I love new beginnings. New years, new days, new painting techniques, new adventures in art and in life. The freshness of a new beginning gets me excited. I love the blank canvas. To me it is full of happy anticipation . I will confess however, painting is not all fun for me. Sometimes I have my battles with a painting in progress that is being recalcitrant. And end stages, well, they can be a lot of hours of hard work sometimes. Been there enough times to know that perseverance pays off though. What about you? Do you have favourite stages when it comes to painting or creating? I’d be interested to hear, in the comments below. Meanwhile, I wish you all the best for 2012. May it be full of wonderful new and creative beginnings for you. 

The 2 Foot Tall Critic

My definition of an Art Critic: someone who lives in a place that has walls, and has something hanging on them. Everyone has an opinion about art , and that’s a really good thing! It speaks of the fact that art is a universal language that touches us all. Many years ago, I used to sit at the King Street entrance at London’s downtown Market and paint. It was a fun experience, and I learned then that the vast majority of people want to encourage artists. What a nice thing to learn! Especially I treasure the memory of the children who would patiently stand in line to wait their turn to speak to me. In almost every case they simply wanted to tell me, “I like your painting.” And they knew, as I did too, that their opinion was just as valid as anyone’s. So here’s my thank you to 2 foot tall critics, you really did encourage me! No doubt you are much taller now, but I hope you still love art. 

The Music Connection

Creative processes are as unique as individuals are. Some artists treasure the silence of their creative time. For others, a simple thing such as having the right music on can get the right brain going and encourage you to pick up the brush. If I have a show coming up that I need to keep painting for, I definitely put on some energetic music to keep that brush moving. Painting turns into dancing at times, and it’s a joyful union. I enjoy light rock and folk music with a good beat. Jennifer Knapp is a favourite. In this week’s survey, you can let us know whether or not you prefer music on during your creative times. And, if you want, in the comments below you can tell us what type of music or which music artists you prefer if that is part of your creative process too. It ‘s always great to hear what inspires others to be creative and keep the brush moving. 

Playing It Safe

“Playing it safe can be the riskiest choice we ever make.” Sarah Ban Breathnoch Wow. This quote struck such a positive note with me. For sure it can be applied to painting! It’s that bold stroke, that unusual technique that you would never have found if you hadn’t dared to take chances, that can make the difference between a nice painting and a fabulous one. Sure, there will be the ugly ducklings – more about those another time – but that very special painting may be waiting just the other side of boldness too. What techniques are you wanting to try that might challenge your status quo? (Thanks for the quote: @greatestquotes) 


A beginner art student to me, “I’ve taken 3 or 4 art classes now, and you are most definitely my favourite teacher.” Another student, “This is my first art class ever, and you are my favourite teacher too!” I still have to laugh. Did something make you laugh recently? Want to share? 

Blue Won!

The weekly surveys that you can participate in on my website homepage, are fun and interesting. Last week, I asked people what their favourite colour was. Although purple took an early lead, it was gradually overtaken by blue, which came to a significant win by the end of the week! So, since blue won, here are some painting tips about my two favourite blues. Ultramarine Blue PB29 – This is the blue colour that some people think of as “royal” blue. It’s a sedimentary pigment. That means it has sediments, which means, little bits of dirt in it. These can granulate and make an interesting speckled texture. The granulation can show up in any type of paint, but watercolourists who like that effect enhance it by using generous amounts of water with the paint and using a cold pressed or rough watercolour paper. Phthalo Blue PB15 – I prefer the “green shade” when given the choice. This is a brilliant almost turquoisey blue. Think Caribbean waters. It’s a staining colour that is very potent. Watch out for it in mixtures, a little goes really a long way. Sort of like jalapinos in the stew. But blue, not red. Both of these blues can be used full strength for a very dark value, or show their brilliance well when thinned with white or water. Painters, and blue lovers too, which is your favourite blue pigment? You can tell us in the “comment” area on the blog. Of course colour preferences are personal, and have no right or wrong. Even if blue did win. By the way, if you vote on the current survey, you then see a link to “View results (so far)”. The results page has a drop down menu and you can then see the results of all of the surveys to date. 


I suppose great art has often been about courage. That is, being brave enough to let your own unique artistic expression shine through. I see art as 2 basic things: technical ability combined with courage. Once you get some technique under the belt, there comes a point where you want to launch off from the status quo and explore how to make your paintings be a more personal expression. I’m all for exploring! That’s why this website is called “Creative Painting Adventures”. How about you – do you wish you had more courage in your approach to painting, or are you happy with the creative freedom of expression that you have found? You can comment below – thanks! 

Dreaming of Italy!

As many of you know,  my “Acrylic Paint Effects” video has been chosen as one of the 4 finalists in Winsor & Newton’s “Show Us What You Can Do With Acrylics and Mediums” competition. The grand prize is a trip to Italy, and the winner won’t be chosen until June. So yes, I’m dreaming – and why not? Dreaming is good for the soul. A sincere thanks to each of you who viewed and rated my video. Voting is now closed. But if you haven’t already done so, you can still add a comment. Just click the link to view the video; then scroll down to post your comment. In June an artist assigned by Winsor & Newton will assess the 4 finalists’ videos, review feedback, and award the trip to one of us. Here’s hoping! I can always dream!