Tag Archives: portrait

Surprise! It’s a portrait – Day 245

I can now share the commissioned ‘surprise’ portrait with you!

Not too long into my 365 day journey my friend Deb contacted me and asked if I would consider spending some of my days on a portrait of her four year old daughter. It was to be a surprise for her husband John.

I have done a couple portraits in the past but I’ve found people are very difficult to paint. It’s sometimes hard to capture someone’s personality, especially if you don’t know them and are working from a photograph. Although I was reluctant, I agreed to do it since this year is all about challenging myself and doing things that are out of my comfort zone.

I finished the painting last week and contacted Deb to arrange delivery. She invited me to lunch today so I could present it to John. I was really nervous about it…..what if they didn’t like it? What if it didn’t look like Abigail? Although Deb commissioned me to do it she hadn’t seen it yet so it was pretty stressful for me waiting to see their reaction.

Luckily, they both loved it. John was speechless (which doesn’t happen often!) and Deb actually teared up. I was so relieved they liked it!



Garden surprises! Day 231

I’ve been working away on the portrait I can’t show you (it’s a surprise) and the little fall landscape. They’re both coming along and I’m hoping this weekend to finish the portrait. I know I’ve said that before but this time I mean it!

The landscape is coming along nicely and I’ve finished the first layer of paint on the trees. I just need to finish the first layer on the rocks before I start the second layer which refines and gives more contrast.

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time outside this summer and we’ve gotten quite the bounty from our vegetable garden this year. The peas were great and we’re still eating all kinds of lettuce, green beans, tomatoes and peppers. We grew jalapenos this year and I’m loving them in the pico de gallo that I make. Yum.

We planted carrots again this year although we haven’t had very good luck with them in the past. John picked a few today to see how they were doing and found two intertwined together. What a neat surprise!



Working on two paintings is working for me – Day 225

I’ve been refining the portrait and it’s coming along. I still have a bit more to do but I’m pleased with the progress so far.

I’ve also been working on the fall landscape that I can show you and I’m really enjoying doing two paintings at once.

I start on the portrait and do a bunch of detailed work and then switch over to the landscape and then lose myself in the darks and lights of the trees and the rocks.

Port Sydney falls is one of my favourite places in the world and I could draw or paint it at any time of the year, it’s so special to me. I hope the finished product conveys my love for the area!


Starting another painting – Day 223

I’ve been working on the portrait this week but when I went to use my paints they were pretty much at their end. I mix my paint and put the colours onto a paper palette which goes into an airtight container and store in the freezer. The paint can last a couple of weeks which is really convenient. When it starts to get thick though it’s time to throw that palette out and start again.

I was trying to use up the paint today since it was headed for the garbage, so I did the large areas on the portrait and then started on a new painting.

I’ve had a small Muskoka autumn landscape drawn out for a while now (it’s 12″ x 12″) and it was the perfect opportunity to use up the greens and blues I already had mixed. This is just the first layer of paint so the colours don’t have to be perfect – I will be more precise in the next layers.

Here’s the original photo and the drawing:


Here’s the beginning of the first layer of paint:


An amazing underwater gallery – Day 222

I’m still working on the portrait I can’t show you……and it’s killing me! I’d love to be able to share my progress with you but it’s a surprise gift so I can’t. I’m trying to remember to take some photos as I go so I can show you how it developed when it’s finally done.

I found this video of an underwater art exhibit by Andreas Frankes that I just found fascinating and I had to share. Who would’ve thought of creating an art exhibit underwater on an old shipwreck?

“One Year after Andreas Frankes visit to the Vandenberg his images of the wreck were filled with charming stories and now it is high time to exhibit them. No better place as the place where the project began.
Since August 4th 2011 divers can benefit from a very special experience and find a package of 12 images placed on the hulk of the artificial reef General Hoyt S. Vandenberg located 100 feet below sealevel and approximately seven miles south of Key West.

Divers at the Vandenberg Exhibition Andreas Franke’s exhibition contains twelve pictures showing every day scenes from past times. The stage of those scenes is the place the pictures are exhibited now, the Vandenberg.
The images are encased between sheets of Plexiglas with a stainless steel frame. A silicone seal keeps out the water. The images are attached to the ship by strong magnets which grants a damage free removing after the end of the exhibition.
Andreas about the images “Mystified scenes of the past that play in a fictional space. Dreamworlds, where you can get lost or you can identify with. This makes a new and unexpected atmosphere.”

