Monday, December 12, 2011

My Mom

My beautiful mother, Joan Audrey Blatt, went to be with the Lord today. I was honored to be holding her in my arms in my home as she left this world, surrounded by my husband and daughter. This past 2 weeks has been full of joy and heartache, but I have been so filled with the 'peace that passes understanding'.  The presence of the Lord has been SO strong in all that has taken place, seeing many little miracles take place that only He could have arranged. I look so much like my mom that I only have to look in the mirror to see her face looking back at me. Thank you to every one of you who have taken the time to write or comment with your kind expressions of sympathy. It means a great deal to me.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Collage Workshop and Bad News :(

 "Surf Side", 12 x 12", mixed media
I had the final day of my collage workshop on Nov 22nd, but unfortunately I have been having a family crisis -my Mother, and best friend, was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer on the 24th, and we have been living through some very tough times since. She is now feeling much better after an 8 day hospital stay, and is living with me for the time being. So needless to say, I won't be getting much time to paint any time soon. So I thought I should post these final photos from the workshop. (I do have some work that was done prior that I can post until I can get back to work, so you will be hearing from me!)

This is the first stage in the collage, just pasting on the various transparent papers I had made in the shape of a 'T'.

 This is the next stage. I have added some transitional papers around the edges to bridge the positive and negative shapes, and have added some decorated papers  to add interest.

More papers have been added to get a directional flow going, and the focal point is being developed. In the final (so far) version at the top, you can see how I decided to play with a focal point and its repeat. I painted the background with a pale peach colour to establish the orange as the dominant colour. I also incorporated some line work to move the eye around. My son Evan (the actor) who is home to visit Grandma decided that there was a sea feeling to the painting, and hence the title.

Here are some of my students in my lovely large workshop space.

And here we all are holding our masterpieces! It was a wonderful workshop and I think we all had fun and learned a lot.
Enjoy!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

More Collage Workshop photos

 Here are some step by step photos I took of two 12" x 12" collages that I did as demonstrations for my collage class. After we completed our b&w collages, we spent a day and a half dying and decorating tissue papers to use in our collages. I chose a complementary palette of blue and orange, and decided to make 2 'T' design collages. Above is the first step of the process (click the images to enlarge them).
Here they are a little further along.The edges of the 'T' have been finessed to make the 3 negative shapes more interesting. 

This is how they looked at the end of the day. I am not sure if they are finished yet, but they are close. I will reassess them in the morning. The painting at left has a 'leaf' motif and the theme of the one on the right is geometric squares. The collages have been painted back into to pull out patterns and line, as well as to establish a colour dominance (orange on the left, blue on the right). Collage is a wonderful way to teach yourself design, and also to experiment with 'what would happen if...'

Here are three of my students busy at work (I chose three with the tidiest tables -you should see mine. It took me 2 days to find my scissors!)

Enjoy!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wonderful Oooze!

 "Cle Elum Autumn", watercolour and chalk pastel, 11 x 15"
NFS

This fall I was fortunate enough to be able to take a workshop from Catherine Gill and Bob Phiney just outside Seattle. We spent 2 days painting in watercolour en plein air, and on the last day, we got to play with chalk pastels with the watercolours, which is the sole reason I took the workshop! I found Cathe via her new book "Powerful Watercolor Landscapes" and her free workshop through the Artist's Magazine. You can watch her excellent presentation here.  EVERYONE should watch this webinar as it is a wonderfully presented talk on all things compostitional -and this applies not just to watercolours! In Cathe's book, there are many beautiful paintings that combine pastel with the wet watercolour, and they feel so neat that I just had to learn how she does it. The trick is to paint into the sopping wet watercolour with the chalk pastel, keeping the values the same but changing the colour, and the pastel just melts into the wash. You build the surface up in layers, because as soon as the paper dries, you have to wet it again in order to make the pastel work properly. This adds the dimension of opacity and PLAY to an otherwise transparent and somewhat fussy medium.
        I just got an email from Cathe saying she is doing an Ooze demo at the Seattle CoArts monthly meeting in Shoreline area of Seattle. If you live anywhere near there, I highly recommend taking it in.


