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 ( 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!

Art of Healing Event tickets now available!

I wanted to briefly remind you that tickets went on sale today for the October 20th Art of Healing event in benefit of the Sechelt Hospital Foundation.  As both a participating artist, and a Foundation Director, I am very excited about this event, the first of its kind on the coast.

If you've missed the articles and ads, here's the overview: 36 well-known coast artists have donated works valued from $500 to $5000, and your $500 Collector ticket entitles you to select one of these works in an exciting lottery at the gala event (one ticket per household; admits two).  $50 Supporter tickets enable you to attend the event and bid on seven really exciting experience packages including a trip to Haida Gwai, local art classes, an insiders' guide through New York's design district, and many more. It's shaping up to be THE art event on the coast this year--don't miss it! 

Can't make the event?  $20 raffle tickets for a trip for two to Paris are also available!  With only 1,000 being sold, the odds are very good!

There are only 26 Collector tickets (of 36) left, and 72 Supporter tickets (of 100) after less than one day of sales--so don't delay!  Click here to buy your tickets--at whatever level interest you!

The piece I donated is shown in the previous post, below.  See them all at (scroll down to the image gallery). Which one will you choose when your number is drawn?

I hope you'll join me in supporting high-quality health care on the coast, where the best medicine (and art) is local!


Art of Healing submission

I am privileged to be a Director on the Board of the Sechelt Hospital Foundation, and in that role I am currently chairing the Art of Healing event committee. This event will take place on Saturday October 20th at the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club and the proceeds will support health care for all on the Sunshine Coast.

The gala event will include

  • a 'fixed-price lottery' of 36 works of fine art by well-known coast artists;
  • a live auction of a number of high-quality experiential packages (trips to Haida Gwai, Puerta Vallarta and New York included);
  • a raffle for an expenses-paid trip to Paris for two!

Purchasers of the 'collector' tickets ($500) will have the opportunity to select a work from the 36 on offer.  Here's my submission, a 20 x 30 framed oil.

Interested? Watch this space and your local paper for more details on when and how to buy YOUR ticket to what is shaping up to be the premier art-related event on the Coast this year!

For Rest and Repose ; oil, 20 x 30, framed

For Rest and Repose; oil, 20 x 30, framed

SUMMER BREEZE exhibition opens July 4 through September 27

I am delighted to be sharing the bright open spaces of the Gibsons Public Market all summer with my fellow artist Charmaine Bayntun.  We've decided to hang a collection of works celebrating the relaxed feel, fresh air, and seaside scenes of summer.  Join us on Friday July 6th between 4-7, when we'll both be painting on site during the regular weekly Happy Hour.

Both of us also plan to paint on site on various dates throughout the summer:

Ruth: July 21, August 4, 25 and Sept 8, 22; 10-1 each day

Charmaine: July 13 (12-3); August 10 (12-3); August 25 (10-1); Sept 7 (12-3) and Sept 22 (10-1)

Hope to see you there!

A Gathering of Gulls pastel $550

A Gathering of Gulls pastel $550

Collecting deposits now for 2019 France workshop

I am now collecting deposits ($500 US pp) for my 7-day painting workshop from April 1-7, 2019 in France's gorgeous Lot Valley (just north of Toulouse) at the beautiful Domaine du Haut Baran.  This updated French chateau is run by William and Rosalie Haas, accomplished hosts who will take care of every detail and will transport us to many great painting locations in the area. This location has been the setting for dozens of highly-acclaimed painting workshop experiences with well-recognized artists.  See their website for details about the site (

The fee of $3000 US includes workshop tuition, double occupancy accommodation in luxuriously-appointed rooms, transportation to and from the airport and throughout the week, and most meals, prepared by accomplished chef Rosalie. The spring timing will mean cooler temperatures and fewer tourists, for a unique and enjoyable experience.

The week will be designed to review foundational painting principles and apply them to both studio and plein air painting.  I will be demonstrating in pastel and acrylic, but painters in any medium are welcome.  This session will be suitable for any level, beginner to advanced.

Spaces are limited, so contact me ( to reserve your spot soon!

Ruth painting pastel 1.jpg