Thursday, 17 May 2018

Full Marks

My graduation show for the 12 of us who completed our Fine Arts Certificate from the University is now showing until June 15th.  It is up in the back hallways of the U of A Faculty of Extension (the old Hudson's Bay Building downtown) near Room 2-640.  Check it out if you have some spare time.

I find that every year in spring, my painting output seriously slows down.  Work has been fairly busy, but I also have a ton of yard work and gardening to accomplish.  Most of my garden is now planted and the yard is almost complete so I hope to get more paintings started ASAP.  I need at least 25 good ones by August.  I will be taking part in 2, St. Albert Art Walks and the Art in Our Park Event in August and September.  I am also back to planning our community's Annual BBQ and Movie Night, which also occurs in September.  NO time to waste!!
The 4 paintings I chose to hang

Rick Bremness

Susan Diebel

Monday, 7 May 2018


I have finally completed my Fine Arts Diploma with the U of A.  I had actually completed most of the courses in 2011 but due to 'life happening' I did not do the final mentorship part.  This year I managed to wrap it all up and 12 of us will be part of the graduation exhibit at the U of A's Faculty of Extension.  Our paintings are buried deep in the halls on the second floor, you can view them over the next month.  
While I was helping to hang the exhibition today I stopped downstairs on the main floor to view some FABULOUS FIBRE ART.  The topic was primarily climate change and there were some awesome pieces of Fibre Art on view.  Check it out - main floor of the old Hudson Bay building downtown.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Spring Cleaning

Spring has finally sprung here!  I always find I have an urge to garden and do a bit of cleaning and organizing.  My garden is raked and ready for when it's safe for plants.  The cleaning / organizing urge has only gone as far as my art area.  I had been using some cardboard to divide and organize my paints - but I invested in some expandable spice racks from Bed Bath & Beyond to replace them.  They work and look better, and somehow make painting easier.

organization ...aaaah feels good.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Road Trips and Repeats

 On the weekend we did a little road trip and stopped in my FAVOURITE GALLERY IN ALBERTA!  The Blue Rock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alberta is small and gorgeous.  A great mix of pottery, paintings, arts and crafts, books.  The paintings are fa-bu-lous.  It is worth a day trip to hang out in this little town for a couple hours, great milk shakes across the street.
14x36 oil on wood panel

6x24 oil on canvas
Today I had a few short hours to work on a second version of the Cypress Hills.  The bottom one was a small quick study.  The second top one is much bigger and I am trying to do brighter colours / impressionist style.  It is not done but here's what needs completing:
- foreground is getting finer detail in the grasses - more greens, blues and purples to be added.
- foreground shape is not random enough - repeating on left and right side, needs to be more like the bottom foreground shape.
- far background needs darker, grey green / blue colours
- some more red thrown into trees in middle ground

I am hoping it works out, it looks much better in person than with my quick photo, so I shall continue with it tomorrow.

Friday, 27 April 2018


I was recently commissioned to do 2 paintings for Alair Homes for their BuildingARTyeg event at the Art Gallery of Alberta Art Gallery of Alberta.  I had lots of fun painting 2 bright acrylic paintings from renderings that I received.  The event was very well done, HarperPR had organized 12 different artists to paint 12 different Alair homes.  It was so cool to see how unique each art piece was. So many talented people!!

One of the other creations - Cool Bottle cap art!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

My new love!

I found 'the one'!  Yes this most awesome art table (tabouret) was recently gifted to me by my actual love.  For YEARS I have just worked on any old table and it has been fine.  My most recent set up was a collapsible table I bought at Canadian Tire and covered in an industrial size black garbage bag, under which I stored my amazing huge tackle box - also purchased at Canadian tire - with all my oil paints.  Additionally I had a cheap rolling plastic bin holding my acrylic paints. BUT NO MORE... now I have this fabulous table - it fits all my paints, palette boxes and many supplies.  It has a top that opens and wheels.  I know it is wrong but I love it soooo much.
Sturdy, handsome, smells good...how can you not love it!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

MMMMM...delicious art

The chocolate 'enrobing' machine - we were tempted to put our mouth under that spigot on the right where the chocolate was pouring down, but we had ample opportunity to try tons of very good quality chocolate without embarrassing ourselves.

