Canada celebrates 150 years this weekend!

You may remember that I talked about participating in the Canada 150 Mural Project in an earlier blog (History in the Making 2016). Many communities have participated across Canada and I can’t wait to see the finished product when they virtually join all the murals together.  Be sure to check out the project on line!  -Such an amazing concept.

Recently I helped to paint the Oakville Art Society’s submission to the Bronte BIA’s Muskoka Chair project.  The chair features similar graphics to those on the posters featuring this year’s Art in the Park.  Agencies and individuals successfully submitted designs to complete 60+ hand painted chairs that will be displayed in Bronte on Canada Day!  You can’t look at a Muskoka Chair and not think “Canada”.  I can’t wait to see what everyone has done.

I’ve fallen behind on projects due to some health issues.  Things are picking up, so I finally finished two small plein air pieces.  One I started at the last “Paint the Town” event -it’s a window at Knox Presbyterian Church in Oakville (I call this one “Reflections from God”).   The other I started using the gardens at Sovereign House,  in Bronte as my inspiration.

plein air 2017

Wherever you are, whatever you do, I hope that you have a wonderful Canada Day!  We have so much to be thankful for living here…

garden frame


Recognition, Reflection and Gratitude

I can’t believe that May is almost here!  Again time flies by.

This year has been a rollercoaster for me.  A time of major ups and major downs.

After a wonderful Christmas and New Year with our family in England (alwayBronte Lighthouses the best fun), I started 2017 back in Canada having a great time participating in a watercolour class at the Oakville Art Society.  Classes give you the opportunity to meet fellow artists, play with some paint, and there’s always something new to learn.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that Shelley Prior is an amazing teacher!

Muskoka WeekendIn February a girls’ weekend in Muskoka inspired me to paint some snow scenes.  It was something I hadn’t done before and Shelley had some great tips for me.  The cottage we were at was magical: like being inside a snow globe looking out at the frozen lake and counting the deer (yes “deer”, there were SO many, it was unbelievable!)

At the beginning of March I was so honored when Oakville ArtWorks  chose my “Cuba Blues” acrylic painting I did last summer for their Juried Show.  The opening reception was March 2nd and I was so pleased to see friends come out to support me.

Then in April I was accepted into the Oakville Art Society’s Juried Show!  –To be recognized in two important juried shows in a row!  What an honour.  I’m so thrilled!

Just as I was on this all time high of creating and enjoying life, and feeling blessed to  receive such valid recognition, I was given a reality check.  We all know that life has its ups and downs.  I like to think that I don’t take anything for granted, but this Spring between these truly great times I had some unexpected time for reflection.  I’ve had to deal with some serious health issues and always figured I knew what my challenges were, but this one caught me by surprise.  Things can change on a dime and I was painfully reminded of how fragile life can be when I found myself being rushed into hospital to be admitted, not once, but twice with acute severe asthma exacerbations.  I know I have asthma, but it’s always been more of an occasional nuisance: easily controlled.  It’s never been anything “life threatening” and that’s what this was.  It was a “perfect storm” -it happened so fast.  The good news is, I’m here now writing about it, but it was one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had.  Not being able to breathe and then not be able to talk…..

But enough!  Here I am at the other side of it, thinking I really need to create more, paint more, worry less, buy that crazy shirt, dance in the rain, do the things that feed my soul……I know this, we all know this, I’ve said it here and I say it all the time, but we also all tend to backslide.  Which is probably normal too.  We can’t walk around obsessing about it all, but I am so grateful to be here.

I’ve been thinking about some new pieces I’d like to do.  My husband wants me to “paint big”….so maybe I’ll dust off my bigger brushes and canvases and try something a little different!  I was back at my Tai Chi class today.  I’ve been to one “Asthma Class” (not as much fun as Shelley’s class).  I’m slowly, but surely getting back on track. I missed the deadline for Shelley’s Spring class I wanted to take, but that’s ok.  There’ll be others!

I love this time of year.  Everything “greening up”.  Birds returning and getting their summer feathers.  I feel like I’m waking up too.  I’m so grateful for all I have.  I am so lucky.  Let’s paint fun, pretty things!!!  Oh and if you stop by and visit me: expect more dust bunnies and dishes in the sink.  After some reflection, I’ve decided to re-arrange my priorities a bit!

The Oakville Art Society Show is on now, so moving forward I look forward to the reception May 7th.  If you can make it out, be sure to look for my watercolour:

OAS Juried Show 2017FullSizeRender

Sorry I haven’t written, -but I HAVE been creating!

