A little bit about me...
After retirement, I discovered that I not only had a deep appreciation for art, but also a passion for painting. Soon after my first painting class, I was quickly swept up by the vast and intricate world of art shows and exhibits, and the artists and art organizations that make these happen. I have never looked back.
Art has always been a big part of my life. I would enjoy quiet times sketching outside, especially while travelling, and would be sure to pack a small sketchbook, pens, and pencils wherever I went. When I retired from teaching, I took some painting classes that opened a door for me to this new world of expression, and began to paint almost every day.
Early on, I saw an exhibit about a 1950’s Japanese art movement, which inspired me to be more playful, spontaneous, and intuitive with my approach, relying more on painting what was inside my head and heart rather than what was in front of my eyes. Along the way, I have had the good fortune to learn and explore different styles and techniques with excellent instructors, and have continued to paint in this free-style manner in my home studio in Milton, Ontario.
I paint in acrylics on canvas, paper, or hardboard, but have also dabbled in watercolours and other media. Lately, I find myself alternating between painting colourful abstracts and softer, impressionistic scenes. I have shown my work regularly throughout Milton, Hamilton, Toronto, and the Niagara Region.
I marvel at the wonders I spy through a window, across a field, beyond the shore...
... fleeting glimpses, shadows cast, mist floating, colourful skies, and the stillness of being.
Nature that lives and breathes.
Brush and knife take me into a dream world where all that I have seen and sensed, remembered and imagined, come together to make anything possible.
My paintings - emergent and evanescent, whimsical and musing - reflect the love and joy
I feel for this vast and beautiful world.
I paint to a different drummer,
with a vibrant energy,
in a bright and eco-friendly studio
Medium: Acrylics on canvas, paper, or hardboard; occasionally inks and watercolours.
Milieu: My studio, tucked lovingly among trees and birds, is a spacious, brightly lit and beckoning corner of our cosy, finished basement. As soon as I walk through the door, inspiration and ideas light up inside of me – it is the perfect environment for me to create reflective and expressive compositions. I listen to music while I paint - it helps me unwind, focus, and stay moving.
Not long ago I began painting with two friends each week, with whom I would enjoy a relaxed environment of lively chatter or lapses of contemplative silence. I have explored new ideas and approaches with my painting while in their collegial and supportive company, and am delighted with the effect a group scenario has had on my painting.
My Style: Over the years I have explored different techniques and approaches and have enjoyed them all. I find that shifting gears in my approach is refreshing, and the variety of subject and style throughout my collections reflects these shifts. Changing from one approach to another from time to time brings me renewed energy and creativity, adds a freshness to my collections, and culminates as the overall package that I call "my style."
From time to time I paint in batches, so that the paintings exist as companions in sets of connected paintings. Quite often it is just two pieces at a time, such as Garden Irises, where I can alternate between the two as I bring in layer after layer and colour after colour of paint onto the surface. Or, from time to time, I am inspired to work on more paintings at the same time, usually if I am preparing for a specific exhibit, as was the case with the Touch of Love set.
Now and again I will zone in on a theme, approach, and/or colour palette, to which I like to return time and again, creating a series of paintings that are visibly related. Sea and Sky is my largest series to date, and I am still adding to it. I love how I can create an atmosphere of calm weather in one painting and stormy weather in the next.
Works on Canvas: Most often I work on stretched canvas. As I learned early on, painting in layers helps to build depth and complexity in acrylic paintings. I find it both convenient and economical (also eco-friendly) to use leftover paint from my palette and brushes to build up layers of paint on fresh canvases. More often than not, the blocks of colour I have marked onto these canvases help to mark out the scenario for the forthcoming paintings.
Luminous Method: I also like to paint on watercolour paper in a way that started off as "pour painting on paper," a process a good friend taught me many years ago. Simply put, slightly diluted acrylic paints are applied to wet paper where they spread easily and interact at different rates with the paper and each other. Over the years I have made some modifications to my approach, and I love the effects I can get by introducing new colours once the paper has begun to dry: by tilting the paper while still quite wet, by drawing and leading the paint with a brush, by pressing or sponging paint off in areas, and many more such tricks and tweaks. I have found that the myriad of colours available in acrylic paints has allowed me to achieve bold and bright, almost gemlike richness of colour, but at the same time create unique light effects that are difficult (if not impossible) to capture on canvas or other hard surfaces. More often than not, the paintings have an illuminated, stained-glass look to them, so that now I refer to this process as “Luminous Painting”, and the paintings themselves I now refer to as "luminates".
