Dec 22, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope that you are 'home for the holidays' and able to spend time with family and friends. Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming year. May it be full of art and lovely new adventures that have great endings.
We will be doing Christmas dinner at our place and then off to visit with family and friends. My commissions were done in time and I will post a few in the new year after presents have been open. In the meantime enjoy my little lady, she has come home from the holiday to show off her new city clothes. She has arrived at a small town train station and is waiting for a ride home. She will be part of my series I am doing for a train station museum out in the valley.

Dec 15, 2009

Dahlia Splendor - Completed!!

Well I finally finished my dahlia and I am really pleased with it. I still can not believe how much work it was! The finished picture is 5 x 6 inches and so those little bits in the middle were very small and quite a challenge. One thing I did learn was the magic of a cut up vinyl erasure. I cut up a small piece into a wedge shape and it was really good for getting in between some of those petals and really clearing up the edge. The putty erasure just doesn't give you the sharpness that you need in some spots.
I must admit despite my complaining I loved how the dahlia turned out and I have already planned another. But first I must finish my Christmas commissions then I can have my fun. I am sure like me you are all working hard to finish up those gifts; it is such a crazy time of year.

Dec 5, 2009

Dahlia - WHIPS

Yes I am still working away on my flower. As you can see I quit being systematic, I was working from the top left corner across and down but the center petals did me in. I needed a break and so now I doing 'the big stuff'!! I am really travelling around the flower and trying lots of different things to make each petal tell its own story. I am starting to see the end of things so now it is getting very exciting, I am even planning another picture, another dahlia but maybe not as many petals!!

Nov 29, 2009

Dahlia - WHIPS

Well I thought I would try something new. I don't usually do flowers but after doing the show at the nursery a few weeks ago I thought I would give them a try. My thought was a small tightly cropped picture that I could just whip off as an experiment. First I went to my son's neighbor, as he has lots of beautiful dahlias and took a ton of pictures and then began editing and cropping the pictures. This one really popped out at me on the computer so I decided to give it a try. What a surprise!! There will be no "whipping it off", each petal has to be done individually to really get the textures and values right and I can tell I will be at it for a few days. I have some commission pieces that I should be working on but I will keep whittling away at the petals on the side.

Nov 25, 2009

Button Weight

Yes I have been bitten by the Olympic Spirit here in BC. I have completed a drawing for one of the Winter Sports Shows that will be happening during the Olympics in February 2010 here in Vancouver. I am a curler so it is only natural that I would pick that subject. My daughter very graciously did some posing for me so I could get some 'action shots' of her curling for my drawing. I also borrowed the legs and feet of some of my fellow curlers to complete the picture. My picture is meant to depict a curling event, the broom is calling the shot, the curler it throwing and then the sweepers are moving it into place. It is unusual as it reads from right to left but it seemed to work that way. I am pleased with my picture but feeling that her face needs a little more definition, I will have to study it a bit more.

Nov 16, 2009

Guy is finished

Well Guy is finished and looking great. I am quite pleased with him. I was afraid that his body mass was too big and I tried many things to break it up and get some definition but I found that it had to be subtle as strong definition would not work. As usual I sweated over the highlights in his eyes but finally got them the way I wanted them and so on to the next project.
It took me a few days to post the results as I was having a computer fight with my computer and it definitely won. My computer technician, my son, is coming to the rescue tonight so life will soon be good again. Have a great day.

Nov 10, 2009

Guy is coming along well – WHIPS 3

Things have been very busy lately, I just finished a 4 day show and of course that took all my time and energy so I am a little behind on my other projects. Guy is nearly finished and as you can see he has reached the exciting stage. The end is in sight and things are really starting to work out as I planned. The background that I was complaining about is alive and working well with his portrait. I am still wondering if I need to put a 'bit more' on the right side but I didn't want it to be a straight line so I am trying to be patient and wait until it is done before making that decision. My grass in the front has its first layer but it needs more work and I want to get a little more of a shine on his coat before I call it done. I can feel that I am getting to the picky stage with parts of the picture which is a real sign to me to leave it alone!! If only we listen to our self, I am trying. Well I must get back to work and hopefully I will be able to post the finished picture soon.


