not (or even how to check).

To those wonderful friends (especially Sue and Karen) that take beautiful pictures and allow me to paint my own interpretation of their artful photographs, again I am grateful.

My Creative Path friends that have travelled most of my painting journey with me, I am very grateful for your honest suggestions, laughter, like mindedness and friendship!

My family are my greatest cheerleaders and critics, and I am happy to receive both.

Not least by any measure, a very big thank you to those that have bought my art and share my blog. It instils that others believe in this journey AND keeps me in art supplies!!

This post is of one of the paintings that gets viewed most, a Calgary sky view.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Third figure class

This was my third figure class with Ingrid and last class for this session. I was away the previous week so I missed the demo and class. Our class worked on the same painting during this class. It was amazing and intimidating to see the wonderful and varied works in progress. I think everyone was happy to have a chance to finish a piece of work. We are in a semi circle around the model so everyone has a slightly different view, therefore, no work is the same. The shine of the oil really shows when taking a picture straight on.

You can see the models legs at the left, my painting (work in progress) straight ahead and the beautiful painting on the right being worked on for the second week. My view was very straight on. And yes, her hair was a very funky style, very short on one side and long on the other.
Oil on canvas board 12 x 16

This is as far as I got in the class. I would of really enjoyed having a second class to work on it. I am happy with how it evolved. The model was amazing and worked hard to sit exactly in the same position after taking stretching breaks.

I have signed up for the next session of classes with Ingrid, again on figure and still life with the addition of florals. I wasn't going to sign up as I find that December and January are just to busy work wise and I don't have much energy after work, but this group is so fun to paint with and I enjoy Ingrid's style of stay tuned, more oil work to come!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Creative Path Artist Challenge

Every two weeks, The Creative Path Artist group meets and paints for an afternoon at a community hall. It is a very safe environment to challenge ourselves and share our art escapades and lives. We set up challenges for ourselves and the last few times together, an artist brought a picture for everyone to paint. I brought this picture in of a bird fishing in the ocean near Sidney, B.C. I loved the reflection of the bird. I am not sure what kind of a bird it is. Once again, starting was the hardest part! I am pleased with the way this one turned out and happy I painted it in oil.

"Fishing in Sidney"
Oil on birch
11" x 14"
I bought a new tool for signing my name. It has a rubber tip on it and really just pushes the paint around. It would work better if you had a colored canvas to start with. This painting was white underneath and you can just barely see my signature in the bottom left.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Second figure class

We had our second figure class with Ingrid Christensen painting in oil. The model was lovely with a combination of bare legs and a flowing dress. We did thumbnails first to decide on what we wanted to include and the placement of subject and empty space and how we were going to link our darks. From where my easel was, the view was mainly of her thighs and everything was foreshortened. Here is my view from my easel and the painting so far.

Ingrid showed me how to make the folds in her dress on my painting. I scraped the paint off at her suggestion and then did it again myself. The other difficulty I was having was the size of her hand and the fore shortened forearm. Again with Ingrid's help, I was much happier with my result. This was a one evening class so once again, a full painting was not completed, but I am happy with the result below.

Friday, November 11, 2011

First figure in oil

This was the first of 4 figure classes that will end the Fall oil lessons with Ingrid Christensen. As oil is a new medium for me, I have learned a lot! Ingrid did a demo for the first hour and then we painted for the next 1.5 hours. If she did not do a demo first I would of had no clue how to even start! It was hard to shape the body to get the feeling of volume and not flattened out. Flattening out the body seemed to be my specialty!

Here is a picture of my easel with our model behind. I did not ask for his permission to put his picture of my blog, so I have only a partial view of him.

Below is how the picture looked when our time to clean up had arrived. It was really hard to get the roundness of his belly. As this class was just for one evening, I wiped the picture off to use my canvas for next week. Ingrid generously lets us take pictures of her demos so I have those as a reference. This class is for learning, not necessarily to get a finished painting. This is one I knew I did not want to finish.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Still life lesson on pattern

This was an (one) evening set up of a teapot and dried sunflower heads. The lesson was on how to paint a pattern to get the essence of the pattern without painting every little detail. It was extremely daunting to look at the set up and again begin with a blank canvas. Below is the my view of the still life and my work in progress.


