Friday, 14 September 2018

Painting the Same Scene

Kamouraska, Acrylic, 24" x 18"

Blog 37

When this week’s blog is published, I am at the end of my painting trip in the Kamouraska region. When I was sitting down to write this blog, I realized that this is the ninth time that I go together with the group. Four of our group of six or seven artists have been the same over the years. Others had to miss out due to illness and other responsibilities. Some of you might wonder why we continue to go to the same place year after year. It is not just that the members of the group get along so well or that the house is just perfect for our group, but rather we are drawn back to the ever changing landscape along the St. Lawrence River.

It is fascinating to discover the area again every year. Sure, there are some favourite spots that we have painted a couple of times, but the scene and the paintings never look the same. The light changes not only depending on the time of day but also dramatically depending on the weather. For the St. Lawrence River, the changes of the tides give you very different views of a certain area. An area that might have been inaccessible during high tide might provide a fascinating view at low tide. However, it is crucial to watch the incoming tide as the water moves in quickly, and you want to be able to make it back to shore in time.
Painting a scene for a second time is similar to watching a movie for a second time; suddenly you see something you missed during the first time. You concentrate on certain aspects because you already know the plot. You are attracted to different aspects of the scene. Painting en plein air certainly heightens your observation skills and forces you to make a decision with regard to the moment that you want to capture, because your view changes constantly. If you want to keep up with the changes, you either have to be extremely fast or satisfied to capture a certain moment. Otherwise, you would constantly change the composition and colours on your canvas.

I hope you enjoy the variety of works from past trips:

I will have lots of new for you next week.

If you would like the art of the Group of the Seven, I offer the following workshop on September 28, 2018, 2pm - 4pm at 1270 Kinsella Drive, Cumberland, ON, K4C 1A9:

Painting a Symbol of the Canadian Autumn
We will study A. Y. Jackson’s painting “Red Maple” and create our own 16" x 20" fall landscape painting inspired by his painting. No experience is necessary. All materials are included in the registration fee of $35. Please register by September 24, 2018 at 6pm by sending an e-transfer to Please do not hesitate to contact me, if you would like more information for this workshop or have any other art related questions. To see a full list of my fall workshops and courses, please go to

Friday, 7 September 2018

Creating en plein air

Blog 36

When you read this blog, I am getting ready for my painting trip to the Kamouraska region. I will be away from September 8 - 15, 2018 for a week of uninterrupted painting time with some of my painting buddies. After my return, I will hopefully have lots of new material to share with you.

I am slowly getting back in the rhythm of painting. I continued with the tree painting from my workshop in May. However, I hit a roadblock and have to let the painting sit for a while before I will continue. I don't like the red leaves in the foreground. I am debating whether I should add more roots and leave the leaves out.

During a painting demonstration at Da Artisti Studio & Gallery last Saturday, I spent more than three hours painting a scene from our trip from Toronto to Vancouver in 1995. It is the first painting in a row to accompany my journal entries from the time. Unfortunately, during the trip, I was not in the habit of taking a sketchbook along. While I have two photos that show me painting during that trip, I was not able to find any sketches. Once I have created enough artworks to accompany my stories, I plan to put the travelogue and the paintings together in a book.

Nowadays, I have a sketch pad with me in my purse all the time. There are so many occasions where my little sketch pad has helped me to bridge some waiting time or to capture a certain moment. This summer, I also took every chance I had to spend time painting or sketching with some artist friends in the vicinity of our houses. You do not have to travel far to find interesting spots. If you are in the right mood, you can find something to draw or paint right in your house or backyard. The problem is that we are often too ambitious and look for the perfect spot instead of finding pleasure in the little things around us, like a beautiful flower, an interesting tree trunk, or a piece of fruit on a plate. I hope you will grab your equipment of choice and study the world around you.

