Friday, 25 December 2020

Advent Calendar Days 17 - 24


Day 17: Dance of the Leaves, wool, 11.5” x 8.25”

I started this image of fall leaves a long time ago, then abandoned it when I concentrated on my felted versions of our dog Alex. With the start of the colouring of the leaves in September, I returned to the project. I love the colourful foliage, which makes fall my favourite time for painting en plein air. However, the reference image for this felted painting was not one of my previous oil or acrylic paintings but a photograph that I took on one of our walks.

Dance of the Leaves, wool, 11.5” x 8.25”, CAN $400 + shipping
Left: The painting when I left the scene. Right: The finished one.

Day 18: Still Standing, acrylic, 9” x 12”

I created this painting on the October 16 outing with my friends Janis and Bob on a quiet side road in Cumberland. I made some adjustments later in my studio, as you can see when you compare the two images.

Still Standing, acrylic, 9” x 12”, CAN $300 + shipping


Day 19: Iris, inks on paper, 14
x 11

As I was not able to meet my friends during the lockdown, I looked for painting subjects in our garden. I love the spring and summer months when my flowers are blooming.
Our beautiful irises inspired me to create this drawing with alcohol-based inks. It was the first time that I worked with alcohol-based inks, and while I love the intensity of the colours, I missed the blending that I can do with paints and coloured pencils.

Iris, inks on paper, 14" x 11", framed, CAN $100 + shipping

Left: after the painting demo     Right: the finished painting

Day 20: Of Flowers and Butterflies, acrylic, 16
x 20

I started the artwork during the painting demonstration at the Navan Fine Arts Exhibition and Sale in April 2019 when we painted inspired by music.

I was the second one scheduled and had assumed that I would paint an abstract piece. Instead, I felt inspired to paint flowers and butterflies. I found the experience quite unsettling. Usually, when I go into my studio, I know exactly what I want to paint. I might struggle with the composition or the process, but I know where I want to go.

This time, I had no idea what to expect. I did not know the music, or how I would react to it. I also was aware that people were watching me and talked to spectators during the process. The result was a flower painting that did not talk to me at all. I was disappointed in myself.

I finally finished the painting "Of Flowers and Butterflies" at the beginning of this year. Although it is not my usual style, I am happy with the result.

Of Flowers and Butterflies, acrylic, 16" x 20", framed, CAN $400 + shipping

Day 21: Mrs. Cardinal, watercolour pencil on paper, 8.25" x 6.5"

For the past couple of months, I have had weekly Zoom meetings with my painting buddies. For the first couple of months, we only chatted but lately, we paint or draw during our one-hour meetings. We pick one image that we all use as inspiration. As I usually take my time when I am creating, I still work on the image after our meeting.

It is a great way to include more creativity into our lives at a time when we spend so many hours in front of our computer. What do you do to break up the time in front of your computer?

Day 22: Brilliant Sunset, watercolour on paper, 9
x 12

I started this watercolour painting during one of our painting buddies virtual meetings. The reference photo was from a breathtaking sunset at Petrie Island in early November.

The series of photos that I took that evening will inspire me to more sunset paintings. The colours were so spectacular that I feel that I have to capture them not only in photos. The later it got, the brighter the colours became.

Brilliant Sunset, watercolour on paper, 9 x 12, framed, CAN $185 + shipping

Left: acrylic painting, 20" x 16" Right: wool painting, 11.5 " 8.25"

 Day 23: Fall in Gatineau Park, wool, 11.5” x 8.25”
I started this artwork last year inspired by my acrylic painting with the same title. Then, I misplaced it. When I found it in the summer, I did not feel drawn to a fall scene.

Once the leaves started to change their colour, I was ready to face this challenging composition again. I had planned to have the felted painting finished for the last weekend. However, I struggled to make the image look three-dimensional and to create the flow of the water. I persevered, and I am happy with the result.

Fall in Gatineau Park, wool, 11.5” x 8.25”, custom-matted for a 16" x 12" frame, CAN $ 425 + shipping

Day 24: Alex, dog fur, wool, 7" H x 29" L xx 12" W

At the end of the 2020 Advent Calendar, I present you with a very personal artwork. This miniature version of our dog Alex is needle felted out of his fur.

