Friday, December 13, 2019


This was a recent class project. I combined two reference photos - one of a glorious sunset, and another of some nearby farm buildings.

I started this over three weeks ago, and just can't get motivated to finish it.

I completed this painting of a friend's horse. Cathy helped me a lot when I was recuperating from the hip surgery, and I promised to get a portrait of her [and her daughter's] retired eventing horse. He and Bruno are over-the-fence buddies. His name is Blue, hence the broad stripe of colour. I quite like the more animated pose of Blue, and the random streak of colour. I think it makes the work more dynamic and alive. I was so happy that Cathy and her daughter loved it.

This is another "Blue" portrait - one of our neighbour's blue heeler, named Blue. Donald and Linda live around the corner on a farm that has been in Linda's family for a few generations. They are both good people, and Donald often helps my landlady and me with mechanical work and farm advice. I have been doing a lot more drawing lately, started this, and felt it turned out well. So I took it over to them.

And this is Mitch. He was an Australian heeler, much loved by a far-away friend. I met Eugene while doing my second stint at university; he tutored me in organic chemistry. From there, we developed a long-distance friendship. I'd like to do a few more drawings or paintings of Mitch, and send them off to Australia to Eugene.

So that's life on the farm right now. Thank you for dropping by!

Monday, November 4, 2019


Drawing, bordered with some old mat board to give me an idea of how to format painting.

First thin w/w wash of quin. sienna.

More w/w washes, some dry brush with softening. Colours I used are my favourite animal colours - quin. burnt orange, quin. sienna, quin. violet and indanthrone - all Daniel Smith.

Just gradually building up layers of depth ...

Collar is a combination of phthalo. and cobalt blue. 

Archie is done, looking very adorable as do all dachshunds.

I am pleased with the painting but not with the circumstances surrounding it. I was commissioned to paint both the client's dogs in time for  them to be given to his wife-to-be as wedding gifts. Before I started, I made sure he knew the price, with and without framing, for both paintings. And I asked him several times before I started the painting whether he was SURE. Yes ... yes ...  I finished it, and asked if he would like it framed, and he asked the price. He felt framing was too expensive, and were there any alternatives. I explained prices for matting and/or putting in protective sleeve. And that was the last I heard from him! I am quite miffed, and consider his behaviour to be unprincipled, especially as he was one of the professionals working with me after my surgery. I would really like to be able to trust a client, but I think, in future, I must ask for a deposit before I start even a drawing. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thank you for dropping by!

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Drawing of Miss Nina, my niece's dog

Spots on nose and eyes masked. First washes of yellow ochre and quin. burnt orange applied, some wet in wet, some wet on dry.

Collar painted in mix of phthalo. and cobalt blue. Starting eyes with usual w/w applications of quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone. 

Because she has such a shaggy coat, I decided to not paint her w/w, but rather by applying individual thin strokes of colour.

Tongue painted with quin. pink, and shaded in pink, quin. burnt orange and indanthrone. Continue to build up her coat with more thin applications of paint. 

... and more applications ...
Starting to look like Nina.

Here she is - finished. 
Photo I took of the Weiner when she was last out for a visit a few weeks ago.

My niece has had Nina for a year. She got her from a friend whose dog had pups, so they have been together from the beginning, and have formed a lovely relationship. As you can probably see from the photo, Nina is an exuberant dog, and has a beautiful nature. She is the only dog that Bruno [my horse] will tolerate. I think Nina feels Bruno is just a very big dog, and he appreciates it that she is quiet, and does not try to chase him. My dog, on the other hand, will try to stalk him like a border collie and nip at his feet. In her own weird way, I think my dog is trying to protect me. Anyway, that is the story of the portrait - I painted it as a gift for my niece's birthday.

Thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


This is a very cool, 60s -style coffee shop/bakery/restaurant at the base of Mt. Baker. We stopped here for some energy before heading up the mountain.

The ranger station a bit past the restaurant had this amazingly huge tree trunk, so I asked Savannah to pose in front.

Lower parking lot [upper one closed till ski season] Most of the cars were Canadian, as it was a long weekend for Canada but not the U.S.

Christine trekking along ahead of me, heading to one of the small lakes.

C. and I stopped here for a snack, and to do some sketching. While we were here, I noticed some activity in the steam below. It was some brook trout spawning - fascinating to watch.

Look hard - you should be able to see three trout.

Another spot we stopped to sketch.

Mt Shuksan, next door to Mt Baker. 

Just to prove that I really was hiking here ...

Some of my sketches

Christine and John are neighbours of mine, across the street. Both are ecologists with Environment Canada, so time spent with them is always interesting. On Monday [Canadian Thanksgiving] we headed across the border to Mt Baker for a day hike. John and Savannah [their daughter] would gallop on ahead, while Christine and I would take our time, and stop to do some sketching along the way. It was a wonderful, fascinating time with scenery that left  me with my mouth hanging open in awe. And other than being exhausted when done [that's the most hiking I have done in over 15 years], my hip and right leg [the one that had surgery] were fine. I even had a tougher-than-usual riding lesson the next morning! It is SOOOO damn great to be able to be active again!!!!!

Thank you for dropping by!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


I was greeted by this Northern Flicker as I got out of my car.

This is part of the garden. My neighbour graciously offered me to come over any time to photograph her flowers.

Dahlias galore!

All shapes, sizes and colours.

I had never seen one like this. 

I have been feeling very down the past few weeks - sad, angry, frustrated at all the "development" that is going on in my area. There is even a movie being filmed on the property behind Bruno's field. The script calls for fireworks to be set off between 8 PM and midnight, so I will have to have Bruno tranquillized, and I'll spend the night out there to make sure he is all right. This is NOT my idea of country life at all. I am sadly thinking I will have to move somewhere quieter - not sure where. Anyway, I really needed some peace and beauty, so I went over to my neighbour's farm. They have a huge garden - some vegetables and some flowers. It was a glorious respite!

Thank you for dropping by, and I hope you enjoyed the flowers as much as I did!

GRISWOLD, THE GARGOYLE - it would have worked well with a better paper

Griswold, my model

Drawing, using grid

Photocopy made so I could keep track of all the masking and pours of colour

First mask and pour - maybe a bit heavy-handed with the paint. I used quit. sienna, quin. violet and indanthrone.

Second mask and pour

Third mask and pour

This was a second painting I did of the same drawing. I wanted to be able to show my students the stages of masking and pouring in a single class, and for that I needed a second painting. Here, I removed the masking [no easy feat]. The background was a simplified outline of Notre Dame. Looking at the painting now, I sort of like it - may give it another try in the future ... on a good paper!

I had tried a paper other than Arches, a paper that very well suited my style of painting involving multiple very wet washes, and leaving the masking on for several days. The paper I used for the gargoyle just did not work for me - the washes and pourings of colour did not flow as nicely, and the masking was a bugger to remove. It also left some slight staining on the paper. So ... back to Arches!

Thank you so much for dropping by!