Thursday, December 31, 2009

DSFDF Portrait Challenge

Submitted this to the DSFDF just under the deadline wire. I wasn't able to participate in the portrait challenge last year, so I was really pleased to be able to this year. Looks like there were 180 artists to participate this year!! Check it out:Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick.

New Year's resolution: to double the number of blog paintings in 2010!

All the best in 2010!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I thought that I would do piles of paintings while recovering from my fracture. No where near! Recovery meant no weight on the leg for 6 weeks, so I was on crutches. The first few weeks, I only wanted to sleep, and getting around on crutches takes an enormous amount of energy. It takes about 8 times as long to do the simplest of things - make breakfast, get dressed etc. Impossible to carry anything like a cup of coffee while on crutches!

But with the help of many wonderful people picking up the reins and helping me out, I am pretty functional again. It's 8 weeks today, and I am going to start dog walking again next week (Yikes!!). I will have some help, and will be wearing my icers. I did a trial run last weekend, and it was not too bad, and my dog Jade was overjoyed to be romping in the park again.

I did a couple of commissioned paintings, however. Here is the cat, Luna.

9x12" Oil on canvas

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Bit of a Tumble

I am hoping to start painting again on the weekend.

Last week while walking dogs, I got knocked over by a couple of rambunctious young dogs (one of them I was walking). They were coming at me full tilt, and I thought that they would go around me but no, they (collectively 125 lbs.) ran straight into my left leg. I have a fractured tibia. Luckily there were lots of people around, one of them a man who is a fireman, and knows how to deal with emergencies. A couple of the other dog walkers acted as crutches for me, and I hobbled closer to the parking lot. We were still quite far from it, (of course, we were at the far end of the 25 acre field when I wiped out!), and Scott the fireman went to get my car to drive into the field to get me. He put the dogs in the back of my SUV, delivered them to their respective houses and gave them each a cookie. Then he drove me home, parked my car in the garage and called an ambulance. Caroline, another dog walker came to my place to take Scott back to his truck.

The bottom line is that I have to be off my feet for 6 weeks. I will start doing some painting over the weekend, after I have had a few more days to get used to being on crutches, and have had a chance to reorganize my studio to accommodate my leg which needs to be elevated. Hopefully I will be able to take advantage of this time to paint!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Palace Motel

This is from a photo that I took in the 80's before there was a lot of condo development on the Toronto waterfront. This motel looks like it's from the 30's or 40's - kind of art deco style. I could have corrected the distortion that makes the telephone wires and the sign to lean to the right, but I thought it added some interest to the composition. You wouldn't believe how I struggled with the clouds, and in fact this painting took me a lot longer than normal.

9x12" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Summer is just a memory now, but I will reach into my vacation photos as the weather becomes more inclement.

6x8" oil on Raymar cotton panel

Thursday, October 1, 2009


A couple contemplates Lake Ontario.

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back Door Sunrise

Every once in a while, as I am letting my dog out early (6am or thereabouts), there is a miracle in progress, and I am lucky enough to witness it. Even though I live in a large city, nature is still very much in evidence. I dashed in the house to get my camera, and thankfully it the battery was charged up, and there was space on my memory card. There was no time to fiddle around, and this beautiful sky had changed within 3 or 4 minutes!

6x6" Oil on gessoed masonite

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carousel Horse

I thought it would be interesting to include the reference photo that I used, so that you could see my process, and so that I can document this for future reference. I used to be really literal about my interpretation from photos, painting every detail that was in the photo and I found the results from these paintings were sterile and had less of what I wanted to express than I would like. I have had to make a really conscious effort to eliminate distracting and unnecessary detail, adjust tonal values, and work out the composition.
I do a grid of four squares on my photos, usually. You can see the blue lines on the photo, made with a blue Stabilo pencil (an indispensible tool from my sign painting days). This way I can gauge where lines should be without looking too static, as if I was following a join the dots picture.

I tried to emphasize the horse in the foreground, tone down the lights above, and eliminate distracting detail behind the horse, while maintaining a feel of the carousel. The photo was taken at night, so the colour balance was incorrect, but I thought that I would keep that in the painting to give it a kind of old fashioned look. I would go on this ride!

