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Showing posts from 2012

Swimming Hole

5"X7"  Oil on board
They told me that it was really too cold to swim. I scoffed of course, being a hardy Canadian girl, used to swimming in northern lakes. However, even I had to admit that it was quite "fresh" and my swim didn't amount to more than a quick dip.

I think that this will be the last of my California postcards for a while. I have enough material that I could go on almost indeffinitely but I seem to be losing my sense of the place. Maybe because, now that the rains have come, even my family are gone, back to Puerto Rico and the orange farm for the winter. The house on the hill stands empty, waiting for Spring.

Humboldt Redwoods

5"X7"  Oil on board
Just outside Redway, the Briceland-Thorne Road passes through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

It seems silly to even try to depict the largest trees in the world on a canvas that is only 5"X7". On the other hand I couldn't complete a visual essay on the "Lost Coast" without including them.

The young man in the middle ground (about 9:00 o'clock), climbing over a fallen branch, helps to give the picture some scale. He is my nephew.

Our Lady of the Redwoods

5"X7"  Oil on board

On the road between Four Corners and Whitethorn is a monastery founded in the early sixties by four sisters from the Cistercian community of Our Lady of Nazareth in Brecht, Belgium

They are a silent order and sell creamed honey on an honour system "take what you want and leave the money in the box". Very good it is too.

The view from inside the church is quite inspiring.

Elk on the Road

5"X7"  Oil on board

Driving back up the road from Needlerock we met this gentleman, we had encountered his harem on the way down. The ranger had warned us that he was ornery and had attacked a hiker recently.
Needless to say we were very respectful and kept well behind him as he sauntered along in front of us. He wasn't in any hurry and would occasionally look behind to see if we were still there.

He is a Roosevelt elk. They really are quite spectacular, it is hard to convey the size and majesty of these animals. They look so much like deer in their colour and shape but are closer in size to a moose.The local herd was exterminated more than a century ago, but these were reintroduced from Prairie Creek State Park and seem to be thriving.

View from Needlerock

5"X7"  Oil on board

Here is the rest of the picture. An amazing view from an amazing place.

A hundred years ago there was a mill town here. The only remaining buildings are the house which had been the schoolteacher's home and the barn, which was once part of the old sawmill.

Before the Europeans, the Sinkyone people had lived here for centuries and Needlerock was actually the site of one of the most shameful massacres in California history.

House at Needlerock

5"X7" Oil on board

A very long time ago I lived for a few months in this house at the end of the earth. In those days it was privately owned (not by me), now it is part of the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park and the house is used as a rangers' station.
Over my left shoulder is the Pacific Ocean, a spectacular view from the front porch, when it isn't shrouded in fog. I don't think I had any idea when I lived here, what an incredible privilege it was and how unusual this place is. A house with an ocean frontage in California, and no neighbours!

Fog at Four Corners

5"X7" Oil on board

The road from Whitethorn to Needlerock intersects with old Highway 1. I believe that at one time this highway went all the way up the California coast but it is now broken in several places where attempts to keep it open on the rough terrain have been abandoned (hence the "Lost Coast").

This intersection is locally known simply as "Four Corners", but I don't think you will find it on any map.


7"X5"  Oil on board

We met these chaps on our way to Ferndale, somewhere outside Petrolia, I think. They really were very handsome.

Mountain View

5"X7" Oil on board

And so we return to the stunning view. This would be about 7 am in mid September, looking south towards Whitethorn.

Wine Country

5"X7" Oil on board

North on 101 from San Francisco you pass through Sonoma County, wine country. Of course the Niagara Region is wine country too but it doesn't look like this. There were actually palm trees around the villa but I couldn't make them look convincing at this scale so I left them out.

Golden Gate

5"X7" Oil on canvas SOLD

Of course when you head north from San Francisco, this is the way to go

Ocean Beach - San Francisco

5"X7" Oil on board

The Lost Coast is a hard place to get to. First I had to fly to San Francisco. I was met at the airport and we took the dogs for a walk on the beach before heading north.

Cape Mendocino Lighthouse - Shelter Cove

3.5"X2.5" Acrylic on paper

Another thumbnail in the Lost Coast series. This lighthouse was moved from Cape Mendocino at the turn of the century. It is now open to the public. for more information see here.

House by the Sea -Shelter Cove

2.5"X3.5" Acrylic on paper

Another thumbnail sketch.

Road to the Sea

2.5"X3.5" Acrylic on paper

I am still not being very productive but I decided to try some of my paintings in this tiny trading card format. If I don't get around to working them all up into larger paintings right away, at least I have a thumbnail to remind of what I hoped to achieve.

This is the road down to the ocean, somewhere around Petrolia, I think. One of the very few places on the Lost Coast where the Pacific can be accessed by road.

