Leaves on the Ground

Here is another of my mother’s photos:

I haven’t even come close to finishing this one yet…coloured pencils once again…


Airplane Wing

My mother took this photo while flying to Turkey this past summer:

I just love the way the sky melts into the horizon, and the way the airplane wing seems a part of it…

Knowing I wouldn’t have time for working with oil paints I decided to dig out my oil pastels. I haven’t used oil pastels for a loooong time, but I’ve always loved their capacity for blending, so I thought they would be perfect for painting the horizon. With just a small amount of paint thinner I was easily able to transition the ocean and sky into the white of the horizon. The colouring is different than the photo, but I only had two options of blue among my 15 year old pastels… The airplane wing was made using coloured pencils (which have become my medium of choice over the last five years–when one has young children it’s good to work with a medium that can be abandoned at a moment’s notice, and then returned to at anytime in the near or even distant future!)

30 Day Art Challenge

Once again, it’s been ages since I posted. But I have in fact been able to carve out decent amounts of time for my art this past year.  I will make an effort to post some of my work over the next week, starting with some simple sketches from a 30 Day Art Challenge I did last Spring when we took a trip to Belgium and Switzerland to visit our sisters. Usually when on vacation I try to make as much time as possible for drawing, but that only really works when we’re on vacation at home. So I packed a tiny little sketchbook, my favourite sketching pencil and a list of things to draw for 30 days…(unfortunately, we weren’t actually in Europe for 30 days–I started the challenge five days before we left and finished it 10 days after we returned.)

Day 1: Mythological Creature

I drew a bored cyclops…I have no idea where I got the inspiration for this one…

Day 2: A Distraction

It’s hard not to get sucked into playing Lego when it’s all over the house…

Day 3: Word(s)

Day 4: An Object Near You

I was sitting next to some lovely wrapping paper.

Day 5: Something Pink

Day 6: A Memorable Day

The kids’ first airplane ride! On our way to Europe…

Day 7: Something You Miss

One day without our Chocolate Lab, Chester, and we were missing him dearly.

Day 8: A Dream

A recurring nightmare I had as a child–this strange vehicular robot would chase me, my sister and parents…

Day 9: Hands

My brother-in-law was shocked when he heard we had never seen a John Carpenter movie (except maybe one or two of the Halloween’s?), so he screened The Thing for us. That’s where the inspiration for this drawing came from.

Day 10: Three Panel Comic Strip

At my husband’s expense…

Day 11: Something You Dislike

I hate cilantro!!!!

Day 12: Scenery

Good thing I was in Switzerland for this one! What better scenery could you ask for?!?

Day 13: Something Dancing

My son suggested a dancing robot.

Day 14: Dream Destination

I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights. Just waiting for the kids to get a little older…

Day 15: Bad Habit

Day 16: Video Game

I used to love The Kingdom of Kroz.

Day 17: Childhood Memory

Kadinlar Denizi, Kusadasi, Turkey

Day 18: Eyes

Day 19: A Couple

Cute older couple sitting across from us at the airport.

Day 20: One Wish

Summer please!

Day 21: Monster

Day 22: Body Part

My son’s ear.

Day 23: An Old Person

Day 24: An Emotion


Day 25: An Animal

Inch worm.

Day 26: Doodle

Day 27: A Vehicle

Day 28: Favourite Drink

Day 29: Spirit Animal

I loved wolves when I was a child…

Day 30: Celebration Banner




Bright Autumn Forest

I helped a good friend move recently, and while doing so we came across a large canvas, still in it’s store wrapping. I offered to make a painting to adorn the walls of her new home and she enthusiastically accepted. She requested something colourful and vibrant so I thought I might try painting an autumn scene I captured years ago at my in-laws cottage.

Not a great copy of the photo–I printed it a long time ago and I think the digital copy is somewhere on an old PC, tucked away in our basement closet.

Progress has been slow since I don’t often have a large block of hours to devote to painting (especially with oils).

