Waves practice

Wave practice  8.5×11 wc 140lb Canson cp

Still learning to paint waves. I’m not quite seeing them right.  Once I realized I didn’t get the wave right on this one, I didn’t want to put the effort into the rest of the painting.  It’s good to reflect on what doesn’t work as well as what does –  part of the process even if it doesn’t seem like progress.    Back to the drawing pad!




Chanticleer 7.5×11 wc 140lb Canson cp

I always thought Chanticleer was the French word for Rooster. My Acadian friend tells me the correct word is coq. A little research  on dictionary.com shows Chanicleer is the proper name of the rooster in Chaucer’s Cantibury Tales. It’s from the old french word chantecler which means “sing loud.”   

Perhaps this is somewhat appropriate for 2017 – The Year of the Rooster.  

Water’s Edge in Winter


water’s edge in winter wc 6×9.140lb Canson cp

It’s a mild January day.  Weather around here can range from plus ten Celsius to minus twenty-eight with four feet of snow. In this little exercise I tried to capture that mild winter day feeling.  

A limited palette of three colours were used: ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, and raw umber. There’s a bit of mud that crept in giving a mossy edge to the shadows.

I hope it evokes the sense and smell of lake water mixing with cold air and wet loam. 


Spring Burning, Portugal 

Spring Burning, Portugal wc 140lb Strathmore

Painting smoke, mist, and fog are skills I’m still working on. Same thing goes for glass, reflections on water, and light.

I’m not sure why they were burning the grass in this spot – perhaps for crops, or maybe another windmill was planned for the site.

Whatever the reason, it was visually interesting to drive by. Long shadows and half shapes appeared and disappeared in the haze.

I snapped a quick picture so I could try painting it later.

Two years later, I started this before the holidays, and just got around to completing it today. And, while I haven’t totally achieved the look I was going for, I think some bits turned out okay… more importantly, I had fun trying.

Seaweed Harvest

Seaweed Harvest: 15×22 wc 300lb Fabriano. Permission/photo credit – Pamela Butler.

My friend took this picture of a seaweed harvester in front of her cottage one morning. I love the composition and the mystical blend of ocean and sky.

Harvesting seaweed, is something you don’t see everyday. So, I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to capture this traditional method of gathering in watercolour. 

This will be one of three paintings I’ll be exhibiting in the Acadia Universty Art Gallery next week in their annual community show. All that’s left is to frame it and then to choose the other two entries.  

The Last Rose


The Last Rose. 5×9 wc Arches 140 lb cold pressed

From a pic I took this fall after a frost. It was the last rose on the bush.  

I’m still finding my way when it comes to flowers but the Rose pigment was a joy to paint with, along with the Ultramarine Blue worked into the shadow. However, it was the Mayan Dark Blue laid down over a combination of greens in the background that brought the painting to life. 

Ironic to describe something so close to death as bringing it to life; a touch of breath would have released the last heavy petals to the garden bed. It’s very difficult to do these things justice.

Northern Lights


Northern Lights wc 4×6 140lb cold pressed
Card #2 – Northern Lights – 1st time ever adding glitter to a painting. 😳 I may need more restraint there. Colours were: Mayan Dark Blue, Cobalt Blue, Sap Green, and Cadmium Red.

Again, we sourced the original image from some old Christmas cards.  In this case I worked from an image my instructor, Linda Barkhouse had recreated. 

With the exception of the glitter explosion that took a few minutes to clean up, these are tidy little ways to practice various watercolour techniques.  

They’re about 4×6 and from start to finish and take me a couple of hours.  Once done they can be glued onto card stock or scanned and then printed directly onto the cards. The images are ‘borrowed’ so they can’t be sold, but they may end up as a name tag on someone’s gift this year.

In fact, they’re so much fun they’re an easy distraction from the larger pieces I’m working on.  Fa la la la la!!!