Last time I wrote, I was talking about “Pushing boundaries and going outside our comfort zones”.

Remember my summer of painting at the Bronte Lake Walk outside Cuba’s Restaurant where I told you I was going through my “Cuba Period”?  Well, that really paid off as my painting “Cuba Blues” has been selected for the 2017 ArtWorks Oakville Juried Show!


The exhibition runs from February 27th – March 25, 2017 at QEPCCC Gallery (2302 Bridge Road, Oakville).  The opening reception is Thursday, March 2nd from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  Everyone is welcome and there is no cost to come!  If you’ve forgotten the painting, check out May’s blog!

QEPCC also hosts a huge variety of art shows in its corridors.  It’s a very interesting building and well worth the visit!

What a wonderful time I’ve had.  I got outside early last fall and managed one plein air piece at Sovereign House.

After the summer I also decided to attend watercolour art classes in the Fall and during Winter at the Oakville Art Society (OAS).  Classes help you to develop a more regular painting schedule, is a wonderful opportunity to socialize with other artists, and you ALWAYS continue to learn!

I lovingly completed 5 paintings for specific people in watercolour.  Two were surprise gifts for family in England.

My great niece has a very special pet bunny, who really doesn’t know he’s a bunny -he has painting-collagean amazing personality.  She recently re-decorated her bedroom and wanted art work.  Her mom suggested asking me to paint “Alfie”.  I think she’d forgotten about it so it was very special to see her face when I gave it to her.

The other was for our nephew who visited us in Canada a few years ago for his 40th birthday.  He loves nature and our very dear friends invited us to their home on a lake in the Parry Sound area. Paul loved going out in their kayak and exploring the shore.

So I painted him a scene of the Georgian Bay area for his new home.  His “Canadian Memory”.

Three were also surprise gifts that people had commissioned.  Two were in memory of a very special Mom and one was of a very special family cottage.  I always like to know the backgrounds of commissioned work: what does the reference photo mean to them, what was the person/place like.  For example the imposing rock in front of the cottage is where the family have gathered for pictures over the years. It’s always so rewarding when you can “deliver” what people hope for…..or surpass it!

I’ve said it before, I love to catalogue memories for people and artwork is a very satisfying way of doing that.

So I may not have been writing much, but the paints have been out a lot!



Pushing Boundaries: Bronte and Beyond!

September 1st will be the last “Bronte Lake Walk” event for 2016.

I’ll be in front of Cuba’s Restaurant again, so try to stop by. Summer is winding down and we need to grab every chance we can to enjoy it. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful spot in such a wonderful country.

Last month was very toasty. I actually didn’t bring out as much of my work as I have in previous months. I expected it to be slow and it was a quiet night –occurring just after “Art in the Park”, and with the extreme heat, you can’t really fault people if they stay close to their air conditioners.

Again some very dear friends dropped by to surprise me!

I’m always humbled by the support I get from people. I love my craft, but like a lot of artists, I really appreciate the support and encouragement. As in anything, paintings don’t always work out: I do really like to challenge myself, try new things, push myself out of my comfort zone. That can sometimes be a recipe for disaster! Last time I worked on a “Cuban Dancer”.  She may not get to dance, I’ve not given up on her yet, but if I can’t tease her out of the canvas, I may just paint over her.  Pushing boundaries is never a failure.  It offers opportunity to grow and to learn: –sometimes what not to do! LOL.  Someone once told me that the only “bad” canvas was a blank one.  I’m not sure what I will be working at on September 1st. Any suggestions? I really don’t want to be left with a blank canvas!

IMG_5033Over the past two weeks I tried something totally different! I went to a very special 2 day Art Therapy class. We rolled out clay (literally…..with a rolling pin) and then we each chose items from nature to lay out on our clay. After creating our “layout” we then we rolled the items so that they imprinted into the clay. We rolled out a long strip to attach around our clay imprint, creating a mold. Then plaster was poured onto the mold and hangers set into the plaster. Once dry, the clay was removed and I painted my plaque using watercolour paints! I loved the anticipation and surprise of seeing how it  turned out.

We all face challenges in our lives and in our world.  We all need something to ground us.  Something that offers escape from everyday work and life.  Some people paint, some people golf, some people use photography, some read and attend book clubs, some take up sports, the list goes on and on

……some people even collect art!


Summer of 2016

Blue skies that go on forever. Long, steamy days filled with cicadas telling you just how hot it is.  Crickets chirping to herald the arrival of August!  Ice cream, fruits, berries, salads!  The feel, the smells, the tastes, the sounds of summer leave imprints on our minds. 

