Friday, 8 December 2017

Advent Calendar: Days 1 - 8

Blog 50

As I had already announced last week, the blogs of the weeks until Christmas will contain an advent calendar of some of my 2017 artworks.

This blog contains the images of the first eight days. If you do not wish to wait for the weekly count-down to Christmas, you can go to my Facebook page at, where a new image is revealed every morning at 7:30am.  As not everyone sees the images automatically on their timeline due to the Facebook algorithms, I decided to bundle them weekly in my blog.

Day 1:
This is a 9" x 6 1/2" felted version of my acrylic painting "Winter Glow". The original acrylic painting is 36" x 24". It was fun to create the dramatic winter landscape in a smaller scale in wool. It was not easy to create the soft transitions.

Day 2:
"I'm Watching You" is the first cat portrait I created this week. I started the 8" x 10" oil painted when my student wanted to paint a cat. She had picked a picture that I used as a reference to start my painting. Once I had the initial sketch on my canvas board, I changed the cats appearance to make it my own original work. Therefore, this cat painting is not a portrait of a specific cat.

Day 3:
The third artwork of this year's advent calendar is the 11” x 14” oil painting “At the Narrows Bridge”, which shows the view from the covered bridge over the Fitch Bay Narrows towards the hills. I painted it dressed in thick winter clothes, including battery heated socks, during the spring Plein Air Ensemble trip to Orford, Quebec.

Day 4:
The 20” x 10” acrylic painting “Pink Tulips” was started en plein air. I was disappointed that I did not manage to go to the Tulip Festival this year and decided to paint right in my own backyard.

Here is a link to a video of my painting experience:

Day 5:
This felted artwork was done for the Navan Fine Art Exhibition & Sale shoe project. The 10” x 12“ piece was inspired by the boots that my daughter wore as a young child. I loved them so much I kept them for her.

I picked this artwork for December 5, as German kids will put their boots in front of the door at night, so that St. Nikolaus will bring them some goodies overnight.

Day 6:
The 10” x 8” acrylic painting “Miko Sitting in the Sunshine” is the second painting of our cat. I started it during our summer vacation when I had a lot of time to paint, because the weather was not really nice enough for being at the beach. This painting was for my daughter who always misses her lovely companion when we go away for a couple of days.

I thought it was finished, but when I actually saw Miko again after our vacation, I made some further adjustments. Later, I even took the painting out of its frame again, when the lines of his front leg bothered me.

Day 7:
This artwork is an oil painting created with water soluble oil paints. I have to admit that I really like to work with this type of oil paints. You get the advantage of the oil colours with the convenience of an easy clean up using water.

“Unspoiled” is a 9” x 12” painting inspired by a photo taken of a lake in the Kamouraska region. I started the painting as a demo piece for my student who wanted to paint a landscape with a water. She picked this image from a variety of photos I presented to her.

Day 8:
 " Hansi", is a felted squirrel that I created after the squirrel in my acrylic painting "The Cheeky Squirrel".

Since I was a young child I have loved watching squirrels. The German word is "Eichhörnchen", which was much too difficult to pronounce for a toddler. So I named them all "Hansi".

I hope you enjoyed this first part of my advent calendar and will return next week. If you enjoy my blog, please share it. Thank you for helping me to increase my audience.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Enjoy What You Are Doing

Winter Glow: You can see the acrylic painting and the felted artwork during my Open House.

Blog 49

It is already December: a very busy month for most of us. Many of us are attending more social events in December than at any other time of the year. Then, there is the preparation of the house for the festivities, the baking, the cooking, and last but not least the buying of gifts.

With all this busyness, it is important to ask yourself whether you are really enjoying what you are doing or whether you are only striving to prepare the perfect holidays for the people around you.

Last weekend, I went to Baz’Art, a local winter arts market, to volunteer at the Arteast booth. Arteast is a visual arts organization in the East Ottawa area that is very active not only for their members but also in community projects. I have been a member for almost 20 years. Even though this is a busy time of the year, I have helped out at their table during this event for a couple of years. We are allowed to bring greeting cards and one painting for sale, but participating is not about selling our art. It is just a pleasant opportunity to spend time with fellow members, while giving demonstrations and talking to the visitors. It is such an energy booster.

I feel the same way about my yearly Open House. It is my chance to invite my customers to my house to show my latest paintings to them. I get a chance to talk to them about my art and hear their reactions. I don’t feel rushed, because I did not have to rush to set up my artwork. Plus, I also enjoy to see my new art decorating the walls of our house. When I made the list of 2017 artworks, I was surprised that I have created about 40 artworks this year despite my lack of creative time. My painting trip to Kamouraska definitely helped to raise the number of paintings. However, it is not about the number of artworks that I created but about the memories I associate with them, how looking at them makes me and others feel.

For many years, I wanted to make everything perfect for the holidays, especially for our kids. Over the years, I have learned that it is more important to cut down on some things to enjoy the time together. It is also important to take some time for yourself. Art is a wonderful way to get lost in a different world, whether you create it yourself, visit an exhibition or a show, or immerse yourself in a book.

If you enjoy looking at art and live in the Ottawa area, I would like to invite you to drop in for my Open House at 1270 Kinsella Drive, Cumberland, ON, K4C 1A9, from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, December 2, 2017. You will be able to see my new paintings in the setting of my own home. If you are not available this Saturday, you are always welcome to make an appointment with me in order to see certain paintings in person.

