Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer 2018: 60 Minutes to Better Painting?

My quick sketch of "The Turning Point"
Block Sketching 1: Ottawa Urban Sketchers
Artist Craig Nelson believes that you can drastically improve your art by practicing daily quick (less than an hour) paintings and I intend to practice what he preaches this summer.

60 Minutes to Better Painting; Craig Nelson
 Craig says that by painting quick studies you will:
  • break inhibitions
  • not be afraid of mistakes
  • learn the difference between line and mass
  • learn brushwork
  • understand how to see
  • get started
  • learn, explore and enjoy
 Craig suggests three basic time frames
  1. 25 to 30 minutes
  2. 40 to 45 minutes
  3. 60 minutes
I do a lot of sketching and painting in watercolour in short time frames with the Ottawa Urban Sketching group (see my blog here: but I have NOT undertaken quick studies in acrylic around Ottawa but I intend to start in June.
Return of My "One-Hour Bike-n-Sketch"

My old, unsophisticated bicycle that I bought three years ago for $60 at re-Cycles on Bronson Ave. in Ottawa is still in service and has been out and about to do some of my One-Hour Bike-n-Sketches.

My bike parked recently at the Patterson Creek Pavilion in the shade.
My One-Hour Bike-n-Sketch of the Cartier Square Drill Hall
My "One-Hour Bike-n-Sketch" of Patterson Creek, Ottawa; June 2018
Not ALL of my "One-Hour Bike-n-Sketches" turn out great but I learn a LOT more from my failures than I could ever possibly learn from the ones that went well for me.

Limited Palettes

I'm still working with my limited three-colour (plus white) Holbein acrylic palette (that I love so much) and this, I think would work extremely well for my "One-Hour Bike-n-Sketches" by minimizing what I will have to carry on my bike.

  1. PY 175 Yellow Imidazolone 
  2. PB 15 Blue Phthalo
  3. PR 254 Pyrrole Red
The painting below, "Porch Pumpkins", was painted in two hours with just these three colours (plus white) last week. I like the colour mixes that I can easily achieve with just the three primaries.

"Porch Pumpkins" by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman; June 2018
I am also interested in trying other palettes and have always wanted to experiment with the Zorn Palette or this one from Golden Paints: Classic Colour Mixing Palette.

The Golden Paints Classic collection promises to produce a wide range of traditional mixes, creating a spectrum of colors often found in nature.

It includes:
  • Cadmium Yellow Light, 
  • Indian Yellow Hue, 
  • Cadmium Red Light, 
  • Alizarin Crimson Hue, 
  • Ultramarine Blue, 
  • Prussian Blue Hue, 
  • Viridian Green Hue, 
  • Titanium White,
Golden Paints: Classic Colour Mixing Palette.
I am looking forward to the "learning, exploring and enjoying" promised in artist Craig Nelson's book "60 Minutes to Better Painting" over throughout the summer and will post another update later in July.

In the meantime, I'm off to paint....

"Off We Go"; self-portrait; watercolour by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman; 2014

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dumoine River Art For Wilderness Retreat 2018

I am delighted to announce that I have been selected to attend the 2nd annual Dumoine River Art For Wilderness Retreat in Quebec this August.

This event is organized by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) the Ottawa Valley chapter (known as CPAWS-OV)

The DRAW retreat brings together artists working in different mediums and from communities across Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. We artists will explore the Dumoine River, create works of art, share stories and become inspired by this magnificent landscape.

June 2018 Meet and Greet

A "Meet and Greet" was held in June 7, 2018 at the Moore Farm in Gatineau, Quebec to go over logistics and meet the CPAW-OV stafff and DRAW organizers and other artists.

CPAWS-OV PowerPoint Presentation June 2018
We were given an overview by CPAWS-OV Executive Director John McDonnell then treated to a PowerPoint presentation by CPAWS Conservation Outreach Coordinator Jesse Lever.

The Artists

Several of the DRAW 2018 participating artists were unable to attend this meet and greet session due to distance and other previous commitments etc, but those who did attend are pictured above and included:

Front Row (left to right)
Back Row (left to right)
Other artists who will be attending DRAW 2018 and past artists (DRAW 2017) can be found at

I am really looking forward to exploring the Dumoine River area with this amazing and talented group of artists.
 The Dumoine River 

The Algonquins named it Cakawitopikak Sipi and Ekonakwasi Sipi which means Alder River (for its many alders that line the river on both sides) and Desire River respectively.
Source: June 2018 PowerPoint presentation; photograph taken by Scott Haig (DRAW 2017)

"The Dumoine river is the last, undammed, wild river in 
southern Quebec 
and it flows through undisturbed forest."

