Sunday, August 20, 2017

there's something'...

I'm very happy with this portrait, done from life last week. It's not quite a likeness but I captured somethin'.... I think I got the intensity that the model was putting out there. He didn't just sit, daydreaming or getting bored. Being an artist himself, he knew how to give us painters an interesting energetic, although still, pose. : ) 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

portrait study of a friendly face

11x14" original watercolour painting

It's been a very busy summer so, I haven't been painting as much as I'd like. However, on Sunday, I managed to make it over to the Don Valley Art Club for the portrait session. I was happy to capture this 25 minute study of a fellow artist, and a friendly face. : )

Sunday, August 13, 2017

the brook

$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat.

It turns out that the James Gardens in Toronto is quite the hidden gem! A bunch of us from the Don Valley Art Club went painting there on Saturday only to discover hidden brooks, a beautiful duck pond, and lots of frogs and turtles. The place is a painters dream.
Here's a pic of my paintbox with my watercolour palette in it and a 6x8" watercolour pad bulldog clipped to it. I've done a lot of plein-air painting and urban sketching in this trusty little box. 
; )

Monday, August 07, 2017

Berczy Park's cat

8x10" watercolour
I spent Saturday with the Toronto Urban Sketchers over at Berczy Park. The city just finished renovating the triangular park. About 30 life size dog statues now surround, and swim in, the three tier fountain. As well, there is one cat. That's what the girl in my painting is looking at. I think I'll boost up the colour and line of the foreground cat so she's a little bit more noticeable. ; )
In the last photo the fountain turned on, which was a nice sudden surprise! We really wished it was on when we first got there... a good reason to go back and paint it again.

Friday, August 04, 2017

cut through

$60 - 6x8"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat.

I love this little passage way. I've been meaning to paint it for awhile and today I got the chance. : )

Thursday, July 27, 2017


$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat.

I saw this scene on my way home, as I was cutting down my favourite little lane. I stopped and drew it, although the man and his dog were long gone, putting them in from memory. They were both so cute. I'm sure the man enjoyed giving his dog the treat as much as the dog enjoyed receiving it. ; )

Monday, July 24, 2017

One Handed Palette and Water Holder!

My new watercolour palette and water cup holder. I saw one of these on Urban Sketchers, so I decided to make my own. : )
I got an inexpensive plastic corrugated board from the hardware store and flipped it over to use the back. I got plastic (not cardboard) so that it's WATERPROOF.
The water cup MUST have a lip on it. (dollar store)
Position the cup where you want it and trace it with a sharpie. Trace the BOTTOM of it! Make sure the hole is smaller than the lip.

I decided to cut a shape for the thumb hole on my palette too. (This is optional if you don't use a thumb hole.) A bulldog clip can hold your palette to the board.
 Ready to cut...
Cut with an X-acto knife. Ready to assemble...
I pushed the cup in only half way. Then added a bull dog clip, just for a little extra reinforcement. : )
 Don't forget the lid!
The space between the cup and palette holds an extra brush. 
All done. And my thumb fits into the hole perfectly so I can hold the board with one hand. This will work perfectly while I stand, or sit, when painting in life classes, urban sketching or plein-air painting. It's nice and light. Can't wait to try it out!
I've left an extra bit on the right so that I can clip a cloth/paper towel there.  Happy Painting Everyone!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

quiet morning

$60 - 6x8" original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat.
The Toronto Music Garden is an awesome place to paint. It was designed by the famous cellist Yo Yo Ma! The Don Valley Art Club Plein-Air Painters spent Saturday there. We couldn't go wrong with the boats to paint, the benches to sit on, the shade of the many trees, and the near by Starbucks loo.  ; )
Here is a pic of my paintbox set up. When I got home, I decided to close off the corner of the painting by adding the tree in the top right.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

cozy courtyard

$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat

The Toronto Watercolour Society spent a day plein-air painting at the University of Toronto. Every old historic college has a beautiful hidden courtyard in the centre of it. We happily found this one with a lovely bunch of striking, and proud, red flowers.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Portrait in Progress

11x14" original watercolour
Well, I got half of it painted during my portrait session at Don Valley Art Club. I'm hoping to finish it in studio on Sunday. It's just not the same working on it at home, despite having photos of the unfinished half. 
I really wanted to put the model in context this time, with a few cool props that say 'studio'. I love the statue juxtaposing the model, who was wonderfully still for us. I made his dark jacket white, for some contrast, and for that disco look!! ; )
Here's a photo from the studio-

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

afternoon shadows

$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat

Friends and I, from the Toronto Plein-Air Group, headed out to paint at Riverdale Farm yesterday. It's fun there however, after lunch we decided to wander across the street to Toronto's historic Necropolis Cemetery. It opened in 1850 and is full of old interesting gravestones as well as huge gorgeous trees. Such a beautiful and peaceful place. 
Below is a pic of my work in progress. I drew it with charcoal pencil then used lots of variations of green!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

pearl necklace

$150 - 11x14" original watercolour painting
This awesome model showed up for my portrait session wearing this great big pearl necklace and turquoise tiara. She was such a pleasure, and challenge, to paint. Below are a few step by step pictures.
The pencil block in really has to be 'right' before proceeding. When I am drawing I just keep measuring and measuring and comparing and comparing. Using horizontal and vertical lines to sort of 'scaffold' my way around the drawing. Almost like using an invisible grid.
I paint from top to bottom. I used cadmium red, cerulean blue and brown umber. I added some rose madder for the purples.
Here's the almost finished painting. I felt happy with her portrait after the three hour session, but I did have to finish the pearl necklace at home. Looking at the finished product now, it may have to be darkened in between the pearls so that the highlights pop. Hmm. Might do that today. : )

Friday, July 07, 2017

a flying start

$150 - 11x14"original watercolour painting

I'm still plugging away at trying to work bigger. : ) This one was a blast to paint. Lots of shapes and colours.

Monday, July 03, 2017


$100 - 8x10"original watercolour painting
I love drawing and painting people in cafes. I thought the lights hanging from the ceiling encouraged the perspective. These two friends were talking about learning a language however, the title also refers to people's body language, like the way his head is tilted and the posture of the guy writing in the background. : )
closeups - 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

not sad really

$100 - 8x10" original watercolour painting

The title of this painting is in reference to a conversation fellow artists and I were having during our portrait session. The model always looks so sad, but they aren't really. They're just lost in thought as they sit there, for 20 minutes at a time, having to be perfectly still. 
Meanwhile, I'm practising painting smiles and teeth from photographs since it's the only way to get someone to 'hold a smile'! ; )

Sunday, June 25, 2017

keep watch

$60 - 5x7"original watercolour painting with 8x10"mat

Painting black is so tricky in watercolour. I used lots of burnt umber and prussian blue with splashes of rose madder. The goal was to contrast those lovely yellow eyes. Black cats aren't bad luck, they're beautiful!! ; )

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

portrait with braids

11x14" original watercolour painting
Last nights portrait session at the awesome Don Valley Art Club was with this lovely model, wearing braids and dressed in orange. Such an expressive wonderful model. It was nice to have a full session to work on it and really see it through, as opposed to short poses and sketching. ; )
Here's the work while in progress -