Monday, December 29, 2008

Autumn Shadows - 10 x 14"

Fall in New England is something else... there's no way to really describe it unless you've been there. Having lived in the northeast my entire life, we sometimes take this for granted. One day, as I was driving through some backcountry roads, I came across this scene - tall, colorful trees casting these long purple shadows in the road... it was so beautiful!!! I had to capture this in a painting. The photos here don't do it quite justice... the painting is much brighter in real life!

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On the Etsy front page... again!!!

Alright... I guess three time's a charm! I was once again featured on the front page this week. How exciting!! And not surprisingly, it was one of my Birch products that got the attention.

Although my primary art takes shape in the form of Paintings, I am having a lot of fun experimenting with Birch lately. Of course none of it comes from living trees, but from piles of dead trees found in the woods behind my house. I never realized how much of a trend the look of Birch was these days... but seeing that the holidays are coming, I presume that lots of folks (like me) enjoy the rustic, warm feeling that they bring.

So once again, my work has caught the attention of Etsy Admins!! Gotta be happy about that, right! Now, if only some of my artwork can make it up there...  ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Instructions on how to build your own outdoor art display panels

This past summer, I participated in my very first outdoor art show. Having scoured the web to find out how people set up their displays, I was a bit disappointed to see that there wasn't much information out there. So I more or less had to invent something (with the help of my wonderful husband, of course...). And hoping that it would come in handy for other artists, I took detailed pictures along the way, which brings me to this blog post!

I'll do my best to give clear instructions, but if you have any questions, feel free to use the Comments section! :)


* A tent or canopy, preferably with walls, in case of inclement weather

* 2 x 4's for the basic construction

* Roll of "wire mesh" that I bought at the hardware store

* Large piece of stretchy black fabric (which you can buy at most "box stores")

* Plastic Washers (found in the Nails dept. of your hardware store)

* Curtain Hooks (Curtain dept. of any store)

* Wood screws (long ones for building your walls; small ones to attach the wire mesh to the walls)

* Hinges (I used 4 - two for the tops, 2 for the bottoms)


First off, set up your tent! If your tent or canopy doesn't already come with walls, you can easily make your own by using a tarp or other whether-resistant material, then using "zip ties" to secure them to the leg posts.

Place your 2 x 4's on the ground, lay them out as needed to create the 2 legs, the top and bottom. Measure and cut your 2 x 4's to the sizes needed for your setup.

Pre-drill all your holes for the basic wall construction, then secure using long wood screws.

Using a pencil or marker, add letters and lines on the 2 x 4's where each of the pieces "meet up". (A -- A, B -- B, etc...). This way, you'll always know which pieces go together, and your holes will always line up whenever you need to take it apart and rebuild for the next show.

Unroll the wire mesh on top of your wall construction, and cut it to size using wire cutters (make sure to wear gloves - this part can be dangerous!)

Attach the wire mesh to the top and sides of the 2 x 4's using small screws and those plastic "discs" (the discs make it more secure and more likely for the wire mesh to stay in place). There's no need to add these to the bottom... you can, but it's extra work for nothing :)

Paint the bottom part of the legs, since this is the only area a person would see after the fabric covers the rest.

When all three legs are done, you can attach the hinges to the tops and bottoms to connect them all together.

Once your three walls are up, wrap the fabric around the mesh, fold and staple it to the backside, making sure everything looks nice and tidy.

I found that the three walls stand up nicely on their own, but I added extra security by zip-tying the 2 outside walls to the top edge of the canopy posts.

Now that you're all done, use the curtain hooks to hang your paintings (one end is sharp, so it goes right through the fabric and hangs on the wire mesh). Use the "U" side of the hook to hang your artwork!

When disassembling my walls, I simply remove the hinges from the two outside walls, unscrew the mesh from the TOP of the wall's structure (leaving it connected to the side legs) then remove the top and bottom 2 x 4's. This way, all I need to do is roll up the two side legs with the mesh attached, which makes everything easier to store and handle.

I hope this proves useful for artists out there. I'm sure there are other ideas out there, but this one happened to work very well for me, not to mention how easy it is for me to assemble and disassemble - without needing much help!

If you find this helpful at all, please leave me a comment! And if you have thoughts on how it can be improved, send your suggestions! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My famous purse...

