Friday, 25 December 2015

Season's Greetings and 2015 Review

Blog 51

On this Christmas Day, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the year 2016. I would like to thank all of you for your ongoing support and hope you will spent some relaxing and happy days with your family and friends.

As next Friday will fall on January 1, 2016 (Can you believe it?), and everyone is hopefully busy with activities they enjoy, the first new blog of 2016 will be published on January 8, 2016.

Instead of my usual blog, following you will find the first 12 paintings of my advent calendar that I posted from December 1 to 24 on my Facebook and Google+ pages, which I invite you to follow. Next Friday, you will find the second 12 days of my advent calendar. I hope you enjoy my walk through my paintings of the last 12 months.

Day 1:
In Germany the advent calendar is very popular to help kids count the days until Christmas Eve. It helps to shorten the waiting time until Christmas and heightens the anticipation.

For this year, I will post my personal advent calendar, each day showing one of my favourite paintings of this year. Today, you get to see a special treat: the progression of my painting Evening Glow (see above), an 18" x 24" acrylic painting I created with painting knives.

Day 2:
"Tulips from Amsterdam", a 10" x 8" oil painting, was created during the Plein Air Ensemble trip to Val David. I had spent the morning painting outside and was so cold that I decided to stay indoors for the afternoon. The title comes from my grandmother's favourite song, and I am very happy that the painting has found a permanent home at my parents' house.

Day 3:
I painted this 11" x 14" oil painting at the beginning of May at the Black Chute Rapids of the Ottawa River. You would not believe how loud the sound of the crashing water is. I titled the painting "The Buseater" because this is the inofficial name of the chutes. The waves are so high, they could easily swallow a whole bus. What I find really interesting is the fact that it looks like horses are racing through the water.

Day 4:
"Spring Bouquet With Gerbera and Lilac", an 14" x 11" oil painting, is another painting from the painting trip to Val David. While it was raining cats and dogs, my friend Janis and I were sitting in the cottage painting this still life. The flowers and pitcher were already standing on the table. We added the oranges that were left over from lunch.

Day 5:
Rittke Road Swamp, Eganville, is a 5” x 7” oil painting. My friend Hélène and I both painted the scene and were so immersed in the painting process that we did not even notice that we were watched by a deer. This little painting found a new home on December 5 during my Open House.

Day 6:
My 7" x 5" acrylic painting "Rose Hips" was created during my summer holidays from a photo I had taken on one of the visits to the Kamouraska area. Even though I usually do not find much time to paint during our summer week at the cottage, I always take a small paint box and some reference photos with me.

Day 7:
My 9" x 12" acrylic still life "Have Some Fruit!" makes your mouth water for a fresh fruit. Maybe, you have noticed that this still life does not contain a single apple.

Day 8:
I started my 11" x 14" oil painting "Purple Fields, Saint-Pacôme, Quebec" in September 2013 during our yearly trip to Kamouraska. My friend Janis and I were sitting on the top of the ski hill and could not take our eyes from these richly coloured fields. I actually painted a second painting with similar purple fields a couple of days later in Kamouraska which I completely forgot to upload to my website after my husband and I had a little accident while framing the piece for a show. We managed to damage the expensive frame when the screws for the wire went through the front. The screws that we used were longer than what I was used to. I was so upset at the time that the artwork stayed for months in a corner in my studio. I managed to repair the frame, not perfectly but good enough for my own collection. It is a nice little piece, and will be added to my website shortly.

Day 9:

I started my 10" x 8" oil painting "Pink Gerbera" during a demonstration to the students of my introduction to painting class. I love the vibrancy of the flower. It took me a while to mix the right pink but I am quite happy with the final result.

Day 10:
My 11" x 14" oil painting "The Pilgrims, St.-André-de-Kamouraska" was started on September 12, 2014. My friend Janis and I spent the morning driving around trying to find a sheltered painting spot. It was bright and sunny but the wind made it hard to open even the car doors. Therefore, we drove to the lighthouse in St. André. There we met our friend Leslie who had the same idea. Leslie and Janis set up in the lighthouse but I decided to go outside as the wind had decreased.

