Elaine Watts
Watercolourist and Printmaker


(posted on 28 Jan 2015)

Happy post-Australia Day to you all!

It's been great to be down under in the sunshine..well, and the warm rain! After spending July 1, 2014 in Ottawa for Canada Day, I've been enjoying the comparison with celebrating Australia Day in Australia. There's a lovely warmth, casual pride, and sense of fun with the Australians on the national day--first time since childhood that I've been in a 3-legged race as well as a egg and spoon race. And played badminton--all this after having a few glasses of nice bubbly with a snag (sausage) bbq accompanied by the most beautiful table full of various salads you've ever seen. I was very happy to note my 7th anniversary as an Australian citizen and consider myself privileged to be part of the two best countries on the planet.

But, on to the art! As I left off last year, I was working on a bit of a carousel/merry-go-round theme, as a metaphor for life. A friend reminded me of the Joni Mitchell song, "The Circle Game" and I thought I'd put in a few of the lyrics to help your memories, or in the case of younger readers, to let them know of this famous song of the 60s.

"And the seasons they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We're captives on the carousel of time.

We can't return we can only look

Behind from where we came

And go round and round and round in the circle game."

On my 1500 km drive from Melbourne (where I landed January 3) to Bellingen's Camp Creative where I was registered for my 4th printmaking session with Seraphina Martin, a brilliant teacher and artist in her own right, I stopped at two old carousels--one in Canberra and the other at The Entrance in New South Wales, to get some reference material and ideas about what kind of images to use in printmaking.

And this is one of the prints made from a little dry-point etching of this beautiful white prancer, from a restored carousel at the Burnaby Heritage Village Carousel. I have a few others but thought this would show off the simplicity of the design, with a minimum of colour (just the burgundy ink) as a more traditional style of printmaking.

This is another of the Burnaby Village Museum's carousel horses, an excited American-flag carrying Apaloosa horse that's definitely up to something!

A slightly more complex treatment of the etching, using a colour relief (blue) roll over the black etching ink.

And here is the same plate with a technique using a stencil and two viscosities of ink--a very exciting method that I hope to explore more when I get back to Canada.

Not forgetting my life drawing, I did this tiny solar plate from an ink sketch I made over a year ago. There are a few more carousel themed plates, but I'll save them for a future post, or you can look at some on my Elaine Watts, Trout Creek Studio facebook page.

After a very intensely creative week, it was time to relax and enjoy some summertime in the Coffs Harbour area.

This was a lovely swim spot at a beautiful village called Sawtell--and I took full advantage of it! I also found a gorgeous rock pool about 500 m to the left and filed it away in my plans for future visits.

Another day a friend and I drove 90 minutes south to another village called South West Rocks, which has an old ruined gaol (jail if you're North American) as well as a great beach (yes, another swim was called for!) and a little further south to a beautiful lighthouse at Smoky Cape.

You all know the fascination I have with lighthouses and this one is a beauty. Just as I finally and sweatily reached the landing (it was a long steep climb up to the base) a storm cloud came over and I caught a few dramatic photos.

Perhaps some will end up as a painting sometime soon--so I will tease you with the thought.

Time to go now, until next time, enjoy the shortest month of the year!

(posted on 30 Dec 2014)

As I write the sun is going down on the second-last day of the year. I can feel 2014 slipping into history almost before I can reflect on some of the highlights. The long-anticipated cross-Canada trip surpassed all our great expectations--we wouldn't have changed a thing on our itinerary.

Some of my favourite places and moments:

Whale-watching and iceberg viewing at sunset at the lighthouse just north of Twillingate, Newfoundland.

Could have stayed there for hours watching the whales, the people, the sea and the sun going down. And it was even warm!

Ottawa on Canada Day--the music, the fireworks, the crowds, the majesty of the Parliament and other buildings, and the Rideau Canal right there.

Coupled with being toured around by an old high school friend and her husband who live there now, and hosted us for a good night's sleep in basement air conditioning it was a spectacular day, and one that is a recommended experience for all Canadians--and visitors!

