Girl in Gold, an Exploration.

Golden Anniversary

Here in Victoria BC we have a local organization called the Victoria Arts Council that is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. In conjunction with a Christmas show entitled “Little Gems” they decided to have a ‘celebration wall’ of 50 works done in the theme of gold. I received one of these 10 inch gallery depth panels that will be for sale Nov.28-Dec21/18. As a result, I “had to” 😉 go out shopping to gather various gold and metallic art supplies. I set to work researching inspirations and a subject. The influence of the German symbolist Gustav Klimt is hard to avoid . Any mention of gold always brings to mind his pieces featuring luxurious patches of glittering leaf.

Ici à Victoria, en Colombie-Britannique, nous avons un organisme local, le Victoria Arts Council, qui célèbre son 50e anniversaire cette année. Parallèlement à un spectacle de Noël intitulé “Little Gems”, ils ont décidé de créer un “mur de célébration” de 50 œuvres réalisées sur le thème de l’or. J’ai reçu un de ces panneaux de profondeur de galerie de 10 pouces qui sera à vendre le 28 novembre au 21 décembre. En conséquence, je «devais» faire des courses pour rassembler diverses fournitures d’art en or et en métal. Je me suis mis à la recherche d’inspirations et d’un sujet. Il est difficile d’éviter l’influence du symboliste allemand Gustav Klimt. Toute mention de l’or fait toujours penser à ses pièces comportant des taches luxueuses de feuilles brillantes.

In the beginning . . .

The beginning in gold
The beginning in gold

For this project however, I limited my materials to iridescent paints. Ultimately, the items items used primarily were Iridescent Antique Gold acrylic market by Liquitex, Iridescent Gold (fine) High Flow acrylic by Golden.

Pour ce projet cependant, j’ai limité mes matériaux à des peintures irisées. En fin de compte, les articles principalement utilisés étaient le marché de l’acrylique Iridescent Antique Gold de Liquitex et l’acrylique Iridescent Gold (fine) High Flow de Golden.

Baby Steps . . .

2nd stage, adding some opacity
2nd stage, adding some opacity

 I did include something of his spiral motifs in the background, but the style of the face became my own.

J’ai incorporé quelque chose de ses motifs en spirale à l’arrière-plan, mais le style du visage est devenu le mien.

It begins to come together . . .

Getting closer with lights & darks.
Getting closer with lights & darks.

Photographing to shimmer of the golds was difficult, so I took a short video:

Photographier à la lueur d’or était difficile, alors j’ai pris une courte vidéo:


Girl in Gold, 10" square
True to You, 2018

Commission paintings

I have completed a number of commission paintings recently. 

J’ai récemment réalisé un certain nombre de peintures de commission.

All works of art are commissioned in the sense that no artist can create one by a simple act of will but must wait until what he believes to be a good idea for a work comes to him.

W. H. Auden

Ink and watercolour dog portrait of Jamal the pug.
Ink and watercolour dog portrait of Jamal the pug.

Vintage Triumph motorcycle, acrylic on canvas.
Vintage Triumph motorcycle, acrylic on canvas.

Watercolour and coloured pencil portrait.
Watercolour and coloured pencil portrait.

Family portrait, ink and watercolour
Family portrait, ink and watercolour

And here’s a couple photos mid process. 

Pet portrait in ink alone.
Pet portrait in ink alone.
Vintage Triumph motorcycle, ink on paper.
Vintage Triumph motorcycle, ink on paper.
Beginnings of the watercolour portrait
Beginnings of the watercolour portrait

If you have any questions in regards to having a painting commissioned, please feel free to email me: for an estimate. 

Si vous avez des questions concernant la mise en service d’une peinture, n’hésitez pas à m’envoyer un email à pour un devis.

Urban Sketching : Rock Bay Heritage

This past week’s location for Urban Sketching: Rock Bay, Victoria BC.

Modern day Rock Bay, Victoria
Modern day Rock Bay, Victoria

When I heard that or local urban sketching group was heading to a heritage/industrial district I knew that is be aiming for buildings, not people or flowers. I arrived around 10:30 a.m. on a sunny Saturday and remembered that I didn’t apply sunblock, oh well, sketching on the edge!

I plunked my tiny tripod stool down on the side of the intersection of Store and Pembroke Streets. I hoped my pink baseball hat would make me visible to the dump trucks and commercial vehicles going by.

British Columbia is a very young place in terms of (white man’s) history and the kind of man-made structures that survive many generations.
They say that in England 125 years ago was just like yesterday, where in BC 125 kilometres is a pleasant drive. Space? We have loads by European standards.
The Victoria area was colonized in & around 1850. So any building still standing from this time frame is REALLY old.

The Rock Bay area is very close to the harbour of Victoria and began as & has continued to be an industrial area. This unfortunately has resulted in alot of environmental contamination. They have been working for years to remediate land here.

Urban sketching in Rock Bay, Victoria
Urban sketching in Rock Bay, Victoria
Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog
You're Invited!
Paint Party Friday

A House Portrait

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.
Author Unknown

This house portrait was thoughtfully commissioned by a friend as a surprise Christmas gift for her mother after she had seen some of the urban sketching I’d done.

Their house, like many, has allot of sentiment as it was built by her parents more than 30 years ago to be the home to raise their family in and now, the next generation of grandchildren are finding comfort there as well.

House portraits preserve a moment in time -a first home, a family home, a home in a specific season. (pets can also be included in the house portrait.)

