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Showing posts from 2015

Graydon Parrish Workshop - Fabric Study

I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to take another workshop with the amazing, talented, generous, patient...I could go on, Graydon Parrish. This is the third time I have had the opportunity to take one of his workshops (see Workshop 1 and Workshop 2 for more info) and every time I am amazed at how much I learn yet how relaxed and fun the process is.  When I learn on my own, it is more like a battle of wills and frustration and as I tend to learn by realizing what not to do....and then learning by the process.

The workshop was two weeks long during which time Graydon walked us through setting up the still life which he set up as a work of art in itself.  He showed us how to determine the colors of the fabric and how the light affects the hue, value and chroma.  He had us paint half a sphere and cube with the local color to better understand what we were seeing.  We then mixed the color strings we needed by matching the munsell chips to what we observed on the fabric.  Below…

Tips for Storing Oil Paint Between Sessions

Well, that was fun, well fun like a long workout is when you are done ;) It definitely helps to have good music when paint mixing as sometimes it can seem like it can take forever to get the exact mix you are looking for. 

It is so worth it though as there is nothing better than having all of your paint premixed in clean little tubes so that you can squish out fresh paint every time you paint.   I have thought of mixing while sipping a glass wine or martini but I am sure I would end up with very sub par mixes ;)

I don't premix all my colors but I find it so helpful to premix a flesh palette as I may not get the chance to paint every day, especially in the summer, and there is nothing worse than mixing up your paint and then having to through it all out because it did not keep between sessions. 

Also, as some days I only have an hour to two to paint and if I have all of my colors premixed, I get to spend almost all of the time painting rather than getting ready to paint.…

Acrylic Abstraction Class Starting Sep 24, 2015

Just a few of the fun projects will be working on at the next Acrylic Abstraction class starting Sep 24, 2015 at the Port Moody Arts Center.

If you would like to join me, please register online at Port Moody Arts Center Online Link or call 604-931-2008.  Please register at least 5 days prior to class start date.

Acrylic Abstraction Class - Student Work

I wanted to share these beautiful pieces created by one of my students during one of my recent Acrylic Abstraction Classes.  She framed the pieces beautifully and they were included in the student exhibit at Port Moody Arts Center.

The pieces were done as part of one of the exercises that we do during class which is a process of exploration of how we can allow acrylics to react with the paper which guides how the painting will evolve.  For the top painting, three colors were used, for the bottom, only two colors were use.  Just goes to show what you can achieve with a very limited palette and a keen eye!

If you are interested, I have another Acrylic Abstraction class starting Sep 24 on Thur nights from 7-9pm.  You can register online at Port Moody Arts Center Online Link or call 604-931-2008 to register.

Registration for Fall Art Classes are Now Open!

Wow, time is flying by! Registration is already open for fall art classes.  Please check out my Workshops & Classes page to see a full list of classes I am offering this September.

I have planned new exercises and some fun projects for each of the classes and am so excited to share them!

Students have already signed up for several of the classes so if you are thinking of joining me, please don't wait too long to decide as spaces are limited.

Looking forward to another fun fall of teaching and sharing my love of art with all the art lovers out there :)

Alla Prima Painting of Blue Vase & Apples From Life

This is a little alla prima painting I painted yesterday in my studio, SO much fun!  The blue vase I found last week at the thrift store and love it.  I have been hunting for simple ceramic bowls and vases to paint and got very lucky with this one as it was exactly what I was looking for.

I usually paint using the indirect method but as I am short on time in the studio over the summer, I wanted to try alla prima so I could get in & get out all in one day as who knows when I can get back in the studio in this heat!

I used a very limited palette, only the three primary colors and burnt umber and white which is the same palette I use for plein air painting.  Using a limited palette really simplifies the painting process and makes the painting feel more I manage to keep my palette so much more organized and clean! I will have to take a photo of my palette next time. 

This was painted from life with no preliminary drawing other than a very rough block in with the bur…

Wisteria Acres Art Retreat with Lalita Hamill & Michael King

Last week I got to spend two wonderful days at Wisteria Acres for the Art Retreat in Langley, BC put on by Michael King & Lalita Hamill....SO fun!

I went last year for one day but this year I planned ahead so I could make it for two days.  On the first day Michael King did  a demo filled with tons of great tips.  We then went to Pagoda Ridge Golf club to paint for a few hours.  

