Monday, November 24, 2014

World Blog Hop

I want to thank Deb Ward for inviting me to participate in this  Blog Hop Around the World.

Deb, a watermedia artist, is a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. I could go on and on with this list of accomplishments. I feel so honored to be in such great company! Do visit her blog to view what she wrote last Monday in the context of this World Blog Hop.
For those who don’t know me, I am a Canadian painter living in Ottawa, Ontario. I fell in love with watercolors  a bit more than 10 years ago after having spent more than 20 years as a fiber artist. I now work more often in mixed media and acrylics, but watercolor remains my first love!
I have been asked to answer four questions regarding my art and my process.
1. What am I working on?
In the past few weeks, I have been getting ready…or at least trying to get ready…for several November shows. The main one, the Nepean Fine Arts League Show, will run Nov. 28th, 29th and 30th. It is always a fun show with great sales…unless we get freezing rain or a snow storm! With only a few days left, I have several paintings  that I would like to finish in time for the show. Here is part of one of these paintings: a 24” x 30” palette knife acrylic landscape. This is only my fourth palette knife painting ( and landscape, I should add) and I love the process…so there should lots more in my future.
WIP-Detail - Acrylic, palette knife, landscape
I am also working on a 24” x 24” hand embossed pewter and acrylic painting of an Etruscan horse designed from a tiny bronze statuette I purchased in Greece. This one will certainly be finished for Friday!
I have also been working on a series of acrylic paintings of leaves in negative painting technique. In the past two years, I have taken several workshops with well-known artist, Linda Kemp, who is often called the "Ambassador for Negative Painting"; I am not sure if Linda would totally approve of my negative paintings, but I really enjoy creating what I call mazes! Some of these paintings are on Ampersand Claybords and others on regular canvas.
"Forest Glow" - Acrylic - 16" x 20"

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Tough question! First, I think my work is a proof of multiple personalities:-)  I work in at least three different medium, I paint tight watercolours, I work with sheets of metal, I enjoy creating mixed media abstracts and now textured acrylic landscapes. 

However, my watercolor is perhaps where my work is most different at least in its source of subject. I love painting stone carvings and statues.  Below is a large painting of part of Neptune’s Fountain in Florence.
"Neptune's Sea Horses"- Watercolor -"15 x 31" ( before framing)
I have also painted a series of Venetian “Mascaroni”, carved stone heads found especially in Venice over palazzo archways. These are probably not the best “commercial” subjects I could choose, but I am really moved by these stone faces that have survived so many centuries and still look so noble!
"The Protector" - Watercolor - 21" x 24"
Closer to home, I have painted a series of commissions for an Ottawa company of master stone carvers and stone masons who are currently doing restauration work on the Canadian Parliament Buildings. The gothic façade of the Parliament Buildings are also a great source of inspiration for me!

3. Why do I create what I do?
I have always felt a need to express myself creatively and to keep my hands busy. I dream of colors …the transparency of watercolor, the flow of water and paint on paper really give me joy! I am often attracted to subjects showing great contrast of light and shadow that watercolor can convey so beautifully
 I also love textures ( after all, I was for a long time a fiber artist!) : this probably explains my attraction to palette knife painting,  pewter embossing and mixed media where I can play with all those incredible acrylic gels and mediums now available. My Midnight in the Enchanted Forest with its gel textures, hand painted paper, cheesecloth, copper, gold leaf etc…seems like the work of an artist gone crazy about texture, don’t you think?
"Midnight in the Enchanted Forest"
12" x 12"

4. How does my creative process work?
Once in a while, like in the case of my Mascaroni, a subject has called out to me so strongly that I could not wait to get home and start painting it. Most of the time though, it takes me a long time to decide on a painting subject: day after day, I look through all my thousands of photos, I think about colors and textures and can’t decide on what to paint.  Once I have finally decided on a subject, I will spend again lots of time deciding on size and on composition. For watercolors, I will prepare a very detailed drawing that I will then transfer to my paper, Fabriano 140 lb Soft Press. I don’t like large washes; I try to imagine that every square inch of the drawing is like a mini-painting and I focus on that small area, often until it is completed. I move through the painting in a systematic way, from the top left, working across and down.
After a large, complex watercolor painted this way, I feel a need to play, to experience the freedom of a mixed media or acrylic painting where I work entirely intuitively without any planning.

