Monday, August 31, 2009

Not Easy Being Green [altered book 2-page spread]

not easy being green

The theme of the book I am working in this month is “green thoughts”.  As I contemplated ideas for the book I thought “it’s not easy” and then this nutty idea materialized.  I added a serious thought on the second page…  “it’s easier than ever being green.  Especially in Calgary”.  I cut the blue box out of some propaganda we received from the City when they distributed them earlier this year.  I am a BIG fan of this program.  We recycled before but it’s amazing how much easier it is, and how much more material is recyclable now.  But, I digress.  One more spread and I’ll be ready for the exchange later this week.  Ciao!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lily sketches

lily (2) lily lily037

The lilies in my garden are blooming like mad [crazy late!!!] and I took some time today to do a few sketches.  These are red lilies and I hope to use one of them in a mixed media piece I am working on.  That’s about all the art I’ve done this weekend.  We’ve had beautiful weather and I’ve been enjoying it.  I hope you have enjoyed your weekend too.  Ciao!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hot Summer Day [7”wx15”h, acrylic]

hot summer dayI wanted to get back painting with my fluid acrylics and I did that today with this little sunflower painting.  We’re having beautiful summer weather here and it just called for hot sunflowers.  Since I didn’t have any handy I grabbed a couple of photos and, after wetting the paper with mist, I panted for about an hour.  I like it…  it seems a bit like they are all hungry for the sun and working to get to the front of the sun-line.  Kind of like all us sun-starved Albertans.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Playing With Gold (4”x6” watercolor)

playing with gold I have some new art supplies [thank you!] and I just couldn’t let another day go by without playing with them.  It’s hard to see in this photo but the lightest gold in these sugar maples is Schminke’s Horadam Gold…  it’s mica that gives this paint it’s lovely shimmer.  I chose the sugar maples as a natural subject for trying out this paint.  I suppose this little painting might suggest that I am looking forward to fall.  I wish to deny this up front – I am really enjoying this summer weather.  Ciao!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blue Vase (21”h x 15”w, watercolor)

blue vaseThis painting began as a loosening up exercise with lots of texturing in the first wash.  I had a blue vase in mind when I began but it certainly evolved differently than I thought it would.  Here’s a photo of how it looked after I removed the texturing materials [plastic wrap, foil, bubble wrap, textured papers, plastic mesh, etc].

IMG_0020The goal was to impose some order on the surface without destroying the interesting textures.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fairy Ferris Wheel [10”w x 14”h, watercolor]

Tomorrow we leave for the Quist family reunion at Alberta Beach.  During the weekend a silent auction will take place in an effort to cover some of the costs of hosting the reunion.  For some time I’ve planned to bring a painting to contribute but, as usual, I procrastinated on selecting a painting and framing it.  Last October 17 I posted this painting as a work in progress.  Since then it has been sitting in my pile of paintings to tweak.  Today I tweaked it, stretched it, and framed it.  I met the deadline - phew! 

Fairy Ferris Wheel (2) Painting is a funny thing…  it’s not over until it looks “right”.  With watercolor, sometimes “right” was and hour ago!  In this case I left this painting last October knowing it wasn’t done but not able to figure out why or what to do next.  The littlest things make such a big difference – I darkened the background behind the larger flower and softened a few hard lines.  I’m happy with it and I sure hope somebody else likes it enough to bid and help with the expenses.

I’ve had a summer cold/asthma bout this week so I’ve not been up to painting and posting.  I’m feeling a bit better and I hope to get my groove back early next week.  Cheers! 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

African Violets (14”x10” watercolor)

african violets

Today was a blah, overcast day and I had no idea where to start.  Exasperated at myself, I grabbed this African violet and started in with my paints.  It didn’t start out having a particular composition in mind but I love that dark stripe in the background that I used to balance the fuller right.  That was, I think, a good decision.  I hope you like it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Basking (7”x5” watercolor)


I’ve been working on this little painting a few minutes at a time over a few days.  It began as a very loose, wet pouring exercise and, as usual, it’s hard to know when to stop.  I think I was able to retain a bit of it’s freshness and light.  I’ve used only 4 colors (ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, gamboge, quinacridone gold) in this painting and I like how unified that makes it feel.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The backlit white seed heads of these cattail’s seemed to just appear on the paper as I was experimenting with masking fluid the other day.  I added the stems and the darker portion of the seed head later. cat tailsApparently these plants are edible – who knew?  Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tree of Life – Altered book spread

tree of life spread tree opening tree of life Today I finished one of the spreads for Lindsey’s “Think Green” themed altered book.  I built a little pop-up tree of life out of cardstock, painted the B&W plate in the book to liven the trees up, and added text and leaves left over from scrapbook projects.  I like the way it turned out.  Cutting the cardstock is a tricky process, as is attaching it to the base with thread.  I used instructions from Paper Magic: Pop-up Paper Craft, Origamic Architecture by Masahiro Chitani.  Many of the patterns have been made up and you can see them open and close in very short videos on YouTube if you care to.  Ciao!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Spring (10x14 watercolor)

