Friday, 26 April 2019

My April Art Projects

Blog 17

I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. For my family and I, it was very busy as we were cleaning out our vacation home that was mainly used by our visitors from Germany. Even though it was a small house, it was a lot of work. It is amazing how much stuff was accumulated over the years. On the other hand, we created many beautiful memories in this house. I also started a new contract as a German instructor and I am again teaching two Cartooning and Comics courses at François Dupuis Recreation Centre in Orleans. As April was also tax month, I did not have a lot of time for painting.

During the two “Felted Easter Egg” workshops, I had the pleasure of sharing the craft of felting with a group of people. Everyone left at least with one beautiful and unique Easter egg. I created four eggs.

I got my sketch out of my purse during a networking event, on the bus, and before the KISS concert, when I sketched the members of the group from a poster on a big screen. I sketched a lady on the bus on my way to the National Art Centre, and during the intermission of the Giselle ballet, I created a sketch a ballet dancer from memory.

"Bouquet of Joy", unfinished
I continued my work on the 20” x 16” acrylic painting of the tulip bouquet “Bouquet of Joy”.

For my Cartooning and Comics classes, I created drawings of a realistic and cartoon bunny, followed by a drawing of Bugs Bunny. Inspired by the children’s suggestion, I also attempted to create a cartoon version of myself. We also drew Batman from “The Lego Movie 2” and Toothless from the movie “How to Train a Dragon”.

still lots to colour
We were a small group for the very first Art Cafe, but we had a great time doodling flowers. If you would like to read more about the event, please go to my blog post “Making Art More Accessible”: If you would like to be part of the next Art Cafe, please join me on June 9, 2019.

 During the Celebrating Spring with Flowers workshop, I demonstrated painting flowers after studying Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Irises”. During the demonstration, it is not my intention to concentrate on my painting. Therefore, I still need to finish the painting that is a mixture of van Gogh’s and the Irises that I photographed last spring at the Ornamental Gardens in Ottawa.

This weekend, April 27 and 28, 2019, I will be participating in the Navan Fine Arts Exhibition and Sale in the Navan Memorial Centre Arena, ​1295 Colonial Road, Navan. For more information about the show and the participating artists and artisans please go to We would love to see you and talk to you about our art.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Expressing Yourself through Art

Pink Tulips, acrylic, 20” x 10”

Blog 16

When you ask me when I started painting, I cannot give you an exact time frame. As long as I can remember I have been drawing or painting. There are certain situations in my life when I can clearly remember creating a certain artwork, while there are definitely also big gaps in my creative life, and I am not only talking about in the gaps of me remembering but real gaps when life got in the way of following my passion.

When I ask other people whether they are painting or drawing, I usually get three answers: Some tell me about and share their current projects with me. Others tell me how they loved art when they were younger but that life happened and they were or are too busy for their hobby, but hope to get back into it once they have retired. The third group of people believes that they do not have a creative bone in their body.

While I am happy for those who invest in their creative hobbies, whether they are painting, drawing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, creating music, or cake decorating to name only a few, I feel sad for the other two groups.

Do not get me wrong, I know how easy it is to give other activities priority. Nevertheless, I am always happy when I make some time for creating. I always feel so much better after I created something, whether it is a quick sketch, a detailed drawing, a doodle, a felted object or image, or a painting. As a last resort, there is still knitting that I can do while watching TV. When I concentrate on my project, I lose any sense of time. I live fully in the moment and feel energized when I see my progress. Therefore, I hope that my art will inspire you to pick up any equipment of your choice and start creating. Enjoy the process instead of chasing after the perfect finished product.

As for the third group of people, I often find out that they were discouraged by teachers or parents as a child because they did not create art according to the adults’ expectations. Unfortunately, I see more and more children who are afraid to try new things because they don’t want to fail. From the early age of childhood, they are drilled to succeed. Just look at the many competitive sports teams. These days, it does not seem to be enough to have fun, the children have to show how talented they are by competing for awards. Often, we are also our own worst critic. We are so focused on the vision of how something should look (or sound) that we do not allow for our uniqueness to shine through. Any type of creative activity gives you a wonderful tool to explore yourself and to give yourself a voice.