Oct 27, 2009

Guy – WHIPS 2

Things are going well with Guy. I have got a good handle on his body and after fussing with his eyes I decided to take a break and work on the background. I do find it a bit frustrating to do the backgrounds in a picture like this though. I find that as I draw I am always "suggesting" the details of the foliage and I love to "draw the detail". I know that too much detail will not work in this area but that is the kind of drawing I love to do. Also as you can see I like to move around the picture and work on different sections rather than finish one spot and move out. I find that I like to 'see' what is happening in the picture and be ready for changes if they are needed. I have this vision in my mine and I find my planning work just does not always tell me 'everything' I want to know about my picture. The finished piece will be 9 x 13 so still lots of work to do, so it is back to work for me. Have a good day.

Oct 22, 2009


Guy is an older horse belonging to one of my friends. He is the end of a breeding line that they started many years ago and has been a wonderful riding companion for them for years. Doing Guy's portrait has turned into a wonderful adventure. First of all, my husband, Steve and I travelled out to their place a few weeks ago to take pictures. I thought taking pictures of dogs and cats was tricky, a horse is something else. We took him out to the field and tried to entice him with various food items to stand tall with his ears up in a great pose. He wanted to eat! It took 3 of us, about 90 pictures (thank god for digital) and the better part of an afternoon to get a few good shots. He would be in position but one of the helpers would be in the way, or the light was wrong or I wasn't ready with the camera or . . . Lots of fun, I am sure anyone seeing us in the field would have thought we were nuts. But I found a few shots I could work with and now I am underway. The finished picture will be approx. 9 x 13. I will keep you posted.

Oct 19, 2009


I have been busy working on Tucker and I must apologize for not posting it as a WHIPS. I was so caught up in the picture that I just never got to it.
This was a challenging commission to do. Tucker was the pet of one of my friends and a good friend of my own dog. It was very sad to lose him this spring and we still miss him on our walks.
Tucker is a King Chevalier Spaniel and they are lovely dogs to draw. They have a very gentle rounded nose that gives their face a very pleasant line. It has always caught my eye. Although all of that breed share common colouring each dog has its own special markings. This really makes it exciting as you draw because the more you develop those markings the more their character comes out. I was busy working away on Tucker and suddenly he was there on the paper. I knew I had captured him. Needless to say both his owners and I are very pleased with the results.

Oct 12, 2009

“Who Cooks for You” - Finished

Well I am very pleased to say that my owl is done. It took lots of work to figure out what was happening on the back but converting my photograph to black and white certainly helped. As you can probably tell I made a few changes in the body of the owl. Once I started working on the 'bars' on the feathers I realized they had gotten away from me and I needed to rework that area. I did have a problem with the background too. I wanted to create a believable environment for my owl and so I intended to include lots of branches. However when I had them laid out it seemed like they would overpower my picture. After much fiddling I ended up with this combination. I feel I found a nice balance.
One final note: If you are wondering why I choose the title, "Who Cooks for You", this is what the hoot of the barred owl sounds like when you hear it.

Oct 6, 2009

“Who Cooks for You” - WHIPS

My young barred owl came from a reference picture that my sister shot while she was out walking earlier in the spring. It was a young owl just sitting in the tree looking very lost. She said that she later saw the parents in a tree further away. I decided to use this picture for my demoing at the fair this summer and it proved to be a very good subject. Many people stopped to have a look and to talk with me about it.
I find preparing for a demo where my audience will be coming and going is quite different than one where you have a captive group. I do an outline drawing of the entire picture and then do some detail drawing around the eyes. This leaves me lots to work on and talk about but also gives the picture a focus. I find a good size for the picture is 10.5 by 14.5 as it allows enough detail for different techniques, it is visible from quite a distance and yet still quite portable when clipped to a wooden drawing board. I also pick a subject that does have a background so there is always something that needs filling in but doesn't require careful study. The tree and branches in this picture were excellent for this purpose.
This is what I was able to complete during my 4 days of demoing plus some work on the side. I had to leave a very large section of the one side open as it was not clear on my reference picture and I knew I was going to have to work on it slowly and carefully. I had to leave the picture at this point as I had other commitments but now I am back on track.

