Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2009

Gull Lake

16"X24" Oil on panel

Digging into the archives again. This was an early July morning in 2005, probably about 6 am. This is close to Minden, Ontario, on the lake where my husbands family had a cottage while he was growing up.
There are few things more peaceful than to sit on the dock in the early morning. The lake is glassy calm, the sky is cerulean, the cedars are fragrant.

On the Road

5.5"X3.3" Pencil on paper

It is hard to draw when you are barrelling along the highway at 65 mph (even from the passenger seat). I thought that drawing the car in front was a good plan until my uncooperative husband decided to pass him when I was only a few strokes into it. I finished by using a different vehicle as my model. Consequently what we have here is a hybrid.I may try to paint this one day, the minivan with a couple of canoes on top is an iconic summer sight on the highways of North America.

Bird's Nest

6"X4" Watercolour & pen on paper

I had ambition to do lots of painting while away but really didn't have much opportunity. I did get a few photos which I will try to work up later but mostly everything is very lush and beautiful but actually rather monochromatic.In the trellis over the entranceway of the house where I stayed I looked up and saw this little dove patiently sitting on her nest. I stood there and painted her until the rain drove me inside.

Chicory ACEO 2

2.5"X3.5" Acrylic on paper

This is the last of these for now, maybe I will do some more next week.

$20 -Please contact me for more information.sarah[at]

July Common ACEO 2

3.5"X2.5" Acrylic on paper
Here is the third of the series. The other nice thing about these is that they serve as thumbnail studies. So if I like the overall composition I might work them up into something larger later.

 $20 -Please contact me for more information.sarah[at]

July Common ACEO

3.5"X2.5" Acrylic on paper
They finally mowed the meadow-grass on the common on Friday but I managed to get a bunch of photos before they did it.

$20 -Please contact me for more information.sarah[at]

Chicory ACEO

2.5"X3.5" Acrylic on paper
I haven't done anything with acrylics for a long time. They are way outside my comfort zone but I need to stretch a little. I find these tiny "ACEO"s a good way to use them. I mark a piece of 9"X12" canvassette paper into 9 rectangles of 3"X4". That way I can paint to the edge and trim off the excess to bring them down to the requisite size.
For those of you not familiar with the acronym, ACEO stands for "Art Cards, Editions & Originals" and was coined on eBay. They are sometimes called "ATC"s (art trading cards) although this term is reserved exclusively for cards which are traded and not sold.
They are fun to paint because you can paint several at once, I just did four this time which I will probably pre-post because I am going away for a couple of days.

 $20 -Please contact me for more information.sarah[at]

The Shaw

6"X4" Watercolour on paper

I apologize for the shortage of new stuff this week, I have been sketching but not really anything I want to post. This is the Shaw Festival Theatre where I work, viewed from the Niagara-on the-Lake common and painted about eight years ago before the "Annex" was added.


9"X12" Watercolour on paper

This has been a rather unproductive week so I am going back to the archives.
A few years ago I attended a conference in San Diego and was able to sneak off for an afternoon to visit the lovely Balboa Park. It is a truly wonderful place, full of museums, galleries. conservatories and of course the famous San Diego Zoo (which I missed). I took lots of photographs and painted this on my return.Sometimes when I am suffering from artists block I set myself a task of painting something that I think will be very hard. I then approach it like a military campaign, making careful plans and detailed studies. This was one of those. I was never entirely satisfied with it but there were parts that I enjoyed a great deal. The tunnel under the arches with it's various shades of grey gave me a lot of satisfaction, the sky and some of the molding above the arch became so overworked that they were unrecoverable. Still, for all that, every time I look at it I remem…


11"X8" Pen & wash on paper

Cichorium intybusIt was very overcast today and in fact poured with rain this afternoon, but I went out onto the common at lunchtime and enjoyed the still-uncut meadow. Chicory isn't native to this part of the world but it is ubiquitous at this time of year and the pale blue flowers are sprinkled along every country road along with Queen Annes's Lace (another import).
I am still playing with this ink and wash technique and I am going to have to learn to be a lot less heavy handed with the line in some areas. The flower should have been a lot lighter but actually there is much more subtlety of tone than this scan would suggest. The black ink actually separates out into various shades including blue and a yellowish brown. It is unpredictable, like watercolour and makes for some interesting "accidents".


6"X4" Watercolour on paper

It is archive Monday. No time to paint today but I pulled out this one which I see I painted in July 2001. I remember I went down to the river at lunchtime with the thought of doing a landscape and I nearly stepped on this little chap so I changed my mind and painted him instead. He is obviously a garter snake of some kind but I am afraid I don't know which one. As well as the Common Garter Snake, we also have Butler's Garter Snake and The Eastern Ribbon Snake in Ontario. I have just joined the Sketching in Nature Flickr group so you may be seeing some more of these studies After all I have difficulty finding enough urban subjects for the Urban Sketchers group so I might as well go with the flow, for a while at least.

