Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Red Hot Peppers

Look what just came off my easel!
I started with a 24" square stretched canvas. Next came a few layers of yellow ochre acrylic paint. Once that was dry, I mapped in the shape of the bowl and pencilled in some markings for the peppers.
The beautifully coloured peppers were grown on our deck this past summer. The bowl was brought back from a recent trip to Mazatlan. Working from a photo I took this fall, I started to lay in the colours and blacked the background.
Once I had that all figured out, the photo went away and I began to play.
"Red Hot Peppers"
Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hot off the Palette

This is a painting that I started in my new studio/gallery and have recently completed.

I began by putting a few layers of medium green paint on the canvas - just to get me in the forest mood.

Working roughly from a photograph that I took last fall, I thought about how many trees I would include in the composition - deciding on 5 as odd numbers always look more balanced.

Once I got the tree trunks in place, the fun began as the leaves took shape on the branches or falling in mid air.

A bit more playing around with colour, shadows and highlights and the piece was complete.

"Fallen Leaves" acrylic, 12 x 24"

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yellow Rose

Started months ago ... recently completed.

I planted a climbing rose this past spring, and was thrilled that it did so well after only a few months. It trails along the fence and consistently rewards us with many beautiful blossoms. It was still blooming up until a few weeks ago when we had our first snowfall.

Sometimes I get all excited about a painting, work on it for awhile, then ... come to a screeching stop, as I hit a brick wall.

At that point I will often put it away for awhile. Whenever you find yourself stuck...take a break, stop thinking about it and when you begin again it will be like looking at it with fresh eyes.

acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14"

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Underwater Beauty

This recent painting is a triptych - each panel is 5 x 7" acrylic on canvas.

This takes me back to my scuba diving days - where I would often go to the carribbean to scuba dive. Yes I was a rescue diver with over 100 dives under my belt. How beautiful to see these brightly coloured creatures, poking their heads out from behind corals.

If you take a second look you will notice that these paintings can be rearranged in three different ways, which I didn't realize till about half way through the process.

How FUN is that!!

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Monday, November 22, 2010

Not Today

I had BIG plans on spending several hours down at the studio, but not today! The snow is blowing in circles making driving quite treacherous. Even though I only have 1 km. to go, I think it's best I stay put. Luckily I have my diptych poppy painting at home with my paints, so I do not have any excuses. I can paint away the afternoon from my home, while a big batch of cabbage rolls slowly cooks in the oven.

Good thing we went to town yesterday for supplies!

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Studio

Congratulations to me! Today I moved into my new "Young at Art Studios". Ya, now I have a place to go and play, create, have fun and move some paint around the canvas. It is outside of my home which means that I have to make an effort to get dressed and go to the "studio". It is only 1 km. from the house, making it perfect to go there for a quick couple of hours.

As you see I have started a poppy diptych. My patron from Saskatchewan whom I painted the commission for earlier this year, is now poppy crazy and wants more, More, MORE!

I was able to get a really good start on this one today in my new studio space!

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Almost Ready

With only 6 days from the 2nd Annual Island Arts Expo, I am without a doubt getting ready!

Today I spent the morning printing out a few more artists cards, as last week I had a guest come over and purchase a few. I needed to replenish my stock.

Next I started packing up some paintings. This involved taking a really good look at them for any scratches which may have occurred the last time I had a show. I found two that I hadn't named yet! Coming up with a couple of catchy names, under pressure, isn't always easy. Once they were named and in perfect condition, I packed them up for transport. Now they have officially moved from my office / studio into the hallway. That's a huge step!

All of my paintings are entered into a database that Jeff has set up. It includes title, size, medium, year painted, and of course price. Are there any prints or cards made of a particular piece? If so, that all has to be entered as well. Each piece should have a description and then be uploaded onto the online gallery/store for sale.

Pricing always seems to take awhile as some of the pieces have since been framed, so of course I have to consider that in the price as well.

Once the pricing is finished, then I can work on my price tags that will hang beside the pieces at the show. Hope to get to that tomorrow.

Exhausting? Very! Exciting? Yes!