Sep 26, 2009

Holidays are over and it is back to work

I have been away on a camping trip to Hornby Island, off the coast of Vancouver Island. It is a lovely little island with little in the way of commercial ventures but beautiful scenery and artists' studios everywhere. The weather was great and we had lots of fun. While we were there we walked the beaches and trails, and the highlight was the Fall Fair. This is a real small town fair which involved everyone in the community. There was a parade to start (the theme was chickens this year) and then fine things to see and do. One group operated a game called "Poo-ette", everyone purchased a square and then watched a chicken to see whose square he would do his thing on. It was just plain good fun. There was a booth selling pieces of pie with 'real whipped cream' and my piece of apple pie with caramel drizzled on it was to die for. Here is a picture of Tribune Bay, Hornby Island, looking out towards the coast of Vancouver Island. There is a lot of sandstone on each end of the beach which make very interesting formations. The second picture is the view from our campsite which I call "Arbutus Lookout".

It was a trip filled with inspirations for new work and I am ready to settle down and do some serious work for my fall shows and my solo show planned for April of next year.

Sep 6, 2009

The Big Surprise - Frodo

I have been secretly working on this picture of Frodo for weeks. The picture was a present for one of my friends. So I couldn't share my work on my blog as my friend often goes on line and checks out my work. But I am happy to share it now as Frodo has gone to his new home.
This was a large picture, it framed up to 20 x 24 and it has lots of detail both in the background and the foreground. I tried several new things with Frodo that I have been practicing on some of my smaller pieces. The first was the background. In order to get the soft smudging and edges on the background I rubbed it down with a soft cloth. I found this worked great but you have to do many layers as the cloth does take off a lot of the graphite each time. Another thing I tried was the colored pencils. My client wanted the scarf in the picture and he wanted that color. I have seen several demos and read a lot about colour pencil but still I was amazed at the number of different coloured pencils I used to achieve my goal. It made a very interesting challenge to the picture. Of course the hardest thing was working with a white dog. I needed to get lots of detail and still maintain the ideal of whiteness. Of course the background helped a lot but still the internal sections needed lots of fiddling so they did not become too dark or overworked. All and all it was a great challenge and I am very happy with the results.

Sep 2, 2009

Demoing at the Fair

I have been super busy for the last week and a half with the PNE, our big fair that runs for 2 weeks in Vancouver, BC. I am part of a farm market specializing in local products, located on the fairgrounds in a large barn complex with lots of different farm animals all around us. It is really kind of fun and exciting, eggs are hatching, new piglets are squealing, ducks are squawking and watching over everything is two of the biggest white bulls I have ever seen, Zorro and Zeldo. For city people that see very little of the country first hand it is a great sight and of course the young kids just love it. It amazes me how long people will stand and watch the eggs in the incubator, as they wiggle and roll around before the young chicks hatch out. For my part, I have a large selection of my cards, prints and things in the market and then I do drawing demos several days during the fair. This is me all set up with my picture of a young barred owl that I have been working on for my demo.

Aug 26, 2009

Another Award Winner!!

Yes I am really on a roll, two awards this summer! I have won an Award of Excellence for my picture "Far From the Maddening Crowd" at the Federation of Canadian Artists Chapter Show at the Fort Langley Museum. I am quite excited about it, I really liked this picture and I felt it was a good fit for this show "A 100 Mile Harvest". I just loved the way the duck was settled in by the old sickle cutter and the way the old machinery came alive with the graphite. I had the picture for awhile before I named it and when I did I just felt just right: that little duck is really far from the maddening crowds of the city.
I don't live on a farm, my reference material for this picture came from Kilby Store and Farm, a historical site that has costumed people presenting life in the early 1900's, a small gift shop and café. It is a wonderful place and I have been involved with it for about 6 years.

Aug 17, 2009

My Jack Russells

Well they are not really my dogs, they belong to my cousin but I must admit I have really enjoyed drawing them. I took lots of reference pictures with us on our trip and worked on them during the quiet times of the day. We had quite a heat wave while we were there so they proved to be a great distraction from that. I thought it would be easy to 'whip off' a few pictures but I was in for a surprise. Working on the smaller pieces can be very slow, especially around the face; one tiny mark can really make a major change. Also, white dogs are harder to draw then I thought, I didn't want to use backgrounds all the time so it was a real learning curve to find ways to draw a white dog on white paper. The other thing I played with was a spot of color. I know for you colored pencil artists that is not a big deal but I have limited experience with colored pencils. I was particularly pleased with Look at Me as that bit of color for his collar works really well.

