Friday, 27 February 2015

Collaboration With Other Artists

Blog 8

Being an artist is often very solitary. Some artists might enjoy this, while others like myself are looking for the company of like-minded artists.

There are many ways artists can work together, some temporary, others long-term.  If you look at art history, many artists groups were formed for various reasons, whether for the purpose of sharing equipment, studio space or materials, supporting and critiquing each other, exchanging ideas, growing knowledge and experience, or promoting a common belief.

The Group of Seven is probably the most well-known artist group in Canada.  It was founded to promote the importance of truly Canadian art. The members believed in creating plein air works which were inspired by the unique wilderness of the Canadian landscape.

There are lots of ways for artists to collaborate, from founding art organisations to small artist groups. An important reason is the sharing of manpower and financial burden.

Art shows and studio tours depend on a groups of artists bringing their resources together to organize the event. There is a lot of work to do beforehand: finding venues, managing registrations, organizing the event, marketing, marketing and more marketing. You can have the greatest artists signed up for an event but if nobody knows about it, it will be a lonely affair.

Working toward an exhibition is a lot easier for a group of artists than for an individual - not only in terms of time to produce the necessary number of works but also with regard to sharing the costs for the venue and marketing. There is also more manpower to share the load of work of organisation, marketing and networking.

Forming a collaboration of artists also gives the group more local lobbying power for arts infrastructure. Especially in our society where the arts are often overlooked as an important aspect of the cultural life, it is important for artists to join forces to stand behind their beliefs.

Many artists form groups as a result of their art not being accepted into art exhibitions organized by the art establishment. Examples of such collaborations are “Der Blaue Reiter” in Germany or “The Painters Eleven” in Canada.

The collaboration with like-minded artists will also help everybody involved to reach their individual goals. The brainstorming within the group will multiply the ideas by feeding from each other’s creativity, knowledge and experience.

If you would like to know more about some of the important artists groups both in Canada and abroad, you can always google them from the convenience of your home.  However, I will devote one blog a month to some of them for the rest of the year.  The first part will be a blog about the Group of Seven next week.

Snow Over Charlevoix

I will also write about the groups I participate in, like the Plein Air Ensemble. The photo at the beginning of this blog shows the invitation for their 2011 show at Galerie Old Chelsea. I created both paintings that are shown on the invitation during the group trip to Charlevoix in March 2010.

Chapelle de Port-au-Persil

I hope you enjoyed this blog, and will visit my site again. If you know anyone who would enjoy me blog, please share it.

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Quiet Time

Blog 7

In the Chinese astrology each year is associated with an animal sign. This year on February 19, the day of the Chinese New Year, another year of the goat begins. For this reason, I want to tell you a little bit about my painting “Quiet Time”, the 12” x 12” acrylic painting of one of the goats that spent a summer at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, a museum on the outskirts of Ottawa.

My fascination with animals is probably so strong because I discovered the animal world rather late. First of all, I usually lived in cities or areas of towns with hardly any farms.

Secondly, since I was scared by a large dog at the age 4 which jumped at me from behind a door, I never had the curiosity many kids have towards animals.  I never wanted to touch an animal and always kept a respectful distance. I only managed to overcome this fear when we adopted our first puppy.

When we moved to the country, my appreciation of animals grew - especially influenced by my painting buddy Rebecca Dufton who had already spent years sketching animals.

I have been at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum for several plein air outings to paint one of the heritage buildings.  However, I like to watch their animals, usually goats or sheep, cows, horses, turkeys, rabbits, and pigs, and often take photos of the animals on the grounds to be used as reference material in the studio.  My animal paintings are always done in the studio because animals as well as children move too much except if they are sleeping.

For the painting of the goat in “Quiet Time”  I decided to create a portrait of the animal deciding on a square canvas leaving out most of the surroundings. To create more texture, I used some modelling paste to create a 3D effect.

