Elaine Watts
Watercolour Landscapes and more

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(posted on 28 Apr 2014)

Well, I can see by my calendar that I really hit the ground running when I returned from my annual walkabout! So many things going on that I needed a kick from one of my favourite people to say "Just Blog--do it!" Without further ado, as they say, I'll get you up to date with some of the things I've been getting up to!

Firstly, to wrap up the Australian tour, I thought I'd show you some of the inspiring printmaking studios and people that I visited. I wanted to see as many as I could in preparation for getting something going "up here"--looking at the layouts, the equipment, how they functioned for courses and really networking with some of the artists.

The first one I visited was my friend Ulrike Sturm who is an art professor and printmaker in beautiful Noosa, Queensland. I had a great afternoon with her in her home studio ( www.edition9.com), and although I didn't take any photos we talked about having an international print exchange with her printmaking students & mine here in Canada. Now all we need to do is get a theme, and a time frame, and maybe some show venues! Very exciting and inspirational!

I also visited the Warringah Printmakers Studio which is in a big centre in Manley Vale, Sydney, and spent a morning with the head of the club, Susan Baran, who was teaching a class. She told me that Canada was well-known in the printmaking circles, and had done some work with Canadian printmakers both in Sydney and in Eastern Canada (www.printstudio.org.au).

Here's her happy group working hard!

Another Sydney venue I visited to see my amazing 3 year instructor, Seraphina Martin, doing a 20 year retrospective of her printmaking skills, was the Hazelhurst Art Gallery, Gymea. I was privileged to be shown into the printmaking studio to see their amazing collection of equipment, and the excellent facility. (www.southernprintmakersassociation.com) This was courtesy of my friend Elizabeth Atkin, who has a printmaking and bookbinding studio where she teaches, just southwest of Sydney, called White Waratah Studio. As studio tour artists, printmakers and watercolourists we have a lot in common!

Here she is in her gorgeous studio, showing us her precious hand-made books (all wrapped up for preservation purposes).

So, I returned to Canada with lots of great ideas to find that the Shatford Centre in Penticton has started to put together a printmaking room, with 3 presses available. This is the press I'm most hopeful about getting going on when I can get a few more people to join in and get some more supplies and equipment together.

Looks pretty good, eh? They also have a huge lithographic press which I'm told needs some work, some parts, and most certainly an experienced lithographer to get running--if you know anyone who fits that bill send them my way!

Next up is a course in block printing (or linocut) which is being held at the Summerland Art Gallery, as long as enough people register. I'm looking forward to expanding my repertoir as a printmaker, although linocut seems a bit basic, this will be the first course I've had on it since Grade 8 (and that was some time ago!!)

Meanwhile since the Summerland Studio Tour Artists have cancelled the event days due to the impending move of the Art Gallery to temporary (18-month+) lodgings, we are merely putting out a brochure listing artist studios in the area and encouraging tourists to visit, I needed to develop some more venues to show my art. With that in mind I have submitted 3 small prints to BIMPE on Granville Island, in Vancouver, for jurying into their biennial miniature print exhibition which is slated for the fall. I hope to hear back soon--that I have been accepted!

I've started to frame some of my work from this year, including this little piece below:and was delighted to find another of my prints had been sold in the Summerland Gallery Gift Shop.

Speaking of the Art Gallery, the annual street banner program is a favourite of mine and here's the banner I just completed. It will be hanging on a pole somewhere in town (look out for it) and goes up for auction to benefit the Art Gallery in the fall. If you want to put a bid on it, contact Karan at 250-494-4494!

The theme for the banners was "What am I doing tomorrow?" and the title of my banner is "Loving the Life!"

I've also got 3 paintings on exhibition at the Shatford Centre in Penticton for their "Drawn Together" show, on until the end of May.

I won't bore you with all the other bits and pieces of things I've been fitting in meanwhile, except to say that we are preparing for another nomadic trip across Canada in the summer. We'll be gone for 3 months (so the studio will be closed, of course) and intend to go all the way to Newfoundland (although probably not with the trailer which we will leave in Nova Scotia when we take the ferry). I'm hoping to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with one of many lobster dinners on Prince Edward Island, July 31! And then see my favourite band, Blue Rodeo, play at the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival "Rock the Boat" on August 2. I'll take my sketchbook along, and some paints, and see what views of Canada I can share with you along the way.