Ingrid's demo was starting the painting with the still life set up on the other side of the room (round bowl with delicate flower pattern) to show us how to tackle a pattern and still get the roundness of the bowl. Again, this painting is not finished as I plan to finish all the paintings from her class when the class ends or I have more time. I still want to work on the sunflower and the area under the teapot.

12" x 16" Oil on canvas
click on picture for a larger view

Friday, October 28, 2011

End of the Season

This painting was done as a painting challenge with my Creative Path art group. Deb sent us this picture taken from her garden and we were to paint it in any medium and any size. Oil and water colour were the choices that day. I am really happy with this one and it was extremely fun and freeing to paint. I also enjoyed painting something small. I think I will put this one on a plate stand and enjoy it unframed.

8" x 10" oil on board
click on picture for a larger view.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Still Life class #5 - Brass and Fur

This class was focusing on brush strokes - to make the smooth look of brass and feathery look of fur. I was not enamoured with this set up and had no idea where to start. Ingrid once again did a demo in the beginning of class and then continued around the class offering her expertise and suggestions. She also leaves her demo open for anyone to try what they need on it or to explain something. It is so much easier to learn with a "hands on" approach when you are a visual learner like myself. She wipes it all off at the end of the class.

This is a picture of the still life from my easel and my work in progress. It was a really good challenge and learning experience.
This is the final picture 12"x16"
oil on board
click on the picture for a larger view

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ingrid Christensen's still life class #4 - layering

Ingrid did a demo again to show her layering technique. A thumbnail sketch was done first then we did a rough painting to repeat the demo. Some of us in the class are new so this was very helpful. I learn something different at every class, the only problem is to get what my eyes see down onto canvas, there seems to be a disconnect!

Here is the rough learning sketch:

I found this very diffictult from the angle I was at. The teapot spout was almost the same angle as the handle attachment. Ingrid helped show me how to add the darks and lights so it looks round not flat. I certainly learn better from showing than just hearing.

We worked on the same still life (this time on canvas) during a second class as well. I still don't consider it finished so hopefully I can post the finished one later. Looking at this photograph, I am not happy with how the cup is coming out so light. Another reason to photograph art, it is a new view.
Teapot still life 11" x 14" on canvas, Click on picture for a closer view.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ingrid's still life class #3 - Value

This week's lesson was on value (light to dark). Ingrid set this still life for half the class to paint and a similar one for the other half. This is the view I had of the still life and my work in progress in front. It gives you a sense of the view I had. Ingrid had us do thumb nail sketches first of the scene with basically just the values, white, mid tone and black to find the size and placement we want. I was the only one that chose to turn my canvas this way. I liked it better in my thumbnail sketch which is a very good reason to do thumb nails instead of trying to correct on the canvas. She also made us aware of the darks and how they need to connect.

Once again, I am happy with the progress I made and really had to paint fast to get this far. It is interesting I took this view from this angle as my painting view was from the other side of the easel so everything looks slightly off in placement.

Nectarines and canned cherries still life
16" x 20" oil on canvas

This picture was taken outside in the sunny afternoon. Quite a difference in the colouring, the true color is somewhere in between the two. I am still trying to figure out how to take better pictures to try and get a truer sense of the colour.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ingrid's class #2

This class lesson was based on colour. Ingrid set up 2 still life's with apples picked from her yard and paint brushes. The goal was to really try and capture the colours, high lights, back ground colours etc. She makes it look so easy as she demos how to start and get to the half way point then we start painting! I wish I could take pictures of the other artists pictures as they are all so different! This one is not signed as I still want to go back in and add some final details when this class is over. "When you know better, you do better"!

Apples and paint brush still life
11" x 14" oil on birch board

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ingrid Christensen's Still Life Course

I started a "Still Life and Figure" course taught by Ingrid last week. I am working in oil and she paints in a very loose, impressionistic and exciting way. It is a very different way for me to work.Ingrid sets up 2 still life displays and half the class paints each one. Deb from my Creative Path Artist group is also taking this course,  making it even more fun to share with our different styles.

 I am not particularily interested in either subject matter, more in the "how" than the "what". I am hoping to work on the paintings I do in the beginning of the course and finish them at the end of the course. That way I don't have to be unhappy with my work as I consider them unfinished pieces. 

