Friday, July 22, 2011

Bilingual Sweets [oil on canvas, 6”x6”]


I noticed something funny after I finished painting yesterday…  altho the text isn’t key to the painting, I was surprised to see “raisin” on my “spoonful of sugar”!  Of course this would only happen in Canada where the same candy is labelled in both french and english.  So today I put the grape/raisin candies together like good little Canadians and this little painting is the result.  Hope you like it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spoonful of Sugar [oil on canvas, 6”x6”]

spoonful of sugar

I’ve been playing hooky from my blog, and painting, since Monday.  Some very pressing matters needed attending to…  like selling my house and getting paperwork in order to buy a new one.  In a few minutes I’m off to have another look at several houses we are in limbo on.  More on that later.

This afternoon I treated myself to 2 hours of painting and spent some more time with my candy.  I loved the purple of the grapes reflecting into the spoon.  Cheers!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

D”eye”et Candy [oil on canvas, 6”x6”]

deyeit candy

I bought these colorful little candies specially for painting.  I love all the color and the little light bits reflecting off the wrappers.  Just plain fun to paint!  I’m watching what I eat these days and these little guys are *definitely* not on my diet.  I think they’re just as much fun to look at anyway, right?  Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Compliments [oil on canvas, 6”x6”]


I’ve always loved oranges and blue.  This little guy marries the two up.  Sometimes the simplest things are so fun to paint.  Happy weekend!

Rudiger’s Ranch [oil on board, 9”x12”]

rudiger ranch

I vowed that I would paint plein air Thursday if the weather held.  Well, it was touch and go.  I decided on go…  but I didn’t go too far.  This is literally a “hop, skip and a jump” from my house.  I live in the furthest most development in Calgary, Crestmont.  The bottom of this painting runs along the western boundary fence for the city of Calgary.  It’s about 400 yards from my house…  but it’s quite a climb to get this view.  Also, it’s a great week to paint a ranch as the Calgary Stampede is in full swing – YEEHAW! 

I was intrigued by the fence/brush line on the right side of the painting so I made sure I included it.  I love the color of Silverberry/Wolf Willow shrubs and they grow everywhere nearby – they can be small trees or just a tiny shoot.  They add a great texture to our landscape.

The clouds were threatening but in the end I didn’t get soaked – although the folks to the north definitely did.  During the course of my painting session the clouds were flying by at an incredible pace.  I decided to sketch them in quickly and then do the land.  However, by the time I had the land forms in I liked the shadow patterns that didn’t match my clouds – and so it goes.  I changed the clouds… several times.  This is pretty much how it felt out there today.  I had to collapse my umbrella when the wind came up – some pretty serious gusts this afternoon.  Despite that, I saw 5 light planes willing to  take off from Springbank Airport this aft – unwise to say the least IMO. 

I had some company even on the topmost road in Crestmont today.  I’m beginning to enjoy stopping to chat with the passersby.  That’s amazing to me because I was terrified of the “watchers” at the beginning of this process in May.  They love looking at what I’m doing and are always kind.  Cheers!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tucking In [oil on board, 10”x8”]

Tucking In

For some reason I really enjoy painting fruit.  These little key limes are being minded by their sour old grauntie lemon and it’s time to head for bed.  The littlest guy isn’t entirely sure he wants to go.  Anybody want to vote on whether I should go check myself in to the nuthouse?  Anybody?  Private message me with your concerns ;-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today’s Picks [8”x10”, oil on board]

Today's Picks

In my little front garden the chives and the Lady’s Mantle are blooming side by side – a wonderful confusion of red-violet and lime green.  I selected a few of the stems – yes, I realize 5 chives would have been more “right”…  but I felt a bit rebellious as I selected these and made four work [I think].  The squat little marquise shaped vase was a bit of a scary shape to paint.  I just blocked out all “vase” thoughts and looked at the light and dark patterns.  I did my best to capture the biggest ones and I think it’s working. 

My daughter and son-in-law [Kim and Kyle] are off to the Calgary Stampede for the evening, leaving our grandson, Parker, with Grandma and Grandpa for the evening.  This will be the first 24 hour + period of separation for mommy and Parker.  Hope it goes well…  have a great day all!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bold and Beautiful [6”x6”, oil on canvas]

bold and beautiful

Much of my energy lately has been focused on preparing for other folks to see my house.  Ugh!  I bought some sunflowers at Costco last week in preparation for one of these showings.  I just grabbed this little guy one evening and sketched him up quickly.  He’s nice and bright and cheerful, just what I need around here!  Cheers!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Eternal [60”x40”, acrylic on canvas]

eternalThis is a piece I’ve been working on and off since March.  Previous posts on this painting were March 18, March 19, March 21, April 28, and April 29th.  Feel free to click through those to see more of the steps and techniques used on this one.