Enjoy!
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Collage Workshop -Day 1

Today was the first day teaching my new collage workshop. We only have 7 students, so there is lots of room for everyone to spread out and make a mess, which we are certainly doing!  The exercise to begin the workshop consisted of painting three 8x11 sheets of photocopy paper, one sheet with mid-value grey, one with white gesso and the last one with black gesso. Then we the made nine 3.5 x 3.5" squares in our sketchbooks -three of them were painted black, three the mid-grey, and left 3 white. After a discussion of some compositional formats, the students plowed ahead to make their collages, using torn and cut pieces of the painted papers. One of my students commented "This is HARD, you really have to think!", and she was right. I had them focusing on value dominance and repetition with variation in the shapes and lines. There is a lot to learn here, and the learning happens best when you actually put the time in and make these sample collages. Hopefully they will be ready to put colour and pattern to work in a couple of days, once they really get the idea of designing with just 3 values. These collages need to be interesting enough so that they will work on a much larger square.
 
My first composition is a T composition on a white square. Things to remember in this composition are:
       -1 positive shape which touches 3 sides 
       -makes 3 negative shapes, each needs to occupy a different volume
       -positive shapes should interlock with the negative shapes to make interesting shapes
       -design the location of the focal point (a logical place is where the arms of the T meet)
       -the focal point will have the most detail, the smallest shapes and the highest contrast
       -must design the movement around the T as well as the focal area, being careful not to lead the viewers eye right out of the composition
 
The 'bridge' composition came next, it was done on a grey square. Points to remember:
       -1 positive shape which meets two sides
       -2 negative shapes which should be different in volume from each other and from the positive shape
       -positive shapes should interlock with the negative shapes      
       -design the location of the focal point -off centre along the bridge shape in one of the 'sweet' spots of the rule of thirds
        -the focal point will have the most detail, the smallest shapes and the highest contrast
        -the use of line can be used to create movement within the positive shape
        -the two negative shapes do not need to be the same value

 Lastly I did a cruciform composition on a black square. I combined the cruciform with a radial design for this one. Things to remember include:
          -1 positive shape which can be interupted by other values
          -4 negative shapes, all of which should occupy different volumes
          -positive shapes should interlock with the negative shapes     
          -design the location of the focal point (a logical place is where the arms of the X meet)
          -the focal point will have the most detail, the smallest shapes and the highest contrast
          -the use of line can be used to create movement within the positive shape
          -the use of the circle in my focal point is repeated in different sizes and values elsewhere to lead the viewers eye around the painting
          -in all of the designs make sure that when an arm hits the outside edge, that it breaks up the format's edge in uneven intervals

A lot to think about eh? Give this exercise a try to teach yourself about design. Stay tuned for tomorrow's lessons.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Fall Plein Air Paintings


 "October Marsh", 9 x 12", plein air oil
$595.00 -free shipping and handling

Another of the last paintings of the fall -I was mourning the loss of fall as I shoveled my driveway this morning! There is something about this painting that I just love, but I can't quite put my finger on it -I think it is the colour harmonies are just so darn pleasing. I will have to use this palette more to explore its possibilities.

This is the billboard that is found on 9th Ave SE announcing my show.
 
And here I am in front of some of my show paintings. Hope you can stop by if you didn't make it to the opening. You will be able to see all the paintings in the show by the end of the week (hopefully) at Arts On Atlantic's website.
 
Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Plein Air Paintings

 "Fall Pathway -Fish Creek", 12 x 16" plein air oil
SOLD

I have the last of the fall's plein air paintings to post, so this is the first. I think I was in a 'million brush strokes/texture' mood this day, or perhaps I was affected by the dappled light in this meadow. This is one of the paintings in my new show, which opened yesterday. Too bad we forgot that it was a long weekend when we planned the opening! Oh well, next time : )

Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Solo Show opens Sunday!