If you would like some help, I offer a drawing beginner drawing course at François Dupuis Recreation Centre starting on September 17, 2018. As soon as I have my fall work schedule, I will also offer additional workshops from my studio. If you would like to receive information about my upcoming courses, workshops, and exhibitions, I encourage you to go to my website to subscribe to my monthly newsletter or you can find the information on my website at

Friday, 31 August 2018

Painting Fun

Partial view of the stage

Blog 35

This week, I was so busy with planning new fall events and getting back into a regular routine while adjusting to my daughter’s start of university that I almost forgot to write my blog.

I did not even think about picking up the Creativity Challenge again. I felt like painting but was reluctant to pick up my brushes to continue working on the 16” x 20” acrylic knife painting that I had started in early May. At first, I did not know where to start, but soon I was in my element and it felt so good to be painting. I plan to finish the painting before I leave for my painting trip to Kamouraska next week.

Yesterday, I finally met some of my friends for our yearly summer “Painting in the Park” get-together. We had to postpone the event a couple of times due to the heat in July and were happy when the weather cooperated this time. While we were painting a bowl with pansies, we laughed so much that we basically got an abs workout at the same time.

 If you would like to join in the fun of painting, please contact me for further events. I am in the middle of putting my fall workshops together, so please do not hesitate to let me know how I can help you to improve your painting skills. The first workshop “Painting a Symbol of the Canadian Autumn” will be on Friday, September 28, 2018 from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM at 1270 Kinsella Dr, Cumberland, ON K4C 1A9, Canada. We will study A. Y. Jackson’s painting “Red Maple” and create our own fall landscape painting inspired by his painting. No experience is necessary. All materials are included in the registration fee of $35. For more information and to register please contact me at

For all of you in the Ottawa area who stay at home during the long September weekend, I would be happy to chat with your during my painting demonstration at the Da Artisti Studio & Gallery on Saturday, September 1, 2018, from 9am to 1pm. During your time in Cumberland Village you can also go to the Farmers’ Market, the Black Walnut Bakery, and the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum.

I wish you a wonderful last weekend of summer! Enjoy your favourite activities and the company of family and friends. Make it a memorable weekend!

Here are some of my sketches from my trip to Germany that help me to keep my memories alive:

Perhaps you would like to take a sketch pad or a journal with you to capture some of the impressions that you experience this weekend. It is not important that others can understand and appreciate what you are sketching or writing, but it is a way for you to have a special and very unique record.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Visiting the old ¨Heimat¨

Blog 34

This summer, I went to Germany for a three week visit to my hometown. It had been over two years since my last visit, and so it was wonderful to see my family and friends again. As my hometown has only a population of about 12,000, some areas have slightly changed, but everything still feels just like during my childhood.

Whenever I go home, I automatically compare the two countries. This time, we arrived during an extreme heatwave; we are used to temperatures in the low to high 30s in the Ottawa area, but these temperatures are not common in Germany. The last comparable summer was in 2003. While our family does not have air-conditioning at home, our home is surrounded by trees, and we are certainly used to air-conditioned indoor places all around us that are open to the public. In general, I find the temperatures in stores and restaurants uncomfortably low and always bring a jacket. In Germany, however, not only is air-conditioning in private homes extremely rare, but I was surprised that most stores and restaurants, hotels as well as public places do not have air-conditioning. The grocery stores were air-conditioned but in two of the local stores not only did the air-conditioning stop working, they also lost power of the coolers for more than a week. While it was not even tempting to try on clothes and must have been tough for the sales clerks to bear the heat, I sympathized the most with the chefs in the different restaurants.

While it was quite unbearable for those working, we stayed close to my parents’ house and the pool, spending the afternoon hours indoors like it is common in the south-European countries. In the late afternoon, I used the time to create some watercolour paintings of my parents’ wonderful flowers that bloomed in abundance. I also used any opportunity to sketch. I am quite happy with some of the sketches but had challenges with others, especially when I decided to capture a person. Some just moved their head in the critical phase of my drawing, others had the nerve to leave. It was lots of fun nevertheless. For some of my sketches, I used watercolour pencils. At home, I brushed water on the sketch and created little watercolour sketches this way.

