Patio Doors With Sheer Curtains.

Patio Doors, Feb. 2021, acrylic on masonite

Here is the second painting in my windows project. This is the view from my patio doors with the sheer curtains closed in front of them. I actually started this one before I did the living room window painting, and before I had decided exactly what I was doing with these. I painted the background completely and then it sat for a week while I debated if I should add the patio doors or not. I knew it needed something, but it was *almost* a finished painting without the doors and curtains. The composition was a bit off though and adding a bit of a frame with the door and the curtains seemed to fix the compositional problems. I think I had subconsciously left space for them. I do really like how much is going on in the painting now.

Here is the painting before I added the doors and curtains on it. It looks like a lot of paintings I have done of the powerlines in the backyard. I think it was time for something different, even though I love this view and will undoubtedly paint it again.

Patio Doors Before curtains

Living Room Window.

I have started a new project! I have been thinking about doing a series of window/curtain paintings for many, many years, and then that last painting I did of the window for the commission really inspired me to get going on it. It is interesting how things come together sometimes. Last year when I was at work one night at the library I discovered the most beautiful art book on the American artist Lois Dodd, and she has the most amazing series of window paintings. Just google “Lois Dodd windows” and you will see what I mean. Soon after that was when I was contacted about doing the commission piece of the Radium condo window. It was funny because I was immediately excited about it, as it was in line with what I had been thinking about, but then my husband asked if I was sure that they wanted the window frame in the painting. I had not even considered that they did not want the frame in the painting, so it was good that I asked. I can’t imagine if I had done the painting only to find out they had meant something completely different.

So I finished up this painting in acrylic this week–painted from life in my living room. I do much prefer working from life so I feel like I am back in my element. This one took a few days to do, and I was ready to paint over it at one point before I added the venetian blinds. But the blinds was what it needed. I am planning to do all the windows on the main floor of my house and I am actually on the third one right now, but I am behind on blogging about them. It has turned out to be the perfect time for this project, and very much a snapshot in time, since I am currently off work and mostly stuck at home right now. I have been painting them on sunny days which I think makes them more optimistic and hopeful even though they are paintings of being stuck in a house.

Time for the Real Thing.


It has been a long time since I have been in an art show. I have been painting the whole time, just not showing my paintings anywhere other than on social media. But there really is no substitute for a real live art show. Maybe it has taken the time we had in quarantine and all the restrictions and closures for that to really hit home. This pandemic has shown us all that we can accomplish virtually and online, but it has also highlighted what we are missing. Paintings always look better in real life. I can take photos and photos and photos, and even when I think it is a near perfect match to the colour of the real painting, it still just looks better in real life.

These four paintings, my newest plein air pieces that I painted over the last few weeks, have been accepted into a juried plein air art show at the Leighton Art Centre south of Calgary. We drove out there this morning to deliver the paintings, and I got to browse their gallery space. All the artists and paintings that I have been enjoying on social media as everything shifted online, now there in front of me; the pleasant surprises of seeing the scale and colour of the paintings in person, and names that I recognized from virtual shows, was a treat for my senses.

If you live near the Calgary area I highly recommend visiting the Leighton Art Centre, not only for the art, but the property also sits on a piece of land with amazing panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the foothills.

The show that I will be a part of is called In The Open Air and it will be running from September 12th through October 31st, 2020.

Facing south, 8 pm, Aug.5, 2020, acrylic on panel, 12in.x12in.Facing north, 6 pm, Aug.5, 2020, acrylic on panel, 12in.x12in.Fields, Aug.12, 2020, acrylic on panel 12in.x12in.The View from Highway 734, Aug.19, 2020, acrylic on panel, 12in.x12in.

Why can’t I share my gift?

A friend from work passed away just over a week ago. He was younger than me–only 32. I thought I knew him fairly well, even though I was just getting to know him. But now I feel like I did not know him at all.

There were sides to him that I knew nothing about–he had a radio show on the local college radio station, that I knew nothing about. It was all pre-WWII music, all 78rpm records. I have been listening to it now, and I am in awe that he left such a legacy. That he was able to share his passion with the world. I still can’t believe he’s gone. It feels like he is just on vacation. Anytime I think about it I cry.

