Monday, August 6, 2018

By Way of an Explanation ...

I took this in early June. Everything was so lush and green. The photo below was taken a few minutes ago, around 10 AM.

Bruno munching away on his winter supply of hay.

The photos do not have too much in  the way of explanation, but they do, in a small way.  I was spurred to write after reading Judy Barends' blog. It is unseasonably hot and dry in the Netherlands, to the point where it is affecting food production. The same is happening here, and we are experiencing bad wildfires in the interior of the province. I know it is due to climate change, and I am saddened and angered by our provincial and national governments' lack of positive action in this regard. You appreciate, from my art subjects, how profoundly I love Nature, and to see it being destroyed is extremely distressing to me. I have written letters to various levels of government, and become involved with local groups. But I feel this is not nearly enough. I have been doing a lot of reading and research on different aspects of the overall problem, and have come to the conclusion that to achieve any meaningful change in the destructive direction the world's leaders have taken, a complete and radical transformation of the economy [which affects and is affected by social and behavioural qualities of human nature] is imperative.

Thank you for stopping by and reading ... 

Friday, July 13, 2018


Meet Roy. He is the much-loved dog of a friend of a friend. Rhonda wanted to give Roy's owner  a portrait for his birthday,  as he had helped Rhonda enormously, helping her train and rehabilitate her  rescued Boerboel [South African mastiff - much too large a dog to leave untrained]. So I get riding lessons from Rhonda and she gets a painting - great arrangement!

This is one of the photos I was given as reference - not my favourite. To me, it looks more like a pit bull than a shepherd.

But I gave it a try - still didn't like it.

The photo resolution here is bad, but Roy's face is alive, looking back adoringly at his owner.

So we're off ...

Starting to look like a dog here ...

Now this I like! He has animation, great expression ...  and most importantly,  Roy's owner loves it.
Throughout the painting, I use my favourite animal colours - quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone, as well as some permanent rose. And as much as I can, I paint wet in wet.

Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, July 12, 2018


quick sketch of a wall in the barn

more barn utensils

some quickie outlines for a background idea I did not use

One of my good neighbours loves sketching and art. I was over at her place, the two of us in her garden, absolutely lost in the moment of creating.

more garden sketches

Bruno's hind end - trying to get more accuracy and life to a  painting I'm doing for a friend. His horse is sadly long gone, so all I have are photos, and they really do not give me the information I need, so Bruno is the substitute model.

Lots of horse bums, and a distant tree done when he was moving too much to get a decent sketch. 

curly-leafed willow that lives in the pond

more finished drawing that I was going to use to do some dogwood 

more bums

another willow - I'd love to find a way to get that scintillating appearance of leaves in sunlight - I think it involves spattering

a somewhat gnarly-looking birch study for the painting class

I try to get an hour's sketching a day. I generally find it more relaxing than painting. Working with Bruno is interesting - I let him loose on the back lawn, and sit down on the grass nearby [hoping he doesn't seriously spook and forget I am there and run over me!] Maggie usually comes over to sit with me, keeping a sharp eye on Bruno - she has a healthy respect for his size.

Finally ... finally ... I think my attitude toward painting is taking a good turn. I have tried for years to paint what people want, and have become thoroughly disillusioned with the commercial end of art.  I am happiest and create my best work when I paint what I want. So I will be doing commissions for friends, doing other works experimenting with techniques, colour, format, etc.  And I will continue teaching and drawing.

Thank you for visiting!

Monday, May 28, 2018


The model. I was at my niece's high school graduation  two years ago, at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver. When the ceremony was done, and we all walked outside, this gorgeous beast of a car [a 1950 Ford coupe]was parked on the street. Thankfully I had my camera, and took several shots.

I first masked out the car, and did several  wet-in-wet gradated washes - a warm pink, a cool pink and several of phthalo blue and indanthrone.

Then I started on the body, using a mixture of phthalo and indanthrone.

Almost all the painting was done wet-in-wet.

Then I started the details. The tail-lights were done with scarlet lake and glazed over with alizarin crimson.

Starting to look like a car.

I think I have the colours and values pretty much where I want them. All I need is a name to put on the licence plate ... any ideas???

Thank you very  much for visiting!

Thursday, May 10, 2018


The view from the site where we were banding hummers.

My neighbour holding one of the birds.

Putting on a very soft restraint.


Preparing a band for the hummingbird, wrapped up on the table below. The bands are very tiny, and applied with what look to be orthodontic pliers.

Colouration of tail feathers is one of the ways to identify sex, and adult versus juvenile bird. C. is showing me the differences.

Using a straw to blow on its neck and belly, to see the skin under the feathers and look for fat deposits [a good thing - indicates enough food] and the presence of parasites.

Last weekend, one of my good neighbours asked if I'd like to watch and help with some hummingbird banding. Both she and her husband are ecologists with Environment Canada. Of course I went!

The banding is done to monitor the health of the bird population. Various measurements are taken - weight, presence of fat deposits, length of beak and wing - as well as collection any urine or feces [the size of a raspberry seed]. These measurements are all used to analyze the birds' well-being, especially with respect to insecticides and anti-fungals that are sprayed on some of the fields growing fruit. All in all, a fascinating morning!!!

Thank you for dropping by!


I tried several different ideas for a background for the truck, and finally decided to put it in front of an old gas station that , once upon a time, was situated in Langley, just off Glover Road. When trying to google map it, I found it had been torn down, so I had to resort to looking for reference photos on the net.

I did a free-hand sketch, traced it behind the car, and ... voila!

Finished the gas station, then decided the truck needed a bit more oomph.  I darkened the tires and undercarriage, glazed over the green of the body, and I do believe it's done. I think I'll have this matted, and show it in a glassine pouch for a show I am in  next month.

Thank you for dropping by!