Back with a Twist!


Wow, it has been an absolute eternity since my last post – and here I thought that I would have MORE time after finishing Grad School. Boy was I wrong! Between a new job and new activities and taking on projects for family and friends, the last 5 months have been jam-packed! I do have some photos of a Plein Air painting session that I did at the beginning of the summer, and I also have a lot to talk about regarding my transition into the more designerly aspects of art – which I am thoroughly enjoying! That is what the “twist” part of this post is all about. I am hoping to add a new section to the site that will feature illustrations and typography or poster/stationary/identity designs, along with my usual fine art. So, with that being said, know that I am still here! Goodnight all, looking forward to sharing everything that I have been working on!

Plein Air Painting

I was able to go plein air painting a few months (yes, months!) ago about an hour north of our home here in Pensacola, FL. It turned out to be a perfect day, fairly overcast with a slight breeze – it was a scorcher of a day so it would have been unbearable otherwise!

I felt incredibly rusty and wish I could have spent a little more time on the painting – but hey, this Canadian girl can only take so much Florida humidity! Alright, enough chit chat, here are some pictures for you to enjoy! I spent about 2 hours on the painting. After the pictures I have a story to tell you, so start scrolling!

About 20 minutes in to the painting

About 20 minutes in to the painting

The beautiful view, and not-friendly company

The beautiful view, and not-friendly company

Almost finished

Almost finished



















Now for my story. While I was painting, my husband and friends were helping build a shed for a cabin – i would say it was about a half mile away from where I was painting. I had NO phone service, which was actually quite nice until I wanted to go back to join the others …I was sick of the fire ants attacking my feet, and the giant spiders hiding in the grass beneath my easel. With no ride, no phone service, and no telling how long it would be before someone came to check on me, I decided to pack up my things and carry everything (wet painting and palette included) on my back like an Amazon woman … I actually did pretty well! It wasn’t until I was about 100 yards away that I dropped my painting …wet paint, face down in the dirt – and by dirt I mean gritty sand (we’re in Florida after all) ….well that was just fantastic! BUT thanks to all of the turpentine that I had used to thin down my paints, it had dried quite a bit already so the damage was minimal … what concerned me more after further inspection was the number of gnats that had ended it all by flying into the wet paint …gross.

I think the experience is one of the main reasons that artists enjoy plein air – there is always an interesting story to tell!

The all-important frame

The approval check for my art show is only 3 weeks away (and I’m about to enter panic mode) so today I decided that I should go and get at least a few of my paintings framed, rather than having to do it all at once …. $$$$$. I always partially dread choosing frames because there are so many choices, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to find the perfect one. What, you may ask, is the perfect frame? Here are a few of the criteria that I use when choosing this all-important finishing touch:

1. What is the theme of your piece? 
Theme has a lot to do with how I choose a frame because I want it to reflect the same characteristics as the overall message of the piece. What I mean by this is, you probably should not choose a barn-board, weathered frame for a portrait of the mayor – it just wouldn’t go together. The barn-board frame would work, however, on a painting of something farm-related.

2. What is the predominant color scheme?
Color scheme is another important factor because you want your frame to bring out the best in your work. One of the paintings that I had framed today was fairly monochromatic, on the warm side of the color spectrum. Because of this, I chose a frame that would bring out the reds in the painting because it helped balance against the yellows. This would be choosing a frame to Match the color scheme of the painting.

You can also choose a frame to Complement your painting. This is different from matching because the frame will pick up tones from the opposite side of the color wheel. Complementary colors are, blue/orange, violet/yellow, red/green, etc. Now, please do not misunderstand me- taken too far, this can horribly backfire. I don’t want to see your beautiful still life of oranges framed in a cobalt blue monstrosity. You want to complement to be subtle… let me repeat: SUBTLE.FDN286-2019

3. Size is a factor.

Take into account how large or small your work is, and how it will appear on the wall. Usually, the larger the painting, the wider the frame- you want it to look like it can support the painting. You do not want it to look like you wimped out (that sounds mean, but I’ll explain). If you go to all the trouble of creating a beautiful large-scale painting and put it in a thin frame, it takes away from the overall impact you were striving so hard to achieve. In contrast, I have seen some lovely studies (8 x 10 or smaller) in rather chunky frames, and it looked fantastic! Just use your discretion.

4. How extravagant is too extravagant?
A lot of delicate subjects look wonderful in heavily-ornamented frames – things like flowers, gardens, some still lifes, etc. can benefit from a gilded frame because it speaks to the sophistication of the piece. Some subject-matter, and even some media (watercolor, digital,etc.) look much better in a frame that is

FDN849-BGWless extravagant. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it can give you a direction to go in.







I’m sure there are other helpful tips that I am missing out on in this post, but I hope that if you are on a quest for a great-looking frame, this will narrow down your options.

The end is in sight …

After the business of the holiday season, I am finally back. I have a couple of new post ideas up my sleeve that I hope to write and polish up so that I can share them with you! I am graduating in MAY so I can finally say that this is my LAST semester of being a student! I feel so blessed to be wrapping up my college career, and am in awe of how the Lord has been working in my life and in my work! It is always exciting to look back and see how much you’ve grown, is it not?

Here is what I’ll be working on over the coming weeks – and trust me, it is a pretty wide variety, so life will be interesting, to say the least! I started a Sculpture class this week which I am pretty stoked about. Our first task is to sculpt a scale model of the human skull from clay. So far, I have had a lot of fun creating the armature and beginning to work with the clay. I’m planning on writing a few posts as that progresses. Also, I just started my final Graduate Studio class and I just started (this afternoon, in fact) a painting of a snow scene. I’ll be working from a photograph I took on our way home from Canada this Christmas break. There are so many beautiful cool tones in the photograph, I can’t wait to interpret them with paint!

Lastly, there is the thing that has been most on my mind since coming back to school … my Graduate Art Exhibit! It is a little over a month away and I must admit, I feel COMPLETELY unprepared! But the Lord is good, and with his help, everything will get done on time! It’s just a very big undertaking – I have a vision in my mind of how I want everything to look, but, as I’m sure you know, everything does not usually go according to plan! Needless to say, I am looking forward to posting about that as I have time!

SO, there you have it! That is what you can expect to hear from me in the coming weeks – I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone,

I realize that it has literally been weeks since I last posted, and that doesn’t mean nothing has happened in the last month. I have had quite a few life drawing sessions that I am hoping to post soon. I also have some new pieces to share, but those will have to wait until the new year since some of them are gifts and I don’t want to ruin the surprises.

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is this week already (even though we have already decorated for Christmas!)! I hope that you will all be able to enjoy a beautiful day – don’t forget to thank the Lord for what he has so graciously blessed us with – and also don’t forget to eat too much, and laze around all afternoon until you have room for pumpkin pie! (Because that’s exactly what I will be doing!)  There is so much to be thankful for! I am so excited that we are entering my favorite part of the year – Holiday Season!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Life Drawing: Libby

Yesterday we had our fifth life drawing session, and one of my classmates, Emily, brought in her sister, Libby, as a model.

This was a fun session because it was the first time that we were able to draw a costume element: the hat and bandana. It was a new challenge and a lot of fun to do. The thing that you have to be careful about when it comes to hats is making sure that it looks like it fits properly on the skull. It is easy to draw a hat too large or too small which results in the person’s head looking tiny or large. I was pretty pleased with the size and shape of the hat overall.

Here are some images from yesterday’s session:


Right before the end of the session - no bandana yet.


My drawing with Libby in the background.


My view of the model.


The beginnings of the bandana which I want to rework.

Right before the end of the session - no bandana yet.My drawing with Libby in the background.My view of the model.The beginnings of the bandana which I want to rework.

I’m not calling this drawing finished just yet – I am hoping to go back and finish up the hat and bandana since I feel like they really add a lot of character to this piece. I always take some reference photos at the end of the session in case I want to go back and add in some important detail elements.


Life Drawing: Emily

SO, yesterday we had another life drawing session where we drew for 1 hour and 15 or so minutes. It was fun, yes, but what was more fun was that my cute sister was the model! Shes so pretty, and I was so glad she was willing to sit for our class  - here are some images from yesterdays class!


Emily - idn't she cute? (She doesn't usually look SO serious ...)