In the interim, here's a lovely panoramic shot of Okanagan Lake on a spring day--I can hardly wait to jump in!

Hope you're enjoying your life as I am mine! That's it until next time--Cheers!

(posted on 28 Feb 2014)

Here in Australia they make it easy to remember the seasons--instead of the 21st or 22nd of the month to coincide with the solstice it's the first of the month that marks the changing of the seasons. Somehow coming from a country where even civilized parts of it are currently measuring temperatures of -30 degrees without accounting for wind chill (whether that's Fahrenheit or Celsius it's still bloody cold!) it might seem a bit premature to be declaring spring right about now! But, I digress from my purpose of writing about "practising the art of globetrotting"!

So here goes. I had a fantastic day trip to Lady Musgrave Island which is at the south end of the Great Barrier Reef (one of the great natural wonders of the world--definitely worthy of your bucket list at some degree of expense just about anywhere you can access it). No one had been able to get out to the lovely little island with a beautiful protected fringing reef for 12 days but on my one day I was there the weather cooperated. That said I was happy I had taken the recommended anti nausea medication as almost everyone around me on the 90 minute trip was very sick (not to mention happy to get onto land and have a walk when we got there!)

These are two of the endangered Loggerhead turtle hatchlings from the hatching I described in the last post.

To continue a theme from prior posts, this little island is also a nesting site for sea turtles and from Australia Day til Easter is closed to camping because of the turtle traffic. At the time we arrived it was estimated there had been 1,000,000 eggs laid on the island and as we walked through the campground it looked like a war zone with piles of corally sand and holes everywhere. But the best was yet to come as we walked onto the beach there was a huge green turtle who had come up to lay and gotten herself wedged under a fallen tree.

Unable to dig herself out, or back up, she was exhausted and dehydrated (they come up at night and it was afternoon by this time). All the visitors set about digging her out and pulled her around (no small feat taking 4 strong guys to shift her) to see the sea again.

She was anxious to get back to the water once she saw it but still needed a bit more help before she got her head down and pulled herself in, swimming away a bit "bum up" for a while.

We watched keeping our fingers crossed that she would survive and amazed by the experience. Definitely a highlight of the walkabout!

That was the most northerly point of my travels so I turned and worked my way back south towards New South Wales, enjoying stopping at art galleries and studios as I drove. I realized as I was journaling that I am starting to immerse myself in many forms of art. I've bought myself a harmonica and have been teaching myself to play, almost mastering "Waltzing Matilda", and attempting to play along with my favourite tunes as I drive along (when the keys match--who would have known harmonicas come in different keys??) And I've had two evenings of singing harmony (well, attempting! ) with my cousin's community choir which gave me additional insight into the art of making music. I can hardly wait for my new CD of Bluesland "Down in New Orleans" to arrive (a Calgary cousin plays in the band & recorded/produced the CD) for more inspiration!

Another of the arts being literature, I'm recognizing I've always loved books, and reading, and can see that I'm doing a fair bit of writing as well, counting journaling, emails and blogging as a form. And as for drama and the stage--my main form of appreciation is probably more movies than theatre but I'll be on the lookout for opportunities there too.

Coming to my main commitment to visual arts I've been particularly noticing some great sculptures along the path.

This on Sydney Harbour, a joint production with Taronga Zoo fundraising with artists and the corporate world--notice the "shadow" underneath is in the shape of a human.

Here is some work I visited in the NSW Gallery in Sydney--spent a gorgeous day along the harbour and looking at galleries, including a fabulous printmaking exhibition by my Bellingen teacher Seraphina Martin.

Was great to renew my acquaintance with the Australian Impressionists McCubbin, Streeton, Condor and the like there, as well as see some aboriginal sculpture and art.

I was also pleased to rediscover this watercolour I painted a few years ago!

And equally pleased to sell the first print of the year "Veiled Faerie"--an etching with a very sheer Chine Colle rice paper "veil" with little flecks of gold and silver woven into the paper. The collector has commissioned me to do two more in the series so that's an exciting development as well.

So, all in all things are well in my world--although back in the Okanagan the Summerland Studio Tour group has run into some significant challenges. More about that next time--meanwhile the 2014 weekend dates have been cancelled although studios (including mine) are definitely available to tour--by arrangement or by chance. See you again in a few weeks!