 My new solo show "En Plein Air -Expanding Horizons" opens this Sunday from 2 to 5pm at Arts on Atlantic Gallery in Inglewood. I will have plein air paintings from my many travels this year as well as from my regular painting grounds. I hope that you will be able to stop by on Sunday, but if not, the show is up until Dec 10th.
See you there!
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

UPCOMING COLLAGE IMPRESSIONS WORKSHOP

"Fall Abstract", mixed media, 9 x 9", SOLD
I am teaching a new 5 day workshop called Collage Impressions beginning on November 16th and running from Wednesday to Friday, weekend off, then Monday & Tuesday -each day from 10am to 3:30pm. The class is for experienced beginners through advanced painters. This class will focus on collage in combination with acrylics, and we will be making a lot of our own collage papers as well as using purchased and found papers. We will try on different modes of expression within this huge field, working both abstractly and representationly. To register, go here. The cost of the course is a very low $315. Hope to see you there!!!
Sharon
PS Please pass this on to anyone who may be interested!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Still More Watercolour Florals

 "Lily Fantasy", 6.5 x 10.25", matted watercolour
available for auction here, beginning price $50

This is another free form flower form, done with out much preliminary drawing, just basically where the stamens reach above the petal edge at the top and a bit of a sweep for the direction of the petals. The demonstration point for this one was to show how to produce lost and found edges on dry paper, allowing the flower to co-mingle with the background.

"Falling All Over", 10 x 14", matted watercolour
available for auction here, beginning price $100

This was the next demonstration that I did, and NO preliminary drawing was done on this at all. I began at the large yellow flower and just made my way out from there. Composition was not the prime concern here, although I think it turned out quite nicely. I had a large bouquet of mixed silk flowers in front of me and I just allowed myself to be inspired by the shapes and colours, so not at all true to the set-up. Great freedom and fun.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Watercolour Florals

 "Iris Power", 6 3/4 x 10 1/4", watercolour
available by auction here, starting bid $50

 Don't ask me why I cannot come up with more original titles for these paintings, any help would be appreciated! This is my watercolour demonstration from day 3 of my workshop. The idea was to combine methods from the previous 2 days into this painting. We worked on composition, trying to find good shapes, both the positive shapes (leaves and flowers) and the negative shapes (the shapes behind the positive shapes). Both must be interesting (ie: interesting edges, varying sizes) and compelling (powerful shapes) if you want to have a great painting.
We began this with doing our drawings on tracing paper, which made them easy to change without damaging the watercolour papers' surface. When the designs were good, we traced them onto our watercolour paper. Two ways to do this are#1) to place saral transfer paper under the tracing paper with its black side down on the wc paper (or make your own transfer paper by covering the back of another piece of paper with graphite) and then put the tracing on top and go over all the lines with a ball point pen or #2) hold the tracing paper design against a bright window and then put the wc paper on top -you should be able to see through 140lb wc paper well enough to see the lines, especially if you go over the tracing paper lines with marker. I used watercolour pencils to trace my drawing on the window, varying the colours as I went along (remember interest??)
Here is the painting part way in. I was careful to loose some of the edges into the white background space, bleeding them back with clear water so no hard edges were left. The colour was puddled in, at the correct values, thereby keeping things fresh and eliminating the need to wash over them again = the key to clear, clean colour! I have gone back with another watercolour pencil to define the centre left edge of the upper flower. Most of the watercolour pencil melts into the washes, so isn't a problem the way that graphite can be. This stage makes sure that you have some hard and soft edges.
In this step I have added more leaves at the bottom, and threaded one large leaf up the bare right side. I did this without drawing it first. I loaded up my brush with non-homogenized colours and let the brush make the form by twisting and turning it while drawing it up my paper. I did some scraping into it with a credit card, and drew into it while it was wet with a watercolour pencil.I dropped other colours into the bottom to suggest other flowers behind and relieve some of the green. I have gone in and separated some of the iris petals and to add some texture. Note that most of the original washes remain untouched. I also placed a bit more colour into the background at the top of the top iris to show more of its form.

