Tag Archives: peony

Edges – peony painting timelapse #6

edges of peony painting
Painting the edges    Scroll down to see timelapse #6.


Should I keep the edges of the painting green, or go with my normal black? I am literally racing the clock right now.

All I had time to do tonight was paint the edges of the peony painting when I got home from our Art & Culture Council’s first AGM.  I’m determined not to fail at my challenge!

My goal is to post a new timelapse video on my blog before midnight each night. Then post the link on the 30 in 30 blog.  See, I told you this accountability thing works.

Anyway, I might change the colour of the edges, I’m leaning towards the green, but am uncertain since I’m so used to seeing them black. I started using black so that the painting would look clean, tidy, and all the paintings in an exhibition would be consistent.

Also, with the more modern gallery wrap – thicker profile canvas – many people just hang the paintings straight on the wall and don’t get them framed. Or when they do, they frame with a black floating frame, and the black sides seem to work well with that.

Authentic edges?

However, I have noticed more and more artists leaving the edges bare.  And I think that is in reaction to the proliferation of gallery wrapped canvas prints.

This way you can see the “artist’s hand”, as in, you get some insight into the process, the layering, the drips, things planned and unplanned. Maybe even into the artist’s personality and motivation. It is about authenticity.

I always thought it was the artist being lazy, messy.  I would take the time to clean the sides of my paintings, maybe even wrapping the image around the edges.

Then one day I had someone walk right past my booth at an International Art Fair because she thought I was exhibiting photographs.  When she realized they were just realistic paintings of flowers and foliage, she came back for a closer look.

I did all realism back then, and I’d put a lot of time & care into each work, even finishing them off with a high gloss varnish.

These days the idea of splashing paint around and getting messy, and leaving the work messy and immediate, holds a lot of appeal.

Green or Black?

Let me know in the comments, which way you would vote – stay green, or change to black?

Then return tomorrow night to see what I decide!

Now I need to go wash the green paint off of my hands. But at least I got into my pj’s when I came home. All you can see in the video is my grey sweater, you can’t tell that it is covered in paint. And that I’m wearing red fleece pants with white polar bears.

Then I can crawl straight into bed, and start it all again at too early o-clock in the morning. Otherwise know as 6:30am, when my alarm goes off to wake the teenagers up for school.

Peony timelapse #5 – tools

Peony painting and tools of the trade , (scroll down to view timelapse video #5)

Tools of the trade

These are my “everyday tools ” – brushes, heavy duty paper towels (found in automotive aisle at Canadian Tire), spray bottle with water to keep my acrylics paints wet. My staywet palette is in the corner with a red cover to keep the moisture in.

Uncharacteristically, by the end of this session I had 5 brushes with paint on them. I was working fast because I still had a lot I wanted to do, but I knew I had to stop. Today was just one of those busy days.

In the last hour of painting I was talking to the kids when they came home from school, took the dinner out of the oven etc, but you can’t tell that all of that was going on when you watch the video. I think it was about 4 hours, condensed into 20 seconds.

I started painting late today because I was working on the computer all morning, updating documents & adding them to the Arts Council’s website, responding to e-mail and social media – both theirs and mine.

When I stopped painting tonight, I posted the timelapse to Instagram & YouTube, ate dinner, did groceries, put away groceries & laundry & now I’m trying to write this post & share on the 30 in 30 before midnight. But that’s the only reason there are a bunch of brushes in the water. Usually I only use one at a time. And I would not leave them soaking in the water because it’s not good for the brushes.

I was going to talk more about the other tools we use, because I don’t think most people envision painters with drills, hammers, wire cutters etc.

But I’ll leave that for another day.

Tweak, tweak, tweak

Ok, so it’s taking longer than I hoped, in terms of how many days/painting sessions. Each day I estimate it’ll take two more days. Though it’s normal for me to take 3 days to a week on a painting this size depending on the amount of detail.

The rush I’m feeling is really because I’m sure people are tired of seeing this painting all over my social media channels at this point.

So, I’m not posting everywhere now. The truth is that these sessions are two to three times shorter than normal, but I’m very focused,  and I’m standing and walking back and forth the whole time. So by the end of the session I’m wiped out!

