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Thursday, 25 August 2016


A few weeks ago I posted a number of unsuccessful selfies. Today I worked on one with pencil first so I could correct any mistakes before I inked it in with pen and painted it. This one was more successful but I still had to do some correction even after I had inked and painted it. This one will replace the selfie I use for my instagram portrait that has me dressed in a thick cowl for the winter.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Vacation Inspiration

Vacationing with at least 6 other adults and 7 grandchildren doesn't afford much time for art, however I've become creative with making or finding the time for it. When my grandchildren see me getting out my pen and sketchbook they want to join me. I'll sit them down beside me with their own sketchbooks and they'll use whatever supplies I've brought with me to make their own creations.

I also take my sketchbook to the beach where I'll do some small quick sketches. I always leave a sketch or small painting for the owners of the place we rent as a thank you for letting us enjoy their property and surroundings.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Inspired by the Passing of Time Continued

In February I posted about a calendar I am working on. It is for the year 2017 and has various themes for each month. January was Winter, February was Love, March was Creativity. In February I was ahead of the game having already finished the first three months.

Well, now it is August and I am still working on June. The April and June pages are done on watercolour paper with watercolour and May is again a fabric piece.

April is Early Spring with Forsythia and Pasque Flower. I think I need to add something to this page as it looks a little plain yet. Also, I did this one on the wrong size. It should be 14"X14" but I cut out a 14"X16" piece of watercolour paper by accident and didn't notice until I had gotten quite a way into the project. I'm not sure if I'll do a completely new page for April (since May is also Spring) or just cut it down and make it work.

May is Later Spring with Tulips, Bleeding Hearts and Blossoming trees done on a dyed silk fabric using painted tea bags for the flowers. I'm noticing as I am blogging that I haven't stitched in the date numbers on this one yet. 

June's theme is vehicles, both modern and older. I am just starting to paint the cars. I still have to add the date numbers and a few other embellishments.
I'm still interested in more themes if you have some ideas for me.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Inspiration Frustration

I started this day out with high hopes on getting a few great art things accomplished. Well, just so you know, not everything an artist sets out to do works out perfect. I know you think that's how it works but that is not reality. You usually get to see only the artist's BEST work.

Just so you know I am human and make mistakes, I'm going to post some not-so-good stuff I did today.

I had noticed that my Instragram profile picture, which is a self-portrait done in a cartoon style, has me dressed in winter clothes and so I thought I would do a summer one. I also just got my hair cut and thought I should update the picture. Well, I tried, tried, and tried again but I could not get the self-portrait right. The eyes are too big, the nose is too small, the face is wonky. Oh so frustrating! Take a look.

They don't even resemble me in the slightest. Although I am frustrated, I'm going to have to keep trying. I think part of the problem is that I am not using a pencil so I cannot adjust any errors as I go. Art teachers say not using a pencil lends itself to a more spontaneous drawing. In a way they are right but I would really like a self-portrait to look like me. Oh well, practice makes perfect they say.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Inspired by a Community Garden

Mural painted on the side of the garden shed.

We have a community garden close to where I live that is used to teach students in the local high school about vegetable gardening. The school and a community organization work together to maintain the garden. At this time of year the garden is full of mature plants, vegetables and fruit trees so the edibles are regularly harvested and set out for sale each Friday. I'm sure the money they earn is used to continue the program.

It is wonderful to wander through the rows and see what's growing. Besides vegetables there are also flowers blooming here and there. It would be wonderful just to sit there and sketch and I plan to take that opportunity when I have the time. For today, though, I just took some photographs.

I loved the look of these various gloves
hanging on the inside of the shed door

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Well of Inspiration is Full Again

We had a very damp beginning to our canoeing weekend but that didn't stop us. Eventually the sun came out and we very much enjoyed our surroundings, the fellowship we had with each other, the activities we engaged in, the outdoor smells and sounds and even surviving for four days with minimal luxuries.

My little art kit was just what I needed to document the trip a little bit. I even enlisted my sister and her daughter to sketch. It is really nice to lose yourself in a sketch of your surroundings.

Sitting on a life jacket helps keep your bum from going numb while being perched on a log bench for an extended sketching time.

Our camp site on Booth Lake, Algonquin

A shady spot in the grass is much more comfortable.

Old ranger cabin built in 1939 on Tattler Lake, Algonquin

We saw these inch long catfish in the water where we moored our canoes.

Water bottles of every shape and size can be found all over the campsite in and attempt to keep hydrated in the hot weather. They are regularly filled with water from the lake that we filter and purify with a UV light.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Creativity and Innovation

It is July and that time of year when I take a group of women on a 4 day canoe trip. This year was going to be a trip to Killarney Provincial Park but, it seems, Killarney is a very popular back country destination in summer. We were unable to get sites so we had to adjust our plans. We will be going back to that beautiful Provincial Park, Algonquin again.

Each time we go on this trip, I bring some art gear along and each year I try to streamline it and make it as small as I possibly can but still be able to produce something lovely with it. If you have to portage and carry all your equipment and clothing as well as a canoe, you want to have just enough stuff but not too much and it needs to be fairly light. For example, the stove I bring fits into a 5"X 7" pouch! And we do all our meals on it.

So when I saw a link on Facebook on how to make a paint kit out of an "Altoids" container, I thought this was the perfect solution for my canoe trip.

All my art gear fits into a 7"X 8" zippered freezer bag. It is clear so I can see everything that is in it.

The items include a small sketchbook and another small sketchbook that is long and narrow for landscapes, a uniball pen, a mechanical pencil, a watercolour kit and a waterbrush.

The watercolour kit is a variation on the "Altoids" container kit.

It is a container I found among my stuff and apparently it used to hold "10 sinoritas". I believe those were tiny cigars made for women smokers. They were made in Holland and were called Uiltje D'or or in English Golden Owls. The brown label on the lid is evidence that this little tin was used for something else after the cigars were gone. It says, "veilig hieds spelden" which is Dutch for safety pins. I think this tin may be considered an antique now.

I found some used bubble packaging for pills and glued them to the bottom of the tin then squeezed watercolour paint into them. Seeing as you can make almost any colour out of the primary colours yellow, red and blue, I included those but also added burnt sienna, yellow ochre, paynes grey and viridian green. I put a small piece of white felt in the top to clean off my brush on. The tin is only 2.75" X 3.75" in size.

The last item I included in the kit is a water brush which has a reservoir for water in the handle so you don't need a container of water with you.

I hope to paint many lovely sketches on this canoe trip as well as photographing lots of inspiration for future art.