Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Olympic Torch Run

Hi Everyone! We just had the most inspiring evening with the kids! The Olympic Torch is spending the night in Barrie, Ontario. We braved the cold and went to City Hall to watch the events. Here is a video of our evening.

The girl who painted on stage was amazing! It was so much fun to watch ~ she painted with her hands and spun the canvas while the painting just evolved in front of our eyes. Too cool!

Just double click the title of this post and hopefully it will link you to the youtube video that can also be found at:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The House is Decorated

Well it is Wednesday and tomorrow is Christmas Eve....I love this time of year and I thought I'd take a little stroll tonight through the living room and rec room and share some shots of all of the Christmas decorations here in my home....

LOL, I don't really have a lot of painted things throughout the house all year but at Christmas all bets are off!!!!! It is such a fun season to paint for and none of it has to match or be the same style...it just has to be Christmas and it has to make me smile. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the short tour.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


OK, this post has been edited! I just wond the battle of wills with the new computer and managed to upload a proper video on YouTube. It is much better quality! Please enjoy.


Merry Christmas!!!!!

Hello Everyone!

It has been a while but I am back and my New Year's resolution is to keep this up more faithfully!

I was so lucky this weekend to drive down to Dave and Martha Jansen's and meet Heritage Team members from around the world. Yumiko was there from Japan and Veronique and Francois were there from France. I unfortunately missed Serina from Taiwan by only one day.

We had a fantastic time eating, designing and talking all weekend. Just getting to know eachother and learning to break the language barriers with smiles, teasing, jokes and dictionaries! LOL Food also helped ~ the universal leveller!

For dessert one night I made a Traditional English Triffle. I think Dave liked it!

No that isn't one serving, but some of us (guess who! LOL wished it was!)

We got quite a snowstorm while I was there. A blizzard actually! And I'm from Canada and know what those things look like....I arrived Friday night and there was no snow but on Sun. morning look what we awoke to:

It was soooo pretty but sheesh! What a lot of snow in a short time! So much in fact, that poor Paul and Cathy Seymour were unable to join us for the day on Saturday....they live 3 hours away and the roads were all closed. It was even so bad that they lost their internet connection for most of the day.

We have so many great things planned for 2010. I just can't wait! This team is incredible and I am so proud of everything we have done in 2009 ~ I really can't wait for the exciting ride that 2010 will bring us.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

when life gives you lemons


Well Cousin Camp 2009 is in mid stream and we're all having a fantastic time! The kids are all having a ball together and the weather has finally decided to show us that it actually is summer. (I fell asleep on the lounge chair yesterday listening to an audiobook on my iPod and burnt the stink out of places that haven't seen sun in quite a while! Ouch my knees hurt! LOL)

Anyway, the title of my blog. You know when no matter how well you plan something it just doesn't work out? Well, Kari, Jodie and I very carefully planned a week long menu and who was bringing what. This is important in an area that has no electricity and depends on propane fridges and coolers with ice! The corner store is a boat ride then a car ride away! LOL

When life gives you lemons you make lemonade....well, in our case ~ when Jodie brings up a 10lb bag of rotten potatoes you let the kids play "potato baseball" on the dock! LOL

Yup, my crazy sister cut all of these stinky, rotten potatoes into smaller pieces and then proceeded to be 'pitcher' to the kids on the dock. She would lob them a potato and WHAM they'd hit it out into the bay. Some potatoes were much funnier than others....some exploded into a million mushy pieces (ok, took 3 of these before we wised up and moved the boat! LOL), and then some came screaming right at the pitcher! Jodie got hit twice by a potato and she now has the bruises to show for it! Only at cousin camp....My sister Kari and I were laughing so hard we forgot to take pictures. On the bright side ~ we have a basket of peaches that aren't looking too good.....LOL, that will be a photo op for sure!

Not a painting related blog this time, but what the heck we're having a really fun week!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Transferrable Skills?????

