Awakening - floral painting

6″x8″ oil painting on canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

Walking through Fish Creek Park late one spring, I found these crocuses, still blooming. They’re so small delicately purple, they can be easily missed unless you are watching for them. I like that – they’re kind of like a little reward for the effort of having patience, treading carefully and taking your time.

Day 24 – Painting for Parkinson’s – A Walk in the Park


‘A Walk in the Park’
Evening walk through Nose Hill Park, in Calgary
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!

I was not a natural born ‘pleasure-walker’. Well, I didn’t mind it. I just never got the whole ‘let’s go for a walk just for fun’ thing. I admit this seems like a weird attitude for an artist. But to me if you were out for a walk, it was to walk the dog; take photo references for my paintings; get the mail; walk to the drug store or to school. The old me was never satisfied with it, telling me ‘walking’s for sissies’! If I was outside and with legs are moving and I expected myself to be at least burning calories, so I should be running. Right?

Wrong. All that was all my brain talking. And when my body started talking, it drowned out my brain. My body protested by giving me shin splints and pain from unstable hip joints (tsk). My running ‘flight of fancy’? Grounded.

And so with another springtime just a melted snowflake away, I’ve decided I’m going to begin walking again. Problem is, I just can’t see me walking through the neighborhoods. Mile after mile after houses that all look the same – it’s like a cattle shute along some of our roadways in the ‘burbs. Always drove me crazy and makes for such a yawn of a walk. So I guess the ‘new me’ will take the time to make tracks for the parks. I’m lucky because I’m just a 5 minute drive to Fish Creek Park. I think walking in nature will enable me to enjoy it enough, that I’ll keep doing it for its own sake; without an errand to do or photo ‘assignment’ as an agenda.

Walk on, friends! All my best, 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 17 – Painting for Parkinson’s – On the Banks of Fish Creek

OntheBanksofFishCreek-9260-web‘On the Banks of Fish Creek’
The Bow River, running through Fish Creek Park, Calgary AB
11″x14″ oil on 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) 201-6532 or Thank you!

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

I had lots of fun depicting the warm summer sunshine and cool blue shadows in ‘On the Banks of Fish Creek’. I’d actually started this one some time ago, and had tossed it aside to the ‘potential frisbee’ pile until today.

It’s easy to be hard on ourselves when the things we create don’t appear right away, to look the way we think they ‘should’. As a result, it’s easy to end up believing our work isn’t ‘good enough’, and should therefore be thrown away or at least hidden from view of others.

I believe it’s much more helpful to look at our work in parts. I am trying to help my beginning art students learn this too. We must ask ourselves first – what parts of this am I happy with? How am I feeling about this part of my work? That part? This way it enables us to connect with what we love about our work, even when there’s things that don’t appeal to us in the moment. It also enables us to see that little mistakes here and there do not negate the value of the entire work. Even when there are mistakes, it’s so important to still be able to see what you love about your own work.

So I’m glad I pulled ‘On the Banks of Fish Creek’ out of the frisbee pile. (I’m actually really glad I had actually left it in the pile. And that it didn’t have the same demise that many others on the same pile have had) All it needed was a touch more work, and it turned into a piece I am proud of. I’m proud of me too, for picking my self-belief up off the floor and continuing on.

Thanks all for continuing to follow my journey. Cheryl. (PS – In case others here are Laura Ingalls Wilder fans like I am, yes I named this piece in honour of her work!)

Below: Two details of ‘On the Banks of Fish Creek’ so you can see the brush work…

OntheBanksofFishCreek-detail-web OntheBanksofFishCreek-detail2

*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!

The River and the Tree

The River and the Trees
9″x12″ Framed Oil on Canvas
at Fish Creek Park, Calgary Alberta
July 2010

Sometimes I find that music can inspire the direction for my paintings. This lyrics from the song ‘Your Friend Shall be the Tall Wind’ (Fannie Stearns Davis & Sherri Porterfield) inspired the direction for this painting. I completed both a value and color study, however I decided to add a bit more light into the final studio piece, as the studies reflected how cloudy it was that afternoon.

Your friend shall be the tall wind,
The river and the tree;
The sun that laughs and marches,
The swallows and the sea.’

On the Rocks

‘On the Rocks’ – Framed Oil painting on Canvas

I painted ‘On the Rocks’ primarily plein air, while on a painting workshop instructed by Karen Swearengen. We were located in Fish Creek Park, in Calgary, near the southwest edge of the park. The day started off very cloudy and chilly, with soft, diffused lighting. This is one of the perils of plein air painting – you sometimes have to take the bad with the good! But on this day, we were in for a treat. Within an hour or two, that chilly wind began to chase the clouds away and we ended up in full sun! Although this bit of luck warmed our fingers, it radically changed the lighting and shadow patterns in the scenery we were painting. This is a common problem when plein air painting.

Quickly changing weather and lighting effects is one of the reason why it is so important to work on smaller canvasses, and to make decisions quickly. One would think then, that the best strategy is to get paint on canvas as fast as you can, but a step or two beforehand can not only help you work faster once you are ready to paint, but will also help you achieve greater results.

There are two steps that I’ve found to be most helpful, and both of these steps have been taught to me by Karen. First, prepare a ‘value sketch’. When I began creating art, I would agonize over these sketches. I’d painstakingly render every little detail and it would take me hours. A better approach is to allow yourself anywhere from 5-10 minutes to compose a couple of small sketches – nothing bigger than 2″x3″ – and limit yourself to between 3 and 5 different values. Remember the point here is just to establish value; if you can start recognizing ‘objects’ in your sketch – stop! You’ve gone to far. Keep creating different sketches until you’re happy with your composition.

Next comes a color study. Yes I’m guilty of skipping this step, but I find that my results suffer when I do. This again, is small! Maybe 2″x3″ – that’s it! Don’t think you have to paint a whole piece before you can begin painting the actual canvas you’d intended to work on in the first place! You’re just establishing the color composition of your piece here, to begin rendering those light and shadow patterns in color.

With your value sketch and color study complete, begin your canvas. Don’t forget about your value sketch and color study! In them, you’ve made all the tough decisions already. Put them to work in your final canvas! Work briskly, but try not to rush; the more thick paint you lay down quickly, the more difficult it can be to go in and rework if necessary. Work assertively; don’t be afraid of your canvas –  more paintings are ruined by timidness, than by confidence.  And finally, work with a clear mind; don’t overthink it, just let your intuition lead the way and enjoy yourself. Thanks for reading. CP