I have never quite figured out how to share my paintings with the world in any meaningful way. Did Jeff ever feel his radio show was pointless? I don’t know. I feel like I am only doing half an assignment. I go out and I paint, but I can’t get further than that. I am trying to remember back to my University days–what the next step is.

I missed the memorial they had for him at the King Eddy in Calgary–I had pre-booked a mini vacation for my family in Drumheller that week. So I went to Drumheller and I did a watercolour there and I thought about the stupid randomness of life and of who lives and dies.

I apologise for the bleakness of this post. I have not figured anything out.

New Desks All Around.

New studio desk

So I am back to work in my studio and this is my awesome new studio desk. It is very comfortable to work at and has inspired me to do a bit of a clean-up and reorganize in my studio. It all started with a (cheap) remodel of my daughter’s room–which was mostly just paint and curtains and a new desk. The desk that we had in her room was tiny, an old wood desk that I bought for $25.00 at a garage sale about 15 years ago, and she had outgrown it. The desk I had in my studio was the white Micke desk from IKEA with green drawers (I don’t think they sell it anymore), which we decided to put in her room and then get something new for the studio. In the end I actually just bought a Linnmon table and paired it with a green Helmer filing cabinet for drawers (all from IKEA again) and I love it all. I did not realize that the Micke desk had maybe been a bit small for me. The new bigger work top area also works great for a studio.

Here is a peek at my daughter’s room with the old studio desk and her new black and grey walls. We have since bought her a new white chair for the desk. Much to her chagrin, we did not let her keep the laptop, which is my husbands, in her room.

Poppy's new desk

In related art news, earlier this week I painted some watercolours and meant to post them, but I am still not happy with the photos I took of them. It seems my art photography skills are just as rusty as my painting skills. And I also started up a Pinterest and Instagram page (just a little late to the game…), but I am still figuring how to use those and tie them all together, and yet not have them all the same either. It’s a whole new world to me. Anyway, there should be no lack of things for me to do at my new desk this winter.

Leprechaun Trap the Third.

Leprechaun trap #3, outsideLeprechaun trap #3, inside

My daughter’s newest Leprechaun trap made of a plastic mini cupcake package. The bottom photo is the inside reached through the “hidden holes” she cut out of the top. St. Patrick’s Day is “almost” as exciting as Christmas around here. I especially like the “Welcome banner” attached to the sharpie.

She’s very tricksy that one. She’s always pranking my husband and I around the house too–tying cupboard handles together (which I should see, but I don’t), leaving a self-inflating whoopee cushion under our pillows or the living room rug (perfectly positioned where we step on it every time), or leaving things in our shoes. Her April Fools gift to me was an old heart-shaped chocolate box with a plastic spider inside. And I KNEW there would be a spider in it and I knew exactly which spider it would be, but when I opened the spider looked different because she had coloured it with sharpies, so I still screamed.

Here’s her schematics for this Leprechaun trap:

Leprechaun trap schematic and materialsLeprechaun trap inside schematic

Sometimes Life IS Just Fun and Games!

Kikwi studies a fly (coloured by Poppy and mom), Feb. 2015

My birthday gaming-day-turned-gaming-weekend-turned-gaming-week is now over, and what a welcome break it was! And Poppy and I ended up doing a lot more than play video games: I taught her how to knit (using YouTube tutorials), and we worked on her new stamp collection, and she started doing her “Kikwi comics” again after rediscovering the Legend of Zelda on the Wii (Kikwis are characters in the game). Then, just for fun, I made some copies of her comics and started colouring one with Sharpies. Poppy was so excited when she saw what I was doing that she asked if we could colour one together, alternating panels. So our joint-coloured comic is pictured above; she did the first panel and I did the second, and so on. The comic is about a Kikwi trying to study a fly (for her homework), but the fly keeps flying away. When the Kikwi finally gets to study it, finish her homework, and head back to school (St. Moo school), she ends up dropping the homework on the way and doesn’t have it to hand in.

