Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Worked on this one yesterday. I'm not entirely happy with it so I've made sure to save all the layers so I can go back and change things. It was taken in Geneva in November. I wish our little grocery or veggie market was like this.

Not sure what will get done today as we have friends coming over tonight and I'm making a huge lasagna in our new Emile Henry dish. I have to do my requisite number of pages for review and clean.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Trying to get motivated to go outside today and maybe take some pics. It's been ages. But it's so grey out and warm inside...

Anyway, hopefully I will do a bit more French review and work on photos today. Here's a couple from yesterday. Both are from Lyon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tilt-shift faked

I've been meaning to try this Photoshop technique out for a while. It's for faking the look of a tilt-shift lens and since I can't afford such a lens that's what I have to do. I'm really using this week between the holidays to try stuff that I've been meaning to try. I also have to do some reviewing for my French class starting in January.

This photo was taken in Geneva in November. I'm sure there are some things that should be changed but for a first go, I'm pleased.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


After a write-off of a day yesterday (spent most of it asleep) I'm feeling a bit better today and ready to tackle going through my photos from France and Switzerland and thinking about the Contact show in May. Very excited about this upcoming show. A lot is invested so I have to get working on it. Before you know it, May will be here. I know it doesn't look like that outdoors.

I hadn't planned on doing this shop photo taken in Lyon in black and white. Really I wasn't planning to have any b&w for the show. I just happened to hit an action I had downloaded and I liked it. It probably won't be used for the show and may end up being in colour again but I feel better about just creating something today.

I also took the first steps to creating a new blog for design in Toronto. There's a welcome post but that's all for now. When I really get going I'll post a link here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Not actually creating art but we are creating meals. Thanks to my Mom and Dad we're now the proud owners of Staub pans. We have a 10" skillet and 10" grill and tonight's test was steak with left over gratin dauphinois from Christmas Eve (with added Comte cheese) and green beans and mushrooms in the skillet. Yum! Love the texture. Looks like we've coverted from the competition Le Creuset as we should since Staub are made in Alsace.

It's been quite the cooking weekend with baking before that. Last night's Christmas dinner was duck with cranberry sauce, potatoes roasted in duck fat, green beans in butter, carrots in wine and orange juice and leeks in wine with bacon topping. Christmas Eve was filet mignon. I sense a diet is needed.

Merry Christmas (a day late!).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas baking

Trying to still get in the holiday spirit. Baking usually helps and after seeing some new baking gear in the stores, I'm trying to stop myself from getting more and baking more. We probably won't see many people over Christmas so I don't want us to be eating everything I bake. That would be very bad indeed. I may go for a madeleine baking tray and one for baking baguettes. We'll see. Guess that shows our desire to live a bit of a French life even if we can't be there. Although no one really bakes their own baguettes there when there are so many wonderful bakeries.

So I managed to fit in making these fantastic cookies on Friday in between working at home (the joys of working for yourself). Then I made the chocolate cupcakes for a party last night that we didn't get to. Hoping someone will drop by to help us eat them!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Post sale

Well it was a really nice day spent with some great ladies. Luckily I wasn't responsible for bringing in the punters since only one of my friends was able to make it. That's what it is like this time of year. I told myself not to take it personally like I'm "Billy No-Mates." I managed to sell two bigger photographs. They were two of my favourites (the two on the far left).

Here's a shot of my set-up.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting ready for a Sale

Still haven't updated why the disappearance. Too busy! But the reason is that we were in France (again) for a couple of weeks. We went to Paris and Lyon and a side trip to Geneva for the day.

When I got back I had to finish up work at my old job and prepare for a bit of a transition. I'm planning a blitz of courses in digital media and art business. I'm allowing time for a bit of a re-group. I'm also updating my French skills.

But first I'm hoping to sell some of my photos at a show tomorrow. One day only with a bunch of creative gals. Wish me luck.

Above is a photo taken as a storm was threatening in Paris on our last day. We were staying right across from the Pantheon. I was really hoping to be snowed in and have to stay but oh well...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Starting to look like Christmas

It's been a while and I'll go into more details why in a post this week. Just getting back to normal around here and having to get into the Christmas spirit. I decorated the tree this past Friday after it sitting bare for two days, despite a cold. Afterwards I collapsed and put my feet up to get better and to just have some quiet time. The week seemed to fly by. After taking some Christmassy photos of a friend and her family today with a Christmas market nearby and some gentle snowflakes it certainly does feel like Christmas even if part of me feels like it was just December last year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Well that only took 3 hours! Thanks to a very special person I had to figure out how to view a new RAW format. That seemed easy at first but then Bridge didn't want to recognize it. I won't bore you with the tech-y details.

Anyway, this was the first real test of my camera and I decided to go to a new "beach" down by Lake Ontario. It's called Sugar Beach because of the Redpath sugar refinery across from it. Very nice spot even on a fall day. It was warmer there than anywhere else today even though I was right down by the lake. The sun on the white chairs was lovely. I should have taken a moment to sit in it but I was on the move. I'll write more about this spot in a new blog. That's coming soon!