Hi Everyone,

Well we are now well into summer and the family visits have begun. My sister and her two kids are visiting us here in Ontario from BC. They are staying with us this week before we go to the cottage for our annual "cousin camp" with my other sister and her kids next week. Here is the 'rub'.....lol.....my studio has been taken over.....

Now imagine, not in the usual way when family comes to visit with suitcases, mattresses and piles of 'stuff' that collects when you have company and not enough bedrooms... but ~ my painting studio has become a TATTOO PARLOR!!!! My sister is a tattoo artist and she has booked lots of appointments in my studio for this week.

Ok, I'm going to admit something....I know nothing about tattoos. I grew up in a family that WENT to tattoos (you know, with pipebands and drums?) not got tattoos. Anyway, Jodie has several and they really aren't what I expected.....what did I expect? well, I'm not really sure but I guess skulls might have popped into my head. LOL I definitely fell into the 'stereotype' mentality and this is the first time I've really, really looked at them.

Having just come from Dave's Teacher Seminar where we were all designing, and learning about scrolls I was VERY aware of 'c' and 's' in the designs Jodie was coming up with and had in her portfolio. We had a really long conversation after dinner last night about the acanthus, root c's and s's and line of design. She actually looked at one of the Rosmaling designs I came up with last week and declared it to be a tattoo waiting for ink! LOL

OK, so just when you learn that Rosmaling is a transferable skill to all other painting ~ BANG!!! ~ I learn that it is also transferable to tattoos.....LOL

Now, the big question, to ink? or not to ink?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Seminar at the Jansen's!

Hi Everyone, this will be quick....I'm eating breakie and class starts in 1/2 hour! But I took a shot of Dave making us all a spaghetti dinner last night with Arlene supervising.....but, this next one was worth a movie! LOL This is our dear Paul vacuuming before the students arrive!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our small piece of paradise and how we decorate!

Hi There,

I thought I'd share some photos of my favourite place in the world, the cottages that belong to my family and my husband's family on the Severn River. Since Rachel and Hale came along I ha
ve been the luckiest person in the world and have spent my entire summers on the Severn River with the kids.
Someone asked me recently if my home was stuffed with paintings, LOL, well not really but there are lots of paintings at the cottage and these are just a few of my favourites.
The one at the top of the page is a painted screen at my Mother-in-law's cottage. I love painting screens, it is so much fun! Once painted you only see it from one side, it provides privacy because you see the painting but not really much inside! From inside it is just a normal screen and you can see out perfectly. You can see Rachel inside in the photo sitting in front of the woodstove.
LOL, I love this painting! It was a Christmas gift to my sister Kari and her husband a few years ago. They have decorated their cabin in an 'Elvis' theme and actually named the cabin "Graceland"....trick is they only decorate with 'tacky' Elvis stuff....So hard when all the Elvis paraphernalia is all so classy and lovely....giggle...they have a whole shelf full of 'Elvii' isn't that the plural of Elvis????

Ok, if wasn't clear earlier, it's going to become very clear very soon that we all have a bit of a weird sense of humour! My sister Jodie painted my Mom a rock garden next to the outhouse....she actually painted flowers on the rocks. LOL, well at least we don't have to water them!

Kari and Jodie love signs, and this is the 'waiting in line' spot on the path to the outhouse....when both my sisters and parents and all of our families are up at the same time there are 14 of us sharing one outhouse.....grin....might as well have fun while you wait!

This is the play structure we all built one summer for the kids. Between my parents have 3 granddaughters aged 8,9 and 12 and 3 grandsons all aged 11. What a crazy crew...my sisters and I all have one boy and one girl and all 3 of us had a baby boy the same summer. My son and my nephew are only 1 day apart and my other nephew was born 9 weeks later! Every year we have the 6 of them together for a week for 'cousin camp' it is a ball! This pirate ship was built from "the scrap crap, lumber pile"...LOL every cottage has one, it is a neatly piled stack of odds and sods that isn't good for anything but too good to throw out.