Colouring it was funny because Poppy would purposely do things different colours than I did them, and she didn’t like if I tried to do the same colours as her; she wasn’t at all happy that I did the same colours as her for the bed, but I guess I am too stuck on the idea of needing continuity from panel to panel.

And here are two more of her new Kikwi comic pages. The first is about a Kikwi daydreaming in her room, getting new roller-shoes in the mail, rollering to her school in them, but then the school is closed. The second is about a Kikwi having fun putting things in the crack of her loose floor board, and then being late for school.

These poor Kikwis can’t seem to get a break.

Kikwi gets mail (colour version)

Kikwi late for school Feb. 2015

And lastly, here are the weekend knitting projects, a mini blanket and shawl, that we made for her current favourite stuffy “Liona”.


Sharpie On.

Self-portrait in Nextfest shirt, Jan. 2015, coloured sharpie on paper

Yesterday morning the Roxy theatre in Edmonton, Alberta burned down. All day I was reminded of those summer days when I was living in Edmonton and attending University; and of when I was selected for the poster art for the Nextfest arts festival in 2003, which was run out of the Roxy. I realized that the last place I saw my 3 paintings, after they were purchased for the poster art, was hanging in the stairwell going to the second level of the Roxy. I don’t know if they were still there, or packed away, or long gone, but that doesn’t really bother me. I remember how obsessed I used to be with archival quality, and making things last. There was an urgency about everything, and everything felt like a big deal. That Dayna would never have believed that one day she would be making art with sharpies. Maybe I am getting old, or my values have changed, or maybe I am finally starting to not care so much about things that don’t really matter. Or maybe I have realized that I probably won’t ever “make it”–at least not in the way that I used to think I would.

I was reading through blogs that I follow, catching up with everything I missed the last month, and one blogger/writer, Christian Mihai, wrote:

“What people never seem to understand is that success it’s not about never failing. It’s about not quitting. It’s about keeping at it, regardless of the consequences.” (read the post here).

I keep coming across this sentiment, maybe because it speaks to me right now. It’s hard to keep going when you don’t seem to be getting anywhere, when everything you do seems mundane and a bit pointless, but doing nothing is right out of the question. Even talking like this about myself seems a bit pointless when there are 15 people from the Roxy who are out of the job, and a major venue for the Edmonton arts scene is gone.

There is almost too much going on in the world that I can’t think about. I feel guilty posting happy little paintings when there are major world events happening that should be taking precedence, but I just don’t know what to do. I am torn between letting it all get to me and doing nothing, or trying to contribute something good to the world in the best way I know how.

Another blogger/writer, Shawna Lemay, once included this quote by Gertude Stein, and it has been above my studio desk ever since:

“The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.”

So I will keep at it–this is my job–and I think I just at this moment fully understand the recent success of the “Keep Calm” meme.

Nextfest brochure 1Nextfest brochure 2Nextfest brochure 3

A New Bento Box! Well, It Was Really For My Daughter, But Still…

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I almost forgot to post today (even though I had a post all ready to go), and I also almost forgot that it was New Years Eve (even though we are having people over tonight). I guess I just have my blinders on, busy getting ready for company. Which also reminds me that I haven’t started a new painting yet…

But this post is really about the new bento box that Poppy got from her grandma–which I almost feel was a gift for me. It is a one-tier bento (the other two we have are both two-tier bentos), and I am super excited to try out all new bento lunch arrangements.

Bento boxes are categorized by their capacity and this new bento is a 560 ml capacity bento. My old blue bento is 510 ml capacity and the burgundy bento is 640 ml. What I have found so far is that the 640 ml bento is just a touch big for Poppy, so I usually don’t completely pack that bento when I send it for her lunch.

This is also very exciting because I now have the option to send larger sandwiches–like the panda pocket sandwiches that I bought a kit for and have not made yet :)

Now off I go to finish getting ready for tonight–no time to daydream about bento lunches just yet. Though maybe I’ll have some rum and eggnog to calm these pre-company jitters. Have a Happy New Year everyone!

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