Everyday Life

"Life is Grand", 2018, 8"x10" acrylics on canvas (private collection)

At Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the west coast of British Columbia, three sisters took the time to sit and enjoy the sense of the place. This painting was a birthday gift to my sister. The girls are her grandchildren. I stayed true to the colours they were wearing in my reference photo. Despite the strength of the colour of each jacket, none of them dominate. It was simply a beautiful palette, ready made for me, and it’s one of my favourite paintings.

There was actually a fourth girl in the photo, a friend of the family. I opted to exclude her because this was a gift for the girls’ grandmother.

Photo credit: The girls’ parents

"Saturday Morning", 2018, 20"x20" oil on canvas

This was my first still life done in oils. I didn’t set high expectations for myself when I started this piece and had decided to just have fun and enjoy the experience. When I was finished, the thought occurred to me – this painting makes me think of a Saturday morning. Thus, its title.

"Walking with Parker", 2017, 11"x14" acrylics on gallery canvas, SOLD

This was a commission piece. The setting is based on the road to our cottage near Haliburton, Ontario. The woman is the daughter of a friend and of course the dog is ‘Parker’. Here we see the power of a little dog. I find it fascinating how that small black and white English Springer Spaniel dominates the painting despite taking up very little canvas space.

"Off Leash", 2018, 11"x14" acrylics on masonite

My own black and white English Springer Spaniel Belle was the model for this lucky dog off leash at the seashore. If I had given the dog Belle’s black and white colours, she would have dominated the scene and the young girl would have to fight for a place in the setting.  You can see the impact I’m referring to by looking at my painting Walking with Parker shown in this gallery. Even with the liver and white colouring, this off-leash dog is still brought forward as the star of the painting. I suppose it was inevitable. By having one of the girl’s feet turned over a bit, I hoped it might give her a little more interest.

"Louise", 2018, 11"x14" acrylics on canvas, SOLD

Alma Louise (Medicraft) Stevens was one of my many first cousins. She passed away in 2015. Louise loved her photography and her art. Her daughter-in-law shared a photo of Louise taken during a family visit to British Columbia. In this painting I captured the essence of Louise. She actually owned a pair of red pants but had long ago shied away from wearing colours other than black and navy blue. I wanted to capture Louise’s well known and self-acknowledged tendency to control and restrain. However, I wanted to also capture the Louise who would wear red pants. Even though she was wearing navy blue pants and a tan hat in my reference photo, I decided it was time for Louise to get back to colour. I kept the self-restraint she showed in the photo, allowing it to contradict her red pants and hat. This painting hangs in the home of one of Louise’s sisters.

Study for "Mali Women", 2018, 8"x10" oils on masonite

This is a study for piece in progress called Mali Women. I wanted to capture the random colourfulness of the clothing vibrating against the earth tones in the women’s environment.

"Apple Study" and "Fruit Bowl Study" (after Wendon Blake), 2017, 8"x8" acrylics on canvas

I decided to challenge myself with a few still life pieces. Using guidance from a book by Wendon Blake, I painted Apple Study first. With a little more confidence, I moved on and painted Fruit Bowl Study. Completing these pieces was a very worthwhile exercise.

"Worth the Wait", 2018, 12"x16" acrylics on masonite

The dog waits patiently for the last bits of the girls’ ice cream cones. He knows his reward will come eventually. All he has to do is wait patiently because he’s been down this road before.