Monday, January 02, 2017

New Year Opportunities

At the start of a new year, we review what's gone before and plan for the future.  I hope your past was all you hoped for and that 2017 is even better.  For those struggling, as well all do from time to time, take a deep breath and look for something - anything - that brings pleasure in your life, no matter how small.  And know that tomorrow brings new beginnings.

New years brings new opportunities for change, self improvement and exposure to new things.  Aside from the usual resolutions that fly out the window mid January, its worth really looking inwards to see what you want to change, learn or be. Changes can be free for the taking.

Kick start your art skills by joining my February Sketch Challenge Facebook group.  All skill levels can join in and all mediums and there is no pressure to perform daily.  Do what you can, when you can and you'll see your drawing skills soar by the end of the month.  Click here to join.

Cloudy With a Chance of Rain

And check out my January Clearance Sale of small paintings.  All originals, mostly oils and all just $40 each.  Whatever is left at the end of the month gets re-purposed, painted over or burned.  Click here to see what's available.

I've posted my list of 2017 workshops with a range of drawing and palette knife painting classes from beginner to more advanced.  Details, supply lists and registration are all on my website.  Click here to read more.  If you enter 2017WORKSHOP at checkout you'll receive 10% off any workshop.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Hybrid Painting

 Winter Sun
6" x 8"  oil on panel

Its been quite awhile since I painted using a brush.  A palette knife is my usual tool for painting these days and has been for about six or seven years.

I was asked to give a private class in painting in oils with a brush.  I did hesitate, but painting is painting and the principles are the same, so I went ahead with it.  It was an odd feeling, using a brush again, both uncomfortable and comfortable at the same time.  I advocate that anything that pushes you outside your comfort zone is a good thing and always teaches you something.

My student did beautifully with her piece and I liked, but not loved mine.  It was simply different from what I was used to producing.  Coverage wasn't as thick, application wasn't as quick and at this point in my art life, a brush felt more clumsy than natural.

Brush painting - Winter Sun

This image above is where I ended with my demo in the class and I confess that I switched back to a palette knife to complete the piece that evening.

Will I use a brush again?  Absolutely, but not frequently. I still use brushes in glazing and with acrylics and watercolour, but for regular day to day use, they just don't seem to fit my style anymore. I have moved on  and am firmly entrenched in the world of knives.

What is it about brush or knife strokes that appeals to you?  Why do you use the tools that you do?

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Last exhibition of the year

 Sunny Side Up
24" x 24"

I'll be taking part in my last exhibition of 2016 this weekend.  I'll be in the company of four other artists and am happy to share three new boat paintings in the show including the one above and shown in the exhibition flyer.   I found this little punt tied up at the wharf at Quidi Vidi late this summer and the colour and light were irresistable.

The opening is from 2 - 4 on Saturday December 10th at Peter Lewis Gallery, 5 Church Hill, St. John's, NL.  I'd love to meet you there if you in the downtown area and tell you more about the boats I have in the show.  The exhibit will run until December 24th.

Sunday, December 04, 2016


 Jolly - SOLD
8" x 10"  oil on panel

Its zooming towards Christmas and looking more and more festive every day with lights and decorations.  I have a few decorations and lights inside the house and on the entrance way of the drive, mostly because I've be doing my Painting Christmas workshops this weekend.  I've run back to back workshops with two demos in each one.

Funnily enough everyone wanted to paint the same pieces both days.  There is a lot of benefit in revisiting the same subject not just twice but many times.  Each piece will look different, even in the same medium.  And it was the same for both days of me painting the same subject.  The paintings are similar but the forms are slightly different and the colour choices varied.

Duplicity offers opportunity so I made one of the demos available. This lovely red cardinal is not a bird that resides in Newfoundland, which is likely why it is so appealing.  That bright shot of colour against a dull winter backdrop is always appealing and seasonal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Prevailing Wind

 Prevailing Wind
12" x 12" oil on canvas

November has flashed by with a lot of projects, paintings, teaching and events under my belt.  Its good to be busy and even in the lean times, as the economy here is proving this year, keeping moving forward is essential.

To streamline services, I've moved sales that were on external sites, such as Etsy, to my website under an e-commerce page.  I've categorized available paintings, studio reproductions and tweaked the site to make navigation cleaner. 

In 2017, I'll be moving my workshop registrations to my website as well.  Sales and registrations are secure and simple to use, using PayPal as the vehicle for payment which allows all credit cards to be used without having to have an account with the service.

You can visit my revised website and store at  Have a look around and let me know if there is something out of place or missing or if you have any issues navigating or viewing pages.

My 2017 Boat Calendars are available and make perfect Christmas and hostess gifts at just $20 + $5 shipping within North America. Click here for details or to order.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembrance Day

Acrylic on multi media paper - 4.5" x 7"

On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II.

As a young adult, my mother kept a diary from 1943 to 1945 that reflected her world in St. John's during the war, interspersed with personal thoughts.

On Armistice or Remembrance Day today as we look back and give thanks and respect for those who took part in world wars and other conflicts, I thought I'd share two pages of history leading up to the event 70 years ago through the eyes of a then 21 year old.

Please click to enlarge an image for reading.

 Page 1

Page 2

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Black Friday Weekend Sale

I've been in head down working mode for the last few weeks as I worked in the studio, did a plein air event in a storm, taught workshops and made some changes to my website to pull everything together under one roof.

I'm closing my Etsy store over the next couple of days and have opened a storefront on my website.  Etsy has changed its search features over the last year and visibility has slowed, so it was time to make some changes.   The Store is open now and I'm populating it with available paintings and prints.  It is categorized for easy searching and direct sales. In 2017 I will also pull away from my external workshop registration site and make registration available through my website as well.

You can visit the Store by clicking here.

In cleaning up the studio, I unearthed a number of paintings from pre-palette knife days as well as current pieces.  I will be offering them for sale in a Black Friday Weekend Art Sale from November 24 - 27.  If you are a mailing list subscriber, you will have a 24 hour pre-sale viewing and be able to purchase pieces before it goes public.  You can join my mailing list through the link on the right side of this page and receive the Studio News once a month with occasional emails about special events.

If anyone thinks the life of a professional artist is easy, I'd invite them to spend a week with me in the studio and the business world of art.  But I wouldn't change it for anything as I do what I love and am only accountable to me.

Studio painting seemed elusive for the last few weeks with visitors, teaching, and a plein air event that I took part in on October 22nd.  Unfortunately on that day, the tail end of a hurricane was forecast.  So while the morning looked dry, we took a chance.  I was on Signal Hill in St. John's, overlooking George's Pond and the Burma Road Trail.  I arrived around 8am hoping the weather would hold and while it stayed dry, the wind picked up and it was a challenge keeping the easel and canvas from toppling over (which it did several times).  It was tied down and weighted with my backpack but that just didn't seem to do the trick.

I managed about 2.5 hours of work outside before the cold affected my hands and I was shivering.  After a cup of coffee to warm up I retreated to the warmth of the gallery to continue to work on the piece.   On October 29th, the pieces were exhibited at Peter Lewis Gallery and are available there for sale.  Next time, let's hope its a summer event!