Happy Holidays!!!!

Acrylic on 16x20 stretched canvas.
I'm away for a few days over the holiday so I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday time filled with love, laughter and peace!


Raw Painting

"If you want to explore, to move with your intuition, you must get used to not knowing where you are going. There is great freedom there.... Art is the place to not know."
from Life, Paint and Passion by Michele Cassou

Leap of Faith
Acrylic on 16x20 stretched canvas.
After reading this book, one of the things I have been trying to do since the summer is take at least a couple of days a week and just paint for the joy of painting! No worries about results, making 'art' or if it will sell or not. I just paint like a kid for the sheer joy of spreading colour across the canvas, instinctively following the brush, just being open to what arrives... I wait until no one is home, turn the music up really really loud and get at it! My initial goal for doing this was to find out how I paint... find my own way so to speak. My academic background is in creative writing and one of our assignments with the goal of 'finding your voice' was to just write for 2 pages a day, then put it away... no rereading, no editing for a month until you had some distance from the work. So I figured this might be a way of visually 'finding my marks.'
Although I have been using paint for years-- it has largely been a tool in my mixed media work as opposed to a process. I was hoping to eventually have a better understanding of what paint can do on its own without the prop of my collage and textured work. I was hoping to just become a better painter and maybe use it as a starting place for creating a new body of work. I am giving myself the space to paint and keep the 'critic' out of things for now. So I paint and then I put it away and I paint some more.
After years of thinking I didn't have my own style because I seem to need alot of variety in my day to day projects, I am starting to recognize my instinctive marks... More importantly, what I am finding is I love painting--- and I have been trying to get to painting daily. When my daughter was young, we used to play this song by Raffi for her. The lyrics went: "... all I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly and love in my family..." Painting makes a song in my heart! I am hoping that some of the vitality and joy will translate and come through in my paintings.


Going Green

Acrylic on 24x28 stretched canvas.
(from The Crossing Place series)

The Crossing Place is an ongoing series exploring transition… the place in between one place and another, one state of being or awareness and another...between awake and dreaming, life and death, death and rebirth, love and fear... Crossroads, portals, doorways, thresholds and windows can all symbolize crossing places; axis’ where the material and spiritual planes cross… the veil thins… and stepping through becomes possible…


India Ink

I usually start my day in the studio with some sort of play, warmup or experiment that has usually has nothing to do with projects in progress. I use this time to fool around with materials and explore the 'what would happen if I.....?' factor.
So the most recent experiment went like this: What would happen if I made marks with a long narrow rigger brush loaded with india ink.... then what would happen if I sprayed it with some water when it was still wet in areas, let it drip down and used a paintbrush to create some grey tones.
Then what would happen if I let it dry and painted in the sections with acrylics:


Dreaming Indigo Group

Acrylic Monoprints mounted on 4- 6x6 stretched canvases.
Indigo is a hard pigment to find in Acrylic paint in my area. I've only ever found it by Pebeo. So I have to mix my indigo. On every tube of paint, it should list the pigments used to mix the colour. This tube of paint used Phthalo Green and Dioxazine Violet to create Indigo. So that is how I mix most of my indigo. You can also mix Ultramarine Blue with Carbon Black for a decent indigo. Or Phthalo Blue will also work with Carbon Black if it is all you've got.


Alternative Mounting

Watercolour & Acrylic Monoprint on paper
mounted on 6x8 stretched canvas.
While I do love to work on paper and have a sizeable stack of pieces I consider ok... I am awful at cutting mats, worry about shipping glass and framing isn't at the top of my 'fun' list. So I have decided to create a different look for my works on paper. I paint a canvas black or indigo, mount a ripped [to appear deckled] piece of cotton paper on top and then mount the artwork on top of that.


On the Edge

Acrylic on 28x34 unstretched canvas.
I've been experimenting with working on unstretched canvas... I like to pin it to foamboard for a firmer surface to work on. One of the things I like about working on paper is the ease with which you can crop for a better composition... and I was thinking that door would still be open with unstretched canvas as well. I suspect the real challenge will be to stretch it straight... Any pointers out there???


Bloom 2-1

Mixed Media on 8x8 stretched canvas.
[Acrylic, ink]
I am a new fan of the Golden Open Acrylics. Took a trip into the 'big' city yesterday for supplies and picked up a starter pack to try them out. Today I decided to just play with them and see what they could do. It was so nice to be able to just relax and play with the intermingling of colours without the stress of them drying on me. I have to admit I am amazed at how long they stay wet on the palette. It's just like having a new toy!!! with new possibilities! I also tried them on my print plates and they stay wet long enough to use them for printmaking! Happy dance!


Ancient Wall series

Mixed Media on 3- 16x20 stretched canvas.
[texture mediums, handmade paper, text, acrylic, fabric]
I've been experimenting with mixing texture mediums. I mixed Venetian plaster, gesso and molding paste and applied it in the top and bottom sections of these works. Then I printed the circles and scraped around with large drywall knives to create grooves and lines. Now that was fun! I intend to do alot more of this textural work. It is a nice contrast to me with the raised handmade paper sections in the middle. They make me think of ancient walls.



Dreaming Indigo Experiments

Cropped area.

Mixed Media 18x24 cradled hardboard.
[pouring, ink, acrylic, resists, monotype]

Alongside flinging paint and preparing for an upcoming show, I have been trying to translate some of the smaller experiments I did earlier this year for my Dreaming Indigo series into larger pieces. I am working on rice papers mounted on cradled hardboard so cropping isn't an option, but if I could I would crop the top picture out of the bottom picture. I love the contrasts and textures. It takes my mind in different directions... some I will follow... after the show. Deadlines always get in the way...


