Inside Out – Why on Earth do I Paint?

Image of Alberta Prairie
Bold Prairie – 8″x10″ oil on canvas by Cheryl Peddie

‘Bold Prairie’
8″x10″ oil on canvas  • SOLD
by Cheryl Peddie

Am I an oddball? I’ve read a lot about other artists’ motivations lately. Comments about how their art depicts what’s in their heart and soul. Or, that a particular piece explores their beliefs about some particular issue. I notice stories like these because the story of my own motivation often seems to be missing. It’s not like I lost it. To lose something, you have to have owned it in the first place. Or at least, knew what the heck it looked like.

When I ask myself was in my heart when I painted this piece? Or what message I was trying to get across by painting the prairie in this way? Couldn’t tell you. Most of the time, I just go on auto-pilot when I’m painting. I’m not thinking ‘well if I put this stroke that way, it conveys this big idea I have or feel’.

When I’m painting, I just like that my brain chatter, worries and my TTD list shuts off. Things around me just still and my mind slips into peacefulness. I like the motion of reaching for paint, mixing it, laying it down on the canvas. The dance of stepping back to consider what’s there, what isn’t, what needs to still happen; and then moving back to make it happen.

But as to what I’m trying to represent of myself, of my subject matter? Most of the time, your guess is as good as mine. Now I realize, this is likely not what customers want to hear. I think that some folks want to hear about the inside story of a painting – the artists’ vision. Or some philosophical ‘why’ of a particular piece. But for most of my work, I just can’t articulate what my ‘why’ is. So I know I’m sticking myself out on a limb here.

What I do know is how I’ve heard my art being spoken of. I’ve heard folks comment on how a lot of my images have a short depth of field; about how some of my brush work is admired because it’s ‘unexpected’. About how clean my color is and of how it makes people feel happy to view.

So that makes me wonder: can you really always decide what part of your ‘insides’ will come ‘outside’ to live on your own canvas? So, yes, ones art can depict what’s in their heart and soul. But I think that although you can want this or that emotion, belief, viewpoint, or message to express itself, maybe it can’t be orchestrated or composed in such a predictable way.

Maybe it’s more of an unpredictable revealing of what’s in our hearts and souls. In an exquisitely vulnerable way, our paintings are an opening of ourselves. We do not know in advance what aspect of ourselves is going to be revealed. It is this that makes each piece of art so rare and beautiful. Each painting reveals a moment in time in the artists’ life and being, that is like no other.

Thanks for reading. All my best, Cheryl.


Image of sunset
SkyLights – 9″x12″ oil on extra-deep canvas by Cheryl Peddie

SkyLights – 9″x12″ oil on extra-deep canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

Sunset over Nose Hill Park, Calgary AB. I winged it a little with the foreground in this one. In my reference, the grasses were quite high. As a result there was unfortunately a lot of shadow. Shadow’s not always a bad thing, especially given that the tips of the grass were shining a lovely muted gold. However I found that my composition required less ground and more sky . . . so the grass got ‘mowed’.

Way Up High and Far Away

Prairie and Foothills painting in oil
Way Up High and Far Away

‘Way Up High and Far Away’
24″ x 36″ oil on canvas by Cheryl Peddie

This view is looking west of Calgary, heading towards the foothills. The sun was up high in mid-afternoon, so it posed some interesting challenges with the temperature of light and shadow. As with many landscapes, one of the key things I looked for before I let myself say ‘done’, was that the land and sky were harmonious. Ensuring the colors in the sky are reflected in the land, and vice-versa ties the elements together and creates a cohesive, lively image.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Cheryl.

Over Southern Saskatchewan

‘Over Southern Saskatchewan’
8″x10″ unframed oil on canvas
by Cheryl Peddie


There are no other skies like the ones they have on the prairies in Saskatchewan. I completed this little piece during a workshop I took in April. I particularly like that I was venturing into adding texture into the foreground clouds, and allowing some of the quirkier, unexpected brush strokes and colors in the landscape to remain.

Hay Bales

HayBales-full_9437-webHay Bales – 11″ x 14″ oil on extra-deep gallery wrap canvas –
Southwest of Calgary, just off Highway 22 South –
by Cheryl Peddie.