(posted on 4 Feb 2014)

I'm almost at the northern apex of my walkabout this year--Bundaberg without the floods of 2013. Tomorrow I will head a little further north to the town of 1770 (named because Captain Cook was there that year) and hoping to get out to the most southern Great Barrier Reef Island, Lady Musgrave, but not hopeful as the winds are very strong and the boat has been cancelled all week. Not to worry, I'm sure it will be a great visit and at least this year I've seen the loggerhead sea turtles hatching at Mon Repos, a famous turtle research station just east of Bundaberg. I visited here over 10 years ago with my husband and we thought the (then) $5 fee to watch a sea turtle laying her eggs at night was the best bargain of all time. The price of $12.50 now is equally as reasonable! Photographs are very restricted as the light can affect the navigational GPS of the turtles and their willingness to come onshore and lay so I only got a couple of photos of the little guys on my phone and will try to upload them soon.

Meanwhile I've been doing a little art--sketching the fabulous 100 year old Moreton Bay fig trees outside the place I stay, and doing a bit of ink and watercolour of my favourite gum trees--but nothing to put up at this time. I've been reprising the printmaking course and thinking about how to present some ideas when I get back to Canada.

I've been told I need to get a very big roller to put these lovely colour rolls on--at a cost of $800+, so will have to look at sourcing some more supplies. Anyone know some printmakers that may have some items like that for sale? Or a good printmaking supply shop in Canada?

Here's another of the prints I made using a cicada wing--both in the etching process of the plate, and as an additional colour in the print itself.

I have a couple of artist visits to make too, as a result of the Camp Creative printmaking course. Soon I will be checking out a friend's printmaking studio in Noosa, and a Printmaking group in Sydney called Warringah Printmakers group, and another friend's studio 200 km southwest of Sydney. Finally there's a art gallery in Melbourne to visit when I get back there in March! Hopefully will get an art day in at least one of those spots--meanwhile I am satisfied with working on my own.

That's about all the news for now, signing off from Queensland!

G'day from Urunga, NSW on the east coast of Australia, about half way between Sydney and Brisbane!

It's been a great start to the new year, an uneventful (if long) flight from Canada and a good time in Melbourne catching up with family and getting my little old Mazda geared up for the annual walkabout down under. I sped through Sydney (taking a rain cheque for a later longer visit) and headed to my 3rd session of non-toxic printmaking with Seraphina Martin at Camp Creative in Bellingen.

As excellent teachers do, Seraphina adapted her course outline to accommodate the three of us who were studying with her for the 3rd year, two experienced Australian printmakers and the bulk of the class who were novices! It was the best class ever and the results were astounding!

We started with two days of Aluminium Etching, making two plates through an intensive process of putting line, texture and tone onto the plates to make a more complex print.

Here's the first (test) print from my giraffe plate--this one has only line and texture (the trees on the right) etched into the plate.

Here is the plate (note it is in reverse of the print--actually the print is the reverse of the plate, technically speaking!) after its final etchings for more tone (the darker areas in the sky and to the right of the giraffes, as well as the grass below).

I'm looking forward to testing this process with some other interested artists once I get home to Canada, as well as some of the other printmaking processes I know.

Watercolour??? What's that? I've forgotten already (just kidding!)

Next came the so familiar and exciting solar etching process, which will be easy to translate to the northern hemisphere (as long as we have enough UV light for the solar exposure part, that is!). We broadened our repertoire of inking and printing processes as well, adding found objects, colour rolls, and "a la poupee" to our printmaking skills.

Here's a great print from the giraffe plate, using a stencil (cutout) of a giraffe, as well as a leaf skeleton (found object) inked up as well.

You can see some examples of solar plate etching in my galleries and here is one I'm particularly fond of:This is taken from an old locket photo of my late sister Shelley, with some other images collaged along with it and a stencil of the lamp-post superimposed on top. I have an idea in my head about getting a collection of works together for a future show revolving around her--stay tuned for that idea to come into fruition, probably in 2015.

Well, I must go, the 28 degree sunshine is calling me outside and I will keep you posted on my travels and art adventures as the walkabout goes by! Hope you are enjoying yourself as much as I am!