Do you have a home, business or building you would like a momento of? Perhaps even a gift to a client. You can email me or send a picture of your home via post and I can produce a hand-rendered 8″ x 10″ ink and watercolor portrait on watercolor paper or illustration board. Once the pictures and details are in hand -it takes approx. 2 weeks to complete the portrait. Please don’t hesitate to enquire!

House Portrait
House Portrait, Watercolour & Ink, 9″ x 12″


Rome: Virtual Paintout

Piazza del Paradiso, Virtual Paintout
Piazza del Paradiso, Rome, Italy (coloured pencil & watercolour) for the Virtual Paintout.


I participated in the Virtual Paintout again this December. The area to focus on was Rome, Italy.

Every painting is a voyage into a sacred harbour.

Giotto di Bondone

I have never been to Rome but as I have recently returned from Amsterdam, Barcelona & Paris. I can imagine to a small degree what it could be like: Narrow, cobbled streets lined with tall antiquated buildings (by my Victoria, BC standards, where some of the oldest buildings are 135-140 years old. Only babies by European or Asian standards!) in various states of decay/preservation, with cafe tables in every other doorway. I’ll get there eventually but for now, this surrogate ramble through the medium of Streetview with have to suffice.

While doing research for the Virtual Paintout the contrast of warm stucco against the cool sky caught my eye this time around. I also like the the negative space, the slightly cock-eyed “X” of the sky.

If your curious to see a glimpse of how Piazza del Paradiso appears in Streetview, click the link here, but remember you’ll need to crank your head way up to get the perspective.


Vritual Paintout
Artist’s Playroom
Paint Party Friday
Paint Party Friday


Fast, Slow and a Series

An assortment of crows. All are acrylics except centre right which is watercolor on birch panel.


What can be learned by doing things really fast?  Or really slow? Or in a series?


Many artists painted have the same subject over and over, from different angles (Monet’s Waterlilies) and others have painted the subject repeatedly looking the same (Warhol’s Marilyn silkscreens) in an effort to show that even with endless amounts of reproduction where on the surface they appear the same, the small smears and clogs give an individuality to each piece. Even in my attempts to manually reproduce the same familiar image from memory, each time there would be variations to the theme. Some I liked and of course others not so much.

What I found is that each time I repeat a subject (such as a  bird) I become more aware of :

*the textures & highlights

*the shape & proportion

*the body language & movement

*seemingly subtle things such as the highlights of an eye can draw your attention

*the addition of a tiny prop like a cigarette can change the attitude



I hadn’t tried to give myself a time limit until I applied to compete in Art Battle, along with a few friends (Buddy System!).

My first reaction to the challenge was trepidation but the more I thought about it the old saying of “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” was lingering in the back of my mind.  That’s when I made the dive and sent in an application, only then to panic with my acceptance!

I needed a plan of action so our group, which we soon dubbed “the A-Team” (an attempt to take on the strength & ingenuity of these iconic characters) put into motion several practice sessions, complete with timers, distractions and loud music (we had to learn to block these things out).  We tried new images and old familiar ones to the point where it began to feel that our hands began to form a memory of their own for the twists and turns required, endeavoring to become more efficient in the movements each time. The results did surprise me at times and really made me consider whether some of the long drawn out hours necessarily paid off?

The day of the competition was loaded with adrenalin, unfamiliar materials and faces but I’m certainly glad I did it. Will I compete again? Only the future will tell but in the meantime I have a collection of birds in various sizes and shapes to contemplate and learn from 🙂


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Virtual Paintout Ireland, Dreaming of Grand Houses, Forests & Lakes.

Virtual Paintout Ireland

Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House

I participated in the Virtual Paintout Ireland this month. The area to focus on was County Kerry.

It  was very easy to “wander” the streets and pathways for hours through Google Streetview this month. It seemed every time you turned a corner that there was another beautiful lake, a fine old pub, stone cottages, and little churches overlooking another pastoral scene.

I chose another tall building, maybe I’m attracted to the distortion of the upward angle.

Muckross House is located in Ireland’s  Killarney National Park and was built in 1843  for the politician Henry Herbert.

Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.
Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.

If your curious to see a glimpse of how Muckross House appears in Streetview, click the link here


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Mystery Art Show Revealed!

The Mystery Art Show is now over!

Quadra Island boat painting, art show
“Quadra Island boat” is ink & watercolour painting on wood cradle board, 10″ × 10″. SOLD

I’m happy to say that my painting “Quadra Island Boat” sold yesterday via Red Art Gallery! I’m to see it off to a happy new home.

I shallook forward to participating again in the future and meeting many more local artists. 

Is like to extend my thanks to Bob & Marion for hosting this fun event!


Red Art Gallery Third Annual Mystery Art Show

Mystery Art Show image
Red Gallery Mystery Show


 My work has been chosen for the Red Art Gallery Third Annual Mystery Art Show. There were 102 entries this year, but just 40 works to be displayed.

Red Gallery Mystery Show

I like the idea of this show because people would be buying the art because they loved it, not because of the name on the front.

I will post a picture of my painting once the “mystery” is over 🙂

New photos of various creations added

I have added a number of photos of new creations including: Paintings, Sketches, & Abstract Paint images. I’ll have them sorted into galleries shortly 🙂

You will have to experiment and try things out for yourself and you will not be sure of what you are doing. That’s all right, you are feeling your way into the thing. (Emily Carr)