My creative process begins long before it ‘appears’ in ‘real’ life. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become masterful at a skill. Some multitude of those hours are encoded in the thought processes that go on in the beginning, middle and end of creation. My studio is part of my home, I’ve worked like that all my creative life. When I did murals, museum work and stage sets, I would immerse myself in that place, creating the environment by being in and of it. I would live waking and dreaming of this monumental art I was creating, until it was finished. At times, the ordinary moments of life- doing the dishes, folding laundry, sweeping a floor- the kinds of activities that hardly need a lot of attention (having done them all my 60+ years), are exactly the formula for creative thought. I can go places in my mind and create pieces there. I can solve issues, imagine new colours or old colours, and explore new ideas. This exploration and extrapolation are where the creative process begins, only then does the actual, physical painting process begin. Like Life, paintings rarely turn out as planned. No matter, I don’t think they are supposed to. They […]
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                A hay wagon rattles past me, again. Its dust settles on us here, country roads in the summer…that smell, the dust, the sounds… I spend a fair amount of time on country roads, I have to in order to get anywhere from here. the sights I pass are iconic in a purely Canadian way. They reflect my environment. Here I’ve created some interesting pairs. They are acrylic painted on canvas that is attached to wooden ovals. They are ready to hang.                     Some of these are favourite fields, all are places that made an impression on me each time I saw them. They are familiar to me.                 These are all summer images, they feel hot, sultry and dreamlike. Let me know if you want them for your wall…$350 to 450 for the pairs…shipping would be extra.  
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I awaken. I’m in the country. The sound of fog is in the air. I know it before I open my eyes, it is a quiet like no other. An early morning fisherman appears then disappears. His orange vest glows eerily until he is gone. Silently, I wish him luck. Later the sun starts to break through the mists, and green is everywhere, the shoreline, the rising stand of cedar and spruce, the water’s reflections, and if I use my artistic insight I can get the foggy air to feel green too. Here are two new pieces I’ve been working on lately. They are acrylic and graphite on canvas and board. the larger one is 43″ x 5.5″ and the smaller one is 33″ x 5.5.
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Recently I was commissioned to paint a landscape in my Local Colour series. Landscapes have long been a series of mine, first in watercolour and now I do more acrylic landscapes. This one is called Summer Breezes and I do hope the reason is obvious. It is in what we call landscape format, a long thin one, designed to fit in a specific area of the clients beautiful rural home. It gently reminds the viewer of the hills and trees seen from their windows. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, appreciating the input the client gave me during the process. They were happy to receive their piece and had the hammer and hanging hooks at ready! So If you see something you like here on my website but want to commission me to do another in a different size or format to fit a specific wall, get in touch! i would be more than happy to talk to you about it! It’s as easy as that!
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Those words appeared in my morning digest of information. They stopped in in my tracks. I’m just waking up, and they just woke me up. They woke me up to my mission, my like as an artist. Currently, I am working on a largish (64×20) landscape commission ( yes! I do commissions!). I have a series I call ‘Local Colour’, landscapes from the region I live in, the upper Ottawa Valley. 99% of them are impressions, only once in a while are they of a specific place. There is much about this part of Ontario I love, the rolling hills, trees galore, mixed woods, rivers lakes and rocks and sky. The fall colours are astonishing, spring and summer too. I adore the gently sloping shadow studded vistas of winter. The client hasn’t seen the painting yet so i can’t show you, but i can show you from whence it came…
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It is a wintry day here in Springtown and nowhere near that time when thoughts of spring appear, unbidden. I have several of my paintings here in the house that can remind me of the promise of spring. The bright blue light of a mid-winter day outside is blinding in contrast to the warm enfolding colours of spring. My patience wanes as the weather intimidates us with its burden of, yet again, more fresh fallen snow and ice. Winter will run its course like it always does. This year my partner’s newly built studio is a short walk through the woods. It means will be in touch with winter walks on a daily basis, back and forth through the woods like little red riding hood, except my coat is a plum colour. So I remind myself to be patient, that spring will appear one day. The maple bush will come alive with activity. Snow will be tramped down to mud and old maples will lovingly be bled of sap. The smell of wood smoke and the distant call of returning geese will once again reign. A new cycle of growth and rejuvenation will begin. I can’t wait.
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I am most inspired by light. My subject matter may change and shift, but light remains the constant. Sometimes it’s the light through the trees, or on a path, in a puddle. Other times it is the dappled light on a wall, a gate, a shutter, or a door. The contrast of a blackbird in a snow-covered field holds the same attraction. Light and contrast are visual candy. It is sweet, occasionally bittersweet. I choose a medium to suit the flavour and the intensity that I want to impart. Sometimes I use my tried-and-true watercolour, but my facility with acrylic, pastel, collage, alternative photography, or a mix of any of these, can satisfy the muse. Part of the journey is to tactilely manage the medium, with the message. I always ask myself which is the best voice to use for this . . . Unlike many other professional artists, I tend to move around my media, asking them to play with me, to capture even more of the essence required, to create the message.
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The art of life I’ve learned that life is lived in stages, sometimes one slips into the next unnoticed, other times the changes are abrupt. One’s circumstance can dictate your progress. One’s will helps define your limitations. Some blame their life events upon circumstance, but it has been shown to me over the 6 decades of my life, that our will can clearly overcome circumstance. Some folks appear to have been handed life on a silver platter. Those platters are, in some ways, deceitful. If you could walk a mile in their shoes one would discover the cost of those apparent gifts. The one thing I’ve been all my life, (apart from female), is an artist. As such, over the years, many hundreds of well-meaning folks have told me how lucky I am to have talent. Yet, talent alone is not nearly enough to succeed as an artist. Determination and a will to pursue art making are mandatory to be able to call oneself an artist. You cannot chase something while standing still. You cannot be an artist without an artistic practice. So that is why I say, Life is an art and art is my life.  
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Every artist experiences change. It is that which can either compel creativity, or thwart it. I am in the midst of an artistic change right now. After 17 seasons as the head scenic artist for Canada’s National Arts Centre,  I am moving on. I have called it ‘retiring’, mostly to signify it’s job like status. I was, have been, contracted each season since the 1999-2000 season, to paint all the English Theatre productions as well as various Theatre Francais sets, the Governor General Awards sets, as well as other special projects around the building. It has been a rewarding experience. I was renumerated for the work I did on an hourly basis. The workshop is a large well equipped studio to work in, it has its faults, but we worked within those boundaries.  It has a typical 70-s building issue, poor ventilation,  and so I have been spared many of the toxic chemicals I may have been seconded to use. I learned to paint with what I call the ‘30 foot eye’, seeing the images from that distance, when you are actually only 5 feet away. (I am 5’4” and that is as far away as I can be holding […]
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