So while we are complaining about the heat, let’s think about the construction workers, firemen, policemen, guards, and the people who pick up the garbage who are exposed to the heat without being able to seek shelter. For the rest of us, let’s just think about the fact that winter is just months away, and we would be happy about a couple of extra degrees. Stay cool and enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, 17 August 2018

Visiting Family Abroad

Blog 33

While I am in Germany with my daughter to spend time with family and friends, I decided to post some of my favourite paintings to keep you entertained until my return.

While I usually only take pictures and create some sketches of places, objects, and people that I see while I am traveling, I have created two paintings in my studio after a trip to Germany.

The painting "Hayfields in Nauheim, Germany" shows the landscape in my small hometown, Nauheim, with a population of about 11,000 people. I moved here when I was 7 years old, and my parents have lived there since then. The small town is surrounded by the cities Darmstadt, Mainz, Frankfurt am Main, and Wiesbaden which are known by tourists for their culture. Together the four cities form the centre of the Rhein Main Region, a metropolitan area of about 6 million people.

Nauheim is the “Musikgemeinde” (Music Community) of the area as many instrument makers from the Sudentenland settled in the town after the Second World War.

What I love about this little town is that you can get anywhere in town by bike. There are also bike paths between the farmers’ fields as well as extensive bike routes to the surrounding communities.

My daughter and I will definitely take the bikes out to get some exercise in between all the visits that usually involve lots of delicious food.

The second painting is “Odenwald”, which captures the view of the fields from the “Veste Otzberg”, a medieval castle on the summit of the hill Otzberg in the Odenwald forest.

Our visits to Germany are mostly for the purpose of seeing family and friends, but we try to put little bit of sightseeing into our programme, so that my daughter gets to know more about the country of her ancestors.

Have you been able to visit the country of your families’ origins or is it still on your bucket list? I would love to know where your you are from and whether you still relate to the countries of your ancestors.

When you read this blog, my vacation in Germany is already in its last stretch. I will have lots of new material for you next week.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Missing My Pets

Blog 32

I am in Germany with my daughter to spend time with family and friends for the next three weeks. As I will not have Internet service all of the time and want to enjoy the time off, I will not post updates of my Creativity Challenge for the next three weeks. However, I will try to continue drawing or sketching something daily. Do you know the difference between the two of them? While a sketch is usually a quick and therefore rather loosely drawn work, a drawing is a more finished work with more detail. However, the distinction is not very precise and often used interchangeably. I will show you my pieces after my return at the end of August to demonstrate the difference.

For my vacation time, I picked some of my favourite paintings to keep you entertained until my return.

Whenever I go on vacation, I am looking forward to the time without any obligations. In case of a painting trip, I enjoy the company of fellow artists as well as the uninterrupted creative time. When I am flying to Germany, I am always looking forward to finally seeing my family and friends. However, whenever I travel alone or with only some of my family members, I always miss the others at home, especially our pets. While modern technology makes it possible to make video chats or phone calls home, I will not be able to interact with our dog Alex and our cat Miko. Even if I see them on the screen, they do not recognize me and do not know what to make out of the image on the screen or my voice.

Luckily, I am usually busy with activities and loved ones so that the time passes fast, and I do not have too much time to feel sad. Do you feel the same? Do you feel guilty for leaving your pets behind, even when you know they are well taken care off by other family members, friends, or a great kennel?

Here are a couple of paintings I created of my pets that give me joy whenever I see them (even though Candy and Jessie passed away years ago):

Top row: The Bone, Winter Fun, Jessie - Forever in my Heart
Bottom row: Miko, Young Miko Sitting in the Sunshine, Sweet Candy

If you are interested in having your precious companion captured in a painting, please do not hesitate to contact me for more details. I welcome commissions.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Air Travel with Painting Equipment

Blog 31

My Creativity Challenge will take a three week break while I am in Germany with my daughter to spend time with family and friends. I have a full schedule and I am not sure how much sketching time I can squeeze in, even though I will have lots of beauty to capture. For this reason, I kept the art supplies I packed to a minimum. I took my watercolour pencils, a pocket watercolour set, pencils, and a drawing pad.

