I Get Abstracted

I’ve just returned from another six weeks in New Zealand (which we now consider our second home). While there, I did a handful of landscapes in oil, inspired by the amazing scenery of Central Otago (South Island). Here’s one:

Over the Idaburn  oil on canvas 18 x 24 $950

Over the Idaburn oil on canvas 18 x 24 $950

However, my husband Frank had brought along a toolbox of fluid acrylics in luscious colours and a stack of cardstock offcuts. Watching him play, I became intrigued with the possibilities. In particular, I became interested in the potential for applying all the design elements that I have internalized for my representational work, to non-representational works. Eventually I became interested enough to start playing…

By the end of the month, I’d created twenty pieces, some small, some large. These explore the juxtaposition of a series of contrasts: shapes vs lines, geometric vs organic, transparent vs opaque, and analogous vs complementary colours. It was so much fun that my explorations are continuing. I’m sure I’ll always paint realistically, but generating these abstracts is pure fun, engaging and extending my intellect as well as my physical painting skills. And maybe they’ll be appealing to a whole different audience!

I’ll be launching this new line of work at our Landing Artists’ Spring Landing show at the Gibsons’ Public Market on the May long weekend (Friday May 17-Sunday May 19). Come tell me what you think!

Flight of the Magpie  acrylic on canvas on panel 23 x 19.5 $450

Flight of the Magpie acrylic on canvas on panel 23 x 19.5 $450

No Use Crying Over It  acrylic on canvas on panel 19.5 x 19.5 $400

No Use Crying Over It acrylic on canvas on panel 19.5 x 19.5 $400

Ready for the Blues  acrylic on canvas on panel 19.5 x 19.5 $400

Ready for the Blues acrylic on canvas on panel 19.5 x 19.5 $400

Crying the Blues  (sample) acrylic on mountboard 8 x 8 (can be printed any size @ $1 per square inch)

Crying the Blues (sample) acrylic on mountboard 8 x 8 (can be printed any size @ $1 per square inch)

Christmas Season at GPAG


Again this year, I will join my fellow Landing Artists at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery (GPAG) in Gibsons to present my work as part of our annual Christmas Art Market. This year our Landing Artists will be joined by several other local artists (Charly Mithrush and Donna Stewart). Come see the fresh new work—art makes a great gift for your loved ones—or for yourself!

New Works Posted

Now that the Art Crawlers have had a chance to see my new works, I want to share them with a wider audience. You’ll find new landscapes in oil, new ‘kids on the beach’ in pastel, and a few oil paintings in a new figure series I’ve just begun. Have a look in the WORKS pages to see what catches your eye.

I met this model when she was working as a hostess in a local restaurant. Inspired by her elegance and presence, I hired her for a photo shoot. The resulting images were stunning, and continue to motivate me to capture her diverse expressions and moods in paint. Hope you enjoy these first few—expect to see more over the coming months!

Glowing Light (Tashina #2) Oil on canvas 24 x 20 framed $800

Glowing Light (Tashina #2) Oil on canvas 24 x 20 framed $800

It's Art Crawl Time Again!

It’s my favourite time of the year—gorgeous fall colours, the last of the summer’s warmth—and a chance to connect with hundreds of art lovers! Yes, the Art Crawl weekend is fast approaching. My studio (along with 164 OTHER artists’ studios from Langdale to Earls Cove) will be open

10 am-5 pm

Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Oct 19-21)

Hope you’ll drop by my studio at 5472 Hydaway Place, Halfmoon Bay, BC. Watch for the colourful polka-dots on the Art Crawl signs to make your way to my door. Pick up an Art Crawl map at any location (or on the ferry) to plan your travels.

I am especially excited this year, because I have been working really hard over the past months to advance my oil painting skills. I’ve always loved the look of oils, but my passion for pastels (and acrylics) kept me from experimenting much with them. No longer! I have 26 new oil paintings to show this weekend, including landscapes and a handful of figure paintings that are, I believe, some of my very best work to date. Come by and see!

I also have a new collection of ‘kids on the beach’ in pastel—these images are always popular, and I’ve got some very sweet ones this year.

