Friday, August 30, 2019

A Visit to My Grandfather's Grave

I never knew my grandfather, but recently I went to visit his grave site for the first time. I certainly never expected to find a bare patch of grass between the other markers in the row. I confirmed my findings with a very helpful young man in the office. When my grandfather died in 1945, two plots were purchased in the Masonic Cemetery in Burnaby, BC.  No marker was ever erected, and in 1955, the second plot was sold back to the cemetery. 

It is no wonder that I find genealogy fascinating - the mysteries and discoveries are endless!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Looking Up

I'm fascinated by looking up into the large trees that line the city streets of the rain forest here in Vancouver.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Favorite Subject

This fountain no longer works, but it functions well as a bird bath.  I love it, and draw it at least once each summer.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Choosing A Subject

This geranium in a clay pot attracted me as a drawing subject as soon as I sat down in my lounge chair last week. 

I discarded it as a subject because I thought it was a bit simple, a bit boring, and instead, launched into the wider, busier drawing below.  After I finished, I was still drawn by my initial choice, and so I sketched the one above.  

I like the simple one much better; I should have stayed with my intuition.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Imaginary Flowers

I read a book by Sandrine Pelissier recently, called Painting Imaginary Flowers: Beautiful Blooms and Abstract Patterns in Mixed Media.

It gave me the idea to use gelli prints as a basis for a technique I used many times (with great joy) with gelatos.  I'm always looking for things to do with my gelli prints.  

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Japanese Double Pamphlet Sketchbooks

This is what happens when I can't make up my mind.  I made the portrait sketchbook first, and then the very next day I decided I wanted to go square for awhile instead, and so I needed to make another.  

I gelli printed the covers of both sketchbooks, using stamps that I was contemplating discarding (more indecision).  I decided to keep both stamps.  

The process not only helped me to decide, but to stop thinking of them as "precious".  I usually avoid using wood mounted stamps with acrylic paint because I can't throw them in water, but I just scrubbed them with a toothbrush under a running tap and they cleaned up just fine.  I figured if I was getting rid of them it didn't matter if they got destroyed.  I had much more fun this way too!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tom Cat ATC's

These are a few of the artist trading cards I made for the local swap last Sunday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Whim 18

Joanne calls these patterns on colour fields "Pods".  They're everywhere on social media these days!  I've even done a few of my own....

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Rainforest

Much of my art is inspired by the luscious rainforest where I live, in British Columbia, Canada.

These were done following the restrictions from Lesson Four of the Find Your Joy taster course I did recently.  And, once again, I enjoyed myself immensely. 

Part of the fun was stumbling across these little collage pieces from my stash.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Value Study

This was inspired by the talented watercolourist from Montreal, Shari Blaukopf.    Once again, I did it for the challenge, not the result.  It was one of those "I'd like to try that!" moments.  

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Perspective Challenges

Drawing for me is often about challenging myself.  That's what I enjoy about it, getting lost in the challenge of putting the next line in the right place.  I rarely succeed, but it doesn't matter.   

As they say on Instagram:  #doitfortheprocess!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Find Your Joy - Lesson Four

These were all done as part of the free taster course Find Your Joy with the wonderful artist and teacher Louise Fletcher.

This lesson was about limitations - there were instructions about which media to use in which order.

I enjoyed this lesson immensely.  Knowing that I was going to make four pieces freed me up to experiment and make mistakes.  I can see myself coming back to this exercise again and again.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Car Inspiration

The reference photo for this came from the Facebook group "I grew up in Vancouver".  I want to try a value exercise with it too.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Elements of Drawing

This is the first exercise in a book called The Elements of Drawing, by John Ruskin.  Roz Stendahl recommended it on her blog.  This book was first published in 1856, and it was a ground breaking book written for the average person who wanted to learn to draw, rather than for art students.

I didn't find it an enjoyable read, so I returned it to the library.  But I might borrow it again or look for it in a used book store; I can see myself wanting to try again at some point.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Drawing as Meditation

Sometimes when I do a lot of painting, I find that I miss drawing.

Drawing is a kind of meditation for me.

