Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ending the year...

Storm Birds
12" x 24"

10" x 10"

For both of these paintings I used Kroma acrylic paints. They are a local company on Granville Island making their paints on site.
Now that my paintings are done I need to get caught up with my drawings. I have one commission currently in progress and three drawings for a major international exhibit. Fingers crossed I get them done in time AND accepted into the show. :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

5th Annual Anonymous Art Show

Above are my three latest paintings that I have submitted to the Anonymous Art Show at the North Vancouver Community Arts Council & CityScape Community Art Space. This show runs from November 26 at 7:00pm and continues through Saturday, December 19. The Anonymous Art Show a group exhibition and fundraising event that includes both emerging and established two-dimensional artists working strictly on unframed 8” x 8” x 1 ½” back stapled canvases.

The paintings are sold anonymously (but the artists do sign the back of their paintings) and each painting is priced at $100 each. Fifty percent goes back to the artist while the balance goes to the Arts Council for the many valuable community programmes, projects and events they host.

This exhibition is a great opportunity to purchase original art in time for Christmas - and you can choose from up to 600 pieces! But make sure to get there early opening night as they are known for long lines and rapid sales!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Portrait & Self-Portrait Art Show on Now

Guests Gallery's 1st Annual International Portrait & Self-Portrait Art Show is on now through November 30, 2009.

This art show is an online contest where you are the judge! I have entered three of my pointillism/stippling drawings into the contest: Nicolas Cage, Bella and my Self Portrait. Visit the online exhibit and cast your votes - you can vote for your two favourite artists. Portrait & Self-Portrait Art Show.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Water Studies - Homework

Last week's art class homework - water studies: Three different bodies of water painted three different ways. The top painting was done with a brush and palette knife, the middle painting was brush only, and my teacher said I could use anything BUT a paintbrush for my third, so I used my fingers and a palette knife. This is on 16" x 20" loose canvas. Couldn't seem to knock out the camera flash glare on the bottom painting ...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Homework - Still Life

More homework from Emily Carr. This is basically the same as last week's homework (spheres), but our teacher, Lori Goldberg asked me to set up my own still life at home and bring it next class for marks. I thoroughly enjoyed this project, and I'm starting to feel a wee bit more comfortable painting - and that's what I was after all along.
This is on 16" x 20" canvas pad using locally made Kroma Artist Acrylic paints.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

And on a different note...

"Untitled" 12" x 24"

This week's acrylic painting class homework. We started by ripping pages out of surf magazines to create a landscape collage. The goal was not to define objects, etc, but to see the colour in "blocks". Painting was not about realism, but about laying down said blocks of colour to create a sense of depth.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ride 'Em Cowboy!

This drawing was included in the Interlakes Rodeo program! The Breakaway drawing below, as well as the Team Roping drawing and a steer wrestler ACEO were also included.

This drawing is 8" x 10" on Strathmore 100lb Bristol Smooth support using a 2H, 2B and 4B graphite pencil and a tortillon for a little flying dirt blending. Took about four hours to complete.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Found myself on a bit of a mini-roll today with the Western art. This is a drawing I've had in my "to draw" folder for a long time. Kinda blew it with her shirt, but overall I'm happy with it.

Finished size 5" x 7" on 100lb Strathmore Bristol Smooth
4B graphite pencil, with tortillon blending tool

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Team Roping

Finally had some time to get caught up on a commission. This drawing is of a husband and wife roping team that I know in the Cariboo for their 25th wedding anniversary. Its also my first Western theme drawing. Phew! All that tack took a LONG time!

The details:
8" x 10" graphite pencil drawing on 100lb Strathmore Bristol Smooth, using a 4B pencil and tortillon to smooth out the flying dirt, and took about six hours to complete.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Horsing Around

More homework from my Composition and Form art class. These two are from a collection of 15 drawings done on different surfaces using different tools and techniques, all of the same object in as many angles as possible. We then had to set up all our work salon style, which was part of the critique.

For these two, I found a Spanish language newspaper, tore the pages out, covered them with Sanguine conte pencils that I blended out with paper towel, and then drew the horses with black charcoal. The finished effect wasn't really intended, I was just letting the creative juices run free, but I really like the "vintage" feel. I think I'll be doing more works like this.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Art of Realism Invite Postcards

I am so excited! The gallery used one of my drawings on their invite postcards for the upcoming "Art of Realism" show! Something for my portfolio. :-)

If you find yourself in the Vancouver area between July 24 and August 29, get over to the CitySpace Community ArtSpace in North Vancouver to check out the show. The opening reception is July 23 from 7-9pm. I, along with the other artists, will be in attendance. If you find yourself there make sure you say 'Hi'.