The last six months of his life, I was his caregiver as he needed more and more help. As hard as it was to experience him getting weaker and weaker, it also gave me the gift of slowing down and observing my surroundings in detail.

The sculpture is a tangible memory of our beloved dog. I loved Alex from the first moment I saw him. We were his foster parents first but decided to keep him after a couple of days even though we already had another dog.

The whole body is out of his fur. As most of it comes from his undercoat, the felted dog is a lot lighter than the real Alex. Only the nails, the dark areas around his eyes and snout are wool. I formed his nose out of air-dry clay and gave him glass eyes.

I stopped counting the hours once I passed 100. I still worked on this sculpture long into the night before his death with him lying at my feet. I cherish these last quiet hours with him.

Every time I pet his soft fur, it makes me feel at peace and happy.

I hope you enjoyed the review of my artworks. As you have probably noticed, I did not paint as much as in previous years. I spent a lot of time creating the small version of Alex. It was a labour of love, and it makes me very happy every time I see. I also worked on another, still unfinished version of him in a standing position. The second version is out of wool and shows his true colours. 

If you would like to purchase any of the artworks for sale, please go to

Now, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a new year filled with joy, good health and success! Hopefully, you will enjoy some relaxing days for reflection and energizing. If you can spend the days with your family and friends, share joy and gratitude. For those who feel alone, make sure to connect by phone or video call. Do all the things you ever wanted to do when things got very hectic during the usual Christmas time.
I will take a break until January 8, 2021. Thank you for reading my blogs and for your kind feedback.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Advent Calendar Day 9 - 16

Here is the second part of this year's Advent Calendar:

Day 9: A Trinity of Tulips
Trinity of Tulips, acrylic, 8″ x 8″

For "A Trinity of Tulips", I had to improvise. When I was ready to paint, I could not find another 6" x 6" canvas in my basement, so I took an 8" x 8" canvas and realized immediately that the format would not work for a single flower.
Therefore, I concentrated on the tulip that I could see and put two additional tulips into the painting that I painted later from reference photos.
A Trinity of Tulips, acrylic, 8″ x 8″, canvas, CAN $230 + shipping

Day 10: By The River
By The River, acrylic on birch board, 14" x 11"

On August 13, I finally went for a physically distanced painting outing again with some of my friends at Parc du Moulin in Rockland. I had a wonderful time painting at the edge of the Ottawa River.

When I look at the painting, I can still visualize the soft waves and the calming sound of the water.
By The River, acrylic on birch board, 14" x 11", unframed, CAN $375 + shipping

Day 11: The Turtle Pond
The Turtle Pond, watercolour on paper, 9” x 12”

On November 20, a group of us finally painted at Petrie Island, the first time since last winter. It was a mild day for the second half of November. There were so many people fishing and walking on the island that I was glad that we found a secluded spot to paint.

I had purchased a small watercolour travel set that I used for the first time. I was looking for ways to reduce my equipment so that I can also paint from the car in the colder season and go to locations that are not as easily accessible. I am still experimenting with the watercolours outside, but I am happy with the scene of the turtle pond covered with a thin layer of ice at some areas.
In the photo collage, you can see how the change of the sky influences the view. As the scene changes all the time, when you are painting, you have to stick with one image in your head. Otherwise, you would continuously try to change the colours on your canvas.
The Turtle Pond, watercolour on paper, 9” x 12”, framed, CAN $185 + shipping
Day 12: Escape to the Country 

                 Escape to the Country, acrylic, 9” x 12”

On November 10, my friends Janis, Bob and I met on the quiet Sarsfield Road in Cumberland to paint the fields in beautiful sunshine. The temperatures went up to 24 degrees. It was hard to believe that it was November.

I was not happy with the foreground when we left our painting spot. In the studio, I used painting knives to make the fields more interesting.

Escape to the Country, acrylic on board, 9” x 12”, $300 + shipping
 Day 13: Alex

Alex, wool, 12" x 10", not for sale

This year I dedicated to my beloved Alex. He had collapsed at the side of the road in October 2019 on one of the few weekday walks when my husband was able to join us during his lunch break.