This is Blake's and my bunkie. It is a 12' x 12' cabin that 4 of us and a golden retriever sleep in. I decided that since we couldn't afford nice siding I'd faux paint some! LOL The door isn't real, it is just paint on the outside wall but it has a real handle and real hinges. LOL, my cousin actually pulled on it 3 times to open the door as I patiently explained it wasn't real! too funny!

This is the front!

This is a painting I did for my Mom and Dad one Christmas. It hangs over the entrance to our kitchen cabin.

This is a fun 'junk box' I painted with fishing lures. It holds everyone's car keys every weekend...the odd rolaid....elastics and other stuff you never knew you needed.
The kitchen is so much fun! Kari, Jodie and I painted all the cupboard doors one year for my Mom for Christmas....Each door is a little different. You often hear things like "where are the garbage bags?" and the inevitable reply, "try the loon or duck cupboard".....LOL

It is only appropriate that the raccoon peaks his head out of the garbage cupboard under the sink! LOL

Kari and Jodie painted chipmunks and strawberries on the other cupboards.

Everyone has their own coffee mug with their name and a lion painted on it!

My family's cottage is called Lion's Head Point. Jodie painted these for Mom and Dad for Christmas....do you see the theme here????? LOL

This was a fun stencil we did on the wall.

Here we have a woodpecker and 2 field mice.

A chickadee and another mouse. (silly mice, like them in a painting but not in real life! LOL)

A hummingbird.

Another woodpecker and some dragonflies.

Jodie did a mural on all 4 doors, it is awesome, a great blue heron, frogs and a saucy snapping turtle.

We have no hydro at the cottage and so we own 2 1950's (I think!) propane fridges. I painted the front of this one with a picture of our outhouse.
This one has a painting of our kitchen cabin from the river.
Well that's it for now! Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our crazy cottage. It is a fun place where we all laugh and enjoy and don't worry about high end decorating! as is probably painfully obvious!!!! LOL

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Peoria SDP Convention

Hi Everyone,
First, let me apologize for taking soooo long to post this blog! I am currently having a love/hate relationship with my laptop, network, camera and basically anything electronic! LOL But here are finally some great photos and some wonderful memories of our (Blake's and my) very first Society of Decorative Painting National Convention. Here is a picture of some of the team that was at the convention: l-r Paul Seymour, Cathy Seymour, me, Hazel Anthony, Martha Jansen, Dave Jansen, Jessica Jansen, Dave Parmer, Bobbie, Koelsch and my hubby Blake (who was standing next to my new sister-wife Bobbie! LOL)

Blake was so funny all week, he just kept me intact and sane amongst the chaos...it got to the point that he was my 'purse' and he was totally ok with that...as a matter of fact he actually said "I go with everything." LOL, so maybe Bobbie just had 'purse envy'....so I leant her mine! This is a shot of me, Hazel and Bobbie painting some of the new mixing cards that are included with one of Dave's new Limited Palette mixing DVDs. Paul is trying to supervise apparently....actually, I think he just wanted in on all of the giggling that was going on.

Here's a shot of the young married couple who celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary while we were there!

Our wonderful editor Frieda joined us on Friday and was busy taking lots of photos of some of the new paintings that will be included in our new Heritage Education Manual.

This is what remains of my one and only attempt at trying to take a video with my camera....LOL, obviously was unsuccessful! Not sure whose pretty toes those are, Bobbie or Hazel I think. LOL

The sales team! Martha, Dave and Jessica!

Paul busy running a 'make it and take' or several students and Bobbie making sure he didn't forget any steps!

Why, it's a global palette Vanna, brought to you by Global Art Supply! Your's for only $24.95.

In the very blurry background is Hazel carrying the Australian flag to the general meeting of the SDP. That was a real honour for Hazel. There were 14 countries represented at this year's convention and over 1000 registered attendees.

