Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Pequito 2"

This is a new version of Pequito. I did not think the bedroom was quite in line with the pup on the first version. Sorry Vincent but i had to take some liberties with your beautiful work and jam up the colours a wee bit. I'm feeling much better about it now as there is a unity that was lacking in version 1.
Oh, but acrylic is just so much fun.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Pequito 1"

Here is my first foray into the world of "acrylic". I have to admit it was a lot of fun and cannot wait to begin another. I like the fact you can correct things and move them around as you go. Not so with watercolour of course.  I loved the freedom it affords.
This little guy is a Christmas gift for his master. I need to put the finishing touches on him soon as the 25th is coming fast! 24" X 24"

Friday, November 23, 2012


I think the name may be short for beautiful which is so appropriate. Sadly he is no longer here. I know first hand how a dog can occupy our hearts filling every crevice of our homes with their special love. Loosing them becomes so difficult then. I love this poem by Gene Hill.

"When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself.

He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.

His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever—in case I need him. And I expect I will—as I always have. He is just my dog."
Gene Hill

This painting is a commissioned piece as a gift for Christmas for the owner. I do hope to have captured the personality of their beloved companion. This is my hope when doing these.

I so enjoy painting dog portraits and found that to be especially so for "Beau".

Watercolour on 300lb. Arches cold pressed paper. 24" X 24".

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Wow!  It has been a very long while since last i posted. I had not painted all summer! :(  June to Oct. to be exact, having too much "paying" work to tend to. Now there is some free time available and i hope to be posting more.

This is a commission based on a previous painting called "Mevagissy". The folks liked it but wanted something bigger. I was excited to do it as it got me back to the studio to brush off the cobwebs.
After a long hiatus like this it is like learning all over again.

Watercolour on 300lb. Arches cold pressed paper. 12.5" X 28".

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Annie's Street"

A wee fun painting which is a newer  version of an older one i did. It is very enjoyable for me to sit and work on these little villages, and imagine living there.

A young lady in one of my art classes asked me where the stores were as she viewed one of my city scenes that was hanging on the wall in my studio. She wondered where the people would buy their candy and ice cream. She was absolutely right and was most pleased when i showed her this one and another I did, complete with stores. Her smile was reward enough.

My two cows got into the group show by the way. They are with the herd just now, grazing. I'm happy for them.

This is 10" X 14". Transparent watercolor on my fave, Arches 300 lb. cold pressed paper.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Shhh! - this way!"

These two seem to be up to no good. Perhaps they are going to raid the feed bin? Or they are off to meet up with the bulls in the south pasture.  Either way i think they are up to something and thought the pair of them would make a humorous, whimsical painting. This one and Gigi are being entered into a juried group show. I hope they are accepted by the herd and can congregate with some fellow paintings.
Approximately 14 X 20, transparent watercolor on Arches CP paper.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"It's Me! Gigi!"

I thought it was time to do another cow painting. I love doing these guys. When i first started painting full-time I painted a cow and many more after that. So many in fact i became the "Cow Guy". Not really what i wanted to be so began painting boats, villages, people, anything but cows. Alas they kept a calling and i could not resist their charm, their curiosity, and their beauty. There is something about these creatures that is most endearing. And they give us so much i feel i can honour one or two with a painting.

This beauty belongs to a lady in Holland who graciously shares the photos she has of her herd. I am deeply indebted to her for her generosity in doing so.

Gigi is approximately 13" X 18" unframed and is transparent watercolor on Arches 300lb. CP paper.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Parisian Waitress"

This painting was done from a photo on a terrific website called "A Day Not Wasted". The photographer, Lee Brown graciously posts one of his photos each month as a challenge to artists. This young lady was posted way back in September. So you can see i am not ever going to be a "Daily Painter" let alone a monthly one. But i loved the expression on this young lady and wanted to try and capture it. She seemed to be daydreaming of far away lands not waiting on tables.

I got half way through and left her leaning against the gallery wall for a couple of months as i was not sure where to take her. But after a while realized she was almost done and needed only a few more little tweeks here and there. Would love to try this one again with different colors and a different mood. She is 15" X 30", all watercolor on Arches 300lb. CP paper.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"A Quiet Calling"

It was a quiet calling that lead me to this painting, not the riot of colorful misshapen villages i am getting so used to.  I felt rather at peace painting it as well! The color palette appealed to me too and i took a wee bit of liberty with the blues and used deep purples for all the shadow areas and the darks. I still have some village paintings resting against the wall waiting for some attention and a young lady's portrait which is only half done. I'll have to wait until the direction for her is clearer. She is wanting me to take my time. In the meantime it will be fun to do a few more of the trees. I can see now why people paint them so often. The vertical dominance appeals to me as if reaching for the stars or heaven. A place i might like to visit and stay a while.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I finally got my new brushes in the mail yesterday and had to show them off. These five cost only $39.00 + $10 for shipping. I ordered them from Hofcraft. The excitement i felt in waiting for the mailman reminded me of when i had ordered a Jon Gnagy learn to draw kit which amazingly are still available. (Now i am dating myself.) But i learned a lot with that little kit.

