Category Archives: watercolours

Back to Watercolours

watercolour study at Sorrento Centre beach, BCWas away for the weekend (Sorrento, BC) and took time to visit the beach and to paint. Summer is a great time to get back into working in watercolours. It’s easy to carry around and pulls you outside to work. Light is so necessary for this medium and there’s lots of that in the summer! Feeling rusty (it’s been awhile) but that’s another thing I like about watercolours, it teaches you to simplify and clarify and I look forward to seeing how my work changes the more time I spend with the medium.

Background: As a student at Mount Allison University I was taught watercolour/drawing by Ted Pulford. Looking at his work online brings back memories of a lot of field trips we did in pursuit of good places to paint. (

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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in drawings, watercolours


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Flower Study

flower study with flower close upThe weekend was spent taking a trip to the Southern Interior of BC. The cabin we stayed at was at the Shuswap Lake Motel and Resort in Sorrento BC on the south shore of Shuswap Lake. It was a lovely location (adjacent to the Sorrento Retreat Centre) and a place I hope to go back to soon. This drawing is part of my ‘draw every day’ intentions and was a study from the basket of flowers by our door. Drawing, painting outside in the early morning air was and is a wonderful way to begin a day.

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Posted by on June 2, 2014 in drawings, watercolours


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Art Journals

tree image ligherIn the summer I am hoping to teach ages 11-14 techniques on creating an art journal. Looking through my own journals is a good place to start. I’ve always loved drawing tress so it is this image of the trunk of a tree that I drew a year or two ago that has caught my attention tonight. The sparseness yet gritty energy and sense of character seems to define most of the trees I draw or paint.

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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in drawings, watercolours



Summer Fun Classes – Coquitlam BC

I will be part of Summer Fun at Place des Arts in Coquitlam for children ages 5-14 in July and August, 2014. Parents can choose which week works best for them and enroll their child in 1 or up to 6 classes a day. Classes run for 5 days or 4 on holiday weeks. There are many teachers and classes to choose from. I’ll be teaching 4 art classes over the 6 weeks so if one week doesn’t work then students can choose another. From July 7 to August 8, 2014 I’ll be teaching  ‘Build a Bug’ (papier mâché) and ‘Printmaking M.E.S.S’ (basics) for 5-7 olds. For ages 8-12 there will be the popular ‘Papier Mâché Creature Shop’ class. Love seeing what animal or imaginary creature they create! I will end the summer with ‘Art Journaling’ for older youth (11-14) August 11-15.
The classes fill up quickly (registration has started) so if you are interested in enrolling your child check out: to register. Images below are my own examples I use for teaching:

1 red and black dragonflyart project acPainting Watercolour StarfishKangaroo with signature

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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in dragonflies, drawings, mixed media, papier mâchè, watercolours


Ink Drawing

dragon in ink by JoyRecently I brought out my file on dragons when teaching school age children the basics of drawing and watercolour. Kids enjoy drawing dragons. This image is an ink brush drawing I did about 2 years ago as a demo for another class. I’m part of a fibre arts group that will be working around the idea of dragons and I’ll be adapting this sketch into fibre art but not quite sure what form this will take. All I know so far is I need to work in colour and have a slate grey bead put aside for one of the eyes.

There is a lovely word description of a dragon on pp 92-96 in the 1959 book, The Way of Chinese Painting: Its ideas and Technique by Mai-mai Sze, Vintage Books (Random House, Inc.), New York, that I refer to when drawing or painting dragons:

The Chinese Dragon is a composite creature with the head of a bull, muzzle of a donkey, eyes of a rabbit, horns like the antlers of a deer, ears like an Asian elephant, scales like a fish, beard like a man, body like a serpent, feet like a lion, and talons like an eagle.

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in drawings, fibre art, watercolours


Grade 5 Portraiture

Yesterday my ‘artist in residence’ information went up on the Artstarts website. I look forward to seeing what opportunities come my way by being on the roster. One thing about teaching and creating art; it’s never boring!Explorer Portrait As I prepared my information for the website many great pictures and ideas around working with young learners collected in my files and it was hard to choose what to leave out. I thought I’d post a few of the leftovers and talk about what made them special. This particular piece was created by a student in Calgary where the teachers and I decided to pair portraiture with Canadian history for a grade 5/6 class. It worked out wonderfully and this image is a scan of a photocopy of an image on one of the thank-you cards I received. A poor copy, maybe, but the effect works well for an aged look that you’d expect for a portrait of an explorer.

At this particular school  we set up one of the best timelines for a residency that I’ve ever seen and the results were telling. Instead of condensing my time with the students into one or two intensive weeks of residency we spread it out over the year. I came in once a month for the whole day to work with 3 classes and spent 2 hours with each class at a time. The first visit was an introduction to drawing skills and discussion with the students about what they’d like to learn from an artist over the year. I juxtaposed this wish list with the art skills I would like them to learn and with the social studies and language arts curriculum expectations for the year. This is how pairing portraiture with Canadian history came about. Other examples from that year include:a study on China being matched up with Chinese brush painting techniques, drawing mythical creatures with storytelling, and painting landscapes with a study on Canadian geography. The teachers continued the work we had started in their art time which helped the students naturalize art as a way of learning and get comfortable with the skills they were learning as well.

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in drawings, mixed media, watercolours


Three Flames

3 flamesRecently I wrote a paper for a class where I talked about making art as a spiritual practice. The original idea was keeping a journal; I modified it into an art journal and this image of three flames burning is from the journal. It was drawn with Chinese ink and a stick, with a bit of watercolour pencil crayons added for colour.

I’m hoping to teach an art journal course for adults in January at Place des Arts and working in my own right now is helping me to prepare for it. I appreciate how approaching a sketchbook as a visual diary can free up your imagination and be a place to capture fleeting ideas for further exploration later.

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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in drawings, watercolours