The mouth of the Dumoine rivere where it emties into the Ottawa River
"The Dumoine River is a river in western Quebec with its source in Machin Lake near La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve. From Dumoine Lake, the river flows almost due south off the Canadian Shield and empties into the Ottawa River, just west of Rapides-des-Joachims, Quebec, or Rolphton, Ontario. The river is 129 kilometres (80 mi) long and drains a watershed of 5,380 square kilometres (2,080 sq mi)." (Source: Wikipedia)

Photo Source: Dumoine River Grand Chute, Quebec; Public Domain

The Dumoine is also a continentally significant wildlife corridor, protecting a critical link from La Vérendrye wildlife reserve in the north to Algonquin Park, which in turn links to Algonquin to Adirondacks (A2A) corridor to the Appalachian Mountains to the south.
This area is an artist's dream to paint and sketch and I feel very grateful and privileged to have been selected this year!

Connect with CPAWS-OV on social media 

Between now and August, we artists will be busily preparing for this wonderful wilderness adventure and I promise to blog again in August when we are done. There is no cell phone access in thisarea and therefore NO live-blogging, tweeting or anything else. Just art making for four wonderful days!! Bliss!!

In the meantime, follow the DRAW 2018 artists on social media and follow CPAWS-OV at the links below.


Canoe Camping - 8 days on Canada's Dumoine River (July 2016)

A lovely 25 minute video on the Dumoine that I loved because these two young men made it very entertaining, quoted Bill Mason and because they brought along their dogs!

If you are reading this blog post in your email, you will not see the embedded video which can be found here:

Watch "Song of the Paddle" at the National Film Board of Canada

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Ottawa Urban Sketchers

In 2015, when I was in New York city with my daughter, I spent the day sketching with the NYC urban sketching group and after I had returned home to Ottawa, (and with the encouragement and coaching of Mark Leibowitz), I started the process of establishing an official chapter of the International Urban Sketchers group in Ottawa.

The application process began in 2015 but the Ottawa Urban Sketchers chapter became "official" in January 2016.

The Ottawa Urban Sketchers Chapter
I was thinking about this after last Friday's sketching even at the Centrepointe Theatre where we were invited to sketch the Ottawa Pops Orchestra's dress rehearsal of "Harry's Musical World".

Someone asked me how long the Ottawa Urban sketchers had been meeting and I recalled how I had been organizing LOTS of FREE sketching events (ie. WW Sketchcrawls, etc) for some time prior to becoming an official chapter in 2016.

I love organizing these sketching events and I am completely amazed that at EVERY event I organize in Ottawa, "NEW" sketchers come out. They often say things like "I've been following the Ottawa urban sketchers (Ottawa USk) for a while, but this is my first time" or "I have always wanted to attend an Ottawa sketching event but have been shy/afraid/busy/unsure/etc"

The Ottawa Urban Sketchers at Centrepointe Theatre May 2018

Sketching At The Events That You Organize

I know that my fellow Ottawa USk co-founders/co-administrators (Colin White and Kristina Corre) would agree with me when I say that organizing these sketching events usually means that you, the organizer, may not get a chance to actually sketch.

My first sketch of the Ottawa Pops Orchestra; May 2018
On Friday, at the dress rehearsal, the sketch above is the only one I managed to complete (on site) with any satisfaction.

The sketch below, ( based on a failed sketch that I made on site) was completed the next day in my Fabriano sketchbook using only two colours (Payne's Gray and Burnt Sienna)

My two colour sketch (Payne's Gray/Burnt Sienna) done the next day
In my role as co-administrator of our Ottawa Urban Sketchers group, I love to blog and post the sketches of these amazing Ottawa artists ('newbies' and veteran sketchers) who show up and share their work online.

This, for me, is one of the many benefits of organizing these events. Visit my latest Ottawa USk blog post here: "Sketching The Ottawa Pops Orchestra"

Friday, May 11, 2018

2018: Taking Stock

With the weather in Ottawa finally warming and LOTS of new, exciting, and inspiring art events kicking off (see links below), 
I've been taking stock.
My Mexico 2017 palette recently decommissioned
I've been reviewing and reorganizing all of my art spaces and my art supplies.

My 2nd floor bulletin board with some of my 6x6 acrylics
 And I am reducing all of the art supplies that I take out with me every day.

My Spring 2018 palette.

And I'm taking inventory on ALL of my finished and unfinished canvasses in my studio.

