Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Mother, Bila

Yesterday, my mother passed away, after a massive stroke on Friday. She was an artist, specializing in horses and memories from our family history in Europe. And of course she had painted plein air a lot. It was comforting for me to be at the convention, just sitting there, listening to artists like Scott Christensen and Clyde Aspevig, watching demos from Camille Przewodek to name a few. It was so fitting to experience the Russian painter as there is familiarity there. Our family had connections with Russia, being Germans in the Baltic States. My grandparents spoke Russian and both my grandfathers were honourary officers in the Tsar's army.
My mother had turned me onto oil after watercolour, saying that it would give me confidence. She was so happy that I started to paint, and it was with her spirit that I stayed at the convention. But I could not paint yesterday or this morning. I went out yesterday to absorb nature, the mountains. Today we are flying home.

Russian Day

The Plein Air Convention organizers brought in Nicholai Dubovik from the Surikov Institute of the Russian Academy in Moscow. He spoke with such truth and depth while doing a demo. First comes drawing, and then the plein air experience - it is the most organic proces in the education of an artist. Students go out painting for 2 months in the summer when the light lasts until 1:00 am, 1000 miles north of Moscow. A program is being setup for artists from North America to go and experience this - for 2 months.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Plein Air Convention in Las Vegas 2012

So here I am in Las Vegas, seeing the beauty and the amazing energy and power of this ocean floor. I had hoped to see the desert in bloom, and there are a few flowers but because of drought llast fall, there is very little this year. Was in the Valley of Fire and the Red Rock Canyon - unreal! And the Convention is over the top. One day down, from 6:30 to 8:00 and so much information and experiences. Tony Pro, Jeremy Lipking and Alexey Steele did a portrait demo together on stage (photo). Too many fantastic artists to mention them all. Did go to the zoo called The Strip to see the Monet exhibit at the Bellagio Hotel. Exhibit was worth it, the Bellagio water fountain is fantastic, the strip is another story........

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring in the Valley

Saw this scene while driving in the countryside this week.
Tomorrow I leave for Las Vegas for the upcoming Plein Air Convention.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Challenge #8

This is for The Complete Artist online workshop challenge this month - sliced oranges, another fruit, glass and a shiny metal object, all on a white cloth.

Sonny's Woodshed #2

I am enjoying painting this scene and adding my own spin on it. I let the pathway continue beside the shed, to keep us in the picture as the open doorway faces out of the picture. And in order to see the ocean, it needed a higher vantage point.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sonny's Woodshed

The wonderful beautiful world of Prince Edward Island, which I have yet to visit........I painted this from a friend's photo. The ocean was actually lower and therefore less visible, so I raised it so that I could to see it.

Friday, March 30, 2012

One Apple

I have been fiddling around the studio, cleaning up, varnishing, sorting......looking at what to paint but procrastinating. The challenge on the Daily Paint Works this week was to pare down an apple into a few essential strokes. What a great warm up exercise.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Heat Wave

What unusual weather for this time of year - a balmy 29C (or 84F) where the coolness of the river was a relief. I wanted to try this scene one more time, with a slight variation in the colours.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Equinox Heat Wave

It is the beginning of spring and here we had unusually hot weather. Mary and I went down to the river to paint. Ice was still floating on the water.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Still Life with Oranges #4

The journey continues.....the mug looked simple to draw, in its slanted style, but was actually quite demanding.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Still Life with Oranges #3

It is very revealing to continue on the same subject - white vessel, white cloth, oranges - even though I change it around a bit. There is so much to learn and see and work on. Carol Marine is coming to Toronto in August, so Mary and I are getting ready

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Still Life with Oranges 2

Like this one better, getting more decisive with the brush strokes.

Still Life with Oranges

I have a project to work on for my continued education on basics - and this is my first set up. Shapes are better, I was struggling with warm and cool shadows, and I want to improve my brushwork.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Banana Plantation

Living Fence Posts

Another one from Costa Rica - many fence posts are trees, and tend to sprout.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In the Cloud Forest

My final painting from Costa Rica, I am now home.


Flowers against the misty background of the jungle and volcano. The background and the mist is always lighter than I think, so this was actually my second attempt.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Because of the high humidity, the mountain range is very blue. I painted it as such, but thought it was too strong, and did a quick repaint, lightening up the blue. I think it is better. Unfortunately it was just painting paper and I tore the paper...but the learning was worth the exercise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Starfruit Still Life

This still life is painted for the online workshop that I am doing. The starfruit came from a tree close by and the red flowers are from the jungle - no idea what they are called. The feel like plastic and hang in a cluster.

Pineapple Field

It is beautiful driving through the countryside. Besides banana, papaya and orange plantations, there are the grey/teal coloured pineapple fields. The mountain range is very blue in the distance, because of the humidity.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bird of Paradise

We have a bouquet of Birds of Paradise on the table outside, so of course, I had to paint one.