One of my friends from Germany fell in love with the painting right away which is a dream for every artist.  I was glad that the painting is small so she could take it home right away, and it has found a wonderful new home.

As I only painted one animal last year, the head of a black horse, I would like to paint more animal paintings this year. High on my list is finishing a double portrait of our dogs Candy and Alex followed by a portrait of our cat Miko - an urgent request of my daughter who just loves our little house tiger.

If you would like to have a painted portrait of the special animal companion please do not hesitate to contact me at to discuss the different options and possibilities.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Mimi and Momo

Blog 6

For many of us February is the month of love. Valentine’s Day is often considered the ultimate day to celebrate the relationship between lovers. Many people buy expensive gifts, such as large diamond rings as symbols of their love for each other. However, there is also the instinctive form of love between parents and their children. This is, however, not only limited to the human world. There are many stories of love in the animal kingdom. The story behind my 8” x 10” acrylic painting “Mimi and Momo” is one of these love stories.

Mimi and Momo, whom my children and I named despite my husband’s advice of caution, were two little kittens who were part of our family for about two weeks. We don’t even know whether they were male or female, we just liked the similar names for the tiny creatures who only had each other.

Our Australian Shepherd Alex must have found them a couple of days before we realized something was hiding in the little cave under some big rocks. We had noticed for a couple of days that Alex always gravitated to the same spot in our yard and despite being a well-trained dog, hardly followed our commands when we called him. Finally, we followed him and saw those two tiny kittens. We don’t know how old they were, and how long they had been abandoned.

They were crying and seemed quite starved. Therefore, we decided to take care of them, and they eagerly ate the kitten food we bought.

While Alex cared for them like a mother, knowing instinctively what to do, our female Golden Retriever Candy clearly did not want to be involved. Her motto was “Stay away from me, and I will not bother you.”

I don’t know whether it had anything to do with Alex being a shepherd, but he made sure that the two little ones stayed close. He carried them back to the kitchen or closer to the house if they wandered off on the lawn. He licked them clean, watched any of their moves.

For about two weeks we had our pleasure watching those two little kittens discover the world. The black and white kitten Momo was quite timid, but Mimi who was grey and white was very curious. They were just so cute to watch.

They really seemed to thrive until they suddenly got very sick. When Momo died within hours we were very sad but took extra special care of Mimi who seemed fine. However, she also got sick about a day later. We tried to get help for her but she did not survive either. We were told that the two little kittens probably did not have enough antibodies from their mother’s milk.

We were all quite upset but Alex was devastated. For days, he kept looking everywhere for them. We were just glad that the two did not infect Alex.

A couple of weeks later, we found out from a neighbour that the their mother had even more kittens. We don’t know what happened to them after their mother was found dead at the side of a road. Mimi and Momo probably were the strongest ones and therefore lived the longest. I am still sad when I think about them and angry when I consider that so many people still do not sterilize their cats. There are so many stray cats fighting for their life, the humane societies are overrun with them.

Nowadays, we have another cat at home, a former stray that we adopted from a young woman who had taken him in from the street. We got Miko when we had so many mice in our basement that I refused to go down anymore.

Alex always likes to chase Miko during the day when he moves too fast while Miko reigns over the house in the evening. He even gives Alex the occasional sniff and kiss. However, since Candy passed away about half a year ago, the two of them have come closer. Alex tries to play with Miko but so far Miko is not interested. It would be nice if they interacted more because I know Alex misses Candy. We do a lot with him, but sometimes he still seems lonely.

This year, I finally plan to finish my painting of Candy and Alex that I started two years ago but I am sure I also have to do a portrait of our cat. My daughter is constantly asking me to paint Miko. She is right, a portrait of him is more than due. I took many photos of him so I should find some that are good reference photos for my project.

