Friday, 25 May 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 21

Blog 21

Drawing in class

Finally, I was able to make more time for art. For my Cartooning and Comics classes, I drew the main characters of the movie “Captain Underpants” as well as Bendy from the video game “Bendy and the Ink Machine”, a survival horror video game as I discovered when I did some research. I often wonder how these young kids know about so many villains. Whether it is Darth Vader, Deadpool, the Joker, or Bendy, I am surprised when I read about the characters and the games and movies featuring them. They seem definitely more violent than what I read and watched as a kid.

Drawings as Preparation

Drawing in class
Or on second thought, perhaps they are not so different. When I think back to Grimm’s Fairy tales or Wilhelm Busch’s stories that my parents read to me even at a young age, they also contained a lot of violence, even though we did not realize it, because we concentrated on the “Happily ever after” ending of the heroine or hero. Without consciously noticing it, the tales taught us about dangers and morals, and how to behave to be safe and to be polite.

As video games and movies are much more available to children of all ages and let the story of books come to life on the screen, let’s hope that these fictional characters will also help kids to differentiate between good and bad. We, the parents, guardians and instructors play a big role to make sure that the children see the consequences of violent behaviour and the value of taking positive actions in real life.

I am not a big fan of violent movies and have never played a video game. I prefer to see movies or read books that are funny or romantic, or documentaries that show happy relationships between creatures and the beauty and fascination of nature.

On the weekend, during a bike ride with my son and a walk with our dog, the fields of blooming trilliums captured my eyes and inspired me to create a felted trillium flower on my table runner. I wish I could also create lilac blooms that I love so much, but they seem very difficult. Regardless, I will attempt to make one and tell you next week whether I was successful. In the worst case, I will just create another flower out of the beautiful lilac coloured wool.

If you like flowers and would like to learn how to felt them, I am happy to offer my next Flower Felting Workshop at the beautiful Da Artisti Studio & Gallery in Cumberland Village on June 3, from 10am to 12pm. In this 2 hour course, I will be showing you how to create your own flowers with wool by felting it on a 5" x 7" felt base. The final product can be framed and displayed anywhere in your home. No prior experience is necessary, and all materials are included! Registration is limited to 8 participants, and is priced at $50+tax.
To register please go to:

Friday, 18 May 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 20

Blog 20

When this blog is published our house will have just gone on the market. I am sure you can understand that I did not have any time to be creative. I only drew Star from the show “Star versus the Forces of Evil” for one of my drawing classes. The rest of the time, I spent decluttering and cleaning out the basement, including my studio.

It was probably good to be under pressure as I find it really hard to let go of things. As a creative person even little things can give me ideas for a future use in an artwork. Having to clean out my office to stage it for potential buyers forced me to make some tough decisions, especially because I will probably not have another studio that is as spacious in the house we will be moving into.

As much as going through the stuff was both physically and mentally exhausting, it feels good to look at my cleaned studio. As I did not clean it out as much as in the rest of the house, this is the only room in our house that I still like to be in and hopefully will still be able to create artworks and teach in the next couple of months. The rest of the house is now staged for upcoming visits, and all the personal items are removed to give the house a more neutral look. As I did not follow the advice to have our house painted in the fashionable grey tones, at least I don’t feel like I am in a dead house, although it feels static. I don’t feel like spending time in any of the rooms anymore, because I am afraid to unsettle things.

At this point, I am hoping to sell the house fast, even though it will not be easy to leave. Our house is a custom house, that I designed and for which I picked out every floor, cupboard, blind, and wall colour (except for my children’s rooms). It feels like one of my artworks, only that I had people to help me with the realization. My father is an architect and he put my vision into the plans of our house. We had to make some sacrifices during the building of the house due to financial considerations but it still looks mostly like my vision.

When I designed the house, it never occured to me that I would move before being in my old age, but now that my children are out of school and both my husband and I have long rides to work every day, we had to review our priorities.

When I started to sell my artwork, I also had a hard time of letting go. Now, I decide before I start a painting whether it will be for sale or for myself. The only exception is the one painting I pick at the end of every painting trip as a reminder of the wonderful memories.

I hope that when it is time to leave our house, I will be able to remember the wonderful memories and feel good knowing that a new family will be able to enjoy and make the house their own, the same way I hope that my artworks will bring continuous joy to their new owners.

Queen of the Night, acrylic,
8" x 7 3/4"
I wish all of you a wonderful Victoria Day weekend! Will you visit the Ottawa Tulip Festival or any local park or forest to see nature’s beauty? Or will you be glued to the television to watch the royal wedding with all of the beautifully dressed people? If this long weekend is your start for the cottage or camping season, I hope that you will create wonderful memories.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 19

my lotus flower from the retreat

Blog 19

It is time for my new blog. I had a very busy week, but still was able to carve out many moments of creativity.