Tomorrow I’ll have to remember to wear my fitbit.

Ok, stay tuned for tomorrow’s timelapse. In the meantime, you could also check out some of my other paintings.


Palette and timelapse of peony painting progress

peony palette
Pink peony palette

Peony palette

My staywet palette is starting to look like an abstract version of the peony I’m painting.

I mostly use heavy body acrylics with it, rather than fluid, otherwise the water in the palette soaks through the sponge and through the porous paper to dissolve the paints even further. Eventually the paints become transparent like watercolour paints, which would be fine if I were working on paper instead of canvas.

The danger really is that if the paints get too waterlogged they will flow, and the colours could get corrupted, and even slip down the sides and get on the sponge.

If they then harden in the sponge when it dries, they will of course form non-porous plastic, which means areas of your sponge won’t adhere to the wet palette paper, resulting in air pockets, and your paints drying out, rendering the the whole system useless.

I do use some fluid paints with it, but strategically. For example, sometimes it is just easier to drip some fluid titanium white in to mix a tint.

Okay, okay, now the non-painters reading this are starting to glaze over (hee hee).

Push and Pull

Timelapse #4 of 30

This middle stage of the painting is the part that makes me question my sanity. This is where I have to dig deep to continue past the hard bits, as compared to the beginning which has the energy of a fresh start, of inspiration. Or the end stage where I’m loosely adding flourishes, and have a growing sense of accomplishment and awe at the magic of creation.

Assuming you’ve got the drawing sorted out already, the push pull stage is all about tweaking the colours, values and edges. So the changes are probably too subtle to catch in the timelapse, but I can get quite obsessed with  … perfection?

I take photos of the progress because some of the changes I make don’t work out, so I walk them back.

This is where you can become a slave to your photographic references. And I have to remind myself that any realism in my work is a by-product of my way of working, but it is not my goal.

The goal is to do work that moves me, and the viewer.

And sometimes what makes me really love a painting, is just an unexpected or pleasing combination of colours,  virtuoso brushstroke, or what is left out (semi-abstraction, or enigmatic subject matter).

Hmm. Maybe I need print that up and place it next to my easel so I remember, next time I’m spinning my wheels to get a passage just right!

When I paint more frequently, and have 2 – 3 paintings on the go at a time,  the momentum gives me more confidence, and I can move through the middle stage much, much faster.

If you want to just see the timelapse videos, I usually upload them to my YouTube channel first.





Peony painting timelapse #3

Peony painting progress  Scroll down to see timelapse video of peony.

Peony Progress

I took the reference photos for this peony painting from a trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. I have a membership, because then I’ll make sure to go several times a year to wander around with my camera looking for inspiration.

The painting is coming along, it should only take another one or two sessions to complete. I’ve been painting faster, and been more focused than I would normally be painting in my home studio, because the camera is on me.

That’s what gave me the idea for doing 30 timelapse videos in 30 days.

I noticed when I did my first timelapse video, that I would listen to a podcast while I painted instead of binge watching  Netflix, or checking social media, e-mail etc., which made me much more efficient.

Though to be honest, watching movies while I paint, is hella fun way to spend my days. Escapism at its best.


All it took to fix the glitch (camera slipping) from yesterday, was to tighten a knob.

I’m still not thrilled with my set-up. An iphone attached to a selfie stick duct taped to a filing cabinet.  I’ll have research a better solution, something sturdier.

Meanwhile, today when I checked the video after my painting session, I discovered the whole thing was recorded at a 90 degree angle!

Luckily, I remembered an app on my phone that I’ve used before to help my son prep videos for his YouTube channel. All I had to do was upload the video to Videoshop, and click on rotate, and problem solved.

The video does seem a little smaller though, but at least it was usable. This is after all an accountability tool, I’m not looking to become a viral sensation with these videos.


Another observation is that my first video was 25 seconds, and about 1 hour of painting, however today was about 3 1/2 hrs, and the timelapse video was 20 seconds long.

AND it looked like I was a bee, or a humming bird, zipping around the peony on the canvas. It was not easy to make out what I was working on, because there was a longer duration lost between stills, which the camera strings together into the video.

