Saturday, June 30

Some watercolour progresses....

Here are some watercolours that I've been working on...

Alphabet Tree watercolour - 12x16" in progress

Alphabet Tree - 12x16" watercolour in progress

Panda in a Bamboo Tree - 12x16" watercolour in progress

...and the watercolour that you've seen a couple times already. I think it's starting to take shape into a recognizable form...anyone know what it is yet?

16x20" watercolour in progress
This piece is taking a longer time, because I'm using pools of water and paint to achieve the effects that I'm after. This takes a long time to dry, and I want it to dry naturally (not with a hairdryer) so I don't get hard lines in unwanted areas, and so I don't 'blow' the paint around. And, being watercolour - it takes layers to achieve depth, especially in the darker this will be a piece that I wouldn't be surprised if it took another month, or even two or three.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! It's Canada Day weekend over here, and I'll be heading to a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game tomorrow afternoon to celebrate in Toronto!

Friday, June 29

These shoes were made for running...

A picture from earlier this week when I went for a run (obviously before surgery - the rest of the week I've just been a lazy bum :D ). I love, love how bright these pink shoes are!

Thursday, June 28

My Creative Space

I've had a bit more progress on this large watercolour painting. It's going very slowly, but things are working out as I planned, so over all it's going well!

See more creative spaces, here.

On Its Way...

These wonderful supplies are on their way to me :) I figured after being sick, and then operated on, new supplies were in order :D more paper. I'm really excited about the pastel pencils for detail, and I might be able to try animals with these. 

Wednesday, June 27

Big Shop Update!

I just finished a fairly big update to the shop. I added lots of pastel paintings, and they're all matted with standard sized mats, with backing board, and ready to pop into picture frames! This means that buyers don't have to invest in custom frames, these standard sizes are very easy to find all over the place (unless of course they still want to custom frame). 

'Bird of Paradise' - Original Pastel Painting Available

Clouds I - Original Pastel Painting Available

Daffodil - Original Pastel Painting Available

Golden Path - Original Pastel Painting Available

Radiant Lily - Original pastel Painting Available

Spring Cardinal - Original Pastel Painting Available

All listings have the dimensions of the actual painting, and then dimensions of the mat - so you can get a frame ready for when it arrives!

I've really been really taking to these pastels, as I'm sure you've noticed. Don't worry - I'm still working on watercolours lots too, and will be sharing some new ones. I think I've found my two 'main' mediums though that I'm super excited to use: watercolour and pastels. 

Monday, June 25

Recipe: Summer Couscous salad

This salad is perfect for summer, and so easy to make!

What you need:
  • 1 c. dried couscous (I used tricoloured couscous)
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1/4c vinegar (you can use wine vinegar, ect if you prefer)
  • Oregano to taste (fresh is better, but dried works too)
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1-2c diced salad vegetables - I used radish, celery, cucumber (seeded), broccoli and carrots

Prepare the couscous to according to directions, and while cooling mix up the dressing for the salad: oil, vinegar, lemon juice and spices. Then chop / dice all your vegetables. Mix everything together - the couscous will absorb the dressing, so don't worry if it doesn't seem like there is much. And, you can always add a little more here and there as needed for your preference.

Let cool and collect flavours in the fridge for a while, and then enjoy! This is a great way to use up little extra bits of veggies that you might have left lying around.

Sunday, June 24

Beaches and Trials

I started off Saturday sitting at the beach reading for a little while. It was nice and relaxing - and it got me out of my tiny apartment while the boy slept the day away after working a busy night shift. I tend to make extraordinary amounts of noise when he is sleeping during the day, despite my efforts to try and keep quiet. 

Then, in the afternoon - evening, I started a new pastel painting. A landscape based on a photo I had. This is where the trials (and many errors) came. This piece was a struggle, and I still don't really like it. I just have to accept it though: as an artist, not everything you create will be something you love. It's sort of an unspoken golden rule. A nice little exception to that rule: even if you don't love it, someone else might - we all see things differently.  Also, sharing this 'not-so-successful' painting will let everyone know that learning a medium is a process, and not everything an artist does is perfect to them.

First marks...

Being that this isn't an acrylic / oil painting as I'm typically used to - I can't paint over the entire piece when done. It's on paper, and it will only take so much abuse. Watercolour is the same sort of idea - you only get one chance to lay down colour: if it doesn't suit you, you can't take it of...well, you can try with watercolour, but you might not get it all off. 

Adding in the sky...feeling good about this piece still

Added forest in and my mass of autumn trees.
 This is where things turned a little sour in the process. I knew that mass of green trees to the left was too much. So I took them out - I took a paper towel and rubbed it down until most was gone - there was still traces of it on the paper, so I had to be careful when lying other colours on top of it:

A plainer background helps the autumn foliage stand out a bit more
 After adding some more sky-holes in the tree, it's done. Well, supposed to be done. Like I said before I'm not a complete fan of it. The colours of the tree are way more vibrant in life I must say. A little too vibrant - but how I love bright colours!

"Untitled" - 8x10" pastel painting
And here are some details below:

I know one of my 'mistakes' with this piece was filling in the tooth of the painting way too quickly. I read something online about alcohol underpaintings, and how it might save a layer or two of tooth. I think I will have to start looking into those. 

Saturday, June 23

Cloudscape Pastel Painting

"Cloudscape I" - Pastel Painting, 8x10"
 I completed another pastel painting - Cloudscape I - it was so, so much fun painting these fluffy clouds! The picture does not do it justice at all - the blues at the top of the sky are remarkable.