When we got there everyone migrated to a huge shady tree (did I mention it was smokin hot, 34 degrees, ugh) and set up in front of a pond with a beautiful view of the mountains.  I loved the pond but of course the view I wanted was outside the golf course, looking through a chain link fence.  

Luckily I still had the shade of the tree so it was such a great afternoon of painting.  I have not done much plein air or alla prima painting as I mostly do indirect oil painting.  I found that I tend to rush when plein air painting and use too many brush strokes so I really focused on slooooowwwing down for this one a…

Federation of Canadian Artist's
Limitless Exhibit
June 29 - September 30, 2015

After a long hiatus, I have started exhibiting again and I am happy to say that my piece, End of Autumn, was accepted in the juried show LIMITLESS the FCA's online exhibition and competition.

You can view the exhibition online in full at:  there are some amazing pieces in the exhibit and it is a very diverse show.

Bargue Plate II, 23 A Roman Woman by Adolphe-William Bouguereau - Graphite Study

I completed...well I think it is done....this study of Plate II, 23 which is a copy of a study of A Roman Woman by Adolphe-William Bouguereau (1825-1905).  It is not nearly as accurate as it should be but I was having so much fun that I just decided to let her be herself.  I will have to do the study again in the future and be more diligent.   I started this just prior to my drawing classes that I am teaching as a way to get back in the swing of drawing.

It had been awhile since I had the time to draw and draw just for pleasure and it was SO much fun.  I love painting but the more I paint and then go back to drawing the more I realize how much I really love drawing.  I plan to draw several more plates and master copies over the summer months.  I hope to have one on-going in the studio and just left on an easel so on days where I only have limited time, I can just pop in and get some art time in.  It is the best therapy out there and totally free!

So Proud of My Drawing Student

I am so proud of my student's hard work! She is taking my Drawing From Life class and is working on a portrait that she will be giving away as a gift.  It is such a busy time of year yet she will be working every night this week to complete her portrait on time...while trying very hard not to rush!

Things really started to take shape tonight and I can't wait to see the final piece by the end of tomorrow night, nothing like working under a deadline to get you to maximum productivity level ;)

Suite E Life Drawing - Sustained Pose with Lily & AGM Tues June 9, 2015

Well this Tues was the last drawing session with Suite E Life Drawing group until September, gasp...sob.  This is my effort from that session with a lot of shading work done at home, I am sooo slow!

There are several areas that I would have liked to improve but this method while hugely fun, is not one of speed, so this is as far as I got.  I would love to have sessions with the model where we do the same pose and model for two to four sessions to fully complete a drawing...perhaps something that the group can implement next season if others are interested?

If you would like to put add your voice, please join us for our AGM Tues June 9th at Port Moody Arts Center.  We are a non-profit Life Drawing Group and welcome new members and drop in artists and students.

You are welcome to become a member if you are not already as memebers decide on what things to keep or change to make annually to make our life drawing group even better year after year.  Come on out with ideas and an appy/deser…

Quick, Portable Shadow Boxes from Foam Core

I needed to come up with shadow boxes for my Drawing from Life class that are portable, have attached lighting, quick to set up & take down and reasonably cheap.  No small order! 

So shopping I went.  I had a several ideas of what I could use, cardboard boxes, black fabric bins...but in the end I decided to go with black foam core.    The boxes are made from four pieces of foam core cut to the same size, in this case roughly 13x14".  I then taped three pieces together along the longest sides, alternating the side that I taped on. 

This way the "boxes" fold flat like an accordion in seconds.  The third piece of foam core is the same size and sits on top.  I wanted to leave the top unattached to keep things portable but also, this way I can slide fabric over the back panel if I choose for different set ups.  The base is just black construction paper that I will cut to size. 

The reason I chose paper rather than foam core was to keep costs down but also this way stude…

Monday Night Drawing Class Supplies

Look at all the goodies I got from Colour's Artist Supplies!  I love shopping for art supplies, any art supplies and I especially love shopping at Colour's.  Everyone there is so helpful and really passionate about art so we always get chatting about or latest projects.  Laury makes my life as a teacher so much easier as she organized and rounds everythign up for me so I can just come in and pick everything up.  They even offered to cut up my full sheets of drawing paper for me and practically gift wrapped it :)

These supplies are for my lucky students that signed up for my Drawing From Life class that starts June 1.  The black foam core sheets are not technically part of the supplies as I bought those for me..for what you ask?  You will have to wait to see, so excited to "build" with them.

