Thursday, June 13, 2019

I'M BACK ... a painting's progress

ACK!! This is my new hip joint. I still have mixed feelings about having something like this done, but it was either that or living in constant pain or being stoned on opiates. I put up with the increasing pain and loss of function for over four years. I finally decided to have surgery but had to have it done across the border in the U.S. It was pricey [thank goodness for the small inheritance left to me by my aunt] but the surgery and after-care were fantastic. Dealing with the American medical system, and comparing it to the Canadian made very aware of the inadequacies  and inefficiencies of our medical system here. I won't rant on and on about it, but if you'd like to comment, please feel free. Anyway, it's five weeks since the operation, and I am doing extremely well, healing very quickly. I hope to be riding Bruno again in August, and taking the dogs out for long hikes in the woods.

This is my friend and neighbour, Christine. She is an ecologist with environment Canada.  She and her daughter have been an enormous help - taking care of Bruno, boosting morale, bringing meals ... I could not have done this without their help, and I am most grateful! My sister, Steph, was also a huge help, driving me to and from Bellingham, caring for me at home. She made sure I didn't overdo things [I am not a patient person, and wanted to get back to life as usual in the first week post-op] More about Steph in a later post ...

My drawing

First few applications of colour. Most of this painting was done wet-on-dry to get a sense of texture of the feathers. The colours used throughout the work were aureolin, quin. sienna, quin. burnt orange and phthalo. blue.

Gradually building up depth of value and texture with  wet-on-dry applications.

And here is the yellow-breasted chat, found here in British Columbia in the interior regions of the province. I showed the painting to Christine this morning when she came over to feed Bruno, and she loved it. So I will have it framed, and give it to her with many thanks for all the help she has been the past few weeks. I also gave her daughter one of my tugboat paintings that she loved. 

So that's it for now. I'm not sure how often I'll be posting or painting - still can't sit or stand in one position for to long.

Thank you for visiting!

Friday, March 15, 2019


A Goose of a Different Color 
13.5 x 9 in./ 34.5 x 22 cm.
Stonehenge hot press paper
It was going to be a white goose, so I started with a grey [aureolin, a quin. pink and cobalt blue] for the form shadows.

Some quin. sienna and pink for beak, and quin. sienna for feet.

Deepening colors. It was at this point, I asked Pat [my goose aficionado] what she thought. She found him to be a bit insipid, so ...

... I made up a grey-brown [quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone] to add some color, and got to work.

I had bought some Stonehenge paper, both cold and hot press, and planned to paint some intricate floral on the hot press. But the goose won out. It is a lovely surface on which to paint - I was very pleased with how it allowed me to work the feathers. Probably some more geese in future, but with more animation.

Thank you for dropping by!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Goose and Gander
39 x 24 cm.
15 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.
A gift for a serious goose-lover

My drawing, with all my scribbled notes, most of which have nothing to do with the drawing.

I masked the geese, and did at least 8 gradated washes of permanent rose, phthalo. blue  and indanthrone. Then started on their bodies with wet-in-wet washes of pink and quin. sienna. The feet and bills were painted with quin. sienna, and shadowed with sienna, quin. violet and indanthrone.

Gradually built up the shadows with phthalo. blue and quin. sienna ...

... a few touches of orange and blue, and done.

I painted this as a birthday gift for a friend. She loves geese - says they remind her of her first husband! [One of my brothers-in-law always reminded me of a duck, but that's another story.] When I showed her the finished work, she burst out laughing - she loved them, and found them so silly-looking. As long as I can bring some joy to someone with my art, I am happy.

I'd like to mention that I tried a new [to me] paper - Stonehenge rough 140 lb. I quite like it. It stands up to masking and multiple washes well, and all the other rough treatment I give.

Thank you for dropping by to visit the geese!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Yours truly, pondering the imponderable
30 x 20 cm.

28 x 31.5 cm.
$265.00 Cdn.
This shrub/weed was growing beside the riding ring, so I saw it every day. Bruno wasn't eating it thankfully, so I watched it change from summer to fall, and took some photos as the berries started to ripen in the fall. This is not "deadly nightshade" which I believe is semi-tropical, but I put on gloves and gave it a serious haircut to discourage more speed and growth  after I took the photos.