Enjoy the Crawl!

Stalking Sorolla  pastel 12 x 12 $250 framed

Stalking Sorolla pastel 12 x 12 $250 framed

Acceptance into Annual International Representational Exhibition (AIRE)

I was thrilled yesterday to receive acceptance of two of my submissions into this year’s AIRE exhibit at the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA). This show is one of the most competitive of the year, and it is an honour to have two works included.

This one, Twilight at the Flying U, was inspired by a very fuzzy and poorly lit photo I snapped on my phone during an early evening horse-drawn wagon ride at the Flying U horse ranch (www.flyingu.com) in the Cariboo region of BC. I was attending a 5-day plein air retreat sponsored by the FCA and enjoying every minute of my experience, but this wagon ride was truly a highlight. After the sun set behind the rolling hills, the moon appeared, and the sky turned a brilliant sapphire blue. In the distance, one of the horse ponds glimmered silver. Magical light! This piece will be in the AIRE physical show at the Federation Gallery (Granville Island, Vancouver, BC) from Oct 9-28. UPDATE: This piece sold to a collector in Poland!

Twilight at the Flying U  16 x 20 oil on deep canvas framed $600

Twilight at the Flying U 16 x 20 oil on deep canvas framed $600

The piece also represents a couple of recent experiments. I’ve been working almost exclusively in oils lately, determined to build up my skills to my desired level. At the end of the painting day, there are inevitably a few blobs of paint left on my glass palette beside the easel, along with some leftover Liquin medium (which thins the paint a little and also helps it dry more quickly). Rather than discard these, I’ve been mixing them into a pile of dark and a pile of light value ‘neutral’ colours and then using a wide metal putty knife to scoop, scrape, and spread these two values into abstract shapes on a clean canvas. The use of the putty knife—a new technique for me— ensures that I make only broad shapes rather than details or recognizable objects.

The next morning, this underpainting is dry enough to begin a second coat of paint, and the value study is a ‘kickstart’ to a new composition. In this case, the dark warm value (mostly umber) was easily shaped into the dim fields of the pasture, and the lighter cool value (mostly indigo) morphed into the glowing sky. With very few details, the mood and landforms appeared. The final touch was the luminous moon, created with a judicious thumbprint of pale yellow paint. I was pleased with the result, as I feel it has captured my experience of the moment. It just goes to show—even a poor photo can inspire a successful piece!

The second accepted piece, Solstice Shine, below, is another unexpected success story. I originally painted this piece about three years ago, based on some photos taken during a Boxing Day hike through a local forest. It turned out ‘okay’—you know how that happens, a piece will be acceptable but somehow be lacking the ‘magic’ we’re always chasing. I stashed it away in my storage rack and essentially forgot about it. Then a few weeks ago I happened upon it while looking for something else, and pulled it out again. I still liked the composition and the subject matter; I was happy with the rendering of the objects in the scene. What, then, was missing? It seemed to me that it was a problem both with values (too many middle tones) and temperature (somehow too warm for the season I was portraying). I decided to sleep on the problem, as I often do. My sleeping brain works away and I often wake up with a solution—and I did this time, too!

Solstice Shine,  24 x 24, oil on panel, framed $1200

Solstice Shine, 24 x 24, oil on panel, framed $1200

The answer came in a vision of the scene cloaked in snow. I live on the very temperate Sunshine Coast, and even on Boxing Day (Dec 26th) there was no snow to be found in the actual scene. However, adding snow would solve both of the perceived problems—it would add lighter values and a cooler hue. Sure enough, as soon as I spread the blue hue over the snow-in-shadow area, the painting improved. And when I judiciously added both bright white and warm white highlights on branches and across a selected area of the path—well, the painting suddenly came alive! There was that missing magic! The lesson: don’t give up on the ‘almost-made-it’ ones—but don’t frame them until you’ve fixed the problems, either! This piece was accepted for the extended online AIRE show, and will be seen on the FCA website during the AIRE exhibition.

Acceptance into this show completes the required seven acceptances for me to apply for the next level of membership in the FCA (Associate Member), which I plan to do in 2019. Wish me luck!