Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hittin' the Road!

Hi All!

The car is packed, the brushes are clean, the suitcase is on the way out the door. Passport, check...keys, check....sunglasses, crap....(hope they're in the car!)....directions, check....

I'm on the way to the Jansen Art Studio to paint Santa! Woo-hoo! Stay tuned and I'll try and blog as often as I can....hehehe, I'm also going to try and get lots of 'behind the scenes' pictures to share!

Stay tuned....I should be there in hopefully 9 hours....Now, to drop my darlings off at school.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Finally Springtime

Hi All,

Sorry, not much painting talk this is all 'zippy lippy' while I paint my 'special board'...but, I promise that after we have the results I will bore you to tears with the "Diary of a crazy woman painting the board"...I'm taking pictures of the process it is a journey.

We painted a van Aelst class this week and a colour theory class this week. They were both lots of fun. In colour theory we are studying the limited palette and mixing a simple "tight" palette for a simple painting. Yup, we're still using our colouring books!

Now for totally non painting fun stuff...Blake and I took the kids to the drive-in tonight for the first time this year. Keep in mind, it's only been a couple of weeks since the snow FINALLY bid us adieu, so for us this is a sure sign of spring and the summer is not that far away!

Wow, the drive-in is so much fun. We pulled into the 'complex' is really cool, we have 3 screens to choose from...and drove by the concession and the playground. It was actually a pretty warm day here today so I had my window down (Blake, my weather guy, tells me it reached a high of 21 degrees C LOL). There were lots of kids in the playground playing on ancient equipment (that I know I played on as a kid!) in their pyjamas (I know I did that as a kid too!) We parked and we could hear the Canada geese in the distance honking away and we could hear the spring peepers in the trees. (I think they're frogs???? but the sound is unmistakable, and is the sound of a quiet evening outside of town.)

My sister, brother-in-law and niece and nephew came out too and parked right next to us so the kids could make faces at each other through the windows. It really was a wonderful night. Simple and relaxing. Just hanging out at the drive-in, eating buttered popcorn and enjoying the fact that it is no longer winter.

I love the drive-in. It is so relaxing, and you know what? They still play exactly the same cartoons during the intermission that I remember as a kid...remember the count down 'til showtime? 9 minutes and the dancing hot dogs, the guy being shot out of the cannon etc.? I laughed tonight when they showed photos of 'top movie stars' coming soon to our movie screen...they showed Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand, and lots of others that I am going to pretend that I am too young to recognize.... it was cool.

So we saw 17 Again and I am officially in love with Zack Effron. I already love Mathew Perry, but Zack is such a cutie. My niece (who is 8) and my daughter (who is 12) both completely agree. If they read this they will both give me HUGE 'eye rolls' and a chorus of "Oh Mom/Aunt George" I'll sign off before I embarrass them even more...

I'm just so happy it is finally, officially Spring. I think we can safely take off the snow tires and put away the snowblower...knock wood...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Painting Tip!

Hi All!

Had a great day painting the van Aelst today. Yay! I am FINALLY finished April...hmmm, I guess I'm not that far behind...LOL

I took a picture of my really super cool extender dish today. It is a little ceramic square that is the absolute perfect size for my brush when I'm using Extender. It is nice and low so it won't spill and is heavy enough not to get knocked around easily. I just love it. I got it at a Pampered Chef party, I think it was a set of 4. I now have 12 of them in my studio so there is a 'class set'...I do think Blake did sneak one out though for mixing his Wasabi when we have Sushi.

Here is a picture of the completed April lesson of the van Aelst. I can't wait to start adding colour!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A busy Weekend And Coast 2 Coast

A very dear friend's Dad passed away on Wed. and so we went to a visitation last night and we're going to a funeral this afternoon. My heart and prayers are with her and her family today and I truly hope she finds peace in her fond memories.

That said, we were unable to attend the Mix and Mingle party at Coast 2 Coast last night...but, Blake and I did manage to go down to the trade show yesterday! Wow it was fun.

This show happens every April at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga Ontario. It is a wonderful venue for Canadian Decorative Artists to 'strut their stuff'. Boy there are a lot of talented people up here in the Great White North. The hosts of this event plan classes, the tradeshow, Cash & Carry Classes and Teacher and Exhibitor Demonstrations. The place is literally buzzing with creative energy and comraderie.

I think that Decorative Painters are the friendliest bunch of people on the planet. I was lined up at a booth to pay for some beautiful new wood (more on that later!) and chatted and joked for a long time with the nicest group of painters I'd never met... We were complete strangers but we all shared a common interest and we were all gushing over the wood and what we were about to paint.
The lady I talked to couldn't say enough about what a great experience she was having. She had registered, was staying at the hotel and was taking as many classes as humanly possible. She was shopping during her 'lunch break' from class. LOL

I belong to an online group of painters called DAIC (Decorative Artists in Canada) but please don't let the name fool you! There are now members from all over the world. What a friendly bunch! I got to see so many familiar faces and meet so many in person for the first time. It was great. We have a nifty little mapleleaf pin that we each paint to our own desire that acts as our name tag. If any of you go to National watch for these pins! I know there will be a few of us there.

My purchases you ask? Well, there were many! LOL to Blake's great chagrin. First, there was a booth called Stirling Fine Furniture. Wow, it was a wood junkie's paradise. The man who works to create these pieces is a true craftsman. He said that he prices his wood so he makes $10/hour. He said he likes to sell lots and lots of wood at a reasonable price to bring everyone happiness instead of expensively to only a few. Wow...I don't know how he does it...seriously, if I have to sand any of this stuff I will be shocked and it was all so reasonably priced. I picked up the most beautiful domed bridal box for $20...and that is Canadian funds! They don't have a website but their email is

A jewellery box.

A coaster box with 6 coasters ~ $12!!!!

A game box with one drawer ~ apparently lots of people paint a checker board on top! cool!

That Stirling booth was hoppin! Very, very busy indeed, but can as you can see from the photos the quality and price acted as a well deserved shopping magnet!
During our wanderings I also picked up a set of 10 Russian nesting dolls in Heather Redick's booth. Oh they are lovely, they smooth and full of possibilities! I didn't buy a pattern for them...I'm challenging myself to come up with my own design for them...I kind of wish there were 12 for the 12 days of Christmas but my mind is now zeroing in on a Nativity Scene Set...we'll see how that goes! I think Blake is secretly starting a pool to bet on when my brush actually touches these new him with your 25cents and betting information...LOL

I also picked up a couple of books. The first was "Artists Eat Too" compiled by the members of the DAIC, this was in exchange for a donation. What a cool book, full of recipes, painting tip, household tips and cute little line drawing done by the members. I just love it.
My other treasure is "Celebrate St. Nicholas" published by the Decorative Arts Collection. Wow, what a beautiful volume of hand painted, hand carved Santas by all different artists. I am going to the Jansen Studio in a couple of weeks to paint Dave's version of the carved Santa found in this book. I had intended to bring 6 of these lovely Santas home to my studio so I could teach the class when I came back....hmmmm, I wonder if Blake would mind if I horded them all and painted a whole army of St Nick's for the fireplace mantel???? Would he notice??? LOL, hmmm then what would the students paint??? Oh this could be a puzzler indeed...I might need some more Santas...LOL

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Colour Theory and Colouring Books!

Ok, so the studio was a lovely, creative mess today! If I waited for a time when the studio was spotless to shoot a picture...well, you guys may never see the place. LOL Rachel posed with my exercise sheets so I could take the photos.
Lynn and Pauline recently completed the Traditions Modules ABC and now want to venture into the world of painting alone and designing. So today we began some colour theory experiments and exercises. We spent the day talking mother colour and colour screams...oops, I mean colour schemes! We worked extensively with the limited palette and had lots of 'aha' moments and solidified a lot of the information that they've been studying for so long in the manuals.
It was fun, we painted a chart that had all of our colours and then showed them toned with different earth colours or toner choices. Later in the day we took a simple colouring book line drawing and created a palette for it...wasn't as easy as it sounds! LOL
And in between all of our hard work, we even solved the problems of the world and determined the next winner of Dancing with the Stars. LOL
We're going to expand on the colouring book exercise next week and learn to create our own palette and this time control value and intensity as well...well hopefully!
The very first picture is of Pauline and her very first portrait that she painted way back in 1974...I think she did an amazing job considering she couldn't have been more than 5 at the time!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

busy brushes!


Well things have been pretty busy here at the Dawbon household and my studio this past week. First, the snow finally stopped and has almost disappeared...there are still just a few stubborn patches at the back of the house and in the shaded areas of the garden....

The Easter Bunny made his appearance and left some lovely treats...the kids had lots of fun searching for eggs...I still don't think they've found them all! lol Rachel is now 12 and Hale is 10 and this weekend had me thinking back to Easters past... I asked Hale, and he said it was ok if I told this story.

When he was 3 and my Rach was 5 my sister and her family came for Easter. My nephew Elijah is 1 day younger than Hale...yup, 2 peas in a pod...anyway, my sis and I sent them out to play in the sandbox with their chocolate Easter bunnies and next thing we knew Rachel was in tears...."What's wrong Rachel?" she was sobbing...."Eli kicked my bunny and smashed it." Well, my sis Jodie was furious. "ELIJAH, why did you kick her bunny?" The big blue eyes looked up so forlornly..."I thought it was Hale's."

Sheesh, boys....they really do love eachother, but I swear....

Later that evening, we thought a 'communal' bath would be fun for all the toddlers. Jodie peeled off Hale's track pants to find the kid covered in something brown. all over his but, legs and was his chocolate bunny. He had decided to hide it from Eli and didn't have any pockets so had instead put it down his pants for safe keeping...sheesh, boys....

Anyway, painting this week? Well, been fighting with my CDA board....sigh...just over thinking the whole darn process and questioning every stroke my brush makes...I can't wait until it is finished. LOL, funny thing is, if I were helping a student with this design (don't worry that IS NOT happening!!!!) I'd be able to 'remove myself' from the process and lay out logically exactly what has to be done. LOL we are our own worst critics, aren't we?