I googled the other artists and they are amazing! Definitely worth it to take in the exhibit.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Guests Gallery - 1st International Animal Art Contest

The winners were announced today for Guests Gallery's 1st Annual Animal Art Show. This was an online only art contest with a bit of a twist. Instead of the standard board of judges to evaluate the submitted artwork, the judging rested purely on the general public's shoulders. I entered three drawings into the contest and "Little Iron Horse" won an Honorable Mention!
Thank you very much to everyone who voted! You can check out all the results at Guest Gallery's website - 2009 Animal Art Show Winners.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Art of Realism Exhibition

WooHoo! I feel like I just won the lottery! All four pieces (shown below) that I submitted for consideration were accepted into the "Art of Realism" exhibition at the North Vancouver Community Arts' CityScape ArtSpace. The show features realistic drawings created with the objective of obtaining as photo-realistic a finish as possible while using the most basic of materials, pencil and paper. The exhibition runs July 25 - August 29 with an opening reception on July 24th. I'll be there often taking lots of pictures. This is my first official juried exhibition, I kinda feel like a kid on Christmas morning. :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Art Happens

Compressed charcoal on 18" x 24" cartridge paper

This drawing was homework for this week's form and composition class. We worked with it in class, adding colour to the composition to lead the eye. Not wanting to mess with this one, I did another quick copy for the class project. This one I decided to keep as is in my portfolio as is because it was one of those drawings that "just happened". I was taking a break in another class, standing at my drafting table. Without really thinking I just grabbed a stick of soft compressed charcoal and started making marks - five or so minutes later there it was. That's one of the many things I love about art - when you're not looking, art happens. :-)

Art Happens - Part Deux

Conte pencil on 18" x 24" cartridge paper

This is a little classroom work from Monday night. We had a live model and started out with quick and simple line drawings capturing the gesture of movement while our model did 10- and 30-second poses. Gradually we increased the pose duration and worked on capturing mass while maintaining the gesture. Finally we did a couple of 20-minute poses and worked on combining the line and mass gesture renderings. In the seated rendering on the right, I smudged the drawing with my fingers to blend and smooth the conte.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Grace of Power

Another drawing I'm going to submit to the "Art of Realism" show. We have to submit a paragraph describing the 'theme' of our submissions, and since mine is all equine related I'm thinking of each image depicting a symbol of what horses represent to us. Grace, power, freedom, patience, teamwork, compassion...

This is a 5" x 7" drawing using 4B and 2H graphite pencils, and a tortillion for blending.
I wish I could figure out how to scan graphite better...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

After the Lesson

I've been meaning to draw this for a while now. The photo struck me at first glance - just a young girl and her horse walking out of the paddock after a lesson. But to me, it spoke volumes about the camaraderie and connection that develops between two such creatures. It reminded me of all the times I walked out of the paddock after a lesson with my horse, Duffy - he was my best and most loyal friend in the world. We were inseparable and we were buddies.

So here is my latest drawing "After the Lesson". I will be submitting this piece to a juried art show here at the North Vancouver Community Arts Council that is right up my alley - works in graphite for the "Art of Realism" exhibition.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"Little Iron Horse"

Much thanks to Julie at Cache Canadians, for granting permission to draw their gorgeous Canadian Horse stallion, Delavoye Heros Phenom. This is an 8" x 8" graphite pencil drawing on Strathmore 100lb Bristol Smooth, using Faber-Castell 4B and 2H pencils. Altogether I spent about 7 hours on this drawing. This piece will stay in my private collection and for exhibition.

The Canadian Horse, or Cheval Canadien, dates back more than 350 years when King Louis XIV sent his best horses over to the "New World" of Quebec. The Canadian earned themselves the nickname "Little Iron Horse" due to their ability to generate "more power per hundred pounds of body weight than horses of any other breed". By the 1970s this breed almost disappeared but thanks to dedicated breeders there are now 4000 in existence - though they are still classified as “critical” on the American Livestock Conservancy list. For more information on the breed, please visit the Canadian Horse Heritage & Preservation Society (CHHAPS).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Passion for Painting Award

I have been awarded the "Passion for Painting" award by wonderful artist, Carol Buck. Thank you so much, Carol. I am truly honoured!

