Thoughts and Ideas about Stuff.....and art


Our next show will be at the Calgary Public Library Central Branch from December 1 - 31/ 21. Our paintings will be on display on the street level west window on 3rd street and on the 4th floor. All paintings are for sale. Please stop by and see some fantastic art presented by our members.

The Joys of painting in an RV while on vacation...

My usual table set up

The comfort of being inside if and when the weather turns bad. And it always does...

Bringing lots of painting supplies. (but I always forget something, Oh well..)

Relaxation and Privacy when painting. (Unless your neighbor invites you to tea!)

Listening to music while painting. (Do the dance of joy during a break!)

Making coffee and lunch, or a nice glass of wine will do too. 

Able to take bathroom breaks without leaving the RV.  (Yes, very important!)

Taking your time at it. (Also Important!)

Enjoying the scenery and the subject while on location.  

Our 34 foot Travel Trailer and Truck

Some Artists who inspire me.....

David Langevin, Canadian Artist

Doug Swinton, Canadian Artist

Robert Bateman, Canadian Wildlife Artist 

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Post Impressionist Painter.

The Impressionist Painters. All of them!

Karen Oliver, Canadian Artist

Georgia O'Keefe, American Painter

Canadian Groups of Seven Artists

Tjalf Sparnaay, Dutch Artist

Jenny Fusca, Floral Artist

Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Belgium, Painter and Botanist. 

The Passionate Painters Art Group

My Painting Tools.......recommended

I use the best quality professional paints. Not to brag, but I do. Two that I use are Golden and Liquitex. They offer the highest pigment, have the widest of color choices and color shifts are limited.  Price range varies. Of course everyone has their preference.


The canvases I use can vary according to availability. My favorite canvas brand is Gotrick, specifically, Apollon-Gotrick Delux stretched and Delux Gallery.  They are high quality double and triple primed with enough tooth to hold paint well, and are Canadian made. They are very good sturdy supports.


My brushes are Silver Brush Ruby Satin. ( I have other brands but these are my favorite). Short handle and long. I have both. They are the only ones I will use most and the reason is the quality. These are exceptional synthetic brushes with exceptional snap and color control which is why I love them, but are a little hard to find in my area and the only store that I have managed to find them is at Mona Lisa's art supply store. They carry a small range of them. Other supply stores in Calgary don't carry them, not sure why, but you can find them on Amazon. However, they sell them individually and are pricey. Silver brush also have a website where you can buy them. They can be used for oil, acrylic and watercolor.

I highly recommend these. 

I also use a variety of mediums to add to my acrylic paint to incorporate into their properties. I will often use a retarder medium for instance to lengthen the drying time of my acrylics. I often use a glazing medium as well. You can see that on a few of my paintings where rocks are featured. Gels are also used when I want to apply thicker paint on my canvas and enhance the appearance of brush strokes. There's so much that can be done with mediums and fun to try some of them. Lastly, I varnish my paintings after they are finished drying. I don't use a lot of varnish but just a coat or two thinly applied as a way to protect them. It's a matter of preference.

My painting method..... do I have one?

I thought it might be interesting to show just how I go about creating a painting in my studio. Just like everyone else, I start off in search of a good subject, but before I do, it starts with an idea. The process can take some time. I go through many of my own reference photographs. I sit down and let the pictures talk to me. This is often how I get inspired to start something. In Alberta, winter is long and hard, often difficult to paint on location unless you have some fantastic set up where you can paint comfortably. (My RV unfortunately is not geared for winter outings).

The first thing I look for is a good composition that I have already seen through my camera lens. Having good color in the image is important too. I adjust settings on my camera to allow for this. Once I have a good image, I can do the necessary adjustments on my computer. I print off two photos. One in color, the other in black and white to see the values. Depending on how close I am to my subject as I am taking the photo, I print in 4x6 and 5x7 to see the details. To actually start my painting from a photograph, I make sure the dimensions are right in accordance to the canvas I'm using. 

To Tone or not to Tone.....

