Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Acrylics on Canvas
8" X16"
If you are not familiar with Forest fires, there are some very interesting facts about what happens to the land after they have passed.
There are ground fires that burn up.
And secondly,
There are those where the flames skip across the canopy of the trees and burn in a downward direction on the trunks.

No matter what way the fire burns, the forest is devastated.
The interesting thing is, that either way, the fire heats the pine cones, and seeds that were laying on the ground, opens them and then they germinate and begin to grow.

From "Rising from the Ashes"
"In fact, fire is a natural part of the forest’s regeneration system. Most forest trees need to be exposed to fire every 50 to 100 years to invigorate new growth. As we found out in Yellowstone National Park nearly 20 years ago, suppressing forest fires too long can actually be detrimental to forests. Extreme efforts to prevent forest fires there led to a huge consumption of trees when fire finally broke out."

Within days of the ground cooling new growth begins and the forest will (If left alone) begin to regenerate.
Many scientists believe that a wild fire helps regenerate the forest
and rids the land of all the previously dead remains from older trees.
In some National Parks in Canada there are "Controlled burns"
that do exactly this.
These fires do have a devastation effect on the local wildlife and human residents.

I called this painting "Rebirth" because when I posted a work in progress of this painting a friend commented
"it was such a sad thing to see."
My reply was...
"It is sad, I have seen this type of devastation all too many times, but the Forests give birth as soon as the Earth cools and it begins anew. There is always hope."

I hope you can see the hope in these paintings.
I hope that you can see the new and diseased free rebirth of what is to come.
I hope that you can understand that Nature has a way of balancing itself out.
And I hope that, what may look like devastation to some remains, and always will be a clear path to the future.
For some reason I have not been able to receive or post the comments many of you have made lately.
Here is my email if you cannot.
I would love to hear what your opinions are on these posts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


"It is Not all Black and White #4"
Acrylics on canvas 
14" X 18"

We are in the Middle of the Summer, here in Southern Alberta.
Summer in Canada means forest fires all through out the North and far North.
For that fact any well forested area is prone  to fire.
The Lightning, combined with the heat, dry conditions all contribute to this devastating phenomena.

I grew up in Northern Manitoba, Canada, and we were all aware of the impact these fires would 
have on our lives.
We were all aware that every able bodied man would (and usually was) conscripted to fight them.

Todays painting depicts such a thing.
I hope I have represented both the devastating effects of fire as well as the hope for rebirth after the burn is done.
I will post photos of this canvas in order of preparation and progress.

Initially, I had no idea of the best way to paint fire of any type.
I had never even attempted to do this before so it was a learning thing for me every step.
I knew that yellow and red made orange, and that brown added would add distance to the flames.
This painting was done with six colours.
(All Golden Acrylic fluid)
Hansa Yellow
Yellow Oxide
Quintacridone Nickle Azo Gold
Pyrrole Red
Bone Black 
Van Dyke Brown.
Initially, I lay out drops of the colours in a circle on my Pallette
and dipped a very large fine haired brush in them.
I then dabbed the tip of the brush on paper towels turning the brush every time I blotted it
and mixed the colours randomly that way.
I achieved this effect on the canvas with my loaded brush.

The top left corner was scumbled Brown with carbon black, this gave me a perspective point.
I then followed with a very basic outline of my main trees drawn on the canvas with a
Watercolour pencil.
(I love watercolour pencils for drawing ideas on my canvas' as the marks wash off so easily.)

Then I focused on the fire burning actively in the background

 from there it was just a matter of how I wanted to proceed.

I began to shape and form the trees that would frame the approaching fire.

With this done I refined the trees and foreground, and began to add the darkness
in the area of the viewers eyes.
and I finished it off.

I would like to thank the many photographers that posted Fire images to the internet.
They were invaluable and I am sure I could not have done this without their daring
and astounding works.
This painting is a compilation of many images, and for that I am grateful.
A side note:  I have never liked working on a smooth canvas, so as is with most of my painting I had
prepared the canvas initially with a layer of Goldens regular Gel, and gessoed over that.
The canvas is intentionally Not smooth.

All comments and inquiries welcomed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Night Skies!"

(Almost done, clean up the snow and get rid of bottom branch)

As some of you that follow this blog are aware.....
I have no formal training in art, or  or the use of paint.
I have learned from some very knowing people on line, discussions with other Artists
the wonderful site "Youtube."

I have learned a lot of things by trial and error.
Surprisingly, a lot by error.

When I entertain a new idea, or dredge up an old idea that seemed impossible at one time,
I begin with trying to figure our what I want to achieve, and how to paint it.
I wonder if it is to be "Mixed Media" or just plain old Acrylics on canvas.
I wonder if I can actually achieve the desired effects with my limited knowledge.

 I grew up in Northern Canada.
not way far North, but far enough that
the lake was pristine,
the stars gleamed at night
and the water was pure.

I grew up with fireflys
huge Spruce trees
and on the shores of one of the largest lakes in the world.

But most of all,
I grew up with
"The Northern Lights"
They were magical  as they danced across the night skies.
They were, to me, a  magical world where everything was perfect.
All the while never being aware I was, at the time,
 surrounded by perfection.
But I was young, and dreams are for the young.

Now in my 70th decade, 
I am still as enamored with the Northern Lights as I was as a little girl.
As an artist, I have often wished I could paint them
to show the world their Majesty and Beauty.
How to do it?
What did I have to do to achieve the desired effect?

So, I started at the beginning.
There are Scientific terms and a proper way to do everything.
But I am not a Scientist, and I am not trained in Painting.
I prepped the canvas with Black Gesso
and over that a healthy coat of Anthraquinone Blue.
then with the two colours.
Goldens Fluid Tourquise Pthalo Blue (green shade)  
Goldens Fluid Hansa  yellow (medium)
I began.

I prepared washes of both colours and started quite a few times
 but could not get the "Dance" like movement I was looking for.
until I accidentally knocked a brush out of the pot and onto the canvas.
as the wide (dry) brush fell it swiped across a wet yellow line and feathered it!
My goodness, answers come in the strangest ways.
So from there on in, I stroked/feathered.
I stroked and feathered for almost 20 hours and got it.
Yeppers it looked like the night sky of my youth.
I have included a series of progressive photos below to show how I proceeded.
The snow and tree were the last things to go in, but I knew how to do a tree & snow so they were not a big deal to me LOL.
What is a big deal, is that the Northern Lights still mesmerize me.
They are still Magical
I still glow within when ever I stand outside and watch them.
(For those of you that have never seen them, The Northern Lights can be seen in Both Winter and Summer.)
I just opted to make this a Winter scene.

 The only two colours/brushes I used on this painting
(Excluding the tree/snow)

first attempt (Not good at all)

Kind of what I want, but no movement

And just after the brush fell!

Coming to life
Added the tree line
(Cleaned  up the snow and added the tree just after this was taken.)

The final painting.
The colours in this one are just impossible to capture straight on.
The true depiction of colour is in the  photo above.