Friday, 26 October 2018

Is it already Christmas Time?

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You are probably thinking about Bing Crosby’s song “It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas” when you go to the stores these days. We have not even reached Halloween, and in stores and online you get the impression that Christmas is just days away. I always get very annoyed when I see the first Christmas merchandise already in stores in September. We are robbing ourselves of the magical Christmas time, because we are already tired of everything related to Christmas by the start of Advent.

So why am I writing to you about this theme? There is one good reason to think about Christmas right now: if you plan to give handmade gifts this year, then now is the time to start creating. It might actually be already too late for some very time-consuming projects, but there are still so many options for beautiful gifts for most people. Maybe you can even get a group together to create your gifts together. This will be even more fun, plus allow yourself to stay on track. You want to make sure that you leave yourself enough time. I am not a good example for that as I have spent a couple of late nights to finish a gift for a loved one at the last minute.

First of all, things might not go as smoothly as you had thought. That is why I cannot answer you the often asked question how long it takes me to finish a painting. Sometimes, the painting basically paints itself. Other times, you get stuck and you have a hard time to put the pieces together. Then you have to consider that your schedule might get really busy or that something unexpected happens that makes impossible to stick to your regular creative routine.

While most gifts will be cherished as much even if they are finished after Christmas Day, I am sure you are anxious to present the unique gift in its finished version to see the awe of the recipient.

Handmade gifts are so much more personal than a store bought article, but before you go out to the art or craft store and buy all kinds of materials for all the projects that you can envision and ask yourself if you have the time and skills to get the job done. Making your own gifts is supposed to be fun for you and not stressful and frustrating. Perhaps you can ask a friend for help or find a workshop where an instructor can guide you along the way.

Starting next week, I will give you some suggestions for easy holidays projects. If you are interested in a holiday themed painting party, I would like to invite you to my Angel Painting Party on November 25, 2018 at 2pm.

For two hours, we will paint with acrylic paints on a 16" x 20" canvas. As it is the Christmas season, we will also use some embellishments to sparkle up our angel. The price is $35 per person. All painting materials are included. No painting experience is necessary. The maximum number of participants is 12. To register, please pay by November 19, 2018 at 6pm. Payment can be made by e-transfer to Prepayment is necessary to reserve a spot. Please do not hesitate to contact me, if you have any questions.

After we are finished painting, we will share some cookies, tea and coffee in the spirit of the Christmas season (from 4pm to 5pm). 

Friday, 19 October 2018

Waiting to be Finished

An Afternoon in Kamouraska, acrylic, 8" x 16" fresh off the easel

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While I love summer and am always sad when the swimming season is over, early fall is my preferred season to go painting outside. The mosquitoes are gone, the sun is still warming up the cooler days enough so that you are still comfortable without heavy boots and snow pants. The colour of the trees is amazing, and the light is warmer. Moreover, many places are less busy than during the summer months. While I try to get as far as possible, many of the paintings still need some touch-ups in the studio. Especially after a painting trip, I have quite a number of paintings that still need some work. The last Kamouraska trip was an exception as I used the rainy day to touch up some of the paintings from the first two painting days and finished two paintings from previous trips. As we usually have at least one day when rain makes it almost impossible to paint outside, we always bring some material to bridge the day. A still life or a painting from reference photos is a good choice. For the last couple of trips to Kamouraska I have brought paintings from previous trips as I feel more inspired in the area where I created the pieces. Nevertheless, I still have lots of unfinished paintings from painting trips and painting demonstrations.

unfinished tree painting, acrylic, 16" x 20"
I assume many of you have the same issue with partly finished paintings that you might have started in a workshop. Maybe, you started a painting and then got stuck and frustrated, and put it away, hoping to get back to it at another time. Some of you might also enjoy the social aspect of painting in a group, which is part of the attraction of painting parties. Whatever the reason for your abandoned artworks, I can offer you a solution: the Art Circle. We will get together every first and third Wednesday afternoon of the month to finish artworks that have been standing in a corner for too long. You do not necessarily have to paint. As long as you can work on your project sitting at a table and do not use any odor causing mediums, you are welcome to join us. Please bring your own materials. I provide easels. There is no instruction, but we will support and help each other. You can register until two days before each event for $5 each, or you can buy a 10 visit pass for $50 and you will get a complementary 11th visit. For more information and to register please contact me at

If you like the idea but are only available in the evenings and on weekends, please let me know. If we find enough people who are interested, I will gladly offer an additional time.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Trip to Kamouraska - Part 4

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Our week in Kamouraska was filled with so many impressions. We visited many of our favourite places, but also took the time to explore new areas. Here is the fourth and last part of my Kamouraska travelogue:

Friday, September 14, 2018

We had another fantastic day. Unfortunately, Janis had to leave after breakfast. Therefore, we took the group picture, then we all set out on our separate ways. Marje and I decided to stay in Kamouraska, and went to the “Chemin Pelletier” and painted the view towards the church. As it was already quite warm in the sun at 10am, we made sure that we set up in the shade. However, due to the wind, I felt cold quickly and put my socks, boots, and winter coat back on. However, as soon as the sun reached us, I had to set up an umbrella to keep cool as temperatures kept climbing until they reached 30 degrees by 4pm. We left our spot around 3pm, bought some souvenirs at “Le fil bleu” and returned to the house, where I spent another two hours painting wild roses in the garden.

