Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two Puffers!

This was quite a challenge, a commission for a a constant client who is also a friend!

Two 11x14s to be given as gifts. Now I'm not a locomotive fan I like painting rough and ready wilderness and cloudy skies and shimmering water, so for this I had to borrow some fine brushes and find my gentle side!

But there was relief in the smoke I grabbed big brushes, lots of paint and let the right brain do what ever it wanted!

Now I can relax and enjoy the Season
Merry Christmas to all and a wonderful New year

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Scrapper" the cat

"Scrapper" oil on 8x10 board

A Commission

A rescue that just made it, they named her Scrapper 
They found this lovely cat, about 4 weeks old, in a Dump, she was making enough noise they were able to find her just in time, she was so small and fit in the rescuers hand. 
Now a very loving 2 year old lucky to find a good home and well loved too!

Not an easy creature to paint though, the photo was very monotone, so I had to interpret a bit.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Fall Fountain"

"Fountain" oil on 11x14 board

Barry Wallace is one of The King Township's best Photographers he  has the ability to see landscapes in a different way bringing lots of colour and interest into the pictures he takes.

September 28 th Barry took this picture Keele Street - South of the 17 th

I couldn't resist doing a study of this one, among a lot of the others he has taken during the last few weeks.
It was a challenge but fun to let the paint go it's own way!

Barries website is here;

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Walk in the Sun

 "A Walk in the Sun" oil on 8x8 board
Summer Sunday walk on Doctor Kay Drive

We spotted this little girl out on an early Summer morning with her Dad and the family dog. She was looking very proud walking with her pet on the leash Dad slightly ahead. The reeds and grasses were full and the sun made the tall grasses catch the suns rays and making it a perfect little picture of a Sunny Sunday morning!
8x8 oil on board.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pine Farms Orchard. after the storm.

Oil on 8x8 board
Pine Farms Orchard. after the storm.
This summer has given us some incredible storms,
one of which made gave a spectacular sky over
the Apple Orchard. I found this picture on Facebook
as I loved the colours and decided to try and paint
it. It's on 8 x 8 board. which for me proved to
be a little difficult painting wet on wet and working
all the array of lights and darks but, the effect
I think came through,maybe better on a bigger board
next time.?


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Early Spring at Onice Farm"

"Early Spring at Onice Farm" oil on 11x14 board

The picture was taken early spring this year, it was a lovely mild sunny day at Onice Farm where these Icelandic horses live, they enjoy beautiful surroundings of hills and dales which the horses love to graze.

The grass had only just begun to sprout so the pickings were a bit lean, which they didn't seem to mind. 

Painting this picture I tried to give the grass and the Hills behind the feeling of warmth for the beginning of this year after such a long cold winter was behind us!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Experimental Still Life Painting.

"Ready for a Bath"  oil on 16x20 board
Experimental still life painting.

This is a painting of part of our bathroom with a painting of John's painting in it too!

There was a lot of reflections from the electric light which changed the colour of the walls from grey to bluish / orangey pink and made the draped towel and bathtub a mass or mess of colour!

It was fun to do. back to horses soon!


Monday, June 9, 2014

"Ready to Compete" stage 1

"Ready to Compete" oil on 36"x 24" canvas
Here is a challenge for me, 7 horses with riders all getting ready to compete, and on a 24" x 36" canvas!
This is the drawing layout, that in itself too ages, but now I'm ready to start painting in the tonal values in thin Burnt Sienna.
It's a complex composition I only hope it works, time & patience will tell!
The reference photo is one I took last September at the Caledon Equestrian park.
Wish me luck!

PS to see the picture better just click it to enlarge.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Casper the Donkey

Casper, oil on 11 x14 board

This is Casper the miniature donkey owned by Kai-Liis Mcinnes an animal lover and artist:

Kai-Liis says of Casper: "I bought him as a 4-year-old in 2006 - he was living with a potter.   He looks adorable, like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh - so he came here, to be a companion to my llama, Everest.  But Everest didn't like him, so, as Birkir and Erling were here, Casper went in with them, and Erling acted as a protector for him for the first while."

Bikir and Erling are Icelandic horses that I painted for Kai-Liis recently.