(posted on 20 Dec 2013)

Season's greetings everyone! With 10 days left til the end of the year, and winter starting in the northern hemisphere, and a fresh load of snow in "Summerland", it's time for the last blog of the year. It's been a good one for me, not quite as exciting as 2012 with all those adventures and travel, but a good solid-type year of living into the life we started designing for ourselves a few years ago. Little did we know how quickly we would grow to love everything about living here--from the beautiful scenery, the climate, the community and mostly meeting and becoming friends with so many new people. Not to mention how amazing it has been to get my studio established and getting immersed in the vibrant arts community here!

I like to take some time at the end of the year and the beginning of a new year to reflect on what has happened, and to set some intentions for how the next year will play out. This last year I have painted more, completed more commissions, participated in more exhibitions, shows, art walks and events than ever before, and enjoyed almost every minute of it! More paintings and prints have found new homes, in places as exotic as the Virgin Islands and Chicago, as well as throughout Canada and Australia, and I've completed my first mixed media painting.

"The Beacon" is 16" X 20" with a 3-D effect on the moon, the lighthouse itself and the rocks, created with gyproc, and on the sea where tissue paper was used to give the lightness and texture of waves.

I love lighthouses and this one is slightly more dramatic in its colouration than many I have painted, taking full advantage of the acrylic paint as opposed to watercolours which are generally a lot softer.

Maybe as I age I am appreciating the drama and symbols of life--at least that was what I was thinking about as I created this work.

The other thing I've been doing a lot during the last half of the year is life drawing (with models, naked as is the tradition--adult content warning!!). The other artists that participate on Wednesday nights are excellent in their own mediums, mostly charcoal, comte and pastel, as well as some pen or pencil. Me, I've been using my India ink with an old-fashioned nib, supplemented with an ink wash and paintbrush--and up to full-on ink (not thinned with water) with a brush, to create some drama in the silence of the studio where we paint. Below are a couple of examples of my latest work there. Let me know what you think!

This is one of the models who is also one of the artists who comes to sketch--what a surprise to see him "on the other side of the easel"!

Thought I'd better put one in from a frontal angle!

I've been enjoying capturing the lines of the human body (it's a little easier than doing people's faces--let me tell you!!) And I'm loving how well I'm working with the ink and no colour--just shades of neutral colour. In January, at my print-making course, I'm going to be experimenting with some figure work as prints and I will likely use some of these drawings as the basis for drypoint etchings, or possibly some solar etchings. Stay tuned to see more!

The other thing I've been loving about this year is just having a studio--painting in my studio, having people into my studio on tours, visitors and doing some entertaining out in the studio. For Christmas we had a bit of an open house and got it decorated up a bit more than usual.

The wood stove did double duty--it was a really cold day and it kept the studio toasty, as well, it made a great place to put some mulled apple juice which seemed to be the hit of the day--the spicy sweet smell hit you when the door opened and the whole pot was gone at the end of the afternoon.

One other thing I've been able to put into place this year, after seeing some of the great art created locally--much of it large and striking--is to have some bigger work available. I started the year with a big winter birch commission--2 20" X 30" watercolour and ink panels making up a diptych that will measure about 6 feet by the time it's framed. It was a lot of work and showed me that people are interested in pieces that make statements. Well, watercolour is a most difficult medium to work that large in so I decided to make canvas reproductions of some of my "signature" pieces. They are now available up to 48" and the response has been very positive, so I will be looking for more work that is suitable for making larger works. Who knows, maybe I'll experiment with some other mediums that lend themselves to bigger works. The image below shows my "Faerie Woods" piece enlarged to 30" X 40". Almost sold it at one show, it was getting great comments in my studio, and it looks so great over a bed that I think it might stay there!

More prints are available--contact me if you want to get a quote for yourself!

Well, the night is passing and I still have some packing to do for the next three months--winter and summer weather both to be expected. My next posting will be from Australia, sometime in January. As usual my year will start off with a bang--I fly through Hong Kong to Australia, leaving Hong Kong at 11:30 pm on New Year's Eve. Maybe I'll see some famous Chinese fireworks as I depart!