The concentration and focus are calming and peaceful.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Changing Things Up

Lesson Two in Find Your Joy was about trying something new.  We were to use new tools and colours we don't normally use on a familiar subject.  "Notice what you enjoy and what you don't", Louise instructed.

I used my 2 least favorite colours, purple and orange, but couldn't resist adding ochre and grey. I used a fan brush and a flat brush.  (I usually use rounds).  I found a stick in my desk drawer with 2 different ends. 

I enjoyed everything about doing this, although the feeling was different than when I worked wet on wet in Lesson One.    I felt very calm and peaceful doing this.  (Lesson One was joyful and exuberant.) 

I'm usually impatient and uninterested with this level of detail, but I found the fan brush fascinating and fun.  And I wanted to make tick marks with the stick over and over. It was all like some kind of meditation.  

I even enjoyed the colours.  I had to dive into a set of pan watercolors to find an orange and a purple, but these colours might find their way onto my shopping list.  If I'm paying attention to what I enjoy and what I don't, I would have to say that I don't enjoy mixing large quantities of paint colours.  I never mix enough and then it is hard to match.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Palette Cleanser

Joanne Sharpe can even make a whim out of cleaning your palette!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Find Your Joy - A Second Take on Lesson One

I love finger painting with wet gelatos on canvas paper, so I decided to have another go at Lesson One of Find Your Joy.

My joy didn't last because I used too much black and the colours turned muddy.  (I got some of the light back by twisting a bunched up paper towel and removing some mud.)  The tape didn't work well on the slick canvas paper, so the wet mud slipped under the tape.  I thought it was destined for the garbage.

However, once I cut them up I found that I liked them.  They have nice depth, I think.  I have no idea what I'll do with them.  

This course isn't about the results, thankfully, it is about finding joy in the process, and identifying what you like doing.  I already knew that I liked fingerpainting with wet gelatos, so I'll do that again, no doubt.  The idea of taping, working large and then cutting them up just didn't work with this medium though.  It's all a learning process!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Luscious Landscape with a Border

We taped off a border using washi tape for some landscapes.  Washi tape has just the right amount of stick for this, it turns out.  Some tape will damage your paper, but washi tape removes easily.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Monday, August 5, 2019

Find Your Joy

I'm taking a free taster course from Louise Fletcher called Find Your Joy.  You can find out more about it here.

Louise works in acrylic, but there are a handful of us in this class working in watercolour.  In this first exercise, we taped off a large piece of paper and then painted ignoring the tape (i.e. as if it was one large painting).  We experimented with different mark making tools and limited ourselves to 30 minutes.  I found this exercise liberating, joyful, and lots of fun!

After I had applied a bit of paint I found myself working on the six individual squares, which turned out to be an optional second step.  I had so much fun that I may try this again and ATTEMPT to follow the instructions.

I have cut these apart and I'm undecided as to whether they are finished yet.  I'll put them away for awhile and look at them again later.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Pressed Flowers

These flowers were created by "pressing" our brushes onto the paper.  It isn't my favorite spread, but I was successful with spattering the drawing gum!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Big Bodacious Blooms and Flower Power

I'm learning some new tricks as well as having fun in "Whims in Watercolor 2".  With these big bodacious blooms we continued to use drawing gum to preserve our whites.  I'm getting better at using the silicon tools to draw with.

For both of these whims we mixed white watercolor with our transparent paints to create some gouache-like opaque colours.  In the whim above, we added them to our blooms after removing the drawing gum.  Below, you see just the more opaque paints.

Friday, August 2, 2019

My Town 2

This is another intuitive painting that I did during the "make art time" of our local Artist Trading Card swap.  It is in a small mixed media journal, hence the stray green mark over on the left side. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Secret Blooms and Under Earth

These are two more whims from Joanne Sharpe's latest class.

Joanne was demonstrating Daniel Smith Primatek watercolours, which are ground from minerals, and have a bit of sparkle to them.  Her colours were, therefore, darker and more muted.  The metallic watercolours I used for these (inexpensive Laurentian paints) are much brighter, so the "under earth" theme didn't work as well.  I love it for the flowers, though!

These were both drawn with masking fluid before painting, using a silicone tool.