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Let’s Talk Weather

I’ve been putting off writing a post because I didn’t have anything even remotely insightful to say lately. I’m pretty sure the first rule of blog writing is don’t talk about the weather. Nobody cares about the weather! Well too bad, that’s all I got for ya today! And when the weather spikes from -40 to +10 degrees Celsius all within a week, I’d say that rule is asking to be broken. This painting I’m about to share with you seems appropriate for all the rain we’ve been getting, so sit back and enjoy.

If this painting looks familiar, it is because I painted it in parallel with this one so it essentially has the same colour scheme. It is another one of my comfort painting pieces.

I started with a background with a palette knife then drew some guidelines with chalk

I started with a background with a palette knife then drew some guidelines with chalk

Then I started to add some depth to it

Then I started to add some depth to it

Finally, I added a girl with an umbrella and some shadows, and called it a day.

Girl with the Red Umbrella - 12x16" Acrylic on Canvas

Girl with the Red Umbrella – 12×16″ Acrylic on Canvas

Side View

Side View

Zoomed in view of the girl with the red umbrella

Zoomed in view of the girl with the red umbrella

I had to swap my rain boots for my winter boots yesterday, although I think the temperatures are dipping down again today so maybe I’ll just skate to school…

So how did you like reading about the weather? Or do you just skim through and look at the pictures so it doesn’t really matter what I write about anyways? Either way, thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hope you’re staying dry!

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Comfort Painting

We’ve all heard of comfort food. You know, the food that is easily made, tastes delicious, makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Food that is good for the soul.

So what do I mean by comfort painting? On those days when I just want to sit back and relax and not worry about a thing, I usually engage in what I like to call comfort painting. That is, painting without thinking. There is no end product in mind, just paint going on a canvas step by step. Similar to comfort food, it is simple, enjoyable, and just makes me feel good.

At any given point, I usually have at least 2 or 3 paintings on the go. These are usually the non-comfort painting type. Their culinary equivalent would be that intricate recipe with 100 ingredients that takes 4 hours to prepare and leaves a huge mess in the kitchen. Enjoyable, but only on those days when you really feel like it. Lately, I’ve had no desire to continue tackling those, but I’ve engaged in quite a bit of comfort painting.

Step 1 - paint the background using a palette knife

Step 1 – paint the background using a palette knife

Step 2 - Add some of the foreground

Step 2 – Add some of the foreground

Step 3 - Continue building the foreground

Step 3 – Continue building the foreground

Finished Painting - Acrylic on three 12x16" canvases - Total size 36x16"

Finished Painting – Acrylic on three 12×16″ canvases – Total size 36×16″

Zoomed in Section

Zoomed in Section

Displayed in my room over my bed

Displayed in my room over my bed

I realize these paintings aren’t as interesting to look at as the non-comfort painting type, but while the thermometer is sitting at -39oC (that’s -38F for you American readers out there), I really can’t be bothered to do anything that requires thinking. So as the temperature rises, so will my painting creativity. Fingers crossed that happens soon. Ottawa, I’m over the cold. Let’s move on.

Hope you are all staying warm if you happen to be experiencing this lovely arctic-like weather.

What is your favorite comfort activity on such days? Or comfort food? As I’ve already mentioned, I enjoy comfort-painting, especially if it is paired with something warm and delicious from my crock-pot.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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London Ladies – Take 2

London Ladies? That sounds a little familiar now, doesn’t it?

You’re right, I have done this before. If you remember my post from Reading Week, I featured a painting that I called London Ladies. I didn’t talk much about it on the blog, but I painted that one for myself, of myself with my 3 best girl friends from London.

From left: Gill, me, Steph, Mouna

From left: Gill, me, Steph, Mouna

I grew up in London with these fabulous ladies (hence the appropriate title for the painting). I have known Gill and Mouna since the 4th grade, and met Steph in the 9th grade. Let me tell you a bit about the stars of this painting.

Gillian Heisz, CA, is the chartered accountant of the group. So we would expect her to be very organized, proper, and boring, right?. While she certainly is the first two, boring she is not! She is so funny without even trying (seriously, you are!), and also classy, confident, elegant and caring. Think Samantha Jones, but slightly less kinky…or at least, I assume… In the painting, she is wearing a simple blue dress, which in real life suits her perfectly. Simple, elegant, beautiful without trying too hard. That’s my Gill 🙂

Did I mention that she is gorgeous? Oh yeah, she is gorgeous, and single!

Did I mention that she is gorgeous? Boys, get in line!