This is my first effort:
First still life 16x12 Oil on birch board
click on picture for a larger view

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Restful Summer Memories

I needed something that would be mellow to paint, something I could lose myself in, take a mental break from the clatter in my brain. I found it in this picture Sue Bingham  took  in Chase. It was a wonderful picture of a dock ladder, very calm water and mountains that feel like they are resting as well. Sue is generous with her art of picture taking and allows me to paint to my heart's content (a huge thank you!). I hope you find it peaceful, calm and inviting memories.

10.5" x 14" Water colour on 200lb paper
White double archival mat to fit 16"x20" frame $150
Click on picture to enlarge

Sunday, August 28, 2011

MRU Memorial Garden Daffodil

This oil painting is from a picture taken in the Mount Royal University Memorial Gardens. This well kept garden has a variety of flowers, rocks and seating areas and is a very peaceful setting. It is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy lunch outside. I was drawn to the single full flower against the solid rock and the wonderful shadows highlighted on the rock.

16" x 20" oil on canvas, unframed
click on picture for a larger view

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hiking in Palm Springs

This is a painting of the hills behind Palm Springs. The rocks tower over you in several places as you wind on a worn path with scrub brush and flowers. We started our hike just past the tennis club and wound our way up. The view of the city was breath taking and you could see for miles!
Hiking in Palm Springs
Water colour on  200lb paper 10"x14"
click on picture for a larger view

Friday, August 12, 2011

Plein Air at Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary

What a beautiful day! I painted this acrylic at the Glenmore Sailing Club. As I was painting in a tucked away spot in the shade, I could hear the inspiring sounds of sails flapping and children laughing during their summer sailing camp. The afternoon quickly zoomed by as did my subjects!

A photographer from the City of Calgary asked to take a photograph of my unfinished picture with the children sailing in the background to use for their promotional material. It would be fun to see it used somewhere although I don't think I would like my unfinished picture!

Plein Air Acrylic 8"x10" on birch board, unframed
click on picture for a larger view

Friday, August 5, 2011

Two water colour studies

These two water colour studies were done after watching a Sterling Edwards DVD. It was an interesting way to work and I like his teaching style. I will try some of my own photos next. I wasn't sure what I wanted to paint and in what media so the timing of this from the library was perfect. I like different things about each picture. I don't usually use Thalo colours, but it seemed to work in the first picture.

7" x 10.5" on 200lb water colour paper
Click on pictures for a larger view

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Plein Air at Forgetmenot Pond, Kananaskis

I took a one day plein air class with Peter Potapoff at Forgetmenot Pond in Kananaskis. It was a sunny but blustery windy day. We painted beside a stream and tried to paint something close and small (compared to the huge vista and views). It was really interesting and challenging in how quickly the acrylic paint dried on the board, palette and even brush in the sunny and windy outdoors.

As a visual learner Peter was kind enough to show me what he was explaining to meon my painting. I haven't decided if I am going to add more blue (from the sky) in the water reflections, but am considering it done right now. I will have to live with it for awhile. Standing outside painting with a drying palette filled with paint (ok for indoors), water bucket on the ground and hair blowing in my face was certainly a different painting challenge.

I learned a lot about what supplies to bring (and what to leave home!) and now have started a birthday/Christmas list. Peter is passionate about painting outdoors and shares his knowledge generously. He has classes through Calgary School of Art if anyone is interested.

Acrylic on Birch Board
10.5" x 13" framed in a metal (silver) frame
click on picture for larger image

This is our group with Peter on the left. You can see how windy it is by the wind pushing against my pants! I don't know how the guys did it, but I couldn't keep a hat on my head!

Monday, July 25, 2011

View of Sicamous, B.C. from Mara Lake

This oil painting was done on holidays with our view of Sicamous. The colours in the lake contrasting with the white buildings (White Sands condos) on the shore front is what attracted me. This is a favorite spot that I always bring my paints to, but usually do not paint as there is to much to do. 

For something new, I added the twitter and facebook share buttons so hopefully someone will find it useful to share art on this blog that they may find interesting. I am still learning what I can do on this blog. 