I had a great time painting while listening to an audiobook. I did two paintings, had some interesting conversations in French with a couple of people that dropped by, and just felt very blessed to be able in that wonderful spot.

Day 11:
My 8" x 10" acrylic painting "Yellow Mushrooms" also started out as a demonstration at one of my introduction to painting classes. I just love all those mushrooms in the fall forest. When I look at the painting I am reminded of the smell of the autumn woods.

Day 12:
I started my 24" x 18" acrylic knife painting "Iced Birch" with reference photos in early March 2015 but put it aside when I was struggling with the branches of the tree. I had a certain image of the ice covered branches glistening in the sun in mind but was not able to realize it on the canvas. Then spring arrived and I did not feel like finishing a winter painting. So finally in November, when I was preparing my "Winter Wonderland" exhibition, I went back to the easel and this time everything just came together.

Friday, 18 December 2015

"Monet: A Bridge to Modernity" at the National Gallery of Canada

Blog 50

This week, we had our annual Painting Buddies Christmas lunch. The Painting Buddies are a group of artist friends who get together in the Ottawa area to paint outside. While we were really active the last couple of years, this year we did not paint much together. Everyone was busy with their own lives but we still managed to meet this week to celebrate our friendship and the Christmas season. Usually, we only go to a local restaurant but this time we decided to visit the National Gallery of Canada to see the special exhibition “
This week, we had our annual Painting Buddies Christmas lunch. The Painting Buddies are a group of artist friends who get together in the Ottawa area to paint outside. While we were really active the last couple of years, this year we did not paint much together. Everyone was busy with their own lives but we still managed to meet this week to celebrate our friendship and the Christmas season. Usually, we only go to a local restaurant but this time we decided to visit the National Gallery of Canada to see the special exhibition “Monet: A Bridge to Modernity”.

Claude Monet (1840–1926), is one of France's most famous impressionist painters, who aspired to capture the fleeting impressions of nature in his plein air works.The exhibition contains twelve artworks of Monet's bridges from collections around the world. Claude Monet created the paintings between 1872 and 1875 in Argenteuil, a small town on the outskirts of Paris .

One of early pieces of this time is his painting “The Wooden Bridge - Le pont de bois (1872)”, a piece that is currently on long-term loan to the National Gallery. The rather dark painting shows the highway bridge under repair following the destruction during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871). The composition with the cropped bridge gives you the impression of a picture within a picture.

Monet was very productive during his years in Argenteuil. He experimented with different viewpoints, techniques, colours and brushstrokes to develop his own style of landscape painting. His bridge paintings lay the groundwork for Monet's status as one of the leading artist of modern art.

It is very interesting that his first paintings of the time are rather somber, reflecting the mood of the post-war town, while his later works are bright and full of vivid brushstrokes. His reflections on the water and his beautiful clouds really captured me.

“Monet: A Bridge to Modernity” runs until 15 Feb 2016 at the National Gallery of Canada. Maybe, you will find some time between the holidays to check it out. Even though it is a small exhibition, it is definitely worth the visit.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Christmas Projects

Blog 49

This week, I finally worked on some Christmas projects which I like to present in this blog. All of them are easy, do not need a lot of equipment and materials, and require only an hour or two to finish.

The first project is a set of coasters.

I picked up a package of four black tiles and a couple of oil based Sharpies. These opaque paint markers work on almost any surface according to the manufacturer. They definitely worked well on the tiles.

The paint is quick-drying, fade, abrasion and water resistant, which is great because it allows you to wipe off the coasters.

I even tried them out on a cork coaster. I needed two coats but the design is nicely visible.

Next, I created little tree ornaments. As all of my family and most of my friends live in Germany, creating a small lightweight gift is always something on my mind. This year, I created small felt tree ornaments.

All you need are some cloth or felt pieces, fabric paint or markers, and ribbon for the hanger. You can add little pompoms or small buttons to make the little gloves even fancier.

