Friday, 27 April 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 17

4th Chute, Eganville, Ontario

Blog 17

I have been on vacation this week. It was a week of re-energizing and re-focusing. Usually I use our spring week at the cottage to spend time with some of my painting buddies to paint outside catching the first signs of spring. However, this year a friend of mine from Germany is here to spend some time with me. For this reason, my blog will be quite short. We enjoyed the sunny spring weather, went for long walks, and relaxed while reading, playing games, and watching some of my favourite DVDs.

Unfortunately, the landscape looked rather dull. In the wooded areas, the paths were still covered in snow, the lakes mostly frozen, and the fields had the colour of washed out green-yellow. If I had planned to paint, I would have found some scenic spots nonetheless, even though many areas would not have been accessible with my painting equipment. However, I had hoped to show a brighter countryside to my friend. In the spring this area usually looks amazing. We still made the best of our time. We enjoyed the sun and saw lots of wildlife: turkeys, a fox, a beaver, hundreds of Canada geese, chipmunks, a groundhog, and even some beautiful butterflies. Lots of inspiration for new animal paintings!

While on an outing to Lake Clear in Eganville, Ontario, I sketched the ice-covered lake with the mountain in the back.

On the rainy Wednesday, I also prepared the drawings for my three Cartooning & Comics classes: the Dark Voyager, Luke Skywalker, and the Pokémon characters Evee and Pikachu.

I also continued felting my table runner which has lots of new blooms. The spring weather is inspiring me to create all these beautiful flowers.

If you are in need of a mini-vacation, I would like to invite you to the Yoga & Art Retreat at Hikano Yoga Studio in Cumberland, Ontario, on Sunday May 6th from 9:30am to 4:30pm. For more information and to register please go to

While Jackie Leduc will lead you through a mindful morning filled with yoga, meditation and breathe work, I will guide you in the afternoon, when we will be painting the beautiful lotus flower shown on the left.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 16

Blog 16

I am looking forward to a week of vacation that I desperately need. The past week was an almost completely a write-off. In the race against time, I hardly found time to be creative. Thursday, the day of my friend’s arrival, was my deadline to clean up all the rooms on the main level of our house, to finish my bookkeeping, as well as to write my April newsletter. I managed everything in the very last minute. Unfortunately, all of this is also the reason why this week’s blog is quite short.

Here is what I managed to do:

I continued my temperature shawl that shows now nature’s temperature game of the last four months.

On Sunday, two lovely ladies braved the coming ice storm. Together, we created three beautiful peonies paintings. If you missed the Peonies Painting Party this time, I am offering another one on Friday, May 11, 2018, from 1:30pm to 3:30pm at 1270 Kinsella Drive, Cumberland, ON, K4C 1A9. The price is $35 per person. The maximum number of participants is 10. To reserve a spot for this event, prepayment is required by April 11, 2018 by e-transfer to

For my three Cartooning and Comics courses, I created sketches of Yoda from Star Wars and the Pokemon Fire Cat “Litten”, which I truly enjoyed. With the third class, I drew “Toothless” from the movie “How to Train a Dragon”, a cute dragon that I had already used in a recent course.

Now, I am looking forward to spending a week at the cottage with my friend and my dog Alex. I am sure I will find some time to felt and maybe even sketch.

Have a great week! Thank you for your continuous support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help you to start or finish a project. It will be my pleasure to guide you in improving your skills and having fun in the process.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 15

Practicing Sword Online Characters
Blog 15

Wow, it’s time for my blog again. Where did the week go? I am in full packing mode. This week, before I started decluttering my studio, I continued the tulip painting. As I have not painted a lot during the last couple of weeks, I felt a little rusty and was not able to finish it in time for the blog, but I hope that I will have the painting ready for next week’s blog.

While going through my art materials, I had so many ideas, but they have to wait. For now, I am packing everything but one basic set of acrylic and oil paints each, some sketching materials including a watercolour travel set, and my wool for felting.