The Great Lakes, the beauty of the Great Plains, the lovely coastline villages (particularly Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg) of Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy, the Saint Lawrence River, Gaspe and Quebec City, the charm of Prince Edward Island and the Acadians and their music throughout the Maritimes--Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island--it was everywhere! Not to mention the lobster dinners! On New Year's Eve we are going to eat the last two lobsters we brought back in our freezer. I guess that's a fitting end to the year--maybe I should call it "The Year of the Lobster"!

As far as art goes, it seemed a year where I didn't actually get down and work hard at my chosen field. However on reflection I always find there are some important things that I have overlooked in that snap assessment. I was so pleased to have a print juried into an international show, I successfully completed a few commissions, sold my first painted figure piece (in previous years I had sold an etching of a figure), had my most successful sales weekend ever (along with my worst sale ever, funnily enough!), and have been diligently practising and improving at my life drawing group. The calendars are almost sold out, and I was pleased with the sales of art that I've had.

This set of giraffes (also featured in my 2015 calendar) went to Nanaimo.

And this smaller watercolour (also in my 2015 calendar) sold to some people who had seen the barn on a walk (as I had, several years ago) and were happy to take it home and get it framed.

For 2015, I have serveral events already on the calendar and some on the drawing board. More to come on that, but I am planning a local Studio Tour for late spring, will be represented in my absence at a local sale in February, will be joining the Summerland Art Walk with my studio open for most of August, plan to enter the Lake Country Art Walk (the biggest Okanagan art show with 200+ artists) in September, having several figurative works in a group show in the Summerland Art Gallery in October, along with the usual Christmas sales. Added to printmaking in Australia and getting a printmakers group going in the Penticton area it's shaping up to be a busy year already!

I have lots of art to create as well, so might as well start with some printmaking--although as usual I have a few more ideas in my head than ever!

Just after Christmas I was inspired by a visit to Burnaby Village Museum and their lovely restored carousel, so I am starting to sketch what some works based on those horses might look like. It's an interesting concept, the carousel, the charm, the ups and downs, and going around in circles, who's going to win, the child-like joy of life looking at all the beautiful versions of horses there are. A bit of a metaphor for life, it seems to me.

What do you think? I could add some giraffes and elephants and other animals too, although this carousel doesn't have anything exotic--I think it was from the earlier days of "carry us all" development.

The winter darkness is well upon me now so I will stop there. Next time I post I will be in Australia and I will be setting out my theme for 2015--what I think the year will bring, or maybe how I will approach it. Still a little bit of noodling around in my head to do on that one. I have some very prescient cousins who started me down that path several years ago and it's a great idea for me to encompass the many and varied things I get up to in my life. (Not to mention much less work than resolutions!) Maybe you'll come up with something inspiring yourself & let me know! Until the next time, I wish you and yours a very happy New Year and hope some of your dreams come true in 2015. Go on, ride the carousel!

Wes' Christmas baking is soon to arrive. I must work harder in the pool!

Well since the last blog I have been in a couple of shows, one which continues at the moment, at the Penticton Art Gallery until December 20. You can see a huge variety of works under $300, all by local artists, and browse their gift shop as well. I was down there today & it is an amazing show of local talent, at unreasonably low prices.

Tomorrow night I am delighted to be pouring hot mulled apple juice at Seasons Sparkles opening, from 5 pm, at the Summerland Art Gallery Christmas opening. The streets of Summerland will be packed with 6000 expected visitors for the annual "Light Up" Festival and fireworks. I've had a little preview of the gift shop and it has been transformed with works of art and crafts, great Christmas presents and ideas, and a lot of glamour. Come on down & check it out!

Right after that I head to Coquitlam for the Christmas Craft Sale at Poirier Centre

Here's the details on the right. Hope to see you there if you are in the Vancouver area--pick up your 2015 calendar before they sell out, and check out my new work just in time to get things framed for Christmas (or buy yourself something for a change!)

Speaking of new work, I've posted a few things in the "New Gallery" and will highlight a couple of things here.

I've been doing a lot of life drawing with a fabulous group down in Penticton. I think I'm the only one who works a lot in ink--others draw with pencils, coloured pencils, charcoal, conte and pastels.

Recently I've started exploring a bit with some dark Indian cotton rag paper that has a deckled (ie torn look) edge and a lot of texture. Besides working on dark (as opposed to the usual white paper) I've been seeing what inks and drawing materials suit this interesting paper.