This was one of those warm, late fall days in the foothills. The sun gets all glow-y, the mountain chill we usually get in the evening hasn’t settled yet, and it’s ultra-quiet. The kind of quiet you have to drag yourself away from, because you know the city noise must be faced in order to get home.

Day 28 – Painting for Parkinson’s – You Can See Forever Here


‘You Can See Forever Here’
Southern Saskatchewan in Early Autumn
12″x24″ unframed oil on canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

I will be donating 50% of this painting’s sale price to the Parkinson Alberta Society!

I thought a painting of southern Saskatchewan might be fitting for this day; the last day of my ‘Painting for Parkinson’s’ project. My Dad grew up in Moose Jaw – just east of where I took this photo. This is one of the most ethereal places in the prairies. From the elevated position along the highway, it feels like you can see forever. There’s such a vastness there, it’s hard not to feel the magnificence of our world. I defy anyone who’s ever made jokes about how dull the prairies are, to travel that highway on a clear day and stay of the same opinion. It’s simply breathtaking.

It’s a bittersweet day today. In some ways I feel like I’ve had my Dad right along side me again, along for this journey. And now in a way, I have to say goodbye to him yet again, as I wrap up this last day of my project. Still, I’d not have missed this opportunity for anything in the world. All I have to do is think about what good we’re doing – all of you who’ve reached out in support of me and this project. We’re making this world a better place and hopefully making a difference in the lives of those who need a hand. Dad would have been so grateful and amazed by the incredible circle of support and connection we’ve created. I’m so blessed to be sharing this time of my life with you all. Thank you.

Blowing a kiss to you in heaven Dad, as always. Love, Cheryl.

Please continue watching my website. I am working on continuing this project to include a line of greeting cards to further support the work of Parkinson Alberta. Thank you.

Please note that as I create my paintings in oil, they require about 3-4 weeks to properly
dry and cure before I can safely deliver them. Thanks so much for your understanding!

Day 26 – Painting for Parkinson’s – Looking into the Sky

LookingintotheSky_9303-web‘Looking into the Sky’ – $80 –
Evening over Nose Hill Park;
5″x7″ unframed oil on extra-deep canvas
– by Cheryl Peddie –

This Painting has SOLD!!!!

New! I can also now accept credit card over the phone.
Contact me directly at (403) 201-6532 or cheryl(at)emergecreative(dot)ca Thank you!

I will be donating 50% of this painting’s sale price to the Parkinson Alberta Society!

Growing up in Saskatchewan, I always wanted to paint really successful skyscapes. And even though I have lots of photo references of them, I’ve put them off for the most part. I LOVE skyscapes that seem to zoom off into the distance horizon of the painting. Skies that you feel like you can reach right into, they’re so deep and vast.

So why have I put off enhancing my ‘skyscape skills’ for so long? Because they can be SO deceptively difficult. I have two main considerations with them. First, there’s rarely as much color in the clouds and sky as our eyes perceive. Most of the colors are quite greyed. So, using technicolor vivid shades that can sometimes be in the sunsets of our imaginations, can made the scene look almost aggressive, and not ‘true’. I’ve always had a challenge with these ‘colorful greys’. The palette in most of my paintings tend to be quite bright and clear. Creating lovely greys requires a sensitive eye and careful hand. And, a confidence that we can express something softer and delicate that will still be attention-getting. Something I’m only just now (after 17 years of painting!) beginning to feel comfortable with.

Second, when we tackle a skyscape we have to remember that what we’re painting is air, and that clouds are really just water vapor. What can easily happen is that our clouds end up looking heavy, seemingly ready to drop from the sky! What is needed here again is a light, quick hand. Too much brush work and paint that is too thick can rapidly weight down the clouds. When they’re kept relatively transparent and delicate, the feeling of the air is kept intact.

Thanks so much for reading and for following my journey. It’s hard to believe we’re on Day 26, and I only have two paintings left. I will savor every moment of creating them; it’s been a truly rewarding experience for me. Thanks and hugs, Cheryl.

*Please note that as I create my paintings in oil, they require about 3-4 weeks to properly
dry and cure before I can safely deliver them. Thanks so much for your understanding!

Day 13 – Painting for Parkinsons’s – Worth the Wait – Prairie Shimmer


‘Worth the Wait – Prairie Shimmer
“11”x14″ unframed oil on extra-deep canvas
By Cheryl Peddie

This Painting has SOLD!!!