BYW: I should mention that I have already sent out my invitations to the show, some by mail, others by email. In a couple of days I will do one last email blast to my mailing list as a gentle reminder.

Hope to see you at the Island Arts Expo. Drop by my booth and say Hello!

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Starting a Painting

I've started another acrylic painting. After a recent visit to an artist's studio in Cowichan Bay, and seeing a sketch on the wall of a painting in progress, I was reminded that it is always a good idea to draw your ideas on paper first BEFORE starting a painting. This way you become intimate with my subject by working out all the design problems on paper before putting paint to canvas.

Here is my drawing. The finished painting will be a triptych - three panels painted separately, making a complete piece when put together.

This summer I was particularly attracted to poppies and have done several paintings using poppies. This was derived from two photographs - one of a duck, swimming away and one of a grouping of poppies. I was drawn to the ripples in the water as the duck swam off - hopefully I can capture that in the final painting.

Keep tuned, and watch the progress of this one.

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mexican Hibiscus

Just finished another watercolour. This is an image from a photograph I took while vacationing last winter in Mazatlan with Jeff and my sister in law.

While walking downtown, with all the noisy street vendors and time share people hounding you at every step and the diesel buses flying by kicking up dust and smoke ... out of all that chaos this beautiful delicate flower decided to grow.

I was attracted by the contrast between the soft petals of the flower against the rough brick and mortar wall. This beautiful specimen decided to grow on its own and say "Hola Amigo."

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Understated Elegance

And now back to watercolour ...

I know some of your LOVE my watercolours. I also love creating them. There is something so gentle about working with watercolour paint. There is a rhythm that happens when I work with watercolour, that I don't experience when working with acrylic.

Everything is much more planned, unlike acrylic. This give painting such a piece a very meditative feeling as you simply colour in the different elements, one by one.

This should actually be called a mixed medium as I used black acrylic to get the rich background.

"Understated Elegance", 21 x 13"

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Sunday, September 12, 2010

I've Gone Poppy Crazy

Each fall I collect poppy seeds from my gardens, then in the spring I have fun scattering them around - waiting to see what comes forth, taking many photos to be used when the mood moves me.

Since working on that poppy commission earlier this year, I have gone totally poppy crazy. I just can't get enough of painting poppies.

I love putting the acrylic paint on really thick - impasto like - moving it around layer upon layer and letting some of the brush strokes show through. I often take it straight out of the tube as I build up the painting. Rich with texture and wild with paint!

Here are a couple of more recent acrylic paintings.

"Poppy Explosion", 11 x 14"

"Poppy Dance", 11 x 14"

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


About Commissions

What a busy summer with many visitors, art shows to attend and paintings to deliver.

This summer we delivered a commission to a patron out in Saskatchewan, one that was ordered a year ago! After having several of my paintings in her home already, a client of mine mentioned that she now needed something for over her bed. Measuring the space available, I put it on the back shelf until I was ready. Early this spring, I got an idea to paint a triptych of poppies.

I ordered 3 - 12 x 24" canvases and away I went. On a background of burnt sienna, I started by organizing the poppy groupings; the sizes, the flower directions and which would continue onto the next canvas. I did this by making cutouts of the poppies and moving them around the canvas until I had the desired spacing.

Next I had fun. I wanted the finished piece to be rich and juicy with colour and texture.

The finished piece accomplished all that. Needless to say the client LOVED it - so much so that she now talks about ordering two more!!

If you would like to commission a piece of artwork for your home or office, please visit my website.

"The Power of Poppies" acrylic on canvas

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Scout's Lookout

From our kitchen window we are fortunate to be able to look at the ocean and watch as the cruise ships head up to Alaska. We can see if the ocean is rough or calm, whether the tide is in or out ... and we always see the same two eagles sitting on top of the highest tree, having a good look around.

This contemporary painting is acrylic on stretched canvas.

"Scout's Lookout", 16 x 20"

For purchasing information please refer to my online Art Store and Gallery.

GicleƩ prints are available.

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Hot off the Palette

I love doing these small paintings!

I'll often work on a smaller painting while I am at TOSH (The Old School House) for the day as a resident artist. It's easy to transport, you need only a few colour and it's fun to move the paint around.

