Search This Blog


Thursday, 2 July 2015

My Inspiration Cup Over Floweth

Just arrived back from the Yukon and Alaska. What a wonderful trip! Besides being able to spend time with my daughter, her husband and my youngest grandson, I was able to see so much of the landscape. It is just not something we see in Ontario and I was just awe struck! Needless to say, I brought lots of photographs home but I also had lots of opportunity to sketch as you saw in last week's post. Today, I've posted some more of my sketches.  It is so awesome to sit under the mountains and listen to rushing water, the wind and the birds, smelling the outdoor air, and feeling the sun on your skin as you document the scenery by sketching. I was in heaven!

Sketched in the Mountains of Alaska

This one was a little hastily sketched

I still have to add colour to these two sketches which will bring them alive but you still see the vastness and beauty of the location.

Sketched at Kathleen Lake on the edge of Kluane National Park

Another sketch of the Yukon River in Whitehorse

This trip also gave me time to read some great magazines, The Artist, Watercolour and Quilting Arts. I was also able to pick up some wonderful fabrics in Whitehorse and Haines, Alaska.

Also found this piece that resembles Northern Lights.
I have so many ideas now, I just don't know what to begin with. It's a great problem to have!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Sketching Time Found

I have always dreamed of visiting the Yukon. Even before my daughter and her husband moved there, I was intrigued by this Northerly part of Canada. I have fulfilled that dream twice but only in winter which is a very beautiful time to come with its mounds of snow and hoar frost covered trees and its ice fog. It is true that we are never satisfied because once I had visited in the winter time, my dream changed to visiting in the summer. Once again, by God's grace, I am having that dream come to realization.
I thought I would be wearing long sleeved shirts and jackets, however, it has been very warm here since I arrived. The weather is just beautiful! I have not wasted my time but began sketching in the plane on the trip here to get my mental state ready for a week of exercising my observation skills and eye-hand coordination for sketching.


Guy sitting in seat 29D

Since landing in Whitehorse, I have had lots of opportunity to wander around town and find some great sketching subjects.
The Yukon River is a few minutes walk from my daughter's home so I walked to a spot where I saw bench and sat down to sketch the river. There just happened to be a guy fishing in the river at that spot.

This morning, I walked to another section of the river where I could sketch the SS Klondike which sits on the other side of the river. The Klondike is a paddle wheeler that was used on the river during the Gold Rush.

This week my blog is a day early because tomorrow I'll be travelling to Haines, Alaska. Check next week's blog for some sketches done in Alaska.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Finding Time to be Creative

So I suppose all my followers noticed that I'm a day late with my blog. Our business is in the midst of it's busy time of year and so due to work, household responsibilities and events that are beyond our control, I have to find little pockets of time to be creative. If I don't do something creative, no matter how small, my day feels incomplete. I think this is why my studio is such a mess at the moment. I just leave everything out so if I have 5 minutes in the day or evening, I'll head down there and try to get something done. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I've realized that the creativity doesn't have to be with paint only. It can be baking something or writing a poem, doing a sketch or even reading an art magazine. It just has to be something I get pleasure from and that no one is forcing me to do. I do it for myself. No one may ever see what I've done. Being creative just clears my head and gives me satisfaction and usually triggers all kinds of other creative ideas.

So this week, not much art was done. I haven't been able to get a sketching walk in so I haven't done any new neighbourhood sketches. I did find a few minutes, however, to paint the little sketch I showed you a couple of weeks ago.

I added some maple keys to my drawing because as I was walking there were many brown ones on the ground and still lots of green ones in the trees. I always thought seeds were produced in the fall but these maple trees first produced flowers, then the leaves developed and right after that the keys showed up. I'll have to read up on this and find out why it happens in the spring.

I also spent some time with my grandson at my house one day and we had fun "painting" a piece of canvas with his hands and feet. I thing he really liked the activity.

I mixed up some fabric paint and poured it into a foam meat tray. We started with his hands so he dipped his hands in the paint and then printed his hand shape onto the canvas. Then we thought it would be fun to put footprints on it so I loaded up the foam tray again and he put his foot into the paint and then stepped onto the canvas. I really like how it turned out. It is hanging to dry and as it hangs I keep looking at it to see what we can add. I have a little idea of what I want to do with it once the design is they way I want it. Look for it in future blogs.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A New Course

I have started an online course on Colour Theory. We think we know all about colour but when you take a course like this, it makes you think about colours that work together and colours that evoke a mood and colours that enhance the meaning of a piece of art.