Aug 13, 2009

Wishful Thinking wins a Prize

My picture Wishful Thinking won a prize at the Oil and Water Juried Show in Delta, BC. The jurying was done while we were away and I was thrilled to learn I had won when I got home. I know many of you had great comments about her when I finished her in March and I was very pleased with her myself. It is funny though how juried shows go, I entered her in a spring show and she was declined and now she wins a prize!! It is really a reminder to not be discouraged by a decline as there are always other opportunities around the corner.

Aug 9, 2009

I am Back with new Stuff!!

We had a great camping trip on the southern part of Vancouver Island. We stayed at several provincial campsites and all of them had beautiful stands of firs and cedars. My husband and I had a wonderful time sightseeing, swimming, and catching up on our reading. When the heat was bad we were up to a book a day!! We saw lots of wildlife: a deer with two fawns, a large black bear standing right in front of us on the trail, a pod of killer whales, birds of every kind and a young barred owl sitting on a telephone wire taking everything in.
My miniature picture Pathway through the Giants was completed at our campsite on Lake Cowichan. The trees were huge and beautiful and I just couldn't get enough of them.
While I was away I also worked on some fun pieces – my Jack Russell series. When visiting my cousin earlier this year I took lots of pictures of her Jacks. I wanted to try different things and pick some poses that are not for your usual portrait. I even tried my hand at mixing a bit of color pencil and graphite. I will post my pieces later this week as I get caught up with things but here is the first one for now, which I called I'm Sorry.

Jul 13, 2009

We are off again

My husband, my dog and I will be away for a few weeks camping. This is my time to really do lots of plein air painting and get lots of new reference pictures for the winter. I will have lots of new stuff for you when I get back. Enjoy the sunshine.

Daly and Joejoe are Ready to go Home

Yes the boys are done. I am really pleased with them. Daly, in the background, is the one that always has a sparkle in his eye and Joejoe is the more serious one. I really tried to get that feeling with the dogs. I must admit that it was a challenge though as the picture of the dogs appearance was wonderful but their eyes were flashbulbs.
I included a bit of shading in the background as I had suggested in my earlier blog and I am very pleased with it. (The shading is a little darker and more widespread on the original. The scan didn't pick it all up.) It really seems to make them stand out and also helps to give the picture a more balanced view as a landscape. I used a cloth and rubbed the graphite on to do this and I found that it worked well to get that uneven look with lots of soft edges.
Have a great day, my next pencil project is Jack Russells, should be fun.

My First Blogging Award

I was very thrilled to receive this Premio Meme award from my friend Dors ( ). It is my first blogging award. Thanks so much Dors. Dors is an Australian artist that I have met through my blog. She does some great work, check it out.
The rules for the award are to list 7 things about myself and then pass the award on to 7 other artists. Well, here I go: I have a great dog, Rusty. He is a miniature poodle and through him I have learned the true meaning of a lapdog.I love pens and pencils and I am constantly trying and buying new ones.I want to learn how to do basket weaving and rug hooking. I love the rugs that have woven pictures on them that they do in Nova Scotia and I would like to learn how to do that with some of my pictures.I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. Some days are good but other days I am calling my son to rescue me!I love to read and often I have to read the last chapter so I can turn out the light.I have a husband of 38 years who is my most enthusiastic supporter and I have two children who have helped me in hundreds of ways to move forward with my art. I have been so fortunate to have such a fan club.
I would like to pass this on to artists that have motivated and encouraged me all the way.
Brenda Hill at - a great friend and pencil artist whose work I love to look at.
Becky McMahon: – a great friend and artist. She does wonderful work with Chinese brush painting on rice paper
Grahame Butler: - I love to look at his work and he is always so quick to comment on mine.
Gabriel Greig: and - she is an artist and a clown, a truly unique person and very inspiring
Florence Morris: a new artist that is just getting her wings. It is very exciting to see a new artist learning and growing.
Mike Sibley: – I just love to look at his work and he has so much information on his site.
Tony Miller: - Again, I just love his work and he is such a fountain of knowledge.

Jul 9, 2009

The Art of Realism - Graphite Show

I am quite excited about this show, it will be all graphite. It is not often that pencil art gets such recognition and yet it is such a great art form. My picture "Sunday Morning Swim" will be in the show and I am quite pleased to be included in such a great group of pencil artist.