There you have it! Some things done with a limited wet-on-wet method, and some negative painting. Both combine to provide interest, while the exciting purity of colour puddling lends the power.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Watercolour!

 "Tulip Power", 15 x 11", matted watercolour
Available to bid in auction here, starting bid $75

 This is my demonstration from the second day of my Watermedia Florals workshop. The object of the lesson was to 'draw' with the brush -no drawing allowed. Following the form with a brush loaded with luscious paint and then puddling colours in and watching how they mix is fascinating, and is a key to understand how to let watercolour have its way. Some caligraphy done with watercolour pencil and brush adds a fun movement to the blast of colour.

Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to Watercolour!


 "Daisy Power", 11 x 15", watercolour
This painting is available at auction here -beginning price $125

Many of you will be happy to see that I have returned to painting in watercolour again. It is a medium that I have always loved, even if it is somewhat limiting for creative expression, as it requires a fair amount of planning before brush ever touches the paper. In order to circumvent this, I like to make a wet on wet chaotic mixture of sumptuous color, and then pull out shapes from it. This works wonderfully with floral forms as they are so forgiving. The form I am using is a 'daisy type' form -I have these growing in my garden, but I don't know the name of them -if you know, please tell me!  Below is a step-by-step outline of the process.

This is the first step. I have soaked my 140lb watercolour paper in the sink and then began puddling in analogous mixed of yellow through red. Make sure to put various oranges in rather than just go from yellow to red without the visual bridge of the oranges. I left a lot of white paper and into some of it I popped in a variety of greens (yellow-green through blue-green using different yellows and blues). Some of the green puddles into the yellow and some into the orange-reds, making more neutral greens. I have tried so save some of the white as well. Make sure to bring your colour all the way to the edges of the paper -you don't want white paper there as it will draw the viewer to the edges of the painting, and perhaps right out of it!
This is the next stage. I am finding some daisy shapes by negatively painting some parts of the flowers with darker mixtures of the colours in the underpainting. Don't always do the negative painting with green, if you negative paint with the flower colours, you have new opportunities to find new flowers under the top ones. I am very careful to vary my edges between lost and found around EACH flower. You don't want them to look cut out and pasted on. 
 
Further work on the painting, finding some stems and leaves as well. Notice that some of the flowers and leaves have positively painted parts as well as negatively painted ones -this adds variety and keeps the viewer intrigued. Try not to say ALL the flowers, leave lots of colourfully suggested forms. The question to ask here is, if it says flowers, how much more do you need to do to it? Stop earlier rather than overdoing it. Better to be 80% done than 10% overdone!

This painting was done as a demonstration in my current Watermedia Florals workshop. Please see my website for upcoming workshops.

Enjoy!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Last O'Hara Painting


 "Cathedral from Schaeffer Meadows", 9 x 12", plein air oil

$595.00 beautifully framed, free shipping and handling

This is my last painting from Lake O'Hara. We had to leave to catch the bus in a couple of hours so we decided to give one last shot at grabbing a painting before the rain that was threatening really came down.We managed to get a spot out of the cold wind and quickly got this in. And so ends another fabulous painting trip in the most beautiful of all places Rockies.

Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Still More Lake O'Hara

 "Bear Grass Trails", 12 x 9", plein air oil
$595.00 beautifully framed, free shipping and handling

This one was painted just around the corner from yesterday's post. I was just looking for a place to get out of the wind and get warmed by the sun. As I was walking along the trail, I spotted this view and couldn't resist. Although I was blocking the trail for the hikers, and had to lift up my easel to let them pass, I think it was worth it! The bear grass was a challenge to paint, needing to have their tiny edges softened so they didn't look cut out and pasted on. Thanks Patti for the tip :)

Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Still More Lake O'Hara!

