Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Colour Files: Hooker's Green

My colour resource library.
Today I purchased the last watercolour pan of hooker's green at Wallack's. Watercolour pans are growing increasingly difficult to find in Ottawa.

I have never owned hooker's green. I actually prefer to mix my own greens (usually with a cool blue and a cool yellow). I do carry a sap green  (PY139, PG36, PR101) and a viridian hue (PG7) in my portable travel palette.

I have read that some watercolourists refer to hooker's green as a convenience green.

Hooker's Green (PG36, PY110)
For the seminal "low-down" on ALL watercolour greens, the website "Handprint" is the place to go!

On the Handprint website I learned that hooker's green:
  • makes more natural foliage than permanent green 
  • was the preferred green paint among 19th century landscape and botanical painters.
  • was originally devised  for botanical illustration by the famous Victorian botanist, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, director of the Kew Gardens (London, UK) 
  • was a mixture of iron blue (PB27) and genuine gamboge (NY24)
  • To reproduce the historical color, you would have to use iron blue with either anthrapyrimidine yellow (PY108) or nickel azomethine yellow (PY150) as a gamboge substitute. 
The Windsor and Newton Hookers Green that I bought is a mixture of pigments number PG36 and PY110, i.e. pthalo green and isoindolinone yellow and I couldn't wait to paint with it!

In my first try, I decided to use only two complimentary colours: permanent rose (PV19) and hookers green (PG36, PY110) and I decided it would be fun to paint a picture of botanist, painter Joseph Hooker (circa 1877) for whom the colour "hooker's green" was named.. 

Permanent rose and hooker's green make a beautiful grey.

permanent rose (PV19)
+ hookers green (PG36, PY110)
Below is a really quick sketch on multi-media paper. It was readily apparent that hookers green is great for glazing! I tried glazing permanent rose over hookers green and vice versa. I then tried mixing it to make a beautiful grey.

Art journal sketch of  Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
using only hooker's green and permanent rose
Joseph Hooker (seated, far left) and on the ground next to him, Asa Gray
– 2 of the first 3 men to whom Darwin revealed
his theory of evolution by natural selection
(July, 1877 U.S. Geological Survey at La Veta Pass, CO)
Hookers green properties:
  • Transparent: because of the transparency, is wonderful for glazing.
  • It's a staining colour
  • Permanence is A (Permanent)
  • Lighfastness ASTM I
I am looking forward to adding hooker's green to my palette and using it in my future landscapes and still life paintings.

On my shopping trip today, I also bought Winsor blue (green shade) PB15 (transparent) and Winsor red PR254 (staining) ...... but more about that later.

Friday, January 23, 2015

FemArt Friday: Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)

My art journal sketch: Beatrix Potter's Birthday (July 28)
"I cannot rest,
I must draw, 
however poor the result, 
and when I have a bad time come over me,
it is a stronger desire 
than ever..."

~Beatrix Potter~

Pictures of Beatrix Potter often feature her with her many animals and pets.

This FemArt post differs from my previous posts. My previous posts have focussed on women artists who are living or have lived in my lifetime.

In this post, I am writing about a Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) a woman who's life story and watercolour art has inspired me and planted a seed in me to one day illustrate a children's book. A dear friend reminded me recently how we had, in our youth, made a promise to each other that she would write a children's story and I would illustrate it for her!

This three minute introduction to the movie "Tale of Peter Rabbit" below features Beatrix Potter's creation of the Peter Rabbit character and the scene makes me so incredibly happy! The outdoors, nature, children singing, a rain shower, a warming fire and a cup of tea before starting to sketching....three minutes of bliss!

I love all of the characters that Beatrix developed: Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs. Tiggly-Winkle, and Squirrel Nutkin to name a few. I read these stories to my children when they were small over and over again.

Beatrix' life story fascinates me as well:
  • she was an animal lover
  • she loved dogs
  • she was self-published!
  • she kept a journal … in code!
  • she was financially independent at the turn of the century (uncommon for women)
  • she wrote an illustrated letter to a five-year-old boy and Peter Rabbit was born (see more below)
  • her books came into public domain in July 2014
Beatrix was "born to wealth and privilege in 1866, the only daughter of a Nonconformist family from the north who renounced their roots in trade for a place in London society".

Her father (a lawyer who never practiced law) "devoted himself to photography and art. Her mother Helen was skilled at embroidery and watercolors". 

The Art of Beatrix Potter

As a young girl, Beatrix meticulously sketched plants and flowers from life accurately depicting them on the page as a means to identify them. These sketches informed the 'reality' of her fantasy drawings in her later books. She also did studies of bees and other insects.