My Favourite Seven Artists

1. Linda Shantz
2. William Hawkins
3. Neil Hollingsworth
4. Sandy Byers
5. Diane Whitehead
6. Kerry Nelson
7. Colette Theriault

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Horse Whisperer Meets the Dark Knight

Dark Whisper

This week's homework was to create a drawing inspired by literature, music, film, etc., and to combine materials and techniques. We were also to mix realism with fantasy. Like usual, it took most of the week for me to visualize what I wanted to do. Rolling around in my mind from the get-go was The Horse Whisperer movie and the Batman: Dark Knight soundtrack. With those in mind that I created the first drawing "Dark Whisper" on black pastel paper using conte pencils and white charcoal. I wanted to give a "dark" feel of a powerful, wild horse reflected against the moonlight.

Eye of the Whisperer

The next drawing "Eye of the Whisperer" flashed in my mind when I was killing time watching movie trailers on the 'net. I used heavy acrylic paper for this one along with technical pen, conte pencil and charcoal, and my favourite technique - stippling. I wanted to make the eye strong with the stippling, stylize the lid, then make the eyelid folds and creases subtle with the charcoal. I added just a touch of colour to the horses with a conte pencil.

Monday, March 2, 2009

We All Start Somewhere

Over in one of the art forums I frequent, someone asked for a show of "ourselves through the years" as artists. I had a lot of fun going through my old art books, school books and stray pieces of paper. I consider myself pretty fortunate that my Mom saved a binder full of my grade one school work - and that is where I found my earliest drawings.

I have been obsessed with horses longer than I can remember, and going through that old binder and a few grade two school books I had to laugh - there were horses drawn everywhere I could find white space. So yes, I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil, and I've been drawing horses just as long. I also found a long forgotten illustrated story I wrote when I was in grade two or three called "The Magic Horse". Ah, the treasures you find searching through old trunks.

So without any further adieu, I present to you a couple humble beginnings...

Circa 1972 - Six years old - Grade one school work

Circa 1978 - 12 years old - head study

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Breed a Week Project #8

Wild Gypsy 8" x 10" - Available

Week 8 in the Breed a Week Project is the Gypsy Vanner.

There is no direct written history detailing the origins of the Gypsy Vanner horse, but it is thought they descend from Clydesdales, Shires, Friesian's, and Dales Pony ancestry. They were developed by the nomadic Romani people of Eastern Europe and used to pull their ornate covered wagons called Vardos (Gypsies) in caravans. These horses were a great symbol of pride, strength, and honor among the gypsies. They were often the highest regarding possession among the gypsy people. Great care went into the development of the Gypsy Vanner. Further knowledge of the breed’s ancestry was lost as the gypsies rarely kept written pedigrees of their horses, and very few ever shared their knowledge with "outsiders." As civilizations and technology began to change in Europe these fabled horses began dwindling in numbers as fewer and fewer gypsies led their nomadic lifestyle. Several small groups of people began taking notice in the gypsy horses and began to form breeding programs and small local registries in an effort to preserve the breed. They were not recognized as a breed until the late twentieth century, and early twenty first century.

This one is an 8" x 10" using Faber-Castell graphite pencils. I used a 4B for the horse and his shadow, then a 2H for the rest of the grass. Then I used a tortillion to blend the top half or so of the grass to give the horizon and depth affect.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Breed a Week Project #7

Irish Dancer 8" x 10" - SOLD

Week 7 in the Breed a Week Project is an Irish Draught (pronounced "draft") horse. The Irish Draught has a long standing admiration in its native home of Ireland where the breed was developed and much sought after for his versatile traits, and good nature. During the 1800's and through the early 1900's crossing the Irish Draught with the Thoroughbred, Clydesdale, as well as Connemara, came to enhance the horse and create the Irish Draught as we know it today. Infusing these various breeds created a modern and versatile breed of horse that has tremendous stamina. Their docile, but intelligent demeanor makes them a suitable mount for beginers to experienced riders; and their supple action makes them a great mount under saddle, as well as carrying a cart through the countryside, or in competition.