Talking about my own voice, I have decided to decrease my number of blogs to two a month. I love sharing my passion and helping you to improve your skills, but with my increased teaching engagements, I find it hard to spend enough time working on my own artworks. Therefore, starting in May, I will post a blog on the first and third Friday of the month. For more news about my business, I encourage you to subscribe on my website to my monthly newsletter that is published on the last Wednesday of the month.

Have a Happy Easter! Enjoy the time with your family and friends. Hopefully, we will have nice weather for a walk in nature.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Making Art More Accessible

Blog 15

For this week, I had a completely different blog planned, but then I experienced a week in which lots of smaller and bigger obstacles were put in my way, obstacles that needed my attention. Therefore, I was sitting in front of my computer on Thursday evening needing a blog for the next day. At first, I started to panic, but then I realized that I had to make the best out of the situation. Sometimes, life takes over and you have to deal with difficult incidents. In these situations, it is important to remember the joyful moments when living felt easy.

Last Sunday was a time like that. I hosted my first Art Cafe, an event that I created because I enjoy having guests, and I am on a mission to make art more accessible. Getting a group of people together around a nicely set table was the perfect setting to get to know each other while enjoying coffee/tea and some treats. These days, we spend more time connecting through social media than actually meeting people. I truly cherish the face to face conversations, and I feel that more and more people are looking to reconnect in person, instead of depending on video and social media communications. 

However, it was not only a social gathering. Many of us are so busy that we do not make time to be creative. I wanted to provide an inviting atmosphere for people to experience art. I had taken down the paintings that usually decorate our living room walls, and replaced them with flower paintings as inspiration for playful floral doodles. We were only a small group, but we had so much fun doodling. We shared lots of stories, laughed heartily, and were amazed at our very different and unique doodles. If you would like to be part of the next Art Cafe, please join me on June 9, 2019, at 3 pm. I am not sure what little project I will prepare, but I think, it will include old magazines and books. Please check my website for updates.

Friday, 5 April 2019

The Positive Effects of Needle Felting

Canada 150th, Wool, 11.5″ x 8.5″
Blog 14

Anyone who has ever been to one of my felting courses can confirm that needle felting is a very versatile and enjoyable activity. So what exactly is felting and why are people so enthusiastic about this old craft?

When I talk to people about my felted projects, many have never heard about this craft before, or only from friends who have thrown a knitted article into the washer at hot temperatures. The hot temperatures result in the bonding of the fibres while the article shrinks. While some people do this on purpose following a specific pattern and instruction, I am sure that some of you have accidentally felted a woollen article in your washer. A result that is anything but relaxing! While this process is often referred to as felting it is actually called fulling. Felting, on the other hand, is the process of joining fibres together by either using soap, water and friction (wet-felting ) or by using barbed needles to repeatedly stab into the fibres (dry felting or needle felting).

To create needle felted objects, you use wool, a blend of natural and synthetic or synthetic rovings that you stab with a very sharp barbed felting needle to agitate the fibres, so they bond together to a solid fabric. Rovings are long bundles of fibre that are produced while making spun yarn from wool fleece, raw cotton, or other fibres. 

If you are creating a three-dimensional piece, you can either start with a ball or a finger thick role of wool that you stab with the needle until your shape is as firm as you desire. Your shape will get smaller in the process. In order to felt an object, you will add more wool for different parts of your object. Sometimes you might add wire or pipe cleaners to create a shape that is more stable and bendable. For two-dimensional pieces, you can either create your own felted sheet or buy a felt fabric as the base. I buy my felt fabrics and create my image on top of them as I cover the complete base layer. To avoid poking yourself, you can use a thick foam pad or cushion to work on.

Maybe, the description of this technique alone has made you curious about felting, but there is more to it. Like anything that you enjoy, felting is fun and relaxing. The repetitive motion of sticking the needle into the rovings keeps your hands busy and is a physical exercise. It also stimulates your brain when you look for ways to figure out how to transform your vision into the physical object. Felting is not only very soothing but can also help you to let off steam. Just think about the Voodoo dolls! Felting is also easy to learn. You need a little bit of patience, but feeling the soft material and forming it into unique objects is very rewarding. Plus, compared to other crafts like knitting or crocheting, there is no counting or learning of complicated stitches, and no need to finish edges – a task that is often responsible for my procrastination of the last step of finishing a knitted article.

If you would like to try felting, I invite you to join me for one of my upcoming felting workshops. The next one is on Monday, April 15, 2019, when we will be creating our own unique Easter eggs. Please go to my website for more information and to register.