Shelter Cove

5"X7" Acrylic on board

I have been feeling really crummy for the past couple of weeks and haven't been doing any painting at all.

This is the second in what I hope to be a series of paintings of the "Lost Coast" of Northern California.

Distant Hills

5"X7"Acrylic in board

This is my first attempt since my return to recreate this spectacular view.
Capturing the layers of atmospheric perspective is challenging but fun. The distant hills are about 100 K (60 miles) away I believe.

House with a view

Here is the porch where I paint "mountain views". It is only about thirty miles from the Lost Coast, but about a two hour drive because of the lack of highways and the inaccessible nature of the coastline in this part of California.
Apologies again for the poor image.

Another Morning on the Mountain

A couple more attempts at the view. I am using the iPad to "scan" them, so the quality isn't so good. I use watercolour so infrequently now that I find it a bit of a challenge. I have several more of these, which I may or may not post. Perhaps I should try to paint something else, but the aspect is so great and the chair is so comfortable :-) .

Mountain View

5"x7" Watercolour on paper

This is probably the first of several attempts to capture this ever-changing vista. The view from the front porch, in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately it is nowhere with an excellent internet connection. Aren't satellites wonderful!


7"X5" Oil on board

When you are wandering along (or climbing and scrambling up) one of the "wilderness trails" in the highlands, it is easy to imagine yourself an intrepid explorer, "boldly going where no man (or woman) has gone before".

Then you get to the top and find the bench, considerately placed for the weary traveler.

Little Hawk Lake Marina

5"X7" Oil on board

Nice spot on the edge of wilderness.

Knox United Church

7"X5" Oil on board

This is in the charming village of Dorset, Ontario, very near to where I was staying. This little church is very plain but stands out bravely against the summer foliage.

Blue and White House Revisited

5"x7" Oil on board

This one is for Lisa, with thanks.

I am having computer problems. I think it is the network adapter in the laptop as the ipad and other computers in the house seem to be connecting OK. Unfortunately, at nearly four years old, my Toshiba is verging on geriatric. It is a good thing I have the ipad but it isn't sufficient for all my needs. I wish someone would come up with a decent financial program for Macs, I would seriously consider switching.

Two More Red Peppers

7"X5" Oil on board

I have done enough tomatoes, time for another go at peppers. This photo isn't very good, I may photograph it again when it is a bit dryer and less reflective.


Little White House

6"x9" Watercolour on paper

I lied, we decided to spend one more day up here. The weather was perfect.


6"x9" Watercolour and ink on paper.

Pretty self-explanatory really. Last day at the cottage.

For these last two painting I used a neat little iPad app called DocScan HD. It is very useful for making copies on the road because it allows you to adjust for distortion, but it doesn't produce very sharp images.


6"x4" Watercolour and ink on paper.

Well here I am at the cottage and this is my internet connection. It only works intermittently, so I will keep my fingers crossed that I will be able to upload this.

Peaches Again

5"X7" Oil on board

The peaches have been so exquisite this year, I decided to have another go. This time, to add even more pain, I placed them on a highly polished mahogany surface. So between reflections, shadows and fuzz, I gave myself plenty to keep me challenged.

For some reason, this one was more than usually difficult to photograph, either not enough light, or too much surface shine.

I recommend the Quiet Acres ( roadside stand on the Lakeshore road in Niagara-on-the-Lake. They might just have the best peaches in Canada right now. They only sell their own produce, so you can usually buy tree-ripened fruit which has just been picked and has barely traveled any distance. They sell all sorts of other fruits and vegetables too, but only what they grow themselves and only in season.


7"X5" Acrylic on board

My muse seems to have deserted me for the past few days but I can't let tomato season pass without at least one assay.

$75 - Please contact me for more information

Niagara Peaches 2012

5"X7" Oil on board

Every year I seem to need to torture myself by trying to paint the peaches, I always regret it.

This time the main problem was the light. A thunderstorm was rolling in and it was getting darker and darker. It was too late to turn on artificial light as that would have changed the picture completely.

Never mind. The purpose of these still life paintings is really just practice, so I guess it served it's purpose. I probably learned something, although I am not sure just what.

$75 - Please contact me for more information


3.5"X2.5" Acrylic on canvas paper

The blackberries are wonderful this year. I have been picking about a pint a day. I am freezing them as I pick so that I can make a big batch of jelly in the Fall when we have fresh apples. So far I have about 5 pounds (2.5 kilos).

I pick them every morning when I come back from my walk, and this morning I decided that I should paint some before they went in the freezer. So I made this quick acrylic study while I was eating my breakfast. Pretty tricky, as I had to be careful not to dip my brush in my cereal

I am not sure why the blackberry harvest is so much earlier here than in Europe where it has always been an Autumn fruit. It may be the varieties or something to do with the climate. One of my best childhood memories is going up to Highdown Hill with baskets and walking sticks (to pull down the high brambles).  We used to do this usually just before going back to school in September, often taking the bus.

