Wednesday, June 30, 2010

O Canada

July 1 is Canada Day...  in years past it was known as Dominion Day, because it marks a significant landmark of the history of Canadian independence and  celebrates the anniversary of the confederation. In  1965 Queen Elizabeth II (the Queen of Canada) proclaimed The Maple Leaf Flag as the official flag of Canada, instead of the Union Jack (the British Flag).  There was much debate over changing the flag to be more representational of Canada... but it finally happened.  Supposedly the colours of red and white were suggested for Canada because they had been the colours of both France and England, and utilizing both colours, connected Quebec (and the French connection) with the rest of English speaking Canada, an attempt to appease both groups of Canadians and create a unified whole.

Happy Canada Day on July 1, may we stay united!

12x6 oil on canvas.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lemon Glow

We were at a garden party yesterday.  Our friends have one nearly every summer and it is a colourful affair located in their huge pie shaped backyard, complete with endless gardens full of gorgeous flowers... I always take my camera.  This year the party was a bit earlier in the season, which meant that their iris were still in bloom.  The evening sunlight (sounds funny, I know, but up north here in Edmonton it stays light until almost 11 p.m.) was creating quite the glow on this magnificent lemon yellow Iris.  She was a real show stopper.   I spent some time photographing her beauty so that I could attempt to portray my version of this spectacular bloom for my Monday post.

10x10 oil on canvas

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Blue

Summer is really here when my Siberian Iris bloom.  The back garden siberians are already finished blooming, but the front yard garden has many deep blue blossoms with numerous buds waiting in the wings for their turn to take center stage.  Graceful, tall and willowy... and blue.
Summer blue  makes summer more beautiful...

10x10 oil on canvas.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scabiosa Nouveau


I just got back from a quick trip to Chicago and 'The Art Institute of Chicago'... what an amazing city!  The Art Institute has a special Matisse show on at the moment, which was wonderful to see, plus I soaked up as much painting energy as I could from all the other Impressionists and of course I also spent time with Georgia O'Keeffe, and Vincent...  The Modern Art Collection was inspiring too.  Ok, Ok, pretty well everything at the art institute was a thrill.  Monet gave me some ideas for painting hay stacks (I guess mine will be hay 'bales') and Cezanne's still life fruit paintings gave me food for thought.

While at the Egyptian exhibit at The Field Museum I found one of the Fayum Mummy Portraits which I talked about in my posting from May 18, 2010,  Enigma I.  (I will post my own photograph of the wax portrait in a future encaustic painting posting).  It was a very inspirational trip, and I acquired some gorgeous reference photos for future paintings.

Scabiosa Nouveau is another painting of my scabiosa plant, which you will remember from my  June 16, 2010 called Scabiosa.  Whimsical with a hint of art nouveau, today's painting is fresh off the brush!

10x10 oil on canvas

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Scabiosa received its unusual botanical name from a herbal remedy that was supposed to treat scabies.  Rather shocking to think this beautiful flower has such a sorted past, but the truth must be told.

In 1550 the only treatment for scabies (a mite that enjoyed living on humans), was a long soak in a hot herbal brew consisting of fresh fennel, marshmallow and scabiosa flowers.  Its effectiveness is debatable, but the name stuck anyway...
The prettier, common names such as pincushion flower, or butterfly flower may have helped it win the prestigious Perennial Plant of the Year award in 2000... but actually it won because of its vigor, heavy blooming and longevity.  I snapped this reference photo from my own garden just yesterday, and painted it for todays posting.

Her whimsical beauty surpasses her unfortunate name... but without such a sordid past, I wouldn't have a story to tell you today.

*This is my 100th painting in 2010!

12x12 oil on canvas.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lavender Ice

Yes, it is finally summer weather here in Edmonton, but while painting this lavender and white iris I couldn't help but remember that we had a late spring... with snow a few weeks ago, which translated into late blooming iris.  This specimen was rolled up tightly, refusing to open till the weather warmed up.
Who can blame her!

10x10 oil on canvas

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cherry Stripes

Cherry season has started.  Chubby globes of sweet red goodness... almost too cute to eat.  Packed full of antioxidants they also contain a substance called 'anthocyanins' 1 and 2, that researchers believe can have significant impact on relieving muscle and joint soreness more quickly.  The website I checked out was talking about a recent study from the University of Michigan.  The site said that even though there is no established guideline yet on how many cherries it takes to reap the benefits, experts suggest that 1-2 servings of cherries daily can help provide some of the health benefits identified in the research.  Single serving size examples include:
1/2 cup dried, 1 cup frozen, 1 cup juice, 1 ounce (or 2 Tbsp) juice concentrate.  Yum!

$150.00, 10x10 oil on canvas

Friday, June 11, 2010

Green on Red

Would it be wrong to say that I think green onions are beautiful?  I mean, everyone thinks flowers are special... but what about a bundle of green onions, placed on rich red fabric?  A slim, crisp green and white scallion with that subtle fresh veggie fragrance can be a vision, and a delight to our senses.  Such beauty...  can bring tears to my eyes.

Food for thought.