There will be lots going on this Saturday in Cumberland Village: The Cumberland Farmers' Market has its Christmas Market, the Lions Club hosts the annual Breakfast with Santa, the new gallery Da Artisti on Old Montreal Road will be open, and from 3pm  to 8 pm the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum will also be open with its Village of Lights.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Friday, 24 November 2017

How to Overcome Your Own Resistance

"The Essence of Summer", acrylic, 10" x 8"
Blog 48

Last week, I wrote how important it is to make time for art. I wrote about how frustrated I got when my life changed and I had less time to be creative. Now, I have scheduled regular time to paint and felt. Every Wednesday (and if possible also on Friday) evening, I go to my studio to paint for two hours. I also take time to be creative on Sundays, when I usually spent the afternoon felting while meeting friends. Every second Wednesday, when I enjoy a day off, I also spend time in my studio or painting with friends.

If you have a busy schedule and do not schedule time for your hobbies, you will always find a reason why something else needs to be done first. Chores are never ending. It is up to you to define your priorities. You might say, that creating something when you are not in the mood is impossible. Years ago, I would have agreed with you. Now, if I am absolutely not in the mood to work on a certain painting, I start something new, pick up a pencil and draw, or grab my felting equipment. Once I get started I usually forget all about my resistance. I completely lose track of time and just go with it. That’s why my Wednesday night painting sessions usually last longer than the two hours.

“Indian Summer at Petrie Island”, acrylic, 12” x 9”
To give you an example of how painting changes my mood, I will tell you about my painting day at Petrie Island last year in early November. My friends Janis, Hélène, and I had decided to make the most of the fantastic late fall weather and agreed to meet at Petrie Island for some plein air painting. I had lots going on at the time and so I only went out to take some photos and be with my friends. However, when I saw my friends painting, I did not just want to sit around. Once I started painting, I was happy to be out in nature and got absorbed in my surroundings and the process of putting the image on my canvas. The result is “Indian Summer at Petrie Island”, a 12” x 9” acrylic painting that I created with painting knives on a black canvas. It was an interesting experience. I usually use oil paints for painting outdoors, but as I was not in a mood to paint when I went out, I had just taken a few tubes of acrylic paint in case I would change my mind. I am glad I did. It was a lovely day, and I actually forgot about everything else going on in my life.

I encourage you to give it a try. It might be hard to start this in a month like December when parties and family gatherings, holiday shopping and preparations take a lot of our time, but on the other hand why wait? There will always be times when it is hard to stick to your plan. Maybe, creating handmade Christmas gifts can be the first step. Or you might consider just doodling for five or ten minutes every day. The goal is not to create a masterpiece but to let your creativity flow to reduce some stress and have fun.

If you want to wait until the new year, I will start January again with my own creativity challenge. During the month of January, I will keep practicing my drawing, felting, and painting skills by creating art every day. I will not focus on creating finished artworks. Some might be just sketches, some might even be failures, but all of them will be a learning experience. I will publish my creations every week and journal about my challenges, surprises, successes and frustrations. Hopefully, this will inspire you also to bring more creativity to your life.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at, if you need help to develop a skill. If I cannot help you, I will make sure to find a fellow artist who can.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Making Time for Art

Nature's Mirror, acrylic, 12" x 16"

Blog 47

Since I started my part-time job as a German instructor in January, I have struggled to find time to paint, especially because I still teach in the evenings. With more than two hours of driving each day, I found it hard to find a new rhythm. With less time at my disposal for creative projects, my plan was to put aside three hours on Saturdays and Sundays. However, chores and visitors interfered with my plan. I got frustrated about my lack of creativity and missed the balance in my life. All I did was work. I knew I had to find a solution.

The first step was to accept that any artist has periods of more or less productive times for different reasons. Sometimes lack of recognition, low sales, a creative block, health or relationship problems can be the root of such creative breaks. Other times, it is due to a shift in priorities or a new focus on a different medium. Sometimes, it even helps to take a break to get a fresh start.

I did not intend to take a break and felt something was missing in my life. However, soon I also realized that it was not only painting that I was missing. Painting in my studio and the administrative part of my business are usually very secluded activities. My lesser availability had also resulted in me neglecting to spend time with the people that are important to me. During the Kamouraska painting trip, I realized that I needed both art and my connection to my family and friends.

I love my work, both my art business as well as my instruction of students, but I did not want to regret at some point that I missed out on doing what was important to me in favour of working. I started to make changes. I always thought that I would be too tired to paint after work but what I found out is, that I feel totally re-energized once I am in my studio. This gives me more options to paint. I also started meeting friends on Sunday afternoons, but instead of just having coffee and tea, we bring some craft or art project to work on while we are chatting.

I am quite happy that I also have every second Wednesday off at the moment, which gives me an extra day to paint and spend with my painting buddies. This gives me more flexibility, especially if I know I will have a busy weekend ahead.

At the end, it is not different from making time to exercise. You have to put it into your schedule and stick to it, but be flexible enough to realize that sometimes life gets into the way. Instead of giving up, it is important to get back into a routine and make time for the things and people that are important to you.

Winter Glow, Painting Parties, acrylic, 20" x 16"
If you feel, you could need some extra bonding time with loved ones, painting parties are a fun way to get together with family and friends to create lasting memories. If you are interested in learning more about painting parties and how to host an event for your family and friends (both adults and children), please go to my website at or contact me directly by phone (613) 316-1543 or by email to My focus is small parties (up to 12 people) to help you create memories and have fun with your family and friends.