At first, he did not move. When my husband lifted him out of the ditch he behaved as if nothing had happened. The vet checked him out and let us know that his heart was still strong, but his arthritis was causing him problems. I was relieved and scared at the same time as Alex was 14.5 years at the time.

Nevertheless, I felt that our time was running out and started the felted painting of my handsome companion, which I finished early in January.

In the end, we were granted another eleven months. Alex got weaker and weaker at the end but we had another wonderful summer together, including a trip to the cottage.

Being able to care for him was a great gift. As he slowed down, I had to follow his lead. I was able to study the world around us like never before as we spent a lot of time outside walking at a very slow pace. I admired the leaves and petals of plants and beautiful starry nights. When Alex died on September 21, 2020, I was very sad but also at peace because we had spent as much time as possible together. 

 Alex, wool, 12" x 10", not for sale


Day 14: Snow Peas

Sweet Peas, acrylic on cradled wood panel, 5" x 7"

During our painting trip to Kamouraska in September 2019, Hélène, Janis and I decided to stay in town to paint the stunning flowers of a private garden on Avenue Chassé. We had painted at that spot already the year before. This time, the delicate pink snow peas caught my special attention.

When the others were ready to continue, I had painted the basic image but was not happy with the contrast. The painting looked very flat. A couple of weeks ago, I finally finished the painting of the delicate snow peas.

Sweet Peas, acrylic on cradled wood panel, 5" x 7", CAN $90 + shipping
Day 15: Wearing the Mask in Style 

Wearing the Mask in Style, pencil on paper, 12" x 9"

This sketch is another one from my activities with the New York Urban Sketchers. For this task, we combined two photos from New York City in the 1920s and linked them to our current situation.

I had a lot of fun with these exercises. I will probably join in their fun again now it gets harder to spend time outside painting en plein air.

Wearing the Mask in Style, pencil on paper, 12" x 9", not for sale

Day 16: Sunflowers

Sunflowers, watercolour on paper, 12" x 9"


On August 6, my friend Janis and I went to a beautiful sunflower field on Dunning Road in Cumberland. We had to climb over a ditch to reach the field. Painting was a challenge because the space in front of the flowers was tight, and many visitors admired the sunflowers and took photos.

Janis and I both created watercolour paintings. Watercolours are lighter to carry. Plus, the artwork dries quickly, which makes the transport easy.

Sunflowers, watercolour on paper,
12" x 9", unframed, CAN $ 250 + shipping

To purchase any of the artworks for sale, please go to

Friday, 11 December 2020

2020 Advent Calendar Day 1 to 8

Inspiration and Painting

Day 1: The Path

Getting together with my friends was not so easy during the last winter due to bad weather and illnesses. However, we managed to paint at Petrie Island twice in February, our first winter outings in years.

It was so peaceful to be outside. For me, it also was the first time to paint with oil paints in over two years. It took some adjusting, but I enjoyed the way I could blend the colours. I was happy with the result when I left the outing and only added some darker contrasts to my painting in the studio.

The Path, oil on board, 10" x 8", unframed, CAN $ 250 + shipping

Inspiration and Painting

Day 2: Fishing Huts at Petrie Island

This painting is from my second outing to Petrie Island in February: the 8” x 10” oil painting “Fishing Huts at Petrie Island”. While I finished the painting in my studio, I felt like being back at the side of the road at Petrie Island looking at the huts and enjoying myself.

After taking photos, I left the painting in the kitchen. Our cat decided to leave his mark and walked over the painting. Luckily, I was able to remove his participation. 

Fishing Huts at Petrie Island, 8" x 10", oil on board, unframed, CAN $250 + shipping


Inspiration and Painting


Day 3: The Old Stone House

When we were all in lockdown at the start of the pandemic, I missed my friends and our painting outings. Therefore, I joined the New York City Urban Sketchers for their non-urban sketching activities. One of their tasks was the creation of our dream vacation spot.

I created this image with a reference photo from one of my trips to Mallorca. I would love to have my studio in this rugged landscape.

The Old Stone House, Mallorca, watercolour on paper, 9" x 12", not for sale


Acrylic Painting and Felted Painting

Day 4: Glowing Winter Sunset

I love sunsets at any time of the year. However, when it is very cold outside, the sunsets glow especially bright and cast beautiful colours on the snow blanket. With a dog, you have to go outside in any weather - we draw the line if it feels like -30 degrees Celsius - and you are rewarded with many sights many people do not see when they opt to stay inside during the winter months. This felted piece was inspired by my 36″ x 24″ acrylic painting "Winter Glow"

Glowing Winter Sunset, wool, 12" x 9", custom-matted for a 16" x 12" frame, CAN $ 425 + shipping


Acrylic Painting and Felted Painting


Day 5: Hidden in the Fog

I love the mystic of fog. For a while I wanted to create a felted version of my acrylic 16" x 20" painting “Hidden in the Fog”. The felted version is 10" x 11.5".

Hidden in the Fog, wool, 10" x 11.5", CAN $425 + shipping

Inspiration, In Progress, Final


Day 6: Elegant in Peach

After weeks without touching my brushes, I finally went outside in early May to paint the few tulips on my property.

First, I painted an orange tulip. I had a hard time getting into the groove, yet I was excited to be outside. When I got too cold, I packed up my painting equipment. I was happy that I had painted but not excited about the result. I let the painting sit for a while and finally finished it during my summer break.

Elegant in Peach, 6″ x 6″, acrylic on gallery canvas, CAN $120 + shipping

Inspiration, In Progress, Final

Day 7: Proudly Pink

Proudly Pink was the second 6" x 6" painting that I started in early May. After I came back from painting outside, I was again not happy with the contrast between the flower and the background. A bit of bright magenta colour helped to let this proud flower stand out in all of its glory. I also painted the leaves in the background in a cooler blue-green.

Proudly Pink, acrylic, 6″ X 6″, acrylic on gallery canvas, CAN $120 + shipping

Pencil Sketch, Coloured Sketch

Day 8: Houses in Amsterdam

During one of the non-urban sketching activities of the New York City Urban Sketchers, I had a great time with their virtual stroll through Amsterdam. In the sketch, you see a couple of houses from Sint Antoniesluis.

During the one and a half hours of sketching, I was only able to draw the outlines. Later, a coloured the whole scene with coloured pencils.

Houses in Amsterdam, pencil on paper, 9" x 12", not for sale

To purchase any of the paintings that are for sale, please go to I accept credit cards and PayPal. The shipping cost will be calculated according to the destination.

Friday, 4 December 2020

25 Years in Canada - My Immigration Journey Part 17


Mom, acrylic, 20" x 16"

Blog 27

The year 2005, the tenth anniversary of my move to Canada, started without any excitements. It was the quiet before the storm.

I was still a member of Arteast and build a close relationship with my friend and mentor Margaret Clyde, who became a motherly figure for me. She gave me lots of advice and was there for me not only for art-related questions.

I still felt very isolated. I realized that the adventure of moving to another continent and the special status that would give me among my friends had resulted in me seeing the future through rose-coloured glasses. My children, on the other hand, were true Canadians who knew no other home but Canada. They were not able to understand my homesickness.

Nevertheless, I was grateful for the good life with my wonderful family in our beautiful new house in the country. I still managed to cut out some time for my hobbies, which was more than many young mothers who worked could say. I continued to miss my family and friends. I also got increasingly worried about my ageing parents. This worry was increased by the fact that my father had to be hospitalized with heart attack symptoms in early September during his visit to Canada. It was scary, even though the doctors concluded again that it was a false alarm.


Going to the live drawing classes became an exception. However, I continued my drawing practices with a workshop at the National Gallery where we learned the secrets of the old masters. Instead of painting in my spare time, I spent lots of time in the yard planting. It was already July when I started the work on my mother’s portrait that showed her at the age of six (see above). I finished it on time for the Arteast juried exhibition “Rearview Mirror”.

I made spending time with Dominic and Christine my priority. We always had a full programme of activities, from painting pottery together, attending art workshops, going to the museums, meeting friends, to going to the movies.

In the fall, we had lots of visitors: my friend Bettina arrived first, followed by both my godmothers and their husbands who came for a quick visit during a Canada trip.

When my parents left at the beginning of October, nobody had any idea that they would never see our dog, Jessie, again. She had been a little quieter than usual despite all the visitors. When this greedy girl did not finish her breakfast on October 10th, I was very scared.

After a couple of days, we found not only out that something was indeed very wrong with her but also with my dad’s heart. This pain was increased by the death of Ingo’s grandmother. I was devasted. I had a hard time to keep my composure.

We tried some medication to help Jessie, but a visit to the animal clinic brought the confirmation that she had cancer of the spleen and only a short time to live. She made it to her 10th birthday on October 29th, when she stopped eating. The next morning she started vomiting and we drove her for the final time to the vet.

I spent the first week crying whenever Dominic and Christine were at school. Almost my whole life in Canada had been linked with Jessie. She was comforting me during my time of homesickness, Ingo’s time in Nova Scotia, two bad pregnancies, and Dominic’s hospitalisation a week after his birth when doctors told us that he would probably not make it through the night.

I spent the rest of the time until Christmas in a daze. I functioned like a robot. The only thing that kept me going was our upcoming flight to Germany. However, the news from Germany got increasingly worrisome: my dad had been hospitalized several times with chest tightness and infections. He would receive a triple bypass in early January. My mother was beside herself with worry. After all, she had lost her father through a heart attack when he had just been 50 years old.

It was a very quiet Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, we drove to Ingo’s parents where we spent three days before we flew to Germany. We spent the turn of the year with my parents and sister. While we watched the fireworks, we hoped that 2006 would bring all of us more happiness and good health.

This is the last part of my twenty-five-year journey for this year. For the next three weeks, I will post a review of twenty-four of my 2020 artworks. If you follow my Facebook page, you can see these artworks in my daily advent calendar post. The journey continues with the event of 2006 which marked an important turn in artist career. This blog will be posted on January 8, 2021.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Blog-free Week

Christmas Stocking     


The dark and wet last days of November offer a great possibility of creating art with your children. This morning, I made this Christmas craft with a group of persons with disabilities. It would also be a lot of fun for the whole family. You do not need a lot of materials. Plus, you recycle old magazines, flyers, calendars and papers at the same time.

Here is the material list:

old magazines, calendars, flyers, or papers
glue stick
cardstock or construction paper
pencils, markers
stickers (optional)

I hope you have fun with this project. I would love to see images of your work. Have a great week! I will be back with the next blog on Friday, December 4, 2020.

Friday, 20 November 2020

25 Years in Canada - My Immigration Journey Part 16


At the Market, acrylic 16" x 20"

Blog 26


2004 was the year of the move to our dream house, requiring a lot of decluttering, packing and cleaning of the old house to get it ready for selling. Cleaning out and painting a house with two active kids and a dog was a challenge in itself.

Even though the actual start of construction was the beginning of April, we had a lot of running around to decide on materials. We had meetings with the architects, the contractors, and the bank.

Despite all the chaos around me, I still kept the promise to myself to deliver one painting to every bi-monthly Arteast library exhibition. I had started the acrylic painting “At the Market” (see above) for the show with the theme shopping. I finally managed to finish the painting around midnight the day before the hanging. It was still a close call.

Construction, acrylic, 16" x 20"

At the end of March, I started the painting for the May exhibition with the theme of metal. I decided to paint a construction site - very fitting. This painting found its forever home in my parents’ house. As my father is an architect, he fell in love with the image right away.

We had decided to sell the house without an agent. Once the house was on the market in early April, the stress was immense. Keeping the house tidy and clean was impossible. I had a big job of cleaning the house before each showing, including washing the windows which always had marks of sticky fingers. At the end of May, we had refused one purchase offer because we were not flexible with our moving date. With the representation of the agent who had helped us to buy our house in 1995, we finally sold the old house at the end of July.

At the same time, we stressed because of the problems with the construction of the new house. First, we found out that loads of gravel were necessary to lift the house to prevent flooding in the spring. Then, one delay followed the next. Sometimes, I encountered workers sitting at the construction site because they did not have the necessary materials. Once, the architect called to tell me that the ordered tiles would not arrive in time for the four tilers who would come the following day. He expected me to go to a speciality store and order some that would be in stock, never considering that I always had to bring two small children along.

Tulip drawing by myself, Dominic (7), Christine (3)

I always loved being creative with my children. With my painting supplies already packed, my children and I discovered a shop where we could paint pottery. One time, both kids coloured a piggy bank. Dominic picked a soccer ball and was careful to put the white and back colour of his design in the right areas. Christine, on the other hand, used lots of colours without planning and hesitation. I took my time to paint a plate with grapes. After we finished, she declared that her plane was perfect. Once the pottery was glazed and fired, I had to agree. Sometimes, it would be best for all of us to plan less and create with the enthusiasm of a child.

When we finally moved at the end of August, we only had cold water, were waiting for the kitchen appliances, and the installation of washer and dryer. We did not have any shelves in the walk-in closet until the beginning of November.

Over the next three months, instead of enjoying our dream home, we continued to live in a construction site. I continuously waited for workers who often did not show up. In the end, I did not even care anymore whether they installed the right materials. I just wanted them to leave.

By the end of November, we hired a lawyer because the construction did not move ahead. The inspector had failed our house again during what was supposed to be the final inspection. The costs exceeded the budget as building materials went missing or got damaged while the construction company was not cooperative. The nightmare affected my health. It was not a happy way to end the year.

In my next blog, I will write about the year 2005 that brought my biggest heartbreak.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Blog-free Week

Still Standing, acrylic, 9" x 12"


Last week, I took the opportunity to spend the last warm day of this year painting outside with my friends Janis and Bob. We enjoyed being in nature and together, even though we were more than two metres apart. 


Since March, we have spent so much time in front of our computers that it is even more important to take breaks. Spending time outside or at least away from our electronic devices will help you to re-energize and to avoid computer fatigue.


I hope you will get a chance for a break in nature this weekend. I will be back with a new blog post next week.


Friday, 6 November 2020

25 Years in Canada - My Immigration Jouney Part 15


Sunflower, acrylic, 16" x 20"

Blog 25

Going back to my dairies of the past twenty-five years is exciting, even though my life with two children resulted in more and more blank pages. I wanted to add entries but never found the time.

I started the year with a painting for the Arteast exhibition “Vessels”. I continued going to the life drawing classes and the drawing classes to improve my skill to observe and capture the objects on paper.

I was lucky that my parents came several times a year. During my parents’ winter visit, my dad collapsed at the cottage. We had assumed that my dad had a bad case of the Norwalk virus, but the doctor at the hospital was concerned about his heart health. However, the cardiologist did not detect anything unusual. It took years and other incidents until we found out that he had his first heart attack that day.

Even though my parents and sister usually stayed at the cottage, we debated whether we should start building a custom home on the lot that we had bought in Cumberland. Our townhouse did not offer room for guests, and the many stairs gave me a good workout every day. I could also hardly wait to have my own studio.

In preparation for the sale of our house, we had some renovations done and found out quickly how much fun it was to work with builders. De-cluttering and packing were also extremely stressful.

Planning our new house was a big challenge. I had a vision of our dream house, which turned out to be far out of our budget. Running around to order materials was also no mean feat with two young children. All this stress resulted in me getting one illness after the other.

Whenever I was frustrated, I took out my painting equipment. My goal was to create a new painting for every bi-monthly Arteast exhibition at the Orléans Library. For the May exhibition, I managed to finish an artwork of a bunny in a bed of crocuses.

I was also excited to participate in an exhibition with the life drawing group. At the same time, I stressed about the cost of $600 for framing of my four drawings. The “Skin Deep” exhibition at the Visual Arts Centre in Orleans looked very professional. I felt immensely proud to be a part of it.

Amsterdam, acrylic

I also submitted three paintings (Amsterdam, For Sale, and Teddybears and Tulips, renamed The Spring Bears) to the Arteast Budding Artist exhibition. They received a lot of positive feedback from the jury, which made me feel proud. My painting “Amsterdam” received the highest score of the three. I did not even remember the artwork when I looked through old photographs and have no recollection of the date of sale.

I continued to make bears, especially after a visit to the Teddy Bears on Vacation Show as I was brimming with new ideas.

On August 14, we experienced the big blackout. I was just in the middle of writing an email to one of my friends when we lost power. We decided to spend the time at the cottage where we enjoyed the quiet days. It was kind of romantic.

In August, I also started my painting "Sunflower" (see above) that Ingo loved so much that he bought it for his business. The focus was a sunflower in front of a sunflower field. A bee was sitting in the centre of the flower.

At the end of September, we had planned a big surprise birthday party for both our mothers who celebrated their 65th birthdays in the second half of 2003. It was one of the very few occasions when we managed to have both our families celebrate together. The event was not only a big treat for both mothers but all of us.

The highlight of the year was a three-week trip to Germany in November. Dominic, Christine and I flew together and experienced a wonderful pre-Christmas time, even though we missed Ingo and Jessie.

I finished the year the same way I had started the year, beginning the painting “Tranquility” only days before an exhibition that opened on January 6, 2004. I was thankful to be an acrylic painter because most of the time, I finished my paintings only hours before I had to deliver them for an exhibition. I have to admit that this urgency was a thrill, even though it also made me anxious.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please join me in two weeks for the sequel to my story.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Blog-free Week

Masquerade, acrylic, 20" x 16"


I painted this self-portrait n 2011 for the Arteast Exhibition "A Night at the Theatre". It shows me in one of my Halloween outfits. For our family, it is always a double celebration as it is also my husband's birthday. 


Even though this year's Halloween will be like no other before, I hope that you will have fun within your social bubble. Create a new tradition that your children will still talk about for a long time. 

I would love to hear from you about your Halloween celebration this year.

Friday, 23 October 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 14

House for Sale, watercolour, 8" x 10"

Blog 23

In 2002, life was not easy. Our children were almost one year and five years old. Also, we had a very lively Golden Retriever. On makes you feel like you walk two steps ahead only to return where you started. By the time you have cleaned one area of the house, the others need cleaning again. My husband and both our parents had a very traditional mindset when it came to raising a family. The husband was responsible for earning money, while the wife had to take care of house and children. I have to admit that I had imagined our family life differently. I had assumed that we would share the household and child-raising tasks, but the fact that I did not work made it easy to fall into the traditional role models.

Looking for Food, watercolour

My family viewed my creative activities as a pleasant hobby. Only my father-in-law, a great supporter of the arts, was interested in my projects and started buying works for himself and as gifts. When I sold the painting “Looking for Food” to my mom, it was a big deal for me as it was an acknowledgement of my improving skills. The watercolour painting showed a couple of chickadees hanging on a feeder.

At the beginning of March, I joined a group of artists who met Sunday mornings for life drawing. Even though I was struggling with the poses and the proportions initially, I had a lot of fun. The more advanced artists were very supportive. To improve my drawing skills, I started to take a bi-weekly drawing course with a local artist.

When my sister came at the end of June, we went together to the three-day Tom Thomson workshop at the National Gallery of Canada. This workshop was my mini-vacation. Most people had not heard of The Group of Seven in Germany at the time. Therefore, we learned a lot about Canadian landscape art. While researching for this blog, I saw that the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is the first museum in Germany that will exhibit extensive works from important Canadian collections in early 2021.

Oscar, acrylic, 10 " x 10"  and the bear Oscar

I had taken a one-year break from making bears. This passion was, however, revived when my son’s teacher asked me about giving a presentation in his junior kindergarten class about bears and bear making. She also fell in love with my bear Oscar and adopted him.

The princess and the frog from The Frog King

In July, I joined the Grizzly Bear Gang, a bear club in Nepean whose members were artists and collectors. At the same time, I saw a competition for fairy tale bears in a German bear magazine. I decided to create the princess and the frog from the story The Frog King by the Grimm Brothers. I did not win a prize, but it was exciting to see a photo of my bear published in the magazine.

Silence (left), Vegetables (right), acrylic - unfortunately I did not take better pictures

In October, I participated with the two acrylic paintings “Silence” and “Vegetables” in Arteast’s 21st Annual Art & Photo Exhibition. I was so excited when ten days after the end of the exhibition, a client inquired about buying the painting of a canoe attached to a dock in the soothing light of the sunset.

I was delighted that a stranger fell in love with my work. Especially as an emerging artist, the approval of others feels so crucial. I also needed the money. I felt guilty for not being able to pay for my expensive art materials and framing costs out of my own pocket. 