As none of the materials is considered a dangerous goods according to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, I can either put them in my check-in suitcase or in my carry-on luggage as long as I remember to empty my little water container.

If I was going on a painting trip, I would have to make more preparations. Tubes of oil-based and latex paint used by artists are accepted for air travel provided the paints are packaged in absorbent material and placed in a heavy, plastic leak-proof bag/container according to Air Canada. However, according to paint manufacturer Gamblin, it is best not to refer to artist oil paints as oil paints but rather as artists paints made from vegetable oil, as commercial oil paints are on the list of banned materials due to their solvent content. You want to avoid confusion.

Even as containers of 100 ml/ 100 g (3.4 oz.) or less are allowed as carry-on baggage at the security checkpoint, they have to fit in one clear, closed and re-sealable plastic bag no larger than 1 litre (1 quart). One re-sealable plastic bag per passenger is permitted. So if you have hand cream or medication with you, you might exceed the space of the bag and your paints might be confiscated.

It is also important to pack any sharp tools into your checked-in luggage as the will otherwise confiscated at the security check. All art materials should be in their original packaging with the original labels.

As solvents, painting mediums, fixatives, and varnishes are flammable and therefore banned from airlines, you have to get those at your destination. If you are worried that there will not be an art store in the vicinity, you can order the materials online and have them shipped to your destination.

For any art materials that might be questioned by the security personnel, it is best to have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the paint manufacturer ready to show. The MSDS includes a section on fire and explosion data. Materials you can take onto a plane have to have a flash point that is higher than 60 C (140 F).

If you are looking for more information, Winsor & Newton has very detailed information about their products at or you can go to the Golden Artist Colors website and look at their air transport statement at

During the last couple of days before my trip, I went again to the Humanics Institute with my friends Janis Fulton and Hélène Martin. This time, we all drew different sculptures. I drew the untitled sculpture of a young woman as well as a quick sketch of a flower (see at the top of the blog).

I also finished a felted elephant for a friend of mine.

For the two upcoming weeks, I will post some of my favourite paintings. If you would like to contact me, please be aware that I will only have intermittent Internet service while I am away. Therefore, I might only get back to you during the last week of August.

Have a great long weekend! Whether you are working or going on vacation, I hope you make the most of your summer!

Friday, 27 July 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 30

Blog 30

It has been a busy week for my as I prepare for my trip to Germany that is just a couple of days away.

I continued to created 15 minute art projects that I posted on my Facebook page from Monday to Friday. This week, I picked one subject and painted it with watercolour, gouache, acrylic, and oil paints to give you a quick glimpse of the differences of the different media. I will continue my 15 minute projects until July 31.

As you probably have noticed, often I went past the 15 minute mark, usually because my project was too ambiguous. However, I always like to go with my feeling, and I really was drawn to create a certain image that day. If you are not inspired by what you see, it is really hard to bring excitement to your project. Instead, I love it when students do not want to stop at the end of the class because they are so involved in their creative process. They have fun. This is so much more important than to follow a timer. Some days, you might be restricted in time but if not, why not keep creating? In general, I recommend to take a break after about 90 minutes to move around and stretch. Creating art is lots of fun but it is also challenging for your eyes and hands. However, if you are in a flow just keep on going. Sometimes, you do not want to break a very productive streak. Set your own rules and routine, because we all have different needs.

Here are the other artworks that I created during the last week:

I finished both another felted butterfly and a felted elephant that I had started during my vacation. They were challenging but I am quite happy with the results.

unfinished acrylic painting, 8" x 10"
I also went out twice with two of my friends. Once to the Beechwood Cemetery where I painted the pond with the water lilies.This painting is still unfinished.