I always draw my image in pencil on the the canvas first and I always give my canvas a background color. I find by doing this, I can see the color values more clearly and it seems to help minimize colors going too dark or too light. It also seals the canvas so colors don't bleed through I'm told, although I've never had this happen.

My favorite colors to tone are Yellow Ochre (opposite), Raw Umber, Neutral Grey N6, and Ultramarine Blue. I use Titanium white mixed in to make the paint lighter if needed and mix a little water to thin it all out if it's too thick.

My Stay-wet paint pallet, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White and some mediums I use to do glazes and keep the paint from drying out quickly.

After I've completed all the prep work, I begin by choosing what area to paint first on the canvas. I then choose a color and start painting. I don't squeeze out all the paint colors I need on my pallet like some artists do. You see them spread around the perimeter of the pallet. Probably this is more for oil painting. I prefer to squeeze out one or two colors at a time rather than possibly waste paint that I may end up not using and watching a blob of paint dry out. It's a waste. What I do is arrange my paint tubes in a row beside my pallet, that I know I will use. That way they are kept moist and I can see the colors indicated on each tube.  I have my retarder fluid handy and I use a large ice cream bucket to use for water, to clean brushes. My painting techniques vary, if any. I use a combination of short and long strokes to apply paint and in different directions. No rhyme or reason here, just working to get the color down is my intension. I do a lot of mixing too because I love to play with color and see what I end up with. That's about it.    

An Optical Illusion in Art

There is a technique in Art called, Trompe l'oeil, which means trick of the eye. It's a technique which uses realistic imagery to create the illusion of depth. It was invented by Donato Bramante during the Renaissance period and made famous by many other artists. Most notably by painter Pere Borrell del Caso and his painting entitled, Escaping Criticism. It's a famous one where we see a young boy almost jumping out of a picture frame. I remember seeing it in art history books. This little 8x10 painting I did some years ago uses that same technique, only I tried it using flowers that seem to overflow out of a painted frame I created on the canvas. I was very impressed with the way my painting looked after I finished it. It did feel and appear like it had depth to it. I no longer have this little painting, it went to a very good home.   

Studio Spotlight....mine

My space includes a throw carpet on the concrete painted floor and a comfortable sofa in which I can plan my next painting. The paintings are hung and attached using wood pieces connected to the studs behind the curtains on one wall. It creates visual impact upon entering.

Of course what would a studio be without music. I play music whenever I can while painting or thinking about new ideas.  I find it helps me relax and get really creative. 

An artist studio is a place where ideas are transformed into something real. You can be transported into an artist's imagination when you enter their space where creativity is everywhere. 

Artists all have a special place that they like to create their art. Mine is an at-home studio located in the basement of my home. My studio has no formal walls, instead the walls are covered in white curtains from the ceiling to the floor. It allows for light from a window above to illuminate the room by bouncing it off the curtains. It's needed so that I have enough natural light streaming in to paint by. The furniture is also white, which also helps. Lightning bulbs used is both daylight and soft warm white which creates a perfect balance.

I love the Alex drawer and the Kallax shelf units for my studio. It affords me ample storage for all my essentials.

My new Varnishing and Drying Rack

I had this made for me using reclaimed wood from crates. It's designed like a puzzle that is put together. It holds small canvases (8x10 or less to larger canvases up to 36"). Add more wooden pieces to the puzzle to increase it's size. Raises and holds canvases in place while the varnish dries. Then I take it apart to store. Works great!

Ten best colors to attract sales...

I was watching an online tutorial about Color Theory and this tidbit of information came up during the tutorial that I thought I would share with you. It's about what colors that should be incorporated in a painting in order to attract sales. I found this interesting. Below are the colors and their meaning.

Red, color of power, exciting

Blue, trustworthy and cool

Yellow, commands attention and confidence

Green, warm and inviting, soothing

Pink, youthfulness, love, romantic

Purple, color of Royalty, commands attention

Orange, energy, attention getter, warmth

Brown, earthy, relaxing

Black, dramatic, mysterious

White, purity, lightness, cleanliness

Some images of the Country Hills Golf and Country Club Fall Art Show - September 26,2021

More to come