This is the fourth in the series of small sea shell paintings.
1) Pink Beauty
2) Scalloped Edges
3) I Found a Dollar on the Beach
4) A Snail's Pace

They are all 5 x 7", acrylic on stretched canvas.

They look great hanging in a powder room as a grouping.
Not sure how many more I'll create ... but am sure that I am not done yet!

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Painting in the Garden

On Sunday June 13th, the Qualicum Bay, Bowser area hosted a Garden Tour. Nine unique gardens were selected to be viewed and artists were selected to sit in the garden and paint for the day.

Not having much experience in "Outdoor Painting" (easier to say than en plein air), I decided to throw my hat in the ring. We were allowed to have a sneak preview of our selected garden beforehand, and even take photos. We could start our paintings in our studios, as long as we finished them in the garden. With camera in hand, I scoured every inch of the wondering paths, photographed numerous plant groupings and tried to entice the fish in the fish pond to pose for a picture.

I primed my canvas and worked on it for days, trying to come up with something fantastic.

On the morning of the Garden tour, I abandoned my previous canvas (now with many layers of ideas) started a new canvas and came up with a beautiful little painting.

"Ponderous", 8 x 10", acrylic

The paintings were then put on display at the Lighthouse Community Centre for a silent auction. The owners of the garden that I was painting in bought my painting. I hadn't even had time to get attached to it!!

I enjoyed the spontaneous energy that came forth that morning, as opposed to a planned approach to painting. After three hours the painting was complete, and I was off to the hall for strawberry shortcake!

What a wonderful day in Qualicum Bay!

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Passion for Poppies

This painting was an experiment of sorts. I have been carrying a few yards of canvas around for many years - moving it from Toronto, then Sask. and ultimately out to Vancouver Island. It was time to do something with it!

My handyman Jeff was given the task of stretching it onto stretcher boards. Once that was done I began putting many, many, many layers of thick paint and gesso on the canvas. I used raw umber, thalo red, thalo violet, thalo this and thalo that ... tubes of paint that I have also been carrying around for many years and wanted to use up. A spring cleaning, one might say.

My main objective was just to get a nice thick coat of paint on the canvas. Suddenly out of nowhere these poppies began to appear. With a few brush strokes more I added the blue background and a few seed pods, turning an abstract into something recognizable.

The finished piece is 20 x 24". It's a bit abstract and different from my usual paintings.
Rather designer looking and fun to make.

Hmmm, I still have another piece of canvas to stretch! Oh Jeff.

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

The View from My RV

I am thrilled to report that this painting has been selected to show in the Arrowsmith Federation of Canadian Artists Summer Exhibition.

"The View from my RV", acrylic 24 x 30"

Last fall Jeff, Cheyenne and I decided to explore more of Vancouver Island with our RV. Never having driven further north then Campbell River, we headed "Up Island" (as they say on the west coast) to Port Hardy and Port McNeil. We were enchanted with the area and also impressed with the wealth of great artists in the area.

This particular view was from our overnight stay at Telegraph Cove.

Our plan is to some day soon do a cross Canada tour, painting and RVing along the way.

The FCA show runs from June 1st - 26, at the Oceanside Arts Council in Parksville.

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Pearl Ellis Gallery

Another gallery exhibition comes to an end. As some of you already know fellow artist Nanci Cook and I had a joint exhibition of work at the Pearl Ellis Gallery in Comox. The show came down yesterday.

I would like to thank Sheila and Bob Pollock plus all their wonderful volunteers for their help with the exhibition. The Pearl Ellis Gallery is a volunteer run gallery. Without their help there would not be a gallery.

When you have an exhibition at the Pearl Ellis Gallery their promotional package is top-notch. It started with our bios displayed on the Pearl Ellis Gallery's Website. Next along came Shaw Cable to interview both Nanci and myself. Posters were made and distributed throughout the Comox / Courtenay area. On top of that, three local publications carried the biography and show information. Of course we also did our own promotion and mailings. (see blog "Getting Ready for a Show", Feb. 16)

On the opening day I had folks coming up to me and said "I saw that painting in the newspaper", which was really neat to hear. Some had seen the announcement on Shaw Cable as well.