Textured Paintings: I have also painted on textured canvas or textured paper surfaces. This has made for an unpredictable painting surface, especially if I have used paper to texturize and I have re-wet the surface before applying more paint. The mix of blurry and sharper definition of colour and form can be stunning, as seen with Olde Roses.
In short, I am playful and inventive with my process in all manners of painting, and can only hope that my spontaneous and intuitive style will keep my painting innovative and fresh for many years to come.
The Short Story:
I grew up in a house full of creativity, craftsmanship, and appreciation for all the arts. I myself had a knack for drawing and a keen eye for colour. To become a visual artist at some point was eventual, if not inescapable!
The Longer Story:
My parents were artistically gifted and magnificently productive. My father filled the house with wood carvings and miniatures of elaborately ornate windmills, birdcages, and other structures that he would assemble from tiny pieces of plywood he had cut using a hand jigsaw. Onto the plywood he would glue the patterns (he had brought with him from Belgium) using only flour and water, which would then have to be sanded off before assemblage. Such dedication! His process was painstaking, methodical, and in the end, stunningly beautiful.
When my mother wasn't designing and cultivating the most glorious and colourful flower gardens in the neighbourhood, or twisting sweet bun dough into cunning knots and shapes, she would be sewing handsome quilts or enviably beautiful outfits for me and my sister. It was as if she couldn't help herself but insert artistic flare in every walk of life. She created a welcoming home of unique and sophisticated charm, and always encouraged in us a love for the endless bounty, beauty, and magnificence of all the arts.
My older brother painted murals - of rocky shores, elaborately petalled flowers, or ducks landing on dawn-dappled lakes - which he did so directly onto the walls of the bedrooms and hallways of our house! My parents were thrilled, as they contributed to the overall décor and charm. He has become my most valued critic and coach.
My sister's unique and unstoppable creativity has yielded an unmatched style in her abstract paintings, which always reminds me that there are frontiers yet to be reached, and boundaries yet to be pushed.
When I began to paint, it was the colours, lighting, and the nonchalance of oblique and sublime imagery of the Impressionists that inspired me most: the loose and bold styles in Manet's, van Gogh's, and Pissarro's stills and landscapes; the softer, mistier, and blurrier impressions of Turner's water; the vastness of Bodoin's beaches; the enigma and charm of Monet's industrial-age landscapes.
An exhibition of the abstract expressionists helped me gain a better understanding of non-representational abstraction and style, and an exhibit of The Gutai Group, whose art movement flourished in the 1950s post-war Japan, encouraged me to be more playful and inventive in creating abstracts. These artists devised ways to bring outside influences into their work (such as people running over their canvases, etc.), which allowed their creations to move in unanticipated and exciting directions. It was this exhibit that inspired me to paint more freely, and in a more spontaneous, intuitive, and inventive manner.
I still never tire of viewing art and the unique strokes of others: from the walls of hallowed galleries to the exhibits of local artists; from the patterned floors of cathedrals and marbled piazzas to terrazzo'd café tables; from Rodin's bronzes to Venice's masks; from cheeky Inuit carvings to Morrisseau's mesmerizing Woodland painting style. I have the deepest affection for every nook and cranny and corner of the art world.
But mostly I have enjoyed discovering modern and contemporary artists near and far. Most recently, the Quebec painter France Jodoin, whose ethereal paintings of mist and shadowless landscapes and waterscapes, has me inspired to try similar techniques; Carol Bernier's "isles en vue" have touched another part of my heart; Cathy Peters, who juxtaposes colours so beautifully in her stimulating abstracts, and who can capture beach scenes of birds, waves, and froth like no other; Teresa Gillis, whose engaging compositions seem to have a life of their own; Daniel Pigeon's abstracts of strong lines, vivid colours, and intersecting planes; and Sueda Akkor's whimsical and dappled trees so reminiscent of the Group of Seven. I am always eager to seek out even the smallest exhibitions of art if only to keep refreshing my eyes and mind with the infinite and exciting world of painting and its ability to transcend reality.
a slice of life in my studio