Photo Credit:Victoria and Albert Museum

Photo Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum

Beatrix wanted to ‘do pen and ink better’and applied herself to mastering ‘the art of leaving out’ – the ability to evoke movement, humour and expression with a minimum of pen strokes

Peter Rabbit Appears In A Letter

Just as the movie depicted above : "In September of 1893, at 26 years of age, Beatrix Potter sent the following illustrated letter to Noel, the five-year-old son of her friend and former governess, Annie Moore. The letter contained a tale of four rabbits, and in fact featured the first ever appearance of Peter Rabbit; however it wasn't until 1901, eight years later, that Potter decided to revisit her letter to Noel and develop the idea."

Beatrix Potter Links

Links to Beatrix Potter Public Domain Works

The tale of Tom Kitten (1907, 1994)

Various books by Beatrix Potter

Painting and drawing book : with Tale of Peter Rabbit (1915) -
More Pictures of Beatrix With Her Pets

With her mouse
With her rabbit
With her rabbit
With her dog
With more dogs
and more dogs..

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ottawa's Heritage Buildings No.2: The Abiwin: 283 Somerset St West

There are 312 individual buildings or properties in Ottawa that are designated "heritage" under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. 
283 Somerset St. West
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
(watercolour and ink sketch)
283 Somerset Street West is one of four heritage buildings located within the Abiwin Co-operative Housing Community.

283 Somerset West 
Centretown Heritage Conservation District 

Following inquiries I made to the Abiwin and with the generous assistance of the Coordinator of Ottawa Heritage Services, I learned that 283 Somerset Street West "
is located in the Centretown Heritage Conservation District (CHCD), which means that it is designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act, unlike the Burpee House which is individually designated  under part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act." 

This critical clarification really helped. That meant that there would be no ready made "Statement of Cultural Heritage Value" for me to copy and paste here (there is a Heritage Survey and Evaluation Form) and I would have to research this wonderful building on my own from scratch.

History Of The
Centretown Heritage Conservation District 

To locate the original residents/occupants of  283 Somerset Street West will take a great deal more time and I will have to rely heavily on my genealogist  and research skills. I will post more of those details later as I find them.

The Ottawa City Directory 1901

Preliminary investigations show women living in the area (above): (273) Miss EJ McQuat - music teacher; (283) Miss Mary Thistle, (293) Rev. William T. Herridge (close friends of Mackenzie King; King would purchase Marjorie Herridge's summer house "Kingsmere" when she died in 1924); (299) George L Orme.(Musical Instrument Retailer & Piano Manufacturer)

For now, here is some basic information about the Centretown Heritage Conservation District (CHCD) that 283 Somerset Street West is located in:

  • The majority of buildings within the Centretown Heritage Conservation District date from the 1890-1914 period. (*Source)
  • Historically, Centretown attracted a wide variety of residents: long-term public service homeowners; short-term civil servants; and two other notable groups: the Centretown Irish and single women. (*Source: HCD P 21)
  • Historically, the levels of income it accomodated were broad - extending from modest working class tradesmen, civil servants and railway workers, to ministers, senior civil servants and lumber barons like J.R. Booth (*Source HCD P 25)

283 Somerset St West Would Become Part Of
The Abiwin Housing Co-operative 
(1980 to 2015)

This Co-operative was established in the early 1980s by Ottawa gay activists

It was the intention of the founding members that Abiwin be a harmonious atmosphere where both gay and straight people would live as neighbours and co-owners of the co-operative. A by-law was created to make sure that there would be no discrimination based on sexual orientation. This by-law exists today and has been expanded to ensure a community free from any form of discrimination.

Abiwin’s first Board of Directors was able to purchase four ideally located buildings - three on Somerset Street West (263-295) and one on Cooper Street. These turn of the century three storey buildings were renovated and paid for with the help of Canada Mortgage and Housing’s special assistance program to housing co-operatives.

Linda Wilson was on the founding board of the Abiwin Co-op and she was also the first woman president of GO (Gays of Ottawa -1983). She was also among the first women working the Gayline.

Each floor in the six-storey apartment complex has two designated wheelchair units and there are two dedicated units in the co-op for persons living with AIDs.

Heritage Ottawa - Ontario Links:
Centretown Links
Ottawa Photographer

Reference photograph used with permission from
 Christopher Ryan on TwitterInstagram and History Nerd website

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The 3 Paintings in 5 Days Challenge

My contribution to the 2015

Oranges (mixed media)
By Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Pumpkin (acrylic)
By Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Centretown Laundry (watercolour)
By Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Monday, January 19, 2015

Some 2015 Artist Date Ideas .

