Painting Journal

Paintings have taken over the basement!

So far, I can still organize them chronologically. I know when each was created and, for many, I remember the thought process or radio program/podcast I indulged in while dipping my paintbrush into acrylic and daubing it onto canvas.

They form a history, more than five years old, that extends weekly with each new creation.

If you find a painting you like, please know that, unless otherwise stated, it is for sale. These are all photographs of my paintings, so do not believe that the actual painting is accurately and exactly portrayed here by photography.

I bought myself acrylic paints as a present for my own birthday five years ago. I had to give them a try. Setting myself up in the garage, with door wide open, I grabbed what was close by and began. If I had been discouraged by what appeared on my canvas, I might not have continued. But, I rather like this one.

So then I moved up into the main part of the house and have continued to use the dining room as my studio. This is one of the incredible sunsets we get on the west coast.

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So then I tried different mediums, watercolour of the Harmony Islands and soft pastel interpretation of a postcard I found. I went back to acrylic. I like the Golden Open acrylics as they flow quite beautifully upon the canvas and remain wet in the palette for weeks if covered.

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I followed directions to learn how to paint grass. It involves scratching away the paint using the back end of a paintbrush. It’s a little severe on the canvas, but with enough paint it produces the desired effect. This painting SOLD.

boat

I like to think of this boat, tied to the dock at Echo Bay, as an exercise in reverse painting. The mist was thick early morning and I took the photo, from which I painted, just as the sun was burning off the moisture. The boat was difficult. I painted everything except those thin white lines, which proved tricky to keep free of colour. “Good Morning, Echo Bay” 24″ x 18″ $400 unframed.

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This is Lady Boot Cove in the Broughton Archipelago. I painted the one on the left during Christmas holidays 2014 as my husband read the end to a book we had enjoyed together, Absolute Power by David Baldacci. I gave the painting to him. A year later I repeated the painting, drawing upon advice from an artist to be more adventurous with colour. I much prefer the one on the right, and it took longer to figure out the reflections. “Lady Boot Cove” 18″ x 24″ $400 unframed.

mother's_day_tulips

By the time I painted this, I had started using my paintings as birthday cards. This one was finished just before Mother’s Day so it became the card to my own mother. It was the first painting I sent to my parents. It took hours to figure out the leaves and what stem connected where. Making the ripples in the table cloth was surprisingly easy. “Mother’s Day Tulips” 18″ x 24″ $400 unframed.

heartshapedlake

I vividly remember taking the photo for this one. We were on our way down Freda Mountain and this lake, which was heart-shaped, was situated on the last shoulder before we dropped steeply to the car. SOLD!

laura cove

I have no idea how I managed to paint the land behind the island, which gives an indication of the logging activity in the area. Anyway, it was completed during a weekend course, where the guest artist was Drew Burnham. I had surrounded myself with artists and was definitely the newby. This is Laura Cove in the Broughton Archipelago.

Laura Cove ripples

Two years later, and I have added some ripples. I found there was something missing in the foreground water. But now, looking back, I think I over-did it and will do some adjusting soon. “Laura Bay” 18″ x 24″ $450 framed.

trombone

I had fun at a day’s workshop where the guest artist, Alfred Muma, brought still life to class and suggested we paint it. I learned about creating small sketches first to determine the composition, then decided not to use a paintbrush throughout the entire experience. I used palette knives and enjoyed every minute of it.

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But then I got a little silly. I followed a couple of YouTube tutorials and came up with these. The idea was to create Christmas cards, but I decided to go with the commercial ones instead. It was still a good exercise though, in use of palette knives.

trees

I had come across a photograph taken of a scene on Texada Island and decided to give it a go. The light was piercing through the foliage to illuminate maples beside a large cliff face. SOLD!

bullkelp

After all those leaves, I needed to relax. The photo was taken at Alert Bay harbour, bull kelp dangling in the shallows. The painting didn’t seem quite right until I used white for the water surface tiny ripples. This painting SOLD! And, I will never know whether it sold because of the appearance of kelp or because of the appearance of an attractive female figure 🙂

lighthousecolony

Imagine early morning sailing through whirlpools and rapids as the tide changes while we approach Johnstone Strait. On this day, mist hung low as the sun rose to pinpoint a tiny islet at the entrance to a little cove. The noise of sea gulls still rings in my ears, while the seals remained quiet. SOLD!

drew'sinfluence

At a most recent course with artist Joyce Furness, we students were asked to paint in the form of a professional artist. I chose Drew Burnham, whose work I truly love for its simplification of nature. Of course, it is not simple. Drew’s paintings are intricate and worth studying. With music on in the studio, I got totally drawn into this painting, adding far more colour than the original. I wanted to learn how Drew paints water and will use this technique in future creations. (Drew’s paintings are shown at the Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver.) Not For Sale.