Tell me what you think:

I've got a few more examples, but loving how the gold acrylic ink gives a glow, then the India ink with an old fashioned nib (dip) pen creates the line.

And lest you think I've forgotten watercolours and landscapes:

This is part of a series of local scenery I'm starting. Some places we love to take visitors--the Kettle Valley Railway trail system, part of a 100 year old railway bed that has now been converted mostly to biking/hiking trails is one of them. Come up & see it!

I've finished a couple of commissions and one of them was a little tough to do--not because of the "brief" (the subject requested, which was a bouquet of gerbera daisies) but because of the story behind it. A friend's sister was in a bad car accident where the vehicle went into the river and the husband and 12 year old daughter drowned, and the sister seriously injured. The community went all-out to help the sister, as they do, especially in smaller communities, and my friend wanted an original card of her niece's favourite flowers in bright colours, as a remembrance for her sister, and then to have 50 cards printed from the original, as thank-you notes to the people who helped her sister through her recovery (which needless to say is still on-going). I was so pleased to be asked, and to have some small part in helping people through this tragedy. And it reminded me of how personal art can be--and what a joy to share it with others.

This may stir an idea in you for commissioning a small piece of art, or looking through my portfolio to see if there's anything there you may like to have made into gift cards. I have two good suppliers of cards now, and can get them printed in quantities of 10 and more, delivered to your door, for very reasonable prices (3" X 4 1/2" less than $2.50, more for 5" X 7", envelopes included). Some people like the smaller ones so they don't have to write so much!

Well, that's about all for this blog as I've got email invitations to do for those who don't subscribe to the website! Hope your run-up to Christmas is most joyful and that you can stop and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells along the way!

Cheers until next time--by then it'll be the end of the year and time for a little reflection!

(posted on 20 Oct 2014)

I'm a little afraid that my monthly blog will be a bit of a bore after all the travelling excitement! The stimulation and daily changes of our cross-Canada trip are long gone although I am getting into my studio and doing a little painting from the images in my head and on film. There are literally hundreds of photos from this trip alone that I want to work into paintings and prints--the question for me is always "Where to Start?" (and finding studio time!) Sometimes I feel like I am doing less creative work and more documentation, marketing, networking, and showing preparation. The latter, while sometimes fun, is a little "ordinary", as they say in Australia (meaning, less than satisfactory. An example might be "the weather is very ordinary today"--as it is bucketting down outside my window as I type!)

Nonetheless, I have been enjoying reconnecting with my local friends and art community, showing at the Devine Art show in Summerland (picture)

Framing some smaller works

for the next 3 shows:

I have 2 pieces in the Miniature Art Show, will be taking 3 to the Penticton Art Gallery "Under $300" show which runs for November and part of December, and am busy getting ready for the big Penticton Christmas sale November 1 and 2 at the Trade and Convention Centre. It used to be called "Santa Presents" and is reborn under a new organizer (who runs the extremely huge and successful Penticton Farmer's Market) as "MakeIt Okanagan!"

Look on the internet for further details:



I'm really looking forward to seeing how this sale is going to be rejuvenated! And once that sale is over, I will be readying work for Summerland's Season Sparkles (in the Art Gallery Gift Shop) and Light Up Festival, the last Friday of November. Finally this year I can attend as my 7th year at the Coquitlam Christmas Craft Sale is the next weekend, December 5-7!

Meanwhile my street banner is available for auction (the latest bid is $65--phone the gallery if you want to bid higher, 250-494-4494).

All proceeds to the Summerland Gallery--there are about 100 banners you could bid on, totally great for putting outside as they've been hanging on poles all summer! This is a vibrant little community and the Street Banner program is one of the great public art programs that adds to the ambience.

Nice to come home to find sales from some of my outlets, and have sold a few pieces since then too. This group of giraffes went to a new home, someone who had been on safari in Africa just like me!

I've also found a new supplier and ordered some new 5" X 7" cards and envelopes, and will be doing some smaller cards in a future order (some people don't like to have to write TOO much on their cards, I'm told!) Here's one of the 5 new artworks--which was also one of the prints I submitted to the Granville Island and travelling show (BIMPE 8) in September.

Oh yes, I also have lots of work hanging at Good Omens Coffee House in Summerland until the end of November--a great little place on Kelly Avenue, across from the Middle School. If you're around Summerland do drop in & check it out!

