Category Archives: art

Mail art – a lovely surprise!

Just a quick follow-up to the mail art contest I mentioned earlier this week, over at isavirtue… I won! What a lovely surprise, and thank you so much to everyone who voted!

If you haven’t checked out Kaitlyn’s blog yet, do head over for a look. Her blog design is pretty and she features a lot of great art… I’m a fan.


Mail art, part two – the contest!

Here’s the envelope I mentioned the other day that I created for Kaitlyn Patience’s mail art contest at isavirtue. The theme was “secret admirer,” so I thought of an envelope within an envelope… someone holding a letter behind their back, maybe hiding it, or shy about giving it to the object of their affection.

I left it to the night before the deadline (I’m not called The Procrastinatrix for nothing!) so I put it together quickly, but it was a fun project. Mike was my hand model. That’s a photo of his hand, and a scan of blue jeans. I cut a flower from a sheet of patterned paper, enhanced it with watercolour pencils, and painted a stem on the envelope. As a finishing touch, I used a rubber stamp of a French postmark.

I painted the back of the envelope, too… a wax seal with a heart, and a “confidential” stamp.

All the contest entries are posted at isavirtue.  There’s quite a variety of media and styles in the display, and a poll to vote for the winner, so head on over there and vote for mine your favourite!

Mail art

A few weeks ago I spent an enjoyable afternoon at one of my favourite galleries, the Victoria Emerging Art Gallery, taking part in a mail art workshop. Being a long time pen pal, and a fan of snail mail and handmade envelopes and stationery, of course I had to sign up for this!

There was a table full of beautiful papers and ephemera as well as scissors, glue, stamps and other tools, including a sewing machine (I do love sewing on paper) and a typewriter. After an introduction by Kaitlyn Patience we spent a couple of hours of cutting, pasting, embossing, sewing, etc… accompanied by the nostalgic thunk-thunk of the typewriter. Isn’t it a beauty?

I also discovered a new gadget I MUST have, a great little combination cutter/embosser. I tell you, I nearly heard angels singing the first time I used it!

It was fun to spend a couple of hours just playing around with paper. I hadn’t been feeling terribly creative that day, and decided to go with no expectations and just see what developed. It was a reminder that it’s important to make time for “play”… not worrying about the finished product, just enjoying the process and the materials you’re using. I left with the beginnings of a card and a couple of envelopes… the card I will finish, the envelopes I plan to re-construct into something else.

Kaitlyn was also hosting a mail art contest with a “secret admirer” theme. The submissions will be featured on her blog soon, and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone came up with! In the meantime here is a peek at my entry:

Mug shot

Here’s a picture I made tonight on my iPad. I used the Sketchbook Pro app and Photoshop. I love Sketchbook Pro! I’m really only just discovering all that it can do.

I touched up the final image a bit in Photoshop, but the majority of it was done with Sketchbook Pro. The lined paper background is from here. This was actually my second attempt; the first time I neglected to save, the app crashed, and I lost my drawing… my own fault, there’d been an update waiting to be installed for (ahem) quite a while and I hadn’t got around to it. I updated the app, but before I started again I played around a bit first. I figured out a better way to use the colour picker and practised blending with the airbrush tool, so the beauty of my mistake was that my picture turned out better the second time, and I learned a few things in the process. Gotta love it when that happens!


Things are brewing on Pennello Lane…. in a few days I will introducing you to another creative woman, and I hope to be able to feature a few more within the next couple of weeks. They work with very different materials but are all creative talents who love what they do, which is always inspiring. Stay tuned!

Christmas silhouettes

This next holiday project was inspired by something I saw on the Nate Berkus show, in which a couple of DIYers each received a crate full of crafting supplies and had two days to completely decorate a room. When I saw the reindeer painting one of them made I really liked the simplicity of the red and white design, and I had to make one myself.