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Just below Cape Cockburn, rounding the outside of Nelson Island as it skirts the Salish Sea, is Harry Roberts’ cabin. Now a protected BC park, the cabin was the abode of this homesteader and is now a destination for kayakers. When we sailed past on our journey south, the weather was calm and we floated around in the bay while taking photographs. On our return, the weather was horrendous with 35-knot winds following us up the strait. The painting is a mixture of serenity and turmoil. It was a great lesson in painting aged, weather-beaten wood.

I have now refreshed the painting of the trees and will update this photograph. In the meantime, it is “Harry Roberts’ Cabin” 20″ x 20″ $400 unframed.

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This has been my favourite for a long time. Right from the beginning, of setting up the flugelhorn on the scarf, taking copious photographs and then trying to ignore the fact I needed the end result to look metallic, I enjoyed creating this painting. It is my husband’s flugelhorn; he played it for many years in a band. Now it sits in its case, but with its lacquered finish it looks as good now as it did then. The fabric was difficult to paint. Getting the folds and pattern was quite the puzzle. “Flugelhorn Fun” 24″ x 18″ $450 framed.

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copelands_sundown

We have a photograph (right) of this scene; in the lower Ragged Islands is a spacious anchoring point, protected from Thulin Passage. One calm evening we watched as the last light of the day hit the upper trees with a margin of glow down Malaspina Strait. It has proven very tough to paint. I obliterated this painting last year and created something totally different on top.

scarf crop web

After struggling with the fabric under the flugelhorn (two paintings up), I decided to set myself the task of painting a pink scarf draped over garden furniture. It was a very sunny day so lots of contrast for the folds. This painting was fun and quick to do and gives me renewed confidence when faced with fabric. It also helps that there was no intricate pattern on the material. “Pink Scarf” 11″ x 14″ $200 unframed.

This weekend is the art studio tour for the Powell River region. I have been preparing tripods to hold my paintings for display. Four of the paintings (flugelhorn, Lady Boot Cove, the lighthouse and the tulips) are now printed on art cards. I have joined up with Square to take credit cards and have my fingers crossed the chocolate chip cookies currently baking in the oven will entice people to open their pocket books and take home a small piece of my art.

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The studio tour was a great experience. It made me get paintings ready for showing, attach hardware and create a table display. I started this snowy painting of the Powell River seawalk while there and finished it later…although looking at it now, it could still do with some work.

So, I just worked on it (nine months later) with new gusto and started by changing the colours to COLD. Influenced by Chili Thom, Drew Burnham and Amanda Martinson, and their use of colour and patterns, I put the music on loud and played. This is what happened:

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Same scene, different feel. It SOLD within 30 minutes of completion, so I think I may be onto something.

Outside looking in

Working with so much white (well, it never really is white, is it, but I am sure you see what I mean) in the snowy painting (original one) made me need to get the colours out. Outside Looking In was painted during rainy days in the fall. I used palette knives for dragging the background colours down the canvas then painted the drops on the window. I then researched YouTube and found easier and more appropriate ways of creating droplets so used those on the black window pane. I enjoyed painting this one immensely. And, I am happy to add, this one SOLD at a recent auction. Yay!

Since late fall I have been meeting regularly to paint with Lyla. Lyla is an artist and art teacher. Our afternoon sessions have helped discipline my art to two-hour sittings, with a few of the paintings needing a little extra help afterward. Most of these won’t go on show and are likely destined to be painted over. One or two are on my list to improve.

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Lyla is an excellent portrait artist and so I took some lessons from her to create these. The green one was from a bust, and is pretty scary. The other two, Cecelia Beaux and Nicholas Poussin are from their own self-portraits (which look more pleasant than these, but I like the bitchiness of Cecelia and the evil look of Nicholas):

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From there, I had to try one by myself. I had taken a photograph of my husband while we were out sailing last summer and loved it. So, here it is. Painting his portrait was a strange experience because he would see it as it was coming along, but it also allowed me to really look at him and see colours in his skin tones and light in his eyes I might not have consciously noticed otherwise. And, before you call me and say you wish to buy it, it is not for sale 🙂

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Back to landscapes.

