Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Based on a photo from a Benelux tour a few years ago. Going through the photos now, I'm thinking that Bruges is a perfect place for painting outdoors. If only I painted back then....
One of my goals with this view was to avoid fussy details, like the ones on the Elora painting in my previous post. So I did a pencil sketch, then a quick watercolor sketch. By the time I started the actual picture I knew the major shapes and had gone through filtering out the unimportant details. Funny how hard it is to make it simple!

Meeting room sketches

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Elora is a picturesque small town in southern Ontario, about an hour drive from Toronto. It has some original stone buildings preserved from the 1800s, which give the town a unique character. From here one can take a few hour walk along the Elora Gorge on the Grand river.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I think this is not too bad for a very first attempt at painting a portrait. Sunny is special to me not only because he is my mother's dog, but also as the son of a dog I had. Don't be fooled by the wise expression on his face. The reference photo was taken while he was extremely concentrated monitoring the trajectory of our every bite at an outdoor patio. 
I have been making sketches of him lately, but didn't dare painting him. Then today I saw this posting on Konstantin Sterkhov's blog, and thought that I could try my luck...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Canadian sunsets

Arches, 38 x 28 cm

Arches, 38 x 28 cm

It has been a busy and quite exhausting week for me, so I needed to get back to painting with something fun. What can be more rewarding than doing sunsets wet-in-wet. So I dug out a few reference photos on the subject...

The first one above is a scene from the west coast that I painted years ago, only now I did it in a larger size and with good materials. The second, of the Great Lakes area... well, I had too much colors left on the palette from the first sunset.

Monday, April 11, 2011

White Freesia

 This is the corrected version with darkened background, which I think I like better (published on April 12 at 20:10 EST)

I am not particularly happy with this one. I wish I had left more white paper and made the background darker....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Iris again

Still very intrigued by the beauty of the shapes and patterns that nature created in this flower...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dwarf Iris

The spring is here and today I spent hours cleaning the garden from last year's dry plants. It is a small yard, but over the years I've replaced almost all grass with flower beds. I enjoyed finding out the green tips of all those different plants coming out of the ground. Very soon there will be a profusion of daffodils, hyacinths and tulips, but for now the only blooms are these dwarf irises. They show up very early in the spring - after the snowdrops and crocuses but before everything else. At only 15 cm height, their flowers are quite large for their size, and really beautiful. Although I was exhausted, I did a quick sketch with a brush only right there, in the yard. It is so great to be able to stay outside without scarfs and gloves!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Grey Squirrel 2

A second attempt to paint the same squirrel. I wanted to do it more wet-in-wet with softer transitions and less explicit dry-brush furry tail. But I don't have good control of the wet paper and paint yet and I ended up correcting and fiddling, so the result is not very different from yesterday's.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Grey Squirrel

Squirrels are frequent visitors in my back yard, especially when there are seeds in the bird-feeder. They hang and swing on the feeder until all seeds fall to the ground. Then they can pick whatever they like from the seed mix.
Last summer a few self-seeded sunflowers grew in several spots in the yard. At one point their flower heads started disappearing. Then, one day I witnessed the "bandit" squirrel, who climbed up a sunflower, struggled with the flower until its stem snapped and bent to the ground. Then the little bandit cut the flower off, took it onto the fence and started eating it like a waffle. They are fun to watch, and a few times I've remembered to take a picture of them, like the one I used here.