It’s tough to explain the meaning behind a painting – it should speak for itself, right?  But I will say that creating this one has been instrumental in my grieving process since the death of my brother Chuck last fall.  This painting began as a simple 1”x1.5” pattern clipped from a magazine.  Over time the swirls and shapes evolved into symbols of the continuing process of holding on, and letting go of a loved one taken too soon.  The larger, lighter swirl transects the piece from bottom to top, leaving the picture plane and then re-entering it only to exit top right - permanently.  Other bands hold on to the lighter band infinitely, forever. 

The many letters are the prayers, both ours and the folks that have held us up to God over these past 9+ months.  Thank you for those.  Please continue.

Lastly, I’m comforted by 2 Corinthians 5:1 which gives me the hope of visiting Chuck in his new, eternal home sometime in the future.  “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

eternal - detail

I conclude with my niece Jenelle’s very creative poem, Final Checklist [sic]:

Charlie Foxtrot Golf Lemma Alpha, we have taxied out to runway 1-9-2-0 and are holding short until clearance has been granted
Departure is from Springbank Airport with a landing into Heaven at approximately 1:48pm, Friday September 24th 2010.
As always, Jesus will be flying as pilot in command and I will be sitting in co-pilot position
We will be flying at unlimited altitude and beyond perfect weather has been cleared for the flight
Our load is light today as we have left guilt, pain, and sorrow on the ground in order to leave enough room for ample blessings to join us on-board.
Daily inspection has been completed, there are no snags; this flight will go exactly as planned.
Seat-belts have been fastened and we are now prepared for the most amazing flight of our lives.

Roger that:
CFGLA, you are cleared for immediate takeoff…

And now that I’ve got puddles of salty water all over me, I must hie off, change my shirt and retreat into my studio/sanctuary…  blessings to you and yours,


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Budded Out [oil canvas, 6”x6”]

Budded-Out-webFriday morning I began painting this opening rosebud and the rose petals from it’s sister.  This was the last bit of painting we did during the Carol Marine workshop.  I finished this one at home last week. 

We spent Friday afternoon listening to Carol’s views about some of the art-related things like taking and editing photos of art, blogging about art, and marketing.  Marketing is a fact of life for most artists – if you want to paint tomorrow, you’ve got to sell today.  If not, you’re pretty soon going to run out of both money and storage.  This definitely applies to me.  So, I was keening interested in Friday’s “ways and means” discussion.  Of course one of my key goals with marketing is not being eaten alive by it – I want to paint, not market.  Lots to think about for sure.

That afternoon Carol talked about making it easy for folks to find you on the ‘net.  She suggested that both first and last name should be consistently included in an artist’s web presence, thus you are reading this post from my new blog  This wasn’t something I considered In 2008 when I set my blog up as “cherylsdailyblog”.  I’ve spent some time over the last week backing up my old blog, importing all previous entries, and setting up this new blog.  What sounds like a formidable task was really incredibly simple! 

And so concludes my monologue on this wonderful week.  It’s been a trip down memory lane and a great refresher.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it too.  Cheers!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July Romp [oil on board, 6”x8”]

July-Romp-web I painted this last week at the Carol Marine workshop in Benalto, Alberta.  This painting took 132 brushstrokes…  I know that because I counted them as I painted it.  This was such an interesting exercise with just two rules:

  • count each brush stroke
  • change the paint pile for each stroke

We were given no particular time constraint for this exercise but we had approximately 2.5 hours if my memory serves me correctly.  I used pretty much all of that time.  Allowing time for setting up the still life and drawing, I’m guessing I spent 1.5 hours painting.  90 minutes divided by 132 strokes crunches out to just over 40 seconds per stroke.  Usually I paint very quickly so this was quite a different experience for me.  I like this little painting.  I think the deliberateness of the strokes made this set up doable for me.  Highly polished subjects, like this spoon, are difficult to paint.  Of course Carol was coming around regularly to keep me pointed in the right direction and Sharon gave me some valuable tips as well…  It all helps.