The spring This painting certainly didn’t evolve the way I thought it would.  However, the process I described Saturday is a fun one.  Pouring the colors together and watching them blend and merge is quite fascinating [I can see your eyes rolling ;o)].  It is for me anyhow.  I did quite a bit of work with the brush after the pouring was done and dry.  I may have overdone it…  I’m not sure.  Cheers!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bowmont park sketch

We had a lovely day in Calgary yesterday.  After several days in a row of rain and cold it was a welcome relief.  I packed myself off to hike in to a spring in Bowmont Park.  Unfortunately, the city is reclaiming the area around it and I wasn’t able to get there.  I settled for one of my favourite places – the Bowmont off leash area.  There is a small island with very shallow water around it right under a railway bridge.  bowness family time The dogs and kids run around in the shallow water and have a great time.  I enjoyed doing this but this is one of those sketches that you kinda wish you didn’t have to fess up to…  however, I did learn quite a bit from this.  I learned I need to paint outdoors in the dry heat MUCH more often to improve at it.  I will try to do that. 

Today I started a watercolor painting and here are a few pics of that process.  Of course I did work through the composition in my IMG_0149 sketchbook briefly to check shapes and values.  Then I drew it up freehand – this painting is about learning a process, not producing a result…  I saved white areas by applying masking fluid and then helped it to “travel” around and spread by spraying water ahead of the flow.  THAT was fun – I had no idea I could use masking fluid like this…  the result will be much softer.  Then I mixed up several IMG_0150 colors to pour and had a lovely, messy time doing that…  I enjoyed it and tomorrow I will continue this one.  Ciao!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hardwood Lookout

algonquin Today I took one look at my start from yesterday and knew what I wanted to do next. I worked mostly in the bottom third defining the path with some additional collage and then painted negatively around the maple trunks. I also darkened the shadow sides of the rocks and defined the base of the white pine a bit more. It feels good to get back into the flow of creating again. I’m leaving this alone for now. It feels like I’ve gone as far as I should on this given that I am shooting for a more abstracted landscape. I’ll admit it feels funny even though I like it as it is now. I especially like the sun for some reason that I can’t define.

I had a little surprise in the mail today. I received notification that the FCA has approved my application for active status. Just before we left for Ontario I put together a few paintings, completed the paperwork, and faxed it off. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – it is a logical next step for me. If you’d like to have a look at the paintings I submitted and the little artist’s bio I wrote up it can be found at my temporary website -


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

200th Post!!! Algonquin Hike collage start

Today I made collage paper – lots of it! While it was drying I pilfered through my old collage papers and put together this impression of our hike in Algonquin Park last Wednesday. Happily, I found a sheet of collage paper in a mix of golds and greens that suggested [when I turned it 5 degrees and used my imagination] a maple grove back lit by a sunset. I seized the moment… and began ripping and gluing. I'll decide tomorrow whether or not it is finished.

The Hardwood Lookout Trail in Algonquin Park is just beautiful! There are 12 areas described in the handbook at the trail head. One of the bits of trivia that I learned is that only one out of 3 hundred sugar maple seedlings survive to maturity. Seedlings require direct sunlight to mature beyond a few years. A mature tree must die to provide an opening in the canopy for the growing seedling[s] below.
Tomorrow will be another painting day at home... This rainy spell we are in is not something I want to experience again way up on Sunshine Meadows. I am hoping that they will reschedule so I can still enjoy the paint out with all the artists. It's an amazing place to spend a day painting and soaking in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

My Talented Grandkids

I’m back from Ontario and officially rested up.  I’m finally getting around to posting some artwork that my grandkids did while we were there.  Thanks to their mom, the kids had something to do.  Their Grandma Q came sans crafts thanks to being sidelined by luggage concerns shortly after landing.  [Don’t kid yourself people – WestJet can lose your luggage.  Pack the necessities in your carry-on!!!].  I digress.

The kids enjoyed painting wooden chests with acrylic paint with their folks and they did a great job! [top – Hannah, bottom left to right – Vicky, Ethan, Kristian]

hannah painting crafts by mom

One overcast day they dived into the clay and came up with these masterpieces…  they certainly do not lack imagination!

pizza pizza (2)

Pizza by Vicky [6]

sea creatures hobbits

Sea Creatures and people by Kristian [8]

hannah clayHannah butterfly

Berry picker and butterfly by Hannah [10]

tied myself in wireU2 compliments of Ethan [4]

Thanks for all the entertainment kidlets!  You live way, way too far away from Grandma & Grandpa!