It all started with my “Painting with a Palette Knife” workshop on Friday. The two participants had a great time and were quite successful in using the knife to create texture.

all three images are unfinished, mine is the one on the left

In the evening, I went to the Ottawa Little Theatre, where I saw “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily”. As most of the times I am at the theatre, I enjoy sketching while watching the performance. Since I started sketching at the theatre, it helps me to remember the plays we have seen. It is almost like creating cue cards.

On Saturday, I went to a fabulous Mayan Bola Workshop at Hikano Yoga Studio in Cumberland. Not only did I learn a lot about angels, but we also made our own spiritual necklace with a pendant that produces a soft calming sound to remind us of our angels.

The “Yoga & Art Retreat” that Jackie Leduc and I hosted at Hikano Yoga Studio was a big success. After Jackie created a calming mood during a morning of yoga and meditation, the participants went for a short walk, enjoyed Jackie’s delicious and healthy lunch, and were very excited to create their lotus painting. The lotus is a flower full of symbolism; it is associated with eternity, purity and peace, self-awareness, love and compassion, the overcoming of suffering and spiritual development. It also symbolizes beauty, fertility, prosperity, and eternity, and it is perfect subject for a spring retreat when nature awakens in an explosive way that surprises me every year. After a long-lasting dormancy suddenly everything is full of colour: a painter’s dream. I hope I will have time to paint outside soon.

At the beginning of the week, I created the three drawings for my three “Cartooning and Comics” classes. While Tomato Head from the video came Fortnite was fun, and Darth Vader interesting to draw, I had a hard time with Wither from Minecraft. I was dreading the drawing as I do not like the square shapes and difficult perspective of the character. This was definitely out of my comfort zone. Needless to say that I had a lot of trouble with the drawing. It is so much easier to draw something that you enjoy, but on the other hand it was a good challenge.

For a nice relaxing finish, I will spend some time working on my temperature shawl. I had put it aside for the last couple of weeks, and I am excited to see how nature’s design will look.

If you are still looking for a Mother’s Day gift, some of my still life paintings that are on sale until Sunday are also some nice flower paintings that will provide joy for a long time.

I wish all of you who have two- or four-legged kids a Happy Mother’s Day! If the weather is nice, head out and enjoy nature. If you live in the Ottawa area, the Tulip Festival that starts today will surely thrill you and might inspire you to create art or update a flower bed in your garden.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 18

Pink Peonies, acrylic, 20" x 16"
Blog 18

When it was time to write this week’s blog I was literally panicking. Due to my friend’s visit and our moving preparations, I had not spend any time creating. At first, I wanted to let you know that there would just be no blog this week, but then I remembered some events of the last couple of days.

Creating something does not only start when you put something onto paper or canvas. The process starts already when you do research or work on ideas for new work. On Sunday, my friend and I went to the new opening of the Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa. In all these years that I have lived in Ottawa, it was my first visit to the gallery. It was on my bucket list for ages, and the opening in the new building was just the perfect opportunity. The new building is very modern, bright, and welcoming. Among the many artworks, you can find the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art with many works by the Group of Seven, as well as many modern works by contemporary artist. While we did not go onto the outdoor rooftop terraces, I am sure they will be widely used during the warmer months. In the studio space, it was wonderful to see the many projects that were provided for kids of all ages. When I had a first look at their programmes, I saw that they have an event called "Sketchy Thursdays" on the last Thursday of every month where you can learn observational sketching techniques, in the summer even "en plein air". These workshops do not only look interesting but are free.

While I did not like all the art that was displayed, it got my own creative juices flowing. Sometimes, a piece for which you do not particularly care can get you thinking outside of your own safe box, or you might decide to give a new medium a try. I can definitely recommend a visit to the Ottawa Art Gallery. The admission is free and the building can be reached easily both by car and bus.

The students of my my three “Cartooning and Comics” classes created beautiful drawings of the Dark Voyager, Luke Skywalker, and the Pokémon characters Eevee and Pikachu under my guidance.

Over the weekend, I put together my new exhibition at the wonderful Black Walnut Bakery, 979 Cameron St, Cumberland Village, Ottawa, Ontario K4C1A1. If you have not tasted the delicious baked goods in this small bakery and café, you do not know what you have been missing.

While I have enough paintings for many exhibitions, putting together the artworks for an exhibition is a lot of work because you want to make sure that the pieces look good in the setting and harmonize with each other. I hope my artworks bring you joy when you spend some time in their cozy café. All paintings are for sale and make great Mother's Day gifts.

At the time when this blog is published, I will be teaching a knife painting workshop. Following the request of learning to paint trees, I spend some time this week going through my photos to find images of trees that will be suitable to teach how to use different kind of knives for different effects. If my students agree, I will post pictures next week.

Lastly, if you love flower paintings, I will gladly guide you in the creation of your own unique peonies painting that will bring you joy for a long time in next Friday’s Peonies Painting Party (May 1, 2018 from 1:30pm to 3:30pm at 1270 Kinsella Drive, Cumberland, ON). For more details please go to my website

Thank you for reading my blog.