I’ll wind up my summary of this workshop tomorrow…  until then, ciao!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Reflection of Lemon [oil, 6”x8” on panel]

After working us hard for several days Carol sent us away to set up and paint a still life of our choice.  And I’ve got this thing about a little blue medicine bottle that I picked up at an antique store in East Coulee.  Since i also love citrus fruit and the reflections they make in my favorite bottle the photo on the left was my still life subject.  On the right is my painting.  Carol Marine had this suggestion as she made her rounds.  In the case of glass like this painting the darks first isn’t necessarily the best way.  She said “just block in that bottle plain blue for now and go back and add the low lights and then high lights.  I actually like how the little painting turned out.  Blue/yellow is one of my most loved color combinations and has been for my whole life.  reflection of lemon setup reflection of Lemon


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blogging changes… and painting from photos

A word to my email subscribers:  welcome to my new blog!  The only change is that I’m now publishing my art journey from  I tried to make the transition as seamless as possible for you all.  However, Feedburner, my email subscription service, picked up not only my “Paint Small…” post but added what appeared to be a digest of the entire blog feed as well as a google subscription button!!!  Just to be clear – you don’t need to re-subscribe if you are already receiving these posts by email. 

Now, on to the purpose of this blog – ART!!!  Today I continue to chronicle my learning from the Carol Marine workshop I attended last week.  I hope you’re not bored with this – it was a milestone week for me and as I blog and paint this week I’m realizing just how much I learned.  It’s exciting!

Wednesday Carol spent some time instructing us how to paint from photos.  This was a really useful topic for me.  There are times when I’m just not physically up to tromping around in the woods dragging my painting gear, not to mention days when it pours pitchforks points down for days!  Sometimes a still life just won’t cut it and every artist I know gathers photos to use in just such circumstances. 

It’s important to know what the limits of photos is. Courtney Jordan summarized the important concepts in her piece “How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Painting from Photos”.  Once we’d discussed these things it was time to paint.  I chose to paint Spirit Island, a most magical of Alberta places found in Maligne lake, Jasper National Park.  My painting [left] and my photo reference [right] below…

spirit island paint from photo spirit island (2)

This isn’t the most recognizable point of view for Spirit Island but I like the light water shining through the trees.  I found it hard going to paint from this photo after painting from life for a few days.  One has to make some assumptions and push a bit harder to make painting from photos work. In the case of this little painting, Carol commented that background mountains and hills are often bluer and lighter than a photo shows, and pushing the values lighter will further emphasize the recession into the distance.  Good tips!

Carol did a demo of one of her favorite subjects – a truck.  She starts painting at the windshield and works out from there…  The first photo is Carol’s computer monitor with her photo reference, second photo is her completed painting. 

IMG_0518 IMG_0525  IMG_0519 Carol, thinking hard as she paints for a crowd…  nerves of steel that girl :-) 

One of the most important things I must constantly remind myself of is to leave the nitty gritty details out.  Carol is a master at making every stroke count and not overdoing the detail! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Paint Small and Often [Carol Marine workshop]

Last Tuesday afternoon was one of the most difficult workshop experiences for me – but I learned a lot.  We selected one item, I picked a kiwi sliced in half.  We painted this item small, 3”x3” squares in my case, over and over.  We had 10 minutes to draw and paint each of these little beasts.  We whined A LOT, and we sweated in that hot, still room. 

Carol was in constant motion making the rounds.  She encouraged me to leave my white paint out of the mix until the very end of this kiwi project – it wasn’t necessary except for the highlights and was causing a dull result.  I was getting it by the 4th and 5th effort [row 1 #4, row 2 #1]…  but I have no idea what happened on the sixth – apparently I unlearned everything!  Carol even did a little demo for the class of my half kiwi before the sixth sketch but the law of diminishing returns was setting in for me health-wise.  When somebody begged to be allowed a new item for the 7th timed sketch, I jumped at the chance to paint this yellow pepper and get out of kiwi-ville.  It turned out okay for a 10 minute sketch but if you squint at the photo of the pepper you will see how dark my subject was on the unlit side.  My sketch should have considered that pretty early on.  Again, value is KEY to painting. 

 10 minute sketches [3x3]

yellow pepper pntg yellow pepper

I learned an awful lot from my Tuesday efforts.  Outlining them in this blog helps to drive home the points again. 

