milkweed wc on 140 lb arches cold pressed
This strange looking creature is my attempt at a milkweed seed pod.

The challenge here was to capture the hardness of the pod shell and stem, the soft airiness of the spores, and the fuzziness of the shell coating. I definitely missed a bit on the spores but it’s a good attempt, I think.

Lesson learned – plan your background before you start. I was working on a wooden table and the shell got lost in the burnt umber. A quick background wash with Quinacridone Gold helped, I think.

Monarch butterflies migrate here in the summer and they’ve been getting scarcer partly due to a lack of milkweed. I was delighted when my husband showed me some in the garden. I confess I didn’t have a sweet clue what it was.

Once I found out, I let it grow, and now give these seed pods to friends and family to plant hoping for an increase in the monarch population.

More butterflies equals a healthier environment (and more beautiful things to paint) don’t you agree?

Maple Leaf


maple leaf watercolour on 140 lb fabriano
 Nothing says autumn like a watercolour of a maple leaf, unless of course it’s a hurricane!

Hurricane Matthew blew through the other day taking many of the coloured leaves off the trees.  Most were badly beat up but I managed to find one for today’s practice that was paint-worthy.  

We got a good soaking but the eastern part of the province and parts of Cape Breton are much worse off. Sending thoughts and prayers to those who took the brunt of it.

A Simple Glass Jar


 It’s these challenges that keep me trying. This was a quick attempt at sketching glass.  Obviously it needs work but I wasn’t going so much for realism or a finished painting; I hoped to render a shape and capture the light. 

I touched on some elements and did get some transparent effects but I resorted to sketching an outline of the shape which I didn’t want to do.  Also, there wasn’t a bit of blue in the jar which I put in because I wasn’t taking the time I needed. 

Sometimes the simplest objects are not so simple.   


Sandy Bay, Lobster Claw

Got home from a lovely retreat yesterday and uploaded my images last night.  Tonight I went to edit them and my computer was dead. 

I’m pretty sure it’s a battery issue but until I can get into the city and get an Apple Genius to look at it I feel like my right arm has been cut off (today’s sketch seems appropriate).

The good news is less time on the computer means more time painting. Here’s hoping there’s no bad news.

Plein Air Port Joli day 3

Started out in my moleskin again today with a little muscle shell I found at the beach yesterday.   
Decided I was brave enough to try another beach painting at Sandy Bay.  A mix of tight and loose. I’m very happy with the clouds. Not so much with the waves or rocks.

One more morning left in the retreat. I’m not sure if I’ll paint or hike and take pictures.