As the year winds down, I hope you find some satisfaction in how it has all played out, and make time to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, celebrating and connecting. This world is a beautiful place, and I remain amazed by what there is to appreciate in so many areas. Resonating with my work is a great way for me to capture the richness and diversity of life around us, and I hope you can get some pleasure out of what I enjoy too!

All the best to you and yours, hold people close and let them know you love them. Thank you for being in my life! My wish for you is that 2014 is the best year ever!

Until next year,

Elaine

(posted on 10 Nov 2013)

The final Studio Tour weekend event is wrapped (except for a couple of people who are yet to come and claim their draw prizes) and I'd like to welcome a lot of new people to my (usually monthly) blog and newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading about art, travel, life in the Okanagan and what's new in my studio and where I am showing--take a look at past blogs and you'll get a flavour of what I write about. If you decide you're not interested just send me an email and I can easily remove your name from the list. That won't preclude you visiting me at my studio or events, never fear!

This month I've been busy finishing off old commissions and getting ready for Christmas events, and getting my 2014 calendars out (they are moving quickly so let me know if you want one reserved--same desktop style as other years, same $12.50 and I'll sign them if you like!). I've now got a couple of new commissions on my "easel" (actually it's a board, as watercolourists don't usually stand to paint as do oil or acrylic painters). And I've got a couple of other paintings on the go--a mixed media moonlit lighthouse is coming along, and those winter birches keep showing up too. I also put a small winter creek painting into the Summerland Art Gallery Christmas Card contest.

What do you think? It could be on my 2015 calendar as my winter painting--boy, I got that one out of the way earlier than usual!

The leaves are still falling in Summerland, the apples have mostly been picked, the grapes are definitely off the vines, there is snow on the mountains and passes and the wind is chilly. The hazelnuts and walnuts are on the ground, waiting for us to go and pick them up to dry. Nature's bounty for the year--the harvest is over.

Winter will be quickly upon us and I hear Australia calling. For me it's either migration or hibernation! This time of year my body wants to do one or the other--what about you? How does your body & mind react to the changing of the season?

Luckily there are a couple of shows I'm in for the rest of the month, to keep me motivated and working.

The first is the Authors and Artists Faire at the wonderful Shatford Centre for the Arts in Penticton.

I decided to enter it as the Canadian Federation of Artists have a booth there, and I love books and reading. When I dropped in to check it out last November it was a Christmas show with a different flavour and while it's not quite as busy as some other shows I've been at, they are very good to their artisans and I look forward to hobnobbing with some of the local talent.

For you, it's free admission and a great chance to check out the Shatford Centre in all its glory. They do a great job supporting not only visual arts, but music and performing arts in the whole of the South Okanagan. I get their weekly newsletter about all the cultural events and it is full to bursting. Just another of the surprisingly great things about living in the Okanagan Valley--the amount of activities that are going on is amazing! In the week leading up to the Faire I will be at no less than 4 other events--Life Drawing at the Shatford (Live models every Wednesday night, drop in for $10, and there are some very talented artists practising there), a play, and not one but 2 art openings downtown.

I've been going to the life drawing sessions fairly regularly and I've been thinking about my upcoming print-making workshop in Australia in January. All my figure work prints from last year are gone so I have some ideas about what to follow them up with, and I also want to incorporate some portraits into my etchings this year.

Interestingly enough, the original work that sold or was chosen by prize draw winners at the Studio Tour event was all prints--so that was encouraging to me.

But, I'd better not get too far ahead of myself, I still have a couple of big shows to do before I take off to Australia for my annual walkabout. The last (and biggest) show will be the Coquitlam Christmas Craft Sale which I have been going to for a few years now. I'm in the same location as last year, just near the stage in the centre of the biggest room. Come out & see me there!

This show has always been fantastic for me--and I love seeing previous customers, and previous neighbours and friends from the Lower Mainland. It's great to have a pre-Christmas visit and chat with people, and see what they've been up to in the last year. I do miss my regular lunches with friends down there, our favourite restaurants, and get-togethers. However, I don't miss the rain and the traffic, and the crazy pace of life lived by most people in the city.

Summerland is becoming home, after a year here, and I'm happy to be surrounded by a vibrant and creative community, and live in such a beautiful place. Did you see that the Okanagan Valley was rated as #1 in the top 10 wine touring places in the world?