If you have a furry family member whom you would liked to have painted please do not hesitate to contact me by email at It would be my pleasure to discuss the options with you so you will have a unique lasting memory of your pet.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Valentine's Day Doodles

Blog 6

It is February, and Valentine’s Day is only a week away. Many are already planning a nice dinner, frantically thinking about the perfect gift to show the special person in their life how special they really are, while worrying about spending too much or maybe not enough money on jewelry, flowers, perfumes, and expensive outings.

The retailers are certainly really happy about this commercialization of Valentine’s Day but is it really necessary? While it is a good thing to show your love and affection to the important people in your life to make them feel special, there are more personal ways to say “I love you” than spending huge amounts of money.

Why not change this buying frenzy by creating something home-made? Let’s start with the Valentine’s card. I just hosted a Valentine’s card doodle workshop recently, and while it took all of us more than two hours to create our card, it was not only lots of fun but also so very relaxing. Here are some examples of the truly unique cards that were created:


You can even use your doodle to make this a theme, and create a matching placemat and place cards for a romantic dinner at home. As Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, you could plan a nice winter activity (outside or inside depending on your interests), followed by a wonderful meal cooked at home. You save yourself a lot of money and also the stress of being squished in a tiny spot in a restaurant waiting with all the other clients to be served.

Just remember that less is often more. You do not need to prepare a four star gourmet dinner. There is nothing wrong with getting the decadent chocolate cake from a local bakery, or getting some help from the frozen food section of your local supermarket.

As for a gift, I know many people just love personal coupons which contain promises to do favours for your partner. Again doodling could make those coupons very personal. Cut out some hearts decorate them with doodles and offer some very special services. From dishwashing to massages, the limit is just your imagination. Just make sure that it is something your partner likes and not something that is foremost for yourself.

Making someone feel special is not a one time affair. It is something you have to work on during the whole year, and definitely not something you can buy. It is rather about spending time together having fun.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to get more information about my art, I encourage you to sign up to my monthly newsletter on my website The newsletter is published on the last Wednesday of every month. When subscribing, you will automatically receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint But Where Do I Start?”.

If you know someone who might also like to read my blog, please share it. Thank you in advance for helping me to reach a bigger audience.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Creative Challenge Part 4

Blog 4, January 30, 2015

This week was the last week of my January 2015 Creativity Challenge. While I was not creative every day, I worked on an art project most of the days. I am quite happy with this result even though I would have liked to spend more time painting. Hopefully, I will keep this new habit up during the months ahead. Sometimes, after a long day, it is hard to motivate myself to be creative, but once I get going I am quite happy with myself. It is basically like going to the gym: Sometimes, you really do not feel like it but once you are done you feel even better for sticking it out.

I started this last week of the challenge with a quick drawing of my son on the bus while we were going downtown to the Rideau Canal last Friday.

Saturday, I started another heart doodle inspired by all the Valentine’s Day advertisements. The big day is coming fast. Creating a unique card for the special person in your life is easy and fun. If you would like to be inspired, there are still a couple of spaces available for tomorrow’s workshop. Please email me at if you would like to join us. We will create a doodled Valentine’s card while enjoying the company of others, and some sweets to get us into the right mood. The “Creativity and Me” workshop runs tomorrow, January 31, 2015 from 1pm to 4pm in Cumberland. I will give you the driving instructions when you register. There is a $10 fee.

Sunday, I took a creative break. 


Monday, I drew a fish at our dentist’s office, then spent about two hours finishing Saturday’s doodle.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent hours working on my winter sunset painting which I finally finished. It took me a long time until I was happy with my sky.

"Evening Glow", acrylic on gallery canvas, 16" x 20"
$ 450

Tuesday, I also worked on another heart inspired doodle.


Thursday, I worked on the little watercolour pencil drawing of a tropical beach which I had started last week. I finished it Friday morning.

I hope you enjoyed my Creativity Challenge as much as I did. It would be great if it inspired you to put some more creativity into your life. You do not have create a masterpiece. It is all about the process of creating, the exploring, discovering, and experimenting with different mediums that has the greatest value. It is a great way to express yourself and have fun. The more you work on projects the more ideas for new projects you will get.