By the Stump

Today we all painted on the veranda, whatever was in front of us. The one side is filled with lush vegetation and interesting blooms that peek through.

In the Rain

Yesterday it rained and rained - hard - of course - it is the rainforest afterall. The banana tree in our yard stood out because it was closeby - everything else was blurred by the rain and humidity.

Jungle Path

Late Wednesday afternoon, I carried my equipment down to the stream, set up my easel on a patch of gravel and looked back up the way I had come. Daylight was minimal, mosquitoes started to bite, and howler monkeys COULD be nearby, so I painted as fast as possible. It was an exhilirating experience to be one with the jungle like this.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


This one lone tree standing over the rest called for my attention. The air is humid so the background is lost in mist. It is very peaceful here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Arenal Volcano

We have a perfect view of the volcano, but it is mostly shrouded in clouds. Now and then, the clouds move and we get to see the peaks, which are steaming and puffing. Everyone here has a personal feeling towards the mountain, and now we do too.

Queen of the Night

Gave these gorgeous delicate and oh so fragrant flowers another attempt - they are tricky and acrylic makes it even trickier. But I am learning. It was a joy to be with this flower as it danced and swayed in the breeze.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Across the Road

The building is wonky, both in my painting and in real life. I am undecided if this works ok in a painting or not - whether it would be better to adjust the structure....

Saturday, February 4, 2012


This painting actually has more green in it, but the photograph is a bit off. I am starting to get a feel for acrylics and am happy to have them here because of the humidity. The girls were getting oranges for morning juice from the tree beside our casa - of course they had one of the local men up in the tree while they stood at the bottom with a basket. It was a painting in itself.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Costa Rica

I am in the rain forest in Costa Rica, next to the volcano Arenal. It is of course humid and warm, so I brought acrylics, thinking that this is the best medium for here. Must be true because that is what is in the galleries.
This is my first attempt at acrylics - ever, and is very different from oil and watercolour. So here goes...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reminiscing Autumn

In October I managed to get some photos as the sun was setting over the last of the red sumac at Shaw Woods near Eganville. Need some critiques on this painting - not sure about it yet.
On another note, I have signed up to attend the Plein Air Convention outside of Las Vegas in April. There will be a lot of good speakers, painters, and even some plein air painting of the red rocks for all participants. Better get painting....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Present

My dear friend Heidi brought me a birthday gift, and the wrapping was so beautiful that I had to paint it before opening. It will be opened on the weekend when she is here again. In the meantime, it is being enjoyed as is.


These shiny red pomengranates were asking to be painted, with a pear to set them off, and a dark background for drama. It is the mood of the day....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mandarin & Ground Cherries

Happy New Year!
A tad late all around but things sometimes happen different than planned, so may the new year be absolutely magical.
I wanted to paint this little grouping before Christmas and poof, things went differently. Instead it waited and didn't whither, so it must have been slightly enchanted. Therefore I honoured it as my first painting of the year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Fierce little nutcracker......looks like he is on a mission. Victoria and I painted nutcrackers today, listening to the music since we are going to see The Nutcracker performance in Toronto this weekend.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I have until Dec 23 to there is time for a few more impressions of the subject matter. I keep wanting to paint the scene completely different, but they all look the same to me, proving again - wherever you go, there you are!

Second Attempt

Next version.....

First attempt

I am participating in the online workshop from The Complete Artist, originating out of New Zealand. This is my first painting.....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Evening Sky

Now that the weather is getting grey and cold, I am resorting to photos taken throughout the summer and fall. This is behind our house, in my favourite cornfield. Mary and I gleefully got together to paint this scene this afternoon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Last Glow

The cornfield behind us at sunset, shortly before the last rows were cut. Now the field is ploughed with a thin layer of snow on it.
I am getting a glare when photographing and therefore losing a lot of definition. Hope to have a solution soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DPW Painting Challenge - Lawren Harris inspiration

Today, Mary and I decided to do this week's DPW Challenge, which to paint something in the style of an artist we admire. Since the challenge is based in the US, we decided to give some Canadian input and picked the Group of Seven's Lawren Harris, whose work we both love and admire. His work has such clean simplicity, his colours are so joyful. I often go to the AGO in Toronto to visit the Group of Seven collection and have copied one of his Arctic scenes for learning purposes. This scene is from my summer visit to Tofino, Vancouver Island.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Smooth Sailing

Decided to do a larger painting of a sketch from this fall.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NZ On Line Workshop

Since I have been away, I did not have the time to participate on the workshop #3 of the NZ online workshop, but I did do the painting after the fact. I had a desire to play with phthalo colours, so there is some intensity here.