View of Sicamous across Mara Lake
Oil on birch board, unframed 11"x14"
click on painting for a larger view

Friday, July 8, 2011

Snickers, a dog portrait

This beautiful elderly lab is my brother's best friend. He has been with Ken from a pup and is definitely a one man dog. My friend Karen Hiebert took Snicker's picture (and many more reference photo's) on her new camera on the sly for me. I painted this picture in oil on birch board, framed it in Calgary and dropped the picture at his cabin when he was out for the day. I wish I could of seen his reaction as he did not know I was painting it for him. Snickers is near the end of his life and I wanted to capture his presence and his aging features.
Snickers Oil on birch board 12x16 Not For Sale
Click on picture for a close up view

Below is the photograph taken by my friend Karen Hiebert.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunflower still life

This painting was done in oil on birch board in Robert E. Wood's class. It is based on a large painting he brought in to show us that he painted. This one is 12" x 16" and is painted with brushes and a palette knife. This is the first time I have painted with a palette knife and really enjoyed creating the textures. I was inspired enough to start on a large 23 1/2 x 31"  painting of the same picture. Not only is a palette knife new but the larger size is. I will post it later on when it has dried.

This painting was really fun and freeing to do and has a real variety of colours in it! I certainly used a lot of paint!

 12" x 16" oil on birch board
click on painting for a more detailed view

Monday, June 6, 2011

Portrait of Chi Chi

This loving pet belongs to my sister Shannon. Chi Chi is 2 years old and is just getting to know her new loving owners, Shannon and Jim. I was surprised at my sister's choice of dogs, but Chi Chi is so happy, friendly, playful and loving that she really grows on you quickly. In my oil class with Robert E. Wood, he suggested the orange grass and I loved the idea and the end product. Chi Chi's face was a real challenge, to suggest such rolls and folds on a flat surface was really interesting. Her eyes are big and expressive. This is her "Are you coming to play? I'm ready!!" look.

Chi Chi Oil on birch board
11 x 14 framed    Not For Sale

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I loved how this picture turned out! The colour, shapes and shadows all feel right! The colours were on my photo and my goal was to match them.

Oil on birch board
12" x 16" framed
click on picture to see larger view

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Third MRU 100 Centennial panel completed

This is my third and final panel for the Mount Royal University Centennial Mosaic. This panel was for the Institute of Nonprofit Studies. I really did not know anything about the program until I read about it on the MRU website. It was hard to come up with an idea, so I used a picture on their website as a template.

 The colours were very different for me and the shapes on the panel must be kept. To view it and the rest of the mural (and original panels) click then click on any of the small panels to see the individual panel and information. It is really interesting to see what the original panel looks like and how they incorporated the colours and shapes with their idea. The whole mosaic will be unveiled in September and all the panels will make a final picture. I can hardly wait!!

"The INS as an academic centre can be thought of as the connecting hub of a forward moving wheel. The Institute for Nonprofit Studies fits within a broad institutional structure but it operates by moving things forward and exists at the point where the "rubber hits the road"."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another dog portrait

This friendly face is Muggins. His picture was so cute and expressive, not to mention the dress up clothes that I just had to try and paint him. I painted the whole birch board with a mixed orange under painting and then painted him on top. I have now tried a water colour (Buddy), an acrylic (Bronte) and Muggins is in oil. I am happy with the results and think I captured cute Muggins.

Oil on birch board
10 1/2" x 13" unframed
click on painting to see a larger view

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Salmon River Run

This picture was a real challenge for me as I had no idea on how to tackle it!! I love the final painting though. Standing away from it, you can tell it is Salmon in water with rocks, but up close it is very abstract. Last year the salmon run was a record breaking year in B.C. It was really amazing to see. These two salmon were resting in very shallow water. I would love to tackle this one in a larger format.

Oil painting on birch panel
10 1/2" x 13" unframed
click on painting to see a larger view

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Oil painting as an MRU Grad gift

This is a painting I did from a photo Curtis (our son) took early in the morning of the plane he was about to fly. The sky colours were amazing and reflected perfectly on the white plane. I painted this in oil as a grad gift for Curtis as he graduates from Mount Royal University with a Commercial Aviation diploma. We are very proud of him!

 The painting currently hangs in the Mount Royal University library as part of the 100 year anniversary for MRU. I surprised him with the gift by showing it to him hanging in the library.

Oil painting 16 x 20 MRU Grumman Cougar plane