The other time to the Humanics Institute Sculpture Park in Cumberland, where we spent the morning drawing the sculpture “Motherly Love” of a hippopotamus holding her baby in her arms.

from left: Janis Fulton,
Hélène Martin, Kerstin Peters

I also felted a butterfly that I had started during my vacation at the cottage.

As I am putting together my schedule for the fall, are there any skills that you would like to learn, any projects that you always wanted to work on but always postponed? You can either send me an email to or send me a message to my Facebook page at

Friday, 20 July 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 29

Blog 29

After the last two blogs about “Creating Art with a Group” that were a collaboration with fellow artist Anne Warburton, I will continue with my Creativity Challenge for the rest of July.

Since July 2, I have created 15 minute art projects that I posted on my Facebook page from Monday to Friday. I hope they have inspired you to follow along or to pick up your own projects. The main goal is to have fun in the process and hopefully to learn something new along the way.

I am very passionate about sharing my art with you because I hope that it will help you to look at the world around you with a fresh eye. Has it ever happened to you that you have driven through a part of your neighbourhood and all of a sudden you see a house or a barn that you never noticed before? Or maybe you reach a spot on your way and you wonder how you cannot recall your way? Our world is so full of sensations and we have so many things on our mind that we often do not really pay attention to our environment.

I would like to challenge you to have a fresh look around. If you have certain art materials, try a new technique, a new pattern. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.

foam sheet mosaic that took much longer than expected
Creating these 15 minute projects have been out of my comfort zone at times, especially since I have tried new materials or a new technique. I always was nervous that I would not be able to live up to your expectations of me as an artist. However, if I try something new, I also have to practice to find out how to get the most of the material or how to apply a certain technique properly. I had to remind myself of my own advice: The important part is the process and having fun. Only when you try different things can you find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

If you would like to see the 15 minute projects of the past three weeks please go to my Facebook page

Here are some of the other artworks that I created during the last two weeks:

I did a lot of sketching while I spent a week at the cottage. Some of the sketches turned out to my satisfaction, while others were too ambitious but will still give me enough information to help me remember a certain moment, even if the perspective or scale of elements are not correct. Then there were those where I tried to draw without looking at my sketchbook that were at least good for some hearty laughs.

I also took my sketchbook to the theatre again. It was so dark that I had to sketch without really seeing what I was doing.

still untitled, acrylic, 10" x 10"

At the cottage, I also painted a peony that I had seen at the Ottawa Ornamental Gardens a couple of weeks earlier. I was lucky to be able to rely on a good photograph of the beautiful flower.

"The Old Shed", acrylic, 8" x 10"

On Wednesday, I finally went painting again with some of my painting buddies. We spent the morning at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum where I painted an old shed that nature is slowly taking over.

I would love to see some of your projects. You can either send me a photo by email to or post a photo on my Facebook page at Please do not hesitate to ask for advice if you are stuck. I will do my best to help you.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Creating Art with a Group - Part 2

Blog 28

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting talk with my artist friend Anne Warburton, a versatile fibre artist from Navan, about “Creating Art with a Group”. In this second part, we talk about finding locations, the challenges of creating in a group, and about collaborating on a joint piece of art.

Question 4) Where do you meet - are there any challenges with finding locations?

In the summer, weather is a factor because we don’t want to be out in the rain or out during a thunderstorm. If you need an indoor space, cost is often an issue. We are lucky in one of the smaller groups, as we go to each other’s homes, and have enough space in a couple of basements or sometimes we use a carport. Many indoor places do not want to rent space to painters, because they are afraid that the floors will be stained. And the price can sometimes be prohibitive too.
Some groups, like the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, seek out locations to go to, with permission of course, or get invited to events. For example, we were at Lansdowne Park for the curling trials a couple of years back, and more recently, we attended a dress rehearsal with the the Ottawa Pops Orchestra at Centrepointe Theatre. Ottawa does have some beautiful outdoor spaces and parks that are perfect for sketching and painting. This coloured pencil image was sketched at the Rockcliffe Park Pavillion.