Last light at lagoon cove

This is Last Light at Lagoon Cove. Lagoon Cove is at the entrance to the Broughton Archipelago, a favourite sailing area for us.

Last Light recently sat in the window at Artique Artist’s Cooperative and I drove by many times and thought…something’s missing. So, I added a heron. (That’s all I added even though the dreadful lighting in the photograph below makes it look like an entirely new painting.) My husband says the heron adds movement to the picture, makes the picture more alive. I like that! “Last Light at Lagoon Cove” 24″ x 12″ $350 unframed.

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Powell River

This is a little experimental. I live in Powell River and Powell River is known for the second smallest river in Canada. However, I object to that. Above Powell Lake (which was created by a dam) is the origin of Powell River. I looked at a topographical map of the area and tried to recreate what one might see if flying over. “Powell River (Beyond the Lake)” 18″ x 14″ $300 unframed.

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The Old Barge Terminal was destined to be torn down, so I decided to capture it before that happened. I sorted out the pigeons a little later and received some nice comments about this one at the 2017 studio tour. In 2018 the building disappeared, broken up into recyclable material and disposed of. And, by 2019 half of the original footprint has been transformed into a Coast Guard station. “The Old Barge Terminal” 24″ x 18″ $350 unframed.

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This was a lot of work! Our local library held a charity fundraiser for increasing the number of books available at the library and for assisting the Sunshine Gogos, a charity attached to the Stephen Lewis campaign for grandmothers assisting grandmothers in Africa. 70 chairs were painted by local artists, and once the auction was over, more than $11,200 had been raised. “Frog Pond” was sold at auction to a local massage therapist. Now people can sit on the frogs as they await their session.

Catching a ride

This is Catching a Ride. We saw numerous seals hanging out on a freshly toppled tree as it floated between straits in the Broughton Archipelago. “Catching a Ride” 36″ x 12″ $400 unframed.

kelp

There is something very engaging about Bull Kelp, other than it being the largest marine plant in the world. Our west coast is home to the seaweed and there seems to be a cult following for it as art or jewellery. I added in an orange starfish to signify a healthy return for starfish to these waters. The painting is called Return of the Kelp. SOLD!

melaniecove

Melanie Cove is a beautiful provincial park south of Powell River. It is a great spot for plein air painting. This was captured in July while families squealed with delight at the cool water and intertidal zone. “Mermaid Cove” 14″ x 11″ $250 unframed.

artiquegallery

So, big news! I submitted a few paintings to be juried for participation in a local artists cooperative and got accepted! Here are the first six on display. Artique Artists Cooperative is on Marine Avenue (recently moved around the corner to Alberni Street) in Powell River. There are 28 local artists involved doing 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional work. Each of us works there at least two half days per month. It is fun to be helping to sell art in a gallery.

cycinghome

A friend of mine and I had just finished an evening of yoga on the wharf at Powell River, and were cycling home, when I could not resist taking a few photos. This is a compilation of two photos, which was a bit of a challenge. I loved playing with the colours. The sky really was tremendous that evening. “Cycling Home” 24″ x 12″ $350 unframed.

two moons

Keeping on with my afternoon art sessions with Lyla Smith, here is Two Moons, or Lunar Eclipse, or Moon Flow…lots of possible names. It is two moon snails from this local area.

I have been experimenting over the past month with Fluid Acrylics. Look this phrase up on YouTube and you will be amazed by how many instructional videos pop up. It’s a messy practice, and takes some guts and time, but the results are fascinating. Here is my Evolution Series of 10 paintings, plus three mini ones.

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Mini evolutions

This was my first one, which seemed to make good background for a sunflower. Here’s Remembering Summer 8″ x 10″ $75 framed:

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Except for the minis, the Evolution series is all 8″ x 10″ on canvas. The lightest coloured one is on wood.

I created many fluid acrylic art pieces (quite a few sold at the studio tour 2018) but have now tidied up the mess (paint gets everywhere during the process) and am back to regular painting.

teddy pic

I have continued to paint with Lyla Smith. Recently, we tackled Teddy Edward. And then, boots:

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It fascinates me how we can be painting the same subject but from different angles and come up with completely different renditions–Lyla’s is in the foreground and mine in the background.