I spent a couple hours on this one using just a 4B graphite pencil, keeping it fairly light. The dapples were a bit tricky and got a little lost in the barrel. For the dirt/dust kick-up I did a rough circular stroke then blended from light to dark with a torillion to try and give the effect of flying dirt. I'm not sure I want to call this one finished yet, so I'm going to let it sit for a while then revisit on a rainy day.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tres Caballos - Drawing Class Homework

Okay, so I said I was going to do three candles on a mirrored rock tray for my still life homework this week, but after I set it up it just wasn't working for me. Instead, I set up a wine bottle, glass and corkscrew. That didn't work for me either. Just couldn't set up a composition that inspired me. Thursday morning I was at work stuck in a meeting thinking about my still life set up when I saw this one in my mind - three horses, each completely different. On the left is an old Breyer model, in the middle is a handcrafted Caribbean bamboo souvenir, and third in my herd, a plush toy horse a friend gave my when I left the country for a walkabout. His name is Wylie. :-)

I placed the three in various positions until I found one that worked for me, and then adjusted a halogen desk lamp above them until I found a good contrast of cast shadow. I was happy with what I set up and fortunately, Bear, my overly inquisitive Australian Shepherd, left them alone so I wouldn't have to reset them every time I sat down to draw.

I started with a 2H graphite pencil and very lightly roughed out my composition using the spidering technique our teacher showed us in class. When I was happy with the overall composition, I worked over the light lines pulling the image out of the spiderwork. It was actually pretty cool doing it that way instead of using an eraser - I had to pull the Breyer model out a few times until I was happy with him - or so I thought at the time - then I switched to a 4B graphite pencil and started laying down the heavier lines. That's when I realized the Breyer model needed a little more composition work, but, the heavy lines were started so no going back.

Because I did this in my lightweight sketchbook I worked left to right with an extra piece of paper between my hand and the sketchbook. Seems the graphite sits high on this lightweight paper and smudges far too easily.

When all three horses had been filled in and detailed somewhat I tried to make an effort to display the textures that differentiated them. For the Breyer model I used a tortillon to blend and give the impression of a smooth molded surface. For the bamboo horse I left it partially blended and partially raw so the contrasts were sharper. For the plush horse I used a circular pattern with a 6B graphite pencil and left it raw. For the overall base shadow I used simple hatching with the 6B pencil. The finished work sits nicely in my 9" x 12" sketchbook.

I'm so looking forward to class tomorrow - Baroque-modeling the form, tonal drawing; working with light and shadow. :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breed a Week Project #6

This week's Breed of the Week is for a Peruvian Paso - not to be confused with a Paso Fino. The trademark of the Peruvian Paso is a special, inherited, and completely natural four beat lateral gait called paso llano. The paso llano is a broken gait. It consists of a permanent, harmonic, and rhythmic tapping in which the animal makes a gentle and pleasant alternating movement. It is a quick advance in which the center of the horse's gravity stays almost immobile, producing a smooth ride. The paso llano is executed with a distinctive action in the front legs, called termino, a graceful, flowing movement in which the forelegs are rolled towards the outside as the horse strides forward, much like the arm motion of a swimmer. Termino is a spectacular and beautiful natural action. It is not a wing or paddle and originates in the shoulder giving the horse the ability to swing the leg forward with minimum vertical force back. Both the gait and the flashy leg action are naturally passed on to the offspring.

For more information about the Peruvian Paso, visit

I don't have much time this week, but I couldn't pass up on this breed. These are so gorgeous, powerful, graceful horses. If you didn't love horses before, these guys would win your heart. Since I didn't have time for a full-on detailed drawing, I limited myself to 30 minutes to complete and kept it to a quick and dirty sketch. This is roughly 5" x 7" and is done with a 4B graphite pencil on Strathmore Sketch.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Artist Choice Awards 2008

I was happily surprised to find myself not only nominated, but also a finalist, for the 2008 eBay Artist Choice Awards in the 2D Drawing category. I'm not sure when the final judging date is as they are still collecting the finalists, but I'm thoroughly stoked just to have been nominated.

Back to School

This year marks the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation. Yikes - a quarter century ago! There must be a typo in there somewhere.

When I was approaching graduation people were constantly in my ear saying, "your art is so good, you should go to Emily Carr" or "you have to go to Emily Carr" and so on. And I'd respond, "but have you seen what's out there? I'm not that good."

Emily Carr University of Art is a prestigious art school here on the Canadian West Coast. I would have loved to have gone and earned a degree in fine art there, and had considered it, but there was the issue of the juried acceptance into the school... and my aversion to doing what everyone told me to do... and not feeling that I was good enough... and having no confidence in my natural talent... Oh yeah, I had a lot of excuses not to go, all of which were silly but legitimate at the time. What it really came down to was a fear of my own talent. What if I wasn't good enough?