Today I had another open studio to paint van Aelst study. It is going well. Lynn Arra and Lynn Hoppe are chugging right along and their paintings are developing really nicely. I can't believe I forgot to take pictures today! Next week for sure.

This week is a big Canadian painting convention called Coast to Coast in Mississauga Ontario. It is a great show and Blake and I are going to a mix and mingle party for the DAIC list on Friday night and then going to the tradeshow on Saturday. I can't wait to see some friends and do some shopping! is the website for this amazing show.

The DAIC list is Decorative Artists in Canada, a really wonderful yahoo group I belong to. I have made a really dear friend on this list and I can't wait to see her this weekend! I'll have to blog all about Sue Beckerton. LOL, she'll love that! LOL, not!! is the website for this fantastic group. There are members from all over the world.

ttfn! and next blog will have some photos...promise....grin...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It is STILL Snowing!!

Hello from 'The Great White North'! LOL Ok, I am getting seriously worried about the health of the poor Easter Bunny who is supposed to come and visit us this weekend...he is going to freeze his little paws off!


I took this photo last night before bed, quite a pretty picture of our crabapple tree in the front yard if it was, it snowed all day today too. Yesterday the kids had a 'snow day' home from school. Wow, I think they only had 1 or 2 days off all winter and then bam, one in April...weird.


Today was an open van Aelst studio day. Several of us here in Barrie have been working away this year trying to finish our year long Willem van Aelst study provided to us by David Jansen. Lynn is doing a great job! She finished June today. She has officially passed the halfway mark! She mentioned today how much fun it was to paint something so challenging and what a great stretch it has been for her. Today her white chrysanthemums came alive. If you double click the photo it will open up for you in a new screen and is a little bigger.

Now, as you can see, I am not as far along as my dear friend Lynn! LOL, I am plugging away on the April lesson....I am almost satisfied with my grisaille layer, I just need to add some of the background buds and leaves and I'm off to the May lesson!
Wow, just so much going on in the studio right now. My easel and painting table runneth over! It's getting close to the mailing day for the CDA boards and I'm also working on some lessons for the new education manual.'s overwhelming sometimes, but it is so much fun when the brush is in my hand. Back to it!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Painting Eachother

Well, I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. These little darlings are my daughter Rachel, son Hale, nephew Elijah and neice Jada... We were at the cottage on a hot, hot summer day and decided to paint. "What will we paint Aunt George?" well I thought they'd paint pictures of each other, but they very clearly had other ideas. LOL boy they had fun. Rachel is 5, the boys are 4 and Jada is 3 in these photos.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Morning View

Out my Back Door
Wow, what a way to wake up this morning! I let the dog out to 1/2" of fresh snow...On April 4! What the heck is that all about? My camera didn't really pick it up but, it is snowing in the picture...the really fine, icy kind of snow...the kind that can't decide if it really wants to be snow or rain or hail...Oh well, the raking and tidying up of the dog's 'Land mines" will have to wait for a little while longer....
Let me tell you a little about our dog...ughhh, where to start? She is a 2 1/2 year old Golden Retriever and such a love. The kids named her DimWoof. That is Dragonese for 'dog'. (anyone with kids should take a look at the series of books by Cressida Cowell called How to Train Your Dragon, my kids loved them!) Anyway, she loved the snow. Yesterday it rained so hard and she didn't want to go out at all, today she stood at the open door, sniffed the air for a second and bounded into the backyard and rolled. She is so funny.
I got a fun call from Dave this morning, he is so excited about the paintings he just did for the education manual. They are so great, they made me want to run into the studio and start painting. That's the thing about talking to creative and passionate people, it really feeds my enthusiasm. I really love this industry and I am amazed at how the internet has brought us all together to share a common passion. (I like the word 'passion' so much more than 'addiction'....) If you are on the Teacher's Forum I posted the photos of Dave's paintings there. I think that Martha might be adding them to her blog though, so be sure to check it out.
Sounds like Dave and Martha are still struggling with jet lag, Dave said something about being up at 4am this morning. Sheesh, I feel so unproductive and guilty for rising at 8:30! LOL, but I'm sure I'll get over it...especially being, that I'm so refreshed and all....giggle....
So, with yard work off the list for today I can focus on inside stuff today...and maybe sneak in some studio time.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My First Blog!

Hi Everyone,

Well, please bear with me for my very first blog post...take 2...
huh? you ask....yup, take 2...LOL, I got very fancy a little while ago and my entire post was published in Hindi! Please, please don't ask me how...I'm really not all that sure. Hopefully, this one will appear in English.
Well, after Dave sharing his thumbprint mouse with us this morning on the forum, I thought I'd share my very first painting.
(I've added this link mostly as a test, to see if I know how to do that... so I guess we'll wait and see!)
She makes me smile, every single time I look at her. Does anyone know what pattern this is or who the designer might be? I painted it in 1994 and she looks an awful lot like something by Helan Barrick? If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment!
Well, off to the studio, to work on that special board...wish me luck!