Cathy, Paul and Arlene Newman. We stayed for the meeting and got to watch as all of the wonderful awards were given out for this year's achievements by artists around the world.

Me in our hotel room. I was on a 'help line' (and I use that term loosely!) with HP for almost 2 hours trying to fix our laptop. No go....

Blake and David hanging paintings the first day.

Paul hung a few too.....LOL, then he got to hang them again after they fell on the floor.....

Dave and Martha unpacking numerous crates while we set up the booth....(I'm sorry these are all out of order but tonight, I've given up fighting with Blogspot too and trying to place the photos chronologically....)

Oh my gosh, I think I have a love/hate relationship with this blog...LOL, I love to 'read' it when it's done but my oh my, sometimes I hate writing it! LOL It seems that when I have time to write it there typically isn't much going on in the studio and consequently not much to write about! BUT, when there is lots to write about I barely have time to catch my breath let alone blog about all of the really, really special and interesting events that are happening! LOL such a conundrum! But such a blessing.

Well, I'll begin by saying that Blake and I spent last week in Peoria Illinois at our very first ever Society of Decorative Painting Convention. What an amazing time we had! I got to meet other members of the Heritage Design Team with whom I've been working so closely these last few months. It really felt as though we were all old friends even though we'd never actually met in person before. I got to meet Hazel Anthony from Australia, Arlene Newman from New Jersey, my dear friend Cathy Seymour from Pennsylvannia and Bobbie Koelsch from California. Bobbie and I had been Skyping at least once a week for the last couple of months so it was like seeing a sister I hadn't seen in a long time.

Dave hanging some paintings.

We had an amazing time and met some really great people. If I try to name them all I know I'll fail but meeting Marsha McDowell, David Vernon and Mark, Julie King and so many others was such a joy.

I know that I'll always treasure my memories of this week and I really can't wait to go again next year to Wichita Kansas!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Seeing the World with an Artist's Eye

OK, it is now official...I am an art geek and I've dragged my husband along for the ride! LOL Tonight Rach and Hale were off to a city wide dance for all of the public school safety patrollers. Rachel won patroller of the year for her school! We are so proud of her and her brother for all of their hard work. Blake and I found ourselves with a few hours to kill so decided to go on a 'date'. We went to see Angels and Demons. Great movie!

http://www.angelsanddemons.com/ for some great clips and photos.

Here is the hilarious part....throughout the movie I was having a little trouble entering the "suspension of disbelief" and losing myself in the movie. I was having so much fun looking at all the artwork! LOL, no secret, it takes place in Vatican City and Rome....there seem to be a couple of nice things to look at there! LOL I found myself looking over character's shoulders so I could study the trompe l'oeile on the wall behind them...studying a painting that was stealing the scene...or admiring a sculpture during a gunfight! LOL

Then I was looking at furniture....the marquetry, the decorative paintwork on the legs of chairs etc., etc.....

At the end of the movie, Blake leaned over and asked me what I thought of the movie and I remarked on all the great background 'stuff' going on....he looked at me and said "yeah, and did you see the desk???? Wow, I'd love to paint that marquetry." He then went on and asked if I'd noticed the faux niches painted on walls and if I saw the decorative cartouche in a hallway....okay, I didn't even know he knew that word! What a hottie, my hubby is! LOL such sweet nothings being uttered....LOL He even finished by saying he'd love to go to Rome someday and see it in real life. Ahhhh, I love that guy, knew he was a keeper the moment I met him.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Creative Energy and Learning

It has been an incredibly productive and creative week here in my studio. During the day two students have been coming in to paint with me and we are working on completing our Willem van Aelst study. We are all in the 'July' portion of our instructions so we have officially come halfway and the paintings look amazing.