So this weekend, good friend Mette had this great idea that we should check out Sweet Lollapalooza. They make Fine Chocolates and I do mean fine!  For about $100 you spend 3 or more hours learning all about chocolate and chocolate making, sampling a TON of delicious chocolate, sipping champagne and even putting your artistic skills to the test.  It is totally worth it and you come away with at least a dozen handmade chocolates that you help create.  Early on you spend time preparing your artistically decorated sheet of chocolate butter that will end up covering your finished pieces.  Lots of great and fascinating information about chocolate is shared, we sampled a fabulous chocolate dessert and generally overdosed on very good chocolate.  I was still full the next morning.  This to me, was even better than wine tasting tours I have been on. Check them out and sign up early, they usually book a month in advance! Yummm!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Building Art Edmonton Day, April 26, 2018

 Lately the posts have been few and far between.  I have been working on 2 commissioned paintings for Alair Homes to celebrate April 26, 2018 which is Building Art Edmonton day.  Thanks to Natalie Harper, from Harper PR for including me, I have had much fun painting these 2 pieces - which I will post next week after the celebrations.

Work at the Art Gallery of St Albert has been pretty busy this spring, too.  The kiddos in the art classes are feeling full of spring cheer - FINALLY the snow is melting and we are all thrilled to see the sun!!
Small portion of a 16x20 acrylic on black gessoed canvas

Monday, 9 April 2018

Busy... Busy...Busy

Yike, it has been too long since posting.  However I have many good reasons almost all art related.  

- I went and got all my paintings framed that I am putting in my graduation show.  THANK YOU TO Kamena Art and Framing for their awesome service.  They manage to do a great job and help me out when I am in a time crunch too.  My graduation show is occurring in May to June, I will post more on that in May.
 - I started a sketch in watercolour for aFederation of Canadian Artists signature submission, with the hopes of getting accepted.  I need 7 accepted paintings to gain Signature status one day.  So far I have had 2 rejections for other shows, so I gotta step it up a notch!!
 - I have been commissioned to do 2 paintings for an event that will be happening at the Art Gallery of Alberta sometime in May I believe.  Exciting!! I will show those here after the event happens.

-We had a wonderful Easter / Spring break and went to ski and visit the Family for a few days.  It was great.  I started to question my snowboarding skills on one of the icier days and suddenly realized my snowboard is about 20 years old now.  So now I am blaming my issues on the age of my snowboard not the age of my body!  New snowboard next season!!

- I began a painting today to thank my Bro and his family for always hosting us when we go skiing / boarding.  Pictures below of the start of my process.  Full size sketch on brown paper, then I cover it with chalk and trace my sketch onto a black gessoed canvas.  Then I will paint!  I will post that later too.

Whew... I forgot to mention work always get busier this time of year teaching art for the Art Gallery of St Albert, so there is that too.  Feels good to be busy though, love it!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018


One of the most important parts of a good painting is always your initial sketch.  When I took my first art class I took a watercolour introduction.  Like many first timers, I wanted to get straight to the colour and found drawing 'boring'.  The more classes I took, the more I realized I needed to learn how to draw better.  Now I really enjoy drawing and sketching and am thinking of joining the Edmonton Sketchers group, part of Urban Sketchers, to get out of the lonely studio now and then and too improve my skills.

Today, here is a peek into my past week's practise.  The first two sketches I tried as much as possible not to lift my pen from the paper and get one line - I wasn't that successful with the faces.  These were both done from photos, one from an art book on Lucien Freud.  The other from a photo I took.

 This very quick sketch below was done on my iPad with my fabulous iPen in Notes.  Done from life of my dog lying nearby.  She did not like me staring so intensely at her and when I started the second one, the one of her head on the top, she got up and left, so that's where the drawing stopped.  Good practise for sketching in public I guess.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Market Madness!!

I always enjoy a good Farmer's Market and look forward to the outdoor markets starting up again sometime in April or May.  I have taken a number of pictures at them and became inspired to try and paint something.  

My first 'practice' painting is oil on black gesso on paper.  I did about 4 prepatory drawings trying to find a good composition, and came up with the 12 x 16 one below.  I had to use about 3 different photos.  I quickly became disgruntled with all the detail and some errors and it was not very loose, so I set it aside.

12 x 16 oil on black gessoed paper

 I was not ready to quit so I looked at my photos and what I kept coming back to in the photos was this happy go lucky shopper, almost skipping along with his purchases and enjoying the nice weather.  So... I decided to make him the focus and loosen up.  I got a bigger canvas, 14" by 18" and started again.  I am much happier with the result.  My colour photo of the painting below is not showing all the colours that well, the pavement has some pinks / purples and yellows, but overall it worked out okay.  I think I will try a couple more with this theme.

14x18 black and white photo of the painting to check my values