Recent Paintings | Red Fox Kit

This is a recent painting I completed of a Red Fox kit. A kit is another name for a baby fox. I really love painting foxes and describing all the texture of their fur.  This painting is framed in a 11 x 14 white wooden frame, and is valued at $300.00. CAD.   This painting sold in the live auction at  Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts this year. I am happy to announce that it sold for over it’s fair market value of $300.00! Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts is the annual fundraiser and art auction for Vernon Public Art Gallery.

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Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts Success!

I am excited to announce that my Fox Kit painting sold in the live auction at Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts for over it’s fair market value!  Thank you to everyone that bid on the painting! It was a lovely evening and luckily we had excellent weather that day.

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Prickly Pear Cactus |Botanical Sketchbook Study

In June this year, I was out on the hike and found a huge patch of Prickly Pear in bloom.  I was very excited about this botanical “find”.  Prickly Pear is a cactus that is native to B.C. You will often find it stuck to your shoes if you do not realize you are walking through a patch of it.  I visited this same patch again later in the season in August and made a sketchbook study off it, using the Zoom In Zoom Out technique I outline in my blog article, 5 Nature Sketchbook Layout Ideas.

Choke Cherry and Prickly Pear Cactus Nature sketchbook drawing watercolour painting

Here is a photo of the same patch of cactus later in the season.


cactus 2

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5 Nature Sketchbook Layout Ideas


I have put together a few examples of some of the types of sketchbook studies I like to do.  The examples below are all recent entries from my moleskin watercolour sketchbook.  I have changed to a smaller technical pen tip for these entries and I think I prefer this look better than the larger nib. For the drawings I used a 0.1 tip pen with waterproof ink and for most of the text I used a 0.3 tip pen.  This size of pen can be found as a radiograph refillable pen or a pigment liner pen like Pigma Micron pens by Sakura.
The most important thing is to allow yourself to experiment and make mistakes.  I always draw in pencil and then go over my final drawing in pen as I usually end up doing some initial erasing.

The first two types of sketchbook studies are combined on the page above.

Landscape Cross-Section:
This is a good way to show the type of plants and terrain of an area that you are observing.  This simple diagram is very quick to draw and shows the elevation of the land, water sources and what plants are most commonly found there.

Spot Illustrations:
These are small drawings that focus in on one element or area of the landscape and capture the subject and suggest of the surroundings.  I was in a meadow with a pond when I drew these and I used binoculars to be able to see the Great Blue Heron and American Coot close enough to draw.

I like the effect of combining a few different style of studies into one page, connected by written notes.

Focused Plant Study:
The study of the Choke Cherry was done while I was out hiking, Once again I used pencil first and added colour with a water brush (which is a travel paint brush with a water reservoir in the handle) and my travel palette.  This represents more of a traditional botanical field study showing the different parts of a plant and showing some measurements as well as any abnormalities, such as the caterpillar nests.

Zoom In, Zoom Out:
This is another style of plant study that you can try, I really like the one.  You can find any plant or tree and try this.  First draw a portion of the plant that is actual size, then look for a smaller area that you can enlarge on that portion of plant you initially drew.  Once you have drawn the zoomed in area you can then zoom out and drawing a smaller simple version of the entire plant that you are looking at.  I chose to do this with the prickly pear cactus that was in the area I was hiking.  You can of course try this at home with a house plant or plants for your yard, if your are not able to take a sketchbook out with you on a hike.  Again I painted these with a water brush and my Lukas travel palette.  

If you are inspired to start a nature sketchbook the most important thing is to actually start and then keep drawing.  You will most likely not like all the pages in your book and some pages will always be favourites over others. You might even remove some pages from your book all together.  In all my sketchbooks I have removed some pages and have covered up portions of other pages with a patch of cardstock glued in over the area of the page I did not like.

Even if you do not like your first few entires, keep going!  The more you add to your sketchbook, the more you will learn and improve.

Bird and Animal Diagrams with Labels:
Another great way to learn and add to your sketchbook is to create diagrams of birds and animals from instructional drawing and painting books. Copying other artists work can really teach you a lot and help build your confidence.  As long as you do not claim the work as your own in a formal painting it is a wonderful learning tool.  This diagram above was inspired by the book Sketching and Illustrating Birds by Juan Varela. If you would like to learn or improve your drawing skills the best way is to learn the anatomy of your subject.  Many times in reference photos you cannot see all the parts of a bird, it helps a lot  to already know their basic parts and how they are connected.

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Sketchbook Study | Hiking Enderby Cliffs

Recently I went on a hike to Enderby Cliffs, it was my first time doing this hike, and I was pretty tired out once I got to the top, but it was worth the effort.  The hike round trip is about 10 K so it is the type of outing you dedicate most of the day to.  The view of the cliffs at the top were spectacular and their were lots of lovely plants and wild flowers out. 

