May 22, 2016

"Grazing", 12x12" encaustic on panel.

"Grazing", 12x12" encaustic on panel.

Spring & Summer Update

It wasn't that long ago that I sent out my spring newsletter, but I wanted to share a bit about some journeys , plus I have firmed up some workshops that I wanted to tell you about.

I still haven't been out plein air painting, but I have just returned from an almost month long tour in Europe, that has filled my mind with images that just might show up in future paintings.  We were in Paris to see my son Evan, then travelled to Albania to visit Dave's brother and family. He is the country manager for the United Nations there, so we had a good look at a country most people have probably never visited.

Albania is an interesting country that you may not know about, so I will give you a bit of a feel for it here. The country suffered under an oppressive communist regime until recently, under which the people were poor and starving, and had no idea of what was happening in the rest of the world. The government built 700,000 concrete bunkers across the country to defend itself against a perceived threat of attack after leaving the Warsaw Pact. It was fun to play "spot the bunker" while driving through the countryside! 

     The country only became a democracy in 1990, so most of the buildings are less than 26 years old, and present a rather 'unfinished, under construction' look. It seems that people build their homes one floor at time, and will continue the upper floors as there is money available. Hence most of the homes have occupied main floors with tall concrete supports with rebar sticking up into the sky, waitung for a windfall.

     So the two impressions I have of Albania are the columns and the bunkers, which are EVERYWHERE. Albania is however a very beautiful country and has much to offer, with beaches on the Ionian and Adriatic seas and tall mountain ranges similar in look to our Rockies.  However the people are poor and the economy is struggling, and many young people are leaving the country after they get their free university educations. Hopefully tourism will increase and the people will find new resources to support them.

In stark contrast to the Albanian's poverty, we then took a small sailing cruise ship "Wind Star" from Athens to Istanbul that was outstanding, with stops in beautiful Mykonos and Santorini, historical stops in Rhodes, Bodrum and Kusidashi (with a tour of the ruins of Ephesus) in Turkey. We spent several days in Athens and Istanbul at either end and found them to be fascinating for very different reasons. Athens was all about the ruins of the great Greek and Roman structures, while Istanbul was all about the mosques and those fabulous blue patterned Iznik tiles. As most of you are familiar with those great cities, I won't show you photos :) We certainly got our fill of ancient amphoras and prehistoric artifacts at many wonderful archeological museums. I can only wonder at what future civilizations will think of the art and artifacts of our time! 

We finished up our trip with another few days in Paris. As Evan is currently filming the second season of Versailles, we were indeed fortunate to have a private tour of the real palace by the director of scientific research at Versailles who is the historical consultant for the show. It was so cool to go where the public don't have access to, and to learn how life at the palace was really like.

Good news! Versailles will be on Netflix in the States in the fall, for all you historical fiction junkies like me. (You can catch it in Canada on Superchanel right now)

Soon I will be off to the Tenth International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, MA where I will learn all the latest in encaustic painting, and at the end of July I will be attending EncaustiCamp again. So I will be spending my summer working on plein air oils when it is lovely out, and encaustic when it is too hot or too rainy outside (my studio is in the cool of our basement). Oh, and tending my gardens of course!


I have confirmed dates for teaching the ancient medium of encaustic painting at Swinton's Art Supply. From my last newsletter: Encaustic painting is all the current rage, primarily as there are so many different ways the medium can be used, and with all the modern pigments and heat tools, the possibilities are endless and exciting. The one thing all styles require is the use of heat, called 'fusing' to make sure the multiple layers will not delaminate. Personally I work in both impressionism and abstraction, and encaustic is able to combine all of my skill set including drawing, painting, collage and mixed media.

The first up is an ENCAUSTIC SAMPLER class on FRIDAY MAY 27 (THIS FRIDAY!!)from 6-9pm. In this class we will be making 3 separate paintings to introduce students to some of the possibilities of the medium, as well as introduce the tools and materials needed.

Next up is INTRODUCTION TO ENCAUSTIC PAINTING PART 1 workshop on June 11-12, and INTRODUCTION TO ENCAUSTIC PAINTING PART 2 which will be held on August 6&7. Please follow the links for more information and to register. 


GIBSON'S SCHOOL OF THE ARTS, Gibson's Landing, BC. We will work from your photo reference or finished paintings and learn different methods of creating abstracted forms, each day working with one of the elements of design; predominantly shape, colour, and line. This workshop is geared to intermediate to advanced artists working in their established media. Students will be presented with the challenge to get to the heart of the landscape, to produce vibrant and expressive paintings. 

Note: THIS WORKSHOP IS CURRENTLY FULL but there is a wait list is you are interested.


I am workings on a FLUID ACRYLIC FLORALS workshop for September at Paintworks in Okotoks. 

I will also be doing another ENCAUSTIC SAMPLER at Swinton's followed by more workshops.

As I won't be sending out another newsletter until early September, please check my website for upcoming workshops, and I will attempt to keep the thing updated with the latest information!


The busy art show season has almost come to a close. I do have work in the Leighton Art Centre's Juried Members show on now until June 19. I am also participating in the annual Clothesline Festival & Art Sale on June 4 & 5. This is a great opportunity to pick up some great art at super low prices, in addition to live music, artist demonstrations, and more.

As well, my work can always be seen at the following galleries: 

Just Imajan Gallery, Cochrane

Evanescence Gallery, High River

Palliser Art & Framing, Calgary

Leighton Art Centre, outside Calgary

Centre d'Arts Visuels, Edmonton

I hope that your summer will be filled with fun and adventure, and an opportunity to explore your own creativity as well!