I was hoping for the day that my Birch purse would make it to the front page, and it finally did! I got a nice note from one of my customers telling me that my purse was being featured - how exciting!!!

I went to a local craft fair yesterday to shop for Christmas gifts and got inundated with questions about my purse (not this one, but one of my other models that I carry around). It seemed that everyone wanted one! I ended up giving away quite a few business cards - I wonder who will be the first one to purchase it!! :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday... it's not a myth!

Well, after a few months of having my own storefront on, it finally happened... I sold an original painting, and a hand-bound blank journal... all in the same day!

I've sold journals and paintings in the past, but this is the first time that someone has bought a painting of mine online. I was more than ecstatic, and I'm sure my customers will be very happy with their purchases. Here's what recently sold on my shop...

My "Autumn Leaves" oil painting - an original 12 x 16:

And one of my hand-bound blank journals:

Thank you to everyone who helps to support the "handmade movement". I personally made a pledge this Holiday season to buy ONLY handmade items... for both adults AND kids! You'd be surprised what you kind find out there, and you're helping the local economy at the same time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I was featured on the Etsy Front Page!!!!

Yes, you read correctly... and for anyone selling on, this is an amazing honor!! Most of the front pages are curated by other Etsy members using the Treasury feature (where we each showcase our own favorites), and if we're lucky enough, Admin will take note and select one of these Treasuries as their Homepage.

Well, this particular one was selected by Admin itself. Just a really nice selection of miscellaneous items that shared a common color palette, is where my Birch Bark tube found a home. Although me being featured on the FP didn't result in a sale (yet!), many items in my shop received many "hearts", and the added traffic certainly can't be bad!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tomato - 4 x 6"

I love painting Tomatoes, almost just as much as I love painting apples... for some reason, I tend to gravitate to these to food items the most. But the thing I love most about painting tomatoes is the variety of color you get, especially in the stem and leaves! And the nice cast shadows that they give on the curved shapes...

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Birch Bark Purse

I can't even begin to say how much attention my Birch purses have been getting! I honestly can't go anywhere without at least someone commenting on it. If it's attention that you're looking for, this is the purse for you!

Made entirely out of upcycled/recycled Birch Bark that I've reclaimed from the woods behind my house (no trees have been cut for this - simply pieces of birch that were left behind by loggers). The purse measures approximately 9" long, and about 4.5" in diameter. The end pieces are made of 1/2" thick Poplar wood and the inside is lined with a nice beige fabric, with a felt liner underneath to give it more cushion.

The handle is also very unique - made from a branch that I found in the woods that had been gnawed by beavers. You can actually see the teeth marks! Embellished with some wooden beads and grosgrain ribbon, the handle is soft and will sit flat when not in use.

This AWESOME purse can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Monday, November 3, 2008

SOLD - Come Home Safely - 10 x 14"


No matter what your stance is on war, most of us can sympathize with those who have loved ones fighting for our rights. It's a sadness that we all feel. However, I wanted this painting to speak to the HOPE that we all have here, HOPE for those fighting for us that they WILL return home safely! You can't help but notice all the yellow ribbons - they're everywhere. It's the universal symbol that we use when we think of our troops abroad.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

SOLD - Elephant - 9 x 12"


I've always been fascinated by these large creatures... despite their immense size, they have a unique quality that makes them feel very approachable. I started this painting as a monochromatic experiment - using only ONE color, plus white, and seeing how many values can be achieved with just that color. I was so happy with the results that I decided to take the painting further by adding a light blue/teal background.

I only paint from life, or from my own reference photos, but in this case I was inspired by a gorgeous photo taken by the amazing Dianne Blell, which she generously gave me permission to use for my painting.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunlit Apples - 12 x 6"

I don't know what it is about apples, but I love painting them. I've immortalized them in various paintings, and this one is one of my favorites. I love how the sunlight was shining on them, and also the contrast of the green apples against the pink background.

