Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bears at the Castle

Looks like all the visitors I've talked to in the art room at the Castle ( Banff Springs Hotel), have seen bears. Some have seem them three or four times. So be careful out there while in the park. It's only fitting I should paint a couple. 'Bearfaced, acrylic 18 x 24 and 'Boo Grizzly', 30 x 30.

Boo Bear is a resident of Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge in Golden BC where Boo has being happily living since he was a cub. "This is the largest enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitat in the world. The 20-acre refuge is the home of our resident grizzly bear, Boo. Within this natural mountainside habitat, Boo hunts, plays, forages, and explores just like his wild cousins.
The refuge is open daily during the summer and provides guests the opportunity to observe an adult grizzly bear going about his daily routine. Everyone who comes to visit Boo is fascinated by his strength, agility, intelligence, and personality.' More about Boo here
I would like to thank the staff for allowing me to paint Boo. Photo Credit goes to Wendy Chambers her website

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day One in The Castle

A very successful day one, as Artist in Residence in The Banff Springs Hotel. I had a hotel guest sign up to be mentored my me for a few hours. She had some painting experience but considered herself a beginner. It was her birthday as well! I decided to have her paint along side me, as I guided her, using the same reference. Step by step we went through my process and I added a few touches to her canvas as we went along. She was extremely happy, said she learned a ton, and got to take home a painting signed by both her and myself. Happy Birthday Darcey!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Art Room In The Castle

Hobbling around getting ready for my Artists in Residency at the beautiful Banff Springs. Not sure how much hiking or standing I'll be able to do with my knees acting up, so I may have to bring watercolors and pastels, but I'm pretty excited. Mountain Galleries has acquired, courtesy of the hotel, a new 'art room' to enhance the residency program. This studio space is large enough for three artists to work, it's well lit, in a great location, has a great view, and lots of walls for displaying art. Any artist from the Mountain Galleries roster, was able  book a week or two and it's pretty much full all summer long. Checkout some of the fabulous artists participating this summer! Artist In Residency List. Guests of the hotel, can also enjoy this experience and are invited to book a half day to work under the mentorship of a professional artist, with art supplies provided. I will upload pictures next week while I'm Queen of The Castle.

'Only When I Dream', acrylic 24 x 48, will be one of the many paintings displayed in the art room. I look forward to seeing you if you happen to be in the area May 18-23rd. My reception will take place May 23rd from 2-5, so come join me for a glass of bubbly and some snacks.

Monday, May 4, 2015


This one sat in the corner, half done, for several weeks as I contemplated how I was going to proceed. Such a busy subject, but I really loved the light bouncing off the stream peeking through the brush and tree branches. Wonderful contrast, shapes and light, as the sun was starting to set. You can't see in the photo of the painting, but I used a lot of tar gel in the background to give the illusion of tiny branches and such, but maybe little too busy. I had to pare down the background trees and fade out some branches while still capturing the over all mood. 'Incandescent', acrylic 40 x 40
below are my reference photos, the original and enhanced cropped one.

Saturday, May 2, 2015



Such a hard lesson to learn and we hear it all the time. Simplify. What are you trying to say? Do you really need that tree or that branch? Does it add to my design or is it distracting? We all know less is more. A painting is much more interesting if you don't give out all the information, you must give the viewer some credit. He knows it's a tree, he doesn't need to see every branch. There is more mystery in not defining every object, more imagination and creativity for you and more engaging for the viewer.
It’s impossible for an artist to paint every twig or pebble; those details are best left for the photographer. We must figure out how to best show it with shapes and patterns, using brush strokes, design and mood.
I really liked the way this painting was turning out but did I really need that background? Was it important for my overall message? If I needed it to look like Athabasca Falls, then maybe, but I had already changed the rocks so it really didn't matter. And no, it wasn't important. I took a photo, went to my computer and Photoshopped the background out. Yes I liked it much better. So, a few swipes with my large palette knife and it was gone. A simplified adjustment.
From a distance this painting looks very detailed and representational, but up close you can see from the strokes that it is implied detailing with abstract designs.  'The calming Force', acrylic 24 x 36 inches