And of course I still have a good number of 2015 calendars left--$1 less than last year at $11.50 as I got a great deal on the printing.Let me know soon if you want one, once the shows start they go fast!

Well, that was a fair bit of news and art photos for a change--hope you enjoyed this post. Now I can get back to my "painting away in the world" theme, and hold off on the "Practicing the Art of Globetrotting" (at least til January when I fly south to Melbourne!)

(posted on 22 Sep 2014)

Wow--that was something completely different! 25,000 km, 35+ national parks and historic sites, 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 95 days, 5 ferries, 4 tires and a set of trailer springs later. Many lobsters, scallops, croissants et fromages consumed--not to mention beer! Highlights too numerous to note all here. Music, whales, icebergs, more whales, lighthouses....suffice to say this is one big beautiful country--especially in summer!

When I left off we were just about finished our Newfoundland trip--one of the favourite spots! Music festivals, friendly folks, whales, beautiful coves, the character of St. Johns's--and great weather. After the long ferry ride back (17 hours) to Nova Scotia we sought out more music in Cape Breton (Ceiladhs, the Red Shoe pub), and amazing Louisbourg--another of the great National Parks. Could have done a whole other day there, and I think there's some paintings to be done of that great restored French walled village.

Then over to Prince Edward Island--the smallest and cutest province--only 132,000 people but I swear half of them could sing, dance and play some instrument--piano, guitar and fiddle being my favourites. We were at Charlottetown for the 150th anniversary of the meeting that set up Canada, as well as our 10th wedding anniversary. Lobster dinner, a great Tyne Valley music festival with my favourite band Blue Rodeo--although personally I thought Jimmy Rankin stole the show when he played with lots of passion earlier. So I bought all his CD's (just because I could!)

They thought it was a big crowd for the day--4000 people...maybe!

And there was the typical red soil and sand of PEI's famous Cavendish Beach, a few lovely galleries, and more seafood and touring before we drove off on Confederation bridge to New Brunswick.Very lovely and the Islanders are very passionate about their little province!

Next it was the north coast of New Brunswick (yet another Acadian enclave, lots of French spoken), great music, and past Shediac, the world's lobster capital (okay, let's get some more!) we stopped along the way near the dunes of Bouctouche. A lovely coastline, sandy shores all along, warm water, very quiet. But I tell you what, I was wanting to get back into Quebec territory--for the bread, the cheese, the language--and some adventures on the Gaspe Peninsula. Some people have never heard of it but I had an itch to see Rocher Perce--and the tip of the Gaspe (another National Park). First though a stop at another World Heritage site--an important fossil bed where they found fossils of fish that provided the link between swimming fish and fish developing legs (or limbs of a sort). You have to have some good learning to balance all the fun sights, and the eating!!

We pulled up to Perce in a storm so could hardly see the famous rock the first day, but the next day it cleared and we spent 2 glorious days looking at the amazing rock from many angles, near and far, and waiting for low tide so we could walk out the spit and stand underneath the towering cliffs with birds swooping and soaring 300 feet above, around their nesting spots. There was something

awesome about it from every angle. One day we took the traversier (ferry) across to Ile Bonaventure, as recommended by some fellow travellers. It was an amazing experience to see the nesting colony of 160,000 gannets--but you only want to do that once in your life! We had admired these graceful big albatross-like

birds from the sea--swooping, then stopping in mid-flight to plunge deep into the water for fish. Then they popped up like a cork, with a fish in their mouths, and took off...well, some of them took off. Some of them were too fat to lift off the water! Not sure how their babies got fed back on shore. Maybe that's part of the reason there were a lot of dead chicks (it seemed to me) in the colony.

There were so many birds on the cliffs and the ledges of this island that the ground was white with them, from sea and from land. The noise and the stench was unbelievable--I truly know what "cacaphony" means after that! And there were herds of people--families eating their picnic lunch (we had to move away to find a spot with a bit less smell, noise and fewer flies!) and researchers watching the ritualistic behaviours of the gannets as they greeted each other, and fed their young.

It was a lovely island to walk around, and a beautiful day with lots of favourite things--ocean, cliffs and dramatic scenery, interesting wildlife viewing, whales, boats and sunshine.

