Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Orange Marmalade

We are planning to see the movie, 'Alice in Wonderland' this Friday, and I can hardly wait!
While thinking about what to call this painting my intuition said to pick up our copy of the Alice in Wonderland book and leaf through it.  As I skimmed the first few pages my eye spied the words 'Orange Marmalade', and I knew that was to be the name of this painting.  Alice is describing what she sees as she is falling down the rabbit hole... cupboards, bookshelves, maps and pictures... she took a jar from one of the shelves as she passed: it was labeled 'Orange Marmalade', but to her disappointment it was empty.

The sun creates highlights on the crinkled edges and in the creases of this poppy making the petals resemble the bits of orange peel you find in marmalade... sometimes the rind can be bitter and sometimes it can be sweet.
I think that Alice would like this orange marmalade.

12x12 oil on canvas. (needs some drying time)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Orange Berries, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Orange Berries  is another painting in my berry series that you will see from time to time, it coordinates with my previous posting from a couple of days ago called 'A Dollop of Snow'.  Mountain Ash berries with bits of snow clinging here and there trying desperately to survive the heat of the sun.  Yesterday it was 16 degrees Celsius here in Edmonton, so it won't be long before the last remnants of snow have disappear from our lawns.  My only wish is that it would rain here in the city in order to wash away the snow mould that is left behind as the snow melts.  This mould is playing havoc with my allergies!  I wonder how people with asthma are doing with the mould?

A few orange berries next to the blue sky... little orange babbles dangling against soft blue satin with bit of fairy dust glistening in the light.

10x10 oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Venetian Silk

Venetian Silk is a larger, semi-abstract painting of a striped silk scarf I received for my birthday last winter.  It was fun to play with the luxurious fabric, swirling it into soft folds and puddles of silk for the photo shoot, trying to create a pleasing composition.  I took the liberty of using my artistic license to enhance the colours in order to accentuate the silky sheen of the fabric.
My research says that following the Great Plague in Europe, young nobles and rich patricians began to dress more flamboyant with vertical stripes becoming popular for sleeves and breeches.  Everyone who survived the plague was happy to be alive and (especially the rich) wanted to express their good fortune by adding a bit of fun and colour to their attire.

There is something about stripes that I find intriguing...

18x18 oil on gallery profile canvas. (needs some drying time)

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Some of you may not know that I was a massage therapist for over 13 years.   I acquired a repetitive strain injury and after much deliberation decided that I needed to change careers in order to heal.  As the saying goes, "when one door closes, another opens"... and I was now able to pursue my desire to become a full-time artist and start my art blog.

This past winter, the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) asked me to be the cover artist for their spring issue of 'Connections', their informative magazine for Natural Health Practitioners.  During my time as a massage therapist I was a board member of the NHPC and assisted in establishing one of the services offered to the public called "Find a Practitioner'.  This service is a great tool for finding a practitioner of various modalities (such as massage, reflexology, caniosacral, manual lymph drainage, shiatsu and yoga, to name just a few of the categories within the program) who are members of this wonderful organization practicing in Canada. With over 6,000 members I am sure that you will be able to find a practitioner to suit your needs.

I still use the services of practitioners who are members of the NHPC.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Dollop of Snow

A few days ago there was a dollop of snow on the clusters of orange berries on our neighbour's mountain ash tree, reminding us that the weather can be fickle.  This weekend is forecasted to be balmy... into the teens, here in Edmonton... one can only hope.
From my on-line research I found out that some people make a type of jelly from the berries... the gardening websites say that the jelly is rather tart, but good with meat.  Some sites suggested making wine from the berries...
  In Europe this variety of tree is called a Rowan Tree and is one of the most sacred trees in Scottish folk tradition.  It is associated with Saint Brighid, the Celtic patroness of the arts, healing, smithing, spinning and weaving.  Spindles and Spinning wheels were traditionally made of Rowan in Scotland and Ireland and Rowan trees planted near stone circles in Scotland were especially powerful...

Did you notice the berries are orange?