Only three weeks in to 2015, and I am already lapsing in my artists dates. Sigh.
Does posting about artist dates count as an artist date?

What Are Artist Dates?

"The Artist Date is a once-weekly, (minimum of 2 hours), festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly“artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it."

I posted about my artist dates in 2014. Here are some ideas that I have for 2015 (including some of the artist dates that I didn't get to in 2014):

Explore Outside:

Explore Online:
  • Listen to a Podcast: My #1 choice when it comes to podcasts is the website OnBeing a Peabody and Webby-award-winning public radio program and podcast that takes up the great animating questions of human life: What does it mean to be human? And how do we want to live? From ecology to autism to torture, Krista and her guests reach beyond the headlines to explore meaning, faith, and ethics amidst the political, economic, cultural and technological shifts that define 21st century life(Available on iTunes or NPR or on the website OnBeing)These podcasts offer incredible music, food for thought and are guaranteed to be uplifting no matter the subject (environment, depression etc.) And they are free!
  • Listen to some free music: I use my City of Ottawa library card to download free music through freegal

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Art Journal Warmth

Art journal pages: January 11-12, 2015
The frigid weather outside makes me wish I had a comfy chair close to a fireplace with a nice big mug of chai tea and some great art books to read!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday #FemArt: Frances Walker (1930)

This week's Friday FemArt post is about Frances Walker. It is challenging to find information about Frances or her art online, and because of this (and because I admire her incredible body of work) I thought I would celebrate her art with this short blog post.

I first learned of Frances Walker's art when I purchased the book "Place Observed in Solitude" at the Friends of the OPL Bookstore.  The book was created by the Aberdeen Art Gallery (2009). Unfortunately, the book is not available for purchase online.

The book was published to complement a major exhibition that the Aberdeen Art Gallery held in 2009 in celebration of Frances Walker's 80th birthday.

Book: Frances Walker
Frances Walker was born on the east coast of Scotland  in 1930 in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland (12 miles north of Edinburgh).

Frances studied at the Edinburgh College of Art.

Frances Walker engaged with the Orcadian landscape
(Page 102|103: Place Observed in Solitude)

Frances Walker was posted as a visiting teacher of art in the Western Isles in 1956 where she "developed a life long love of wild and desolate places".

The subject matter of much of her art in the book "Place Observed in Solitude" is the isolated landscapes and panoramas that she loves.

The 2009 book is filled with watercolours, mixed media, oil, screenprints, collograph & watercolour, etchings, monoprints, lithographs, and many of her sketchbook drawings.

I was happy to learn that she found inspiration in poetry and I was surprised at the lengths she went to in order to illustrate one poem in particular. For Iain Crichton Smith's poem Aig a' Chladh, she insisted on visiting the cemetry in Lewis to which Iain Crichton Smith's poem refers.

This is the result:

leabhar beag
(An Leabhar Mor/The Great Book of Gaelic p 53)

Kenspeckle Folk, Calanais

"The stones are like kenspeckle folk: acquaintances I visit and revisit, always with pleasurable recognition when I see again their familiar, very individual shapes and I remain delighted and relieved to find these dear grey stone-people still there whenever I reach Calanais yet once more." wrote Frances in 1995 and I was stuck on the delightful word "kenspeckle"

"Kenspeckle", I came to learn, is a Scots term meaning "easily recognised" or "familiar".

In the quote above, I learned that Frances was referring to a distinct location and she created a lithograph & screenprint of  it called "Callanais".

The Callanish Standing Stones are found on the Isle Of Lewis, Scottish Outer Hebrides

Callanish Standing Stones
2 of 3 lithograph/screenprints by Frances Walker
Her beloved "kenspeckle folk" of "Callanais"


And, of course, I love her sketchbooks!

I feel inspired by Frances Walker  and the book " Place - Observed in Solitude" and I hope , by creating this post, others will find inspiration as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ottawa's Heritage Buildings No.1: The Burpee House

There are 312 individual buildings or properties in Ottawa that are designated "heritage" under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. This is one of the more recent ones located at 22 Rideau Terrace in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood of Ottawa.

Art journal page

The Burpee House
Art journal sketch: watercolour and graphite
(Low resolution scan)
Originally the home of civil servant Lawrence Johnstone Burpee, first secretary of the International Joint Commission from 1912-1946, ardent supporter of a national library for Canada and an accomplished scholar, historian and author.

More recently the house was the residence (for 17 years) of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and was threatened with demolition in 2010. A developement group want to tear it down and replace it with a triplex. Understandably, this upset Burpee's granddaughter Sheila Burpee-Duncan.

