Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Gosh, it's another very cold day here.  This winter has been fierce.  It's not personally terrifying like last year, but the winds howl, ice coats everything, and it's bitterly cold.  Still, I'll take it over last year.  To banish the lingering dark memories of last winter, I decided to try to really focus on good things, and to help myself get there, I went to my sketch book.  I spent 15 or so minutes sketching  things that bring peace and contentment into my life.  It's set it up where I can see it often and when I look at it, I consciously relax and think good thoughts.   It's not a finished painting or even a decent drawing - it's rough in the extreme, yet it has become something important that I enjoy looking at and that gives me something I need.  Maybe this is part of  what Art Therapy is.          Art is so much more than just a decorative image hanging on your wall.  If you choose something that you love, it will give you comfort, joy, and a pleasant thought every time you look at it.  Naturally, most of my wallspace has my work hanging there, but over the years I've bought work from different artists -small originals from  friends and prints of work from the past of artists I admire, especially the Impressionists and the Pre-Raphaelites, and each piece says something to me.           
 Most of the time when I paint, I want a good, clear, clean, accurate image of my subject, I want to apply the paint carefully so that it enhances the image and is put on correctly, and I want the narrative of my painting to be clear to the viewer.  The 'feeling good' sketch I did has none of these things, yet it speaks to me, and only to me, of things I need to hear.  So the near-as-possible-to-perfect  painting (at this time) is not the only way to go to produce something that has value to me, and that has been an interesting lesson.
But now I'm back to my usual work, and loving it as much or more than I did last week. (Before the 'Revelation' :D)  I'm still painting Dreams and Dogs and Horses, but now from time to time, and just for me, I'll be painting personal emotions.  There is so much more to Art than you would think.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I'm looking forward to getting into a new painting that has been bubbling in my mind.  One of several I'm eager to work on.  But just at this moment, I'm not worried about producing something that someone will buy, or pleasing a client, or entering a show.  The first two will be important again  of course, but as for shows and competitions, I never enter them any more.  I used to, and was accepted in my fair share and won awards, but the stress and the work involved in framing and shipping was not worth the time lost in painting and family time - to me.  And of course, in my case, there's the border.  There are few shows in Canada where my work (animals) would be suitable, and the potential hassles involved in cross border shipping when the painting will likely come back can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare.   (No problem with donations, sales or commissions that are only going one way.)
Right now, after a whole lot of stresses, I need to once again find the peace that painting can bring me.   I need time to just BE, to just Breathe  I'm going to paint something that makes me smile, and look out my studio window for long minutes at a time, watching the snow shadows and the birds that come to the feeders.

I'm going to spend some time just drifting and dreaming of a peaceful, beautiful place - not necessarily any place I would actually go, but a place I can go to in my mind.

May I suggest that in this hectic world, we all take a few minutes now and then to relax, look around at what is there to sooth one's spirit, and JUST BREATHE.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


                                     Chinese Lanterns                                      Watercolour

These past couple of weeks I've been doing something more or less new with my painting.  I've been painting some of the little treasured moments in the garden that have always delighted me.  I'm not a Floral or Landscape artist and have no wish to seriously go in that direction, but I do love doing these little ( 5 x 7) "Gardenscapes. Most of my dog and horse paintings are thought out in every detail before I begin - that said, suprises always happen!  But these Garden paintings are more spontanious.  I'm concentrating more on colour and overall impact than botanical detail.  Oh, I plan them out and  draw them in moderate detail, but once the colour starts to go on, I tend to simply have faith that the the paint will go where it should to look it's best, and that the painting is going to come together and turn out looking good.  "Paint by Instinct" I guess you could call it. Although I like working this way for the gardenscapes, it will never be my way to do the larger animal paintings.  But even there, painting is an exercise in faith.  As in Art, so in Life.  You've got to believe.

                                                River Reeds                     Watercolour


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Icy Breath of Winter

To quote an old song, "Baby it's Cold outside".  The wind has been howling all day and we've been snugged up in a warm house with the dogs and cats close by.  So what does an artist do in the deep mid winter besides stay warm?

                 Winter Path                           watercolour         

Sometimes I take an art path I seldom explore, something like the little landscape above.   The country enchants me, and there are so many little treasures I see  and photograph on our drives, and once in a while, the need to paint them takes over.                                        Sometimes, while the wind blows and the temperature drops, I try out different ideas for paintings, and sometimes they work, and sometimes, . . . . .. .  .   Well, better find out at the doodle stage  that something isn't going to work out!  I like to explore my options in art during January and  make plans for the painting year ahead.      On a really frigid day like this, when the cold bites and
 burns and stings, I admit to dreaming about warmer places, but when it comes down to it, I love our winters and wouldn't want to miss them.   I'd miss the sparkle of snow, the winter blue of the sky on a sunny day, and all the feathered visitors to our bird feeders.  If I wasn't home in winter, I'd miss the deer meandering down the road under the streetlights, anticipating the dinner of cracked corn some of us leave out for them in hard winters like this one.  And I'd never want to miss the delight our little dogs take in racing through the snow, barking and rejoicing in the thrill of the race.   January is a cold, challenging month, so put on a cozy sweater, curl up in front of a  window where you will be warm, and enjoy it's gifts of icy beauty, just as beautiful at night under a full moon as they are during the sun sparkled day.                          
Winter Night                 waterclour

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Old & Familiar and Something New

Well Happy New Year everyone!  I hadn't planned on doing a new blog until next week, but suddenly it felt right to do it today.  New Years is so full of intentions and plans . . . so energizing.  I'm not stating intentions - haven't done that in years, but I am making plans for the upcoming year. The most important plan is to  make sure I am connected to every day and to my loved ones, not letting the days slip past in a blur of busy-ness.  Each day is precious.  Each special day needs marking and celebrating. Our loved ones need to know they are loved each and every day.
And with my painting, I want to have fun again.  With that in mind, I have lots of the usual things I love to paint on my list.  The Dogs, especially Shelties, the horses and cats and the country way of life I so love.  If you enjoy my work and these types of paintings, I'll have lots to show you over this coming year.

                            The Lavender Path       Watercolour

Naturally, I love painting Shelties,  They have been our dog of choice for over 30 years, although we have also enjoyed the company of Collies and a few other breeds during that time.

                         Heading Home          an older watercolour

The sight of a horse always brings a smile to my face and quickening of my pulse, so I guess I will always want to paint them now and then, either by themselves or in the rural setting that surrounds me.  But dogs remain my main focus again this year.

But every now and then, I need to take a flight of fancy and dip into Fantasy.  I did several Fantasy paintings a couple or so years back, so don't be surprised if I wander down the Faery path now and then during the upcoming year.

Lady Iris     Watercolour

                             This is a little series of Medieval Knight paintings that told a story of a Knight going out on a Quest all the way from him starting out, to meeting a baby Dragon, to his being home with the Lady he saved when he jousted a rival knight.  And on to his Ghost horse still protecting the Castle ruins.  Great fun!  And each of these little paintings was only 2.5 x 3 inches big!  I have a new idea or two, so don't be surprised if the story of my Knight and his Lady is continued.  Did you realize she had been captured by . . . no, I'll wait and let you see it later in the year!

So I hope you will follow along to see what's happening . . .  there will be another surprise or two ahead, I promise!  And if you enjoy the blog and my paintings, please share with your friends if you think they'd like them too.