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

Friday, 16 March 2018

Random people

So this is what is on the easel today - in progress.  I took several pictures last year at the Farmer's Market for some material.  I really liked some of the poses and people I captured, so I am doing a slightly larger painting from one of the photos. 

 I am not really sure what the protocol is for painting random people who happen to wander into your photo.  I wasn't trying for an exact likeness of this guy, I just wanted the feeling - casual, enjoying the day, smiling to himself.  I notice there are lots of painters, like Karin Jurick, who paint great pictures of random people in art galleries, on beaches or on the street, so can't see any issues.  I could always give him a shave or add a hat if so! HA!

14 x 18 oil on canvas

Thursday, 15 March 2018


I GOT A NEW GADGET!  It's almost as good as the Canada Arm on the space station, just smaller.  When I am doing a painting and using a photo reference I have often just printed off the photo and worked from that.  However, the challenges of running out of ink (always!), printing a picture that has even worse shadow colours than the photo, etc. have always been an issue.  

While reading Kathryn Tyrell's blog, Making a Mark, I noticed some of the artists on the Sky Tv Portrait Artist challenge using a device to hold their phones or tablets onto their easel.  I did some research and found this baby at Staples online (cheaper than Amazon).  The reviews were good, it cost about $40 and I think it is AWESOME!  The bendy arm is very sturdy - some people complained about in their reviews, but sturdier is better in my books.  It attaches easily to the easel or flat areas and I shook my iPad all about and it stayed still!  I decided not to put it directly on my easel because it will probably get dirty fast - so right behind it on the shelf seems to work well.

On-line it said it had an adapter type piece to fit onto hospital bedrails - but it doesn't come in the box - maybe it was something you can order separately?  Highly recommend it for now.  Check back in a few months and if it gets saggy or drops my iPad I will let you know! ( I am not selling them or making any money off this - I just like gadgets)

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Spring Chicken

So I had chickens and eggs on the brain today.  I got some beautiful little quail eggs and also picked up some chickens (for eating), and learned all about the Heritage Chicken Project at the University of Alberta.  I sometimes wish I could raise a few chickens in the back yard, but only sometimes... I grew up on a farm and remember some of the not so fun chicken / rooster moments.

In an attempt to get some larger painting done, I want to try quick simple warm-ups like this one below.  I set my timer for one hour, chose burnt umber, cerulean blue and white and finished before the timer beeped (by 2 minutes)!!

8x10 oil on panel

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Folky style

When I use acrylics I tend to like the bright colours and am drawn to making them a bit more 'fun' and folk style.  I am attempting a series of iconic things to be found in Edmonton in acrylic paint.  This painting is of the Princess Theatre, I went on my first date with my hubby here.  Also included is the guitar playing, rollerblading, buff dude that can be seen on Whyte avenue in the summer time.  He whips by with hardly a care, makes me smile every time I see him.
Acrylic on canvas - 14x16

Friday, 2 March 2018

Day 30

For the final day, I have pulled this painting out that I started some time ago to sand and finish for my grad show in March.  I spent most of the day working on a new acrylic painting that is not done so I can't post it yet.  This one is being tweaked and should be finished shortly.  It's been a busy 30 paintings in 30 days and I think I only missed one day of painting!  Yeah.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Day 29

Today I did a quick sketch of these pliers and then set off to work on another piece slightly bigger and in a different style.  I have been experimenting lately with a couple of styles to see which I like better and with the hopes of sticking to one style for a while.
8x10 oil on wood panel

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Day 28

9x12 oil on board
I should have drank before I painted ... ha ha ha.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Day 27

Can't say much about this one... it is still in progress may pick at it more tomorrow perhaps.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Day 26

I am working on a larger painting, so this pear was a bit of an afterthought for the daily painting.  More time and effort would be ideal, but time ran out, so here is my hasty pear
oil on panel 8x12