Friday, May 29, 2009

French Yellow

Sunflowers are so vibrant and happy. They seem to be available at flower shops year round these days... adding a touch of cheeriness to any bouquet. I thought it fitting to paint this large sunflower head the other day and post it today since this weekend is the opening of the Van Gogh movie at the imax theatre at The Telus World of Science. Van Gogh will be in good company because running at the same time, May 29 to Sept 7, is an exhibit of Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions (which my husband and I saw years ago at the museum here in Edmonton).

I have seen a number of original Van Gogh paintings during my travels... The most recent exhibition I saw was of his night scenes, which were on display at the MOMA, in New York. It was a fascinating show. Included with the paintings were letters he wrote and sent to his brother Theo (who was also his art dealer/patron of sorts). The letters included numerous sketches of his ideas for the paintings on exhibit. Fascinating! A magical experience that I will never forget. Van Gogh on the imax screen will be quite the thrill.

See you at the movie. (I may go a few times...)

16x20 oil on canvas (like Van Gogh said, the thicker paint takes longer to dry before I can ship this work)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bridal White

Bridal season is upon us. A favourite flower for bridal bouquets is the calla lily. Calla lilies are elegant and graceful, perched on top of long fleshy green stems. The trumpet-like petal has a unique appearance and texture... it feels like multiple layers of silk sewn together to create a thick, smooth surface which nature has swirled into a shapely cone.
As the white calla ages it slowly changes hue, going from white, to cream, to ochre, with darker toned creases and lines here and there. Very beautiful at all stages of life... like a bride.

(remember, you can click on the image of each painting to view a larger version)

24x12 inches oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


While out for a walk yesterday morning (I always carry my camera on my morning walks) I came upon an Iris... this Iris. Yes, I realize that the colours look a bit out of the ordinary, but the live Iris really did contain all these colours and tones. Snuggled up against the front steps of the house where it was growing, this fanciful Iris was probably just waking up after a night filled with dancing and laughter. The dusty jewel tones of her pleated skirt, hot orange yellow fringes at the waist, along with the billowy pinky purple petals that made up her blouse gave away her alter ego... a Gypsy.
A camera, a flower, plus morning sunshine, added to a colourful imagination equal part reality and part whimsy...

Shall we dance?

20x16 inches oil on canvas (she needs some time to dry, but let me know if you are interested in purchasing this one)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yellow Flages

The Canadian Federation of University Women invited me (along with two other artists) to exhibit some of my paintings at their end of the year BBQ last night, at the Faculty Club, here in Edmonton. It was a lovely evening filled with interesting people and delightful conversation... I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I spent most of the day yesterday getting ready for the evening event, which translated into no time to paint yesterday. Therefore I have posted another piece that I painted and sold in March. I think that this painting really shows Van Gogh's influence on my work. Part of the charm of this piece is the size, measuring 30x15 inches it feels like you are standing next to these Iris (in France of course...).

Enjoy your day in the garden...

30x15 inches, oil on canvas.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden Glow

Today I wanted to post this painting that was created in March.  It is a large piece, 24x40 inches and the subject matter is similar to another piece I painted called Garden View, (See Feb. 27, 2009, older posts).  This variety of Iris seems to touch many hearts and evoke wonderful memories... Thank you to everyone who made a point of sharing with me a wonderful memory (or two) that centered around these Iris.
My business cards were designed so that I can change the image on it when I print new ones, and this painting is on the latest batch.

24x40 inches, oil on canvas (dry and already hung)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oriental Pink

Sitting beside the callas (see yesterday's posting), were these oriental lilies. Looking a bit uptight crammed into their pot I rescued them; took them home and arranged the stems in this glass vase. Each blossom and bud now had room to open ... space to feel comfortable, freedom to express themselves. After they had time for a quick drink I began the painting session. Once the spot lights were positioned on sections of their pretty faces you could really appreciate the elegant beauty in each petal, the freshness... the sweet burgundy freckles on their soft pink cheeks.

20x16, oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pink Ladies

From the corner of my eye I spied these pinky lavender calla lilies. Some of the flowers bobbed and danced on long leggy stems as I pulled this pot out from the display stand. They appeared a bit tipsy as I took them to the check-out counter... I think they had been given a bit too much to drink while sitting on the shelf... like a group of bored party girls.
Once I got them home (and dried out), I placed them against my still-life backdrop to begin my painting. They practically shouted at me to paint them large, show off their beauty, accentuate their natural curves... so I listened to my muse.

These pink ladies are larger than life in this 24x40 inch format.

