Friday, 28 July 2017

Wolkenspiel – Cloud Formations

"Wolkenspiel - Cloud Formations", acrylic, 14" x 11"

Blog 31

After I wrote about skyscapes last week, this week, I would like to present my painting “Wolkenspiel – Cloud Formations” to you.

I created this painting in my studio with acrylic paints working from reference photos I took during a plein air painting day at Mer Bleue. When I paint outside, I usually paint with oil paints because acrylic paints just dry so fast and can be frustrating to work with, but in the studio I prefer acrylic paints.

You might wonder why I did not create the painting while I was on location. I cannot give you a definite answer to this because I do not remember. However, there are several reasons why I work from photos instead of painting on site.

Sometimes, there is just no space to paint. Looking at Mer Bleue for example, the bog walk is not very wide so that there might not have been a spot to set up my equipment.

Sometimes, the weather is not favourable to painting outside. I remember I beautiful bright winter day in the St. Adele area when everything was just calling us to be painted but the fierce wind made it impossible to find a spot where we and our equipment would not have blown over.

Other times, you might not have the right canvas with you. When we are traveling, I usually one take 5” x 7”, 8” x 10” or 11” x 14” canvases, because I have special boxes to carry the wet paintings. However, sometimes you picture a certain scene on a longer or bigger canvas.

In the case of “Wolkenspiel – Cloud Formations”, I suspect that I was already working on another scene that intrigued me while I was looking for painting spots, when I spotted the beautiful way the clouds were mirrored in the water. Being outside there is so much to see that you have to concentrate on an area that inspires you and start painting, otherwise you can look around forever and never pick up the brush. This particular scene might not even have presented itself when we started painting. Maybe, the clouds just moved in. In nature, the appearance of your surroundings change fast: clouds move in, a sky opens up and the sun comes out, etc. Even through the natural way the sun moves around in the sky, it creates different shadows and influences the colours we perceive.

In the case of this painting, I am glad I started in my studio. I have to admit that the water and the cloud reflections gave me a lot of problems until I was finally satisfied with the result. When I looked for a title, “Wolkenspiel” immediately came to my mind. Literally translated it means play of the clouds. This is exactly the feeling I got when I looked at the clouds in my painting.

I hope you enjoyed my history behind the creation of my painting. If you would like to hear more about what I do on a monthly basis, I would like to encourage you to sign up for my monthly newsletter. It is published on the last Wednesday of the month. To subscribe you can visit any page of my website at On the bottom of each page you find the subscription fields. You will also get a free e-book with your subscription about different painting mediums.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Sky Gazing

Blushing Sunset, acrylic, 12" x 16"

Blog 30

While most of us look at the sky to figure out what to wear or whether to take an extra layer or an umbrella, skies continuously inspire me – as you know, if you have seen my landscape paintings. I love to take in the perfect blue of a sunny day, and watch the clouds moving along, while trying to figure out any shapes. I am also attracted to the beautiful colours of the sunsets or a rainbow when rain and sunshine collide. Even the deep purple sky and the big storm clouds that precede a storm are fascinating, as long as I watch them from the security of a sheltered area. Then, there is the changing moon and the starry night.

The colour of the sky influences the colours we see. To explain this phenomenon would be a blog in itself. However, here are two examples: Two of the most visible changes happen at sunset. Just think about the beautiful colours that are reflected in the water or the golden tips of the trees.

While I enjoyed watching the sky for as long as I can remember, I noticed many things only once I started painting landscapes. When you want to paint something, you spend time to really observe the objects you want to paint. You see the different colours in the shadows and pay attention to details. I started looking and admiring the way many famous artists painted the sky. However, my fascination was really awakened when I took two separate workshop studying the works of Vincent van Gogh and Joseph Mallord William Turner. I admired the energy that is visible in van Gogh's skies, and loved the way Turner used colour to create light and the mood in his paintings.

Putting an emphasis on the sky is very effective in creating the mood of a painting. A bright blue sky makes us happy, because we associate it with a beautiful day.

White fluffy clouds create a peaceful mood, and I am sure I am not the only one who wonders how it would feel to lie down in the white fluffiness. Watching the white clouds move along is very calming, and you get so absorbed that other thoughts are pushed out of your mind. Definitely, an activity that I can highly recommend.

Dark clouds on the other hand are often an omen of dark, dangerous or scary events. You expect something bad to happen. There is a certain element of suspense that can be either thrilling or worrisome.

A night sky with its twinkling stars and the peaceful moon remind us about the vastness of the universe. There are many people who regularly watch the stars to see the different constellations. I just watch the night sky for its beauty and peacefulness. It reminds me that there are still lights, even in the darkness of life. I also look for a shooting star in order to make a wish.