A great source to find places to rent is SpaceFinder SpaceFinder is a free matchmaking tool for people renting out their space to artists and artists looking for a creative space.

Question 5) What are some disadvantages of creating with a group? Are you afraid to lose your own creativity when you participate in group activities too often?

It is easy to mimic someone else’s style when learning a new technique or working with new materials. That is a risk at first during the learning curve, but we do fall back to our own style, and adapting to incorporate the new technique.

Group dynamics are very important. We tend to take on roles such as organizer, doer, planner etc. We need to be open to what others want to accomplish in each group so that everyone feels their own needs are being met, and also ensure that our own goals align with that of the group.

Question 6) Have you collaborated with other artists to jointly create a piece of art?

Yes, we’re just finishing up a piece for a show next year. This was the first time I have been involved in a joint creation, and I’m pleased with how it went. It’s very important that everyone agree in advance on all the parameters, yet be flexible enough to make changes during the creative process. There were four of us and we have created together in the past as a group, so each of us was able to fall into the roles that we usually play in planning and organizing our creative get-togethers. For anyone who does want to create a piece jointly with others it’s important that all the tasks be identified and assigned, so that one person doesn’t feel burdened with more, another doesn’t feel listened to, etc.

Both Anne and I answered the same questions. To read my answers to the same questions please go to Anne’s blog at or you can access her blog through her website  If you missed the first part of our discussion, please scroll back to last week’s post.

Anne and I were both very excited about working together and had a lovely chat. However, it was quite out of our comfort zone to record the session. It was even harder to watch and edit the video afterwards. It is not perfect, but it shows us in an authentic way. I am sure we will get better with time. You will be able to see the clip "Challenges with Finding Locations" at

What about you? Have you ever created art with a group? We would love to hear about your experiences.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Creating Art with a Group - Part 1

Blog 27

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting talk with my artist friend Anne Warburton about “Creating Art with a Group”. Anne is a versatile fibre artist. Her passion is stitching on paper and fabric, and incorporating paint, photographs, metals or recycled materials. A love of colour and travel inspires much of her work. She has a love of learning, and continues to develop her art through experimentation and courses, and is also trained in the expressive arts therapies. She is an active member of several arts associations including Arteast and the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, and is Chair of the annual Navan spring Fine Art Exhibition & Sale.
In the discussion below, Anne talks about her experiences and perspectives on the topic of Creating Art with a Group. To see my answers to the same questions please go to Anne’s blog at or you can access her blog through her website

1) Anne, Why do you create art with a group? What do you get out of creating with others?

I have learned so much when creating with others, and have grown as an artist due in part to such groups. Valuable tips, resources and new ideas are just a few of the benefits. I’m currently active in three groups: an open studio, sketching group, and fibre art playdates.

For example with the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, there are artists of all levels, it is great practice and you get inspired by each other, especially if you don’t sketch on a regular basis. When you start out, it is often very uncomfortable to have other people looking over your shoulder and it’s comforting to have other artists sketching or painting next to you, even though the public is very interested and supportive. They are not critiquing what you are doing but are very interested.

There is an amazing energy in creating with a group. You just feed from each other. You get excited again and want to continue creating when you get home.

2) What types of groups do you work with? How did you find these groups? Do you have a group you meet with regularly?

I have worked with art organizations like Arteast and the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, gone to workshops and classes, shared studio time, gone out with plein air groups.

With a group of fibre artists as well as through the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, we get together regularly every month or so for “play dates”. We spend a day learning how to use a new material or technique by playing and experimenting with the material, and the results can be just fascinating. We can’t always predict the results, which is part of the anticipation and surprise. Even the mistakes we make while learning are extremely valuable. We had one experience where only one of five in our group was successful with the technique we were learning, and we did not know why she had success. It took much more research but we really did learn more and just how much practice some techniques can take.