10x10 oil on canvas

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I have a larger version of this painting in my personal art collection.    Poppies are one of my favourite garden flowers, plus so much fun to paint.  Actually, there are a number of flowers on my favourite list... but poppies are in the top 5 of my long, long list.  (Perhaps I should confess to being a flower junkie... but most of you have probably figured that out by now.)

Poppy petals resemble crinkled raw silk fabric gathered into a central focal point... and as the blooms flutter in an afternoon breeze I am captivated by the bits of light that dance along the edges and folds of the flower, while a dusting of pollen is often scattered in random patterns on a few petals...

A Sunburst of colour for your wall.

12x12 oil on canvas.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Radiant Red

Radiant Red was painted using a lily reference photo from about a year ago.  Since I loved painting it the first time, why not try it again?  It is nearly impossible to paint an identical painting (at least for me it is) and I am happy about that because that means that each painting, even if it is created from a common reference photo will not be an exact copy.  I did not look at the photo of the previous lily painting because I didn't want to be influenced by it. This way, the painting is fresh and not labored over, trying to recreate a certain look, or similar brush stroke.
Van Gogh painted some of the same people, sitting in the same poses a few times.  He changed some of the colours, painterly brush strokes and mark making in each painting, thereby creating a new work of art each time, yet you can tell it was painted at the same sitting.

Who knows which reference photo I will try again... stay tuned!

10x10 oil on canvas

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I seem to be out of sink with my new group blog site, so I will be starting to post in the evening for the next day and see how that works.  So this post is a bit late if you already looked on 'Daily Painter Originals'.

Portobello mushrooms are delicious.   Pop it into a covered dish stem side up (cut the stem flush with the cap gills) drizzled with a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced onion and some dried herbs like oregano and baked at about 375 degrees F. for approximately 20 minutes.  Once baked I add some grated cheese (asiago is nice, or what ever you have on hand) on top, put the lid back on and place it back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.  You can turn off the oven and leave it covered in the oven until you are ready to eat it, either as an appetizer (2 people can share on large cap) or if it is a vegetarian main course have it with a salad etc.

Here is my 'basic' Baked Portobello Mushroom recipe:

Bake in covered dish at 375 degrees F. for approximately  20 minutes

1 large Portobello mushroom cap, stem trimmed (or 2 smaller caps)

 Mix together and pour or spoon over the gill area:

1 to 2 TBSP of olive oil
1/2 to 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried herbs (like oregano, or an Italian Herb mix)
1 tsp of finely minced onion

Once cooked remove from oven and add:

 2 TBSP of grated cheese, or a couple of slices

Cover gill area with cheese and pop back into the oven, covered, for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted (*turn oven off and leave it in until you are ready to eat it.  It tasted even better if allowed to stay in oven, heat off, for another 10 to 15 minutes.  It seems to take on a 'meaty' taste.

10x10 oil on canvas. (no cooking time required)

Monday, June 7, 2010


This Tropical plant appears to have originated in China.  Besides being edible and used in salads and teas, the flower was used as a hair dye in China and is also called shoe black paint.  Hibiscus plants eventually populated India and the Pacific Islands...  of course this exotic bloom reached Hawaii, where it became the state flower.  Even though each bloom usually only lasts for one day, the buds grow quickly and are opening all the time... Hawaiians wear this lovely flower in their hair and as garlands around their necks.

Although you can't wear this hibiscus flower around your neck, or use it as hair dye, you can hang it on  your wall to add beauty to your home.

10x10 oil on canvas.

Exciting News!
I was invited to join a new daily painters art group/blog, called  Daily Painter Originals.  Have a look at all the amazing talent on this site.  This beautiful gallery has a  limited membership of 30 daily painters and I am very proud to be one of them.  If you go to my blog you will see the 'widget' (icon with rotating paintings) for this gallery displayed on the right hand side.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Peach Twist

Peach Twist is a bit of a twist on a real pinky peach and lavender Iris... I changed the name to protect the innocent.  While shopping for some new perennials I came upon this variety of Iris, it was the only Iris that already had a long stalk with buds formed.  Before I planted it I snipped off the stalks and plopped them into a vase, just to make sure they opened, rather than perish in the snow we had on and off in may.  One morning this colourful gift was waiting for me...
Photographing it under warm indoor lighting created a bit more of a peachy pink tone to the upper petals, which I rather liked, so I utilized this enhanced colour...  creative license at work again.

12x12 oil on canvas.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Antique Yellow

It's finally Iris season, and even though it has been quite cool (read winter off and on) here in Alberta, I have noticed a few iris unfurling.   Not as many as usually, but a few brave blooms are showing some colour.  This antique yellow and burgundy toned iris is a popular variety in gardens surrounding many older homes... it has timeless beauty.

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

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Floral Painting of a Poppy, Poppy, by Canadian Painter Kim Blair

Poppies and Georgia O'Keeffe have been on my mind...  while browsing through floral reference photos I shot last summer, an oriental poppy jumped out at me.  The perspective had Georgia written all over it, and the colour said 'Kim'... how could I resist?

18x18 inches oil on gallery profile canvas