Friday, September 21, 2018

Save the Date!

If you're in Toronto, this is the first of a few group art shows I'll be in before the holidays. Over 20 of artists in this one! Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Friday, September 14, 2018

catching up on some thinking

$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat
It's always nice to sit with a cup of tea and catch up on some thinking. Or in my case, some drawing... ; )

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

today at life painting

 1 minute gesture painting
 2 minute gesture painting
5 minute painting

First day back at life painting! Here are a few paintings from today, of my favourite model. I used charcoal pencil to draw, added green and warm/cool reds, then a splash of turquoise. I tried to stay loose and as gestural as possible. Soooo fun. If you haven't tried drawing from life, I highly recommend it. You never know what might happen when you're under the time pressure.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

a good read

$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat
It was so nice to see someone reading a book at a local cafe this morning. Instead of having their nose in their phone. When I first started drawing I captured people reading all the time. Now, it's a rare treat.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018


$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat
Not sure how this pic ended up so angled... but here's my drawing in my paintbox which sits on my lap. : )
Good 'ole Winsor Newton travel palette with my choice of tube paints squeezed out. I change and/or add colours as my style changes over the years. Although the warm cool staples remain the same. 
The path didn't go in that direction, but I added it since there was just so much greenery around the base of the little building. I know everyone says green is a difficult colour. Not sure that's true, it's just that there's always so much of it! I decided to call this one 'climb' for two reasons, the little ladder and because the flowers are climbing towards the sun. : )

Saturday, September 01, 2018

charcoal and watercolour

Charcoal Drawing
Adding a second (and final) layer of watercolour
Some charcoal added to the shadow side

Last Tuesday's portrait night at Don Valley Art Club ended off our summer sessions just right. : )
I drew the model in charcoal, painted it with watercolour then brought it together with a layer of charcoal. The final charcoal, on the shadow side, didn't blend like I anticipated it would, I think because it was sitting on top of the watercolour. I like it, but I think it looks a bit 'rough' and I may save this technique for a male model next time. I'm happy that I played around and tried something different, which I guess is what it's all about...

Monday, August 27, 2018


$90 - original 5x10" OIL (!) painting on canvas.
This little flower decided to step aside for a little breather. ; )
So, I decided to return to oil painting! I painted in oil for a few years before making the decision to stick with watercolour. A decade later... I've decided to play with oil again. Just for a change. Nothing definite. ; )
I thought I'd start with this bright little set up of fresh flowers, working in my studio with natural backlighting. A bit rusty, but I'm happy with the backlit glow. : )

Saturday, August 25, 2018

wildcat - step by step

First I drew the lion, from a photo reference on pixabay (free image site), with a 6B pencil, trying to be as loosey-goosey as possible. I do try to keep the structure of the subject while making big confident lines. 
Next, I start with the eyes. I like to paint them together, not one at a time because eyes work as a pair. It's easy to get off balance if you focus on only one eye, then the other. Work the eyes together. I don't finish the eyes though... just get some darks and lights in them. 
Working down the page, darks and lights, transparent and opaques. I never liked painting washes in watercolour. I can never get the washes dark enough and contrasty enough. I end up having to do many washes... I prefer this more direct approach.
The whiskers wrap around the muzzle, helping bring the mouth forward. Saving the highlights in the eyes as I finish them up. Then, a few calligraphy marks and... my friend is finished!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

heading home with Saturday's shopping

$60 - original 5x7" watercolour painting with 8x10"mat for easy framing.

I'm really enjoying painting this 'Toronto People' series. Everyone is so interesting! ; )

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

bunny sip

$60 - original 8x10"watercolour painting 
Little stuffed bunny wants a sip too. ; )

Sunday, August 05, 2018

summer boots

$60 - original 8x10" watercolour painting

This dude is enjoying a cold drink on a hot hot day!

Saturday, August 04, 2018

first celebrity portrait

9x12" - charcoal drawing with watercolour
Well, as I stated in my last post, I've been working towards getting a likeness while still keeping things painterly. I'm not actually a huge fan of this celebrity (I leave you to guess who it is), he just has an interesting face. In fact, I google 'older men' images and he popped up, so I drew him. It seems easier to tell if I achieved a likeness by drawing people we all know... ; )

Monday, July 30, 2018

what's important in portraiture...

9x12"original watercolour
Well, I am very happy with this portrait despite not getting a likeness to the model this time. There is so much happening in portraiture painting that is interesting to me as an artist and simply getting a likeness isn't what makes portraits fascinating. On the other hand, of course capturing the person's features plays a role. The trick is balancing the two. 
So, I've decided to fill a sketchbook with pencil drawings that concentrate solely on getting a likeness to the model. I'm hoping the drawing practise will hone my skills, enough so I can forget about that practicality and go back to 'responding' to the model with watercolour paint. : )

Monday, July 23, 2018

portrait sketch

 9x12" original watercolour portrait. 
Lately I've been reading about Frank Reilly's approach to portrait, which is easy to read about it you just google him. It's a good structural way to look at portrait drawing, very informative. : )
Below is the pencil sketch before I started painting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

rail operator

8x8"original watercolour painting
I think my hard work, as I plug away at portraiture, is getting me closer to what I'm trying to achieve. Daily practise (or close to it) really is the answer.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

I recently did some portrait drawings, pictured below, that have been waiting for a splash of watercolour! Today I finished one and got started on another. It's interesting how much the pencil drawing changes once watercolour is added. The first one below is this painting above! The next two are charcoal drawings. 

Friday, July 06, 2018

Seahorse Charlie aka Magic Man

$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat

Seahorse Charlie aka 'Magic Man': 
Charlie, with eyes wide open, floats through the seagrass beds looking for that special someone. Last week he told you about himself. Well, he's ready to tell you more. Charlie is a professional magician. He can move his chameleon like eyes independently of each other! Also, his camouflage ability enables him to change colours abracadabra. And, he can hold his breath underwater for... a really long time. He could magically be yours, just link up through PayPal. ; )

Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Challenge of Portrait

 9x12" original watercolour painting

Well, this portrait was a tough one. 
The spot light on the model put his face half in shadow, so the darkness fell right down the middle of him. I didn't want to wash out the right side completely, (although that can be very dramatic.) I almost left the piece as a pencil drawing but, I still had 2 hours left of the 3 hour portrait session and leaving it felt a bit safe. So, although the pencil drawing was a really good likeness, I got out my watercolours and tried to find some balance in it. 
I learned A LOT with this one and I think I'm a bit closer to where I want to be with portraits... The struggle continues, happily. ; )