I have tackled a few more birds, neither from my own photographs (and both with permission from the fine guys behind the cameras!). The first is a golden-crowned sparrow. Original photo was taken by Ken Pritchard of Seaside Escape Retreat Cottage in Powell River. His entire garden is a bird paradise. “Bird Bath” 16″ x 12″ $300 unframed.

Golden Crowned Sparrow painting

And then, I came across a photograph by Powell River’s Andrew Bryant. Andrew is a biologist and expert photographer. He captured an American dipper at Lang Creek while he was also photographing salmon. His photograph showed the remarkable patterns in water when light and movement are just right. This is a series of five stages…the painting took a while to complete…!

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These two show the base colour–a rich orange/red–used to help the painting glow. The picture on the left became a bit of a game: “guess what this is!”

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I added the cool light blue around the yellow in the water on the third photo and then made a big jump to the one on the right when I added more squiggles, the rocks and finally a little more realistic bird. But, the picture had no depth, according to my sweetheart. So, I fussed with the background water, and added more detail to the bird and hey presto! This is it…until somebody makes another suggestion for improvement 🙂 This is 20″ x 20″ on canvas. “The Dipper” 20″ x 20″ $375 unframed.

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I liked the idea of capturing a series of photos showing the progress of a painting. Here is another one. It was inspired by an issue of International Artist from 2009 which sported a cover painting by Raymond Quenneville from Quebec. Inside the issue Quenneville had provided a step-by-step tutorial on creating paintings the way he did. So, I grabbed a photo, taken by my husband, of a recent visit to the Yorkshire Dales in England, and gave it a go.

Quenneville does not use base colour. Instead, he gets straight into his painting design and builds up colour in layers. This was a new process for me and one I really enjoyed. The painting took about 8 days in all, roughly 1-2 hours per day.

wharfedale1 With step one, I used a gessoed wood canvas and began sketching in the design using burnt umber and burnt sienna, and a little quin. purple. The idea is to create a fairly whimsical rendition of landscape, with emphasis on lights and darks together with curves.

wharfedale2 I then began to layer on some colour. The back hills were to be purple, to take them out into the distance. The foreground hills had pure yellow, tan, green and purple/blue. Then, I just kept on building up the layers.

wharfedale3 I wanted the foreground wall and gate to be the harsh dark, shaped items, beyond which would be smooth fields and little buildings.

wharfedale4 And here is the final painting, which SOLD!

I greatly enjoyed that layered process, and so got right to it, and created a second one. This time I used a larger canvas and merged two photographs…which will confuse anyone who recognizes either side of the scene…as I wanted hills but also a farmhouse. Both are from the same geographical area of North Yorkshire, England.

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There is a beautiful simplicity in this way of rendering an undulating hillside. It contrasts here with the finicky detail required on the farmhouse and garden. The bird (centre left) is a magpie, very common in England but not so much on the west coast of BC. “Farming Wharfedale” 36″ x 18″ $500 unframed.

In May 2018, my husband and I took an early morning sail past the paper mill at Powell River. It was 5 am on a calm, cool morning and the water was silky smooth like melted chocolate. I took a photograph and, when home, started to paint.

I chose a faded pink background colour as I wanted the rosy richness to show through the final painting. The hills were roughed in. Following the reference photograph, I put diagonal marks on the water to help with the patterns to come.

Mill 1

The top half of the painting was fairly simple. The difficulty came in trying to catch that silky melted chocolate appeal on the water. With it being water, I knew I needed some downward strokes. These didn’t end up showing much in the final painting, but perhaps they helped… By the next image, I was getting pretty close. I needed to sort out the odd cross in the steam, add the lights of the buildings and smooth out some of the movement on the water.

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And here is the finished painting “5am Pass of the Mill” 16″ x 20″ $400 unframed:

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I continued the water theme, but needed to get a little more abstract. The patterns in water enthral me as do the patterns in wood. In fact, I was looking at the stairs in my house the other day. They are oak. The grain contains similar patterns to the patterns found in water.

Here is Water World…named for all the creatures that have crept into this water painting, if you allow a little imagination. “Water World” 24″ x 12″ $275 unframed.