 "Snow On Opabin", 9 x 12", plein air oil
$595.00 beautifully framed, free shipping and handling

I painted this at Hungabee Lake on the Opabin Plateau. I have painted from this location before (see here -that painting focused more on the flow coming into the lake) but this time the snow added a whole lot of sparkle to the scene. I really like the way this one turned out, and so did a Japanese tourist who was sharing the EP hut with us. He wanted to buy it, but unfortunately was not equipped to transport a wet oil painting back home with him. While I did offer to ship it to him, it was just too much uncertainty for both of us. Maybe next time...

Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Day at Lake O'Hara

"MacArthur's Contrasts", 9x12", plein air oil
SOLD

 We hiked all the way up to Lake MacArthur, and I managed to find a good location out of the wind to paint this. The turquoise in the background is actually the lake, as I was looking down on this scene. I have painted up there before, but never with snow on the ground. I loved the way the soft snow led into the angular rocky ridge and the Larch and other Evergreens behind them adding their own texture. Playing with the edges where the snow met the rocks was critical to making the snow 'read'. (Click on the image to see it enlarged)

Enjoy!
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Lake O'Hara

"Changing Weather -Lake O'Hara", 9 x 12", plein air oil
SOLD

I did this painting just after we arrived in Lake O'Hara. It had been snowing for the previous several days, yet the sun was trying to push its way through the clouds upon our arrival -how wonderful! The fresh snow made for some wonderful paintings over the following 3 days, and we had mostly sunny conditions the whole time, although it was a might windy at times. The view in the painting is the classic one of Lake O'Hara, but the clouds made for an interesting change. It is difficult to paint moving clouds, you just have to chose a scenario that you like and stick with that -although you must make sure that the lighting conditions on the ground are possible with the pattern chosen.

Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Lake O'Hara Paintings -Finally!

"Cathedral -Outside My Door", 12 x 9", plein air oil
$595.00 framed, free shipping and handling

I have been SO busy travelling and painting, but I thought I would slowly bring you up to speed with the results. In the middle of September I was fortunate enough to once again join the Canmore Artists Guild for an unforgettable 3 nights at Lake O'Hara. Now if you have been following my blog for a while, you know that this is my absolute favorite place to paint in the Rockies. This painting was done just outside the Elizabeth Parker Hut where we were bunked. The fresh snow added richness to the beauty, but also a fair chill in the air. I caught this one quickly late in the day, while being served wine and appetizers by the dinner crew for the day. Not too hard to take eh? Stay tuned for more to follow....

Enjoy!

To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Upcoming Watermedia Florals Workshop

 "Bursting Forth", watercolor, 15 x 22" SOLD

I will be teaching a 5 day Watermedia Florals (that means watercolour, acrylic or watersoluble oils) workshop at the Erlton Campus of the CBE on October 26, 27, 28, 31 and Nov 1st (Wed to Friday and Monday and Tuesday of the next week). My teaching this year has been switched to a workshop format, so that I can accommodate my hubby's retirement schedule :) By popular demand I have agreed to a split week workshop so that you can have the weekend off to rest, contemplate and maybe even get some painting done. If you are coming from out of town, perhaps you can find someone to visit here in Calgary for the weekend, or even take a trip to the mountains. You can find the workshop details here. The course description is: Explore more advanced elements of painting and design in your chosen watermedia (watercolour or acrylic), as well as reinforce basic principles in your knowledge base. Discuss colour theory, edge control, paint application and composition. The focus of the class is on finding and developing your own personal style and artistic expression. Explore new creative avenues working from life as well as from photographs.

Sounds like fun eh? (and super good price for a 5 day workshop!!) There is still room so make sure you sign up SOON if you are interested. Please feel free to pass this on to someone who might be interested? You guys are great!
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Friday, September 30, 2011

My Painting Accepted into Major Competition!

