Pathwords – Iktsuarpok

November 14, 2014


pathwords2 001


In this new bookart, I’m collecting interesting words from other languages to adopt as my own. Perhaps not to drop into casual conversations; that might appear a bit affected. But the English language suffers from not having an equivalent word for many things, particularly, I have found, words that describe our soul. Words shape our selves, our souls. They make us see and feel things in different ways. They connect us to other people by sharing parts of ourselves, if only by saying “I know that feeling!”

Ikstuarpok is an Inuit work meaning “to keep looking outside to see if someone is coming”.  I know that feeling too well. It drives me crazy. Every five minutes I’m looking out the window to see if a friend has arrived in my driveway yet, or down the street, if I know their car. Sometimes, it’s with restless anticipation, looking forward to an evening with friends.  Sometimes, as in a service call, it’s with annoyance. An entire day can be wasted in restless waiting, no matter how busy I keep myself, or how much I accomplish while waiting. My eye constantly drifts over to the window, every sound grabs my attention.

And a few times, it has been with crushing fear. Which I imagine would  be the case for the Inuit waiting for a loved one to return home on the frozen tundra, a blizzard, and whatever other dangers loom in their land. The horrible feeling that something has gone wrong. It’s a universal feeling,


November 12, 2014


pathword1 001


I’ve started a new bookart. It’s smaller than my last ones – 11” x 9”, opening to 11″ x 18″ on double spreads. I don’t know yet if this is the opening page, but it is the first one I’ve finished. Not that I ever  “finish”. I tend to like an unfinished look, which tends to go more with the mixed media collage techniques I use. Here I have used paint, magazine cut outs, paint skin, and hand painted unryhu papers.

How to photograph artwork for submission

October 3, 2014

I need this!

NYC Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

This is a great topic!  Every year we receive over 4,000 art submissions from NYC teens.  Each piece of art is judged by a panel of professional artists using the student’s digital submission – a photograph!

I’m going to take you through some quick tips to getting a clear, easy photo.  This method did not require any fancy equipment.  Anyone can take a reasonably good photo of their art with the right amount of patience.

If you have a nice camera – use that!  This example was done using an iPhone – not great, but it can get the job done.  Repeat, if you have a camera (digital or DSR) USE IT, same thing goes for if you have a tripod or even — access to a professional photography studio – use your resources!

Find a flat, uniform surface, that has access to good lighting. For example: a wall!  I used a…

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Ile de la Visitation, Ahuntsic

August 18, 2014



The water was still high in June to get a good flume, though there is already a good channel where the water rushes through the abandoned millworks. Only the small night heron was dining when I arrived. By lunchtime, the tables were full, and it would have been a much livelier scene if I hadn’t left my painting to join the bistro patrons.

Baie D’Urfe town hall

August 11, 2014



Vacations are over, and only 3 plein air sessions left. Summer is going too fast!

One mistake I made on this painting was placing a strong tree dead centre in the painting. I toned it down and made changes here and there, but it’s still “about the tree” and not the structure in the background. It also creates two paintings. I could paint right over it, but I’ve decided to wait. Since it is part of a bookart, there will be a page to the left or right of it and that could make the “problem disappear”.

Valois Park : Parc Valois

July 4, 2014

Valois Park : Parc Valois.

Dorval, June 26, 2014

June 26, 2014



If I set myself facing more to the right, I would have had a lake full of cute sail boats. Idyllic. Until I noticed they kept falling over. Eek.

Aha! A sailing school. I finally figured that out. It made me far too nervous seeing them fall over like that. So move to the left, the quiet park. In fact, someone was sleeping under that tree. How peaceful can you get?

Pointe Claire, July 19, 2014

June 26, 2014




Lunch break sketching. Trying to get familiar with limited supplies so I can do more outdoor sketches when I only have a little time on a work day.

One small problem. After I got settled in and about to paint, the local school opened up their doors and hordes of kids came flying out. In front of me, blocking my view. And behind me, kicking soccer balls (badly).

Note to self: more clips to hold down paper in sudden wind gusts even on hot days.

Backpacking in my Backyard

June 9, 2014



Since my Plein Air set-up is a full studio with easel, I needed to compact it all down for days when I only have an hour for a quick painting. I got a good selection in one small pack, with mostly pens and oil bars and the delicate Unryhu  paper I love, cut to 6” x 8”. I had to test it of course before going out into the field. So I set myself up in my backyard and found a good spot by the corner of the house.  As it was, I did have to go back in to get a few more items. Now I think I have all I need. So, off to the woods! Or the Big City!


Wet-on-wet in wet Plein Air

June 3, 2014



The adventures of Plein Air.  They said the rain would hold off til the afternoon. They lied. This is as far as I got when the rain came down in buckets and I was hustling my gear away under my sun (?) umbrella and scurried off, hopping over muddy potholes to my car far away. Not very elegant.

       But before that, even as I set up on this lovely sunny morning,  when only a few of us showed up (the others are smart enough to know that weather news is lies…) I had a suspicion about this lovely day …. The mosquitoes were going crazy. The light was playing weird tricks on me. Then this Ginormous soft drink truck parks in front of me.  Pardon, Madame. Right.  I could still see enough of this weird place to throw some paint on. Though it looks like I picked up the staccato rhythm of the stone masons who set up their gear and started drilling out the old mortar.  Pardon, Madame. O. K ..

So I killed some time, working very wet-in-wet on Aquarius II paper (gessoed on the back). The rain drove everybody away. but alas, me too.  Now the question – do I try to repair this? Or keep it as a souvenir of my My Great Adventure Story of the Week?