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And now for something on dry land. Roses have been in abundance this spring, and those within our garden have been spectacular…beautiful and fragrant.

This painting is “Elegance” named for the passage of time shown upon the petals of this glorious rose. My husband sees it as the beauty of the older woman… And, happy to add, this one is SOLD 😉

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I just love playing with colours, and I love patterns in water. So, I combined the two with what I think is my best painting so far…and others seems to like it too. It SOLD within an hour of me posting it on Facebook! LOL.

sailboat wake

This is “Sailboat Wake”, captured from a photograph I took when we sailed toward Desolation Sound, with Cortes Island visible in the background. SOLD within an hour on Facebook!

Wildfire Season Sunset

I like to work from my own images, whether that be en plein air, or through a photograph I took. This one is from a photograph by Tom Burt, a sailing friend of ours, at the mouth to Tribune Bay, Hornby Island. The original photo had the sailboat heading out of the image so I turned it around. I used ink for the rigging on the boat.

It is Wildfire Season Sunset, because it literally is a sunset during wildfire season of 2018, which causes the incredible rich colours in the sky. This SOLD!

sunflower cropped

Gardening season 2018 meant experimenting with sunflowers. Sunflowers of all shapes and sizes sprang to life in our garden and thrilled me with their presence. They all had personality, but none greater than this giant. I captured it by photo at many stages and did my best to portray it here at almost full bloom.

This processed included many layers, just as I had learned on previous paintings. The layering helps to draw out rich colours, gets a little monotonous for the artist, but gives a good overall effect. “Opening Time” 12″ x 24″ $350 unframed.

Wildfire worker

Time for another portrait. My stepson works for BC Wildfire and while working the 2018 season he captured many portraits by photo of his colleagues. This one is Farhad, and with Farhad’s permission, and my stepson’s suggestion, I gave painting him a go. I wanted accuracy in Farhad’s image and sketchy blur in the background. On suggestion from other artists, I added more definition to the background and some flames to set the scene.

I love the colours in the skin of this image, particularly down the left side, and the stare in Farhad’s eyes. I think it captures the adrenaline and exhaustion, and the seemingly never-ending battle with fire. “Wildfire Worker” 20″ x 20″ $500 unframed.

Packhorse Bridge 2

Another piece of England. This is Packhorse Bridge. It is a scene not far from my original home, of a 17th Century bridge used for horses carrying fabric to the nearby textile mill. My dad, who has written a few books of the history of the area, has a photograph of an early 1900s’ car stuck halfway across as it was too wide for the bridge to accommodate. “Packhorse Bridge” 16″ x 20″ $400 unframed.

chloe

Pets are so much a part of our family. This is Chloe, a commissioned painting for my friend whose cat died recently.

tigh-na-mara sunrise

I have stood in this very spot, but the image for the painting came from friends who were at Tigh-Na-Mara resort, next to Parksville, Vancouver Island. I have recently been learning about trees and foliage, so I put my newfound skills into practice here. “Tigh-na-Mara” 12″ x 24″ $400 unframed.

One Fall Day

Willingdon Beach Park is a local treat in the heart of Powell River. I was driving by one day and caught the sunshine peeking around the trees and casting a beautiful yellow/green upon the lawn. So, here is my painted interpretation. I enjoyed getting back to the layering of previous paintings to do with Yorkshire (above) and love this one for the vibrancy of the bright grass and dark shadows. The sun was really difficult and I tried many times to capture it as the eye views it with all the glare and spectrum of colours. “One Fall Day” 20″ x 16″ $450 framed.

Blackberries and apples

Time for some still life…or not so still. Hidden in here are ladybugs, and the wisp of smoke from a snuffed out candle add life and movement.

At first I was not sure about the composition. Two goblets on long stems in the middle could be distracting, so I added more and more items…the tea cups and tea pot, two apples, two candles, the wine, and then last minute, the blackberry cutting, blackberries and bugs. I loved working with the blue of the table cloth. “Blackberries and Apples” 24″ x 18″ $500 unframed.

