Friday, 26 February 2021

Blog-free Week

Flamboyance, wool, 9” x 12”


This week, I send out my latest newsletter with all the information about my art and the latest artworks. I had everything ready a day before to avoid stressing out about some last-minute technical problems. I only wanted to finish my last painting, add the photo and send the newsletter out.

I had a lot of fun putting the final touches on my image. I was enjoying myself handling the wool, watching the heavy snowfall, and listening to an audiobook.

It was already dark when I finished the artwork. Usually, this is not a problem, but yesterday I could not achieve a photo that showed the colours even remotely to what they are. I got very frustrated. I tried different camera settings, even got out another camera and my phone. No matter what I tried, I could not get it right. The photo looked good on the camera display, but as soon as I uploaded it on the computer, the colours were too light. Instead of letting it go, I wasted a lot of time because I wanted to get it perfect. In the end, I had to be ready to go with the best I could achieve at the moment.

The next morning, I took another photo of the artwork in natural light, with much better results. I guess the light from the ceiling lamps influenced the colours of my image. When I looked at the new photo, I was reminded of my early artworks and realized that at all times, I created the best art I was capable of at the time. This realization is correct for personal and business decisions. It is easy to lament our mistakes. Should we not be more lenient with ourselves? It is comforting to know that our struggles will help us to learn and grow. Let us relax and enjoy the journey instead of trying to be perfect! This way, there is always room to improve.

If you are interested in learning how relaxing and fun needle felting is, I invite you to my new needle felted painting workshop starting on March 10, 2021, at 2 pm. For more information, please go to

Friday, 19 February 2021

25 Years in Canada - The Year 2009

Blog 6

Mer Bleue in Winter, oil, 8" x 10

2009 was an exciting year in my art career with many firsts. In mid-February, I went plein air painting in winter for the first time. We put on our snowshoes and walked a short distance into the woods in St Pascal. I set my easel up to paint the view of snow-covered fields. I was unprepared for the occasion. The wind was heavy enough to blow my painting off the easel and onto my good winter jacket. Luckily, after I washed the jacket right after my return home, I was able to get rid of most of the oil stains. For the next outing to Mer Bleue, I picked an old construction coat that my dad had given me. It is the same coat I still wear more than ten years later.

I also went to a two-day Turner workshop with Andrea Mossop and was so excited about his use of light in his paintings. After the two days, I was exhausted but could hardly wait to incorporate what I had learned into my artworks.

Right after another successful vernissage at the Galerie de la Rive with more than120 visitors, I was on a high, even though I did not sell anything. At the same time, I also hung my first solo exhibition at the Blackburn Hamlet Library. I was proud of the show.

Last Signs of Snow, acrylic, 14" x 11"

At the end of March, a driver drove into my car and left me shaken and with whiplash. Luckily, the injury did not prevent me from going on my first painting trip to Petite Rouge. I could hardly believe that I had five days to paint with my friends and some of my former teachers. Every evening of the trip, I was exhausted. My eyes burned from the wind and the whole day of concentration on my surroundings. On the other hand, I was excited and motivated by the positive feedback. I met such friendly fellow painters during the trip and have such great memories of the Plein Air Ensemble painting trips over the years.

On April 25, 2009, a miracle saved our house. We had dinner when it suddenly got very windy. I decided to hurry up to finish my work outside. I was at the door when the lights in the hallway and the kitchen started to flicker. Immediately after, I heard a loud unfamiliar noise from the front of our property. I ran towards the sound and saw an enormous ball of fire at one of the hydro poles.

In full panic, I had just called 911 when we lost power. I was so scared that I had a hard time to give the dispatcher all the information. I instructed my children to take the dogs and get into one of the cars. My son did not consider that the dogs could be scared and did not put them on a leash. Alex almost ran off.

I grabbed my painting of Jessie, then tried to find the keys for our cars while looking for a flashlight. When I could find anything, I ripped all the keys from the holder together with another painting of Jessie and my precious teddy bear that travels with me everywhere. I managed to drive the cars to safety while my husband and a neighbour tried to keep the fire from the house with fire extinguishers.

