recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

encaustic workshop & Klee Wyk

The Grimsby Public Art Gallery has invited me to teach an encaustic workshop next Tuesday night,
April 5, from 6:30~9:30PM. If you live close by there are a few openings still available.

The fluidity of molten wax and colour combined with the immediacy and diversity of printmaking will be addressed in this evening workshop. Incorporating drawing, painting and image transfer, you will engage and be inspired to play with collage, monotype, resist and relief techniques. We will also address temperature, adhesion, layering, surfaces and how to make your own encaustic paint.
This workshop is open to a maximum of 6 participants, allowing for individual guidance and lots of hands-on exploration.To register, please contact me

My friend and I were talking books tonight and I mentioned Emily Carr. Most people know Carr as a great Canadian painter, but she was also an accomplished author, with quite a sense of humour to her writing. Our conversation brought to mind this image below, inspired by one of Carr's books, titled 'Klee Wyk' ('laughing one')

Klee Wyk
encaustic on panel
diptych, 8x16in


Sunday, March 27, 2011

fast forward

This little painting is another re-work… my impatience for May compelling me to fast forward

oil/encaustic on panel
6x10in, 2011

I have included the original plein air work that was rendered last March. You will see that I decided to grow this painting into a fresh spring pallet and texture of a new May and the process was quite fun.

I let some of the oil paint show through in the sky and the structure of the trees and even some of the dormant umber grasses. I then gingerly applied molten pigment for the vivid grasses and blooms—intermittently using a warm iron to move and smooth out some of the pigment. Following was the final process of fusing/burning -in with heat, then a final polish to harden and protect the work.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

encaustic & British Invasion (sold)

Yes, another orchard, this time encaustic..

encaustic on panel
12x12in, 2011

As well, an auction donation for our regional art gallery. The theme of the fundraiser is ‘British Invasion’- selected artists were given LP covers to design for the auction. This one is painted on both sides with encaustic, then I stitched wire through it to be hung diamond shaped, ideally suspended to show off the 'vibe' of both sides.

I also have 2 paintings in the show, but no photos to share. You will just have to attend the preview tonight (Friday) at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery. The gala evening of art and all things British is this Saturday night. (I wonder if the Brits ever do a 'Canadian Invasion" event...)


Sunday, March 20, 2011

the fever

Spring has arrived, resonating optimism and inspiration. April pours the bath and May soaks in it, seductive in high chroma, heady scent and song-—no wonder they call it a fever!

The painting below is a re-visit and I have also included the before. I felt there was way too much going on in before—a busy onslaught leaving no space for the eye to rest or the mind to linger. I wanted to quiet areas down but still retain that –for lack of a better phrase—‘ magic-y whirr-y’ effect—the ethereal worshippers dancing for the sky. ( you might have noticed -my imagination has no 'stop' buttons when it comes to the orchard)

Niagara Escarpment
oil on canvas
24x48in, 2011

I am much happier with the final outcome, which took very little time. It makes me wonder whether the countless hours and work that went into before factored into the seamless flourish of after... Would I have approached it differently if starting from scratch? Did I learn from both processes? Of course-every painting is it’s own-but making art is about the state of heart and mind at the time of it’s inception—the art unfolds as we do.




Thursday, March 17, 2011

Art Theft Update

‘I arrived at the gallery this morning to find a  shopping bag hanging on our
black hook outside with 5 of your little paintings in it wrapped in
plastic. An unsigned note attached…’

The above email  greeted me this morning from a gallery colleague.

For those of you that read my post about the stolen paintings—they have all been returned.

Thus is the power of social media

To my perpetrator:

I am very grateful and relieved that my blog post compelled you to follow your conscience and return these paintings. I appreciate your note of apology and am sincerely sorry for your illness. I strongly urge you to find help. Please do this not only for your sake but for the sake of others who you might be tempted to take advantage of. 

February, Remains of the Day
oil on canvas
6x6in, 2010


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


When I paint into sky it is the culmination of what was and what is to become that engages me. In all these years of sky-painting, Joni Mitchell’s words to ‘Amelia’ still resonate in my heart and mind.

March, Remains of the Day
oil/wax on canvas
18x30in, 2011

This is painted on a surface that was primed fairly thickly with molten beeswax and dammar resin. I smoothed it by burning in with heat, then, when cool, polished to harden it. I make my own cold wax medium to control the consistency and purity—using eco-friendly turps, beeswax, and linseed /stand oil of varying strengths. I will polish the painting when it is completely dry to give it a luminous glow and add more depth. I have a hard time photographing encaustic work or work painted with cold wax anyway, so I do it prior to this final process, trying to cut down on the ___glare! I am not too happy with the colours and digital noise on this image so looks like I will have to re-shoot regardless.

On an inspiring note I saw a red-winged blackbird today! Yay! And I’m so jazzed that we have more light in our days—things are good

*keep reading for poem and video

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Art Theft

In the past six months, 5 of my paintings have been stolen from our gallery-averaging almost one every month. Even though I’ve had to resort to wiring them to the wall, my`collector`has managed to figure out a way to steal them—probably mans himself with wire cutters before visiting.

Well we know who you are Mr----who lives in a city starting with the letter B---and thanks to our new video surveillance system we will be able to prove it upon your next attempt. Since you are such a fan of my work I am going to assume you read my blog. I hope you read it because I would like you to know how hurt and disappointed I am that someone would commit such a cowardly and despicable act.

Do you somehow feel a sense of entitlement, or does it give you a sense of power knowing that you got away with it?  Either way, it is disheartening to know that my work-created honestly –is in your possession-you don’t deserve to have it.

I have included the stolen paintings below. If anyone has seen them I would be very grateful to know the details. I will happily GIVE you one of my paintings (and keep your name confidential)  if your information helps in apprehending this pusillanimous thief.

June,  oil on canvas, 6x6in, 2010, STOLEN

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

lions in the afternoon

March is such a changeable month! One moment there is rain and promise of spring—then gales of wind turning to ice and snow. I was looking at work from past ‘Marches’ as I was curious to compare the weather to this one. Posted below is a much warmer March and I clearly recall the day it was painted…

After a long and bleak January/ February we had a warm spell mid-March. Outdoor painters rely on the weather report as much as farmers and I was watching and waiting. Finally the day came. I selected a fairly large canvas (24x36in) for my first plein air attempt of the season-perhaps to make up for all the missed paintings due to the #@!! winter weather. On went the wellies and off I went with my three canines. After a ten minute hike I set up and started working. The painting was coming along beautifully and I was midway through when the dogs started barking. I just kept working as this is a frequent occurrence-especially in the spring with new sounds of birds and critters giving them momentum to carry on.

But the barking became rather growly and aggressive and I finally had to put my brush down and look behind into the sun to see silhouettes of- lions-quite a few-coming our way.

The magic in these fields and orchards is that one can usually be alone. I do have a friend that lives on the other end and like me, she runs her dogs here —but even then it is rarely at the same time-and they are dogs, not lions. As the lions approached I recognized my friend behind them with her 3 dogs and another acquaintance who breeds horses-and, as it turns out, lion-dogs. The official name for these lion-dogs are ‘Leonbergers’ and I don’t need to describe them as I already have- they look like- lions-but gentler and fluffier. Gentle or not they terrified my dogs who in turn ran to me for protection—thus knocking me down as well as my painting, brushes, easel-everything- smack into the dense wet spring muck. By now I was surrounded by eleven dogs and two humans who impressively managed to hold their laughter long enough to help me up. After the herd dispersed I wiped out my painting and started again.

March, Thaw
oil on canvas
24x36in, 2009

In making this painting I was taken by the anticipation of a new season shared by all- birds/bees and creatures great and small - as well as the greening of renewed grasses mingled with the dried and dormant. I wanted the painting to convey growth through staccato brushwork and I exaggerated colour/movement in passages to denote a nudge for spring to hurry up and get here.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring, Summer workshops

Upcoming Workshops

I am now taking registration for Spring and Summer workshops to be held here in Niagara Wine Country.

3-day workshop dates and information are listed below. Along with instruction these extended workshops include complimentary evening wine and bonfire to relax after a day of painting..

As well, I will be holding a 1-day workshop to paint the May Orchards, which will be in full bloom (we hope). I only have a few openings left so please contact me soon if you’d like to join us.
This workshop also includes an orchard picnic lunch and complimentary glass of Niagara Wine.

All workshops include demonstrations and emphasis is on observation, composition, value, brushwork/ paint application, colour/simplified palette and individual interpretation. Media is in oil or acrylic and class size is limited, allowing for personal guidance and direction. Participants are responsible for their own materials and a list will be provided upon registration. If you are travelling I can also provide your materials for an additional fee.

If you are coming from out of town I can recommend some lovely and reasonably priced B&BS and inns set amongst our world renowned wineries. Alternately and pending availability I have comfortable lodging here that can accommodate an artist and partner or two singles sharing the room. Just contact me and I will send info.

"I love your painting Mecca. What a place!" Dora Keogh

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This painting was rendered quite a few years ago, but it is still one of my favourites. I have mentioned the importance ( for me at least and in sharing with my students) of reviewing early work to assess how it relates to current work. I find when I do this it is an honest-albeit tough-way to distill what I find relevant and why.

March, Niagara Escarpment
oil/wax on panel
12x12in, 2007

This painting was rendered on location. I prepared my canvas with encaustic medium (beeswax/dammar resin ) in the studio before heading out. I smoothed the surface by burning in with heat, then painted on site using oil pigment and cold wax medium. Back in the studio I gave it a very very light burn-in (fusing with heat) and let thicker passages dry. I might start doing this again –preparing my panels with encaustic medium-as I like the way it feels when I brush paint onto the surface- as well it seems to give it another dimension and adds to the ' feel' and mood of place that I wanted to convey .

below another from the same series

April, Niagara Escarpment
oil/wax on panel
16x20in, 2007


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We ARE Nature

'We often forget that We ARE Nature. Nature is not separate from us. So when we say we have lost our connection with Nature, we’ve lost our connection with ourselves.'

I have been revisiting the work of Environmental Artist Andy Goldsworthy.
  • "I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it's not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn't walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying." 

 "One of the beauties of art is that it reflects an artist's entire life. What I've learned over the past 30 years is really beginning to inform what I make. I hope that process continues until I die." 

*keep reading for video