Could have spent more time there, Perce is and has always been an artist's haven with many famous artists spending time there. I can feel some prints of the rock wanting to be etched into a plate!

But we pushed on to the tip of the Gaspe--Forillon National Park, and did a hike out to the end of the peninsula before working our way back along towards the south shore of the Saint Laurence River and heading for Quebec City.

NOW you're taking civilization, after the wilds of the Gaspesie.

I hadn't been to Quebec City since I was a teenager, on a summer French exchange to Montreal. Even then it was only one beautiful day that I spent there--so this time I was determined to explore it much more thoroughly (and with a bit less partying!)

The old walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is the only remaining walled city in North America. Great National Parks interpretation of the walls, the archaeological diggings underneath Dufferin Terrasse, and the fortress of Quebec.

Lots of walking up and down ramparts, seeing how well-kept all the old buildings were, and enjoying all there is to enjoy. If you've never been here, put it on your bucket list--you won't regret it. And I'd go back again in a heartbeat!

The best croissants in Quebec (and we tried lots!) are found down one of the streets--Paillard's. Not cheap...but flaky & buttery & we took a few away for further snacking!

Oh they were yummy!!

Again regrettfully leaving a great spot, we headed north along the St Laurence, doing a quick circle tour of the Ile d'Orleans (picking fields of sweet strawberries in mid-August??) and stocking up on maple syrup and having a tour of a sugar shack. Quite a process from tapping the trees, running the tap lines through the forest, to boiling it down 100 times at very precise temperatures.

We headed on through the Charlevoix to our whale-watching destination at the mouth of the Saguenay. I have loved the beluga whales since seeing them at Vancouver Aquarium and this is one of the few places in the world to see them--from boat or near shore. And we saw lots! Sorry no pix, but we enjoyed their antics for 3 days--and one day we were lucky enough to see 4 kinds of whales (beluga, minke, fin and humpback) as well as so many dolphins on a lovely evening you couldn't count them. Another great spot (and National Park) on the north shore of the river, about 30 kilometres past Tadoussac. I was really hoping to see some blue whales, as this is one of the few places in the world you can see them from land, and they had spotted 6 of them the week before, but sadly might have to come back again!

So many places and photos, and we were only really starting to feel like we were heading for home. We drove straight west along the Saguenay, past Lac St. Jean (last stop for fromage et croissants!) and through "northern" Quebec (Chabougamou, Rouayn-Noranda, Val D'Or) and Ontario (Timmins, Wawa, Thunder Bay, Kenora) and back to Winnipeg. It took much longer to drive it than to write it all out for you to read! Just east of Winnipeg there is a sign posting the absolute centre of Canada and we were happy to be back in the West. We started to wander a little there, around the southern part of Saskatchewan we dropped down into Grassland National Park for a couple of days to see one of the newest national parks which is still under acquisition and development. Bison, endangered black-footed ferrets, burrowing owls, and black tailed prairie dog were highlights. Badlands and grasslands and very remote territory--we found it!

A few misadventures with the trailer had us leaving it in Medicine Hat for the Labour Day weekend and heading to Calgary & the Rockies. Oh we love our mountains--it was so great to see them come into view across the prairies! One diversion left--a stop at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta--yet another World Heritage Site.Again we were stunned by the beauty of this extensive valley dropping down from the plains. All the dinosaur bones and digging that had been done here--we only had a few hours and once again, another spot to come back to and explore further!

How many photos of the Rockies can you bear? This one (above) is in the Kananaskis area near the Rae Glacier, not even a great day (in fact there was snow further up...and then in the foothills at lower elevations as we found out the next day!)

After retrieving the trailer we pushed on to our favourite Rocky spot--Lake Louise. You may not have seen this view of it before--from the Valley of the 7 Glaciers. Usually tourists are looking up the lake towards the great massif of Mount Victoria--well we were half way there (although not halfway up, vertically speaking, by a long stretch!)

