Across the Waves

Across the Waves - 12"x16"
Across the Waves – 12″x16″

I captured this beautiful scene on a trip to Mexico last spring. We were fortunate to get a private tour of Cozumel while we were there. Our tour guide drove us all around the island and stopped at a variety of beautiful spots. This was on the east side of the island, if my memory serves. It was amazing to have such solitude amongst the vastness of nature. So grateful for the experience. I’ll be showing this painting for the first time on Sun, Nov 23 at the Cochrane Arts Central group art sale. Join us from 11-4 to see more of my new work.

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.

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