Friday, 31 August 2018

Painting Fun

Partial view of the stage

Blog 35

This week, I was so busy with planning new fall events and getting back into a regular routine while adjusting to my daughter’s start of university that I almost forgot to write my blog.

I did not even think about picking up the Creativity Challenge again. I felt like painting but was reluctant to pick up my brushes to continue working on the 16” x 20” acrylic knife painting that I had started in early May. At first, I did not know where to start, but soon I was in my element and it felt so good to be painting. I plan to finish the painting before I leave for my painting trip to Kamouraska next week.

Yesterday, I finally met some of my friends for our yearly summer “Painting in the Park” get-together. We had to postpone the event a couple of times due to the heat in July and were happy when the weather cooperated this time. While we were painting a bowl with pansies, we laughed so much that we basically got an abs workout at the same time.

 If you would like to join in the fun of painting, please contact me for further events. I am in the middle of putting my fall workshops together, so please do not hesitate to let me know how I can help you to improve your painting skills. The first workshop “Painting a Symbol of the Canadian Autumn” will be on Friday, September 28, 2018 from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM at 1270 Kinsella Dr, Cumberland, ON K4C 1A9, Canada. We will study A. Y. Jackson’s painting “Red Maple” and create our own fall landscape painting inspired by his painting. No experience is necessary. All materials are included in the registration fee of $35. For more information and to register please contact me at

For all of you in the Ottawa area who stay at home during the long September weekend, I would be happy to chat with your during my painting demonstration at the Da Artisti Studio & Gallery on Saturday, September 1, 2018, from 9am to 1pm. During your time in Cumberland Village you can also go to the Farmers’ Market, the Black Walnut Bakery, and the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum.

I wish you a wonderful last weekend of summer! Enjoy your favourite activities and the company of family and friends. Make it a memorable weekend!

Here are some of my sketches from my trip to Germany that help me to keep my memories alive:

Perhaps you would like to take a sketch pad or a journal with you to capture some of the impressions that you experience this weekend. It is not important that others can understand and appreciate what you are sketching or writing, but it is a way for you to have a special and very unique record.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Visiting the old ¨Heimat¨

Blog 34

This summer, I went to Germany for a three week visit to my hometown. It had been over two years since my last visit, and so it was wonderful to see my family and friends again. As my hometown has only a population of about 12,000, some areas have slightly changed, but everything still feels just like during my childhood.

Whenever I go home, I automatically compare the two countries. This time, we arrived during an extreme heatwave; we are used to temperatures in the low to high 30s in the Ottawa area, but these temperatures are not common in Germany. The last comparable summer was in 2003. While our family does not have air-conditioning at home, our home is surrounded by trees, and we are certainly used to air-conditioned indoor places all around us that are open to the public. In general, I find the temperatures in stores and restaurants uncomfortably low and always bring a jacket. In Germany, however, not only is air-conditioning in private homes extremely rare, but I was surprised that most stores and restaurants, hotels as well as public places do not have air-conditioning. The grocery stores were air-conditioned but in two of the local stores not only did the air-conditioning stop working, they also lost power of the coolers for more than a week. While it was not even tempting to try on clothes and must have been tough for the sales clerks to bear the heat, I sympathized the most with the chefs in the different restaurants.

While it was quite unbearable for those working, we stayed close to my parents’ house and the pool, spending the afternoon hours indoors like it is common in the south-European countries. In the late afternoon, I used the time to create some watercolour paintings of my parents’ wonderful flowers that bloomed in abundance. I also used any opportunity to sketch. I am quite happy with some of the sketches but had challenges with others, especially when I decided to capture a person. Some just moved their head in the critical phase of my drawing, others had the nerve to leave. It was lots of fun nevertheless. For some of my sketches, I used watercolour pencils. At home, I brushed water on the sketch and created little watercolour sketches this way.

So while we are complaining about the heat, let’s think about the construction workers, firemen, policemen, guards, and the people who pick up the garbage who are exposed to the heat without being able to seek shelter. For the rest of us, let’s just think about the fact that winter is just months away, and we would be happy about a couple of extra degrees. Stay cool and enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, 17 August 2018

Visiting Family Abroad

Blog 33

While I am in Germany with my daughter to spend time with family and friends, I decided to post some of my favourite paintings to keep you entertained until my return.

While I usually only take pictures and create some sketches of places, objects, and people that I see while I am traveling, I have created two paintings in my studio after a trip to Germany.

The painting "Hayfields in Nauheim, Germany" shows the landscape in my small hometown, Nauheim, with a population of about 11,000 people. I moved here when I was 7 years old, and my parents have lived there since then. The small town is surrounded by the cities Darmstadt, Mainz, Frankfurt am Main, and Wiesbaden which are known by tourists for their culture. Together the four cities form the centre of the Rhein Main Region, a metropolitan area of about 6 million people.

Nauheim is the “Musikgemeinde” (Music Community) of the area as many instrument makers from the Sudentenland settled in the town after the Second World War.

What I love about this little town is that you can get anywhere in town by bike. There are also bike paths between the farmers’ fields as well as extensive bike routes to the surrounding communities.