To start, cut two identical gloves out of your cloth. If you use felt this is easy to do. If you use a cloth which has a different front than back, make sure that the back glove is reversed. Create the design on the front (or both sides) of the gloves. Once you are finished and the paint is dry, attach a second cloth piece to the back. Do not forget to pin the ribbon ends between the two felt pieces. Sew the pieces together with a topstitch in the colour of your felt.

The last project is a collage.

I cut out some inspirational and loving words from magazines. Then I took a photograph of my daughter and I and changed it with the help of Picasa to a pencil sketch before I printed it out. Picasa is a photo editing and management programme.

On a piece of watercolour paper, I created a background with colours of liquid acrylic paints, then glued the photo and the magazine cut-outs with gel medium (glue would also work) to the paper. I added some more paint, then took some watercolour pencils to colour the photo. Now, I only have to buy a frame and have a nice personal gift for my daughter. I plan to do the same for my son.

Instead of liquid acrylic paints, you can also use watercolours, markers or pencils.

I hope I gave you some ideas. Hopefully, these ideas will just be the starting point for you. When I started looking for ideas for Christmas projects online and in magazines, what I saw created a whole explosion of new ideas. The more I thought about something, the more ideas suddenly came to my mind.

I wish you lots of fun creating some unique gifts. Get the whole family involved and create some wonderful memories.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Magazine Review: Cloth Paper Scissors

For more information on the magazine please go to

 Blog 48

The last couple of weeks were so busy, I did not have time to work on any holiday projects but will have some ideas for you next week. They will be easy and quick projects you can still finish in the two weeks before Christmas.

As magazines can also be a great gift for both beginning as well as advanced artists alike, I will give you a review of one magazine for which I have had a subscription for the past two years: Cloth Paper Scissors.

Cloth Paper Scissors has been published in the US since October 2004. I noticed it for the first time in 2011 when I was browsing the craft and art section of the magazine stand in a local big box store. I was attracted to the different mixed media projects that were described in detailed steps.

As a professional artist, you get into a certain routine when you work. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy my time in my studio and outdoors when I capture an image of nature on my canvas but it is still my work. From time to time, I like to mix it up by taking a course from another artist or taking some time to play and experiment with new techniques and materials. I want to keep growing, and integrating new techniques and materials into my art keep the process of creation fresh.

As I found it a hit and miss to find the next issue at the stores, I finally decided to subscribe to the magazine. I have to say that I found something in every issue that inspired me to try something new.

The magazine is published every second month. Both beginning artists as well as experienced artists will get lots of inspirations for many mixed media projects, creating fiber art works, collages, art journals, whimsical figurines, jewelry and much more. It gets your creativity into high gear because you get so many ideas for new materials and techniques you can incorporate into your art - even if you do not follow any of the featured projects.

The magazine and my teaching experience also inspired me to offer my “Creativity and Me” workshops. It always makes me sad when someone tells me how much they are touched by art, but that they would never be able to create something. I am a firm believer that everyone can express themselves through art, however not necessarily the way they imagine. In my “Creativity and Me” workshops, I encourage participants to try different mediums and art projects to break out of the self-determined boundaries. I see art as a means to relax, have fun, grow, and connect with others through the process of creating.

If you are thinking of subscribing to Cloth Paper Scissors, I would encourage you to visit their website There is lots of information, free resources, a blog, project suggestions and videos, as well as forums.

If you do not feel like subscribing to a new magazine and do not care when you receive the issues in order, you can often find some great offers for previous issues on the Cloth Paper Scissors website. The magazine is also available in a digital edition.

I hope you are getting excited for next week's blog when I will present you with some projects I have tried out for you – not necessarily all from the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

If you would like some more information about my “Creativity and Me” workshops which are held at my house once a month, Friday evenings from 6:30pm to 9pm, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Here are the dates for the first half year of 2016:
January 22, 2016: Winter doodles
February 19, 2016: Felting animals
April 15, 2016: Collage on a canvas tote bag
May 13, 2016 Painting flowers in acrylic