 "Morning Light", 9 x 12", plein air oil
Remember this little painting I did as a demo for a workshop way back in June? Well I am thrilled that it was accepted into the "Annual International Representational Show -AIRS" which is being held at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver. The show runs from October 4 through the 23rd, with the opening reception on Thursday October 6th from 6 to 8pm. I am so very proud to be in such wonderful company! I will get to see the show as we are heading out on October 3rd to take our son Christopher to live in Vancouver. This has sure been the summer of the escalating odometer :)

Enjoy!
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plein Air Rockies 2011 -Day #6 Recap and Finale

"Longs Peak from Lily Lake", 11 x 14", plein air oil
Wednesday was my last day of painting and I did this in the morning before the rain set in. Longs Peak is the 'fourteener' in the park (the peak is over 14,000 feet tall) and is a landmark for Estes Park. While I was painting this (mountain done, but waiting to put in the sky) a visitor to the lake stopped to give me a geography and history lesson on the mountain, which was very interesting if not long winded, and the clouds moved in during this time. I had to scramble to get a lighting condition that matched the now cloudy sky! One of the many hazards of plein air :)

 On Thursday I spent my last day finishing up any touches that were needed on all of my paintings that I did during the week. I knew I dare not wait until I was back home to do this, as I would have lost track of my inspiration at the time. Hand in time for the framed paintings was 8pm, and I got mine there at 7:30! Not the last one mind you, but close. I had ordered plein air frames from Dick Blick, and had them delivered to Estes Park before I left. They were really shabby in the finishing department, but luckily my dear hubby was able to touch them up before putting my paintings in. (don't know what I would have done without his help and support throughout this whole venture!) All the paintings were wet still, and I sprayed them with an aerosol retouch varnish, hoping that the paint would not run! I asked around and nobody seemed to know what the experts do to varnish their works done plein air when they have to hand them in before they have dried. It was necessary to do something as the thin, turpy darks had sunken quite a bit as they dried.


On Friday we took the day off and went for a wonderful hike up to a mountain pass. Here we are at the top. Now my legs were as tired as the rest of me!

 This is Odessa Lake which was well below the spot we were standing at above. Beautiful lake that was just shimmering in the clear atmosphere caused by a shower that ended just as we arrived.

Saturday was the last day of the competition.  The morning began with a 'Quick Paint' event in downtown's Riverside Park. I had scouted out possible painting spots and was very scared about the whole event. What if I fell flat on my face and created a mess? I stayed awake quite a while on Friday night fussing and praying about it, and finally around 2am I felt the Lord tell me to give it to Him and He would take care of it. So I did, and went right to sleep and slept like a baby. In the morning I set myself up on the bank of the river, and when the timer went, I dove right in with full confidence. We had 90 minutes to paint and frame our paintings. I was really happy with the way this turned out (why was I surprised?)

"Waiting", 12 x 9", plein air oil, SOLD
This is a very bad photo of my painting done during the quick draw. I had only a few moments to snap a photo, and obviously didn't do a very good job of it. The paintings then got slipped into their frames, were put on display on large panels in the centre of the park where the spectators got a good look. A few minutes later the live auction began. My number was 23 out of 34 and I just sat there and waited to see what would happen. Well, God really came through, as I got the third highest price at the auction at $700! I was surprised that many paintings got very low bids -the recession really has hit harder in the States than in Canada.

Saturday evening found us at the wrap up party and presentation of awards. If you want to see some of the winning paintings in the competition, you can look at this article from Plein Air Magazine or see the entire cast of winner's paintings here. I would have chosen the awards differently (especially the Quick Draw awards) but there were SO many wonderful paintings done by the fabulous artists in the competition. Lynda Vogel did an amazing job organizing the entire event, and the several opportunities given for the artists to meet each other were very appreciated. The entire experience was FANTASTIC, and I hope I will be invited back next year, but only if Dave will agree to join me!

Enjoy!
To purchase this painting, or commission your own painting, please email me.
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