Daly and Joejoe are coming along nicely

Well you can see I have really been working hard. I must admit that once I have my project set up and things are going well I have a hard time stopping. Both the dogs are coming along great and I am quite pleased with the results.

I am now starting to look at the overall shape of the drawing and I think I will have to extend the bodies a bit more and also I am going to cloud in around them a bit so the shape is more horizontal and to make some of the whites in the hair stand out better. To finish the lower part of the drawing I will be using a cloth to get away from the harsher edge that is there now. Their beards are a lot of fun, there are so many curls and swirls of hair it is a real challenge to keep it light but also get that feeling of fluffiness in the hair. I love how it is coming together.

Have a great day and my next post should have the boys ready for home.

Jul 6, 2009

Daly and Joejoe

My new project is two schnauzers called Daly and Joejoe. They are two lovely looking dogs and I must say they do look like they are a lot of fun. I was very excited to get started with them. Daly was drawn first as he is in the background. As you can see from my outline of Joejoe in the front I do not spend a lot of time drawing in the details. I look to get the overall shape, or place that they will take on the page and then move in. I put a base coat down with my 2B pencil so any detail drawing would be instantly lost. Once that layer is rubbed down I am ready to work on different areas. To get some nice hair lines in the white areas I have found that my fine tipped shaper has been an excellent tool. It gives that subtle soft line that I need. I am quite pleased with my start and I am looking forward to getting Joejoe in the picture.

Jul 1, 2009

Back from Our Trip

I am back; it is hard to believe after all the excitement of planning and travelling that our trip is over. We flew to Toronto to visit with family then onto Nova Scotia. We visited with friends, travelled along the southern shore, took the ferry to New Brunswick and visited areas along the southern shore there as well. It was great, the highlight for us was the day we spent at Hopewell Cove walking around the flowerpots, they really are an amazing thing to see. From there we flew to St. John's, Newfoundland and travelled right over to the west side to Gros Morne National Park. There were many highlights to this trip, we saw an iceberg and lots of moose, took a trip up the fiord at Western Brook Pond and for my husband, the real highlight was we took a trip out with a lobster fisherman while he pulled his traps. In all the weather was great most of the time, the scenery was breathtaking and people were friendly and helpful wherever we went.

I have posted several pictures from my sketchbook that I thought would give a taste of our trip. The first sketch is Peggy's Cove; no trip is complete to the east coast without a visit to the Cove. It may be a tourist trap but it is still a very scenic spot. This is followed by the famous fishing plant in Lunenburg, the Nova Scotia shoreline,
some scallop boats at the wharf in Digby
and the Flowerpots at Hopewell Cove, NB.
From there my sketches move to Newfoundland. The first is the Narrows that lead into the harbor at St. John's, it is so narrow it makes you wonder how a cruise ship can get in. Also the slopes are covered with fabulous walking trails. (Some were way too steep for me!)
The last picture is the Lobster Head Lighthouse at Rocky Harbour in the middle of Gros Morne Park. It was such a great view I just had to stop and draw it.

I really enjoy keeping a sketchbook/journal when I am travelling. It makes a great souvenir when I get home but also I find it helps me relive those special moments on the trip. I tried a few different tricks this time which I found really helped to make my sketching fun. I took some watercolor pencils and a brush that had a water compartment in it. It was fun to sketch and color and then quickly bring the colors alive with a little water from the brush. You could move the paint around and blend it without putting too much water on the page. And a great plus was the brush didn't leak! Another thing I did was use some of my brochures as references. I did sketch on sight but I also found that there was not always time to do a quick sketch during the day but in the evening when everyone was relaxing or early morning before things were happening I had time and wanted to draw. It was a great to pull out the brochures and complete a drawing of one of places we were at.

Enjoy your holidays and remember to take your sketchbook along and have some fun.

Jun 3, 2009

Off on a trip

Things will be a little quiet here for a few weeks as my husband and I are off on a trip. We are going to spend the weekend in Toronto, Ontario and then we are off to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland in eastern Canada for a holiday. Enjoy the sunshine and I will have news and sketches when I return.