Summer's End
38.5 x 33 cm.
This painting started off in late summer as a class project. I finished most of the flower and stem, and couldn't decide what else to do, so it sat for a few months. A couple of weeks ago, I felt it needed a look to suggest the dark and cold of winter, so I did this rough, dark background, and of course had to intensify some of the subject matter to balance with the darks. Summer's End is the result.
I haven't done a step-by-step post. If you would like more information, or want to know more about purchasing work, please feel free to contact me! And thank you so much for dropping by!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Rolling hills, beautiful and lush farmland, forest and fields.  A few weeks ago, Maggie and I went out walking here. I'd like to do more of this, now that I am not encumbered by an unhappy hip.

Maggie doing some exploring.

First washes, using more muted greens made of quin. gold and cobalt blue.

Brighten up field on left with phthalo.  green, deepening colour on right, and adding line of trees with indanthrone and quin. burnt orange.

Final painting - framable size is 20 x 25 cm.
Landscapes are not my forte, but I want to start doing more of them. It's all just a matter of "seeing" and interpreting. This was a record for me, painted in a day. it's not great, but I am happy with it, and happy with the fact that I am actually starting to feel like painting again after several years of BLAH. I picked up a book at the library recently by Gordon MacKenzie called "The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook". I had taken it, hoping to find ideas for my watercolour classes this year, and found it also inspired me to start trying different things with my painting. I really needed the kick in the ass!
Beyond this, I am finally able to spend more time outside, playing with Bruno and the dogs. It feels GREAT!!!

Once again, thank you so much for dropping by!

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Start off with some wet-in-wet washes on his neck and ear, and some dry brush on his nose. I use the same pigments throughout in varying combinations - quin.  burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

... just deepening existing washes, and adding more detail as I go along ...

The background is painted with the same colours, stroking down some paint then softening ...

... doing this a few times to achieve depth in the background

Here they are - Bruno I [framed] and Bruno II.

Reference photo - summer coat

Photo taken just this last October when Bruno was part of a modelling shoot. I LOVE this photo, and the editing David did to get that dark atmosphere. Bruno really looks like the proverbial "horse of  different colour" here. Actually, his summer coat is quite a bit lighter and redder, while his winter coat is almost black.    He starts to shed out in August, starting to replace the lighter, finer hair with darker hair, and then the coat thickens and lengthens.

Why did I paint Bruno again when I already have a beautiful work of him hanging on my wall? Well ... earlier this year, I was commissioned to paint a huge rooster for a woman to give to her husband [his Chinese astrological sign is the rooster]. She felt her English was inadequate, so she brought a friend to help translate. Her friend fell in love with my painting of Bruno, and asked to buy it. I said it was not for sale, but could paint another for her. The two women also came down to the barn to meet His Highness, and I have a feeling Dora [the friend who commissioned Bruno's portrait] fell in love with Bruno. So we may be giving horsemanship lessons this Spring!

Thank you so much for visiting!

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Maggie, sorely in need of entertainment and exercise, has resorted to  caving in the hay shed.

She finds a slot between the bales, and dives down, looking for rodents.

Sometimes she completely disappears, and I wonder if I am going to have to excavate her from the hay!

Second start on the BIG rooster. The finished size was about 25 x 30 inches.

Looking quite handsome and rooster-ish.

Now the background ...

Finished ... finally! Picked up, and ready to fly off to Hong Kong to his new home.

I disappeared off the radar, as I was having a lot of trouble with pain, arthritis, muscle spasm - I was not a happy puppy. I barely felt like doing anything, just forced myself to take care of the animals as best I could, and teach my weekly watercolour class.  I was even on synthetic opioids for six weeks. That is a nasty drug. I have weaned myself off, and am now being much more proactive  in taking care of myself. I still visit with my yoga therapist weekly - she is a god-send! And I regularly see a physiotherapist to help with eliminating muscle spasm, and getting some proper strengthening exercises done at his clinic. So I am feeling much better physically and emotionally. I am sketching and painting again, and riding Bruno every other day, and getting out with the dogs again, too. Lordy, I missed being outside in Nature!!!

The rooster was commissioned by a woman, in August,  for her husband's birthday [and I am sure I missed the date]. But she picked her painting up on Friday, and was so happy with him - I was thrilled. So SeƱor Rooster is off to Hong Kong in December to settle in his new home.