Upcoming World Blog Hop Participants:
  For next week’s post in this  Blog Hop Around the World, I have invited two artists that I have been following and admiring for years: Laura Leeder, a fellow Canadian from British Colombia and Mary Paquet, from California.
Laura is a wonderful watercolor painter who, like Deb Ward, paints beautiful lace! One of her other favorite subjects is delicate porcelain teacups. Her art always shows such mastery of the medium!  Laura is not only a great painter, she is a delightful person. I hope you will visit her blog soon and won’t miss her post next Monday!
Mary Paquet is a mixed media artist specializing in figurative, landscape, cityscape, and still life. Mary says that her inspiration comes from living life to the fullest. I believe her! I am always amazed by all the workshops she attends and how she then thoughtfully integrates the new skills and techniques in her own original art.
I hope that you will continue to follow this Blog Hop around the world and in the process discover new artists that will eventually become valued blogging friends!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Palette Knife Painting - Nature's Glow

Nature's Glow- Acrylic 18" x 24"
I could not resist painting a fall landscape and decided that palette knife would be a great technique to use to translate the density and richness of autumn foliage.

This painting is 18" x 24" on canvas and is mostly from my imagination and memory although I have been collecting fall photos for quite a while.

Please let me know what you think.

Enjoy this glorious season!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Small Study: Michelangelo's David - The eyes!

I saw Michelangelo's David in Florence for the first time a few years ago. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to paint those wonderful eyes!

David is a 17 ft marble statue of a male nude created by the Renaissance artist Michelangelo. It soon became to symbolize the defense of civil liberties in Florence. David's warning glare was turned towards one of Florence's rivals, Rome.

This small watercolor may be the study of a larger painting one day. It is 8" x 10" on Arches 140lb cold press paper and is matted in white to 11" x 14" and is protected by a clear plastic sleeve.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Gatineau Hills Ballet" -

"Gatineau Hills Ballet" - 24" x 24" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

My obsession with negative painting continues with this latest addition to my "Leaves" series. This is the largest painting of the series so far; it is 24" x 24" on a deep gallery wrapped canvas.

 My neighborhood has dozens of gorgeous old oak trees and during my walks I always find myself admiring their beautiful leaves... and when I return home, I find myself wanting to paint them.  These days I am also obsessed with painting swirls, mazes, tangles.....I hope all of these don't make you dizzy:-)
I will be offering prints of this painting on Fine Art America for a short while in ..landscapes art.This painting is too heavy to ship:-)

Let me know what you think.
I hope that you are enjoying nice autumn weather where you are. Best of all, take care!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Watercolor Commission Almost Completed

Scottie, the Green Man
I have almost finished this large commission which will be framed at  approx. 25" h x 41" w. You may remember a small study I did of this over a year ago of the central portion. This represents a beautiful stone carving in front of the RJW Stone Mason company in Ottawa. I have completed commissions of two other carvings on the facade of their headquarters ( Pierre, the Green Man, and Angus, the Green Man).
I took over a year to finish this commission and ran into problems because of this...the masking would not come off, glue from tape was transferred to the paper etc...Fortunately, I managed to fix most of the problems The painting has a few small resulting flaws, but I hope the client will still be happy with it.
One of these days, I will redo this painting and do it within just a few weeks and not procrastinate the way I I often do for commissions.

What about you? Do you rush to finish commissions, or like me, do you procrastinate?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yet Another Painting of Leaves....and My First Dog Portrait

I thought my obsession with leaves and negative painting was over, but it seems I was wrong. Hopefully, you are not too tired of these... This painting is a small 8" x 10" acrylic on Ampersand panel. I love the textures that can be achieved on this surface.
Autumn Leaves- 10" x 8" - Acrylic on Ampersand panel
I am finishing a large watercolor commission that I have had for months. To relax in between watercolor painting sessions, I have been playing. Last week, I painted my first dog portrait and had fun making it very colorful:-)
Chleo, the Bassett Hound - 10" x 10" acrylic
I am pleased that I have managed to post more regularly lately.
Wishing you a great week.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Forest Light: Another Negative Technique Painting

"Forest Light": Another Negative Technique Painting

Forest Light
Note: on my monitor, the painting is much brighter than in real life on this site, while it uploads closer to the real values on Facebook. Strange!

I have just finished another acrylic painting of leaves in negative painting technique. I think this will be enough leaves for a while at least:-)

The painting is 16" x 20" and I have painted the sides blue. I am not sure yet if I will leave it as is or get it framed since it is not on a gallery wrapped canvas.

Now, I will go and work on a watercolor commission and think about what I will paint next.

I wish you a great week!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Latest painting and Great Summer Workshops!