On the Prowl

The other day I was taking some pictures of my dog, Rusty as he was being chased around the yard by our neighbour's cat. He is a small poodle and is easily intimidated by cats. The cat would not even acknowledge that he was a dog; she was just walking along which caused him to scatter around the yard. I was watching this in my camera and I saw a profile of her flash by. I knew I had a keeper. When I cropped it, there was a square picture, perfect for the square show one of my art clubs is planning. It seems if you try for a square picture it doesn't work, you really have to work with your subject and see what works for it. She was fun to do and I think she turned out great.

May 28, 2009

Bailey is heading home

Well Bailey is finished and gone to her home. I am really pleased with how she turned out. I had many challenges with her light colors to try and get depth and light into them but I think I achieved my goal. The dramatic lighting really worked out well and I love the way she fades into the right side of the picture.
When I started with the drawing I had a terrible time trying to decide how to end portrait at the bottom but once I put it to paper and started working, it was easy to see where to go. This was a good reminder that some things can only be done with the actual drawing, computers and photographs can only tell us so much. I did make a few changes to Bailey's face from the first posting: the size of her eyes. I find that somehow the eyes seem to shrink as the drawing progresses and usually when I am not happy with them it is because they are too small. This was the case with Bailey.
Have a great day and keep up your drawing.

May 19, 2009


I thought that you would really enjoy this new picture. Bailey, was a wonderful dog and well loved by her owners. They have asked me to do a portrait of her and I was thrilled. The pictures they gave me to work with had wonderful lighting and I knew she would look great. I have started off with her face and I am working my way down the picture. I do have a few interesting problems to work out. I had to determine how to finish the lower half of the picture, as she is sitting at right angles to the photographer and this gives a funny look to the lower part of her portrait. I have decided to focus on her flowing hair and to fade the body out at the bottom. The darkness on the left side provides a dramatic pose but also means it is hard to get details for that area. Sometimes you just have to jump in and let the picture take over. I will keep you posted.

May 15, 2009

Dude, My Unsung Hero

My art club is having a show called "Heroes" and I wanted to incorporate my love of animals in the show. I think that all of our pets are heroes as they put up with so much from us and keep coming back with love and affection but the greatest ones of all are the service dogs. Dude, belongs to an artist and friend of mine and I felt he really is a hero. He is patient, understanding, loving, a fabulous friend and helper to his owner and it was a great privilege to draw him.
Don't get me wrong though, there were also some drawing challenges. I had lots of fun trying to make his fur look and feel like it was light and fluffy and not a "dark blob" as my husband said at one point! At the same time I didn't want him to look like he had just walked out of a salon; I hope that I have achieved my goal.

May 5, 2009

Great News with my Miniatures


I just received news that two of my miniature pictures have been accepted into the International Miniature Show in Levis, just outside Quebec City. This show is held every two years and runs for three months, June 14 – Sept 6, 2009. For further information on the show see
My pictures that were accepted were "Poppies in the Rough" and "Driftwood Shoreline". "Poppies in the Rough" is a little different for me as it is more abstract than realistic. I started with an ink pouring and then began to find myself in it. I can really understand what artists mean when they say it "tells me how to proceed". There comes a point where you and the piece are working together and things begin to emerge from the color. It is really an exciting process.

My piece "Driftwood Shoreline" I did after I had completed my larger piece "Shoreline Driftwood". I just loved the driftwood and the ocean view, it is one that I have walked many time with my dog. I wanted to see if I could create that feeling of depth and summer sunlight in a much smaller image. I thought it was a good one to send to the show as it really speaks a lot about our west coast.

Apr 29, 2009

Searching for the Sun

This is a new miniature I just completed. I have always wanted to try a still life and this little watering can really attracted my eye. Last year I was visiting with my sister and brother-in-law and we stopped at this little roadside stand that had all sorts of farm implements. I immediately grabbed my camera and went to work. This was a little arrangement they had in their shop and I just loved the way the light caught the cans. I have had this picture in my mind ever since waiting for the moment to begin.
I do plan to try it again as I used purples for my darks and although I like it I was reading about a different pallet using blues for the darks and I want to give it a try. Also I put my darks over my yellows on the watering can and I wanted to try laying in the darks first and glazing over it. I am really not very good at drawing and painting the same picture over again so I will also change the format to horizontal. That already has me trying to figure out a new composition.

