Tag Archives: landscape

Daily painting challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 25

Sexy pink heliconia, 10"x8", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin
Sexy pink heliconia, 10″x8″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin

I only discovered the “Sexy pink” heliconia a few years ago on a trip to Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens in Soufriere, St. Lucia. I love coming across a plant/flower that I’ve never seen before, and this one is such a beauty. I have painted the more popular red & yellow version before but that was years ago, it might be time to do another.

The funny thing for me about this flower was that it was a Canadian landscaper guy who introduced it to me in St. Lucia (seeing as I’m a St. Lucian who lives in Canada). He was working to repair damage in the botanical gardens after Hurricane Tomas devastated the island in 2010. Many of the beautiful, tall, old trees had fallen, which is sad … but it’s also part of the cycle of life. With breaks in the canopy, certain plants are able to receive more light and a new dynamic occurs in the gardens.

I was actually photographing on private property attached to the gardens – arranged by my gallerist in St. Lucia – when we met. I told him I paint from my photos, and he told me I had to photograph this beautiful flower that was in a hidden part of the garden. My mother jumped out of the car to join us, she works sometimes in her friend’s flower shop on the island and wanted to see this exotic flower. We walked along the driveway to get to where it was growing along the hillside. It was partially hidden by some foliage, so he had to hold me steady half-way up the incline, among big leafy plants, so that I could get the shot that inspired this painting.

Later, in the actual gardens, I did come across a few other Sexy Pink heliconias. They were the highlight of an otherwise wonderful trip, and whenever I see that flower I think of the adventure and thrill of discovery.


Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 22

The Sunday hike, 10"x8", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin
The Sunday hike, 10″x8″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

This is a view from Fort Rodney at Pigeon Island National Park in St. Lucia. I grew up very close to this location, and I often do this hike when I go back to visit my parents. Long before it became a National Park it was a popular place to go for a “beach picnic” with family and friends.

We would hang out all day at the beach, in and out of the water (and in my case, reading under a coconut tree).  While the adults sat around drinking rum and playing cards or dominos, the kids would go exploring. The look-out point at the highest part of the island just had an old, shaky ladder in those days and it was quite scary climbing up or down, but the reward at the top was a fantastic view. Which is why there are also a couple of old cannons up there.

I encourage you to read this article about Pigeon island, it has some very exciting history of the place which includes pirates, battles (St. Lucia changed hands between the French and English 14 times) and even a period when the island was owned by an English actress (my Mom and her friends remember having to row a boat out there to go to parties). That was before they dredged up the sand and created the causeway joining the island to the main land.

The more I think of it, the more stories I have about this place. I even went there to take pictures on my wedding day. The red roofs you see in the painting are those of Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, which attests to the beauty of the location as well as to its popularity.

If you’re ever visiting St. Lucia, I recommend Pigeon Island National Park as a great place to spend the day, or even a couple of hours.



Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 21


Before the rain, 6"x6", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold
Before the rain, 6″x6″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

Intense I know. I might paint the pair to this, from photos I took while the rain was falling. On a mountainous island, when you’re up high, you can see the rain coming. When you have no-where to go, and can just look out at the rain, it’s quite beautiful.

My favourite thing as a child was to read on a rainy day. Actually, I read every spare moment I got, but my idea of bliss was to curl up in bed and read my weekend away. I loved to sit up and look out the window next to my bed at the water falling on the croton leaves. Or down the hill where the rain made puddles in the dirt road. And who doesn’t like the soothing sound of rain? Especially on a galvanized rooftop.

The rain can come on suddenly in the Caribbean, big fat drops that soak through your clothes and cool you down. Then just as suddenly it stops, and the sun shines down and dries you up. I never wore a raincoat as a child, very seldom used an umbrella. We weren’t worried about things like “acid rain”, it was just a part of nature, a fact of life.

If you were in town when the rain fell, you’d huddle under the nearest storefront with a bunch of strangers and exchange smiles and maybe some conversation. It never lasted long. And maybe we welcomed it too, after the long dry season … the same way North Americans welcome the spring after a long winter.








