Friday, January 31, 2020

quiet dignity

6x8" original gouache painting on toned paper
The Strathmore toned paper is wonderful to paint on however, for this piece, I decide to darken the background a bit with some lovely purple. I think it helps her white hair 'pop'. ; )

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Portraits Workshop - APRIL 25, '20

I'll be teaching a Portraits Workshop here in Toronto with the Willowdale Group of Artists. I'm really looking forward to it. 
Here's the description - 
with Nora MacPhail

In this workshop we will explore an approach to portraits using an easy-to-remember way to block-in. This method includes using measurements for finding facial features, as well as using comparisons to find a likeness. Common mistakes and how to improve them will also be reviewed. No more struggling with egg heads and wonky eyes. ; ) 
I will do demos using photographs. Artist will be doing lots of drawing (bring your sketchbooks!) and we will be painting with watercolour. 


MEDIUM - Watercolour (and Drawing Materials).

PHOTOS - Bring your copyright free reference photos of adults (no children - those measurements are different). Try to find photos that are close ups of the head and shoulders with contrasting lighting. I will bring extra photos for participants to work from.

Bring painting supplies you like and what you’re used to. Materials list is attached.

You can check out my work on Instagram at noramacphailart or my online art gallery at -


Sunday, January 26, 2020


$60 - 6x8" original gouache painting on grey paper
Update - this painting is hanging in a show for the month of February.

It was wonderful to paint from life today. 
Lately I've been working from photos (from the awesome app 'sktchy') and it's a great way to learn. Taking that information and applying it to painting a live model has been the best way for me to progress. Back and forth, from photos to life... so far it fits!
I think I caught the calmness of this fellow artist!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


$80 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat
This is my second recent portrait with a model wearing sunglasses. It's fun painting eyes behind colourful glass! 
Here's the original sketch. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020


 $80 - 6x8" original watercolour painting 
I think with all this oil and gouache painting, my watercolours process has changed. I can't quite put my finger on it, still mulling it over, but I certainly want more completion and depth from watercolour. Thick paint gives volume immediately so, I guess, I'm trying to 'flesh out' (pun intended) my watercolours.
Here's the charcoal drawing before painting. : )

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


$60 - 5x7" original watercolour painting with 8x10" mat
I loved painting her eyes! And this time I added some greens to the shadows,  instead of using purple as I often do. 
Here are two more photos, including the original charcoal sketch on newsprint. Check out my Instagram account for even more!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

a friendly face

$60 -8x10" original watercolour painting.
Lately, I've been missing watercolour. The look is so light and fresh. So, here's today's daily painting.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

all together

$60 - 6x6" original oil painting on 1" deep panel.
I loved painting the little circles on the vase! This low strong lighting, (an idea I got from the awesome dailypainter Lisa Daria) is really cool. Such wonderful contrasts! Check out pics below...

Saturday, January 04, 2020


$60 - 6x6" original oil painting on 1"deep panel.
These flowers/friends all have their own style and personalities. But they get along great!
(still a bit wet... shipped Jan 9, '20/sides painted yellow to match background)
Details -

Thursday, January 02, 2020

father of the bride

$60 - 6x6" original oil painting on 1" deep panel
All the purple friends and guests are watching the big sunflower give away his daughter. ; )
(still a bit wet... shipped after Jan. 9, '20/sides painted same turquoise as background colour)
Details -