My first lesson had me using pencil crayons and layering different colours on top of one another. In the example below I used a light blue, light purple, red and a bright rose. You can see what happened when I layered them.

Next I had to layer yellow and red increasing the yellow layers. From what I can see there is hardly a difference. I'm thinking it is because yellow is such a light colour. I'll have to do some experimentation with different colour combinations to see if this is the case. Doing these experiments also shows me how to get the colours I want and also how to get colours I don't want.

Lesson 2 was on Tints and Shades. Tints and shades are created by adding black or white to a colour. The exercise I had to do was using the primary colours of red, yellow and blue, I was to add one layer of white and then 2 layers of white as well as one layer of black and then 2 layers of black. The middle blocks are the base colour. Above that are the tints and below, the shades.

This is a diagram of all the various colours and their tints and shades.

I'm hoping this course will help me to make deliberate and conscious choices of colour that will enhance my art and get across what I really want to say. As I learn more, I'll share other interesting tidbits from the course.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

More Inspiration Found on my Neighbourhood Walks

I've been faithfully going on my neighbourhood walks and taking my sketch book and pen with me. In early Spring I was documenting the new growth that was happening in yards and gardens. With the warmer weather everything burst forth very quickly and now the trees are fully leafed and the Spring bulbs have bloomed and died. Now a lot of the flowering trees are in bloom and people are planting their gardens full of colour.
I have an art center just up the street from me. It is called the Franklin Carmichael Art Center, named after one of the Group of Seven painters that I so admire. I walked in that direction and entered the yard and behind the original house, there is a smaller building that has been converted into a studio space for art lessons. The City of Toronto maintains the property and has placed benches in the yard. I sat on a bench and sketched the Garden Studio. It was so nice and quiet there and is shaded by many large trees. I enjoyed my sketching session that morning.

I sketched for about an hour and then took the long way home so I actually got some exercise too. Before I left, I snapped a photo of the area so I had the details I needed to paint it. Later in the week I added shadows and paint to the sketch.

I have also noticed that a robin has built a nest under the eaves of our garage and she was sitting on it daily. I did a quick sketch of her in the corner of my book.

Then a week later I walked to a busier area of my neighbourhood and sat on the boulevard in the shade of a tree and sketched the plaza across the street. I live in an area where there is a large south Asian community and this is evidenced on the signs above the shops here.

Later I will add shadows and paint to this sketch as well. It is really interesting to document your neighbourhood in drawings because it helps you to really take in what is around you instead of just driving by oblivious to the richness of the community.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Antique Inspiration

I love old things. I have a few pieces of furniture that I have bought from consignment stores, found in a little country antique shop or saved from a landfill. A couple of weeks ago when I went for my sketch walk one of my neighbours had a small cupboard standing at the road. Upon seeing it, I fell in love with the shape and the age of it immediately. I've refinished one of these once before and it can be a lot of work. I wasn't looking for more work BUT my niece and a friend of hers refinishes old things, giving them new life and reselling them in their business. I thought of her, and texted her a picture of it, noting that it was in rough shape but that I knew she could do something wonderful with it. As I thought, she wanted it. So I took my car up to the house, knocked on the door and asked the owner if he minded that I take the little cupboard. He said, " no problem" and helped me get it into the back of my truck. He told me he was keeping for his daughter, who just never came to get it, so out it went to the curb. He said it was from the 1920's. I can't wait to see what my niece does with it.

Well, then last Saturday, I was invited to the Christie Antique Market at Christie Conservation Area. I convinced my sister to go with me and we had a great time. I missed out on a really nice round aluminum table with four chairs. They were painted white and would have fit perfectly on my back deck and it was reasonably priced. When I got to the owner of the booth she told me it was sold a few minutes before. I shouldn't have thought about it so long!
However, I didn't leave empty handed. I spied a solid wood bookcase with a glass door on it that locked with a really neat old key. It was beautiful! Because it was a bookcase, it wasn't deep and would fit perfectly in my studio to hold all my fabric. Then, instead of taking all my fabric bins out from under my counter when I needed to choose fabric for a project, all I had to do was open the door.
With help from my sister and her husband, I got it into the house and down to the studio. I cleaned it out this week and today I put all my fabric in it. It's fantastic. A really good buy.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Artist Business Cards

I have a really hard time throwing out fabric scraps and so I have drawers full of them (just in case I need them). The other day, I was reading about having business cards made. I thought to myself," A business card for an artist should be hand made by themselves. What better way to make yourself remembered? So I took some of my fabric scraps and made 2"X3" fabric business cards. Admittedly, they take longer to make than printed ones but I really enjoyed making them. They are simple but cute, I think.