This weekend I decided to play in the studio and created Forest Glow - 16" x 20" acrylic on canvas
I really had fun creating this painting of a small corner of an imaginary forest. Since I love solving puzzles and sudokus,  I think it is not surprising that I never get tired of the negative painting techniques and love to carve stem after stem, leaf after leaf into a colorful background. It is like working in a maze:-) I hope you don't find the result too chaotic.

 I have been very fortunate to have taken several workshops with the "Ambassador of Negative Painting", Linda Kemp. Last summer, I took a one-day workshop with this great lady and just over a week ago, I attended the Holbein Vermont Event and attended 3 half-day workshops with Linda. What a treat!
The same week, I took a half-day workshop with the well-known American landscape painter, Ken Muenzenmayer. His landscapes are so luminous. He paints as many as 50 layers on ampersand panels to achieve a wonderful glow! 
In early June, I signed up for my first ever portraiture class...I had never even tried to draw a face I think...I certainly was more than a bit apprehensive:-) The class was being offered by a visiting artist from France, Monsieur Habib Chamat.

Habib was a wonderful teacher and in four days he had me sketching faces and painting portraits in acrylic. Don't laugh at the portrait below of an imaginary man: this is my first ever portrait and I am proud of it:-) My next attempt at portraiture will be the portrait of my 96 year-old mother...
My First Portrait
 What wonderful experiences...and quite humbling at the same time to watch all these excellent artists and teachers paint....I can't wait for another great workshop opportunity.

Wishing you a great month of August!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Textured Semi-Abstract: Blowing in the Wind

Blowing in the Wind

Here is another acrylic painting on a 16" x 16" gallery wrapped canvas. I intended to paint a textured abstract, but it quickly became more of a semi-abstract with some subtle negative painting suggesting branches or stems.  I had a lot of fun creating the various textures on the canvas. See some close-ups of the textures below:
Blowing in the wind - detail

Blowing in the wind - detail
Let me know what you think.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dreaming of Canadian autumn:-)

Dreaming of Canadian autumn:-)
A small 6" x 8" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas all done in negative painting technique. It shows the subtle dance and shimmer of autumn leaves carried away on the surface of a stream.
Currently available online on Daily Paintworks :

I got fascinated with negative painting techniques last summer after taking a workshop with renowned watercolor/acrylic painter Linda Kemp, who is often called the "ambassador for negative painting".  I will be taking more workshops with her this year.  I find negative painting totally addictive!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Return to Blogging and Recent Paintings

It's been months since I have posted on my blog. I truly apologize for this absence. I hope my readers are still around:-) I seem to spend a lot more time on Facebook these days. Why is that? Maybe because Facebook is quicker, although it is more appropriate for short posts with less information than the blog...Not sure...But, I intend to post more regularly again on my blog.

Today, I will show some of my most recent paintings: one varnished watercolour, two acrylics of boats  and two acrylic abstracts. The two boat paintings were recently sold at the Kevin Dodds Gallery and Studio at 1101 Bank St, in Ottawa, Ontario. The others have recently been added to Kevin Dodds' Gallery.

Talk to you soon I hope!
"Summer Dreams" - Acrylic -10" X 10" - SOLD

"Waterlilies"-Varnished Watercolour - 18" x 24"
"Gatineau Hills Energy" - Acrylic - 16" x 16"

"Floating Dreams" - Acrylic - SOLD

"Dreamscape" - Textured Acrylic - 16" x 16"

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New Art Show: The Year of the Horse

The Year of the Horse - A group art show curated by Christiane Kingsley and Luminita Serbanescu

Today, two of my friends and I hung 40 paintings by 6 Ottawa artists at Cafe Angelina, near the popular Byward Market. The show is called "The Year of the Horse" and includes several paintings of horses and several with a Chinese feel. Such a colorful and vibrant show with something for every taste!

There will be a Meet the Artists reception on Sunday, Feb. 9th, from 3 to 5 where all six featured artists will be present:
Marie Arsenault, Elisabeth Arbuckle, Dhanashri Bapat, Christiane Kingsley, Luminita Serbanescu and Sawsan Shorbajee.

My "horse" entry for the show is a pewter and acrylic piece, of an Estrucan horse from a statuette in the British Museum. It is one of a pair....the other, facing in the other direction, and with different hand embossing, is currently on display at the Kevin Dodds gallery at 1101 Bank St. Ottawa.
 If you are in Ottawa for Winterlude, please drop in and see the show at 11 Murray St,. about two hundred yards from the National Arts Gallery of Canada.