6x6" Oil on gessoed masonite

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crazy Mouse

This is a midway ride at the "Ex" called the Crazy Mouse in which people zoom around tight corners and steep inclines in a tiny cylindrical car. No way would I ride on one, but I am happy to paint it.

Actually, it was one of the most difficult things I've painted lately. I liked the image, because of the graphic quality of it, the high contrast and it's clean colours. And as an ex sign painter, I thought it would be a piece of cake. But there is a lot of distortion in the letters because of the perspective, and I struggled with it for ages!

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Twilight at the Midway

The Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto is the traditional end of summer. This was a colourful warm evening, and it was a great visit to the "Ex" complete with corn dog, french fries and Tiny Tims donuts.

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hen at the Fair

A little change from horses. When I took my niece to the Caledon Fair, she really enjoyed seeing all the farm animals.

6x6" Oil on gessoed masonite

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cart Class

This is a percheron draft horse being driven in a cart class.

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This lovely Clydesdale is ready to be hitched up to go in the ring. It takes hours to prepare these horses for showing, so that they and their harness look their best. I just love the draft horses.

6x6"oil on gessoed masonite

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Dock

Summer is waning, but I still have a few (lots!) of summer images to paint.

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Monday, September 7, 2009

First Catch

This is a beautiful spot on Pigeon Lake in the Kawartha lakes region of Ontario. I'm enjoy painting light and reflections in water, especially in the early morning.
6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Friday, September 4, 2009


My submission to the painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick.
Between seeing the wonderful movie "Julie and Julia", and painting cupcakes, I am getting very interested in cooking and baking! I loved painting this challenge. I took Karin's advice and checked out the American painter Wayne Thiebaud, who is most famous for his paintings of everyday objects such as food, lipsticks, shoes and especially cakes and pastries. Interestingly, he was a sign painter early in his career, and so was I.
Painting these reminded me of birthday parties that my parents had for me when I was very young, and my mother made iced cupcakes, which I ate with ice cream and I love cake and ice cream to this day.
I didn't spend much time with tonal and colour sketches. I just drew charcoal sketch on a burnt sienna toned canvas panel, and painted most of it in one sitting and added highlights the next day. Sometimes I have to go away, and then come back to "see" what I should do next.

I really enjoyed this!
Check out all the others at the above link. It's amazing to see how differently everyone has handled this.

6x 8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel $65

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Junction - Early Evening

The Junction is the neighbourhood in Toronto where I live so called because it is near the junction of four railway lines.

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Working on reflective surfaces can be a challenge.

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday Evening at the Beach

I love the time of day when there are long shadows and really warm coloured light.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ferris Wheel

I took my niece to the Caledon Spring Fair, which was quite old fashioned and we really enjoyed it. There was a draft horse show, a country band, a home made baked goods auction, antique farm machinery, and of course a ferris wheel.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Green Canoe

I painted this canoe that resides at my friend Marylin's cottage last year, and I didn't like it much so I re-purposed it (what a word!). I think I like this one better.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two Country Boys

I am really enjoying tackling the challenge of painting people, something that I have avoided till now, but we are interesting, aren't we? It is a struggle though, and I am sure it will be a while before I am somewhat happy with the results. The fellow on the right side of this study gave me a lot of grief. I scraped off and repainted several times, put it aside for a few days a number of times. It's ok, but it doesn't have the spontaneity and energy that I am looking for.

Streets of San Fransisco

My submission to the biweekly painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick.
Check out all the others at the above link. It's amazing to see how differently everyone has handled this.

Monday, August 10, 2009


The Toronto waterfront has lots of opportunities for lovely images. I had to sneak into a private yacht club for this one, though.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Early Fall King Township

King is in the land of horses, north of Toronto, where I have spent many happy days being near my favorite creatures (except for my dog!).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dancing Ladies in Hats

I've recently started painting more figures, and I saw these ladies at a polo match, and I thought they might make a good subject.