Well, I'd better get back to work--no rest for the wicked they say! Lots to do to get ready for the Christmas shoppers who want to surprise someone special with a gift of original art!

Hope to see you one way or another, before Christmas and the end of the year. Or, if you're one of my Aussie readers, I'll be there early in the new year until the first day of our spring, March 21. Then it gets too cold down under and I'm forced to return!

Cheers to you all.

Time for another update--as we enter the last quarter of the year. I wonder if it's working for you that I only blog monthly--there are so many people who do daily (short) blogs, and weekly (longer) blogs. Do let me know--I have had lots of positive feedback on my infrequent postings and really, I'd rather be painting and creating art than writing! (That said, I do practise--and I mean PRACTISE in that a) a lot of it is not worth more than clearing my head & b)I don't do it every day, as recommended by some schools of thought--journalling a few pages most days...well, maybe 4-5 days per week!) I always was resistant to authority, although in younger years my resistance was well under cover! Where do you fall on the "compliance with directions" scale?

In the last quarter I've been painting lots. Some of it, however, is the house-painting kind--back stairs and deck, and inside into the ensuite bathroom. It took 4 coats to cover the stencilled ivy that the previous owners had put around the top of every wall! Now I'm just about finished tiling and grouting the backsplash and the room will be complete.

Other paintings are coming along nicely--I've completed another winter birch in watercolour and ink, and sold the summer birch painting that was hanging at 8th Generation. (It's the top painting in the photo in my last blog). And I'm pleased to have large-scale reproductions in a canvas wrap, up to 60", available of the winter birch. This one, 48", looks fantastic! It could be yours for $350!

I'm also working on my first mixed media with acrylic and texture given by embedded tissue and drywall paste. It's of a moonlit lighthouse and I think it's going to turn out really well. Once it's finished I'll post a photo.

One of the joys of living in the Okanagan is the amazing amount of art and music and culture to be found. Last week I was out almost every night at one event or another, from internationally renowned encaustic artists talking about their work and path, to two art shows that I participated in, to a presentation about Medecins sans Frontiers by a fellow who is a logistics manager for their work in entire countries. Not to mention a regular life drawing evening that I've been attending regularly, and I think my figure work is coming along quite nicely. I should post a few of my drawings from there too--maybe next time.

All that and I've been preparing for the Studio Tour weekend November 2 and 3, by helping with promotions--come on out! I've now been to about half of the 15 studios on the tour and they are all beautifully presented and such a great variety of artists!

Ten local (ie Trout Creek only) artists got together in early September for an artist-only (well, there were a couple of followers) "Progressive Appetizer/Studio Tour". Can you imagine--5 studios each of 2 evenings, appetizers and drinks at each one, and we walked between all of them? It was an amazing experience--everyone so different in their work, and such a success! 8th Generation Winery heard about it and want to make it a bigger event with their participation, and add musicians, sometime next year!

Speaking of next year, my 2014 Calendars are here, and going fast. If you want one, let me know quickly as I think they may sell through before Christmas. Here's a photo of the cover page:

Thought you also might like to see a photo of my little giraffe print that has gone for a trip to its new home in Chicago:

Isn't it cute? I have started to collect ideas for January's printmaking course in Australia--if you have any suggestions let me know! I'm very pleased that some of my prints are starting to sell. They are quite small so very easy to frame and just about anyone can find room for a little piece somewhere.

Well, that's the life of an artist, in brief. I'm kind of liking it! Next up, a trip to Ontario, where last time I was fortunate enough to meet Robert Bateman, the well-known Canadian naturalist painter. This time I'm hoping my favourite band Blue Rodeo springs a surprise concert to celebrate their new album...or maybe I'll get to the Art Gallery of Ontario & see the Group of Seven collection, and ask them what Toni Onley or Emily Carr paintings they have on display.

When I come back it'll be straight into the Studio Tour weekend, and Christmas sales. Stay posted!

(posted on 4 Sep 2013)

Hi everyone! Well, summer is over and fall is here, and pretty soon it will be 2014. Thankfully I have now completed my 2014 calendar order (at least the first shipment!) and they will arrive shortly. They will be the same desktop format as the last few years. Their price: a mere $12.50--same as last year! If you want one, or more, for Christmas gifts, overseas friends (they fold down & mail very easily), let me know!

