Eight Ice Cream Cones and Counting

eight ice creamsI my teens I mostly painted in watercolour and I dabbled with other mediums. I stopped using it in my early twenties when I was taught to paint in oils in art school. I loved oil paint because it was smooth to work with and I was completely obssessed with self-portraiture from the mirror. The challenge to get my skin tone colours just right is a continuous challenge for me. It is especially difficult to capture the essence of myself and a good enough likeness simultaneously.

Fast forward to early motherhood. I find in myself with a strong desire to draw and to possibly illustrate books; illustrations went well but the story just did not happen alongside. I was using gouache and they were little illustrations of my my best friend and me. Here I was again dabbling with self-portraits!

Time went on as it does and I joined some figure drawing sessions which were really helpful. I eventually received an easel as a Christmas gift from my husband. It did not take long before I started to use acrylic paints. It is an accessible medium for a mom and I guess you could say I have been painting with it for 8 years….until now.

Recently I have been toying around with the idea of switching mediums. I was thinking about egg tempera, oil painting, gouache but it never occurred to me to try using my little watercolour set to paint in the themes I had grown accustomed to exploring.

I had painted one “Mint Chocolate Chip Cone” in acrylics with the intention of producing a series. If I had to go purchase 8 panels and get them ready, it would have been too long to wait. I had the desire to produce the series of cones right away! If I had to wait, I probably would have changed my mind!!! My watercolour set and paper saved the day! It has been the closest I have come to producing a painting a day.

What I hadn’t expected was the sheer joy it was to use watercolour again. The colours are fresh-looking, they pool and accidentally blend. The layers of washes stop me from being too fussy and I find myself embracing the limitations of the medium. Aside from the colour and subject matter they look nothing like my acrylic work. I wonder how this will affect my upcoming acrylic painting? It will be a very large painting of a gown.



3 WIP Still Life Paintings

It’s the time of year when some students travel. I only have the work of three works in progress to show this time. One of my students had his last class because he is off traveling and I forgot to take the picture. I had one student leave two weeks ago with the promise of sending me the completed work sometime in the summer. There was a school dance too, which in my humble opinion is something important to attend. That student will be here this week and I can’t wait to hear if it was fun. You have to experience life to get an idea of what you actually would like to paint!

Short one this time. I am happy with the progress in each and every painting.

Thanks for reading!



It’s Summer and I Love Ice Cream

I love ice cream and I buy it year round. I have some favourites of course as everyone does. It changes over time with flavours of all sorts coming out year after year.

As a child I have fond memories of the Dickey Dee. The bell would ring and all the kids in the neighbourhood would run looking for loose change. I often bought the ghost with the bubble gum eyes. I am not convinced that my children have had as much fun during the summer months even though ice cream is still a big part of their summer fun. There are often ice cream stops after baseball so not so terrible.

I loved the little ice cream cups with original flavours such as vanilla, chocolate or strawberry sold with a wooden stick. We can still get these today at ice cream socials at the local elementary schools. I think as a kid they were cheap enough that a few return pop bottles could pay for it at the corner store.

There was also a cool shop that sold ice cream decorated with sprinkles for hair and bubble gum for facial features that opened up when I was about age 10.  To me it seems like a place you would see around in this day and age. I can’t remember if it stayed open long but it was pretty busy while it lasted. The hot summers of Ottawa made us all up for the refreshing treat. I can still remember how delicious the chocolate sprinkles tasted under the partially melted ice cream.


I decided that it in this case, painting is a labour of love. They say write about what you know and love. I think the same holds true for painting. I want to paint all the flavours of ice cream I can as a labour of love. This “Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream” was an early favourite  of mine and one my eldest son calls his favourite. I think he finds the mint refreshing and he really likes chocolate.

As a baby, one of the early words of my vocabulary was “Quince” which translated to ice cream, according to my parents. I called soup “Plute” and I can honestly say that homemade soup is one of my favourite things to this day. I still like the same things. People change over time but some things never change.

As a child my grandmother would take me to “The Bay” near the Byward market in Ottawa. There was a special place in the basement that made delicious malted milkshakes. I have such fond memories of this creamy treat. When I moved to Caribou, Maine I found a place that sold them. In my 8th month during my first pregnancy, I took a rather long and painful walk to satisfy my craving for this sweet treat. Perhaps it is why my son loves ice cream so much. As a teenage boy, he often sneaks it as a snack even though I recommend healthier alternatives. Ice cream was a big part of our time in Maine. We would gather together at my sister-in-law’s home and watch episodes of Survivor and everyone would order my mother-in-law’s favourite sundae: coffee ice cream with butterscotch. I also discovered Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while in Maine. There was one flavour that knocked my socks off: Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. I think they call it Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch now but it is basically ice cream with Skor bar if you are Canadian. As I write this I realize the unending length of my blogging and that there are Skor Bar Blizzards out there which I also enjoy. Hahaha! Also, I am fortunate to tell you all that my summer vacation will include a trip to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop in Waterbury Vermont.

So though this passion for ice cream could go on to include a story about the time I made homemade pumpkin ice cream and the time I bought my boys a toy ice cream maker; I think that is all I will share with you for now. I am hoping to make more ice cream cone paintings in the near future and I will share them here in time.

Thanks for reading! Bye for now!

Sheep Stuffy Still Life Painting (class #2)

On Thursday my very keen students started their paintings. I tell the students to draw with paint by viewing the still life as a guide. The next step is to lay in some colour that will be modified as they progress. Some students work faster and some slower. Everybody seems to already have their own signature style.

It is the time of year where people go on vacation, one of my students will not be attending the next couple of classes. She will be missed! She promised to work on it on her own and send it to me by email. I will share it here later.

I cannot wait to see the paintings progress over the next couple of weeks. This group is really working hard and they should be very proud of themselves.

Thanks for reading 🙂



Last Thursday, was the first 4 Week Still Life Painting Class. A group of six eager  “tweens” and “teens” came to my studio to learn about painting a still life.

If you are from Nova Scotia, you are probably all too familiar with the weather we are experiencing lately. People are complaining that they are experiencing the growth moss or mold on their bodies because of the amount of rain. Any sunny day, we get the added bonus of black flies. Fortunately, still life painting requires the comfort of the indoors. Best to stick with cheerful spring-like colours though, because clearly we all need it to be sunny in the studio.

The practice of drawing is always encouraged in the painting class. It is important to have a sense of how we are to lay out the composition prior to working with the paint. You can use a thumbnail sketch for that, but we do a larger drawing since we are learning about shapes and a little about value. Next week they will start laying out their still life painting by drawing with paint on the canvas.

I look forward to sharing the weekly progress of the work in the upcoming few weeks. There was a pause this week because my own kids and a couple of the students had their junior high spring band concert. It is great that they are interested in all forms of art. The concert was a wonderful time too!