I did try out the panorama function of the camera and it is so easy and such a neat feature. No fussing in Photoshop stitching images together! The result is above.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Okay, I wasn't going to do anything. I wasn't even going to hand out candy after lacklustre years. I didn't get a pumpkin except three little ones. But then I thought a garland might be nice. And then I thought some sort of candle thing and it got all Martha Stewart here. The candle cover is made with anaglypta wallpaper scraps and I found some nice orange paper for a garland of pumpkins. Then hubby went to the shed to get the lanterns that were just put away. Looking all right.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

San Francisco on my mind

A cloudy Saturday and it's bliss. I'm finally working on some photos that I've been trying to work on for a while. Even though Photoshop keeps crashing, I'm struggling on and I'm mostly pleased with the results (I also have the Restore Sanity rally Live streaming behind me on my laptop). I should be making soup for dinner and I will go to the kitchen soon (and for a cup of tea).

Anyway, I must get some more photos done. I'm going for a portfolio review in less than two weeks (hopefully) to see about taking some courses. We'll see.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A book is born!

Yep, another one. I'm giving this one to somebody tomorrow. I also was told to do another one a few days later so you don't forget the steps (although I had cheat sheets!). This one had better folding but I still love the first one.


The other day I started playing with some old cemetery pictures that I took in Highgate cemetery in London in 2008 in Lightroom. It only dawned on me a few days later that these would fit with our photography group's "moody" theme.

I will have to visit the photography store tomorrow for more ink for the printer in order to fix it's new problem (alignment issues!). This is always deadly. I have to be good, though.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Not sure what is going on between my computer and my printer. Usually they have been conversing rather well since I got my good printer and figured out the whole ICC thing. But this picture has a greenish tone that I like. However, I've printed it twice on two different types of paper and it's sepia so not green at all.

How to get to the bottom of this?

*the original photo was taken in Highgate cemetery in London in 2008


It's nice to try a new creative form so when a friend told me about a workshop for bookmaking taking place near her studio I jumped at the chance. I've always wanted to do this. It looks like there may be more classes in the future too. This is my first effort. I've already bought paper to have a go at another one on my own. Wish me luck. I'm planning to give it as a gift. Well, that's the plan now. We'll see.

I can see Christmas presents...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Inspiration needed

Well today started out as a beautiful day but I needed more than that for inspiration. So, you dial up an artist when you need help and plan a spontaneous trip out to the westend of the city to go to a great art supply store. You buy photo paper you don't need but mat board that you do. You even try to spur on the painting (I haven't done any lately as you can probably tell from this blog!) so brushes were bought and a lovely travelling watercolour sketchbook. Which led me to think, our trip to France is just over a month away! On my return with my goodies I wasn't entirely done there. I also purchased a photo magazine that came with a cd with really good workshop videos including one for Lightroom (still trying to figure that one out). So, now I'm combing through my old photos looking for inspiration there before adding more photos next month and also playing with some new textures and borders (thanks to PhotoRadar). Not entirely happy with it but I'm going with the feeling that I'm just experimenting and playing tonight. This one was taken last October with my lensbaby on my camera so it already had texture and a strange colourcast to work with. More serious work to come.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

San Francisco and Paris?

I loved this San Francisco building when I saw it. It's actually a really interesting green colour and I'm sure it is probably cast-iron. I also remember a similar image that I did of a Parisian building so here they are together.

San Francisco tram

Well, I haven't done one of these for a while. I did yellow taxi cabs like this for a photo of New York so this yellow tram caught my eye while I was going through my photos.


While seeing if I could improve the saturation of the reds in the Eastern Bakery photo, this happened and I like it.

Shop change

Better? I took out the Wok Shop title from next door and added a bit more texture while I was at it. Just realized that both shop images from San Francisco feature bakeries. Hmm...

San Francisco shop

Here's another San Francisco shop image. It took a bit longer than I planned to get another image completed. I do feel like I was productive this week, just not in this area. And now that I look at it on here I think the "Wok Shop" is distracting even if I love the name of the store. The main focus should be the Eastern Bakery. I love how this bakery looks like it probably did from its opening.

More to get on with for the Christmas show in November...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Just one more. Taken in San Francisco at the Presidio. I got my only glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge from here (half covered in fog or half visible) after meeting with the people from the California Watercolor Association and seeing their fab National Exhibition at the Officer's Club there. I spotted "Lola" in one of the parking lots.

San Francisco

Just starting to get some time to go through my San Francisco pictures. I feel like I haven't even looked through my Spain and Montreal photos properly. I plan to sit down with them, possibly Friday, and really go over them - see what will become photos with some tweaking and what may become inspiration for painting. I have a sale to plan for before Christmas and I really just need to get back in the game. And before you know it, that will be upon us.

Continuing the shop theme but with a change of scenery is this shop from San Francisco. More to come!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Well, it's been a long time since I posted anything. I wonder if anyone has even noticed. If you had, here's a update on life since I disappeared from blog-land.