Casper was another challenge he was actually running away from John when the photo was taken, he was rushing to join the two horses. His fur is in between winter and summer so a bit disheveled!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Orgulhoso" has Passed

Orgulhoso with owner Frank Grelo 

We just received this sad news:
"Dear friends,

Unfortunately I have some sad news to share. Our Orgulhoso unexpectedly died this morning. I know how much of a shock this is as I haven't even processed it myself. He was being his usual, war horse self and my dad had to work him before passing him off to Taylor as he was particularly ornery. After a near attempt at showing the other horses in the arena he was still the boss of the barn (you can just guess what that looked like ;) he took a sudden fall with Taylor on his back and passed shortly after from, what my dad suspects, was a heart attack.

It is the end of another era losing Corsario and Orgulhoso so close together. Thankfully Orgulhoso has passed on his ever strong genetics to many of his offspring and we're lucky to have a few of them in reproductive standing. The loss is what we sign up for along with all the joy when we choose relationships with these majestic beasts. We will surely miss the brute.

Most tenderly,

I had just finished a commissioned painting of him for a good friend Rachel Corbett. Orgulhoso was also the sire of two of the horses at Winsong farm: Zelador and Zeloso


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"December Dusk"

"December dusk" oil on 14 x 18 canvas
First painting I've done in ages, due to multiple repairs around the house, but hopefully I can get stuck in again.
This is from a photo taken just north of Nobleton  on the 15th line just east of the 8th, we had just left a clinic at Winsong Farm and this quiet view was on display.

Now ready to do a couple of commissions of a steam train and then a huge one of horses and riders, but the grass needs cutting first!


Sunday, May 4, 2014


"Orgulhoso" Oil on 8x01canvas

Rachel Corbett, a rider, writes: "His name is Orgulhoso. In Portugese, it means "arrogant":
He is a 19 year old Lusitano stallion owned by Frank Grelo of Grelo farms. He is trained in the art of high school classical dressage. 
While being one of his master's best mounts,as well as being father to many a successful progeny, he also teaches riders from novice to expert how it's done. (Including me) 
He is fearless, high spirited, and mean as hell:) Frank calls him "the beast". He is one of my all time favorite horses in the world and has taught me many things. I hope he will be Nova's baby daddy next spring! "

He certainly gave me a good work out. Boy he has an attitude! I wanted to get that feeling of  his energy come through the picture. So I tried to catch the feeling of his pride and strength.

Grelo Farms can be seen here:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Sydney & Tildra II"

"Sydney & Tildra II", oil on 11 x14 board

 This was a commission for Sydney Horas of Onice Horse Farm in Caledon., The horse is an Icelandic pony called Tildra II. Sydney wrote:

"Her name is Tildra II from OnIce Horse Farm she is an 11 year old 5 gaited Icelandic mare, that I have been riding for 6 years, she is very energetic and spunky with a big personality. The photo was taken last September at Flugnirkeppni, in Eagle Wisconsin, it was a great horse show with two judges from Iceland. It was Tildra's first show and she did well."

It was quite a challenge for me this painting on the one hand lots of detail on horse and rider and that contrasting with the "impressionistic" landscape, but I am happy with the result

OnIce Horse Farm can be seen here:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Erling, an Icelandic pony"

"Erling" oil on 11x14 board
Kai-Liis is an Artist with a love of animals special ones she is the proud owner of Erling and Birker Icelandic ponies and a donkey for company called Casper.  Her boys are housed at the moment in their winter quarters at Onice.
Erling and Birkir came from Iceland together at the ages of 5 &6, & they've always been at the same stable (owned by 2 artists!).  So now they're together at my farm, with mini-donkey Casper.  Birkir is the talkative one, when he sees me approaching with a carrot.  Erling will look, then stand back & wait.  He's a bit more feisty than Birkir, but they're both in their twenties now, but you wouldn't know it! Erling used to be shown & compete - & I gather he did pretty well. I have a couple of lovely photos of him tolting!"  Kai-Liis

Kai-Lee is an artist and her work can be seen here:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Hope" the Spotted Draft Horse

"Hope" oil on 11x14 board

Her rider Marie Beard tells us " Hope or Faring Farm Hope...her registered name. Was born and bred in Indiana. and is owned by Donna  and Robert Stock of Alymer Ont. She had a foal by her side and they bought them both home. Then they discovered she was in fill again as the stud had gotten loose before they brought her home. 

Hope began to loose weight...they pulled her foal off of her early but she still continued to loose weight no matter all their efforts and endless food. 

It was then discovered she had a massive sinus infection. The only choice was to save her(4 years old) and risk looking her foal. 

She foaled 20 days early but the foal lived for a few hours and then passed. I don't think she was ever really gotten over that.

I came to ride her about 5 years ago...after the birth of my first son.  i was nervous and much confidence was gone. So Donna and Robert offered Hope up for me to ride. The instant trust and connection was obvious. And I was eager to show how wonderful she was and is to everyone..

So I could not wait to go to Canam with her! This mare owns a special piece of my heart, and she is now 16 years old!"

"Hope" is a "Spotted Draft Horse" and she was a joy to paint, she is a very special creature, and we enjoyed Marie and Hope performing at the Can Am.

Hope & Marie at the Can Am in Orangeville in March

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Flour Child"

"Flour Child" oil on 11x14 board

A floury bake day!     

This photo is on display in Sheena's Kitchen, a cafe in Schomberg. Sometime ago Sheena went to Scotland her country of Origin to meet her relatives. I don't know the whole story,but, the photo is to me a classic of a little girl trying hard to copy Mum.

I don't think many mothers today would let her kitchen be taken over by her little one. The abundance of flour and her look of concentration on her face you can tell she's another world of play and taking it seriously. The wooden spoon is almost as big as she is!

At first painting the picture was more than a little crazy I had so many strong colours to compete with. I was concerned painting wet on wet as the picture started to come through I felt more confident and I hope captured her moment of joy.

I think She has a lot of Sheena's knowledge and will become a great pastry and cake maker to carry on a tradition as Sheena says "you have to be consistent, baking is something special'!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"To the Square Dance"

"To the Square Dance" oil on 16x20 canvas
This was (and is) quite a challenge: leaves on the trees, leaves on the ground, three horses. three people, three faces, and Fall colours!

Took a while and most of the time I enjoyed it!

The original photo was taken at Winsong farm last fall, Bill and Winnie and the other rider are entering the arena for the Grande Finale of the Annual Autumn show, a wonderful afternoon.

The Farm can be seen here:


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Zeloso at Winsong Farm

 Zeloso  is close a relative to Zelador
This is a study of Zeloso 8x10 oil on board. He had been having his daily training in the Arena with Bill. He looks slightly startled due to me standing to the side near him, I quite liked his look although surprised to see me he looked amazing with big eyes and his ears up made me laugh a little.

I find white horses take on reflections all around them with the windows in the background slightly purple it was reflected on to him quite clearly, he was standing in the Arena and looking out so his face picked up the yellow tinge which made him quite colourful.

 He is a bit younger than Zelador and full of energy.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Grackle Coffee. and Roots

The owner of the local Coffee shop  had  2  poodle standard type dogs one all white, they found in a ditch some years ago and took him home they named him Frank  the other dog also a rescue was all black both had lots of hair named Roots, they became close friends, there is a little white terrier too in the mix and a cat that lived for 22 years!
Amanda has a high regard for animals,she owns 2 horses one of which has been retired for many years and the other she rides taking the dogs to the Stables so they can run and enjoy the country air.sadly just a couple of weeks ago Frank became ill  and past. I thought I would update Roots little painting as a surprise. .
There is nothing sadder when a pet dies and hopefully Roots will have many happy dreams of his mate Frank jumping over fallen logs and scampering in the fields. see the movie here:

Roots picture is of him relaxing he is the most sweet &friendly dog and loves a good pet patrons at the cafe like to give him some attention when he's around. 
Painting Roots was fun I could see many colours in his fur from reflections. He seems to be winking in his picture not able to see his eye due to so much hair! 
He has now had his spring/ Summer Salon Cut recently and probably looks very different maybe pop in and see him sometime. I borrowed his picture from Facebook .

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Art in the Changing Hour

Experiment On A Sunny Sunday.
As we seem to be in a bit of a dream, we decided to use knives, not cooking, but pallet knives and chose Lilac thinking of Spring.
Duelling easels 8x8 oil on board and plenty of it! can you tell who's is whose??
It was fun just trying to make it look like it's easy and flowing trying hard  to make  the picture look like flowers but sort of abstract affect..

But that is not all the experimenting, for later we are roasting a piece of Beef in the Turbo oven.

For sure we will be so worn out we will not feel the effect of the hour change!

Monday, March 3, 2014

"Lady in White"

"Kria" oil on 11x14 boaed
Lady in white.

This young lady is in training getting ready for Spring and the warm weather, after this winter I think even Iceland ponies are looking forward to some warmth from the sun.

Her name is Kria and she has the most magnificent white mane, it's amazing how many colours there are in these horses at Onice Farm. I think it was her mane that attracted us to photo. she seemed to stand out in the crowd.

Unfortunately we missed out on a clinic run by Sydney the daughter and trainer she introduced some of the ponies for riding it was a first time for each rider to ride an iceland pony and get to know each other. I think it must have been busy for Sydney and a lot of fun   needing plenty of energy!

Here's to a Great Season guys.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Loose Tulips!

Tulips, oil on 8x10 board

Warning step back  when looking at this picture! Squinting is Better!
Another week of freezing cold temperatures ! I didn't realize how much I missed colour ! I did have a lovely pot of Azaleas bright pinky red which are sort of struggling to keep going, they were good to look at and cheered up the Parlour a lot.

But somehow I didn't think about painting them, looking through photo's I found some tulips a small crowd of them different colours, they looked bright and cheery I used 8 x 10 board and got down to painting in a loose style, trying to see the different colours in each one, my suggestion is not to look at it too close as the subject looks all over the place. 
I just had fun with a lot of paint on the pallet to see how it turned out! and here it is,
It took about a couple of hours. I guess you could say it looked like I was going to catch a train and had to finish it in a hurry!
Hey it's all  good practice.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

A "Stone Barn"

"Stone Barn" Oil on 8x10 board
A unique Stone Barn in Norland Ont

The Stephens Family were the original owners of this unique barn, two feet walls all built of rock and stone in the early 1930's Ed Valentine a stone mason built it. It is indestructible, an earth quake in 1930 failed to dislodge even one stone.
I believe it is one of a kind and a piece of history still looking strong and solid.
More info here:

I really like the idea of painting landscapes but I find them a little tricky especially with perspective. making buildings look authentic. The colour of the stone and the history of this barn was important to give it justice on a 8 x 10 board. It was a little awkward to get it looking right, windows and doors are so tiny, but over all I did my best, I need a couple more practice pieces!
I enjoyed the picture enough to take a chance and have it on the Blog.

Photo by daughter Lisa. thank you for sharing.   Mum.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Portrait ; "Rachell at 18"

Rachell, Oil on 8x8 board
Rachell at 18

I have tried before to paint my Grand daughter a couple of times and failed ! This time I was more determined . I used a photo from Facebook she is taking a photography course at College. One of her fellow students took the shot.

Being on a dark background can make painting difficult but decided I would be bold! and paint an 8 x 8 hoping I had improved since last time painting., wet on wet and then blending is something I have to work on making sure to look for all the nuances of colours look as right as I could get them.

Every picture tells a story! I am sure there are a lot of corrections to the eye of a pro portrait painter being self taught seems to make things harder but determination pushes me along all the time and with masses of encouragement from John and the family.
Will keep trying.
Thanks Boss and co.,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Little M"

"Little M" oil on 8x8 board
Little 'M'

Lisa my daughter had this young lady over to make cookies a week or two ago. It seems she is full of energy and very inquisitive.  I believe there was a moment or two while at the counter top she was fascinated with spoon in hand quite happy helping scoop out and make a cookie all by herself that gave Lisa the opportunity to get a snap shot, before she took off looking for lipstick !!
A proper little Diva!

I had to try a small 8x8 board, not used to children's faces it was more difficult than I thought along with so many reflections around from dark to light, a really good challenge leaving me with the idea of working on another portrait soon.  It is good practice and great to keep going on indoor activities in this weather !

Thank you Lisa


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Experimental Painting

Oil on 8x10 board
A "Just For Fun" painting, on a snow day.

Last year in Spring we took a trip to Round the Bend Farm, we buy our fresh vegetables there they have many Farm animals on display for the children to pat and find out what they are about. One in particular seem to get some attention, it was a young Llama she just had a beautiful hair cut but, had rather a surprised look on her face or embarrassed   not sure which it was, for fun we took a photo and I came across it, being another" extreme " heavy snow day I decided I would paint her, just to see those big eyes made me smile. It was fun to paint adding some unusual colours.
Good for the eyes with all the white stuff out side.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Experimental City Scape

City Scape oil on 8x10 board
Experiment.  8 x10 oil board.

Cityscape from a photo in the Toronto Star.

Catherine Jeffrey Post Cards from the Hammer.

does incredible night time shots of Toronto, I love the colours and twinkling lights she can produce the figures small and life like but you get a great feeling of city people going home  after a hard days work ,shadows and light almost abstract just love them.

So my curiosity was peeked and  decided to have a 'Go' well here it is, not too many titters behind the hands please, you realize as always you have bitten off more than you can chew! just wanted to try my patience and think at least it is a Study and worth while trying.

Would love to know how her eyes stand up to all those twinkling lights from cars and big buildings !
I think of I try again I will go Big or go home!

Back to practice horses legs me thinks !

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Icelandic Pony with Legs!

Icelandic Pony oil on 11x14 board
Icelandic pony with legs !

I expect you have noticed that all the ponies have been close ups so this one for a change is a complete horse, the average height stands about 4 hands high. They are in their winter coat right now.
Our winter this year has been more than testing us to leave alone the Farmers looking after their animals. Lucky these little fellows are sturdy to stand the cold and snow. They must be grateful when feed time comes to refuel!
More snow and plenty of it, January 2014 and it is  beginning to feel like we are living in Iceland!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

"The Two of Us"

"The Two of Us" Oil on 11x14 board
Onice  Farm.

A few weeks ago the ponies were moved to different fields so they were all excited with the change but, these two decided to pay us a visit to check out if there might have been a treat. They stayed near by for a while John was able to get a shot as they waited looking a little contemplative, one of their Favourite snacks is black sun flower seeds, apparently very good for them better than carrots or apples. Luckily Wendy one of the owners had something for them. There is nothing sadder than a horse waiting for a treat!

P.S.  Treats for horses:   always ask an owner if you can give a treat  We were told that black sun flower seeds are good for the horses hair and they enjoy them a lot.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Marsh Mallow Evening"

"Marsh Mallow Evening" Acrylic on wood by Darryl Rice
This piece is 60in long by 22in high, a lively woodwork painting of a Raccoon & a Skunk enjoying roasting marshmallows on the fire. Tap the picture to magnify!

Profile of the animals and fire etc has been cut out so it is part painting and part sculptor. The back ground in the photo is a sheet of plastic that is reflecting the light. that background won't be there when the piece is set up outdoors.

How Darryl makes these things is a mystery to me, the hours it must take to lay out the drawing, saw the profile and then sand and paint!

I'm glad I paint on framed canvases!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Here's Looking at You!

"Here's Looking at You!" oil on 11x14 board
A start to 2014

This picture is an experiment for a really good close up of An Icelandic pony in winter. The purpose was giving me the opportunity to work on horses eyes and dabble in working on their thick fur in the winter. They almost have a look of a cave man drawing.

Knowing a little about the Iceland ponies they are lucky their top coat is water proof and a thick underlay of soft fur protects them from severe winter weather, even so I will be relieved when the weather gets a little warmer.

I must admit right now being well below zero degrees and today a bone numbing freezing cold minus 26 degrees which has triggered Ice quakes over  the last few day's I have been thinking a lot about all animals outside in this weather.

This year we sure are having one heck of a winter!

The original photo was taken at Onice Horse Farm:

Friday January 3rd