Daily Painting Challenge – 30 paintings in 30 days! Day 15

Under the coconut trees, 11"x14", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. $250 +tax & shipping
Under the coconut trees, 11″x14″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

I’ve wanted to try a monochromatic painting for a long time, and I really had fun with this. Some artists do something similar to this as an underpainting and then glaze on other colours. I  sketch in the basic composition with my paintbrush  to start off, but I usually can’t resist jumping in with colour soon after. This time I planned to keep the painting somewhat monochromatic, but I added a few extra colours to keep it interesting to me. I used burnt umber, raw sienna, titanium white and dioxazine purple.

I found that working on the 6″x6″ paintings I was using smaller & smaller brushes to get the detail I wanted, so I decided to work on a little bigger canvas so that I can loosen up. It really helped. Although I still painted on two days (last night & this morning), I wasn’t feeling as rushed because I was enjoying myself more.

I have a lot of great reference photos from this photo shoot, I’d like to try a much larger canvas some time. If that sounds interesting to you …e-mail me about a commission! We can work out payment terms to suit your budget. Also, please share this post to let your friends know about my work … maybe they’d like to follow my progress through the challenge as well.

Today’s painting marks the half-way point, two more weeks to go!



Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 8

Nature Walk, 11"x14", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold
Nature Walk, 11″x14″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

A tropical landscape this time. I’ve been holding on to a few photos I took of flowering Royal Poinciana trees at Pigeon Island National Park in St. Lucia for some time now, so I was excited to finally get a chance to work on one. I have of course painted the flowers before en masse (see some at www.bluerootsartstudio.com/portfolio), but this is the first landscape which features the trees.

I was trying to listen to some meditation sounds & music while painting, but for some reason the kids were just so loud last night, I kept getting interrupted. Still, I think I’m on to something… that zen feeling was so close I could taste it! When my little guy came by to ask for his 12th snack of the day (he’s part hobbit), I put the headphones on him & he tried to run off with them, he didn’t want to give them back!

I enjoyed taking a much looser, painterly approach to this painting, though I did get caught up in the trap of noodling around with it too much, and only really stopped because it was 1:30am! That could be due to the size (another 11″x14″), or because my flow was disrupted so often. I really do need to start earlier in the day for this to really work for me, but it’s tricky because I prefer to photograph the painting by natural light in the morning, then I write the blog post, and put the link in several places, answer some e-mails etc. Have lunch, do errands, get started on a new painting, get kids from school … madness ensues … paint some more … dinner, activities … paint some more … what the kids are still up?

Then I either put them to bed & go to bed myself, or in the case of a larger painting, I try to get back to noodle a little more. One thing that I hoped to get out of this challenge of daily painting … of finishing a small painting every day … was that I could paint while the kids were at school. Usually I spend a couple weeks on a painting, and I can get obsessive, painting an area over & over (noodling), until I’m relatively happy with it. I’m hoping to find more balance, not be such a perfectionist. Not that it isn’t a valuable trait for a painter, and not that great paintings don’t need time to evolve, but I want to be more decisive with my strokes. Economical but effective brushstrokes … that’s something to aim for.



Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 7

The way home, 11"x14", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. $250. + tax & shipping
The way home, 11″x14″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. $250. + tax & shipping

My first snow painting … I think I did ok. Though I did noodle away at it a little longer than I wanted to for a daily painting & I’m tired this morning. We’ve been having a lot of snow lately, and it’s very cold … I wish I could stay in & hibernate & paint the winter away!

The painting is also larger than I’d planned for a daily, but I felt it needed to be a little bigger. The location is very close to the swing set in “Five more minutes” from day 3, and the palette is very similar, but that was taken later in the day, in the summer.

Thank you to those of you who have left comments, liked and shared my posts through your social networks. This is one of the reasons I’m doing this challenge, to increase the eyeballs on my art! If you haven’t yet, please like my Fb page, and sign up for my mailing list!



















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