I have been wanting to start documenting more of the adventures that Keenan and I go on, so I used this hike as a jumping off point for a new style of sketchbook study. I wanted to be able to draw and paint in a style that I can do while I am outdoors that will not take me too long.  Traditional watercolour painting is my usual style, but it takes a little bit too much time. So I have decided to use line and wash as a way to capture these experiences while I am still in the moment.  

Line and wash refers to using a pen to crete an ink line drawing and then filling it in with simple flat washes of watercolour.  This is much easier to do out in the field than traditional watercolour painting. It’s really great to look back in old sketchbooks and remember the experiences that went along with each drawing or spread.

Enderby Cliffs Full Spread June 2016


Enderby Cliffs Sketchbook 1 June 2016

Enderby Cliffs Sketchbbok 2 June 2016

June 2016 | Floral Wreath Workshop

Thank you to everyone that attended my workshops at Ratio Coffee and Pastry June 27th!  I was thrilled to have two fully booked sessions.  It is great to get to meet some of my newsletter subscribers in person at the workshops and to see people returning from the first workshop I held at Ratio in March.  I really enjoy teaching and helping other people find their way with watercolour and botanical painting.  I will also be doing a fall session at Ratio, so stay tuned for the next workshop dates.

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How to Start Your Own Nature Sketchbook


field kit

If you want to create your own nature sketchbook, the following are some great tips for you to get started.  

Plant Identification Book (I use Plants of Southern Interior BC for the Okanagan area)
Moleskin Watercolour Sketchbook
Travel Watercolour Palette You can purchase the Lukas travel palette I use at Nadine’s Fine Art and Framing in Vernon BC.
Collapsable Water Dish or Cup
Two Paint Brushes (Size 6 and size 3) You can purchase this type of brush at Nadine’s Fine Art and Framing in Vernon BC, these are the brand of brushes I use in my workshops.)
A Protective Brush Holder
A 0.5 Tip Water-Proof Pen (sakura pens are great and come in many colours, my favourite right now is blue-black)
HB Mechanical Pencil
Kneaded Eraser (Found at any art store)
Bear Spray (If you tend to wander off the beaten path)

Once you have your materials you are ready to start!  I think the most important thing to focus on is not trying for perfection,  You are simply documenting your journey or experience, and you only improve with continued  practice.  You do not even need to go out to a hiking trail to do this.  You can sit in your backyard, go to a city park, or even sit outside at a cafe.

There are many approaches you can take to creating a sketchbook page, I will be going into this in more detail in next month’s newsletter.  A few types of pages that are good to start with are:

1.Creating a collection of found objects on a single page. An example of this would be an assortment of seas shells from the beach, or different types of leaves from  nearby trees.  

2. Choosing one aspect of the landscape to record such as a tree, a boulder or cliffs. You can then choose to add in a few more details like the plants that are nearby your sitting spot or what you brought for lunch etc.

You can also add some text and written notes to your studies.  I looked up decorative lettering on Google to get some ideas for the lettering I use in my sketchbooks. Adding the date and what the weather is like is a good idea as well.

If you end up starting a Nature Sketchbook I would love to see a picture!  Feel free to email me one.

Recent Paintings | Floral Bouquet

My latest painting is a floral bouquet, inspired by a photo I found Instagram.  I love this arrangement and how it includes flowers and succulents in it. In this painting I focused more on the composition and colour balance than I did on every exact fine detail.  Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from details and add a little artistic license to a painting. 

This is a great way to capture your wedding bouquet! Contact me if you are interested in a bouquet portrait of your own, or as a gift to a bride.

Bouquet 1

bouquet 2

Bouquet 3

Creative Chaos

creative chaos
June 3rd, 4th and 5th – FREE admission

Stop by my booth at Creative Chaos on the first weekend in June at the Vernon Recreation Centre.  I will have my full product line available, along with some great deals!  I will be sending out a quick announcement before the event in June to let everyone know which building I am in and what my booth number is.

Friday June 3 (10am-9pm)
Saturday June 4 (10am-6pm)
Sunday June 5 (10am-4pm)

The Vernon Recreation Centre is currently being renovated and construction is happening around the main entrance. The parking lots at the front of the Rec Centre and round-about will be mildly affected, however there are plenty of other lots to choose from. Please see the map for details!

Public parking:

  • The Curling Club off 39th
  • The Priest Valley Arena off 35th (centre lot between the Rec Centre and Arena, and left side of Arena)
  • The Performing Arts Centre
  • At Kal Tire Place
  • The Parkade downtown

From Nature to Abstraction

New Exhibition
Performing Arts Centre | Coat Check Gallery

Stop by the coat check gallery at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre to see my Siberian Iris painting on display as a part of the North Okanagan Federation of Canadian Artist group exhibition, From Nature to Abstraction.  On display until June 30, 2016.

nofca POSTER.cdrFCA Show



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