Shortly after putting up the last two shows I got a request to show 4 more works at a show in an Vintage store Love Me Two Times. That show is still up and running since it's had some great comments.

After dropping off my work for that show, I left for San Francisco for a week. There I met up with members of the California Watercolour Society who were having their national show out at the Presidio. It was an amazing show and so nice to hear how another watercolour society is run and organized. I think we can learn a lot.

Back from that and I got some freelance work on an touring exhibition. I may tell you which one when it gets installed. I also had a painting commission from my mother-in-law of my in-laws' house (as shown above in detail and nicely framed) and a husband going back home so I needed to get that done quickly so he could bring it with him. That was the only painting I've done since the library show and my paintings from Spain.

But I have loads to work with and a plan to hold a sale in November. There's been so much inspiration from this year's trips and another planned for France in the fall. Now I just need the time and the focus to sit down and work through them. It feels weird not creating lately. But the approach of Autumn I'm sure will change that. Even the cooler weather has me inside doing this today on Labour Day weekend. My photography club will also be coming off its hiatus. I also realized it's been over a year now since this little blog experiment has started and I don't want to see the finish of it.

So more soon!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Show is Up

In less than an hour it was all done, pictures, labels etc. On at the Woodside Square library until August 4th.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Show must go Up!

So yesterday morning was spent putting up a display of my photos at the Cozy Cafe on the Danforth in Toronto. This isn't far away from where I displayed my watercolours during the Art of the Danforth. I went with a cafe/bakery theme so lots of photos of boulangeries in Paris and even cafes in Berlin (as seen above).

Still working on shopfront photos. I'll include one here that I particularly like from Barcelona. I think I'll also add in some of the modern day shops aka "big box stores." I'm still working out how to present these. They are driving so many individually owned stores out of business. Luckily in many parts of Europe this hasn't happened like it has in some small towns in the states. It really is more to do with the make-up of the town and how far away the big box stores have to be there to find the amount of land they need. It's also a different mentality although that has changed too. My "aging" of these stores to look like they're from the past might become reality sooner than we would like. It's even becoming harder to find the more traditional shop front since many are becoming so modernized with huge marble tiles, lots of glass. Anyway rant over.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Work - and it's not Spain

I have a show coming up at the Woodside Square Library. Since I had less than a month's notice, I'm including some of the work I showed at the Art of the Danforth and creating 3-4 new pieces. I'm going to show 7 in total, so that's not too bad. I had sent images of the pieces for AofD for my application. I was intending to do more specific archival images for the area of the branch but since it's in a relatively new area of town, this wasn't as easy so I've included one image taken from an archival photo showing a theatre around Yonge and Queen in 1913. The other shows workman not far from the current location of the branch where this will show. The other is a bus from the Toronto-Markham-Stouffville route (the branch is near Markham, yes I'm reaching here!).

I also worked on some shop photos from my trip to Barcelona. They're meant as a possible wedding present for a friend so I'll show them later. Happy Wedding day to them! Hope the weather gets better.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Did this one a few days ago but only getting a chance to post it now. It's based on an image in Tarragona.

Feeling particularly lazy today. I did get some cleaning done so check. Rewashed the hair after getting it cut and starting to feel better about it so check that off the list. Still no grocery shopping done. Guess the humidity and the possibility of a thunderstorm isn't helping. Got to get some artwork done, though, and that I can do indoors and in the cool.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spain again!

Yes, Spain again. Still working on images but not sure if they will get used. I'm enjoying it, though. I must move onto images needed for a show next month, though.

Here's the main train station in Valencia. It was beautiful inside.

So much to do, so little time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Spain

From top down:

Tarragona's Roman amphitheater. Valencia's town square. It's all about the detail in Barcelona as shown with this window. And Montserrat.

Monday, June 7, 2010


So did I disappear off the face of the earth? No, not quite. I did go to Spain, though, for a week. It was my second time in Barcelona but this time I was also in Valencia, Tarragona and Montserrat. Expect to see more Spanish subjects in the future. Here's just a taster for now. The top one is from Montserrat and the bottom is a detail from a shop in Las Rambla in Barcelona (an old umbrella shop). Everywhere was just beautiful!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Well today is the first day that I didn't have to be somewhere or do something for awhile (basically since the last time I blogged) so there was some sleeping in, some reading of the newspaper from yesterday, a good workout at the gym, chores, and now working on my own stuff. Bliss. I'm not ditching my daughterly duties but there was another plan for that. I will wish my mom a Happy Mother's Day here instead and happy birthday to my brother as well.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Creative Monday

Lots happening today. I feel like I can give myself a bit of time today to experiment and be creative. I even got outside to take pictures (not all sitting in front of the computer) although it was my backyard. I thought I would experiment with my macro filter (it's great and so much cheaper than getting a macro lens) with the last of the cherry blossoms and other flowers. I think my neighbours thinks I'm crazy (crouched nearly on top of a hyacinth at one point). Off to work tomorrow!

I think I like the background of my painting. Now to remove all of the masking gunk. And there's a lot!