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Friday, October 3, 2008

SOLD - Autumn Leaves - 12 x 16"

Fall is my favorite season of all - I absolutely LOVE seeing all those colors! When I was younger, my siblings and I used to look at the hills in our valley and call it "Fruity Pebbles", after the colorful cereal. And I love the smell of the air after all the leaves have fallen. The painting has lots of texture to it, with many layers of brushstrokes visible.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

SOLD - Golden Pastures - 8 x 10"


Although I don't consider myself a landscape artist, I do occasionally enjoy painting country scenes such as this one. I live in somewhat of a 'valley", so I'm surrounded by huge rolling hills. During one of my drives through the countryside last Fall, I came across this beautiful cow just standing there, staring at me! I thought she would make the perfect subject for a painting... I just loved the way she was standing there, light beaming on her, seeing the farms in the faraway background.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SOLD - Egg and Toast - 8 x 10"


My daily breakfast consists of exactly this: one fried egg on a slice of whole wheat toast. Even with this whole cholesterol-lowering craze, I simply cannot function without my daily egg. And despite this, my doctor tells me that my digits are well below what they consider to be "average"... so I must be doing something right!

I unfortunately came across a "bad egg" one day... one that had been sitting in my fridge for a bit longer than I'd like to. So instead of eating it, which probably would NOT have been a good idea, I cooked it and used it as the subject of a painting!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Swan Reflections - 10 x 14"

Back when I lived in Boston, a friend of mine came to visit me and we spent the entire day "being tourists". One of our stops was, of course, the Swan Pond. These elegant creatures were just begging to be photographed! I don't paint animals very often, but while looking through my stack of photos for inspiration, I came across this one and thought it would make the perfect subject for a painting.

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Eggplants in Harmony - 30 x 22"

I love painting food - I don't know why really... but other people within my circle of friends and artists groups have noticed how some of my "food" paintings tend to lean a bit towards the, shall we say, "erotic". I think this is one such painting.

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that I love to paint - I love their smooth surface, and their purple-almost-black color. For this painting, I wanted to go big - really big - to further emphasize their curvy shape and "sensual" appearance.

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lakeshore - 33 x 20" diptych

Shortly after relocating from the busy life to our more serene lakefront home, I was inspired by my new view from the window. I had wanted to do a "diptych" (2 matching paintings) before, and I thought what better time to give it a try.

The painting depicts the lakeshore: the water on the bottom, sunset at the top, joined together by a white, wavy horizon line. I also added some actual river rocks to the piece, to add to the "organic", nature theme. The stones are held on the canvas by yellow waxed linen thread. It's an abstract piece that uses complimentary colors (orange and blue), and would go great in any home.

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tropical Abstract - 10 x 14"

As you can see in most of my work, I LOVE color!! In this painting, I wanted to attempt something I hadn't done - an abstract. Although it's not an abstract in the traditional sense (they're actually plant leaves, but I took a lot of liberty with the colors!). I'm happy with how the final pattern of colors worked out.

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Apple Wedge - 6 x 8"

Still Life painting is by far my favorite... I love being able to place whatever I want in front of me, without having a model fidgeting or outdoor light constantly changing as I'm painting. I also, for whatever reason, tend to lean towards food... some people say my paintings are making them hungry whenever they're around them!

I particularly love painting apples... maybe it's their easy-to-work-with shape, but I like seeing the color variety within an apple. And this one is no exception. I had a nice, juicy apple in hand, and as I was cutting it in wedges, I thought "Hey, this is a pretty nice composition!". So I took it up to my studio, and the result is what you see here.

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Canvas preparation time!

With the big art show just a few months away, I thought it would be good to take a day or so to get a bunch of boards ready for painting. Since I haven't been painting in Oils for too long, I was primarily painting on stretched canvas and canvas board, which were just the basic, store-bought kind. After much reading on canvas texture, stiffness, and other features I didn't particularly care for with the pre-made stuff, I decided to make my own Gessoed boards.

After a quick trip to the lumber yard, some serious measuring and calculating (I wanted to get the most out of my purchase!), and my husband's awesome cutting skills (we'll forget about his mitre saw accident 5 years ago...), I now had a huge amount of individual boards to prepare!

I figured the best way would be for me to setup my big, folding table in my office/studio, and just spread out all my boards across it.

You'll also notice that the boards aren't all that large. That's because I'm figuring out that it's much, much easier for me to transition from Watercolors to Oils on smaller paintings. It gets kinda daunting having to fill up a huge canvas with paint, when you're still learning how to handle the little challenges, let alone duplicate those on a large scale. So by starting small, I can gradually work my way back up to larger sizes. The boards I'm preparing now range between 4 x 6" up to 8 x 10".