As for my other creations of the week, I continued with my flower covered table runner. I added some smaller flowers as well as a big sunflower.

For one group of my students, I prepared sketches of Sword Art Online characters. Sword Art Online is is a Japanese light novel series that was the source material for an anime television series and movie. My other group of students concentrated on characters from Gravity Falls, an animated television series. Both series were unknown to me until my students brought them to my attention. There is always something new to learn!

With my 5 - 7 year old students, I drew Batman, a character that is also known by the adult population.

I can hardly wait until I am done packing the first round of our possessions. I miss painting. Even though I really enjoy felting, I still miss sitting in front of the easel. Part of the reason is probably that when I withdraw to my studio to paint, I get totally immersed in my art, while I often felt while watching TV or chatting with family and friends. It might be that I feel this way, because l had to squeeze in some creative time lately instead of having the luxury of having longer stretches of time at my disposal. I have to admit that the current chaos of boxes and things that still need to be packed to get the house staged is not really creating a mood of calmness and inspiration. At least I am off for a week of vacation with a friend of mine starting next Friday. I can certainly need some rest and relaxation.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you are looking for a day of relaxation, inspiration, and creativity, I would like to invite you to the Yoga & Art Retreat at Hikano Yoga Studio in Cumberland, Ontario, on Sunday May 6th from 9:30am to 4:30pm. For more information and to register please go to While Jackie Leduc will lead you through a mindful morning filled with yoga, meditation and breathe work, I will guide you after a delicious lunch, when we will be painting the beautiful lotus flower shown on the left.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 14

Blog 14

Due to the Easter holidays with family the week seemed very short. I started another felting project: I had bought a rather boring looking brown felt table runner during a trip to Germany a couple of years ago. I had planned to cut it apart to use the pieces in other felted artworks. While looking for another project that I could work on for short stretches, I suddenly had the idea of using the table runner as a base for a field of flowers. In this picture, you can see the first couple of flowers. I guess that I am getting too impatient to wait for the real arrival of spring.

This week, the spring semester at François Dupuis Recreation Complex started. I am very happy that all three of my “Cartooning and Comics” courses are running. For the first time, I am teaching a course for 5 - 7 year olds. While I had prepared the Hotel Transylvania characters Dracula and Mavis for the two older groups, I was not sure what I could expect from the younger kids. It has been about 10 years since I had kids that young in my life. At the end, I decided to go with an underwater theme that seems to be very popular with kids and adults of all ages. The kids drew a seahorse, a shark, and lots of smaller fish. One boy even added a turtle.

When I started teaching drawing courses for kids in 2013, I was out of my comfort zone. I had painted for decades, had done life drawing classes for a couple of years, but was not really drawing regularly. I had taught art classes before, where we did a little bit of drawing but put more focus on painting colourful scenes. Having to focus on drawing was something new and also slightly unsettling for me. Nevertheless, I was ready for more teaching hours and took the challenge. I am so glad I did. While I certainly have taught the kids how to draw many objects, I also learned a lot from the kids. I usually let my students pick what they want to draw as this keeps them more engaged. Their choices have often challenged me, because they pick animals, and mystical or animated characters that I would never choose for a subject of a drawing or painting. I always practice drawing the characters at home because once I am in class, I have to be able to draw on the whiteboard without hesitating where to begin and how to proceed. Sometimes, the children pick people or cartoon characters that are much too complicated to draw for their age level. Then, I have to figure out how I can break down the whole body into easy shapes to make the drawing manageable.

By teaching the courses and practicing what I am teaching, I have improved my drawing skills too. I am a much better observer of shapes that I see in complicated structures. These days, I always have a small drawing pad with me, and while I not always successful, I find a lot of pleasure in trying to capture what is around me when there is an opportunity.

From time to time it is good to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow. Is there anything you would like to learn? Please do not hesitate to contact me at, if I can support you in any way.