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.

Monday, October 15, 2018


Getting to know each other ... the apple helped

Bruno was an absolute gentleman when it came to being photographed with Olena [the model] holding the reins.

Here's David, totally absorbed in getting the perfect photos.

Check out the wild head-dress!
My yoga therapist's husband is a professional photographer. Janine came out here for a visit in the summer, and thought David should meet Bruno. Bruno is easy-going, fairly calm about all that life throws at him [except ducks, but that's another story]. So David was here a few weeks ago, and thought Brunz would be good in a photo shoot. We arranged to meet yesterday. David poked around to find some interesting spots with good light, and Olena [the model - a sweetheart] looked for places to change her outfits. All went very well with Olena posing, holding Bruno's reins. Then we tried to get Olena on his back without a saddle. That was not a hit with Bruno, and Olena ended on the ground. So we tried with the saddle - that was better, till Bruno decided he wanted to go off exploring, and lost Olena again. I must say, I admire her - she is game and tough, and still loved Bruno when we finished the shoot. I think David got some great photos of the the steampunk jewelry - the purpose of the exercise. As for Bruno's carrier as a model ... we shall see :)
I was very impressed with the professionally of David and Olena. If you'd like to see some of David's work, his website is www.hypnoticphoto.ca 
Thank you for dropping by!

Monday, October 1, 2018


Grace's landscape. She really has a good feel for this subject matter. Me, I have to drag myself, kicking and screaming to do a landscape.

Grace's sunflower

Jessie's sunflower. Jess' strength is to carefully develop the depth of the work. She loves doing florals and animals. 

My sunflower, slowly taking shape.

Commission I am working on. The is the 2nd rendition. I am at the stage where I need to get some background on there, so I can see how much more I must develop the star of the painting.

Another commission. A woman came to visit a few weeks ago, and wanted to know how much I wanted for the portrait of Bruno I have in my living area. I told her it was not for sale, but would paint another ...

Next class project is rooster!!!!This and the one above are two I did several years ago.

I haven't been doing a lot of painting lately. The arthritis pain has been keeping me quiet, and if I do feel better, I try to get out to do some barn work or have a short ride on Bruno. But the pain is abating, so hopefully I can get back to doing more. Apparently the stem cells take at least three to six months to have effect, and what I am feeling are arthritis symptoms which seem to come and go in waves. C'est la vie ...

Thank you so much for dropping by!


The province of British Columbia is holding its municipal elections later this month. This means, here in Langley,  all resident voters are able to vote for their township's mayor, eight members of council, and five school trustees. There has been a lot of "development" over the past number of years, and it has reached the stage where farmland is being sold and "developed" as housing tracts. I honestly don't know what the people who decide to move in this direction are thinking. Really .. if all the farmland is gone, what will we all eat? ... concrete and plywood??? You know how much I love the natural world, and I cannot stand by and let it disappear. So I encourage you to vote in this upcoming election. I have taken the liberty of compiling a list of candidates who seem the least likely to be in favour of rampant over-development. 

Mayor - Anna Remenik

Councillors - Petrina Arnason
                                Gail Chaddok-Costello
                        Michelle Connerty
              David Davis
               Kim Richter
                       Michelle Sparrow
                    Harold Whittell
                            Jonathan Houwelling

School trustees - Megan Dykeman
                           Suzanne Perrault
                                    Cheryl Snowdon-Eddy
                David Tod
                      Marnie Wilson

Thank you for your visit today!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A letter to the premier and relevant minister of British Columbia

No paintings today, though I am working on several. Instead, I am posting a letter that I sent to several members of the government of British Columbia. It is my hope that others in the my area and the province, if reading this, are inspired to write, to voice their feelings. And perhaps others around the world will be  inspired as well. I believe our world, our home, is in a sad way, and we all must do something to rectify the problems. Here is the letter ...

I am writing to express my very deep concern about how the destruction of agricultural and greenspace land has been allowed to take place over the past twenty years, all done in the professed attempt to create affordable housing. It is happening without care and thought to ecological sustainability. The availability of affordable and attractive housing has not appreciably increased, and available agricultural land has decreased alarmingly.

Living in South Langley, I am saddened and angered to see the proliferation of unattractive tracts of housing developments of inadequate environmental quality. Housing developments should be an integral part of a healthy community, but what is being built all over Langley bears little or no connection to the existing communities. Furthermore, these concentrated areas of tract housing are being constructed at the expense of viable and valuable farmland which, once lost, is gone forever.

The time of unplanned and mindless use of resources should - must - be a thing of the past. I find it unthinkable that your government is so myopic as to continue to allow short-term financial gain for a few to prevail over long-term concern and responsibility for the sustainability of agriculture and environment.

To summarize, it is my feeling that you are obtusely mismanaging a beautiful and rich land. I hope you have the vision and wisdom to correct this deleterious situation.

Please feel free to paraphrase or copy the letter. And thank you so much for dropping by!!