Next in the painting, is me. I’m not going to dwell about myself here, but I’ll just mention the outfit choice. If you know me at all, you probably know that I tend to gravitate towards pink or purple clothes… That may be the understatement of the century. So appropriately, I’m wearing a purple dress in the painting.

I was shocked to find no pictures of me in purple...but pink is close enough and there are plenty of those!

I was shocked to find no pictures of me in purple…but pink is close enough and there are plenty of those!

The girl in the red dress would be my beautiful friend Stephanie Buono. We met on the first day of the 9th grade in our English class and I was immediately drawn to her laugh. If you’ve heard it, you know what I mean! It is ridiculous contagious and funny on it’s own. Not only funny, she is also super smart, caring, supportive, and appropriately studying to be a psychologist. She was my first ever roommate and we went through some rather interesting (think horrifying) experiences together in ‘Susie’ (what we named our apartment) which will probably haunt us both forever. I painted her in a cute red dress because she wears red often, and it looks great on her.

And she also has the best wardrobe ever! How cute is that dress?!

And she also has the best wardrobe ever! How cute is that dress?!

And last but certainly not least, we have the fabulous Mouna Hanna. The painting I’m going to feature in this post is actually painted for her, to put in her new apartment when she moves to Toronto. Mouna is the very successful lawyer of the bunch, and just got offered a new job in TO (congrats!). I could say so many great things about this girl, and have so many memories growing up with her that I actually don’t know where to start! I’ll summarize it by saying that she is just awesome 🙂 Seriously, the best! Funny, gorgeous, intelligent, loves wearing black, and has the most incredible shoe collection. Look closely in the painting, and you’ll notice the signature red soles that Mouna is lucky enough to own several pairs of.

You can't see the shoes, but they're probably Louboutin's

You can’t see the shoes, but they’re probably Louboutin’s

If you’re still reading, then you get a gold star, because this has been one long post, and I haven’t even made it to the painting I’m featuring yet! So here goes. This is London Ladies – Take 2, painted specially for Mouna.

As always, I started with a background, done with a palette knife on an 18×24″ gallery wrapped canvas.

background

If you’re wondering where I initially got the inspiration for the color scheme of this background, check out my shirt.

Colour Inspiration

Next, I added the abstract buildings of the background. If you look closely, you can see some chalk guidelines that I drew to the central focal point. I usually wipe off any that are left once I’m done.

Building up the background

Building up the background

Then came my favorite part: adding the stars of the show! I rearranged the order this time, because I wanted Mouna in the middle since the painting is for her.

From left, Steph, Gill, Mouna, and me

From left, Steph, Gill, Mouna, and me

And the finished painting:

London Ladies - Take 2

London Ladies – Take 2

This one is slightly bigger than the original one, and I put some more definition into the background buildings. Here is a side to side comparison.

Preference?

Preference?

To give you a better idea of the size, here is one with reference to my bed (which is either a queen or a double..)

I had to make my bed for this photoshoot...

I had to make my bed for this photoshoot…

Lastly, here is a side view. I used a 1.5″ deep canvas instead of the typical 0.75″ for more drama. I want this to be more of a statement piece than the original one. This also means it looks better unframed, since the painting is extended along the edges.

Side view

Well there she is! I hope you like it Mouna, and I can’t wait to see it in your new home.

Side note: Today is my fabulous mom’s birthday, so if you happen to be lucky enough to see her, please give her a giant hug and kiss from me. I won’t say how old she is, but let’s just say she is getting dangerously close to 50 (but doesn’t look a day over 20, right?!). Mom, Happy Birthday!!! You are the best and I love you beyond words. Can’t wait to see you in 15 days when I’m home!

Happy Birthday

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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All or Nothing

If you’ve never heard of Leonid Afremov then you need to do yourself a huge favor and google him asap! He is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils. He has a very unique style and it is unmistakable. Oh, and just amazingly beautiful. Seriously. Beyond words. Unlike most artists who have to die before they become famous, he is still alive! Bonus. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of his work and am constantly inspired by it. Here is an example, courtesy of Wikipeida.

Leonid Afremov and his painting of the Venice Canal

If you can’t beat them, join them, right?! Well that was my inspiration for this next painting. I figured he’s doing something right so I might as well learn from it. So I can’t take all the credit for this painting… a huge shout out goes to Mr. Afremov.

I started out with a very rough outline for the background. Basically just getting some colour on the canvas.

Slowly started building up the background, added trees and some more colour overall.

Next I added some lamp posts

Then some light!

Lastly, I added some more trees and a couple under an umbrella.

This painting looks great unframed because of the depth

18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas. Here it is relative to my bed, to give you an idea of the size.

Zoomed in on the couple under an umbrella

Zoomed in on some trees.