All the different pastel colours I used to complete these piece,
with the exception of the PanPastels that I had started with.  All are
Mount Visions with the exception of the white hue Terry Luwig.
You'll notice that most of the pastels I used are just different hues / shades of each other, and some aren't very off from each other at all. Welcome to the world of being a pastelist - you need every little hue, or at least some variety, whereas with painting you can mix up what you need. I unluckily didn't realize that, and jumped into this medium head first, loving it all the way. Now, I'll have to face the consequences of that love. So far I've been really good with being able to create what I need from the mere 75 mount visions sticks, 16 PanPastels, and the 15-ish random sticks ones I purchased in the beginning - eek! I'm already at almost 100 pastel sticks!

You're probably also wondering what grossness all these pastel are sitting in - it's ground up white rice. It's good at keeping them clean, and pulling off loose dust - which is usually dust from other colours. Pastels get really dirty really quickly, and this rice is keeping things in check. It's also nice, because the sticks won't roll all over the place either.

I've been super good with creating this week! Wow! I think this afternoon I'll have to pull out the watercolours after packing up orders. 

Friday, June 22

'Floral Flame' Tulip Pastel Painting and Process

"Floral Flame" - Detail

I've been trying to dabble with my pastel more, and as you might have noticed - I'm sort of being successful with this. This week I've been able - so far - to complete three pastel pieces. This one, even though smaller, took the longest just because of all the details of the flower. It's easy to take your own artistic liberties with landscapes, as I did with my last two pieces this week - altering colours and adding / taking out elements. But with a floral piece, it's still has to look like a flower in the end. 

Since I was able to complete this one during the day, and take nice pictures along the way, I thought I'd share the process of this one with you:

First step: adding blocked-in clours with PanPastels
 Since I couldn't decide on a background, I went with no background at all. With this decision, I choose to use the blue canson mi-teintes paper to compliment the golden yellow of the blossom. I had to be very careful then with this piece that I didn't put smudges in the background, and that my outlines were clean.

Step Two: Adding in details / more colour with my mount visions, building up layers.
After a light layer of the PanPastels, I'm able to use my Mount Visions and start building up layers. Since this paper can only take so many layers of pastel you have to be considerate about your 'actions'.

Step Three: final touches and signature 
 At the last step, I take a look and be sure I have the highlights and shadows in. I also went around with an eraser, and picked up all the pastel dust that had settled on the background of the piece. And here is the final piece, with a completion time of about 2 hours.

"Floral Flame" Pastel Painting - 5x7" on 6x9" paper.

Thursday, June 21

Poppies and Iris Pastel Painting

Poppies and Iris - 8x10" pastel painting

I spent another evening playing with my pastels again creating a quick landscape. My favourite part would have to be painting the skies...I struggled with the 'rolling hills' for sure. I used my Mount Vision pastels again, with a touch of a random art spectrum that I had, and a NuPastel to draw the basic shapes. This piece was from a landscape challenge in the Landscape forum on WetCanvas.

Wednesday, June 20

Pastel Sketching

 Just a quick pastel painting...or sketch I suppose. I haven't really had time lately to play with my pastels, and so I took them out last night, and created this quick landscape. It took about an hour.

I love how you can still see 'thick layers' of pastels on the paper.

Thursday, June 14

Large Watercolour Painting Progress

Just some more of the 'unknown' watercolour from the other day:

...still lots and lots to do. The longest parts are just waiting for things to dry so that I can move onto the next piece. Typically, I would do this with a blow dryer, but that will ruin what I'm going natural drying time it is...

Wednesday, June 13

Summer Beef Tacos with Avocado and Cucumber Salsa Recipe

This simple Summer Beef Taco (with Avocado and Cucumber Salsa) recipe is so ridiculously easy, not to mention quick! It's light, and very fresh tasting.

What you need:

  • Beef
  • Season for your beef - 
    • I chose: garlic, chili powder
  • Red Cabbage shredded
  • Avocado Cucumber Salsa (below)
  • Soft Tortillas

First, prepare your favourite marinade or spice rub for your beef. If you are graced with a BBQ, please do BBQ the beef - unfortunately, I do not have one as I'm in an apartment building. So I sliced up the beef, and then marinated it in some olive oil, garlic and chili powder - the heat gives a nice contrast to the cool avocado. But your favourite 'beef prep' will work well too.

While the beef is marinating, you will put together your salsa:

  • 1 cucumber seeded and diced
  • 1-2 avocados (save the middle pit)
  • chopped cilantro to taste (~1/4c. - 1/2c.)
  • diced red onion (optional)
  • juice from 2-3 limes.
Let this sit, and shred up some red cabbage - this adds beautiful colour to the dish, and lots of 'crunch'! 

Cook up your beef. While you are doing this, warm your tortilla's - I just placed mine in my oven. Once the beef is done, let it sit for a couple minutes, and then put everything together: tortilla + beef + red cabbage + salsa. 

Since I love cilantro, I added more to my final dish, and gave it all another splash of the lime juice. If you're not able to eat everything, you can use the pits from the avocados to help keep the salsa "green" a little bit longer - just throw the pits in the bowl, cover and put in the fridge. 


Beautiful Sunsets

Monday, June 11

This is Where I Run

I've been trying to run often...that sometimes get's hard with being on call at the hospital - but I do the best I can :)

Friday, June 8

In The Studio...

I had to move my 'studio' to the floor for this one piece. Can you tell what it is?

I have to be on 'super-cat-patrol' when working on the floor; Oreo just keeps trying to either drink the paint water, or walk / sit on the wet painting. 

Monday, June 4

Abstract Ripples

I have begun working on this oil painting again that I had started probably over a year ago. Back then I had reached a 'block' in the progression of the piece, and where I wanted to go with it. 

I was looking at it the other day and thought, maybe I should add some white outlines to it and see if that goes anywhere, and so far I think it's heading in a decent direction :)