Here’s mine:

You can watch a video of the show here. (Can you imagine how much fun it would be to get one of those crates full of goodies?!) The reindeer painting is about 3/4 of the way through.

I referred to some photos of reindeer, then got out my sketchbook and drew one the size I wanted. (If you don’t want to draw your own, you can find an image you like and enlarge it on a photocopier.)

I painted a 12″ x 24″ stretched canvas with red acrylic paint. Instead of leaving it simply red and white, I decided to rub a little black gesso around the edges for a little added interest and texture. Then I transferred my drawing onto the canvas and painted the reindeer white. As a finishing touch I painted the edges of the canvas with metallic silver paint.

I had another canvas the same size, so I made a partridge too.

Together they add a pop of red and a hint of Christmas!


The other day I went to check out this mural in a downtown alley… made of sugar! This unique mural was made by artist Shelley Miller. A temporary creation, obviously, and by the time I went to see it on a wet day, parts of it had already fallen off… but I actually like the way the rainy weather has influenced the picture…. it looks like it’s raining at sea.

You can read more about the mural  here, and see what it looked like when it was first installed, before the rain.

On my way to see the sugar mural, I passed some other temporary street art.
This artist has been recreating Old Masters paintings (currently Renoir) in approximately the same location for years. I often walk past them, and I’m intrigued by the idea of creating art with such a short life span… putting time and effort into making something that will be affected by the elements, so people can enjoy it…. but only for a little while.

I like the images best after a few days, when the chalk starts to fade… either from rain, or foot traffic.

Often there are two or three drawings in a row… a bright, new one, and others that are more ghostly, disappearing into the sidewalk.

The Woman in White

I sent this painting to a new home today…..

This was done in a figurative painting class. The model was a flamenco dancer who posed, but also moved around quite a bit and danced… it was very inspiring!  I really enjoyed the whole process, and the way this painting developed. I didn’t complete it in the class, and after bringing it home it sat for quite a while before I got back to working on it…. and then I decided to leave it as it was. Somehow, I kind of like the unfinished aspect of this one.

My favourite part was painting the white scarf the model had draped around her shoulders.








In the dramatic lighting of the studio, there were a lot of colours reflected on the white fabric, and it was fun blending them together. In fact, I just realized that some of my favourite paintings have this in common…. I need to do more white paintings!

“The woman in white” has been sitting by my easel for a few years as we don’t really have a place to hang it (being on the larger side at 30” x 40”). I guess I put a lot of myself into each painting… it can be hard to let them go, and I couldn’t bring myself to sell this one.  I’m happy, though, that this one went home with my mum today…. I think it will be appreciated more than when it was just propped beside the easel in my painting corner. I’m looking forward to seeing it hanging in its new home!

Warm Memories

“Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.”
Deborah Kerr in “An Affair to Remember”

Today is a rare “snow day” for my little city. It doesn’t happen often, but this morning we woke up to find a blanket of snow that’s still growing, and a lot of people, including myself, stayed home.

Rather than posting photos of the snow outside my window, I thought I’d flip back through an old sketchbook to this little watercolour I did on a beach in the Bahamas, on a warm day with a gentle breeze.

Stay warm, wherever you are!

Getting my groove back

I finished a new painting today. This is my first real painting in two years (!!) and it feels great to be back at it. I have another one in the sketching stage and am working on ideas for a series that will be rather different in style, but hopefully just as fun to do!

I used a palette of cadmium red, pthalo blue, cadmium yellow and titanium white. I learned a few things along the way (such as the importance of making sure the drawing is really right before starting to paint!) and hopefully the next one will be better.

I took some photos of the progression… this was over about two weeks, although actual painting time was probably about five hours.  You might notice my favourite hardware store/house painting brush on the easel in the last picture… I use it a lot, other than for really small details.

Hope you like the slide show!

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A page from my sketchbook.  I signed up for a workshop on portraits, it’s coming up later this month and I’m quite excited about it… in the meantime, I thought I’d start warming up by drawing some faces.