24x40 inch oil on canvas (they need a little time to dry)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blue Beard, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

This is my 100th painting in 2009!  Realizing that I have completed and catalogued 100 paintings from January 1, 2009 to now, I had to pinch myself.  Of course this number does not reflect the number of paintings that did not work out and I wiped off the canvas and started again...
While mixing the purple and blue shades for this Iris I reflected on how quickly time passes when you are doing something you love to do.  Sure, I have frustrating days when nothing seems to work the way I wanted it to... But as I have mention a few times on my blog it is the painting process that I enjoy, not just the end result.  Like the saying... It is the journey not the destination... 
The twist and turns of a flower petal are a metaphor for the twists and turns we experience in life.  When painting or drawing the petal we are experiencing life in a unique way because in order to capture the essence of the petal you must really take the time to study the section you are working on... you need to feel it on many levels.  We can try to be technically perfect but then the painting would be lifeless, boring, mechanical.
Let's celebrate imperfection!  Perfectionism is over-rated and boring!

10x8, oil on canvas (needs some drying time, after all it is 100) 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tapestry I and Tapestry II

Tapestries became a status symbol amongst the aristocracy in the Middle Ages.  These beautiful pieces of woven art provided insulation for castle walls, covering openings and giving privacy around beds.  Medieval weavers extracted their dyes from plants and insects in a range of less than 20 colours.
 Henry VIII's collection of tapestries totaled over 2,000...  but extravagant Louis XIV, never to be outdone, owned 2,155 tapestries.

These two Iris paintings were produced using an eight colour palette.  This palette allows me to create an almost unlimited number of colour choices when painting and I love the subtle tonal differences that appear as I blend 2 or 3 colours during the painting process.  Whether you have 8 or 20 colour choices it all comes down to how you choose to use them...

Like yesterday's paintings, these two pieces could be hung separately.  But for best visual impact on your castle wall, hang them side by side like the first long photo (which creates an approximate 8 x20 inch diptych).  Hung together like this they create more visual warmth.

$75.00 each, 8x10 oil paintings on canvas (needs some more drying time before hanging) 

Monday, May 11, 2009


Click on the close-up photo below of the main tulip from today's posting to see the texture of the paint and some of the subtle colours.
I bought these tulips last week and placed them in a clear glass vase in our dinning room. Tall and willowy they seemed to bend and twist in all directions while trying to hold up their heavy heads. Ornate and grand... Looking like they belonged in Versailles next to Louis XIV's writing desk inspired me capture a likeness... to paint their portrait.

I wanted to convey the rich tones and textures of each petal, accentuating the baroque qualities of each tulip before they started to drop all their petals and... dare I saw... loose their heads.

16x20 inches, oil on canvas, (needs some drying time)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I stayed with some friends during my visit to Salt Spring Island and they had these gorgeous pink lilies on their dinning room table when I arrived. Near the end of my stay I recut the stems and arranged them in this glass vase, specifically trimming the stems short enough so that the flowers just peaked over the edge. My mind was already visualizing them in a painting... I did a small watercolour pencil sketch of them while I was there and took numerous photos of this bouquet for future reference. Once back in the studio my instincts told me to paint this one larger than the usual size I paint for my daily pieces. I set up a 16x20 canvas and started mixing my paint. As I squeezed the oil paint onto my glass palette I could feel myself begin to slip into that wonderful zone where time seems to stand still and you become one with the brush, paint and canvas... It is hard to describe the amount of joy that I experience while painting... but it seems to change my physiology on a very deep level... almost a walking meditation.
Viewing art (not just creating it) can evoke this experience for me, and from what I have heard from friends and collectors it can do the same thing for them... we may just describe it in different terms.

Let's celebrate our differences... after all it may just be semantics.

16x20, oil on canvas (just painted yesterday, will need some time to dry)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


This amazing poppy was planted in a small pot next to the poppy I posted yesterday. The contrast between the two flowers caught my eye. Strong sunshine filtered through their thin silky petals... the morning light showed all the beautiful folds, wrinkles and lines on their delicate faces. Character lines... beauty marks.

6x20 inches, oil on canvas

Monday, May 4, 2009


Garden Centers offer a rich variety of painting subjects. While I perused the perennial section this Icelandic Poppy sparkled and glowed in the sunshine... petals that resemble crepe paper, but with the texture of silk when you touch them.
Some flowers seem to paint themselves. Swirling the paint on the palette to create the proper shade of pink, applying the silky oil paint to the canvas... watching as the painting takes shape... each petal creates it's own unique pattern of glowing light. Like magic, all the pieces fit together and form a flower.

16x20 inches, oil on canvas, (ready to hang in about one week)