This year the cover painting is Genies Dream, the same as the current opening page of my website. This painting has got a lot of attention from the younger crowd (maybe you are one!)

It has been a busy summer, and a lovely one, with travel, family, a beautiful new place to explore and live, and lots of art exposure locally, in the Vancouver area, and even internationally. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing what it takes to live the life of an artist successfully. If I take the time to reflect a little, I can see that I continue to make progress, one little step at a time.

I was so pleased to have 7 of my paintings requested for hanging at 8th Generation Winery, just around the corner from my studio. Here they are, hanging above the tasting counter! I had another 3 at the local CIBC in town for the Summerland Art Walk, and my street banner is also hanging on Main Street, just outside the Art Gallery.

Here it is, blowing in the breeze!

I was also pleased to complete my largest commission yet, have another painting head to the Virgin Islands, and pick up a commission of a scene in the Scottish Highlands. Quite the international flavour in those results--and a lot of variety, which I love too.

Meanwhile I participated in a juried show at Minnekhada Park in Coquitlam and was happy to have a few paintings find good new homes, and see some repeat customers.

Now it is back to work for fall art work--there are lots of events on in Summerland this month including the Cultural Days (a pan-Canadian weekend September 28th, with arts events on across the country), the Summerland Garden Tour who have requested paintings to go into their facility for the day, and startup of all those fall activities. As it gets later in the fall we have another Summerland Studio Tour open weekend, November 2 and 3, and then a big sale in Coquitlam for Christmas, November 29, 30 and December 1. Trying to insert a trip back to Ontario might prove difficult--but I think I can do it!

Stay tuned for further printmaking efforts--I have that on my radar as well! Hope you had a great summer and are feeling energized and ready for fall like I am. Before my next posting, maybe you will find a way to exercise your creative spirit too!

(posted on 17 Jul 2013)

I'm still on a Rocky Mountain high after two weeks in Calgary and Lake Louise! I was delivering a big commission to Calgary--a diptych of Winter Birch, 20" X 30" each panel. Here's one of the pieces:

This after a new client from the Carribean came into my studio and bought a smaller version--to take to the Virgin Islands! Guess they need some "cool" stuff there!

After I delivered the paintings, picked up another commission, and spent some quality time at the Calgary Stampede (the theme this year was "Come Hell or High Water") we headed for the Rockies and had four nights in last summer's home (the travel trailer) at the Lake Louise Hard-sided Campground. We hiked some spectacular places so I'll just put up a few of the shots I took.

Chatea Lake Louise seen from above--at Lake Agnes. After that we summitted Mt. Saint Piran, almost 9000 ft. The legs were a bit sore the next day!

The next afternoon we walked the lakeshore trail and the "Rockpile" at gorgeous Moraine Lake, just southeast of Lake Louise. A view from about here used to be on a Canadian bill until all the new ones came out. Here on the Rockpile we came across two wedding ceremonies taking place. One of the marriage commissioners said he loves doing weddings here--one of the most beautiful spots in the world--and he had once married someone whose father was the printer who did the etching for the Canadian Mint, and another time married someone from the family of the artist who painted the painting the etching was made from! Even on a duller day you can see the beauty of this place--no wonder people from Japan come here to marry!

I think I feel some paintings coming on! We then summitted Mount Fairview, the highest peak we attempted at 9002 feet, and had another day on the Icefields Parkway trail of Helen Lake and almost over to the Dolomite Pass, where we were fortunate to see a grizzly sow with two older blond cubs--on the other side of the valley. (That's where the good fortune came in!)

And then for the piece de resistance--we got lucky and on our second day's attempt we made the standby bus into Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park. We had the most glorious day in this secluded and restricted area just west of the Continental Divide--climbing up to the lookout (pictured at the bottom of the blog) over Lake O'Hara (blue) and Mary Lake (green), up to Opabin Lake, across a high and edgy trail called "Yukness Ledges" (for "ledges" read "clifftops") to Lake Oesa (I know, who made up these names?) before returning to the shuttle bus and back to the civilization of Lake Louise.

The weather through the whole trip was excellent--very cool nights (actually freezing one morning at Lake Louise) but great hiking weather and the only time we were really cold was at the top of Fairview, looking over at Lake Louise 4000 feet below, hoping to have lunch. The wind was blowing right off the glaciers and our hands were too numb so we headed part way down and perched with a view of Mount Temple (12,000 feet, just to put things in perspective!) while we ate.