Tonight’s dinner consisted of leftovers from the previous dinners. We had my dinner with a slight twist as the compote was put over the pasta instead of the vegetable sauce by mistake. We picked out the peaches and plumes, and had a hearty laugh. Sharon saved the dinner by adding cream cheese. Those who did not know about the incident were pleasantly surprised about the creamy sauce with a hint of cinnamon. We had the peaches and plums over ice cream for dessert. If you were lucky, you even found a piece of pasta in the dish. Instead of sitting at the table, we enjoyed tonight’s meal sitting in rocking chairs in the covered veranda watching the amazing sunset that changed the colour of the sky from red over pink to purple.

This was the best week we ever had. The weather was just phenomenal. We spent many hours a day painting, laughed a lot, shared wonderful meals, and created many memories. We are all exhausted after an intense week of painting but also happy about the art that we created. Even though we like some paintings more than others, each painting is like a journal entry. It is fascinating to see what inspired each of us to capture a certain section of our surroundings. Tomorrow morning, everyone wants to head back home early, but we definitely want to come back next year. Au revoir Kamouraska.

After my return from Kamouraska, there are still some paintings that need some work. I am sure that many of you have still a couple of unfinished works standing around, therefore, if you would like to continue working on them in a group of people and maybe with a little bit of guidance, the Art Circle might be for you. This is not an art class, but rather a group where we will all support each other. Our next meeting is on October 19, 2018. For more information please go to my website or my Facebook page You can also contact me directly at

Friday, 5 October 2018

Trip to Kamouraska - Part 3

Saint-André at the “Parc de l’Ancien-Quai
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I hope you enjoy my travelogue. Please forward it to family and friends who might be interested in the Kamouraska area or plein air painting. Today, I publish the third part:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

St André Lighthouse, 14” x 11”, acrylic
Going to the same picturesque landmark does not mean that you have to paint the same section of the landscape again. Today, I spent the day with Janis and Marje in Saint-André at the “Parc de l’Ancien-Quai” that we have visited on every of our trips at least once. Before Janis and I started painting, we walked east on the dike until we reached the next Monadnock. It was a beautiful walk in the morning sun. I am glad that we took the time for the walk. Usually, we are so focused on finding the best painting spots that we miss out on absorbing the vastness of nature. There are so many beautiful areas that are so large that you cannot capture their size on a canvas or a photograph. You just have to be in the moment and absorb the wonders of nature.

As the day progressed, it got quite warm. Temperatures climbed up to 26 degrees, and if you were in a sheltered spot, it was hot. However, for the first time since our arrival we had quite some wind gusts. I was sitting under my umbrella to find shelter from the sun but gave up after my setup flew away a couple of times. Nevertheless, I spent four hours creating a 14” x 11” acrylic painting of the lighthouse. Usually, we come here to find shelter from the wind. Today the wind was manageable and I was finally able to paint the building.

After a quick stop at our favourite Monadnock located at the end of the “Route de la Grève” in Saint-Germain, we headed back to the house where I had a lot of chopping to do. I made vegetable pasta with different vegetables in tomato basil sauce as well as a peach-plum compote that I served with vanilla ice cream.

Now, that my cooking day is behind me, I can enjoy the last painting day tomorrow even more. Unfortunately, Janis has to leave after breakfast as she is taking part in a weekend art show in Ottawa. As Helene is driving home with me, Janis will already take all of our oil painting materials and already created paintings. Helene will work with watercolours tomorrow, and I will use my OPEN Acrylics again. It looks like another perfect day is ahead of us.

Next week, I will post the last part of my travelogue. For now, I would like to wish my Canadian readers a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the time with family and friends, share your food, and create lasting memories.

If you are getting in the mood for pumpkins, here is your chance to create your own pumpkin painting to decorate your house: Pumpkin Painting Party, October 21, 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at 1270 Kinsella Drive, Cumberland, ON, K4C 1A9. We will paint with acrylic paints on a 16" x 20" canvas. The price is $35 per person. All painting materials are included. No experience is necessary. Fun is guaranteed. The maximum number of participants is 12. To register, please pay by October 15, 2018 at 6pm. Payment can be made by e-transfer to Pre-payment is necessary to reserve a spot. Please do not hesitate to contact me, if you have any questions.