New Painting: “Saturdays”

This painting was started about three weeks ago, working from a source photo that my mom took of my father and their dog, Hammer, which I recently painted in my piece entitled “Keeping Watch.”Before I get into all of the artsy fartsy stuff, I hope you’ll enjoy the story behind this painting:

Closeup of the hand, mug and paw

Closeup of the hand, mug, and paw

My dad, Dale, is a very hardworking mechanic who recently opened his own garage after working as a Ford mechanic for over twenty years. If you’re ever in the Tillsonburg, Ontario area and need a tune up, head over to A.C.T.S (auto care technical service) – you’ll be glad you did! :) Hammer is my family’s new Boston Terrier friend, and a total man’s man. He goes to work with my Dad at the shop almost every day – truly man’s best friend. This photo was taken on a Saturday morning while my dad was enjoying his coffee and quiet time before work, and Hammer just had to be a part of it. I love the expression on dads face and Hammer looking up at him – its so touching, and if you have seen any of my other pieces, you know that I have a special place in my heart for the bond between people and their pets.

Dad's face in progress

Dad’s face in progress – working different sections in order to blend the edges correctly.

This painting was a learning experience (like every painting is!) because I made myself use only three brushes – a number 2 bristle, a number 6 bristle, and a number 8 bristle brush. This is unusual because I usually will paint my backgrounds with a large brush and then break out my synthetic, teeny-tiny watercolor brushes for the rest of the painting – very tedious. I am trying to loosen up in my work and make them look more like paintings than photographs. I want people to be able to appreciate the color and brushwork, rather than the face that it looks so realistic – people have cameras for that :)

Also, I am planning on going back in a working on this one since a few perspective issues arose that I did not have time to fix before it was due. For that reason, I am not going to put it in my portfolio just yet – it will be waiting to be touched up, along with a few other pieces that have not yet been shown in the website in their entirety.


“Saturdays” Oil on Linen, 18 x 24
The mostly finished unrevised version :)

I really enjoyed painting the cool light and had fun finding vibrant spots of colour to put in here and there to liven and brighten up the piece. Another challenge that I need to still address is the issue of Hammer’s eye – it simply is not visible, which looks odd. So, that will be revised as well.

I hope you enjoy this piece!

Life Drawing: Sam

Charcoal Drawing of Sam

Charcoal Life Drawing of Sam

I realize that it has been a few weeks since I last posted a life drawing. I have completed three since my drawing of Brenda (which you can read about here), and each one used a different approach. Today I tried another new approach and I loved it. It made it so much easier to maintain strong values. Usually I begin with a line drawing and try to fill in the darks – the problem is that I always have a hard time going dark enough and I usually lose my value pattern. Today I began with a toned piece of tracing paper to establish my midtones. Then all I needed to do was add darks with more charcoal and then pull out the lights with my kneaded eraser at the end. I really like how the lights turned out because I was able to be more selective with them. I think this is my best attempt thus far and I will definitely be trying this approach again next week – and I’m even more excited because my lovely sister is coming to model for us! It will be a blast I’m sure.

Sam was a great model, and he had really well-defined facial features which made for a nice variety of angles and edges to draw. Also his hairstyle was fun to draw because of the angles – overall, a lot of character!  I’m hoping to put a few finishing touches on it and frame it to put in my art exhibit this coming March.

Enjoy! I’ll also put a copy in the Sketches & Studies  gallery in my portfolio.

New Painting: “Keeping Watch”

As promised, here is my newest painting, complete as of last Friday. Check out yesterday’s post to read a little on the back-story of this piece.

Just a quick note: I really enjoyed painting this piece in particular because of the dominant cool light. It was really fun to add accents of cerulean to add a variety of colour and interest to the darker areas, and also to push the shadows really warm in contrast. If you have any questions about my methods, leave a comment or an email through my contacts page and put “Keeping Watch” as the title.

To view the full size image of the complete painting, head over to my portfolio gallery for this, and images of my other work.

Closeup of Dog

Closeup of the head – I used a warm tone for the darkest areas of the fur and cerulean blue accents on the edges of the highlights where the cool light was hitting his fur.


Close-up of Hammer the dog