Art is such a personal thing to me - to every artist. Its my private place to breathe and dream and heal, to wander outside myself and simply be. To let it out into the world was to expose myself to its criticisms and rejections. At eighteen years old, that was the last thing I wanted to do.

So instead of going to Emily Carr and getting a degree in fine art, I studied criminology and then took off for California to be a rock star, but ended up spending the next twenty years working in the graphic design field. I kept drawing all the way along, but only here and there as the urge struck - no real focus at all - until the last few years.

Now that I'm a little older and wiser (one would hope!) I feel a deep need to truly follow my art to its fullest potential. It's what I was always meant to do. Its like finally realizing you can't fight curly hair. Life gets easier when you stop fighting it. I guess I just had to get everything else out of my system to see that clearly.

Other than art classes in high school I'm basically self-taught. I felt I needed to study the foundation of traditional techniques in order to further develop my talents and define my own personal style.

So, a quarter century later, I am finally now getting a chance to go to Emily Carr through their continuing studies program. I was so excited I went through the Spring Course Catalogue and checked off more classes than I could possibly afford to take all at once. My first course is Traditional Drawing Techniques. The fact that the course description offered learning through "historical review and practice with techniques applied since the Renaissance" intrigued me.

Yesterday was my first class and I loved it! I found however, that the historical aspect was most intriguing to me. We didn't create any masterpieces in our first class, but that wasn't the goal. The first goal was to learn to let go of the fear through a series of very loose and fast exercises in form and composition. It was fun for me - someone who is very detail-driven - to cut lose and simply draw. The chair was simply shape. Nothing more.

And I have homework! I'm not sure I've ever been excited about homework before. Our first homework assignment is to "take a walk with line". We have to do six compositional line drawings without detail or tone maintaining a consistent theme. Yikes, no detail and tone?! It will be a fun challenge for me to stop at the line drawing and not go all out. I'm not sure what my theme is just yet. I might wait and see what the next "Breed of the Week" is and do two challenges in one. Either way, I will most likely post my homework at the end of the week. If I feel confident enough to let a simple line drawing out of the safe confines of my sketchbook. ;-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breed a Week Project #5

This week's Breed a Week is the American Bashkir Curly Horse. Horses with curly coats are an ancient breed. They have been depicted in art and statuary in early China as far back as 161 A.D., with evidence also of their presence in South America and Europe. Indian pictographs illustrating the "Winter Counts" of Sioux stealing curly horses from the Crow in the early 1800's, gives the curlies verification of their presence in North America. Many curlies from throughout the United States can be traced back to the 'Standing Rock/Cheyenne River Reservation' where this incident took place.

Curlies have a proud carriage, are very alert, not lazy, and most move at a running walk. They have a double mane, which splits down the middle leaving curly ringlets hanging on both sides of the neck. Their body coat sheds out in the summer and they become wavy, or fairly straight on their body, with their beautiful coat returning in the late fall. Several winter coat patterns have been observed, from a crushed velvet effect, to a perfect Marcel wave, to extremely tight curls over the entire body. It has been tested and proven that flat hair is curly, yet when the hair of curlies was tested it was found to be round. Also a number of owners who are allergic to horses find that they are not allergic to their curlies.

You can find out more about the Bashkir Curly horses at American Bashkir Curly Horse Registry

This is my drawing for this week's project - a 5" x 7" graphite pencil on Strathmore Lightweight Sketch paper.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Breed of the Week Project #4

I am a member of an artist community named Wet Canvas. There is a forum there dedicated to horse artists, and within that forum group is a weekly project called "Breed of the Week". Each week a new breed is decided and then any artists who wish to participate have one week to complete their renderings. Its a fun and educational opportunity to branch out a little and draw breeds we don't normally draw.

I know, some people think a horse is a horse is a horse, of course. However, anyone who knows horses knows that isn't the case. An Arabian looks nothing at all like a Clydesdale, and a Thoroughbred looks nothing like a Friesen. 

So, it is with that that I wanted to display my first foray into the weekly horse breed project. I didn't discover the forum until they were already two weeks in and just didn't have time to get to the third, so here we are with my Week 4 drawing of a Percheron. Thought I'd show the work in progress (WIP) for anyone that might be interested in the process. 

This is an 8" x 10" graphite pencil drawing.