The background is done; I opted for a richer, deeper blue than the original photo in an attempt to accommodate my friend’s request for vibrancy. Before moving on to the trees I wanted to do a practice run, so I started a miniature version of the painting.

I plan to do them somewhat in tandem; completing each step first on the mini canvas before committing to the larger one.

Meanwhile, I’ve also made some progress on my large pattern:

Cheesecake with Cranberries, Blueberries or Strawberries

I have been neglecting my blog for the past few months, but now that summer is over and life is slowly moving indoors I will make an effort to post more often.

I haven’t tried any new recipes for a while, but we have done a lot of baking over the summer. My husband and I are BIG fans of cheesecake. For a good month recently we made cheesecake almost every week. We stick to the classic recipe on the Philadelphia cream cheese package, and then I usually wing some sort of a topping. My favourite so far has been cranberry sauce (I had some left over in the freezer). It was absolutely perfect–the tartness of the cranberries complemented the cheese-y goodness of the cake perfectly. I also tried to make a quick blueberry topping–I simply simmered some frozen blueberries in sugar and a little water. Everyone liked it well enough, but I found it a little bland. If I try it again I’ll give it a go with some fresh blueberries instead.

Not the greatest photo, but it was late when we made the cheesecake, and it was half gone by morning so there was no opportunity to get a photo of the full cake in the light of day.

Here is the Philadelphia brand recipe for cheescake:
1 ¼ cups graham crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
3 packages (250 grams each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs

Mix graham crumbs and butter, and press onto the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. (I pre-butter the pan as well to ensure the cake doesn’t stick). Beat the cream cheese and sugar with a mixer until blended. Add the eggs and mix at low speed until just blended. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 F, until the centre is almost set. Once the cake has cooled refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. Add any toppings once the cake has been refrigerated.

The cranberry sauce was made using a slightly modified recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything:
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 ½ cups sugar (I used only 1 cup)
2 cups water

Combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool before refrigerating. I like to blend the sauce to make it smooth and remove all chunks.

The blueberry sauce was derived from the cranberry sauce recipe: I simply used four cups of blueberries instead of cranberries. However, I do feel that blueberries require more sugar, especially if you’re using frozen blueberries. In the future I would increase the amount to two cups of sugar…

For the last cheesecake I made a strawberry topping. Once again I just simmered some strawberries (freshly picked from a local farm!!) with some sugar, and then blended the mixture to make it smooth.

And now I’m in the mood for more cheesecake!



Trees in Winter

This week’s drawing started off more as a quick practice sketch. I had saved a photograph from an old calendar because I liked the trees in the foreground.

Unfortunately I cannot give credit to the photographer as their name was not mentioned in the calendar.

When I first started I was thinking it would be a quick pencil sketch, but after completing one drawing with my new coloured pencils I found I was itching to do it again.

I had some trouble with the tangle of branches and leaves in the top left corner, so I intentionally kept the trees in the background a little messy to create some continuity (of messiness). Overall I like the effect of the lighting and shadows on the snow, and the mix of all the different greens and blues. I also feel quite at home looking at the drawing; it is a typical scene I might encounter on any given day between December and March and I find it quite comforting.

Safranbolu Houses

Despite having the intention to blog regularly I never seem to get around to it. Thankfully I’m a little more dedicated to my art. Here’s a small drawing I recently finished of some heritage houses in Safranbolu, Turkey.

It’s based on a photograph I took while on a family trip almost nine years ago .

I bought myself some Derwent soft drawing pencils recently and I have to say I am loving them. Usually I prefer keeping my pencil drawings black and white, but these coloured pencils are opening me up to a whole new world…

Colourful Fish

Two posts in two days? How can this be?? Because I broke my wrist last Friday and now I can’t drive, so the time I would normally spend commuting I am instead spending drawing and blogging! I was able to finish the fish yesterday afternoon before hubby got home with the kids.

It may be a while before I am actually able to frame and hang it in the kids’ bathroom because my left hand is still mostly indisposed. This is what my left hand was doing while I was drawing: