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

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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.