It was a Great Show. BIG thanx to Nanci for sharing the space and the work. Not to mention I sold a couple of pieces plus more folks now know about us in the Comox / Courtenay area. That my friends, is priceless!

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Reel Tranquility

This painting was inspired by a photograph taken of a fly-fisherman enjoying his day at Nile Creek in Bowser.

I started worked on it during one of my paint days at TOSH (The Old School House) in Qualicum Beach.

People come and go in the gift shop, looking at jewelery, pottery and nifty art to either take home as a souvenir of their stay in Qualicum, or to buy for themselves.

One particular couple were in the shop, the wife content on looking at every single item, while the husband was dragging behind. Obviously he would have rather been anywhere else. They were just about to leave when the wife said "Oh, I just want to look at one more thing."

He shuffled his way over to see what I was doing, and with excitement said "Oh, you're painting a fly-fisherman". Well let me tell you, his mood totally changed. For the next 20 minutes he passionately told me the merits and pleasure one gets out of tying their own flies.

Funny thing is his wife was now ready to leave and she practically had to drag him out of there.
Art is in the eye of the beholder!

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Painting at TOSH

Every second Tuesday is my resident artist day at TOSH - The Old School House in Qualicum Beach. I have my own table, easel and corner in the gift shop where I can paint.

A couple people have asked me in the last two days - "Do you like painting at TOSH?" And I quickly answered "Yes".

Here are a few of the reasons:

- it gives me a fresh day, away from the home office, away from my computer and emails where I can just have fun and throw some paint around

- I have two wonderful volunteer ladies that I work with in the gift shop, which always makes for interesting conversations

- I am immersed in a beautiful creative environment all day. I take breaks and wander through the back studios where the other resident artists are hard at "Play". Plus there is always wonderful exhibitions upstairs in the galleries where I can have a cup of tea and look at some more inspiring work.

- I get to chat to people from all over the world who are visiting our beautiful Qualicum Beach. We talk about the weather, about art, about their homeland ...

- I get to hand out a few Island Arts Magazines, which is always fun

- I usually have a lunch date lined up with one of my friends

- and on top of all that, I usually get a good start or a finish to one of my paintings

So, Hell yes, I love my painting days at TOSH. My next scheduled paint day is March 23rd - come by and say "Hi".

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring Thaw

Goodbye my friend! Enjoy your new home.

"Spring Thaw", 20 x 16" acrylic on canvas

This is an acrylic painting that I started a few years back when I was still living in the Qu'Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan. Look familiar?

After a harsh and long winter, it is glorious to see the first signs of spring; the lakes starting to thaw, the snow vanishing on the tops of the hills ...

Today I sent this painting to a gallery in Regina. How ironic that I painted it in Saskatchewan, moved it out to BC and now it is returning to the prairies.

"From the Prairies ... to the West Coast ... and back again."

Till Next Time ... Susan

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Prairie Wagon Wheels

When I think of the prairies, not only do I think about big sky and rolling wheat fields, I also think about sway back barns, and dilapidated buildings.

I love to stop and take photos to use as reference down the road in some creation.

There is an old chuck wagon on my dad's farm that still stands there. It is overgrown with wild grasses and it hasn't moved in years. I remember it in exactly the same spot when I was a kid ... and that was a few years ago, to say the least.

Last summer we attended a family reunion and I couldn't resist taking a few more photos.

These are both small 5 x 7" paintings on wrapped canvas. I started with many coats of acrylic burnt sienna as the base colour and worked up the detail from there.

The family homestead will be 100 years old in 2013. Perhaps a good reason for another reunion?

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting Ready for a Show

Little did I know that when I was accepted for a gallery exhibition 6 months ago, that the time would come so quickly, and here it is only a few weeks away.

Getting ready for a show is, without a doubt is MUCHO WORK.

First is the task of selecting your artwork. What would you like to show? Are you showing a series, working on a theme, newer work, medium, etc. This usually involves taking everything off your walls, collecting your work from other locations, sorting through boxes of art that has been shoved under the bed and in the closets, and selecting the pieces. Selection usually takes me a full day. I find a rainy Sunday works well for this.

