recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Monday, July 30, 2012

summer plein air

What a beautiful day!

The summer is breezing by and like most, I’ve been crazy busy. I love teaching but with doing so much of it and along with gallery responsibilities, there hasn’t been much time left to just get out and paint.

Today I finally had a free day and the weather could not have been better for plein air. My painting comrade joined me and we set up under some shady trees and worked uninterrupted.

July, Niagara Escarpment, oil on canvas, 30x36in, 2012, available

I’m  happy with this painting-the warm blue of late summer chickweed and the aptly named Queen Annes Lace floating amidst it always enchanting.

 I also became  interested in the upper part of the painting and in the divisions between here, and there.

Even when I remember to bring my camera  I get so busy with my students in larger groups that I forget to take photos. However I brought it along today and below are a few images 

My friend Dora -her paintings full of robust colour and form!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Updated Painting Workshops

Studio on the Ridge

Workshops & Classes
upcoming in August 

August, Greenbelt disaster, oil on canvas, 9x12in, sold

Plein Air Painting
 Mondays, 6:30 -9PM, $85 for a series of 4 sessions.
series starts Monday, August 6

more info
Encaustic Painting
Sunday, August 12, 10AM-1PM, $70 includes most materials
Class size is limited and students have ample time to work hands on with this fluid and luscious medium.
Exploring the Surface: Painting with Cold Wax
  Sunday, August 26, 10AM-1PM  $70 includes most materials

Registration for any of these classes can be made conveniently and securely online via paypal.
to sign up please click here

*New Series: OPEN STUDIO
These sessions are primarily self directed. You can work inside the studio or outdoors ala plein air.The instructor is available to guide you and address your individual needs in a mentor-ship approach. These sessions are ideal for those just starting out or for the more seasoned artists who wish to push themselves in a new direction. This is also an inspiring environment for those who simply need time to work. Participants provide their own materials. If you are new to art-making we will be happy to recommend materials and media most suitable for your needs.
Ongoing Tuesdays:
10AM - 12:30PM
6:30 -9PM
$85 for a series of 4 sessions or$35 per session

all classes are held in Grimsby, ON

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

edges, convergence and photographing work

 detail (July, Rendezvous with Queen Anne)

 I am having such a hard time photographing/documenting the large painting below. I usually take work outside and hang it on the side of my studio in grey even light, but the weather here is so humid that it cast a grey over the whole image. So I then had to do a lot of digital editing and it still doesn't read true. In fact I think the more editing done on the computer, the worse the image looks.

 I think I will photograph it indoors under controlled light when it is completely dry-or maybe out in full sun. Or if all else fails I will lay it down outside and climb on a ladder and photograph it. Can you tell that this is part of being an artist that I really HATE? And I think it must only be me that has a hard time with this as I see everyones' work online and it looks fabulous! Do you all hire professional photographers? 

detail (July, Rendezvous with Queen Anne)

I was interested in edges and convergence in the below painting. It is a re-work of the same image done last August. I was looking for a photo of it to post re showing the difference, but I hated it so much that I deleted it! 

 July (Rendezvous with Queen Anne), oil/wax on canvas, 36x48in, 2012, available

Anyway, I am happy with this painting -and if you were to experience it 'live' you could see all the subtle value shifts and tones and the colours are more unified than in this digital image. Oh dear, I am being very negative! I will blame it on this humid hot weather!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The truth about Cold Wax & upcoming workshops

Upcoming Workshops:

Exploring the Surface: Painting with oil & cold wax

Whether using a brush, drawing, scratching, scraping, rubbing or employing knife techniques, this ancient medium fosters versatility. Its translucent qualities allow light to penetrate into the paint surface, emphasizing rich and vibrant colour, depth and tone. 

Texture, movement and fluidity can easily be achieved via working with cold wax, oil paint and drawing materials and I will share techniques and tools used with this lush painting medium. Recommended for artists with some painting experience.    

The Truth About Cold Wax


The primary reason that I make my own cold wax medium is to ensure that I can build surfaces with up to 50% beeswax/oil ratio without the worry of it cracking. Some commercial brand wax mediums contain paraffin wax because it is inexpensive but if used on it's own, is brittle and can crack. So it is combined with another synthetic wax- petroleum based microcrystaline. This is a  soft wax and very pliable, counteracting the brittleness of parrafin. Both are used as fillers in some commercial grade cold wax mediums. If you are working with a minimal amount of cold wax medium with your oil paint it works fine and is cost effective.

Along with pure natural refined beeswax I make my cold wax medium with stand, poppy or walnut oil to balance pliability and to improve blending and adhesion. I incorporate resin to varying degrees depending on the surface I will be working on and the amount I want to build up. Dammar resin is a natural resin that will add gloss and more transparency to your surface if you polish it.

I have been working with wax mediums -both encaustic and cold -for many years and it is nice to see a new interest in both. A word of caution: there is a lot of information -and mis-information-on the internet about cold wax. I advise those of you who are interested in learning how to use cold wax to take a workshop from a seasoned instructor. 

If you would like more technical information about cold wax please visit:



*I have been supplying hand ground cold wax medium to local artists as well as students. In response to requests from those further afield, I am now making it available and ship throughout Canada, the US and the UK..

The medium is refined to a smooth, buttery consistency. Made with natural pure unbleached beeswax-no fillers.  It mixes instantly with oil colours, powdered pigments, powdered metals and graphite and is extremely versatile. Cold wax medium can be thinned for finer work or used as a paste for impasto techniques. Finished paintings can be polished to achieve a soft sheen or left matte. 


350 grams: 20.

1 Litre: 40.

Payment can be made securely online via paypal. Shipping throughout Canada, US and Europe via Canada Post or expedited via UPS. Please contact for shipping fees.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

fading fast

I was able to sneak into the vineyard next door for some quick sketches to work from in-studio. It was too hot even for me to stand out there 'en plein air' this week!

With this drought and heat, the greens are fast fading..

July, Niagara Escarpment, acrylic on canvas, 30x36in, available

For some reason I always switch to acrylic paint when the weather is this scorching. I think it is in hoping all that dripping water will somehow cool me down. As well, acrylic takes longer to set up in the humidity and I like the little bit of pull on the brush as it is drying.

I also wanted this work to have an immediacy and an airy sketch-like quality to it and polymer easily lends itself to that approach.


Someone once said that the good thing about acrylic paint is that it dries fast-the bad thing about acrylic paint is that it dries fast. 

I've worked with polymer for many years and it is a fun and forgiving medium. It can, however, create some really bad habits if you work in oil or other transparent mediums. Because it is opaque, you really don't have to think about how it affects the colour under it if you are working in a direct painting technique. If you go back to working with oil with this approach you may soon be in mud.

I like using acrylic pigment for indirect painting methods, primarily glazing and scumbling.
Sometimes I will also do an under-painting with acrylic and finish the work in oil.

Follow Me on Pinterest