If you enjoyed today's blog I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment in my guest book or on my Facebook page

To hear more about my career, please go to my website where you can read the previous blogs. There, you can also sign up to my monthly newsletter and receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint, But Where Do I Start?” as a token of my appreciation.

Creative Challenge Part 3

Blog 3, January 23, 2015

Welcome to my blog! If you have followed me the last two weeks, you have seen my successes and shortcomings during my January 2015 Creativity Challenge. My goal was to create a new art piece every day.  Last week, I already revised that goal to working on an artwork every day because I realized that the quality of my artwork is more important to me than just producing a large quantity.

This week, I started really well by drawing a seal and a killer whale in preparation for my kids drawing class.

Sunday, I created a Valentine’s Day doodle for my upcoming “Creativity & Me” workshop on January 31, 2015 from 1pm to 4pm at my house in Cumberland. I would like to host one workshop a month with different art projects to bring not only more creativity into my life but also yours. We will create an artwork while chatting, and enjoying some goodies. I would like it to feel very cozy like a coffee date  with friends and have limited the number of participants to 12. If you would like to join me, please contact me through Facebook or directly at

Monday, I did not feel like painting or drawing at all after I found out that I would not be able to join my painting buddies on our yearly fall trip to Kamouraska, and that our family March Break vacations plans also fell  through.  All my frustration was vented by shredding the piles of papers I wanted to get rid off for a while.

However, I was back in the studio on Tuesday and Thursday working on my sunset painting. This is the stage it is in right now.  Next week, I hope to finish it but working on the snow will still be a big job.

Wednesday, the only thing I drew was the demonstration for my kids in the drawing course as I had a lot of office work to do.  Being an artist does after all not only mean that I paint and draw.  I also have to make sure to register in time for my exhibitions and shows, do marketing for my courses and events, write my blogs and artletter as well as do my bookkeeping.

Thursday night, I also started a watercolour pencil drawing of a  seaside destination. After all the cold days lately, I would not mind spending a couple of days under the warm sun.

Next week will already be the last week of the Creativity Challenge. I hope you stay tuned in.

If you enjoyed today's blog I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment in my guest book or on my Facebook page

To hear more about my career, please go to my website where you can read the previous blogs. There, you can also sign up to my monthly newsletter and receive my free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint, But Where Do I Start?” as a token of my appreciation.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Creative Challenge Part 2

Blog 2, January 16, 2015
This past week was the second week of my personal creative challenge for the month of January. My goal was to create an artwork every day. This week, I was doing a lot better than last week. Although, I spent time in front of my easel only twice, I did a lot of drawing. 

Last Thursday, my private student and I worked on a sketch of a snowman. I usually draw a little bit during the class to demonstrate to her some issues many students struggle with. I finished the drawing a week later.

Saturday was a day when I was mostly running around and getting ready for our neighbourhood get-together. I didn’t get any painting or drawing time in but took some beautiful pictures during my walk at dusk. Some of those are my reference material for the new painting I started Wednesday.

Sunday, I got inspired by the cold to start my kids drawing class with a couple of polar bear drawings. When I prepare my class, I always try a couple of different drawing to see how I can break down the drawing process into several steps starting with simple shapes. Sunday, I did a polar bear from the side, just the face, and a couple of initial sketches of cubs playing together.

Monday, I took one of the simple sketches of two cubs and finished the drawing.

The photo I was working from was from
The website offers instant download of free stock photos, images, backgrounds, and desktop wallpapers. Pictures can be used on personal or commercial web sites.

Tuesday was another hectic day with lots of running around. While my kids were at the optometrist, I used the back page of a wild life magazine to do a quick sketch of a fox’s face. Since last summer, I always carry a little drawing pad and pencil with me. It has served me well when I was held up unexpectedly.