Now that the house and studio are totally ripped apart, the task of examining each piece comes next. Are the backs of each piece clearly marked? Are they framed property; no loose wires, no scratches etc. Have you signed the backs of each piece? I started doing this a couple of years ago and quite like this practice. I even put the title and a copyrite on the back as well for authenticity.

Once that is done, then the never ending paperwork begins. I start by making a list of the pieces for the show, the sizes and the price. Make sure all your records are the same. Does the price on your gallery/store coincide with your final price for the show?

Next comes the making of a press release which is to be emailed out to the newspapers. Some galleries will ask for this so they can send out a press release in their own area. Even though you SHOULD already have one on hand, there is always last minute updates to be made.

Now what about advertising? Are you running any ads in the local papers, making posters, etc. There are many free listings available on art related website. All this takes time and effort.

But don't despair, we are almost there!

Once that is done, then you should think about invitations. Are you mailing individual invitations, are you doing an email blast ... how are you letting your patrons and friends know that there even is a show?

Are you totally exhausted yet but still plan on finishing a couple of pieces for the show?

At some point you will have everything in place and under control and at this point you ... simply let it all go and stop worrying, as you know you have done your very best!

I actually LOVE having gallery exhibitions and try to have a couple a year. They are a Heck of a Lot of Fun! They are important to do as it gets your name out there and often into a whole different area then you are use to.

There is always some good things come from a show, whether it is new contacts, an opportunity down the road ... and possibly new sales or commissions.

That being said ... please join me with fellow artist Nanci Cook on March 20th at the Pearl Ellis Gallery in Comox for our "Meet and Greet".

Hmmm ... that reminds me, was I suppose to bring the coffee?

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Mexican Painting

As some may know we basked in the glorious sun of Mazatlan Mexico for a month over
Christmas and New Years.
No working on a computer, no deadlines, just reading books by the pool, walking the beach and enjoying the company of our friends from Saskatchewan and family from Ontario.

When I first decided to go to Mexico for a whole month, I told myself "Oh you need to do a painting every day." Well that idea quickly went out of my head, as it seemed like way too much work and I was in real need of some "R & R" time, as having just finished the Winter Island Arts Magazine and having hosted a successful first Annual Island Arts Expo. Whew!

I packed a few watercolour paints and paper and painted when the mood 'moved me'. Quite honestly for the first week and a half, I was very busy - deciding whether to go to the pool, or the beach, which book to read and what to do for supper. Needless to say, there was no creative movement in sight.

Then somewhere around Christmas Eve, the 'spirit' moved me and I started sketching and painting. For about a week I could not stop. Paint a little, tan a little, paint a little, beach a little.

The results were some studies that can turn into paintings when once again the 'spirit' moves me.

Here is a quick tease of some of the colourful sketches that I produced.

I look forward to starting to work on a series of watercolour for a gallery in Mazatlan, once I get caught up on some of my other projects - like my upcoming show in March at the Pearl Ellis Gallery in Comox. But that's a whole other blog!

Till Next Time ...

Love what you Do ... and Do what you Love.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mr. Whiskers

This is the story of "Mr. Whiskers".

He is a cute, curious little fellow who became part of my life for only a few moments, but will now live on forever.

One day while walking my dog Cheyenne out by Deep Bay I noticed a slight ripple in the water. Suddenly amongst the ripples, up popped "Mr. Whiskers". He swam around for a minute or so, while I took several photos of him and then as if to say, "O.K. that's enough", he disappeared back under the water and he was gone.

Some time later I decided to paint him in acrylics on canvas. The original painting was shown for the first time at the Island Arts Expo in November. One lady was very interested in him, then disappeared. After walking through the show, she had decided that she would like to take him home with her as a birthday gift to herself. What a great gift!

Luckily I had some extra high resolution photos taken of him by Grant Kernan beforehand and now have some beautiful prints on canvas made. You can order prints of "Mr. Whiskers" from our online store and gallery.

Now like the Olympic Torch he makes his way across BC as I am the feature artist for the Feb / Mar edition of the Country Register and "Mr. Whiskers" is on the front cover.

Till Next Time ...

From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond ...