Wine and Art

Here we go on our painting adventure!

First Wine!

We leave Cape Town behind and head up through some spectacular scenery into the wine region. We stop off at a winery, attend a great show put on by rescued and injured owls and other flying predators and then a spectacular lunch!!

Second Art!

We are very honored to be welcomed into Dale and Mel Elliot‘s studio and gallery. (Click on the blue to see more of the father and son paintings.) We have a chance to see Mel at work where he shows us that we don’t always have to  work on a painting for hours. He does this one in 45 minutes. He will be going back with his oil paints to tweak.








Next we head to the Historic Village of Arniston. Here we will break out OUR paints and give it a try. All three of our artists show us their en plein air styles: Mel Elliot, Barbara Barrett and Kathie George.








En plein air is actually quite difficult. Choosing your scene, finding a seat and shutting out distractions all add to the challenge.








In the end, I take many shots of this little pest and paint him when I get to the hotel room.


Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on Wine and Art

South Africa – Cape Town

We said goodbye to The Netherlands and the stunning array of tulips. After an 11 hour flight arrived in Cape Town for the next leg of our adventure.

Cape Town is a beautiful city and we had a couple of days to explore. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront was a hubbub of sights and sounds.



A must is a visit to Table Mountain.  What a glorious view! But of course it’s all about the animals for me. These are dassies apparently…..and one is not to feed them!!


The next day we tried to jam in as much as we could. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was delightful even if it wasn’t in full bloom. (It was fall there, not spring.) The grounds were gorgeous with trails and lots of shady green space. The canopy walk was gorgeous and look at the complementary colour scheme of the blue and orange!! The sculpture walk was like an Easter Egg Hunt.

Off we went to Bird World/Monkey Jungle! There were so many birds to photograph, some familiar to us and others not. Loved the yellow of this guy and the bright colours of the pheasant, too. I was thinking of the popularity of my Rainbow Birds. What do you think? Coloured pencil on black paper?

And here I am with these little guys. These are full sized Black Capped Squirrel Monkeys.

 I was trying to get a photo of a mom and baby which was hanging on her back. VERY cute…..But she just kept far enough away from me to thwart my efforts. So I decided to allow the volunteer to put seeds on me to attract a “few” to sit on me.

Wine district and art coming up!!!


Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on South Africa – Cape Town

South Africa through The Netherlands

I’m almost back a month from another art journey. Where does the time go? I have gone to Spain and Greece in previous years and this time I had the supreme pleasure to travel to South Africa! I did manage to post many of the highlights on Facebook during the trip but thought I’d summarize a few things here on my blog. That way I can relive it just a little bit.

So we will start from the beginning…….

South Africa is a long ways from Ottawa and we traveled via Amsterdam. Because it was spring time and who does tulips better than the Dutch? We took the opportunity to visit The Keukenhof Gardens. Seven million tulips they boast and how could I miss that? It has been on my bucket list for quite a while. I kept seeing photos and could never quite believe them. I always thought that they had to be photo shopped or somehow filtered but was blown away when I stood there in real time. The colour was so rich and saturated. The grounds stunning! I  got lots of close ups too so hopefully a few will make their way into a packet or two! And of course the tasty treats of the Netherlands are not to be missed!


Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on South Africa through The Netherlands

Brush Care

Great time at the Las Vegas Creative Painting Convention!! I introduced the Princeton Select Series 3750 filbert grainers to quite a few painters while we painted Sprite. And of course how do you clean your brush at the end of a furry painting session? As  promised, here is a picture of what I use. They are actually surgical brushes. They are made of soft plastic bristles, perfect for getting in between the fine hairs of your filbert grainers. Although they were originally intended as surgical brushes, I buy them in the gardening section of Lee Valley Tools. They have an online store. I’m pretty sure you could get them in a kitchen store or a nail care store as well. The ones I get are only a couple of dollars each. Keep one in your water bucket during the painting session and then use it at the end with some soap to clean your brushes really well.


Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Brush Care

Artwaves Toronto Contest

ARTWAVES Toronto April 5-9, 2017 is running a WIN YOUR REGISTRATION BACK if you register before the end of January.

Hope to see you there!!

Cheetah #104 – Thursday, April 6


Using the filbert grainer to create fur. Decoart acrylic paint.





Daisy Chain #233-Friday, April 7

6 pm-10pm

Use Decoart So Soft acrylic paints to paint up this trio on a tea towel.


My Best Side #472

Sunday, April 9  @ 8-2:30

Prismacolor Premier (bring your own) on a cool acrylic background.



Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on Artwaves Toronto Contest

Fabulous Fur Medium

If you have been following my technique over the years you know that I use a medium to make the light coloured paints the correct consistency for use with a filbert grainer. FFM is what I used to call it….Fabulous Fur Medium! It was made with DecoArt Easy Float and water in a 1:1 ratio. DecoArt discontinued the product last year and I have been on the hunt for a replacement. And here are my findings.

ffm-500At the time of publishing my last book Pause for Painting Volume 7, I found that fini was the best replacement. It is a non-toxic, fast drying acrylic glazing solution. It’s primary use is to create fine faux finishes. It is a Canadian product and it can be purchased at Stockade. For those of you in the US, try Painter’s Paradise. It only comes in an 8 oz bottle, however, which perhaps is too large. While at HOOT this summer, I found another product which Margot Clark uses with her mudding. It’s a Unique Glass Colors product called Medium and comes in a convenient 2 oz. bottle. You can order it on Margot’s website.

Happy Painting.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on Fabulous Fur Medium


This weekend at ArtWaves Toronto, many people asked about the varnish I am using on my pieces. I have recently discovered a great DecoArt varnish called Soft-Touch Varnish. It is part of their Media series. I am absolutely IN LOVE with it!!


It’s for interior or exterior use. Waterbased of course, and although it looks milky it dries clear. It’s quite thick and it’s fast drying.

I put it on with a sponge brush. The wide mouth jar is great for that. I usually put on 2-3 coats letting it dry in between. No wet sanding or anything like that.

I am loving that it brings out the best of the paint like all varnishes do, but has a gorgeous and luxurious finish that is completely matte. It invites you in to touch it……and it is so soft and smooth when you do. It’s extremely durable so I wasn’t worried when people touched it but because it’s so soft and smooth we naturally seem to stroke it lightly……like a kitten! 🙂

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Varnish

Multi Media!

Stop the presses! I have recently realized I actually have been a “multi media” artist for a quite a while!! I have often mixed two medias like acrylics and oil, watercolour or pastels and coloured pencil. I’ve used scrapbook papers, stamps, embellishments and stencils! And I have used the texture medias and metallic paints and lustres quite a bit as well!! What I tend to do, however, is keep it in a supporting role.

DecoArt has a full line of multi media products and I’ve gone full ahead combining the products with my favourite painting theme “Bad Cats at Christmas”. This piece is called “Charlie’s Angels” after my last litter of orphan babies who spent Christmas 2015 with us……and yes, we had to pluck them out of the tree constantly.

I’ll be at Painter’s Paradise April 15-17. Hope to see you there.



IMG_8768 IMG_8783 IMG_8820

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on Multi Media!

White and Black! Coloured Pencil Play Date

Snowy Owl Copyright

I Love Crows close up contrast website






My project for Colored Pencil Play Date 2015 was Snowy Owl in the Arctic Sky. The question I posed was how do you paint a white animal or bird. We can’t just paint it white! How do we make it interesting? Pan pastels were used in the background to set the scene and Prismacolor Premiere pencils used to render the Snowy Owl.

Now we come to Colored Pencil Play Date 2016 and the question for me (and hopefully YOU), is how to paint an black animal or bird. We can’t just paint it black!! This time I used Creative Imaginations Radiant Rains for the background, feeling that my crow might prefer a shimmering backdrop! My project is called I Love Crows.

I hope you will join me and the other 16 teachers for this year’s Play Date! Sign up and look at the other projects at

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on White and Black! Coloured Pencil Play Date

Colored Pencil Play Date 2016

I Love Crows close up contrast website

Colored Pencil Play Date is open for registrations now. Go straight to the website to check out the other projects and to sign up! Seventeen creative projects for $99.00…plus a bonus one by KellyHoernig

Posted in Miscellaneous | Comments Off on Colored Pencil Play Date 2016