Me enjoying some studio time
I'm ready. 
Hope to see you out there making art as well.
Ottawa Spring 2018
  • Block Sketching: Artist Colin White kicked off May 2018 with some Block Sketching! Check Facebook for future sessions held in the evenings on week days
  • Atelier Denu: Shawn Philip Hunsdale is again offering the Life Drawing Summer School every Tuesday (May 8 to August 14) in the evening at the University of Ottawa for the amazingly low cost of $9 for drop-ins. Details can be found here:
  • Artawa: you should definitely be watching (and liking) on facebook where they are posting lots of art events around Ottawa
  • Drawing at The Rooster: Artists Peter and Rebecca Purdy are still offering this once-a-month sketching event at the Atomic Rooster on Bank Street. More details here:
  • Art House Cafe: This is a great place to go for coffee and connect with other artists. Lots of art events hosted on the premises. Visit their website:
  • Ottawa Art Gallery: Newly opened in Spring 2018 - this inclusive, inspiring space is a MUST see
  • Ottawa Urban Sketchers: Check regularly for organized sketching events around Ottawa that are FREE and open to sketchers of all ages and skill levels.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

ArtSpeaks 2017: "Tonight, Art Is For Everyone"

ArtSpeaks promotional card
Last night I attended the very successful "ArtSpeaks 2017" event at the Ottawa City Hall in the Jean Pigott Hall.

"ArtSpeaks is a new concept in the art community, which seeks to reduce the stigma of homelessness by exhibiting the clients’ artwork alongside established artists." (Source: ArtSpeaks)

ArtSpeaks volunteers at the registration desk
This event was made possible by the large number of volunteers from the community and a good number of corporate sponsors who provided the music, food and beverages for the event .
The ArtSpeaks Artists
Thirty-eight artists contributed sculptures, photographs and artwork to the event. Work from community artists was interspersed with the work done by the artists who are homeless or vulnerably-housed. There were no artist bios.

By interspersing art from clients of Shepherds of Good Hope with art from community artists, ArtSpeaks hopes to foster meaningful conversations about how we think about people that we see on the street.

ArtSpeaks sculptures and paintings- Jean Pigott Hall.
ArtSpeaks - Jean Pigott Hall.

ArtSpeaks - Jean Pigott Hall.

There were some "Live Art" demonstrations as well. Accora Village presented Ottawa artist Lauren Foster-MacLeod doing portraits.

Lauren Foster-MacLeod doing portraits.
. Accora Village presents

 Top Shelf Distillers presented a live Bottle Art demonstration by artist Clara Kim.

Artist Clara Kim live painting event

 Tom Hogan (1955-2014)

The artwork that was donated by the Ottawa School of Art by artist Tom Hogan (1955-2014) sold very quickly!

In a lot of ways, Tom Hogan symbolizes for me why this ArtSpeak event is so incredibly important.

Tom Hogan's Personal life

"Tom Hogan was born October 31, 1955, in Sioux Lookout in northern Ontario. After being abandoned at the age of one year by his Ojibway mother and Irish father, Hogan was raised in foster homes. He was abused as a child by foster parents, and began sniffing glue and drinking alcohol at age thirteen. At seventeen, Hogan was convicted of attempted robbery of a jewelry store, and served two and half years in the Stony Mountain prison in Manitoba.After his release from prison, Hogan was mostly homeless on the streets of Winnipeg and Ottawa. He suffered from alcoholism throughout his life. Hogan died on January 17, 2014, in Ottawa, Ontario, from heart and liver failure."

Tom Hogan's Art

"Hogan's paintings are considered part of the Woodlands style of First Nations art, founded by Norval Morrisseau. His paintings used bright colours, and portrayed animals and First Nations mythical figures in outline form. Hogan donated 200 of his paintings to the Ottawa School of Art at his death, with the proceeds of sold paintings going to scholarships for struggling artists." (Source: Wikipedia)
 My Painting And A Red Dot!

I was delighted as the night went on to see a "red dot" on my artwork "All Acts Of Kindness". A "red dot" meant that someone had purchased it and it would go on to a "new home".

My painting "All Acts Of Kindness"(5x7 mixed media)

I opted to donate 100% of the sales of my painting to the Shepherds of Good Hope because I am eternally grateful for all of the work that they do.
"The Shepherds of Good Hope is one of the largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to the needs of homeless and vulnerably-housed in the city of Ottawa. They provide around-the-clock, comprehensive services to both women and men, most of whom live with addictions, mental health challenges and trauma. From a 254 bed shelter, to their 5 supportive living residences across the City of Ottawa, over 450 men and women sleep in their facilities each night. By offering innovative programs and services in a non-judgemental environment, Shepherds of Good Hope is creating a community for all through acceptance, compassion and care."(Source: Shepherds of Good Hope)

The Shepherds of Good Hope sums it up best: "Homelessness can happen to anyone, but Art helps to show that those we serve are so much more than 'homeless'. They are people with hopes, and dreams, and talents, like everyone else. They matter."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sketching the Abiwin Co-Op

My Daily Sketch: Abiwin Co-Op: 267 Somerset West (Oct. 2017; Watercolour, graphite and ink)
Co-op Week 2017 takes place from October 15-21 in Canada.
"Co-op Week appears to be a uniquely Canadian phenomenon. In the US, October is Co-op Month, and the International Co-operative Alliance and United Nations have an International Day of Co-operatives on the first Saturday in July."(Source: Canada's Emerging Co-operators (CEC))
I love to sketch the Abiwin Co-op in downtown Ottawa which is part of The Co-operative Housing Association of Eastern Ontario (CHASEO) 

