Monday, September 2, 2013

Creative Influences

I took on the rearing of a puppy dog this summer and blogging had to go on the back burner.  It had been ten years since my last puppy and I’d forgotten how much work it was.  While my intention was to get down to work in front of the easel for hours every day, which is my usual schedule; the task at hand was to keep an eye on this new addition to the household and everything chewable—shoes, wires, paintbrushes, even the corners of a few frames lying around propped up against walls either waiting to go out for hanging somewhere or home from another show.

What came from not being able to be in front of the easel was surprisingly an unexpected surge in creative thinking, sort of a downtime from actually pushing paint around at the end of a brush.  Standing aside from what we usually do can open the door to new direction and that was what I noticed when I could again focus back in my studio.  I found I had new eyes.  Looking at previous works I wanted to right wrongs, adapt my colours, apply theories I’d neglected.  Really, really look at my paintings, critically! 

I am not suggesting that one get a puppy if you need a fresh start with your work but if all else fails, stand back awhile, study art books, get back to basics about theory and what constitutes a successful painting.   Become a student again.  Sometimes a step backwards IS a step forward! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Stalking the Long-Shadows in Maui
Anybody out there notice that after taking some time off for a vacation it’s hard to get back into the routine of painting?
If you are like me and still on “Island” time, with the sounds of an ocean lapping onto shores, palm trees rustling overhead, dancing on sand that’s too hot for bare feet, or have just experienced the ultimate silence at the summit of a mountain peaked high with snow, flakes licking your face, it is hard to get back to work.  Creatively I’m eager and poised but it’s that darn start point that blocks me up.  The “Avoidance Technique” is in high gear!
When I was reminded of information relating to setting up a schedule to assist me using the “Pomodoro Technique” (re: Robert Genn Twice Weekly and Liz Witzen’s Blog) I got myself an app for my iPhone called NAG.  It does just that!!  It is made for people like me who, when a timer goes off and ends, just ignores it.  Well with this app…..good luck!  It will continue to nag at intervals with whatever ringtone you have chosen until you actually turn it off.  Thus your eyes and hands consequently get disconnected from your work.
NAG and Pomodoro are now my new friends.   It will allow me to delve into a pressing daily schedule of painting necessary to meet upcoming shows and events.  For the Pomodoro Technique set a timer for working in blocks of twenty minutes and after five minutes of rest for the eyes or rolling shoulders to relax muscles, re-set the timer and resume painting for another twenty minutes and so on. 
Rev up your juices, reduce intimidation in getting started, provide a period of focus for creativity interspersed with a few minutes to sit back and goof off.  Ultimately the goal of a productive session of painting is behind you.
With a mind set for change and discipline this should help get over being jammed post-vacation or having to recover after some previous disappointment in the studio.  If nothing else it reduces the pull of all that awaits doing around the house.  Currently I’m being beckoned by the dryer-done-signal urging me to take out the clothes but alas with Pomodoro in charge I have no intention of putting down my brushes until my five minutes of break begin. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Horsing Around Langley

Just a quick update of the 3D horse for “Horsing Around Langley”.  This has been a major undertaking.  I’d rather not consider how large a canvas this would have been but I’m thinking it was easily a 6’ X 10’ canvas if it was laid flat.  You can image the challenge of painting what should look straight from a distance but over an undulating surface – a lot of stepping back to make sure the viewer has the right perspective and the angles make sense.
My horse and I have spent many hours in our dining room (the only place large enough to paint it) getting the Langley scenery just right.  Here’s a collage of the “final” version of this rewarding project.  Some minor adjustments still to come.
The greatest difficulty I had doing this project was when curvatures on the horse’s body were encountered.  Trying to do a straight line was almost impossible.  Working with watercolour ‘Wash Out Tape’ which is transparent and gummed on one side saved the day.
After lots and lots of pigment, combined with Golden GAC-200 Medium which increases film hardness, helps with spread by reducing tack and improves adhesion, the horse is ready for varnishing.  After this it will be given an automotive clear coat for a more protective finish.
It was a challenge both physically and creatively to meet the requirements for such a large undertaking.  I lost track but I think I spent a good portion of eight weeks completing it.  The undertaking was an experience I won’t forget both for the work involved and the fun too.
I hope everyone enjoys viewing the many aspects of Langley I tried to capture on my horse.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Catching Up!

Hi Everyone,
It’s been a very busy 6 months!  This note will catch you up (almost) on what’s happened and will set the stage now for regular Facebook and Blog updates.
The summer was busy at the Fort Langley Artist Group’s (FLAG) Flagstop Gallery located inside the original Fort Langley train station.  During the summer we held several events and I enjoyed painting at the gallery. 
The Surrey Arts Council held their annual Art Walk at the Cloverdale Blueberry Festival.  I was thrilled to win 1st Place for my original acrylic painting “Cedar Falls Shuswap”.
The Blueberry Festival was one of a series of events over the summer in which I had an opportunity to meet enthusiastic art lovers and sell several of my paintings.  I had a great time with my fellow artists at the Aldergrove Country Fair Days, the Langley Arts Council event during the annual “Cruise-In” as well as the International Arts Festival held at the Langley Events Centre.  Again this year I participated in the Langley Artists Studio Tour where my show was held at the Neck-of-The-Woods Winery.
This Fall I was honoured to be selected by the Langley Arts Council to paint one of their life-size fiberglass horses.  The Council offered these horses as a fundraiser for the Council’s support and work with local artists.  My horse was sponsored by the Otter Coop and depicts scenes from rural langley.  Rumor has it that my horse will join his four siblings on display in the Langley Willowbrook Mall in January.
 There’s definitely a story to this 7 foot 2 hundred pound horse so stay tuned for some pictures!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jazz Night for CKR GLOBAL combines with Hope International Charity Event

I recently had the opportunity to attend a dressy evening “thank you” event and fundraiser.  I brought one of my original paintings to add to the many other original and hand crafted items that were part of a silent auction featured throughout the evening to raise funds for Hope International, a registered world-wide charity assisting developing nations with their varied concerns.
What a way to spend a weekday evening—high atop the Vancouver Art Gallery with the late afternoon sun shining into the crowd on the “Rooftop” reception gallery.  Those who mingled in the crowd had a great view of downtown Vancouver, good wine and even better hors d'oeuvres while listening to a live jazz trio.
The evening was well attended with many friends and clients of CKR GLOBAL having the opportunity to relax and look good out of the office as well as personally being able to contribute to Hope International by taking home some very attractive, unique items from the silent auction.  Check out the Hope International website to see how you can help too at
Here is a better look at my original 16 X 24 Oil painting entitled "West Coast Solitude."
"West Coast Solitude" - Original Oil 16" X 24"

Monday, June 11, 2012


I am pleased to have been selected by a jury of members to be part of the Fort Langley Artists Group, FLAG, for short.  We are a multifaceted collection of 20 women, mutually supportive, and eclectic in our artistic creations;  from pottery, photography, to watercolours, oils and acrylics, there is much to see when visiting our Gallery.

The Gallery, named the FLAGSTOP, is the original structure that comprised the waiting room, ticket office and baggage room for the Canadian National Railway (CNR) train stop that Fort Langley relied upon in days gone by.

It is a charming, rustic setting for a gallery loved by all who know it in the Lower Mainland of B.C. and also by many visitors from distant countries.  On one weekend recently I had the pleasure of speaking to a couple from Venice, another family from Germany and folks from Holland all having a chance to hear about the station's history from the Heritage Society of Fort Langley. 

"Flaggies" as we call ourselves mind the Gallery during the summer weekends but some of us can be seen during the week painting en plein air on the platform or in the gardens. Tourists wander the picturesque grounds, kids play on the 19th Century rail cars, while modern locomotives rumble speedily by for destinations somewhere else in Canada.

Its a romantic and inspiring spot;  come visit if you an.  Great art works to see as well.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Louise Swan Originals - "Spring is in the Air" Art Show - Cochrane, Alberta -  April 13th & 14th, 2012
It's been a week since returning from Cochrane, Alberta.  What a wonderful show and great venue!  Thanks to all of you for stopping at my display and letting me know how much you liked my paintings.  I was humorously  designated the "colour corner" by visitors and fellow artists.  Thats what I had intended because it was important to me to bring out the vibrant colours and details which so many of you commented on.  I am thrilled with some of the notes made in my guest book and conversations I had with those who visited my display, like "lusting" over the sunny, bright landscapes, and referring to my florals as being in "HD" (high definition). 

I am planning to be back next year around the same dates for another Cochrane show.  I'm already looking forward to seeing all of you again and renewing contacts with my fellow much talent and so professional!   After a short break I'm back at the easel working on my next pieces.  

I'm thanking you in advance for adding your email to this blog.  I am committed to respecting the privacy of your email address.  You will get a notice each time I post a new painting or planning an upcoming event.  I also appreciate your comments as well.

Warmest regards,