On the plus side, you don’t catch all my mis-steps, colours & brushstrokes added and removed. Or every time I walked back to view the painting from further away, or to refill my water container.

Subscribe to my blog (the widget should be on the left if you’re viewing this on your computer), so that you can follow this 30 in 30 challenge.

Have you done, or are you doing a 30 in 30 challenge too? What theme, or what parameters have you set for yourself?

Peony painting timelapse #2

Pink Peony Progress

pink peony
My 30 in 30 challenge

Scroll to the bottom to see the 27second timelapse video of me painting this pink peony.

One January a few years ago, I did Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 painting challenge to paint (almost) 30 paintings in 30 days. It was a a lot of work, but fun, and about a quarter of them sold within an hour or two of posting on Facebook!

I did the next challenge that September – she usually does it twice a year and artists from all over the world participate. That time I used it as an opportunity to try out some ideas for painting subjects, and techniques, which resulted in some of my first peacock feather-inspired abstract paintings. 

If you do a search on my site for “30 in 30”, you’ll see some of the paintings I did previously.

Why now?

This time I’ve set myself the challenge to post 30 timelapse painting videos in 30 days.

My main objective is to build up some painting momentum, because in the last year or more I’ve been struggling to put my art practice first.

My second objective is to get back into the groove of marketing my own art, because this is my business, my career, my passion, my creative outlet, my legacy all rolled into one, not a hobby.

Years of volunteer work in my local Arts and Culture community has led me to the point where I’m lucky enough to be able to help create opportunities for other Creatives.

And instead of slowing down, now that we’ve started an Arts & Culture Council, and helped develop a Grant Program, partnered with local organizations to do some fundraisers … bigger and better projects to help develop the Arts & Culture scene, and spotlight fellow artists, are coming our way.

I cannot let this be at the expense of my own art-making, my own business.

So, this February, I’m going to show myself some love. I’m going to put my art first.

Starting out

It has not been easy so far. Yesterday I was on my laptop for most of the time from 9am to 9pm going between meeting notes in Evernote, and my Membership spreadsheets etc, to prepare for the first AGM of our Arts & Culture Council, as well as doing some social media for the not-for-profit.

Thankfully I had done my first timelapse video some time before, (technically it was my second time working on this peony), and I was able to create yesterday’s blog post and add the link to the 30 in 30 blog a few minutes before midnight.

I had a late start this morning, at first spinning my wheels not sure what to tackle first. If it weren’t for the challenge, today would have been just another day lost to a never-ending to do list.

There is something magical about telling people you are going to do something, especially if you then have to do that thing in the public eye.

When I first heard the concept of accountability as a motivational tool, I knew I’d struck gold.

Why it works

It does not even matter if no-one ever reads this blog, if no-one ever watches the videos. Just the threat of letting someone else down by not following through with what I’ve promised, is enough to keep me on track. 

The beauty about the 30 in 30 is that it isn’t just one big deadline, where I procrastinate for weeks, eg. cleaning and organizing the house.  Then pull an all-nighter just to come through in the nick of time (a skill I perfected during 4 years of University).

It is a series of 30 smaller deadlines. The idea being that somewhere during that month, the little things you do start to add up to greater insights, and even change.

Someone like myself who has to fight through analysis paralysis at times, has no time for perfectionism when fighting this clock.

I can’t spend all day refining each post, I can just let the words flow, try to clean it up a little. Then move on to the technical aspects of  preparing the pics, videos etc. for the blog post, and then share the link on social media etc. Hopefully before everyone has gone to sleep!

I believe in the process.

Timelapse video newbie

This video makes me laugh. I had a technical malfunction with my tripod, but my husband fixed it in 2 seconds flat & I have higher hopes for tomorrow.

I do need to change my camera position though, because so far I’ve been working fast, and sitting close, right up in front of the peony painting.

At some point tomorrow I’m going to need to stand at the easel & walk back & forth as I evaluate how the values in the painting are working as a whole, and make the necessary adjustments.

I hope you’ll return tomorrow to check on the progress.

While you’re here, take a look at the menu to see some of the flower/landscape/abstract paintings on my website.

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