A mystery lily – Day 220

We had a great time over the weekend with our friends who came to visit. We ate too much, drank too much, got sunburnt and laughed a lot. It was perfect!

I’m well into the second layer of paint on the commissioned portrait and it’s really coming together. If I can get a couple of good days of painting I may be done by the end of the week.

The heat and humidity were gone today and there was a beautiful cool breeze. It’s been such a hot, dry summer the gardens are really stressed. We bought a number of asiatic lilies to put around our new pond and a couple of them didn’t have tags on them so we didn’t know what colour or type they were. Two of them bloomed a while ago and the flowers were a beautiful cream and orange-ish colour.

The last lily bloomed this past week and it’s absolutely stunning. I haven’t seen one with flowers like this before – they face down towards the ground and are quite curly. I think I may just have to paint these at some point!




Time for a little break – Day 216

I’m almost finished the first layer of paint on the portrait that I’ve been commissioned to do. It’s a surprise gift so there won’t be any photos until the end!

This is a holiday weekend in Ontario as we enjoy the Civic Holiday on Monday. We have friends coming for the weekend so we did the ‘flight of the bumblebee’ around the house and yard tonight getting things cleaned up. It’s amazing what you get done when you’re expecting company! They will be arriving tomorrow (Friday) in the early afternoon and we’re all really looking forward to it.

Since we’ll be entertaining and hopefully relaxing, I won’t be blogging again until Monday. I’ll be doing my drawing or painting each day but you’ll have to wait until Monday for the report.

I have received my Split Rail Fence prints on canvas and note cards and they look fabulous! Spitting Images has done another exceptional job.

I’ll be getting these listed on my Etsy Shop soon!



Back to an older project and Olympic art! Day 213

This morning I got out the oil paint and brushes again and got back to working on the portrait I’ve been commissioned to do. It’s a surprise gift for someone so I can’t show you my progress on this one!

The Olympics have started and I’m trying to catch as much of it as I can. I’ve always loved the Olympics – you get to see sports you don’t often have access to and I love hearing the stories of the athletes. Some are just incredible. In December 2009 I had the pleasure of being part of the committee organizing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Community Celebration for Lindsay, Ontario and it was one of the best events I’ve been involved in. There truly is an energy to the Olympic flame and seeing the torch just gave me chills.

Although people think of the Olympics as mainly a sporting event, there is a large cultural component as well. There are a number of projects that have been done for London 2012 and I thought this one was pretty neat. In ‘Art Drive! BMW Art Car Collection’ 16 BMW cars were painted by international artists.

For two weeks only the ICA takes over an off site space in the East End with ART DRIVE! – an opportunity to view BMW’s unique collection of ART CARS for the first time in the UK. The Collection, initiated over 35 years ago, consists of BMW cars transformed into artworks by leading international artists, using the form of the car as their canvas.


Alexander Calder, Sandro Chia, Ken Done, Ernst Fuchs, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Matazo Kayama, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Esher Mahlangu, Cesar Manrique, M.J Nelson, A.R Penck, Robert Rauschenburg, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol


Some more cool stuff – Day 87

I’m still working on the portrait but since I can’t show it to you (yet) I thought I’d share some more cool artwork I’ve found.

When I got my iPad I found the Flipboard app and I realized that this is where people find a lot of the neat stuff they share online. It’s easy to find and easy to share, unlike on my PC where I kind of have to know what I’m looking for before I find it.

So today’s cool stuff comes from Twisted Sifter, a curator that I follow on Flipboard. They’ve featured Alberto Seveso who photographs ink plumes underwater. They’re fascinating…I hope you enjoy them.20120327-200150.jpg

More portrait painting and some cool stuff – Day 86

I did some more work today on the ‘portrait that can’t be shown’ and I’m pleased with how it’s coming along.

Today I stumbled across the work of Andres Amador who does amazing earthscape art. He sketches a design first and then takes rakes in various sizes to the beach and creates wonderful images.

You can see his work on his website, I think it’s just incredible. I’m always amazed at people who are able to work on such a large scale…I truly can’t even comprehend how it’s done!