Calm day in Desolation

Enough of the detail, back to experimentation! This painting is entirely created through palette knife. It is the scene of a calm day in Desolation Sound, a pretty simple setup, and lots of fun to try by knife. I also added in quite a few different gels. I had bought a variety pack of gels for acrylic paints, which remove the smooth effect of regular paint. So, in real life this painting has quite a lot of texture. “Calm Day in Desolation” 20″ x 20″ $500 unframed.

pear blossom final

This is now my new favourite. It took AGES to do and involved many layers, but I think I captured the delicate beauty of pear blossoms. We have various fruit trees in the backyard and each spring they deliver a gorgeous display of flowers, which disappear when the winds blow too strongly and the rains come. I wanted to capture an image that would live much longer.

It was on my easel for two months as I slowly added more and more paint to the point where I just had to finish it. I love the composition and am really happy with how this all turned out. “Pear Blossom” 18″ x 24″ $600 framed.

This weekend is the 2019 Studio Tour, which has been a motivation for my to update this website with all my new paintings. It is fun to see what I have created in the past year, new techniques used, and how different these paintings are from when I started five years ago.

Islet at Lagoon Cove

While sailing around the Broughton Archipelago in the summer 2019, our boat had a bit of engine trouble. We were towed into Lagoon Cove, a well-provisioned little harbour at the southern end of the Broughtons. We were tied to the Honeymoon Dock, and the view from the cabin was of this little islet. On a very rainy day, I got my sketchbook and pens out and started to “scribble”. I SOLD this one so quickly, I only got chance to take a photo once it was framed…bad idea as you can see me in the reflection. Oh well!

Waddington Bay Islet

A few days later, with engine repaired, we sailed north. Waddington Bay is a beautiful little anchorage (actually, “beautiful little anchorages” can be found everywhere in the Broughtons).

While we sat at anchor, gently moving around in a semi-circle, and before the sea fog rolled in, I took 30 minutes to depict the islet I was watching coming in and out of view. I had the drawing just about complete by the time my fingers were frozen and I had to move inside. SOLD!

And, a few days later, we were at Lady Boot Cove. At low tide, the sandy bottom is visible, as are the rocks supporting the lush undergrowth and forest of the island.

As I waited while my husband and our friend played with boat engines and mechanics, I pulled out my sketchbook and pens and drew what I was seeing. SOLD!

Lady Boot Land

My attention turned to Stillwater Bluffs in the fall 2019. A non-profit group is fundraising to purchase this beautiful piece of land that rises up from the Salish Sea. An art show was put together and 56 artists participated, raising more than $8,000. I submitted three pieces.

Stillwater Bluffs by Pen

I had two plein air excursions to the bluffs. This particular day I took a friend who was new to the area. She had a great first experience of the location, basking on the rocks in pure sunlight while I sketched for half an hour. SOLD!

Stillwater Bluffs

This was the end result of that excursion, completed at home. SOLD!

Texada Rock

A few months before, I had taken some artists out to the bluffs and led them in the wrong direction. They mutinied so we didn’t reach the location shown in the drawing and painting before. Instead, I was left with a few of a large rock and Texada. So, that’s what I painted. I finished it off at home. SOLD!

I was introduced to Evolon paper, a fabric with enough integrity to take any kind of painting medium. Painting on canvas, which is what I usually do, is easy. The canvas is stretched over wood and it is instantly hangable. The paper is different. It needs to be held tight while being painted and then framed in order to hang.

I was here

I worked from an old photo I had taken when I lived in Vancouver almost two decades ago. It was a picture of the mirror image of a church and some high-rise offices in the reflective windows of a building. The photo had hung in my bathroom for many years but was now slated for the next garage sale.

I painted what I saw, but to me it was a little dull. So, I added more threat to the colour of the sky, and started putting on raindrops. And then more raindrops and drips. What amazed me was how raindrops obscure the image beneath. Painting these drops was the same as sitting in a car without the windscreen wipers on and the image on the street becoming more and more abstract. “I Was Here” 12″ x 18″ $600 framed.

The Drifter

A friend, who has been watching my work over the past few years, approached me with a photograph of someone else’s photograph that she had seen hanging in a local building. She wanted a painting of the photo for her husband for Christmas.

I was a little flamboyant with the waves and ripples around the surfacing seal, but enjoyed the challenge of movement and the use of two complimentary colour schemes.

The finished painting was well received and hangs on display in our friends’ living room. I don’t know who the original photographer was, but this painting is sufficiently different that I hope very few people would be able to say, “oh, I have seen that before…”

Ponsettia

I was on duty at Artique Artists’ Cooperative one morning close to Christmas. I had yet to find the perfect gift for my husband. A poinsettia had been placed on one of the display tables in front of me and I had my sketchbook and pens.