The time until the first fire truck arrived seemed endless. The whole front of our property was on fire. It was a wall of fire that went from one electricity pole to the next. We were all shaking. Luckily, neighbours took my kids into their home.

Helpless and soaking wet from the rain, we had to watch as the fire trucks were standing by to wait for the hydro crew to turn off the power. I don’t know how long it took until the fire was out. Although the firewall was only a couple of meters from our house, the flames never jumped from the cedars to the mature row of trees.


Cumberland Mansion, acrylic, 16" x 20"

Instead of resting the next day, I had to finish a commission of a Cumberland mansion. After lots of struggles with the perspective, I was pleased with the final painting - and the buyer, too.

Liselotte Peters, acrylics, 10" x 14"

The next painting was a portrait of my husband’s grandmother. I still painted with the Blackburn Hamlet Group, even though my life was very hectic. The gallery required a lot of work, and I also continued to work at the daycare. I volunteered as the website mistress for the Ottawa Art Association and taught Sunday School. Plus, I took my children to all their sports and music activities and looked after our two dogs and the household. I was exhausted most of the time. 

Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies, acrylic, 16" x 20"

At the beginning of September, I joined some of my friends for a trip to Kamouraska. It was a good distraction from the worries about our dog, Candy. She was only four years old and had a tumor on one of her front pads, which grew fast. I drove together with my friend Janis. Both of us had joined the group for the first time.

I had such a great week that I registered right away for the following year. Every day, we left the house around 8:30 am and did not return until 5 pm. The trip was not without challenges. The weather was unpredictable. One day, I got quite frustrated due to the speed with which some of my friends were painting that I tensed up until I lost all the joy of painting. It was my friend Bill who reminded me of the beauty of being in nature painting with friends. He reminded me to stop comparing myself with anyone else.

After my return to Ottawa, I went back to the daycare in the mornings. I also started teaching German for the City of Ottawa one evening a week and worked as a skating attendant.

At the end of September, I took part in my first weekend show, the Canvas in Colours Show at the Richelieu Centre in Ottawa. It was a new experience that left me very disappointed as I did not sell anything.

Your Majesty, Ringo I, mixed media,  24" x 12"
In November, I participated in the Ottawa Art Association Members’ Award Show. I had felt good about my painting: “ Your Majesty, Ringo I” and was happy about all the positive feedback from fellow members. I had hoped to receive an Honourable Mention. I was disappointed when I received neither this nor the third or second prize. As I had not dared to dream about receiving the first prize, I was over the moon when the president announced my win. Only a couple of days later, a theatre visitor bought the painting.

On the other hand, I was frustrated about the lack of success in our gallery. While we had about 100 visitors at the last vernissage, people came mostly for food and drinks.

Then the big blow that put everything back in perspective. I received an email from one of my best friends in Germany. Her husband and daughter had a car accident. While her daughter survived, she lost her husband. In her mid-forties, she was suddenly a widow with two children and no other family around. I wished that I could have been with her.

Ginger, acrylic, 6" x 6"
Days later, I sold another dog portrait of Ginger, a little poodle. All in all, I sold seven paintings in 2009, which made me happy.

The year ended with a visit from my parents, who came three days after Christmas. It was the first and only time that they visited us close to the holidays.

I invite you to follow the next chapter of my story in two weeks.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Blog-free Week

While I am not officially doing my Creativity Challenge anymore, I still aim to spend some creative time every day. It always calms me down and brings me joy even when I have a frustrating day.

I am glad for the weekly virtual meeting with my painting buddies. During our hour together, we have worked on a variety of subjects. It is fun to see how each of us translates the photos into artworks. I usually use watercolour pencils or coloured pencils but have also worked with watercolours. Most of the time, I still work on the piece after our meetings.

I also enjoy the time with my students. Creating artworks to demonstrate different techniques and materials is always a fun experiment. I learn something from every new project.

Last but not least, I enjoy creating stories and relating images for my German students. My students in the Learn German Through Art courses are progressing well and enjoy the little sketches we draw during class.