Wednesday, I finally made it back to my studio. As I was so excited about the Saturday sunset, I decided to leave the painting from last week for next week. I started to draw the scene on the canvas, then quickly put down my under painting.

Thursday, I worked a little more on the fox sketch from Tuesday. In the afternoon, I put the reds and pinks of the sunset on canvas.

During this second week of my challenge, I decided that it is less about finishing an artwork every day then working on an artwork everyday. I still want to enjoy the process of creating and not put myself under pressure by constantly working against the clock, aiming for the finish line.

Next week, I hope to be able to spend more time in my studio working on my acrylic paintings. I will let you know next Friday how things works out.

If you want to continue following my journey, please log back into my blog next Friday. In the meantime go outside on a sunny day and really observe how beautiful a winter landscape is. How many colours do you will discover in the snow?

I am always happy to hear from you, so please leave me a comment.

To hear more about my career, please go to my website where you can read the blogs which I wrote before 2015. If you know someone who might enjoy my blog, please share it. To read more about my art world, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter at Every subscriber will receive a copy of me free eBook “I Am Ready To Paint, But Where Do I Start?”.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Creativity Challenge Part 1

Blog 1, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year! I hope you made it safely into the year 2015. II wish you all the best for the year ahead, especially good health, the achievement of your goals, and good times with family and friends.

Last year, I was very fortunate to teach a lot which I truly enjoyed as I continuously learn something new when I prepare the lessons, and feel blessed that I am able to share my passion with others to make their lives more creative. However, my own work suffered in the process. With the additional work of writing my blogs and newsletters, doing the marketing for events and courses, I did not paint as much as I would have liked. Most of my new paintings were done during my two great painting trips.

To get to a better start, this year, I have decided to start the year off with a challenge for myself. For the month of January, I want to create an artwork every day. This will probably not mean that I end up in my studio every day working away for hours but I want to make sure that I create something new every day, whether it is a small drawing, a doodle, a mixed media piece, or a small painting.

I might even use the opportunity to incorporate some materials I have had in my studio for years without ever touching them. To be clear, I will not concentrate on creating a fantastic artwork but on experimenting and enjoying the process - something I always remind my students to do. Maybe, I get lucky and create something amazing but it is not the purpose of this exercise. I just want to get back into the habit of regular painting.

I will let you take part in the journey by documenting my experiences. So here is the look at the first seven days:

To tell right at the beginning, I did not end up creating something every day. Having made use of everyone being at home, we went on two long walks on the first two days of the year which were beautiful and tiring, and left me in the mood to curl up on the sofa and just watch a movie.

However, we saw beautiful colours at dusk during our walk on January 2, which inspired me to a small sketch with watercolour pencils. I intend to use this sketch to create a painting.

Day 3 and 4 of my challenge, we were visiting relatives in Montreal. While we were watching a Star Wars movie, I started doodling a sci-fi inspired creature. On Sunday, we were visiting the “From van Gogh to Kandinsky” exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibition alone gave me lots of inspiration, not only for my own projects but also for my “Painting Like a Famous Artist” classes. Nevertheless, the only thing I brought to paper was a sketch of my daughter’s eye which I did while riding in the Metro.

Day 5 (Monday) meant back to school and work. While I got tons of work done, my creative challenge got pushed to the back seat again. During the walk with our dog I was so fascinated with the ice covered trees shining silver and gold in the late afternoon sun that I wanted to capture this miracle of nature in a painting. I started the painting of a group of birches Wednesday (Day 7).

On day 8, I painted this white lily for a friend. 


All in all I am not very happy with this week’s results, and have to admit that I thought about quitting and just writing a different blog for the week. In spite of the slow start, I want to keep going to see if I will be able to avoid neglecting my creative work whenever something else comes up that needs my attention.

If you want to know how my challenge will continue please log back into my blog next Friday. Happy creating!