In the world of art, there even is a term for art that focuses on the depiction of the sky: the skyscape. A subgroup is the cloudscape, a skyscape where clouds are the focus point. Skyscapes either include small stretches of landscape or birds as well as manmade flying objects to help with orientation and scale, but the sky can also be the sole subject.

I enjoy living close to Petrie Island. On my way along the river, I have witnessed some amazing sunsets that have inspired me to pick up my paintbrush. Here are some of my favourite skyscapes:

Hay Fields in Nauheim, Germany
Powdery Sunset
The Front

Sunset Magic
Ottawa Sunset 

St. Lawrence River Sunset 
Evening Glow
Summer Storm

I hope you enjoyed my sky gazing blog and that you will observe what is going on above you more closely. I would also like to invite you to visit my Facebook page for news updates at

Friday, 14 July 2017

Time at the Cottage

Sweet Candy, acrylic, 12" x 12"

Blog 29

This week, we were at the cottage for our annual vacation. Unfortunately, our son only joined us for the weekend, but we had lots of company from extended family members and friends. 

Nevertheless, I was able to paint quite a bit. I finished a painting of our late Golden Retriever Candy who spent her last vacation with us three years ago. I also created another painting of our cat Miko and started a small painting of a bird. I also felted a poppy for my August Creativity & Me workshop and started a felted white water lily. In addition, I did some sketching while my husband was fishing.

Due to my vacation, this blog is very short. I hope you enjoy a first look at this week's creations: 

Next week, I will return with my regular blogs. I will let you know why I just love painting skies. Do you ever take the time to watch the clouds moving along, trying to figure out the shapes you see? Are you in awe of the beautiful sunset or the big storm clouds that precede a storm? I hope you will return to my blog next week.

In the meantime, take some time to enjoy your favourite summer activities. I hope the slower pace of the warmer season gives you a chance to be closer to nature and to appreciate the beauty.

I would also like to invite you to visit my Facebook page for news updates at

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Fascination of Water Scenes

Ottawa River, Whitewater Region, Acrylic, 12" x 16"

Blog 28

As this blog falls within my holiday season at the cottage, I decided to write about the fascination water has for most of us. I am not talking about the water coming from the sky, even though I love the rhythmic patter of the rain drops on the roof and windows and the fresh air that usually follows a good rainfall. I love looking for rainbows when rain and sun meet. However, this spring, we have seen so much rain that my excitement is at a low whenever I see dark clouds moving in.

What comes to my mind when I think about water is a white sand beach with the blue waves slightly dancing in and out. This image makes me feel happy, calm, and peaceful. I can feel the warm sun on my skin and smell the salt in the air. It reminds me of holidays and a break in the daily routine. This is a place to relax and re-energize.

However, it is not only the calm water that fascinates me. Every year, when our group of painters goes to Kamouraska for a week of painting, we are excited and inspired by the ever changing scenery. The changing tides make areas visible that were hidden moments ago and the other way around. The sun, wind, and clouds change the colour and the temperament of the water and its surroundings. Water is mesmerizing and challenging to paint because sometimes the changes happen in a blink of an eye.

Why is it that water captivates us? It must be more than just the beauty of the scenery. Maybe, it is because it resembles life where everything is quickly changing, and where dark clouds and turmoil are sooner or later followed by a phase of beauty and peacefulness. Maybe, we feel drawn to it because it is so important in making life possible. Our body consists of more than half of water. We need water to survive. We use it to create energy (both mental and physical) and to clean ourselves and our possessions. Water helps to create income. Not only the tourist industry depends on water but also the recreational sector, transportation, and the fishing industry.

I think the attraction of water lies in its ability to make us feel something, either peacefulness and joy or the force of the water threatening our lives. Both positive and negative emotions are easily visualized. I am sure most of the victims of the recent flood agree, even though the water threatened their possessions, once the flood receded, the beautiful sunsets and the sun rays dancing on the water surface made being close to the water just irresistible.

Here are some of my favourite water scenes:

Left from top:
L'île du Gros Pèlerins, St.-André-du-Kamouraska, Oil, 11" x 14"
Peacefulness, Acrylic, 16" x 20" 
Rocky Shore, Oil, 8” x 10”

Middle from top: 
Wolkenspiel - Cloud Formations, Acrylic, 11" x 14" 
Catching The Fall Colours, Oil, 8" x 10"  

Right from top:
Ste. Lucie Swamp, Oil, 11" x 14" 
Along the St. Laurent River, Oil, 8" x 10" 
Fall Splendor, Acrylic, 18" x 24"

How do you feel about water? Do you love it or fear it? Does it remind you of happy times? I would love to hear from you. You can just leave a comment or reach out to me at or on Facebook at