Each leaf, whether red or green, was a challenge and it took about two hours to have the pen on paper image.

At home, I chose a time when husband was out to start colouring in the red leaves. Luckily, I had chance to finish the image and frame it and wrap it before he arrived home. The gift went over well, and he is finding faces in the image, particularly one right in the centre.

I watch a lot of Youtube videos to explore new ways of applying paint and new techniques to achieve what I am looking for. One artist I recently started to watch is Stuart Davies. Stuart is funny to listen to, with a droll sense of humour and easy English voice.

Heading Home

Stuart has perfected the “illusion of detail”. Using 2-inch brushes, and a very limited palette of colour, he slaps on the paint then pulls it back off with kitchen paper. The effect is pretty remarkable, almost like an Old Master’s painting. The viewer plays an important role by taking these hap-hazard abstract sweeps and swirls and putting them together so that the eyes and brain think they are looking at scenery.

I gave it a go. It is a very freeing technique. I added the sheep herder and sheep, plus buildings, to give a bit more perspective and interest to the painting.

This is a purely imaginary scene that could be many places in the world. “Heading Home” 22″ x 28″ $600 unframed.

From now on I am increasing the value of my paintings. After five years, I think it is time. I have decided upon a very easy calculation: $1.50 per square inch plus $100 if framed.

Back at harvest time in 2019, I visited a farm on Westham Island in Ladner, BC, that is known for its squash. On this bright, sunny day, the squash – piled high on a cart in the front yard – gleamed. I took photos and the pile became “Alchemy” 20″ x 20″ $600 unframed.

Alchemy

A particularly taxing painting started off as a study of a wave. We had had quite a storm here on the west coast and I had multiple photos of waves. At one point I captured one cresting so I thought surely I could translate that onto canvas! All was going well until I had to figure out the foreground. I was working from multiple photographs and trying to get my head around what happens when a wave forms close to shore…what is happening on shore at the time? I spent ages detailing little pebbles with water, foam and bubbles being drawn back toward the wave. Finally, my husband said, “I don’t get it!”

So, I made some major changes, added large foreground rocks, a rock pool, and a hiking boot…or the toe of. I hope you can hear the roar of the ocean in “Living on the Edge” 12″ x 36″ $650 unframed.

Living_on_the_edge_Janet_Southcott

Completion of this intertidal piece was well timed for inclusion in the Intertidal Art exhibition through Malaspina Art Society in June 2020.

Also included in MAS’s exhibition in June 2020, but this time for the Art under Lockdown series, is “Change in the Weather,” 24″ x 12″ $450 unframed. We have been dealing with physical isolation due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Change in the Weather

The first Plein Air excursion for 2020 was to Palm Beach, south of Powell River on British Columbia’s west coast. Strangely, it was a day so clear that the Thormanby Islands could be seen in full. I say in full. These islands tend to “come and go” depending on heat haze lifting from the ocean. There are times when the islands seem to hover above the horizon, times when one part seems to have sunk, times when neither can be seen, and times like today. So, I called this one “Islands of Magic,” 28″ x 22″, $925 unframed. (The islands are in this painting to the very right on the horizon, hardly visible, but definitely there!)

On another Plein Air day, we visited Saltery Bay harbour. Saltery Bay is the ferry terminal for the vessel providing transportation between the Lower and Upper Sunshine Coast. Beside the terminal is a small series of docks. As is usual for me on these outdoor expeditions, I no longer take all the painting gear and easel. Instead, I pack light and draw in ink. Here’s “Sitting at the Dock” 7.5″ x 10″ pen on paper, $100 framed.

And, another Plein Air session, however, this was off the back of our very modest sailboat, at Smuggler’s Cove. “Rocky Outcropping” 5″ x 7″ Promarker pens on Strathmore 400 Mixed Media paper (SOLD).

I have noticed, throughout the summer, that there is a beautiful yellow flower growing almost as a weed in the back alleys of my neighbourhood. It is Coreopsis, and it grows just as well here as it does in England. I recently took a photo of a batch of Coreopsis and dandelions growing in the alley behind my house, and took pains to recreate it on canvas. Here is “Back Alley Coreopsis”, 20″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, $600 unframed.