10x10 oil on canvas.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Golden Light

Golden Light... warm reflections of deep yellow lemon rinds glowing with hints of orange.  The colour of the rind caught my attention, especially when it was intensified in the tin foil reflections... rays of golden sunlight.  (On March 4, I posted a different view of these wedges.)  Repositioning the lemons and using different sections of the foil along with more or less light gives me almost endless reference material for painting.
If you have any left over lemon juice after squeezing a lemon for a recipe try pouring the pure juice into individual ice cube trays and freeze.  Then, when you need some fresh lemon juice, defrost a cube or two, or, if you like to drink fresh lemon and warm water, pop a cube into a mug and add hot water.  No fuss, no muss!

10x10 oil on canvas.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Peach Ice

Another cold snowy day here in the north...

Sumptuous opaque passages of oil paint applied with my palette knife, (say that with crackers in your mouth!) create swirls and ridges of peach ice.  As the knife cuts into the paint it traces patterns, evoking the veining found in a delicate iris bloom and the folds of soft petals tightly wound into ruffled cones sitting in green sleeves.  Intricate details drawn with the edge of a knife and bristles of a brush.

Click on the image to create a larger version so that you can see what I mean.

My last creamy Iris for a while...

10x10 oil on canvas (the thicker paint will need a bit more drying time)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Ice

Yesterday, early in the morning, I was out driving in the spring ice/snow we had in Edmonton overnight... it was white knuckle driving, and took me a longtime to get back home from my excursion, so I did not post.
Spring Ice, a painting from my creamy/peach iris series, is a reminder that even though spring has officially arrived, one can not really count on the weather here in the north for another month.  The thick impasto areas of rich oil paint in this painting could symbolize the patches of spring ice I encountered here and there on the roads yesterday...  a thick build up of texture, accented with smooth sections that glistened in the early morning light.  Beauty can be found in the oddest of places...

10x10 oil on canvas (thicker areas will need some extra dying time)

Friday, March 19, 2010


There is something ethereal about an iris bloom... especially the pastel ones.  Delicate petals...  swatches of gossamer fabric dancing and swaying on a soft breeze... tufts of bright orange filaments crowned with golden fairy dust disguised as pollen to attract the bees.  A garden is a magical place.

12x12 oil on canvas (needs some extra dying time for the thicker areas of creamy white paint)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Quintessence looks better in real life.  Creamy, rich oil paint applied here and there with a palette knife creating layers of texture over the softer brush strokes.  This is one of the characteristics of Van Gogh's work that I find attractive... the thick application of paint applied in a way that makes you feel like he wants to sculpt an iris.  Paul Gauguin (Vincent's friend and  fellow artist) used to tell Vincent he was 'wasting paint' applying it so thickly and Vincent's brother Theo, (who paid for Vincent's oil paint) mentioned how expensive it was to supply paint to Vincent.  Luckily he ignored his friend's advice and his brother's complaining, and kept on listening to his muse.

I purchase my oil paint in the largest tubes I can find, which saves me from running out of a particular colour too quickly... and lucky no one has suggested I am wasting paint.

12x12 oil on canvas.  (the thicker white paint will need some extra dying time... such is life)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Sideways is a section of one of those long red peppers that I love to paint.  These came from a large package of 5 and are called 'sweet pointed peppers'.  This half section is propped against yes... you guessed right, (wait for the drum roll)... tin foil!
Pepper interiors are a world unto themselves... a cavernous space of orange rippled flesh with a scattering of creamy white seeds hanging on for dear life to the central fiber.   As you clean a pepper take note of all the little seeds that skip and dance across your counter... hoping you won't notice them as they try to make a run for it quietly falling onto the floor.  Sooner or later you find them hiding in the corners of your kitchen, hugging the wall so as not to be seen.  Sometimes I pretend not to see them... and like magic, they are often gone the next day.  One of life's little miracles.