  1. Paint as often as possible. Many small and quick sketches teaches more than one large painting
  2. Use LESS white for many subjects. 
  3. Bring a fan to workshops [wink]
  4. Ten minutes is long enough to consider lights and darks.  Slow down to speed up. 
  5. Painting is SO MUCH FUN [oops! I already knew that didn’t I]


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Workshop Monday [Carol Marine, Benalto, Alberta]

As I mentioned last Monday, the first day of our workshop we began with introductions.  What a talented bunch of ladies!  I’ve added the bloggers among them to my list of “Blogs I Follow” on the right side of my blog…

Here’s a photo of 4 apples Carol set up for her painting demo…  and her complete painting.  This took her about an hour, what with all our demanding questions [lol].  She’s fast and so fun to watch!

apple setup apple painting

Carol had several teaching points Monday including:

  • Boxing up fear…  she even provided a cute little folding box to put it in :).  We reviewed the wonderful benefits of painting small and daily vs big and infrequently…  I’ve experience many that she mentioned – reduced fear of failure, more playful, increased confidence, less emotional involvement.  Try it – really!!!
  • Materials – lots of great points from Carol and tips from the other artists including:
    • Carol’s medium mix – 2 parts linseed oil, 1 part stand oil, 1 part mineral spirits.  I’ll be trying this out after I’ve used up my current supply of Maimeri’s ecoblend
    • using burnt umber [a color I don’t currently own]
    • brushes – she needs a new one every month or so
    • brush cleaning – she rarely does more than clean with mineral spirits.  Uses Murphy Oil every couple of weeks to clean them.  I LOVE this idea – brush cleaning is a pet peeve
    • brush storage tool – PVC pipe and cap makes a good seal and then brushes don’t dry out.  That makes cleaning with soap and water less necessary :-)
  • Painting method:
    • try painting the most “vulnerable” bits of your painting first.  These are usually areas of color that would be harder to paint later [think orange slices on a blue ground – would get muddy if you did the orange first – so logical]
    • Carol paints island first, ocean second.  This just means the background usually goes in after the focal areas. 
    • don’t get hung up on painting inside the lines of your drawing, cutting in and/or overlapping the background in places creates some beautiful effects.
    • Squint, squint, squint…  in fact we stopped on Friday morning and took a photo of the class watching Carol’s demo SQUINTING.  We had a great laugh over that – it won’t be easy to forget!
    • There is no “right way” to paint

Painting Exercise:

Value [light versus dark] is essential.  Carol gave us 30 minutes to set up and paint a little still life that had a dark, medium and light monochromatic pattern.  We used dominant, secondary, and “smidge” values.  The dominant value in my still life set up  [the cup below] was “mid” [takes over half the painting], my secondary value was “dark” [takes up most of the remaining area], and there was just a smidge of “light”. First I wrote down my pattern, then I painted the cup in a neutral color to match the pattern I had noted in my subject.  Good exercise in SEEING.

value is essentialAll week, Carol amazed me with her ability to SEE in every way possible – the value, color, intensity, shape, etc. of both her subject and the painting she was making. More tomorrow!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beginning with the ending…


I’ve just arrived home from a week long Carol Marine workshop and, although my lodgings were superb [ty Conrad & Teresa], I can truly say I am happy to be home, sweet home!  I’ve neglected my blogging this week due to shortage of time & energy but I’ve painted lots, and I’ve learned even more! 

Tomorrow I’ll begin a day by day recap of the workshop highlights with photos of my work, but today I want to share what happens at the end of Carol’s workshops.  Over the course of the week, Carol painted five 6”x6” paintings during “demos”.  These are made available to student to purchase for a modest price if you’re lucky.  This morning we had a draw to see which students would be selecting a painting to buy, and in which order.  My name was drawn second.  I really wanted Carol’s painting of orange slices, a knife and a little bowl of mine [as yet unnamed].  But, another student’s name was drawn first and she selected this one.  Later, she had a change of heart and we traded – thanks Margreet! 

I love everything about this little painting – the oranges just glow against that blue background and the brush strokes are lively & free.  I find Carol’s style engages me in a way that hyper-realism doesn’t.  As a viewer, I have a role in this painting…  a connection. My eye moves around in the painting noticing the colors and shapes, confirming the story.  The connection is also stronger because I enjoyed watching her paint it!  Throughout the week Carol came by to help me with my painting and every project she commented that the highlights needed to be smaller…  I’ll remember that every time I look at this painting – the dark shape says “knife” with just those small lights on the handle!  Carol with me and my painting!!!

Two very, very tired ladies today… and now to bed!