When we got home we would boi…

Orphaned Buildings 3

5"X7" Oil on board

With its white picket fence and faintly nautical air, this would probably be described as a "Cozy Cape Cod Cottage" in the real estate listing. Once upon a time this was a quiet little street just off Niagara. That was before the QEW ran less than 50 feet from the front door.

They have recently widened the highway and placed a 10 metre high wall along it. I am not sure whether that would be an improvement or not.

 $75 -Please contact me for more information.

Orphaned Buildings 2

7"X5" Oil on board

Well I had all sorts of good intentions but I see it has been over a week since my last post.

Here is another old Ontario farmhouse, on Vine Street North, just over the Niagara Street bridge. Once upon a time there must have been just one Vine Street, then the QEW (the Queen Elizabeth Way, or "kew" as my GPS insists upon calling it, is the main highway between Toronto and Fort Erie) came along and cut it in two.

Now this cottage is nestled between the Ukrainian gift shop on one side and the gas station across the street. However, the largely unspoiled exterior and big shade trees allow us to get a glimpse of what it must once have been.

 $75 -Please contact me for more information.

Orphaned Buildings 1

5"X7" Oil on board

This handsome Ontario Gothic is surrounded by houses built in the forties and fifties. It was particularly appealing at seven this morning as I went for my walk. It is already flying the maple leaf, ready for Canada Day (July 1).

I plan to do a small series of these "orphans", every city has them but I think that we have more than our fair share in St. Catharines.

With two major highways and a couple of branches of the old Welland Canal cutting through the city, there are many areas that have become severed from their original neighbourhoods. I have always been fascinated by these "orphans"; grand old houses marooned amid a sea of concrete and neon as the avenue becomes the main drag, 19th century farmhouses surrounded by the subdivision that was built when the land was sold and the genteel home standing stubbornly between the crack house and the brothel because grandad refuses to move from the house where he has lived for sixty …


12"X12" Oil on canvas

Remind me never to try this again!

A midsummer rainbow over Youngstown, New York. Not this year, not a drop of rain in sight as temperatures hover around 35C.

There are numerous problems with tackling a painting like this, not the least of which is that it is almost impossible to photograph a rainbow effectively, so I had to resort to memory and research.

The rainbow has to be lighter than the surrounding sky, but also has to be slightly transparent, try achieving that with paint! Keeping a steady hand while drawing the arc is tricky too.

All in all a salutary lesson in knowing my limitations.

$300 - please contact me for more information.


4"x6" Oil on board

We are at the height of strawberry season here in Niagara and they are pretty good this year. We had better make the most of it because the unseasonably warm spring and late frost ruined most of the tree crops.

$50 - Please contact me for more information

June Common

12"X12" Oil on canvas

Here is another view of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Common. I am running out of names for these, I am going to have to start just numbering them. I posted a couple of WIP here and here.

 $300-Please contact me for more information.

Still on the Canal - Port Weller

12"X12" Oil on canvas

Port Weller Dry Docks

This area by Lock 1 is often glassy like this, sort of like a mill-pond.

I find these massive old industrial buildings rather majestic. This building (do they call it a hangar?) is big enough to take one or the giant lakers which come here for refitting and repairs. The crane is either "Bonnie" or "Clyde". A few years ago there was a tragic accident when one of them came down in a storm, taking its operator with it.

$300 - Please contact me for more information

White Peony

5"X7" Oil on board

And now for something completely different.
I try to paint the peonies every year but I think I missed them last year. I nearly missed them this year, my own came and went already last week so I bought some from the market on the weekend.


Lock 2 Evening

12"X12" Oil on canvas

Looking south, late afternoon in June. One of the giant lakers is just emerging from Lock 2.

$300 - Please contact me for more information


12"x12" oil on canvas

Built in the mid 19th century by the Dickson family, it was purchased in 1873 by Henry Livingstone Lansing, a Buffalo banker, for the princely sum of $18,000. The Lansing family made extensive changes and additions to the original building which at that time was known as Woodlawn.
George Rand bought the house, with the 50 acre estate, in 1909 and the house was owned by the Rand family for most of the 20th century.
The future of the building is currently being debated. It looks as if it will be turned into an inn and conference centre. It seems a shame but as the estate still comprises 14 acres and several buildings, it is hardly surprising that it no one wants to take it on as a single family home!

$300 - Please contact me for more information.

Another Common Tree

12"X12" Oil on canvas

Here is another tree, actually it is three trees growing together. I sketched it once before, from a slightly different angle, last Fall.

$300 - Currently available at TAG Art Gallery in St. Catharines