Apr 21, 2009

Sheba is ready to go home

She is ready to go home. She is finished and ready for viewing by her owners. I always like to have them view the piece before I spray it in case there is something they want to change. Of course things are pretty well fixed for now but minor changes can be made. I am really pleased with how the highlights define her features, she has is a very good looking dog. It has been a lot of fun working on her.

Apr 16, 2009

Sheba is looking good

Sheba is coming together well. I have been building up the layers of color and she is really coming alive on my paper. As I work now I am always studying things and making changes. I wasn't happy with her nose so I did some extra work on that area and I am much happier with it. I am still not completely satisfied with the highlight areas in the eyes so I have not made them too pronounced yet. The top of her head is laid out but I can see it needs more shading. Just seeing my picture here on the screen also gives me a better idea at where I am going.
One thing I am finding very useful is my paint brush. It is very helpful in giving me a subtle layer of graphite where I need it. I can see I am going to be using it a lot. Well back to work.

Apr 5, 2009

Sheba is Underway

The excitement begins, it is always exciting when the planning is done and I can dig in and work. Time disappears and graphite flows. At this point Sheba doesn’t look like much as I am just starting to build the values. But I know that once I get a few darks in there the lights will bring her to life.
At this stage I am just feeling my way around, discovering how I will create different effects and learning things about my subject. It is often hard to step back at this point as I want to do one more thing before I leave it for the day: fix a spot, put another layer on, lighten something or study it to see how things are going. I often get into real trouble with the family as my two minutes more can turn into lots of time!!

Apr 2, 2009

Great News

I just got notified that my picture "Is the Snow Gone" (see Feb. 17 posting) has been accepted into a juried show called "The Celebration of Spring". I think that my little dog will be very happy in the show, he certainly looks ready to celebrate spring. (For local followers that would like to see the show, see my web site for further information.)

Apr 1, 2009


I was very pleased with my cat and so I felt ready to attack my new picture. It is a commission piece of a black lab, he is a very good looking dog but being all black makes him a real challenge. I looked through my reference pictures carefully and tried to find one with interesting highlights and also enough highlights to tell the story. He will be 7.5 by 9.5 in. Shown here is my outline drawing with some shading so I can see if my highlights will give me the information I need to develop his portrait. So far things look good. Now it is time to get to work.

Mar 29, 2009

Wishful Thinking

We went away for a few days and I wanted something more portable to work on so I took a little break from my truck. I had a picture of our neighbour's cat on the fence and I felt with the addition of a bird it would make a great picture.
Our bird feeder is set up in the branches near the fence and our new neighbour's cat has discovered it. At first she would come over and move along the ground under the feeder but that proved very unsatisfactory and of course our little dog would see her and chase her away. Then she discovered the fence!! Now she can get very close to the feeder and best of all she realizes that the dog cannot touch her up there. He of course is very upset about that. She now gets very close to the trees and the feeder but as yet she has not figured out how to make her move onto the branches. The birds are aware of this and will flit and flirt about just out of her reach and tease her something terrible. Watching all of this has been very entertaining for us.
The Artist Forum's Challenge # 13 is "A Sense of Spring, Nonfloral". I thought that this picture might be an interesting addition to the challenge. The Challenge is in the All Media Paint-Off section of the forum if you would like to check it out.

Mar 16, 2009

Moving On

This is a great old truck that Steve and I found out in the bush near Harrison Hot Springs. It was in the middle of a pasture covered with blackberry vines. I loved it because it has a crank, wooden wheels and is definitely way before my time. I painted it first as a small miniature and then in pen and ink just to see how it would work as I was adding chickens to the scene and changing the season of the picture. (The original was taken in February and everything looked gray and dead at the time.) I started the picture last summer and then had to abandon it and so now I am returning to it. This has proven difficult as I have had to figure out my color palette for it (I don't use the same colors all the time) and I was not happy with the grasses that I created with the frisket when I did the background. I tried a few things on the background on the left side of the truck and I decided I could work things out so now I am back on track.
The original work was laid out in pen and ink and then I worked with watercolor to develop it. As you can probably tell the background was done wet-on-wet adding more and more foliage as the paper dried. I must admit I really fell in love with that part. The foreground it only roughed in as I will develop it with watercolor washes but leave a spot for my chicken.Well I will get to work and let you know how things are going.