Part of the fun too is finding finding materials we need in local second hand stores, and some materials we didn’t know we needed but just had to have. So generally, it is not just a learning day but a whole event.

This picture was from a get together where we were experimenting with bleach dyeing. The original of this piece of clothing was black, and by tying up parts and bleaching, a beautiful brown was the result, with interesting circles left in black.

I have found these groups by joining local visuals arts and fibre arts organizations, then getting together with friends made through these groups where we have like-minded goals. We are lucky that Ottawa has many such opportunities through organized groups and through several shops.

3) Do you think it is helping with your success as an artist?

Definitely. You get good constructive feedback from the other artists of the group, and are exposed to new ideas that you can consider for your own work, learn about resources, upcoming shows, and so much more. It’s amazing to see how everyone interprets a scene or technique differently. You find support, get inspired and excited again in a way that you want to continue creating when you get home.

While I have posted Anne’s answers, I hope you will be interested in reading my answers to the same questions in her blog at Anne’s website is

If you would like, you can also watch the clip “Playdates with Fibre Artists”of our discussion at and the clip “Ottawa Sketching Group” at 

In next week’s blog on Creating Art with a Group we will talk about finding locations, the challenges of creating in a group, and about collaborating on a joint piece of art.

If you would like to see what I created during the past week, I encourage you to follow my 15 minute art projects on my Facebook page  During the month of July, I will post them from Monday to Friday. I hope they will inspire you to follow along or to practice whatever inspires you. The main goal is to have fun in the process, and hopefully learn something new along the way.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 26

Blog 26

The past week was dedicated to spending time with my extended family who visited us for my daughter’s graduation events. Nevertheless, I managed to squeeze in some creative time.

On June 22, I went to a Glass Fusion Workshop at Da Artisti Studio & Gallery that was organized by Arteast for its members. It was a lot of fun to learn something new and to work with a new material. Wendy Canci, the gallery owner and a very talented glass artist, guided us through the process of creating a dish and a pendant by layering glass. I can hardly wait to see the finished products after they have been heated in a kiln to fuse the glass pieces together.

As my family already knows that I have a hard time sitting still without giving my hands something to do, they already expect me to pick up my latest project. As my two year old niece came for her first visit, I had moved all my felting equipment away. As it is easy for an adult to prick themselves with the felting needle in a moment of inattentiveness, I did not want to take any chances with my niece. Instead, I worked on catching up with my temperature shawl that I had neglected for weeks. I am still 2.5 weeks behind, but you can finally see more of the spring/summer colours. It is hard to believe that I am almost halfway done with my shawl. If you look carefully, you will see that I had to improvise again with some of the colours where my original ball of wool was not sufficient, which is okay because you can find a lot of colour variations in nature. 

On the day of my daughter’s garden party and prom, I managed some sketches at the hairdresser’s and during a visit to a restaurant. The one of my father-in-law was especially challenging as my father-in-law wears glasses and moved a lot. I worked on this sketch again at home. I also spent a couple of minutes sketching a couple of small Begonias from a flower bed in front of the movie theatres while waiting for my friend. The sketch was just a little exercise to fill the waiting time. However, every little sketch helps to sharpen your observational skills.

 Finally, I found some time to finish my 9” x 12” acrylic painting “Three Poppies” from my plein air outing two weeks ago. I added some extra paint on the petals of the flowers to make them stand out.

I also spent some time writing my latest newsletter. If you like my blogs and would like to receive some more information about upcoming workshops and exhibitions as well as news about my activities, I invite you to subscribe to my monthly newsletter that is published on the last Wednesday of the month. You can subscribe on the bottom of every page on my website

Next week, you will finally be able to read the blog about my discussion with fiber artist Anne Warburton about “Creating Art with Groups”. The blog is accompanied by a couple of video clips.

