When it comes to watercolour, I always thought it was safer to keep the paint in their tubes than out exposed on the palette, or as far away from water absorbent paper. Such a difficult medium to tame with a brush!

That’s until I decided to take matters into my own hands and educate myself on the matter. I’m currently taking a watercolour techniques class that has made all the difference!


Poster for Armonico Consort: A Venetian Christmas

It was with great surprise and delight that I was contacted recently by a charitable organization from the UK who wanted to use one of my images to promote their upcoming Christmas concert. Their theme centered around a “Venetian” Christmas, featuring and taking inspiration from Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610.

At first I thought it was the usual spam, however the skeptic in me soon abaded when I Googled the website to find a very worthy and unique organization steeped in the performance arts. They can be found here

The artwork they requested to use was a piece I did in one of my art classes from a few years ago. It’s pencil crayon on coloured illustration board.
Not only are they using it as a back drop to their home page, but also for posters around the community. I couldn’t be happier with the final product!


An early morning at the cottage rendered a painterly sight – one that evokes highlights and brush strokes reminiscent of Impressionism. More specifically, Claude Monet and his water lily series. A view of one of his displays:

The dark underbelly of clouds and the touch of sunshine mixed across a gentle breeze on the lake, created some wonderful reflective effects. Throw in a cluster of lilly pads and the image is complete (image 3):


One competition that I couldn’t ignore to participate in was SCBWI’s Tomie dePaola Award. The premise was to illustrate the opening scene of Heidi. The text can be found here.

My mind’s eye immediately conjoured up majestic mountains – images not readily forgotten from my travels through Switzerland. Offset the grey and white tones of the mountains with deep shades of green and add a colourful array of field flowers and I’m good to go! The composition is highly organized – a conscious decision based on those knitted Scandenavian sweaters – where shape and colour are repeated.

This is the result…

The actual results of the competition are here.


I was so over pencil crayons by the time I was in grade 5. Never cared for the streaky messes they left across the white, cheap school stock paper. When I heard the last assignment was to use pencil crayons, I gagged to stiffle a laugh! Was this actually considered a serious medium outside of grade school?

Apparently so.

I dug through the bottom of my supply drawer, pushing aside acrylics, watercolours, pastels to find and dust off my box of Laurentian’s.

I have to admit I turned into a believer in this medium again…


I was floating on “islands of colour” for my next colour assignment. The objective was to overlay 3 distinct areas of colour in an overall grey scale composition. Part of the challenge was picking a photograph that offered good tonal variety.
The result…


Since the fall, my world has been made up primarily of red, yellow and blues. Not always in that order or equal portions. A Colour Foundations course that I took had my creative mind spinning around the colour wheel. Round and round it went with each assignment…the first being to use all the colours in the colour wheel (12 in total) to create a composition without any tints or tones.
No tints? No tones? Really? This was completely unnatural to me, since I revel in gradation. The solution was to separate the colours into shapes that made sense – like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.
This was the result:
And a perfect score from my instructor!


Paper Tigers is a website that embraces multicultural books and is a great resource for anyone interested in children’s and YA books from around the world, primarily focusing on the Pacific Rim and South Asia.
They are announcing a new project today called “Spirit of PaperTigers”, that aims to put a select number of multicultural books in the hands of children in areas of need in different parts of the world. It’s a worthy cause, so be sure to check it out and get involved!
This news was passed on to me by my dear critique friend, Nathalie Mvondo. She is the host of her own blog celebrating multiculturalism in children’s literature, called Multiculturalism Rocks!. Her posts range from informative interviews with author’s and publishers to sewing her own seeds of encouragement and importance of different and distinct voices around the world!


I thought I would take the plunge and submit the first 500 words of a Middle Grade/YA novel I’ve been working on in my spare time. The contest is being held by Mary Kole, of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. The details of the contest can be found here . So for you writer’s out there who are interesting in putting your stories out there, here’s your chance!
Good luck to everyone who enters!

P.S. A big thank you to Mary who for first informed me of the contest.


Time to get back to some illustrating.

This piece was started (gulp), last July and regretfully admit that I haven’t touched it since tonight. How embarassing! And I’m still hovering over it undecided of what the main subject should be. I’ve set the stage, primed and ready to accept…Who, What? I don’t know – that’s the problem I’m faced with.

I’ll tell you what I do know about the story so far that I’m trying to portray in this piece – since there always has to be something said immediately through an illustration, while giving a sense of feeling that something happened just before and something will transpire afterwards. So here goes:

It’s 1930 something, in the midst of The Depression. There are the Have’s and the Have Not’s, yet the parameters of ‘poor’ and ‘wealthy’ are weaking. This scene shows the porch of a delapitated house (jagged and unfinished linework and missing pieces), the huge and vulnerable gap between rich and poor (the blank white space denoting other houses), with skyscrappers/capitalism looming in the background (solid linework and forms).

So I ask you if you were to finish this illustration, who or what (or both) takes the main stage of this composition?
Will it be a happy, hopefull scene: as simple as a little girl discovering a beautiful flower growing in the barren soil?
Will it be a sad: a mother and father totting packed suitcases and their little girl longingly looking back towards their house, exit stage right.
Will it be realistic: a father taking his young son with him as they both go in search for work, leaving behind a mother with babe in arms.
Will it have a touch of humour or fantasy? The possibilities are endless. Anything goes that would be child appropriate!
Your suggestions are much welcomed! Thanks!

sketch - Jan 25 10