The Abiwin Co-Op has such an interesting history!
Abiwin is a non-profit housing cooperative in Ottawa. As a project it was initiated in 1984, with the purchase of old residential buildings on Somerset Street West and O'Connor Street in Ottawa's center core. The acquisition was headed by Peter Trotscha of the Ottawa Federation of Housing Cooperatives. The buildings were heavily renovated with the help of the Ottawa Mortgage and Housing Cooperation. The first residents moved in in 1985. The Board of Directors intended Abiwin to be a place of residence free from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This mandate was later expanded to all forms of discrimination.(Source: Carleton University: Fonds AHC)
In January 2015, I blogged about the Abiwin here: Ottawa's Heritage Buildings No.2: The Abiwin: 283 Somerset St West . I did the sketch below based on a beautiful photograph (with permission) taken by Christopher Ryan (The History Nerd)

I was also thrilled to have famous artist Robert Bateman critique this painting at Culture Days in Brantford, Ontario (More about that here: My Full Circle Moment - Being Critiqued by Robert Bateman )

My Daily Sketch: Abiwin Co-Op: 283 Somerset West (Dec. 2014; Watercolour, graphite and ink)

Not many folks know that the Abiwin Co-Op is more than just Somerset St. West and extends to a beautiful heritage home on Cooper St. as well. I love the old porch on this building! (see 2015 Daily Sketch)

My Daily Sketch: Abiwin Co-Op: 330 Cooper St. (Dec. 2014; Watercolour, graphite and ink)

Because I walk my dog in this neighborhood every day, I am struck by the way early morning light hits the beautiful brick and glass of these buildings and that was the inspiration for this next Daily Sketch: My Daily Sketch - Abiwin Morning Light

My Daily Sketch: Abiwin Co-Op: 263 Somerset West (Mar. 2016; Watercolour, graphite and ink)
In the fall, the large Honey Locust trees along Somerset Street West turn bright yellow in front of the Abiwin Co-Op and that is what inspired this sketch below:

My Daily Sketch: Abiwin Co-Op: 299, 287, 285 and 283 Somerset West (Oct. 2016; Watercolour, graphite and ink)
I am also inspired by the gardens at the Abiwin that are cared for by the great folks on the Landscaping Committee. In early spring, I sketched the beautiful flowers waiting to be planted in the gardens: (see My June Report)

My Daily Sketch: Abiwin Co-Op: Garden Sketch (Jun. 2017; Watercolour, graphite and ink)
I also have sketches in my Nature Journal that have the Abiwin as a backdrop, like this one from March 2017 about the return of the sea gulls to downtown Ottawa. (see "Keeping A Nature Journal in Ottawa" and "April: I'm Distracted By Spring"

My Nature Journal: Abiwin Co-Op: 330 Cooper St.- Gulls Overhead  (Mar. 2017; Watercolour, graphite and ink)
It was really fun to look back on my sketch books and revisit some of my Abiwin Co-Op sketches and what better time to do it than Co-Op Week 2017!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I received an email last week that my watercolour "All Acts of Kindness" was selected for the October 20 exhibit "ArtSpeaks".

"ArtSpeaks is a new concept in the art community, which seeks to reduce the stigma of homelessness by exhibiting the clients’ artwork alongside established artists." (Source: ArtSpeaks)

"All Acts of Kindness" (watercolour, 5x7)

An independent professional from the Ottawa art community curated the final selection of art for the event.

The rules read that "Artists can receive up to 60% of proceeds from artwork sales at ArtSpeaks, with the remaining 40% being retained by Shepherds of Good Hope.
Shepherds of Good Hope is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the needs of homeless and vulnerably-housed men and women in the city of Ottawa. We provide around-the-clock, comprehensive services to our clients and residents, most of whom live with addictions, mental health challenges and trauma. From a 254 bed shelter, to our 5 supportive living residences across the City of Ottawa, over 450 men and women sleep in our facilities each night. By offering innovative programs and services in a non-judgmental environment, Shepherds of Good Hope is creating a community for all through acceptance, compassion and care.
I have chosen to donate the full proceeds of this sale (if sold) to Shepherds of Good Hope.

This painting was originally produced for the Ottawa homeless newspaper "The Wrench" that I contributed to. (See my 2016 post

The Ottawa Wrench banner with my Bank St sketch

The Ottawa Wrench is a media platform to share stories and information about the homeless population of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. They had previously published four physical newspapers and have been running since September 2016. The good folks at the Wrench currently offer a writing workshop for homeless individuals every Saturday morning from 9:30-11:30am at Centre 454. Vist their website here: