Flaming Crocuses or An Unexpected Journey

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I gave up photographing the process of this piece – I know it sounds weird but this painting fought me until the bitter end! It started off okay and then… and then… and then… and then… Sigh… In the end my painterly brushes won out and all sense of fine lines, stylized details and my other typical elements disappeared and, I made this.

Yep, a complete departure from my more controlled stylized lines but, funny enough, I’m okay with it… Ha ha!  I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts though (positive or constructive)! Crocuses - WIP

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‘Flaming Crocuses’ or ‘An Unexpected Journey’ – acrylic on canvas – 18″ x 18″

This painting is available in my Etsy shop! CLICK HERE! 

Boating on Kootenay Lake – Mixed Media Drawing

Couldn’t resist trying another coloured pencil/acrylic paint mix. This one is inspired by from a photo taken by my very talented friend Cheryl Jaggers. It’s another picture from my “to-do” file.

I’m thinking that these drawings need to become full fledged paintings one day though…
(Pssst…. this original drawing is available for sale in my Etsy shop – just CLICK HERE!)

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Dutch Harbour in Mixed Media

I’ve had the photo below hanging around in my “paint-someday” file for quite awhile. I’d always thought that I would paint it on canvas but last night I felt like sketching and this photo popped right into my mind. I sketched it first in coloured pencils and then painted on top with acrylics. Mixed media truly isn’t my strong point but I enjoyed this little experiment and I just might just do it again!

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This drawing is available to purchase in my Etsy shop!

Sweet Sixteen

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‘Kalina’ – acrylic on canvas – 16″ x 20″

This commission has been waiting patiently in secret (okay maybe not so patiently…) to be revealed – it is a gift commissioned for a VERY sweet sixteen-year-old!

It was an honour to be chosen to paint this piece but after the task set itself inside my mind I piled on a mass amount of stress. I felt this need to create something that would surpass time – something my client’s daughter could love now and for her whole life; classic, timeless, unchanging…

I know right – phew – what was I thinking?!
Thankfully it didn’t last long and I quickly realized this was NOT the best approach. Duh…

I let go of my grandiose ideas and narrowed my focused on being sixteen and the celebration of the journey from childhood to adulthood. I wanted the painting to be filled with the whimsy of being a kid but still depict the good path ahead. A path forward into something greater, bigger, even better than what she’s known before. Secondly, I wanted the painting to seem like everywhere she walked she left a trail of beauty on all sides – my hope was that this would convey to my client’s daughter how much joy she brings, how beautiful she is inside and out and how important she is to those around her. Lastly, the painting includes other personal touches like her favourite colour (Can you guess?) and the violin to symbolize her love of music.

Every time I paint I find there is a war between my illustrative side and my painterly side and in this painting the battle was monstrous. This can be frustrating, but I think I might be heading towards a place where I can let them coexist. Possibly one will be more dominant than the other in different pieces but I’m learning that this is okay and that I need to just enjoy the journey. And hopefully much like the sweet sixteen-year-old depicted here I’ll leave a wake of beauty on all sides of me as I go.

Thanks for reading – hope you enjoy seeing the painting progress in the photos below –> UntitledIMG_8602IMG_8628IMG_8625IMG_8632IMG_8637_Small

New Painting – The Romance

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‘The Romance’ – acrylic on canvas – 14″ x 23″

The past year presented a great deal of trials for me in terms of health. And through these struggles my husband has cared for me with patience, kindness and devotion. Even in my worst and most inglorious moments he held true and constant.

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While I was in the hospital last summer I did the small sketch pictured above. It was a celebration of marriage as an institution. Two really are better than one…

Instead of titling the final piece ‘Marriage’ I titled it, ‘The Romance’. I feel like romance, as a word, has been a little misused in our culture… It conjures up young new love, or an affair, or valentine’s day, or chocolate and roses… But the word romance deserves more meaning than that. I think real romance is being present, completely committed and devoted to another long term.

I photographed the process of painting this piece (pictured below) – I hope you enjoy!
OOOOH and btw – this piece is actually AVAILABLE! I know right!? It’s so rare because I’m always doing commissions but it’s up in my Etsy shop right now and YOU could own it! ;)
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New Painting – True Love

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I do not know how else to explain this new piece to you without sharing some of my clients letters:

Hi Micheline!
I love love love your work, and would like to commission you to do a piece for my husband based on a poem by David Whyte, called “The True Love.” We are happy to have found each other after years of NOT finding ourselves or love, and this poem really speaks to our relationship.

The True Love by David Whyte

There’s a faith in loving fiercely the one who is rightfully yours

especially if you have waited years and especially if part of you never believed you could deserve this loved and beckoning hand held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are worthy of in this world.
Years ago in the Hebrides I remember an old man
who would walk every morning on the gray stones
to the shore of baying seals, who would press his
hat to his chest in the blustering salt wind and say his
prayer to the turbulent Jesus hidden in the waters.

And I think of the story of the storm and the people
waking and seeing the distant, yet familiar figure,
far across the water calling to them.
And how we are all preparing for that abrupt waking
and that calling and that moment when we have to say yes!
Except it will not come so grandly, so biblically,
but more subtly, and intimately in the face
of the one you know you have to love.
So that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them we find, everything holds us,
and everything confirms our courage.

And if you wanted to drown, you could,
But you don’t, because finally, after all
this struggle and all these years,
you don’t want to anymore.
You’ve simply had enough of drowning
and you want to live, and you want to love.
And you’ll walk across any territory,
and any darkness, however fluid,
and however dangerous to take the one
hand and the one life, you know belongs in yours.

CollageI was thrilled by this commission and completely touched by the poem. I had so many images whirring through my mind while I read it through. I loved the image of the old man walking by the shores, the Hebrides, the boat, the hands… it was SO HARD to choose. I ended up creating two sketches (pictured above) and then gave my client the choice.

This was her letter to me after she received the sketches:

Oh Micheline! I looked first at your couple holding hands and thought it was unbelievably lovely, but then the boat one just stole my heart! I love the colors, and the sky and the sea are amazing. And my husband is from South Africa and is a huge ocean guy, and always is gazing lovingly at pictures of the blues of the seas, so you were so right about the Hebrides! Please proceed and change and embellish as you need with the boat one…

I also should comment that I like the boat one too because it almost holds more possibility, no? Like finding a partner isn’t only about the two of us together, but also so much is about having the courage finally to step out of the boat and walk on the water, which actually does hold us, no? My husband and I are late 54/49 years old and have lived a lot of life NOT being as wholehearted and courageous as we might wish, and so the boat and the water will speak to him for the way his life has come together these past few years so beautifully, romantically, professionally, and within his own being.

Thank you so much and I am most excited about this collaboration between us to bring a gift to him!!

OH YEAH and guess what else she said to me —->>>> “I love colour!” A kindred spirit indeed – no restrictions here! ;)
WIP

The sky is always my favourite my part – I feel like I can get away with anything there. I knew I wanted a sunset coloured sky but I never originally planned to paint the sun itself. However, after processing the poem more I wanted to convey not only the life, joy and courage of love but also the passion as well – hence the exploding sunset.

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My husband snuck up behind me one morning while I was painting and snapped this – it’s kinda nice to have because I rarely have shots of myself working. :)

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‘True Love’ – acrylic on canvas – 2′ x 3′

I’m so please with how it turned out (probably because it’s practically a rainbow of colours!!! ;) ) I swear it does look far more exciting in real life – pictures just never fully do the art justice… Thanks for reading and stopping by my friends – I hope you enjoyed this one!

Seasonal Feathers – Painting Birds

SeasonalFeathers_CollageIf you’ve been following along you’ll know that I’ve never actually painted birds until the last few months… I received my first bird commission at Christmas time and directly after posting that finished piece I received the request for this commission you see here.

Shortly after saying yes I felt intimidated – what was I thinking?!?

This commission was for four separate 12″ x 16″ paintings – my client wanted one bird for each season of the year. The first painting (and even a little bit of the second) was a struggle. However, I fought through and by the time I got to the third piece I started to feel more confident. (Coincidentally the third one – the fall chickadee – is my favourite.)

Anyway, I’m sure it’s much more fun to look through the paintings than to listen to me carry on – thanks for popping by – here’s hoping you enjoy these!

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This was my preliminary sketch – I think I stayed pretty true to it actually.

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The first of four! I was happy when this was completed – it was my greatest battle.

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‘Seasonal Feathers Spring’ – acrylic on canvas – 12″ x 16″

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‘Seasonal Feathers Summer’ – acrylic on canvas – 12″ x 16″

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‘Seasonal Feathers Fall’ – acrylic on canvas – 12″ x 16″

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‘Seasonal Feathers Winter’ – acrylic on canvas – 12″ x 16″

First Painting of 2015!

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Bringing you some springtime cheer on these chilly mid- winter days!
This commission is very dear to my heart… it is going to live with a family that I am super grateful for. I worked hard to pour my admiration and appreciation for these folks into this piece.

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The painting was inspired by the family’s property on Duck Lake. This picture above shows their view in the fall and below you can see the abundant lupins that grace their property in the spring.

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My client wanted to include the prominent trees, the mountain/lake view and the lupins all into one composition.

To get my bearings and decide how to incorporate the important elements I did the small sketch above and then started in on my canvas.

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This is a big 30″ x 40″ canvas! I love large canvases but they progress slowly… I didn’t take as many progressive shots as I usually do but I hope you enjoy seeing a little of how it came together –>

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‘Untitled’, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″

For now the title is a bit elusive but I’m sure it will surface soon!