Monday, December 18, 2017

I Don't Understand!!!

The above three photos were taken a few years ago. [I wanted to get some fog and mist ideas for painting.] It is looking across the back end of the field over to the regional park that is on the other side of the street. The spot was quiet and peaceful - a home for wildlife.

Then two years ago, this monstrous house was started [7 bedrooms, 7-car garage]. I have planted a line of trees along the back of the property so I don't have to see it. It really does not suit the property and the area. And my landlady asked me to add that the lights are all on all night - she sees it as she has large windows facing that direction.

It is described as being a "French chateau".

And there are more of these huge houses being built.

I have, for a long time, wanted to say something about all the crazy building that has been going on in and around Vancouver. It started in Vancouver in the mid-1980's, and the result is that the city is now a prohibitively expensive place as a place in which to live. The city and surrounding area have become a haven for speculative real estate. Now the "plague" has moved out to the Fraser Valley. The region has become, not a place for homes, but purely an investment, with most houses and condominiums selling for millions, and standing empty. Needless to say, this has driven many people into homelessness, and others to leave the Vancouver area and even the province to find places where they can find affordable homes in which to live. I have had two friends move this year to Vancouver Island to find affordable housing and liveable communities, and I am considering doing so as well. It hurts me to see what was once a naturally beautiful agricultural area turned into ugly investments.

There was a very good documentary produced this year entitled "Vancouver: No Fixed Address". It describes well the history of the real estate "feeding frenzy", and what is happening in the area now.

As to the title of the post ... I do not understand why the place is so huge. How much room do people need? Environmentally, it is a washout. Why do not more architects and builders construct homes that suit the area and environment? I think more about my queries and gripes to come ...

And if any one of you have some good ideas about what I can do about this, please write!

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Once upon a time, there was a rooster named Uno, who lived at my vet's small hobby farm. He was a very handsome and proud bird ...

Drawing , with a few scribbled notes

First washes - aureolin, quin. sienna and quin. burnt orange

More of the oranges, with some new gamboge to brighten the yellow. His comb is a mix of burnt orange and alizarin crimson.

Still more gamboge. The tail feathers, both brown and blue, are mixtures of burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

Starting to give the body feathers some texture with more of the same colour, or mixtures made with complementary colours.


Well, winter weather is here, and for this area it means soggy, grey, dark days. Yup ... the winter megrims have set in! So I am motivating myself to paint by working on BRIGHT. Chickens and roosters suit my needs perfectly, so expect to see more colourful birds!!!

Thank you for dropping by!

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Here's one of the baby barn swallows on his first day of flying lessons, taking a breather on the floor.  I took this while lying on my belly about 10 feet from him.

Drawing and notes on composition and format.

Getting some local color in the feathers - quin. burnt orange, phthalo blue and indanthrone.

This image belongs before the one above, but blogger wouldn't let me re-arrange them.  I started with the eyes and some of the darker feathers.

More feathering, and a thin grey wash to start the background, so I have an idea of how dark to go with the swallow.

Still more work on feathers, and some hay bits around his feet.

Almost done ...

14 x 11 in./ 36 x 28 cm. framable
$275.00 US

I love having swallows in the barn ... hearing them chatter away, watching their antics. Dad arrives first in late April, checking to see if the nest is still available. Then Mom comes along a day or two later, and the two of them discus the nest, and re-decorate. The nestlings appear a few weeks later, and stay in the nest for two weeks till the parents start encouraging them to fly. Then they all stay in the nest and nearby rafters for a few weeks. And quite often there is a second batch of babies.
I suppose I could paint something more topical and angst-y, but my heart would not be in it. The world could be a hard, cruel and demanding place, and I do see it and feel it [and have nightmares about it], but I just cannot create art based on discordant harshness.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


17 X 26 CM.
$85.00 CDN

17 X 26 CM.
$75.00 CDN

These are two smaller works I started as class projects, both based on the same photo. In the top painting, I highlighted the sky, the second the waters. Most of the work was done wet in wet, with some sponging and dry brush detailing at the end. The colours used were almost the same in both - the first had new gamboge and phthalo blue in the initial wash, the second had aureolin and indanthrone in the first wash. All the colours used were aureolin, new gamboge, permanent rose, phthalo blue, indanthrone, quin. sienna, quin. burnt orange, and quin. violet. My goal was to create two different moods with the paintings, and I think I have done just that.

If you have any questions about the techniques or wish to purchase one of the paintings, please contact me at

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Drawing with notes and large drawing of cormorant.

Mask out bird and boat. Graded washes of quin. coral and phthalo blue.

More washes of phthalo blue, trying to keep pink area a bit clear of blue. Start thin washes of indanthrone from bottom upwards, and drizzle on some wavy lines with thicker mix of indanthrone to evoke quiet wave action.

Masking off.

Use two mixtures - one of the pink and indanthrone, the second with some quin. burnt orange added to grey the color. Use those colors to creat planking on side of boat, and shadows on boat and bird.

Paint in cormorant and reflections, and voila!
Framable size 18 x 13 in./ 46 x 33 cm.
$295.00 US unframed

This is my student's work - beautifully done washes! Marie has only been painting since the middle of the summer, and she has taken to it so quickly, I am amazed.

 This is the Big Guy and me, shuffling through the leaves in the back yard. My trainer wanted to take some photos, as it was such a gorgeous day, fantastic colors. It has been a beautiful Fall, I have wanted to spend as much time as possible outside, savouring it!!

Thank you for dropping by!

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Scragglepuss, looking very noble

My rendition

Scraggs in another pose, looking a tad malevolent

My drawing

First the eyes ...

... then some of the darker areas ...

... some wet in wet all over, with quin. violet and phthalo blue, followed by some black . He looks all right here, but somehow unfinished, so ...

... in a frenzy of paint-slapping, I added a thin, black background, and then went over the area of his body with a glaze of thicker paint.

One of my neighbours very kindly fed Bruno a few times when I was working. So I thought I would paint a portrait of her cat, Scragglepuss, to thank her. We had a visit, I took some photos, and off I went. I finished the first painting a few months ago, and gave it to Norma. [She loved it, and is having it framed.] But for some reason, I hadn't said all I wanted to say about Scraggs. I found another photo that intrigued me, and did this painting. I'm not sure that I like it, but it certainly says "CAT" to me. I did learn something through this - stroking with a lot of force on a flat brush using the thin edge gives a beautiful impression of long fur.

Thank you so much for dropping by!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I just had to get these clematis buds out of my system, and I wanted to paint something simple, austere. At this stage, I used mixes of aureolin and cobalt blue for the cooler greens, and quin. gold and phthalo green for the warmer ones, and floated them in to get a smooth look.

I continued with those greens, as well as some steaks of brown madder for the bud tips. The tiny bits of flower showing were done with a mix of cobalt blue and quin. pink.

The stems were painted with quin. gold and phthalo green, with quin. burnt orange and green glazed over later for the darks.

Created more depth with more applications of the same or darker colors.

Et voila - c'est fini!
Clematis Buds
28.5 x 40.5 cm. framable
$265.00 US

I was inspired to paint this after watching James Fox's documentary on the art of Japan.

Thank you so much for dropping by!!!