We had some really great moments this week...Lynn and Lynn both had serious 'aha' moments when they came to the realization that they were painting 'their' painting and not David's or Willem's....sounds silly I know because they are painting a reproduction piece, but as an artist it is an incredibly liberating moment to make the transition from painting "cause it says so" to painting "cause that is what MY painting needs". It means that they are seeing and executing as an artist, they are making reasonable judgements and decisions that are based upon what is happening on their own canvas. I think it was a moment that has building within them for quite sometime and then snuck up on them and took them quite by surprise. I know that this painting has stretched them both and they have both learned so much from the exercise.

My Wednesday night class is exercising some creative freedom as well....lol, bunch of rebels! What I had intended to be a floral study from their own photographs has morphed into something even more wonderful and rewarding. There are 4 of them in class and all 4 of them are painting something different. Some based on published patterns and some based on photos. It really is stimulating as a teacher to be the 'guide' and just facilitate and help along the way instead of standing at the front and having them copy step by step exactly what I do. Everyone is learning so much from the different skills that are necessary in each different painting. I think they might say that it also allows a lot more time for 'social' time in class. LOL

Painters are amazing people. Everyone comes to the studio from different backgrounds, different lifestyles, different families and yet they all have something in common....I've watched some really great friendships develop over the years because of classes and it is so wonderful to realize that I am part of such a large family.

Here's a shot of my van Aelst so far....I'm in the middle of July instructions and working on the watch.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cottage is open!

Well it has been a very busy couple of weeks around here. My American friends are celebrating their first long weekend of the summer today and we Canadians celebrated our Victoria Day long weekend last week. Usually, this would mark the beginning of our cottage season...but, high water and threats of snow flurries (holy macaroni! how weird was that???) scared us away! LOL

Blake and I took the kids up to my mother in law's cottage this weekend and we opened up. It is always so much fun to go up to the cottage the first time of the season...It always feels like I was just there yesterday even though 7 monthes has passed. We did the usual cleaning up of mouse poop, fighting with leaky pipes and water pumps and dodging black flies. We had some boat trouble and hopefully that will all be worked out soon.

My Mom and Dad have a cottage directly across the river from Blake's family. That's how we met actually...he was the boy next door. LOL He is the 3rd generation at his cottage and I am the 3rd generation at mine. We watched eachother waterski as kids, play volleyball at picnics and passed eachother probably a million times at the marina....but we never met...May 19 marked our 18th anniversary of meeting and this summer we will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. It was on Victoria Day and my 2 sisters and I had our cottage to ourselves...we were 'bonding' because Kari was about to spend the summer in Germany on a university work exchange. We had been there all weekend and on Sunday night we were sitting on the point having a cocktail when we realized that the crazy guys across the river were setting off fireworks and playing some great music. My sisters and I debated for a while and finally decided to go across the river and meet the neighbours...afterall, we had just run out of beverages...LOL

We pulled up to the dock and what to our wondering eyes did we see? Five really, really, really cute guys. And boy were they happy to see us! LOL I distinctly remember hearing one of them say "hey, that boat is coming in here....and there's women!" LOL The rest as they say is history. I fell in love with the guy around the campfire as he did his best (worst ever! LOL) impression of Louis Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World. My sister Kari ended up marrying Yuri one of the guys on the dock and Jodie and one of the other guys are still great friends and dated for a long time before parting ways.

Yuri actually proposed to Kari on the May long weekend about 15 years ago...he did it in front of all of Blake's relatives and all of our friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, my youngest sister, mom and dad and even my grandmother was there.

It always amazes me that we never met as kids, but I'm so glad we didn't...we just found eachother when we were ready one night way back when and there were fireworks...literally and
figuratively! LOL

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Special Board

Hi All,

This year I began my second attempt at painting a board for the certification program with the Society of Decorative Painters....wow, it is such an amazing experience to paint this board.