We reluctantly got back on the last leg home after such a magnificent journey. How abruptly it came to an end--as everything does. It's a bit of a shock to have to re-organize many possessions and stay put in one place (well, actually we only had a few days before I had to head to Vancouver for the opening of the International Print Exhibition (BIMPE 8) that my work had been accepted into!) but we were happy to be in the beautiful Okanagan Valley again, to spread out into our home, to see many friends and family, and get prepared for the fall show season. And it's great for me, 2 1/2 weeks afterward, to put this blog together to remind me of what a fabulous time we had, what a great and beautiful country we live in, and how lucky we are. Thanks for allowing me to share it with you--I hope you're not bored already! Or possibly my next few blogs will be much less exciting!

A few events coming up--this weekend September 27 and 28 at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, 11-6 pm is the first Devine Art Show--featuring 12 selected local artists, wine tasting by the Summerland Bottleneck Drive wineries, and a chocolatier!I am immediately headed into my studio to prepare!

The next scheduled show is "Make It!" Penticton, November 1 and 2 at the Convention Centre, followed by the Coquitlam Christmas Craft Sale in early December (my 6th year there!) Further details next time--meanwhile I have to get set to take some paintings up to the Good Omens Coffee House in Summerland--for the next 2 months. Great place in town, if you're around drop in!

(posted on 19 Aug 2014)

Many kilometres (currently at 18,000 and counting) and photos have passed since I blogged (why is this sounding like a confession? I must be influenced by all the churches I am seeing in Quebec!). I have so many stories and amazing places to share with you that I think this blog will have to be split. Many National Parks and World Heritage Sites were visited--all of them very special in their own unique way, and it made me appreciate Canada even more when we saw how much there is to know about our history and special places. Another confession: I haven't been journalling since late June, nor have I been producing any art--only taking photos for future work!

So, to continue where I left off last time, in Quebec and heading for the Maritimes. Starting with the Bay of Fundy and its amazing tides--and lobster!

You may have already seen photos of the Flowerpots--I seem to have missed taking any! So here's a slightly less spectacular photo of the tidal bore at Moncton. We watched a couple of guys surfing on the crest of the tide as it pushed its way upriver. After a half-hour wait we could see why there weren't too many people watching--but it was fun to see how quickly the big tide filled up the channel.

Next on to Nova Scotia where we had our first introduction to the Acadien story--at many national sites including Fort Beausejour and Grande Pre (photo below).

The Acadian story, I hadn't realized, is a little bit of Canadiana that spilled over into the US ("Cajuns" in Louisiana is an off-shoot of the story).

The Acadians were descendents of French settlers that had been in Canada, around the Maritimes in very many places, for over a century before the British won one (or more) of the many disputs and when the Acadiens wouldn't swear allegiance to the British king, they were deported--to many areas including France, the Southern US, and other countries (where of course they weren't greeted with open arms!) Decades later many were allowed to return and resume residency amongst the English settlers (again there would have been much tension!). Very interesting group of people whose language and culture including music has influenced many areas of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

Well, not much time for more as we were off to Halifax, enjoying the Citadel there, seeing the first of many cannon shots!

Other highlights of the area: Peggy's Cove and the Swissair crash site nearby--on a spectacular day. I can see why so many people want to paint there.

A mussel lunch was enjoyed sitting on the lovely granite slope, watching dolphins while everyone else was wandering around admiring the lighthouse.

I've kept my best photos of the area to myself, as reference material for future paintings. I saw a great lighthouse themed body of work in Newfoundland and it reminded me that I have that on my list too. We have seen some number of lighthouses and they never lose their appeal for me. I've done a few lighthouse paintings already (mostly sold) but have a few more in me, I think!

On to Cape Breton Island (also part of Nova Scotia, but a very distinct part) where we caught our first great music. Wanted to stop at the Red Shoe Pub (owned by a couple of the Rankin sisters, of Rankin Family music fame) but had to push on to Sydney to catch our ferry to Newfoundland--so we popped into a local hall in North Sydney to see some local music and found a Cape Breton Kareoke night--to our horror--until we saw that all these locals stood up to sing--very well indeed-- with a live and very great band! Even the 95 year old lady who had to be helped up on stage to sing was fantastic!

And on to Newfoundland where we REALLY fell in love--scaling Gros Morne in the National Park of the same name

Visiting the 1000 year old Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows

Parks Canada has these great red chairs set out in all their parks for you to enjoy!

Seeing icebergs, and jumping whales playing, just about anywhere along the northern coastline!

