Friday, 25 January 2019

Creativity Challenge 2019 - Week 4

Blog 4

With the current cold weather in the Ottawa region, it is easy to focus on inside activities. Unfortunately, sometimes even these activities are affected by winter weather: I had to postpone last Sunday’s painting party by a week as it would not have been safe for the participants to come out for the fun. Even though I was disappointed at first because everything was already set up for the event, I have something to look forward to for this upcoming Sunday.

Have you started some new projects or continued projects that you started ages ago and want to finish this year? I am sure that most of us have some unfinished projects that are waiting to be picked up and either discarded because we lost interest in them, recycled in a new project, or finally finished. I worked on one of mine as you can see in the following day to day list of the past week’s projects:

Day 18: After a busy week, I did not have any energy to sit down to draw, paint, or even felt. This does not mean, however, that I sat on the sofa without doing anything. I picked up last year’s temperature shawl and started knitting. During the second half of last year, there were a couple of weeks when I fell behind with knitting two rows per day. Please see the photo for day 22 and 23.

Day 19: After attending a professional development day from work, I enjoyed an evening with my family watching TV. As I am really eager to finish my temperature shawl soon, I knitted for a couple of hours. Right now, I have finally caught up until the beginning of December.

Day 20: Instead of painting a winter sunset during the above mentioned painting party, I spent a couple of hours drawing a self portrait with coloured pencils. When I had been looking for ideas for my mixed media projects, I came across the excellent book “Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids” by Carol Sabbeth. One of the suggested activities is related to van Gogh’s painting “Portrait of Père Tanguy”. The background is covered with little paintings inside of the painting that frame Tanguy’s portrait. The suggested activity was to create a portrait that would be glued onto a background covered in images from magazines. At first, I just wanted to create a simple demo image with coloured pencils but once I got started with the portrait, I forgot all about the initial intent. At the end, I took a photo that I printed and glued it on the background of magazine cut-outs because I liked the self-portrait too much to glue it on the picture collage.

Day 21: For my “Cartooning & Comics” classes I created a sketch of Spiderman. I always ask my student for input so that we draw characters that appeal to them and keep them engaged. This was one of the very few times that the students of both courses had asked for the same character.

Day 22: Tuesdays are my busy days as I teach a couple of German and art classes plus participate as a student in a French conversation group. Therefore, my creative energy was limited again to the step by step drawing of Spiderman that I created on the whiteboard during the art class.

Day 23: Even though I cancelled my drawing class due to the winter storm, I was busy with personal issues. When I finally sat down in the evening, I was tired. Nevertheless, I cannot sit down without keeping my hands busy. I had enough energy left for knitting. My temperature shawl is almost done. I am at December 15.

For every 5 degree change in temperature I pick a different colour. 

Day 24: I spent almost 6 hours finishing the August Macke inspired work of myself reading. The face was a major challenge. The 20” x 16” acrylic painting experienced quite a lot of changes in colours. This is more my colour palette, and I am happy with the result.

Are you looking for inspiration for new paintings? Maybe, you would like to try some new techniques. On February 13, 2019, we will be studying Gustav Klimt’s painting “The Kiss” to use simple forms and organic floral shapes to create a playful image of love. What could be a better workshop for the month of love! No experience is necessary. All materials are included in the registration fee. To register and for more information please go to my newly redesigned website

Friday, 18 January 2019

Creativity Challenge 2019 - Week 3

Blog 3

This week is already the third week of my Creativity Challenge, and I started strong due to the August Macke workshop that I held last Friday.

I forgot to take a picture of the first stage
 but you can see the painting in the back.
 My husband took a picture
 so that I would be able to create my own portrait.

Day 11: During the workshop, we studied August Macke’s painting “Blue Girl Reading” to see how he used colour to express emotion and mood. I decided to exchange the young woman with a portrait of myself.

Later that day, I sketched some characters and part of the set at the Ottawa Little Theatre play “Ripcord”, which is always a challenge due to the fast movement of the characters and the often insufficient lighting on my drawing book. However, I am always excited to see later on what I created, even when it is not very good as it is a snapshot of my experience at the theatre.


Day 12: On Saturday, I spent the whole day at a health workshop and was quite tired in the evening. Nevertheless, I worked for about half an hour on my cardinal. I added another layer of a warmer red to the chest and sides.

Day 13: At another whole day event, I created quick sketches of the participants. It was very challenging as they moved a lot. I am sure they would not recognize themselves but I have enough information to trigger my memory.

Day 14: On my only day off, I continued my work on Alex by defining his fur. Later, I created a sketch of Olaf and Sven from Frozen for my new Cartooning and Comics courses for children that started this week.

Day 15: After a day of teaching German and art, I needed to concentrate on some business work in the evening and unfortunately did not have time to be creative. Here is the image of Olaf from the class demonstration.

Day 16: During “Art Circle”, I continued the self-portrait in the style of August Macke. It still needs some work.

In the evening, the students of my second "Cartooning and Comics" course drew Olaf and Sven from "Frozen". This time, I showed the students that they are in control of changing elements of the character.

Day 17: I spent some more time felting the cardinal. The beak is attached but it still needs some work.