There are two days left (I never count the day I am on ;)) and two spots left so if you would like to join us, you can sign up using  online registration or call (60…

How Can I Improve My Paintings?

I get asked this at pretty much every class that I teach.  My answer is always, draw, draw, draw.  Yes, I know, I have heard that a zillion times, but the fact is, it really is true.

If you can not draw it, imagine how much harder it is to paint it when you are dealing with drawing (proportionsa and form modeling) as well as color and paint handling.

For years I did not do thumbnail sketches and pencil studies prior to starting a painting as I was so anxious to dive in and hey, I only have a few hours here and there to get stuff done.  I would use a grid to draw out a reasonably quick outline sketch of my subject and then it was on to the paint.

Without fail though, I would struggle so much during the painting process, unsure as to what I was really seeing.  The painting, more often than not, turned out ok in the end, but it was always such a struggle and I did not feel like I was improving nearly as quickly as I felt I should be.

So I broke down and thought, ok, I will try doing a d…

Suite E Life Drawing Session - Sustained Pose with Caitlin

So sad that there are only a few sessions left for the season, I am going to miss it!  Last night was a sustained session with Caitlin, one of my favourite models.  She is amazingly still and oozes grace, very inspirational.

I would have loved even just another 15 minutes, of course there is never enough time and I barely got the darker values in her hair started and time was up.  It is funny because I used to draw much faster, but of course then I would get to the end of the night and notice an eye sliding off, slow is definitely better.

Today I started another drawing from life from one of the images from my beloved Charles Bargue Drawing book which I am slowly working my way through.  This book will keep me busy for so many years to come. 

I plan to do a drawing a day to get my drawing chops in shape for my upcoming class  Drawing From Life for the Beginner  at Port Moody Art Center starting June 1.  There are still a few spots left if you would like to join me you can register at…

Suite E Life Drawing Session - Sustained Pose with Gina

It seems like forever since I have been able to make it to Suite E Life Drawing at Port Moody Art Center, I was worried I would not remember how to draw!

Although I did not get nearly enough done on this, I was so happy to get the chance to draw from a model again that I really didn't care.  It is darker in real life as my darn flash kept going off on my camera and I was too lazy to find my detachable flash which directs the light at the ceiling rather than at the subject.

I have been busy painting in watercolor and acrylic lately and did not realize how much I have missed drawing.  I see a lot more sketching in my immediate future!

Plus I have to get back in the drawing groove for my upcoming Drawing From Life for the Beginner classes at Port Moody Art Center starting June 1, you can register at if you are interested.  Please register early as registration closes prior to start date of class.

If you are interested…

Some of My Favourite Watercolor Supplies

I often get asked about the materials that I use for my watercolor paintings so I thought I would post a version of my supply list online.

I never use student quality materials and honestly feel like nobody should. Working on student grade paper can make even a seasoned watercolor painter feel talentless! Professional quality paint and paper allows even the absolute beginner to feel like they are working with their materials, not fighting against them.

Student grade paints may be "cheaper" but they are filled will "fillers" so that it looks like you are getting more paint for your buck.  What you are really getting is a weaker pigment load so you use twice as much paint than you would if you had bought the professional quality.  The luminosity and handling also do not compare.  My advice, buy only three - four tubes to start and mix your own colors.  Your paintings will be more harmonious and you will learn so much about color mixing and how your colors work…

Some of My Favorite Oil Supplies

I often get asked what paints, brushes & supplies I use so I thought I would create a post with images for all us visual learners to make sharing the info easier.

These are the supplies that I use when I teach my workshops and art classes.  My next class starts in March, please visit if you would like more information.


Silver Bristalon Synthetic Rounds - Absolutely LOVE these brushes! They allow you to scrub to your hearts content yet the bristles stay together nicely and do not splay.  They may break down over time, but they always retain their shape and you don't get that annoying odd stray hair sticking out the side as you usually do with scrubbing brushes.
Silver Ruby Satin Synthetic - Again love this brush.  Excellent snap, soft yet able to achieve fine control.  Very resilient brush.

Rosemary & Co Ivory Long Flat - Love, love these brushes for alla prima and plein air painting.  They hold a lot of pain…