It is a test in which the SDP mails the applicant a board and a line drawing. It is up to the individual artist to paint the line drawing...sounds easy right? Wow, wrong! LOL

It is so difficult to choose a colour scheme and then follow it through, every stroke asks the question "what is the quality and quantity of light in this area of the painting?" I found myself continually questioning my choices and pushing, pulling my painting limits and experimenting...how far can I safely take a value and intensity in this element of the painting?...

This year's test has really, really stretched me. I feel pretty good about the result...I know that I have some areas to study and work on still but I really like my finished product.

Now comes the hard part...waiting for the judges at the convention to critique my painting...then the REALLY hard part ~ LOL~ accepting the critique in the positive way in which it is meant! Putting my ego aside and really looking at it as a guide and map to the areas that I need to study this year. I love that it will provide me with direction.

My critique from last year explained that I needed to study value and intensity...so, that is what I did this year...I think that this year's board has a marked improvement over last year's attempt I am really excited to see if the judges agree.

Now, it is all 'zippy lippy' until the judges have completed their task so come June I'll share my photos of this journey.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Catching up After a BIG Weekend

Hi All,
Wow, what an amazing weekend...when I last left off it was Sunday and we had just finished our 2nd full painting day. Dave and Martha host a BBQ at every seminar and ours was on Sunday night. It is so much fun...after painting together for a few days everyone is comfortable with new friends and having a relaxing dinner together is great. Often we get to meet spouses and other family members who have made the journey to seminar. We also get to snoop...LOL

Dave hand Martha open their home and we get to see the hundreds of paintings hung on every spare square of wall and sitting everywhere. Talk about inspiring! Ok, confession time...I had a brain fart and forgot to become obnoxious paparazzi at the BBQ...soooooo, I'm going to show you pictures of the Jansen's upstairs and paintings from my seminar last July! LOL

VGB, I couldn't resist this shot of Dave's upstairs office...So I'm not the only one who leaves my brushes in water...unfortunately, I don't manufacture them....hmmm LOL

I did take a few shots of the classroom before I went to bed on Saturday night:

There is nothing being spoiled at a Jansen seminar...Martha, Dave P., Kaitlyn, and Jessica take such good care of us all day. Martha feeds us breakfast every morning, a beautiful lunch and snacks all day. I don't think any wish or want is overlooked and she makes it look so effortless but I know how much at work she puts into it... What an incredible hostess. She even finds time to chill out with Bacchus.
Bacchus, Maggie and Kaiser (the dogs...forgot a shot of them!) keep us all company throughout the day, hanging out in the studio and snoring while Dave is trying to teach.

Dave P. and Jess took some time during lunch to fulfill their role as 'the marketing team' and put together an updated catalogue of all of the DVDs, books and wood that we could shop for.

Paul and I got up REALLY early one morning and at the behest of Martha ran some of the new Heritage MultiMedia Acrylics through the paces. All I can say is WOW!!!!!! I can't wait!!!!! They are absolutely amazing....

Thank you Martha it was an honour to play with it.

Here are some paparazzi shots of my new friends in class!

Louisa and Jessica.
Dorothy. She is a triple crown winner in doll making! Her faces on Father Frost and the Santa were beautiful.
Betty AnneAbi
I left for home on Tuesday morning so I stayed up on Monday night and finished my box and Santa Claus. I really love them. I think these Santas will become an annual thing for me! Creating a collection would be wonderful. I brought home 7 blank Santas so that I can teach a class myself. I'll be taking a look at the calendar after I post this blog so watch our website if you're interested.

Well, it was a wonderful weekend and I can't thank Dave and Martha enough for their generous hospitality and wonderful class. I still can't believe that Dave and Martha arrived home from Japan on Thurs. morning at 3am, I arrived at their house at 6:30pm and then class began Friday morning at 10am. They had jetlag and must have been exhausted but made everything look so easy and smooth. I had so much fun with my classmates and managed to create something beautiful and learn all at the same time. I love to learn with DVDs and take online classes but there is nothing in the world like a real live class....Now the countdown begins for National in Peoria. I can't wait!