I discovered the beautiful orange-red hue called Vermillion in a Merida art store, a colour I had never used before but one that is familiar to many.  Vermillion mixed with Phthalocyanine Blue made an intense and very rich black colour for the night sky and shadows in this painting. I added a little Sap Green and Alizarin Crimson which created warmth and coolness to a black that wasn’t black. 


Sometimes the conditions in which we create art are more memorable than the actual act of painting.  In this case, I was working on this painting when a storm came up with very strong winds and pelting rain.  I kept working, but found it hard to focus with what was happening around me. Surprisingly I was able to preserve the night time stillness of the painting  intact without reacting to the chaos just outside my window.  If I had reacted to the storm, this painting would look entirely different, not at all like the photo I was trying to represent.  


I’m painting these studies in a representational manner and am finding that they are teaching me many things. I’m becoming more observant, studying more closely line, shape and relationships in value and colour variances.   I believe that I’m gaining confidence in the many skills needed to be a painter.    Artist David Hockney sums this up quite nicely. He states that  “moving into naturalism was a freedom”. He could paint a portrait, paint from memory or  even “paint a strange little abstract picture”.


I don’t know where these little paintings will lead, but I do know that for me, it’s part of the process of art making. 


Until next time


The photo that I used for this painting has several nuances of light, shade, and colour and so many little details that for me were important to use in the painting, such as the bits of blue cloth, the wires, wood and rocks. This Mexican street scene interested me with its half painted wall, tumbling rocks and greenery pushing  through everything.  I found  great pleasure in acknowledging the little things in the photo that guided the story that it was, and established the character of the painting. 


The challenge in this painting (and in all of my paintings) is to keep it fresh and slightly underworked without losing the details.   I want my brush strokes to speak for themselves and not be overworked in a “blending frenzy”.  


More colours were added to my palette from my previous painting, Cadmium Red medium, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Indian Yellow.  The addition of these colours worked well to make the intense blues, and various greens of light and shadow. I used a combination of Ultramarine Blue and Phthalocyanine Blue with Titanium for the sky, the building and fabric.  


Until next time


What to Paint?


My studio is set up and ready for me to take brush in hand and get to work.  But what to paint?  What am I curious about?  I scrolled  through the photos that I took last winter in Mexico to see if any images caught my attention. 


A pattern emerged.  I was intrigued with the photos of houses under construction, or in shambles needing some attention.  Not only did the subject matter appeal to me, but also did the muted palette of grey/blues, ochres and umbers in compositions rich with a variety of textures. 


The first image I am using was taken on the street that I walk on to catch the bus. It had a complex compositon with a strong contrast between the door opening, wall and shadows. There was only a hint of bright colour in the flowers on the left and the new bricks on the wall.  


I loved the contrast between the dissary of materials, old and new on the left  and the wall construction moving towards the right and the very neat, tidy doorway with the beautiful brick pattern surrounding the door.  Chaos and order.  This epitomizes my impression of Mexico and its chaotic energy with an underlying sense of order that I often find difficult to navigate.  


My palette is simple, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Sap Green, Cad yellow light (hue) and Titanium White.  Alizarin crimson and Sap Green make beautiful earthy colours with a bit of yellow to warm them up for highlights and sand colours.  Adding a touch of the Ultramarine Blue to Alizarin Crimson and Sap Green gives me a rich blue-black.


There are so many  colour variations with very few hues!  


Until next time





It’s time to start packing for my winter in Mexico and it’s always a bit daunting as to what art supplies I should take.  I’ll be gone for 3 months so there are a lot of things that I need to take with me besides art materials.  I can very quickly get to my 50 pound baggage limit.  How do I keep the weight and bulk down?  


Because this is my 4th year going to the same location I am getting much better at figuring out what I need and what I don’t need. First of all it’s important to know what you want to do while away.  I’m an oil painter so packing can be a bit tricky. 


Not all paints are acceptable on airline carriers.  The first thing to do is check the MSDS sheet for the products you want to carry.  Also check the airline for the acceptable flash point of products.  Print the MSDS report (Material Safety data sheet) and pack it with the “artist oil colours”.  


Notice, I said colours and not paints.  So if asked, you are not carrying oil paint. The word “paint” raises red flags. I label my container that I carry them in  as “artist oil colours”. 


 I use M.Graham oil colours and walnut oil for thinning and cleaning brushes. Both should pass the safety regulations for flying, but there is no guarantee, so do your homework for whatever product, airline and location you are going to.   I am never positive that my stuff will get there!!


Oh yes, everything should go in your checked luggage.  


Here is my list of supplies that I travel with.

* I am not in anyway being paid for endorsing the following products.  I just really like them. 


M. Graham oil colours 1.2 oz size

     Titanium white (5oz if I have room)

     Alizarin crimson 

     Cadmium red 

     Cadmium yellow dark (or Indian yellow)

     Cadmium yellow light

     Phthalocyanine blue 

     Ultramarine blue 

     Sap green 

     Walnut oil (for thinning paint and cleaning brushes)


Arches oil paper pad: 12 sheets, 140 lbs., 12”x16” (They come in smaller sizes too)

     For me this is the best thing ever for painting on.  It’s not bulky and no gesso is required.  I also take a thin board that’s the same size to tape the paper to.  


Assortment of brushes, palette knife, a small container for oil, and brush cleaning soap. 


Sketch book, pencils, sharpener, erasure. 


A portable, compact light-weight easel.  


Disposable palette.


That’s it!  


Until next time,

















One of my new paintings that was  exhibited from September 5th  to Otober 26th in  the Lobby Gallery, Regina Performing Arts Centre, 1077 Angus St   


The theme and title is New Ground: Explored and Revealed and was exhibited with the Regina Art Collective. 


In this exhibition I have used my drawings that I did while walking or riding as a starting point for the paintings. The drawings became layered and more obscured as I was drawing  while moving.  The paintings  all have red backgrounds to symbolize the wild strawberries that were found on the prairie land that was settled and where my first studio sat. 




My first garden in several years and what a jungle it has turned out to be with overgrown plants and vines creeping all over the place.  As subject matter I was interested in the undergrowth view on my knees close to the ground.  Here are two of the results. 


Sitting amongst 5 of the 42 panels. My 1000 painting project finished in 2 1/2 years.  Now just numbering and mounting left to do.  

A few productive days in the Wallace Stegner House in Eastend Saskatchewan with artist Paula Timm resulted in reaching painting #500 of the 1000 painting project.