If you would like some support with your creative projects, I invite you to try out the “Art Circle” where you can create and socialize with others for two hours on the first and third Wednesday of the month at my home in Cumberland. There is no instruction but you will be able to get some advice and encouragement to proceed and finish your artworks. Please bring your own art equipment and materials. To register and for more information please go to my newly redesigned website

Friday, 11 January 2019

Creativity Challenge 2019 - Week 2

Blog 2

How are you faring in the new year? Last week, it was easy to be creative due to the fact that I was still on vacation. This week, however, it got harder because my German courses started again, and I had less time to my disposal. I also worked hard to finish my new website. I have to admit that I did not leave any time for art on Monday; I was so focused on my website that I completely lost track of time. I just wanted to upload all the new content and when I finally stopped, I was exhausted, and it was long past my bedtime. I was frustrated with myself but during the next days I spent some extra time on my creative projects. There will always be events that will disturb your planned day. It is up to you whether you will make the time to take care of yourself and set your priorities. Here are some suggestions to carve out some minutes to be creative:

  • Have a paper pad next to your phone and start doodling while you are on the phone. Later, you can take some coloured pencils and markers to colour some of the shapes.
  • If you watch TV, use a pencil or black marker and doodle a while without looking onto the paper. Take a coloured pencil or marker to bring some out of the shapes later.
  • Leave a sketch pad in a convenient location and start sketching simple things that you find in your home such as utensils, cups, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Put a sketch pad into your purse and start sketching whenever you wait for someone. It does not have to be realistic and can simply be a sketch of pleasing shapes or a naive image of your surroundings. For example, in our dentist’s waiting room there is a big fish tank that has inspired me to sketches many times.
  • Start a collage with things you find in your house such single buttons to pages from old cards and magazines.

Do you have any suggestions you would like to share? What helps you to get your creative juices flowing?

Here are my creative projects of the past week:

Day 4: I did not have much time but continued felting my cardinal by adding black in the front of the head.


Day 5: I spent three hours perfecting my vision board and also created a quick doodle of an upwards arrow to show where things in my life will be going this year. I blurred the photo of my vision board as it is very personal and I do not want to share it openly.

Day 6: Even though it was almost totally dark during the performance of the musical “Beautiful” at the National Arts Centre, I managed to make some quick sketches.

Day 7: -

Day 8: It was time to continue my cardinal. I spent 1.5 hours on the feet, and the body.

Day 9: I spend a fun morning with my friends Janis and Hélène creating a still life of a flower and a napkin on a plate. Janis felt like drawing, Helene used watercolours, and I created the 8” x 10” acrylic painting “Yellow Flower Served on a Platter”.

Day 10: It was another busy day. I only had time to sketch the image for tomorrow’s August Macke workshop.

I would love to see or hear what you have been working on. It does not have to be a new project every day. You could also decide to work steadily on a single project and might not be able to show a progress every day, as some projects are very time-consuming. Remember, the main purpose is to have fun. As I would like to show you a picture for every day of my Creativity Challenge, I still have to remind me of this purpose, as I get sometimes so absorbed in a piece; I would like to continue working on it but feel that I should be able to have something to show for my blog. See you back next week.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Creativity Challenge 2019 - Week 1

Blog 1

Happy New Year! I hope you had a good start into the new year that is so full of possibilities. Last year was not an easy year for me and for many people to whom I talked to. Therefore, I have decided that this year my focus shall be on more FUN. I would like to have more fun and playfulness in my life and hope to inspire you to incorporate more lightness into your daily life.
As already in the past years, I am starting the new year with my Creativity Challenge to get back into a creative routine after the holidays. How are you getting back to your creative routine?

As special holiday events often disrupt even the strongest routines, I always try to stick to my healthy habits as much as possible. Having a dog helps me to keep moving even when I do not have a chance to do my usual exercise routines. Even though I did not make it to my studio for about two weeks, I created some sketches. I always carry a sketchbook with me. You never know when you might have to wait for someone or have an opportunity to capture something quickly. As for every routine, it is much easier to keep going if you are in a group of people to support you. Therefore, I hope you will also pick up a pencil, marker, a brush, or any other equipment of your choice to create something every day, even if it is only for 10 minutes. Don’t aim to make it perfect, just have fun with it. Enjoy the process, the relaxation and reinvigoration it brings to let go of the expectation of working for a successful finish. Sometimes, you might be surprised about the beautiful work that you created, while at other times, you will learn something from a creative exercise. I hope that you will share your experiences with me. If you would like to post photos, I would love to see them. Let’s help each other to bring more creative fun into our lives!

In case you would like to create art together, I invite you to join us during any of the following art events in January and February:

Art Circle, January 16, February 6 and 20, March 6 and 20, 2019, 2pm to 4pm

Winter Sunset Painting Party, January 20, 2019

Expressing Emotions with Colour, January 11, 2019

Adding Love and Sparkle to Your Painting, February 15, 2019

For more information and to register please go to or contact me at

I am also teaching Drawing Level 1 for 50+ and Cartooning and Comics for Children

At Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex, I am offering the following courses:
Adult Acrylic Landscape Painting and Child Mixed Media.
Here are the first three day’s projects of the year:

  1. a sketch of our Christmas tree

  2. the next stage of my double dog portrait 

  3. the beginning of my felted cardinal

I spent about 1.5 hours on each of these projects this week. Next week, I am back to work and I will probably not have as much time.

I hope you will return to my blog to see how I am doing with my Creativity Challenge. I would also love to see your projects.