I got the idea for these brushes from a wonderful blog by Carl Purcell who so freely shares much of what he has learned. He has many more valuable tips there for a budding watercolor artist. His paintings are so amazing too!

I do have a good selection of Kolinsky brushes which are by far the best ever. You just cannot beat them for the amount of water they hold and the beautiful point possible.  But i find i am reaching for a workhorse brush like these most often, saving the Kolinsky for larger areas and the fun stuff.  Another fine brush for the money can be purchased at Opus. It is called "Capella' and i quite like them as well. It is my excuse to make a trip to Vancouver just so i can visit the Opus store downtown and the wonderful cafes' and beaches too of course.
Hope all are having a wonderful painting day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Splash 14: Best of Watercolor Winner


I had the most exciting email yesterday informing me my painting, "Meana" had been selected for Northlight books, Splash 14 "Light and Color".  I have long been a fan of the Splash series of watercolor books having a fair number in my collection, frequently admiring the wonderful paintings and absorbing all the different techniques. Seeing all the beautiful paintings is so inspirational to me and very helpful in propelling my own work in new directions. I dreamt that one day i too would have a painting published in this way.  It seemed unlikely, as i had entered a few times before without success. Not this time! 

If you would like to see who will be included in the Splash 14 edition you can go here to the 

Sunday, April 1, 2012


These puppies belong to our vet. She has been so good to us with our own two, i thought it would be nice to do a painting for her. She gave me a black and white photo to work from and also a couple of others to get the colours. At first i was not sure how to deal with the little black guy as he was mostly in shadow and hard to see. This one and the previous one, "On High Alert" are going to her on Monday. Commissions are always a tad bit challenging as you never know if they will work out. Watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper. 16" X 22".

Friday, March 30, 2012


This was another re-do of an older painting i had laying around. I'm finding that by re-doing these pieces it is showing me that often there is so much more that can be done and perhaps i am hanging incomplete paintings. I was at a workshop on the weekend with Brent Laycock and a fellow student asked him, "when do you know that a piece is finished?". He said, "when i cannot do anymore to it.". Also by doing this i realized a lot of the paintings i had done did not have enough dark value in them and tended to be in a safe zone of mostly middles. There needs to be contrast and the tension created between the darks and the lights can be dramatic. As in life, we do need those shadows don't we?
I'm excited to put to use these new understandings and look forward to the next discovery.
This is watercolor on Arches 300 lb. cold pressed paper approximately 8" X 22".

Friday, March 16, 2012

"On High Alert"

This beautiful fellow was a commission for a veterinarian. The pet was not well and sadly had to be put down. The vet wanted to do something nice for the owner and had me do this painting for her. I'm hoping it has the essence of the dog. I'll include the photo here for you to see as well.  This is watercolor on Arches 300 lb. CP paper.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Our Town II"

Wahoo! This one fought me tooth and nail. Sometimes they can be a wee bit unruly but perseverance pays off in the end. So often i wanted to quit and start over again. I had an idea for this one which wasn't quite working. The values were all wonky with background things being too warm and pushing forward etc. After much adjusting i think it works okay. This is our great city of Calgary with a little whimsy thrown in. Watercolor on 300 lb. Arches CP paper. 22" X 30".

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Harvest Time"

My cousin suggested to me a wee painting with stooks, wagon, horses, grain elevators, and prairie fields, at harvest time. We are originally from Saskatchewan where all these were a common scene in the early 1900's. This is what i came up with using some old photos, as i had no idea what a stook was until now. Southern Saskatchewan is really quite flat for the most part but i took some creative license just to make it a little interesting. Not that Saskatchewan is not interesting mind you. :) :) There are places where the terrain is varied. Further north you will find lots of lakes, forest and such. It is really a beautiful place and worth exploring if possible. This is watercolor on Arches 300 lb. cold pressed paper. It is 8" X 22".

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Hamlet on Wye"

I decided this painting needed new life. It spent the first part of it's short life in a show in Feb. and then on my studio walls but there seemed to be something lacking. So i took it out of the frame, put it in the shower and washed a lot of the surface paint off. What is left is a very nice faded image of the village that i can use as a base painting. Quite a few of my older paintings have gone through this and the results can be fun. They don't always turn out but it is a wonderful exercise and i find i learn a lot in the process.

Here is the new version which i feel is a big improvement. Shadows really add impact and back lighting is something i've not usually attempted. I have a few more here that will get a shower and a facelift. I do this if i am pleased with the basic composition but want to add something more.

First, i added a building to the right foreground and another behind it. Beefed up the chimneys, and started to lay in some dark shadows using purple. I also added some wee characters to the sky and some more trees and bushes. Finally a whole lot of color went on everywhere.

Stronger shadows will play a new role from here on in and i hope to play with lost and found edges more. Lost edges are a weakness for sure so hope to get better with those.