Yellow Plums

6"X4" Oil on board

I feel like I have painted this before, certainly others much like it. A bit of a cop-out today, I am working on a commission so I wanted to do something quick and simple for my daily painting. I don't really do commissions, in fact they terrify me, so I am suffering some angst over it.

Early Apricots

7"X5" Oil on panel

These are painted a little larger than life size, they are very small and not quite ripe. I do love soft fruit season, soon it will be peaches which are probably my favourite. This hasn't been a good year for the fruit growers though, too much rain.They are in another Chinese bowl, a modern one this time, and I thought that it was time that I tried to tackle the dreaded ellipse again. I can always see the problems after I photograph and upload it. I suppose it would be easier if I wasn't trying to finish it in one sitting. There are some corrections that are just easier to make when the paint is dry. Never mind, it isn't too bad I think.

Three Aubergines

6"X6" Oil on panel

Aubergines, a.k.a. eggplant, I haven't painted them for a while. The middle one is called "graffiti".
Not much more to say really. The plate is "cargo ware" so named because they were imported in huge numbers and were used as ballast in the ships bringing more exotic and expensive goods from the far east. They were hand-painted but quite crude and at one time very cheap. I believe that they are quite collectable now though.

More Ladies Who Lunch

7"X5.5" Pen & wash on paper
Nobody I know this time, just some ladies enjoying an al fresco lunch at the Epicurean before going to see a show at The Shaw.

Pitchers & Hitters

11"X7" Pencil on paper

This is how I while away my time during baseball games. Hitters are much easier to draw than pitchers, I have decided.

Making Umbrellas

7"X5" Oil on board

I have mentioned before I think that lavender grows well in my sandy garden. My grandmother had a huge lavender bush by her front gate. Every year she would make these "lavender umbrellas" and when I was small I would help her gather the lavender spears and thread them through with satin ribbon. They are quite easy to make, maybe I will post a step-by-step on my other blog sometime.



7"X5" Oil on board

My husband came home with these strange brown tomatoes that call themselves "Kumatoes". I have no idea why. I will let you know what they taste like.



8"X5" Pen, pencil & wash on paper

I spent a few minutes in my father-in-law's beautiful garden at lunchtime. It is a lovely spot and has been featured in a number of publications including Canadian Gardening. My sons have been doing some heavy work for him as he is now in his ninth decade, but he and his late wife pretty much created it themselves after he retired from a remarkable academic career.This sweet little bench looks like a lovely place to enjoy the peace and quiet but I don't think that anyone has been able to sit on it for a while as the surrounding hydrangeas have almost taken over.

High Noon

8"X5" Pen & wash on paper

This is me playing with fountain pen and water brush again. The weather has been so perfect that I have felt compelled to go out onto the common at lunchtime. The meadow grass hasn't been cut yet and and the colours, sounds and smells are intoxicating. Too bad I have to go back to work after.


5"X8" Watercolour pencil on paper

This one is a couple of years old but still quite seasonal. The paper I used was a handmade notebook with handmade paper from somewhere in southeast Asia. I thought it might work quite well for watercolour and so it might, but it is a bit soft for pencils. Still, I quite liked the way this one turned out. It was another of my lunchtime daily sketches from before I started actually posting them and to be honest they weren't all that daily really. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. The main reason I blog is to impose some self discipline when I don't really have anything else driving me.

Storm Approaching

7"X5" Watercolour on paper
I watched these massive storm clouds rolling in from the Niagara Falls to the South of us. The thunder was rumbling and and the raindrops staring to splatter so I took a picture with my cell phone and went back to work. I finished this at home.


5"X7" Oil on board

As I have mentioned before I am slowly repainting the exterior of my very old clapboard house. This entails a great deal of scraping and preparing. I finally worked my way around to the west wall this year but while in the process of scraping I came the the sorry conclusion that there isn't a board worth saving. We decided that we would re-side that section and this process was supposed to start next week. Unfortunately today we became aware of a slight problem. The ancient nesting box fastened to that side of the house, which was there when we moved in and has been empty for the four years since, seems to be occupied!

At the Gate

5"X7" Oil on panel

This young lady seems to be a kind of "greeter" at Fort George. She must have been standing there for a while, it looks as though her back is killing her as she leans on the massive latch of the old studded gate. I don't envy these young people in their authentic costumes (100% wool and many layers), although they have been lucky so far this year, the weather has been quite cool

N.O.T.L. Lighthouse

6"X6" Oil on panel

This lighthouse sits beside the Pumphouse Art Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is identical to the one which I used as a model for the linocut which I posted a couple of weeks ago.