New! I can also now accept credit card over the phone. And as always, cheques & cash. Contact me directly at (403) 270-9755 or Thank you!

I will be donating 50% of this painting’s sale price to the Parkinson Alberta Society!

Well it’s been a day of adapting and patience. But also one of great rewards. Although I am not in Calgary for the weekend, I am still bound and determined to continue painting and posting. I packed up all my painting gear with great care (or so I though) and safely stowed it in the truck. Only to wake up this morning and realize I forgot to bring my turps and walnut oil (a painting ‘medium’. We finally found an art supply store so I was able to get painting later on in the morning. The painting went great. I had heaps of fun again incorporating my new ‘intuitive painting style into my more traditional landscapes. I even broke one of my primary rules … I used teensy brushes! What a delight rebellion can be! I used them in an almost calligraphic way allowing them to sweep and curl across the canvas. It was a pure joy.

Even after I completed the painting, more patience was required. I began learning how to post on WordPress with my iPad. I can tell you that posting without a proper keyboard and with a hotel Wifi connection that is sketchy and slow as molasses does not jive when one is trying to hurry. But I’m almost there. The only thing I couldn’t manage was creating a link to PayPal. So I hope requesting that if you’d like to buy ‘Worth the Wait’ you give me a call on the good old-fashioned telephone, will suffice!*

*Update – Am now happily back in my studio in Calgary, and have been able to set up my PayPal link. Thanks so much for your patience!

Despite the glitches today, painting this little piece really was worth the wait. I hope you’ll agree. Thanks for reading, Cheryl.

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

Galleria in Inglewood – All decked out
in Christmas tree finery. A selection of my paintings
are on the wall in the background.

All things ‘Christmas’ and myself get along really well. I don’t go crazy about it. I still wait til December to put up my trees. (Yes, plural) But I’m in love with it all, particularly the Christmas lights – that was my Dad’s and my favorite ‘thing’ together. So, since I’ve begun doing more art shows this year, I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with doing Christmas arts and craft fairs. Well, some folks might say it’s more than a bit. I likely won’t argue. I am an artist after all. Which naturally entitles me to be a little … ‘quirky’.

Anyways I thought that with December coming up fast I should give you all the rundown of my remaining Christmas shows and demos:

Queensland Art Sale
Sat, Nov 24 – 9:00am – 5:00pm
649 Queensland Drive SE
For more details visit:

What the Craft Artisan Fair
Sat, December 8th – 10:00am – 4:00pm
Bridgeland-Riverside Community Center (917 Centre Ave N.E.)
For more details visit:

Painting Demonstration at Galleria in Inglewood
Sat, Dec 15 – 1:00 – 4:00pm
907 9th Ave SE, Calgary, AB – Tel 403-270-3612

And of course, my Wed afternoon art lessons have begun at Atlantis Fine Framing Studio. To register or for more information, call Atlantis Fine Framing at: 403-258-0075.

Hope to see you all some time through the holiday season. Thanks for reading, Cheryl.

Snow Day

Please note that due to bad weather conditions, this evening’s workshop has been postponed.

Wednesday Nov 7 – 6:00 – 9:00pm

Painting the Colors of Harvest & Autumn
Wine & Cheese Workshop
Tuesday Oct 23 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm  POSTPONED DUE TO SNOW

Join Cheryl Peddie for a workshop painting the colors of fall. Designed for beginning students in acrylic and oil, we focus on creating a supportive, relaxed environment for new painters. When you’re painting from photo references, it is easy to become overly focused on trying to reproduce colors only as they appear in your photo. However this can result in paintings that lack the airy freshness and light of the landscape you remember experiencing. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to visualize, mix and integrate those experiential colors into your landscapes. We’ll also cover how to incorporate and build on the light and shadow patterns in your composition. Cheryl will also do demos on her own canvas throughout the evening to help illustrate the concepts being explored. Bring a variety of photo references of fall landscapes, plus your painting supplies.
Location: Atlantis Fine Framing Studio – 4515 Manhattan Rd SE Calgary (AB)
To register: 403-258-0075
Workshop fee: $35.00 plus GST
Door prize: Set of two framed mini-paintings by Cheryl Peddie