More Flinging

Storming Heaven 3-1
Mixed Media on 24x30 stretched canvas.
[acrylic, ink]
A couple of years ago I read a book called Stalking the Divine. [which could be a great title for a series of paintings I think!] But at one point, the author is talking to a group of nuns who pray 24 hours a day. On occasion the nuns would receive requests to pray for someone and they would then 'storm heaven with prayer' on behalf of that person. Although the closest I come to prayer is painting, for some reason the concept of 'storming heaven' has stayed with me. It seems to be developing into a series of paintings.

Creation Story 1-1

Mixed Media on 24x24 cradled hardboard.
[acrylic, ink]

Far Flung

Mixed media on 18x24 cradled hardboard.
[rice paper, acrylic, ink]
A bit of fun today with flinging paint... there is definitely a technique to be mastered in flinging... I ended up with alot of paint on the floor, the wall and myself... but it is certainly cathartic... and something I plan to practice again!


Digital Manipulation

Digital Manipulation of Work in Progress.

After over a month of being absorbed with family visits, I am trying to get back into the swing of things... but I am just learning to do a bit more than crop photos and it is rather addictive... the possibilities and variations are endless... and I am using a pretty basic program. This one is a work in progress that I played with. I really like the contrasts and the colours. It will be interesting to see how this impacts on the finished work. This is the actual work in progress at this point:

Work in progress

[acrylic, monoprinting, resists on 24x24 cradled hardboard]


Storm 2-1

Mixed Media on 24x24 cradled birch panel.
[ink, acrylic pouring, resists, monoprinting]


Crossing the Line 2-1

Mixed Media on 16x20 stretched canvas.
[string, texture mediums, acrylic, handmade paper]
I don't do alot of commission work, but usually when I accept a commission, I have a mock up canvas to try out things before I commit them to the 'real' work. I find it takes a bit of the pressure off if the muse has a place to play when I am trying to meet specific outcomes on the commission. This piece was my mock up for the commissioned work shown in my last post below. I ended up thinking this one turned out interesting too--- in a different kind of way.
Anyone out there have any other ways of dealing with commission work??? I find it a real challenge and tend to stress myself out rather badly over it... I seem to work much better 'on spec'.


Commission- Strung Out 2-1

Mixed Media on 3- 20x24 stretched canvases.
[string, texture mediums, handmade paper, acrylic]




Watermedia Monotype mounted on 3- 6x12 stretched canvases.
[rice paper, watercolour, ink, acrylic]


Stray of Light1-1

Acrylic on 16x20 stretched canvas.
I tend to use the summer monthes for building skills and exploring ideas that I've been meaning to get to. I am learning to stretch my own canvases and build my own cradled wood boards... behind the scenes work, but necessary. I am getting pretty handy with the mitre saw, drill and brad nailer although I'm still pretty leery of the circular saw.
I've been working with black which hasn't been a regular on my palette [something about those rules that need to be broken]... I am finding the starkness of black really makes the colours pop! These works have been intriguing me lately, creating a colourful base painting then painting out the negative spaces in black and scratching through to find the colours underneath. It is sort of like the scratch art I remember doing in kids art class.... with random colourful crayons then covering it with black crayon and scratching at the black to create the picture. Maybe I'll call this series Black Magic lol!


Dreaming Place 2-1

“There are two worlds; the world that we measure with line and rule, and the world that we feel with our hearts and imagination." Leigh Hunt
Mixed Media on 8x8 stretched canvas.
[rice paper, watercolour, inks, acrylic, collage]

Journals with Gears

7x9 Mixed Media journal.
4x4 Mixed Media Journal.4x5 Mixed Media Journal.


Strings in A minor

Mixed media on 14x18 stretched canvas.
[collage, handmade paper, texture mediums, string, acrylics]


Monotype Printing Class

If ever you get a chance at a class taught by Stephanie Rayner , run, don't walk to sign up. She teaches in Southampton and Haliburton, ON as well as several places in Maine and Ohio, US. She is an amazingly gifted artist, a great storyteller and a truly inspiring instructor. It has taken me this long to begin to assimilate what I have learned!

While in her class, encouraged by her urge to experiment [do I ever really need a push???] I really enjoyed playing and seeing what effects could be created through this form of printmaking. Basicly, one is painting in watercolour on a plate and then running it through a printing press to transfer the paint to paper. I am quite intrigued by the process and plan on exploring it much further as I think I have alot to learn from it. Most of my experiments involved playing with textures, resists, watercolour crayons, masks, faux chine colle' and faux collagraphy [both faux as I wasn't doing them by the book per se]. Most of these pieces look like collages, yet they are all just watercolour paint on printmaking paper, nothing else. Great fun!


Dance with Shiva

Acrylic on 16x20 canvas.
I will be off for the next week for a printmaking class! 5 days with access to a huge printing press! I am very much looking forward to being out of my studio, learning new things, interacting with other artists and immersing myself in the process! Time to shake things up a bit... but then again, that may have already started...


Interface2 group

Mixed media on 4- 8x8 stretched canvases.
[handmade & cast paper, fabric, texture mediums, acrylic, metallic powders]



Mixed media on 8x8 stretched canvas.
[rice paper, texture gel, metallic pigments, acrylic]
I love a happy accident! Probably 90% of my favourite pieces of my work are happy accidents... things that just kind of happened in the midst of an experiment or playing. Things that just came about because I got my mind out of the way!
On this piece, it just got too dark too fast using indigo and turquoise deep full strength... it looked black... so I used some acrylic texture gel to create cracks and fissures. Then once it dried I mixed metallic powders with fluid acrylics and applied them in thin washes, threw in some salt and sprayed a bit of water mixed with medium and let it dry. I love ambiguity in a work.

Water Poem 2-2

Acrylic on 16x20 stretched canvas.