Zoomed in on the lamp posts

 

So I think this concludes my “rain” paintings, at least for now.

On a side note, I tend to have two extremes in life: all or nothing. I either love you completely, or you are totally indifferent to me. You get all of my time and attention, or none of it. I’ve noticed this coming out through my art as well. For starters, I went from painting almost never (maybe 2-3 paintings a year) to pretty much pumping out 2-3 a week! I just can’t get enough of it lately. It has been such a tremendous stress reliever and the amazing feedback from everyone has been very motivating as well. I woke up this morning at 5:30am (even though my alarm was set to 7:30am) and pretty much jumped out of bed and painted until 7:30am (which is when I completed the above painting).

I don’t know how long this enthusiasm will last, but for now I’m just going to go with it and paint. Since let’s face it, there are far worse things I could be spending a big chunk of my time doing.

Ironically, this same “all or nothing” approach to life has prevented me from painting in the past. The last couple years I’ve been super busy, taking 6-7 classes per semester (another example of my all-or-nothing approach to life) so even though I often felt like painting, I would always talk myself out of it justifying that a 1 hour break is not enough time to paint, and it’s not even worth starting if I can’t finish it. In retrospect, it probably would have been a great way to take my mind off school work.

So what changed now? With only 4 classes this semester (by default, since that’s all I have left 🙂 ) I found myself with more spare time than I am used to. I considered getting a part time job, but then had a light bulb moment and thought that I’ve always loved painting but never felt I had enough time to fully pursue it. What better time than now? And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

I seam to have gone off on a tangent here. What I originally wanted to get to is that life is about balance. I constantly have to remind myself that. So bringing that back to painting, how about only 1 more “rain” painting this year? Sounds good to me!

Anyone else struggle with finding balance?

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Don’t Want to Ruin My Shoes

Yup, another “Rain Painting”. Brace yourselves…

I like doing these because they allow me to just go to town with a palette knife. Don’t have to worry about staying in the lines, or being too exact, and after a long day at school, it is my favorite way to unwind. This one is similar to Rain, Rain, Go Away and Best Buds  but it is spanned across three 12×16″ canvases, making it three times as great!

As usual, I started off with a quick background.

Background using a palette knife on three 12×16″ canvases

Once that was dry, I drew some guidelines of the buildings in the background with some white chalk. Then proceeded to colour them in.

Finally, I added street lamps, a picture of a man holding a woman in his arms, who is holding an umbrella over them, and I added some highlights to the background. And voila!

To give you an idea of the size, I took a picture with my bed as a reference. It’s a double bed (or maybe a Queen…I’m not quite sure).

Close up of the left panel

Close up of the middle panel

Close up of the right panel. Do you recognize the buildings on the hill? Hint* in Ottawa, on a hill…
 

Zoomed in on the couple in the rain

View from the bottom. All the edges are painted so no frame is necessary.

So what inspired this painting, you ask? Well I bought a new dress this past weekend (okay, actually I bought 2…) and I have nowhere to wear it. It is pretty and red, just like the girl’s in the painting. Maybe if I wear it, a knight in shining armor will whisk me off my feet! In the rain, of course.

I’ve got three other paintings on the go right now (and only one of them has anything to do with rain) so hopefully I can finish those soon and share them with you here. School is getting a little busy right now since it is almost exam time, so I may be MIA for awhile.

I’m also working on 2 commissioned pieces, but won’t be able to share those with you until after the holidays, since the people who asked me to paint them would like to give them as a Christmas gift. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise since it might be for YOU!

Happy Wednesday folks 🙂 Anyone started Christmas shopping yet?

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It’s been raining on and off all week so I can’t help but have rain on my mind. It certainly doesn’t help that when I’m at my easel, I’m facing a giant window. So here is yet another rain inspired painting. Hopefully the rain goes away soon and I can start painting different things but for now, here you have it!

12×16″ – Acrylic on Canvas with a Palette Knife

You light up my life. Or my painting. Regardless, I added some street lights.

You can stand under my umbrella…

….ella, ella…

…eh, eh, eh…

[No, this was not inspired by Rihanna at all. Although, not a bad song, eh?]

Speaking of rain, I certainly shouldn’t be complaining about the miniscule amount of rain we’ve been getting here everyday considering so many people were affected by Hurricane Sandy this week. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of you who was affected.

Do you like seeing the progress of a painting, or would you rather I just post the finished product? The last few paintings I did were quite simple so the progress is quite obvious, but often times, the starting point and finished product look almost nothing alike. I’ve got a couple like that that I’m currently working on. Check back (*hopefully) next week for those!

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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