As kids, summers stretched on forever for us. 

Whether you went, or whether you always dreamed of going, nothing quite says “summer” like a beach!  

July’s Bronte Lake Walk was a scorcher!  That evening I arrived at Cuba’s Restaurant with a blank canvas and continued my “Cuban theme” by starting a beach painting.  Here it is “finished”.  Look at it and imagine the sounds and smell of the beach, but watch out for spray from the waves!

I’m not sure yet what I will do this Thursday.  It promises to be a beautiful evening for another Bronte Lake Walk event. Come out and celebrate summer!  

Time Flies and Art! Art! Art!

I can’t believe how quickly July passed!  Here we are with the August long weekend coming up and with it my favourite art show and sale!  

Oakville Art Society’s (OAS) Art in the Park is on Monday!  I’ve had the privilege of participating twice in this show and I always attend it.  This year I won’t have a booth as I’ll be at Lake Walk again on Thursday (August 4th from 5-10pm) but I certainly will be going!  

You probably don’t think much about it, but an incredible amount of effort goes into the preparation and presenting of this show both by the OAS, and by the artists (some travel great distances with their precious cargo). 

The variety and caliber of participating artists is exceptional. There is always something new and different. If  you’ve never attended, you should!  You don’t have to be in the market to buy (but it will be hard to resist the wide range of original art available). There’s music and food offerings and being surrounded by a huge variety of art in a beautiful setting on Lake Ontario is irresistible!  

So come out and feed your soul!  Don’t forget your sunscreen!  Maybe a hat?  Admission is $5 and children under 12 are free.

Civilizations come and go but what always remains is the art. It tells a story, even if it’s just to say “I am” or “I was”!  Art speaks a universal language. You may love it. You may hate it. -But it evokes a response. It sometimes makes you think. It sometimes makes you smile. It may trigger a memory.  It may just make you feel good.  You may choose it “just because”!

We need the arts in our lives. In a world where information is transferred and shared in the blink of an eye. Where things are churned out and massed produced. Where everything seems to be “instant” and “disposable,” the artist takes the time to choose a subject, decide upon colour or colours, visualizes the presentation, then utilizes his or her life experience and skill to form, forge, create, capture, sketch, paint, carve out their vision.

So the next time you see an original work of art, whether it’s jewelry, sculpture, glass, pottery, wood, or canvas….whatever it is. Stop!  Breathe!  Savour!  Take a moment to appreciate the history and heart that went into the creation of that piece. 

I believe that true artists’ work are bit like nature, they do their best to create one of a kind slices of life. Even if a group of artists create the exact same scene or subject, there will be subtle differences.  In a world of mass production, why not invest in something that is one of a kind or individually crafted?

Art can be a lot more than just something to fill  a space or colour match a room. 

Feed YOUR soul this summer!

Bronte Lake Walk July 7 -keeping to my “Cuba Theme”


At Cuba’s Restaurant with the bosses: Connie and Chef Dunier 

Lake Walk on July 7th was definitely one of my hottest outdoor art events! We have had a heat alert for the last little while, and temperatures have been soaring into the high 30’s! I’m not complaining…winter always seems so long and summer seems so short! Paint dries pretty fast in that kind of heat, so colour mixing was a challenge.

My car painting (“Cuba Blue”) that I worked on at the May Lake Walk, was a hit with Cuba’s Restaurant. At this Lake Walk I started a beach scene, –which was pretty appropriate as it certainly was “beach weather”!

The best part about these events is the people you meet who stop and chat. Putting yourself “out there” with something as personal as the art you create can be daunting. Your paintings are like your children and of course you want people to like them. No matter how often I do this, I always start out with a few butterflies.

I was really pleased when a lady came up beside me and said, “You must be from the Caribbean!” After seeing “Cuba Blue”, my Hibiscus “postcard” sized canvas and the beach scene I was working on, she said she thought I just had to be from the islands. She was visiting here from St. Kitts. So, quite a compliment since the “islands” I came from are the British Isles: no where near the Caribbean! My husband and I have traveled south many times over our 37+ years of married life and I love the colours and light you find there. So perhaps a little of my heart is from the islands? –Works for me.

There wasn’t a lot of people out at this Lake Walk: could have been the heat, or people are just away on vacation. I hope that the August event will be busier. Either way, it’s never a waste of time as I get to meet some lovely people, I also had some dear friends I haven’t seen in awhile, stop by!

Oh, and of course,I get to paint, so for me it’s always win win!