$150.00, 10x10 oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tax Time

It's that time of year again...  and I will need a few days to organize my tax information for my accountant.  It feels good to confess on-line that I have been putting this off until the last moment.  After all, I would prefer to paint...
I have created a better system to handle and organize my receipts for next year, which will hopefully make tax time easier for me.  Perhaps my new 'system' will eliminate the need to use the green bottle beside my computer...  but this year my motto is,"Whatever it takes to get it done!"

See you all next week...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Peach Parfait

Peach Parfait... layers of fluffy peach petals glistening in strong sunlight, showing off the silky delicacy of this oriental bloom.
Last summer while on a photo shoot down in the Riverdale  Community here in Edmonton, I came upon a bed of fabulous peach toned poppies.  It was a hot day, and these oriental beauties were languishing in the heat, trying their best to hold up their heavy heads.  Many of them were sprawled across a bit of sidewalk next to the flower bed, waiting for the coolness of the evening to bring them some relief from the intense summer sun.  They were gorgeous!

12x12 oil  on canvas (needs some drying time)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blood Orange I

Blood Oranges remind me of the Oscars that were on last night.  If you watched the show you will remember the tribute to the horror movie genre... along with the famous screams, chain saws and knife scenes came fake blood.  When I sliced through this blood orange the juice trickled out onto the cutting board... a watery blood colour that screamed horror flick.  And yet, when I positioned these segments on tin foil and shone a nice bright light on them they looked like colourful props for a carnival.

Imagination running wild... blood oranges to horror flicks to carnivals...
Who really knows where writers find their material?

10x10 oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Avocado Swirls

I purchased a set of 3 earth toned tea towels with interesting designs woven into the fabric.  (I know, I know, they have some orange in them too...)  For this painting I arranged mismatched avocado halves on one of the towels, with the seedless half positioned on a slight slant for a little variety.

Tea towels and artist's oil paint have something in common from their past... the flax plant.

Originally, tea towels (from the 1800's) were woven from linen, a natural fiber from the flax plant stems which was a soft, lint free fabric and the best for drying beautiful English bone china tea sets.  Artist's oil paint was originally composted of ground pigment mixed with linseed oil, which is derived from the flax plant.  Raw flax oil undergoes a process to add drying agents to it to create linseed oil which is often used in oil paint to decrease dying time.

Interesting that both linen and linseed were prized for their drying abilities...

10x10 oil on canvas (needs some 'drying' time)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Golden Lemons

These lemons wedges have a deep yellow rind with a hint of orange revealed in certain lighting, and once placed upon foil the reflection glowed.  You might think they are sitting on gold or copper foil, rather than on the silver surface of the tin foil.  Being an artist may be similar to being a magician.  Artist have the tools to offer you a different view... one never knows what we will pull out of our hats!

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein.

Some of us at DPIAG (Daily Painters International Art Gallery), an art blog that I post to besides my own blog, participated in a fun art challenge.  Each month Madison, (the wonderful woman who created DPIAG blog) will offer us an art challenge.  Anyone (even if you do not belong to DPIAG) may paint a version of the challenge and send it to Madison, and if you followed the rules she will publish your art under the challenge section of DPIAG.  Please check out those of us who tried our hand at the March challenge.
It was fun to stretch outside my comfort zone... Next month will be fun, since I love stripes!

10x10 oil on canvas (needs some drying time)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring Stripes

It's almost spring... and the tulips must be poking their heads out of the ground somewhere in Canada...  perhaps in BC.   Spring Stripes is mostly an analogous colour scheme (colours that are beside each other on the colour wheel), red, orange, and yellow tones, with some complementary green leaves.

A collector from Ontario emailed to suggest I should add another 'tip' to my floral advice (see Thursday, February 25) on how to make your fresh flowers last longer...  she suggested I add, "'if you purchase one of my floral paintings then your flowers will last forever." Wish I had thought of that one!

My computer 'stuff' went really well and I am very happy to say that my website is up!  Please have a look when you get a chance , I created it as a venue to showcase my larger paintings, which many subscribers have been asking to see.

10x10 oil on canvas