9x12" Oil on cotton panel

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back Alley

This truck has character, but maybe not the glamour of my two Pontiacs.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blue Pontiac

There is something about these old vehicles that really tempts me to paint them. They are kind of sad, but they have potential, if they wait around long enough, maybe they will be given new life. Also, they have great lines and I guess they are a curiosity, because they are from another age.

9x12" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Man Resting

This is another submission to the weekly painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick.

I have always veered away from painting people, but they provide such an endless supply of fascinating subject matter that lately I have been taking more risks. This challenge has been a great learning experience.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Country Boys and web page

What a bad blogger I am. I went against good advice, and I have been working on redesigning my website, which is crazy, because it is taking all my spare time and I haven't painted in weeks!! I have been struggling with Photoshop and Dreamweaver, studying books, doing online tutorials many times over so that all those cascading style sheets, and optimization facts sink into my non-linear brain.
I did this people painting at an artist friends cottage. I really enjoyed doing figurative work for a change, and I plan to do some more.
I took my neice to a country fair, and these musicians were playing. They looked great against the yellow and white striped tent, and they sounded great too. I'm pretty sure they are called the"Country Boys".

6x8" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

This is a sample of one of my web pages. I think it will have been worth it once I am finished, but boy, what a struggle! Does not come naturally.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Bit Nervous

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vegetable Still Life

This is another submission to the weekly painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick.
I'm working on paintings for the "Polo for Heart" Artwalk, which is coming up this weekend, so I really rushed through these veggies.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Green Pontiac

Lately in my Toronto neighbourhood I have noticed a number of old vehicles. None of them seem to be in working order, but I'm sure their owners have plans.

9x12" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Friday, May 29, 2009


8x10" Watercolor/Pencil Crayon/Ink Framed SOLD

Alberta Sky

16x20" Oil on Canvas Framed SOLD

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gray Dressage

2nd oil warm up sketch.

Warm Up

O.K Golightly, more horses!!

These are sketches that I did on the weekend to "warm up" for the horse paintings that I am working on for a horse event that I am showing my art at in June. I used just 2 colours and white (ultramarine blue and burnt sienna), so that I wouldn't be bogged down by thinking about colour too much.
The event is Polo for Heart which takes place in Richmond Hill, Ontario, June 19,20th and 21st.. This is their 30th Anniversary, and they raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. This is the first year they are having an Art Walk and there will be around 12 artists participating. I am hoping to get some horse portrait commissions, so I think it will be a great audience! Here's hoping for great weather!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Madison Avenue

This is another submission to the weekly painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick.

9x12" Oil on Raymar cotton panel

Monday, April 20, 2009

End of the Day

This horse is ready to get on the trailer to go home after a show. This was also from Kelowna, at the Kelowna Riding Club, where a lot of horse shows took place.

6x8" Oil on canvas $65


The View

I had my horse in this barn when I lived in Kelowna, BC. I can't remember the name of this horse, but I thought she was a pretty mare. I liked the morning light as she looked out her stall door.

Ready to Go

Two Grays

I have been working on some horse paintings for a tack swap, an event where people clean out their horse barns and find stuff that is still useful but they no longer need. Stuff like saddles, bridles, halters and all manner of horsey things. They also had space for commercial exhibits, so I took a bunch of my horse paintings to sell, and to try to get some commissions. It took place last weekend, and I sold this little painting to a lady who was thrilled with it, and it looks like I have a few commissions as well.
I also found out about a polo event that I am going to apply to rent some commercial space.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


This is another submission to the weekly painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This One?

I can barely remember what it is like to not wear boots good enough to slog through ice, snow and slush! Painting this from a photo taken 6 months ago assures me that we will see green again soon!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jefferson Memorial

This is another submission to the weekly painters challenge called Different Strokes From Different Folks hosted by artist Karin Jurick. I plan to continue doing these art challenges weekly.

Palace Arms

First post this year, but that does not mean that I have not been painting. I am still working on some dog portraits, and I had an audit by Rev.Canada that has taken most of my extra time and energy.
I finished this city scape a few days ago, and I will be back to posting more regularly.