Ok, that's about enough of the travelogue for now--and that's only taking you to St. John's, Canada's easternmost point. There's a great art gallery and museum there, "The Rooms" which I really enjoyed--especially the view of Signal Hill and the harbour but also the art including some printmaking. And of course more seafood, lobsters, cod, and whales and lighthouses at Cape Spear.

I sure hope I have lots of painting years left in me, as I have enough reference material from my travels to do for an extended period!

Now, I do want to extend you an invitation--during this summer I was delighted to get an email that some of my work has been accepted into a very important biennial international miniature print exhibition which opens in the Federation Gallery, Granville Island, on September 11, 6-9pm. Please come and enjoy the evening with me--the show will be there for about a month, then it moves to the Dunderave Printmaking Studio again in Vancouver for October, on to Edmonton and Kelowna (UBC Okanagan) in early 2015. Google BIMPE VIII for more details!

My next show will be in September, Devine Arts at Summerland Waterfront Resort, the weekend of September 27th, free entry and wine tasting along with fabulous artists. It will be great to be showing at home after all this time away! And I will be doing another local Penticton show November 1 and 2--but more about that later!

Hope you enjoyed this small portion of our big trip--and I will put some more photos up and continue the story in the next edition!

(posted on 5 Jul 2014)

Greetings from La Belle Province, Quebec! Many kilometres (7500, to be exact) have passed since I last blogged. It's been very inspirational for me, as an artist, to partially cross this vast country of mine and see exactly how beautiful it is. Much reference material has been gathered and I'll share a few of the highlights here.

Starting off with Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, in Southern Alberta. This 6000 year old archaeological site was where Plains Indians started buffalo stampeding over the cliff to provide for their tribe's survival over the winters.

There was lots of art there too--of a simple and beautiful and somewhat mystical nature. A sign of things to come....

We crossed Saskatchewan and Manitoba, having a wonderful time in Winnipeg where I visited the WAG (What a great name for the Winnipeg Art Gallery!). Mostly impressed by a beautiful Marc Chagall that was part of their regular collection.

And on through Lake of the Woods, Thunder Bay and to the beautiful North and East shores of Lake Superior. It came as a surprise to me, the striking nature of the biggest lake on earth--no wonder the Group of Seven painted that great freshwater sea and its skies.

Another fantastic discovery was the pictographs at Algoma in Lake Superior Provincial Park on the east corner of the lake. Imagine that these drawings were made from animal fat and ochre 300 years ago and still exist on a dramatic vertical wall soaring up from the lake. I was amazed to be able to visit such a site.

We continued on past Sault Saint Marie and Lake Huron's north shore and spent some time on Manitoulin Island then crossed on a familiar seeming ferry (it was rather like BC Ferries to Vancouver Island, however no mountains around and the lake was dead flat. No sense looking out for dolphins or whales, either!) Here's what Georgian Bay looked like--you could barely see the horizon line except for the headland in the distance.

After about 10 days in the Toronto area with family & friends, and a Blue Jays game (we won!) we pushed on to Ottawa for Canada Day in the nation's capital.

It was quite spectacular to see all the people, red and white and flags everywhere, lots of security but everyone was well behaved, as most Canadians are.

I think I feel some watercolour and ink paintings coming on!

We did get into the National Art Gallery and I was impressed by the breadth and quality of their collection--what we saw of it. Lots of my faves--the Impressionists and the Group of Seven, as well as some lovely Emily Carrs.

And now, on to a bit of my own art--while travelling I was most delighted to get an email that my work has been accepted into BIMPE VIII, a biennial miniature print show that will be opening on Granville Island in Vancouver on September 12--put it on your calendar and I'll see you there! After that the exhibition travels to Edmonton and Kelowna!

And my next local (ie Okanagan) show will be Devine Arts, at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, Saturday and Sunday September 27 and 28. Plan a visit!

And lastly, just to let you know that Canada has passed some anti-spamming laws and I want to ensure that I have your permission to continue to send you my (approximately monthly) blogs. Most of you have given your explicit permission by signing up for them, however if at any time you want to unsubscribe just send a return email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line and I will remove you from my list. All blogs and event notifications will continue as before.

Signing off from Quebec in a bit of a windstorm left over from Cyclone Arthur...will blog again next month!

(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!

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