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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 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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My sister’s piano

From the sketchbook

A page from one of my sketchbooks, this was done at a cafe in a square downtown.  There are a few things I’d do differently now, but I sort of like this one!

Easy Art

I haven’t managed to do as much painting recently as I would like, but just to show that I do actually pick up a paintbrush from time to time, here’s something I made for our new home.  We have a wall next to the dining table that was just begging for a large piece of art, so I decided to paint some graphic shapes on three canvases to fill the space.  I hesitate to call these “paintings,” but it was a fun project and I’m quite pleased with the results.

Making this kind of art is super easy. I started by giving three 18″ x 24″ canvases a base coat of white acrylic paint.  Then it’s time to add the designs…. we love mid-century/atomic/retro/googie style, so I found some appropriate shapes online and sketched them onto the paper side of adhesive vinyl sheets.  Then I cut out the shapes, stuck them to the canvases, and painted around them with turquoise paint. (My 2-year anniversary gift at work was a Tiffany silver pen so I took the box to a paint store, had them scan it in their computer and match the colour… the result being that we now have a gallon of paint in the exact shade of a Tiffany’s box. We’re planning to paint one wall in our living room this colour)

After the paint dried I peeled off my stencils, touched up the edges with white paint where needed, then added freeform gray shadows.  That’s it…. couldn’t be easier. Hanging them in a straight line was probably the most difficult part of the project!