Before I leave I'll just share some more news--I came home to a phone call from 8th Generation Winery (the closest one to my place) requesting my art in their tasting room for Summerland's Art Walk. Today I took in a selection of pieces which will hang there until August 31, and next week I'll deliver some paintings to the Summerland CIBC which was another place on the Art Walk that I have been paired with. So, if I'm away from my studio and you want to see some of my work, check those two places, plus the Summerland Art Gallery, and there's lots out there! And if you're in the Vancouver area, I'll be showing at Minnekhada Lodge in Port Coquitlam, Saturday and Sunday August 17 and 18. Come on out and see some art, take a hike, and see some black bears--if you dare!!

(posted on 26 Jun 2013)

The Studio Tour kick-off went well and since then I've had a few more visitors in the studio...and there's been an unexpected bonus of the Shatford Centre in Penticton putting a show up for the next month including artists on the studio tours in the area. Tomorrow I'm going to take in a couple of paintings to hang there for July, as we are away for most of the month. If you can't see the paintings in person, here they are!

Genie's Dream--Watercolour, ink and Acrylic inks

And "Tello's Lotus", another of my signature pieces.

While these paintings are happily hanging in the Shatford, it's confirmed that the Calgary Stampede, the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", is going ahead come hell or high water--which they have certainly had! What an amazing crowd those Calgarians are--2 weeks before the show starts they have the biggest floods ever seen, the Stampede Grounds were under water and the stadium too--up to Row 13--and they are working like dogs as I type, to make sure that they can be prepared to entertain about a million people. Meanwhile 75,000 people were evacuated and they are trying to get their own houses back into living order as well!

I'm hoping that they are able to put on the amazing art exhibition and auction that they hold annually, as well as some other favourite events. The parade takes over 2 hours, and runs through the downtown area,where there are still some buildings without power this week. We have tickets to the rodeo, chuckwagon races and my favourite band Blue Rodeo is playing in the Cowboy Tent (now that's an experience I've never had and have been forewarned about!)

After a few days in Calgary we're heading for some Rocky Mountain time, hiking around the beautiful Lake Louise area and camping with our trailer. Just a little practise trip for next year, when we plan to drive across this beautiful country with our home behind us all the way.

The other show this summer, for those of you in the Vancouver area, is a re-entry into the juried Minnekhada Art in the Park event in Port Coquitlam, Saturday & Sunday August 17 and 18. Minnekhada Park is a Greater Vancouver park which houses an old hunting lodge of BC's Lieutenant Governer in the 1920s. It's a beautiful building and grounds, with lots of hiking--and bears! Come on out and see it--it's the park where I surprised my husband by proposing to him, one Sadie Hawkins Day almost 10 years ago. I'm hoping to be inside the lodge as I was the other two years I exhibited there.

I've also been working away on a couple of commissions--a beautiful old Queenslander house from Bundaberg and a huge diptych "Winter Birch" which will be almost 6 feet long by the time it's framed up. And on the print-making front, I've started collecting supplies and materials to use an old printing press donated to the Penticton Art Gallery by one of my favourite BC artists, the late Toni Onley. Funnily enough, I have a connection through the Minnekhada Park with him too--on that fateful day I proposed to my husband, we saw him doing his last float-plane take-off and landing circuits on the Fraser River, just south-east of the park. Sadly while flying there that day, he had a fatal heart attack and the plane was found in the river. I have always loved his landscape watercolours, and it turns out he was a print-maker too. If there as one person who I'd like to meet, it would be him--along with Claude Monet. (By the way, another item on my bucket list is to paint in Monet's garden at Giverny, and a couple of weeks ago a new South African friend had a tea party at the Linden Gardens in Kaledon, just south of here. When I walked in I was stunned at how beautiful it was, and determined to do some warmup painting there!)

Meanwhile the Summerland Studio Tour artists are open year-round, so if you're in the area, find a brochure or check on-line (www.studiotour.wordpress.com), and head out to see some great art, along with great wineries, beautiful scenery, and fantastic beaches. I think I've died and gone to heaven, living here--come and see me, and check it out for yourself!

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