Here is a collage of finished works from the last two weeks:

If you feel inspired to bring more creativity and joy to your life, my new workshop and course schedule for February to April is now on my website at

Friday, 5 February 2021

25 Year in Canada - The Year 2008

French Hill School House, acrylic 16" x 20"

 Blog 5

2008, was an exciting year in my art career that also brought many disappointments. At the beginning of the year, I had less time to paint due to my work schedule. At least, I still managed to go to the bi-weekly life drawing sessions. I was disappointed that I was not able to join my new painting friends regularly. I felt like an outsider again, when I found out that the others were in the process of opening a community gallery.

My parents and husband still considered my art an unimportant hobby. They did not understand how necessary painting was for me. I continued to have a hard time to convince them that it was something I had to do.

When I was in a good mood, I was sure I would convince my doubters. At other times, I was frustrated about the lack of support and ready to pull away from my painting buddies and bury my love for painting.

Right after I finished work at the daycare at the beginning of March, my children and I flew to Germany. I love spending March in Germany, where the climate is mild enough that the spring flowers are already blooming. During the trip, my mother and I visited the special exhibition “Impressionistinnen”, female impressionists. The works were breathtaking. All the more, I was so saddened to find out about Marie Bracquemond’s decision to stop painting pressured by her husband. I comprehended her feelings too well, and it left devastating.

At the beginning of April, I was disappointed that the Visual Arts Centre had cancelled all its art courses for restructuring. At the same time, our painting buddies group hardly met anymore. One organizer had decided that she preferred painting in her studio and was also looking for work, which was very upsetting. I lost not only my painting friend but also my walking buddy.

On the positive side, I became part of the board of the community gallery. Decisions closer to the opening revealed some discrepancies in the vision and resulted in some resignments.

We were busy getting everything ready for the big opening vernissage of Galerie de la Rive in Rockland on May 25, 2008. It was a lot of work, but we were proud of our accomplishments. The gallery in the Jardin Belle Rive retirement home looked great. We had managed to invite some very talented artists to participate. All the activities prevented us from painting.

St Pascal Barn, acrylic, 20" x 16"
It was only after the vernissage that I finally went painting with my painting buddies again. We met at a farm in St. Pascal, and I was not inspired at all. Once I felt the fresh air and heard the sounds of nature, I was excited, even though I had to fight with the wind blowing against my big canvas. When the sun finally emerged, I had a hard time putting the paints onto my canvas before they were dry. It was frustrating. I decided to bring my oil paints for the next outing.


Dreaming of Spring, acrylic, 15 3/4" x 15 3/4"
Due to our upcoming exhibition at the Galerie Old Chelsea, we painted mostly old buildings. While I love old barns, I was not too crazy about the theme. Instead, after finishing another dog portrait, I knew my real passion: creating pet paintings.

Once the school holidays started, my painting days hit a pause. We had a Spanish language student and one of my friends with her two sons visiting us for July.

Standing Proud, acrylic, 16" x 20"

In August, we went for our very first family vacation to a cottage. We had gone a couple of times to Germany. There, we always had a tight visiting programme to see friends and relatives instead of spending time as a family. This time, we had a lot of fun while hiking and swimming. I even found time to create my “Standing Proud” painting for the next Arteast exhibition with the theme “Trees”. The jury rejected the artwork. The high number of submissions had made it necessary to pick paintings that showed more than one tree. I was devastated.


Colours of Muskoka, acrylic, 16" x 20"

While I was at the cottage, I also created an abstract painting by chance. When I wanted to tint my next canvas with my leftover paints, an abstract painting emerged that excited me.

Strutting, acrylic, 16" x 20"

From August 7 to 28, 2008, we held our painting buddies group exhibition “Heritage” at Galerie Old Chelsea. It looked fantastic, but only one artist sold a painting. We were all quite disappointed. At least, I was proud of one of my fellow artist’s praise for “The White House” and “Strutting”.


The White House, acrylic, 11" x 14"

Even after our kids went back to school, I hardly found time to paint. I worked on the board of our gallery and as the new webmistress of the Ottawa Art Association. As my husband had created the new website, it made sense that the association asked me to upload the content and maintain the website. It was a very time-intensive task. In November, I also went back to work at the daycare for a month.

If you would like to know how I turned things around in 2009, I invite you to follow my journey in two weeks.