My daughter and I will definitely take the bikes out to get some exercise in between all the visits that usually involve lots of delicious food.

The second painting is “Odenwald”, which captures the view of the fields from the “Veste Otzberg”, a medieval castle on the summit of the hill Otzberg in the Odenwald forest.

Our visits to Germany are mostly for the purpose of seeing family and friends, but we try to put little bit of sightseeing into our programme, so that my daughter gets to know more about the country of her ancestors.

Have you been able to visit the country of your families’ origins or is it still on your bucket list? I would love to know where your you are from and whether you still relate to the countries of your ancestors.

When you read this blog, my vacation in Germany is already in its last stretch. I will have lots of new material for you next week.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Missing My Pets

Blog 32

I am in Germany with my daughter to spend time with family and friends for the next three weeks. As I will not have Internet service all of the time and want to enjoy the time off, I will not post updates of my Creativity Challenge for the next three weeks. However, I will try to continue drawing or sketching something daily. Do you know the difference between the two of them? While a sketch is usually a quick and therefore rather loosely drawn work, a drawing is a more finished work with more detail. However, the distinction is not very precise and often used interchangeably. I will show you my pieces after my return at the end of August to demonstrate the difference.

For my vacation time, I picked some of my favourite paintings to keep you entertained until my return.

Whenever I go on vacation, I am looking forward to the time without any obligations. In case of a painting trip, I enjoy the company of fellow artists as well as the uninterrupted creative time. When I am flying to Germany, I am always looking forward to finally seeing my family and friends. However, whenever I travel alone or with only some of my family members, I always miss the others at home, especially our pets. While modern technology makes it possible to make video chats or phone calls home, I will not be able to interact with our dog Alex and our cat Miko. Even if I see them on the screen, they do not recognize me and do not know what to make out of the image on the screen or my voice.

Luckily, I am usually busy with activities and loved ones so that the time passes fast, and I do not have too much time to feel sad. Do you feel the same? Do you feel guilty for leaving your pets behind, even when you know they are well taken care off by other family members, friends, or a great kennel?

Here are a couple of paintings I created of my pets that give me joy whenever I see them (even though Candy and Jessie passed away years ago):

Top row: The Bone, Winter Fun, Jessie - Forever in my Heart
Bottom row: Miko, Young Miko Sitting in the Sunshine, Sweet Candy

If you are interested in having your precious companion captured in a painting, please do not hesitate to contact me for more details. I welcome commissions.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Air Travel with Painting Equipment

Blog 31

My Creativity Challenge will take a three week break while I am in Germany with my daughter to spend time with family and friends. I have a full schedule and I am not sure how much sketching time I can squeeze in, even though I will have lots of beauty to capture. For this reason, I kept the art supplies I packed to a minimum. I took my watercolour pencils, a pocket watercolour set, pencils, and a drawing pad.

As none of the materials is considered a dangerous goods according to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, I can either put them in my check-in suitcase or in my carry-on luggage as long as I remember to empty my little water container.

If I was going on a painting trip, I would have to make more preparations. Tubes of oil-based and latex paint used by artists are accepted for air travel provided the paints are packaged in absorbent material and placed in a heavy, plastic leak-proof bag/container according to Air Canada. However, according to paint manufacturer Gamblin, it is best not to refer to artist oil paints as oil paints but rather as artists paints made from vegetable oil, as commercial oil paints are on the list of banned materials due to their solvent content. You want to avoid confusion.

Even as containers of 100 ml/ 100 g (3.4 oz.) or less are allowed as carry-on baggage at the security checkpoint, they have to fit in one clear, closed and re-sealable plastic bag no larger than 1 litre (1 quart). One re-sealable plastic bag per passenger is permitted. So if you have hand cream or medication with you, you might exceed the space of the bag and your paints might be confiscated.

It is also important to pack any sharp tools into your checked-in luggage as the will otherwise confiscated at the security check. All art materials should be in their original packaging with the original labels.

As solvents, painting mediums, fixatives, and varnishes are flammable and therefore banned from airlines, you have to get those at your destination. If you are worried that there will not be an art store in the vicinity, you can order the materials online and have them shipped to your destination.

For any art materials that might be questioned by the security personnel, it is best to have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the paint manufacturer ready to show. The MSDS includes a section on fire and explosion data. Materials you can take onto a plane have to have a flash point that is higher than 60 C (140 F).

If you are looking for more information, Winsor & Newton has very detailed information about their products at or you can go to the Golden Artist Colors website and look at their air transport statement at

During the last couple of days before my trip, I went again to the Humanics Institute with my friends Janis Fulton and Hélène Martin. This time, we all drew different sculptures. I drew the untitled sculpture of a young woman as well as a quick sketch of a flower (see at the top of the blog).

I also finished a felted elephant for a friend of mine.

For the two upcoming weeks, I will post some of my favourite paintings. If you would like to contact me, please be aware that I will only have intermittent Internet service while I am away. Therefore, I might only get back to you during the last week of August.

Have a great long weekend! Whether you are working or going on vacation, I hope you make the most of your summer!