After a light sanding on the hardboard panels, I applied a fairly heavy coat of Gesso. It's basically an acrylic primer, and it helps to seal the boards so the oils don't seep into them, thus ruining your gorgeous piece of work!

Just a couple more coats of Gesso, with sanding in between each, and I'll have a whole lot of boards to paint on!! So you can start to see (hopefully) more updates here very shortly! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Campfire Necessities - 9 x 12"

Living in a rural area has many benefits - one of them being the frequent dinners we have at our lakefront home, around a nice, cozy campfire. We love to sit outside at dusk, in front of a warm fire (helps to keep the mosquitoes at bay), listening to the haunting sound of the loons, and watching swarms of bats hovering and diving around our heads (also a good deterrent to mosquitoes!)

One of these nights last year, my mother and niece were visiting from Toronto, so we decided to go all out... not just hot dogs, but 'smores!!! Yummy... needless to say, this way of eating isn't very good on the waistline. But who can resist 'smores!!?? There's a reason they're called 'smores, cause you always want "some more"!  :)

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Monday, March 31, 2008

SOLD - Girl with a Rose - 6 x 8"

I really enjoyed working on this Portrait. It was based on a reference photo I took of my friend a few years back when she visited me in Massachusetts (back when I lived there). We had gone into the city that day, doing the usual sightseeing, shopping, and catching up on each others' lives.

We happened to be walking trough Boston Common when this lovely, old-ish lady handed her a rose. Then came the expected "Would you like to donate..." line. I honestly can't remember whether she handed the nice lady a few bucks or not, but obviously she ended up with the rose.

I snapped some photos of her that day, and years later, here I am posting a painting from one of those references. The reason I didn't name the painting "Lise" (which is my friend's name, by the way...) is because I don't think it looks enough like her. I hadn't set out to paint an exact likeness anyway, although most folks are convinced it looks just like her (she even said so...). But still, I'm the artist, and I'd rather refer to this one as "the painting inspired by Lise" :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Celtic Souls - 16 x 20"

People who know me well, know that I'm absolutely in love with the country of Ireland. I swear, I must've been Irish in a past life or something! I mean, it's not like I share their heritage or anything? Trust me... I've gone back as far as I possibly can in my research, and I'm proud to say that I'm 200% French-Canadian! :D

My husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary 2 years ago. We wanted to go on special trip somewhere - not on some cruise (been there, done that!), a warm beach (although I'm sure my husband would've been all over that!), or even camping (which we do love, but come 'on... this was a huge milestone anniversary!). After not much discussion, we decided on Ireland. It seemed like an obvious choice.

Well, let me tell you... it was the best vacation ever! Ok, granted we haven't traveled much, like many of the people we know. But still! It's just such a gorgeous landscape, you can't help but just be in complete awe all the time... that, and the Guinness is just to die for!!!

So while visiting one of the many castles, I came across this great old cemetery. It was kind of perched on a slight hilltop, so I crouched down and snapped some pictures. Two years later, I decided to immortalize (no pun intended) it in a painting. It's currently one of my favorites hung on my walls :)

This painting can be purchased through my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SOLD - Green Apple - 2.5 x 3.5" (mini)

I've painted apples before, and I'm particularly fond of my "Sunlit Grannies" watercolor painting from a few years ago (which recently sold, thank you very much!). After getting these cute little blank canvases, I wanted to try a different take on those apples.

Here, I focused the attention more on the stem, and strong complementary colors of the green apple, and pink background. I really like this one, and it's even nicer when it's sitting on the little mini-easel I bought for it :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

SOLD - Orange Half - 2.5 x 3.5" (mini)

While at the art store one day, I came across the most adorable blank canvases I've ever seen! They came in packages of 5, and each one was about the size of a business card. They also sold mini easels, if you wanted them... of course I wanted them!

So I splurged (yes, that was intended to be sarcastic...) on a few packages. I finally took some of them out and tried my hand at painting on these really, really small canvases.

Here's the first - a close-up of an orange cut in half. People who know my work, know that I love painting fruit (particularly erotic-looking fruit, which this one isn't... although I'm sure someone will find something erotic about it... anyone?
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