For now, I wish all of you a Happy Canada Day! Enjoy the wonderful summer weather and spend some Me-time, either exploring some of the many activities that are offered or relaxing in your favourite spot.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 25

Blog 25

With company at our house and working part-time, it was more difficult to set aside time to be creative. While I was watching some of the World Cup soccer games with my family, I was able to continue knitting my temperature shawl and felting flowers on my table runner. I also felted a butterfly for my Creativity & Me: Felting Butterflies & Flowers workshop on Friday, July 27 at 1pm - 3pm.

Nevertheless, I spent last Friday morning with my friend Janis painting poppies in her yard. It was my first plein air painting time since our trip to Kamouraska in September of last year. It felt so great to be outside in the warm sun, and to be able to fully concentrate on painting without distractions.

Three Poppies, acrylic, unfinished

Anne Warburton and I also continued writing and editing our blogs about “Creating Art with Groups”. We complement each other very well. It is exciting to see everything come together. The blogs will be published together with the video clips on July 6 and 13, 2018.

On June 21, I went to the Humanics Institute Sanctuary and Sculpture Park with a couple of members of the Ottawa Plein Air Adventures Group. I knew many of the members already from Arteast as well as the Urban sketchers. While most participants stayed until the afternoon, I only had time to stay until noon to create one watercolour pencil sketch of the sculpture called “Friends”, one of my favourite sculptures of the park.

If you would like to try something new, I am holding one painting and one felting workshop in July:

July 20: The Energy of Vincent van Gogh

July 27: Felting Butterflies and Flowers

Here is also the link to the Painting Party in the Humanics Institute Sculpture Park on July 15, 2018: .

For more information, please click on the links or go to my website

In addition, I am offering a new promotion for you: if you register for 5 events at the regular rate and pay only half the price then when you register for your 6th event. There is no expiration date for this promotion. This promotion starts with my July events and is valid for both painting parties and workshops. Once you have registered for 5 events, I will send you the promotion code for the 6th event.

If you have any suggestions for materials or techniques you would like to have covered during my July projects that I will post from Monday to Friday on my business page on Facebook, please send me an email to

Friday, 15 June 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 24

Blog 24

My creative week started off on the right foot with our visit to the Ottawa Little Theatre on Friday, where we saw the immensely funny British farce “Move Over Mrs. Markham” about love, infidelity, trust, and revenge. During the play I managed to sketch a little bit despite the challenge of the fast moving actions of the actors and the many bursts of laughter.

I also drew a couple of characters from “The Loud House” for one of my “Cartooning and Drawing” courses. “The Loud House” is an American animated television series about the chaotic life of Lincoln Loud. He is the middle child and only boy in a large family of 11 children. 

This was also the last week of my “Cartooning and Comic” classes. Two groups had picked “Toothless” from “How to Train a Dragon” for their last class, while the third group chose the “Loud House Characters” I already mentioned.

After weeks of neglect, I finally continued my temperature shawl. It is exciting to see how the design unfolds now that we have reached warmer temperatures and a different colour scheme. I will post a photo next week.

On Sunday, I visited Ottawa’s Ornamental Gardens with my family. The Ornamental Gardens are situated at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Ontario. At the moment, the peonies and irises are in full bloom. There are also some amazing trees. I wish I had been able to spent the day painting, but I am happy that I did have a change to take some pictures of the breathtaking beauty. I have to go back with my painting buddies. 

While I still did not manage to paint outside, I was able to continue the tree painting that I started during my knife painting workshop a couple of weeks ago. I showed the participants the use of different kind of painting knives to bring texture and energy to a painting. As I use student grade paint during the workshop I added a layer of professional grade paint when I reworked the trees and roots. Hopefully, I will be able to show you the finished work next week.

Inspired by some beautiful pansies at an ice cream shop, I also finished a yellow one and created a pink one on my table runner.

As life’s pace is usually slower in summer, I would like to invite you to bring more creativity into your life. From Monday to Friday during the month of July, I will post 15 minute art projects on my Facebook page that will hopefully inspire you to follow along or to practice whatever inspires you. Is there a technique or a medium that you always wanted to try out? If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment or send me an email to