Join me in two weeks to see what happened in the year 2003.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Blog-free Week

Pumpkins, acrylic, 20" x 16"


Many of us are frustrated and depressed because of the increasing COVID numbers, but now is no time to withdraw into a cocoon. I know how it feels to be alone and to miss your loved ones from my early years in Canada, far away from family and friends. I am sure many of you also find physically distancing from loved ones very hard. However, this time we have modern technology to see each other - even if it is only virtually.


Therefore, let's meet online to create lots of joy by painting together. Bring your favourite relatives and friends and have fun together. I will guide you through the process of creating the above seasonal pumpkin painting on Sunday from 3 pm to 5 pm. Limited spaces are available to keep this painting party personal despite meeting in my visual art studio. 

This activity is child-friendly. Register together with your child (younger than 13 years), and I will give you a $10 discount. The fee is $30/person. For more information and to register, please go to The registration deadline is October 16, 2020.

Friday, 9 October 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 13

The Spring Bears, acrylic, 20" x 16"

Blog 22

The year 2001 started with lots of agitation. At the beginning of February, we found our dog lying in a large puddle with water dripping from the ceiling. When we looked for the source, we discovered that the water was running down from the upstairs master bedroom wall to the basement. The carpet was soaked. We and we had to change the towels every hour to keep the water from dripping to the lower levels.

All this excitement probably did not help me with my pregnancy. Even though I had another six weeks ahead of me, I started having contractions. I and could not feel my otherwise active baby anymore. Once we were at the hospital, our little girl moved so much that the nurses could not get a continuous reading of her heartbeat. As the baby was quite big but much too skinny, I had to stay on bed rest for ten days. I felt very lonely in my misery and guilty that my pregnancy prevented me again from living without confinements. Instead of taking our son to the playground, we spent the time reading, creating art and watching TV, which was not what our active almost-four-year-old boy felt like doing all day long.

On March 5, when we started dinner, the contractions started again. After the long labour I endured with Dominic, we decided to have dinner first before leaving the house. A big mistake! Suddenly, the contractions came strongly and in short intervals. It was snowing, and we had to drive Dominic to a friend first before we continued to the hospital.

When we reached the hospital, things happened quickly. I was rushed through the hallway to a birthing room. People had to jump into the room to make space. I was relieved to see two doctors in the room, one of them the same doctor who had already delivered our son. I still wore my street clothes when Christine was born minutes after we reached the room. From the time we had entered the hospital until she was born, only 20 minutes had passed.

Despite the new challenges of having a newborn in the house and not sleeping more than five hours during the night, I continued to go to my monthly theatre outings with friends at the Ottawa Little Theatre, Canada’s oldest community playhouse in downtown Ottawa.

Starting in May, I started going again to the monthly Arteast meetings, the local art organisation. I was lucky that it took Christine only a month until she started sleeping through the night. It was time to start painting: first a tulip bouquet, then three of my bears sitting in a tulip bed (see above). I was determined to finish the painting in time for the yearly Arteast critique night. I was happy when the feedback was mostly positive and thankful for the suggestions for improvement.

I also continued to go to the National Gallery special exhibitions. Usually, I brought both children along. It was hard work because one of them often wanted to be carried around. Nevertheless, I was soaking up the beauty of the art and found inspiration to keep painting.

Whenever we had visitors, I took the chance to take them to art events. When I visited the Glebe Studio Tour with my sister, it was not only exciting because of the art, but also because of the beautiful neighbourhood.

At the time, Ingo and I kept looking for houses and building lots outside of the area where we lived. Our yard bordered on a small wooded area that led to a public transportation parking lot. The closeness to the bus station had resulted in more and more incidents of burglary. We were excited when we finally found a large lot in Cumberland with lots of trees and wild roses.


Mushrooms, acrylic, 16" x 20"

I continued painting in the fall when my parents came for a visit. At their cottage, I painted a group of mushrooms in the garden. It felt so liberating to be able to sit outside and paint while my parents entertained our children. Painting without interruptions was a rare treat!

When I go through my journals of the past, more and more pages are left empty because I was so busy caring for our children, our Golden Retriever and the household. I am surprised that I still managed to sketch and paint at all. It shows my strong urge to create. No matter how bad things are, creating art makes my life better. It is not something that I can stop. The desire to express myself and to capture the world around me is too strong. It gives me so much joy and feels meditative.

I hope you will join me again in two weeks when I have a look back at the year 2002.