In 2010 the Ottawa City Council approved the Burpee home as a designated heritage building.

National Library of Canada

"Burpee is best known for his lifelong promotion and support of the creation of a national library in Canada. Burpee spent ten years of his life campaigning ardently for a national library. Burpee became president of the Ontario Library Association in 1910 and in February 1911, he published an article entitled, “A Plea for a National Library” which had originally been delivered as a speech to the Ontario Library Association. The article noted that with the lack of a national library, “Canada enjoys the dubious distinction of ranking with Siam and Abyssinia in at least one respect….” Dolores Donnelly, a faculty member in the Faculty of Library Science at the University of Toronto and the author of a historical analysis of the National Library of Canada, notes that this quote was revived and reused for many years in the campaign for a national library.

Burpee believed that the Library of Parliament was not sufficient to serve the entire country. In “A Plea for a National Library” Burpee argued that, “the Library of Parliament is legislative library, pure and simple; it was created to serve the needs of parliament, not of the public.” He also argued that a national library must be a repository of the work of a nation and could be combined with the national archives. He advocated that the federal government ought to consider a model like the American Library of Congress which combined the legislative library, national archives and national library in one institution. The Library of Congress also provided lending services for some of its materials unlike the strict reference function of the British Museum or the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris. The Librarian of Congress, Dr. Herbert Putnam endorsed Burpee’s concepts in 1911. In 1916, after fire gutted the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings with the exception of the Library of Parliament, Burpee took the opportunity to write to Prime Minister Borden to urge that in re-designing the building, space should be allocated for a new national library. Ultimately, in 1947, a year after Burpee’s death, the federal government commissioned a study that would eventually lead to the establishment and construction of the National Library of Canada on Wellington Street in 1953. Donnelly notes in her history of the National Library that even 40 years later, the general principles of Burpee’s ideas for a national library were incorporated into the final library system. These remain today."

The National Library of Canada on Wellington Street owes its existance to Lawrence Johnstone a genealogist and the family historian, I am forever grateful!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Elements Of Art Are Like The Ingredients

Lexie and me starting the new art journal.
I just started my new Strathmore art journal and thought it would be a good idea to evaluate my last two journals and think about what I needed to focus on this year.

In my written review, I wrote that: "Journal #2 was sporadic and monochromatic." I felt I had created a few wonderful pages (that I loved) but in 2015, for Journal #3 I vowed to:

  1. Fill each page
  2. Be fearless with colour
  3. Draw daily
I also thought it would be helpful to take a pause and revisit some of the basics. Like singers and musicians who play scales or sing arpeggios for practice and to warm up, it doesn't hurt artists to revisit the basics over and over again for practice.

Ingredients and Recipe = Elements and Principles

The elements of art are like the ingredients.

"It's easy to get confused when discussing the elements and principles of art and group them all together as one big group of abstract terms. It's much easier to understand when you compare them cooking.

When you are cooking something, you have a list of ingredients that are organized by the recipe. The elements of art are like the ingredients. If you are a good cook, then you care about quality ingredients. The same is true if you are a good artist. You care about the quality of elements ( lines, shapes, forms, values, colors, textures, and spaces)  that you chose to put in your artwork...

....The recipe is the principles of art. The principles of art are an organized way that the elements of art are arranged in a work of art. 

 The elements can be arranged in a work to produce balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity (harmony, proportion, variety). So the principles of art are dependent on the elements. 

 No elements - no principles. No ingredients - no recipe."

"No ingredients - no recipe"
6x6 acrylic by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Fresh Art Journal for 2015

Old 2008-2014 art journals
Art journals are important to me . I wrote previously, that my art journals "are a type of diary. Looking back over old art journals has the same effect as watching old home movies. I experience a great deal of nostalgic joy."

I use my art journals to capture events in my life; experiment with mediums, colours, techniques and styles; plan future art projects and sometimes just to play around.

I made the switch from various standard art journals (above) to the Strathmore Mixed Media 500 series and loved the results so much that I am now starting Strathmore #3 in this new year.

Newest 2014 Strathmore art journals 
My Ex Libris first page
always features a sketch of me with Lexie

I previously recorded a video of my first completed Strathmore art journal (22 Mar-16 Aug 2014) and have decided to do it again (just for fun) with my completed Strathmore #2 (22 Aug- 31 Dec 2014).


2014: Strathmore Art Journal #2 from Cindi Foreman on Vimeo.

Friday #FemArt: Doris McCarthy (1910-2010)

This week's Friday FemArt post is about Doris McCarthy. I have been researching her for some time. I love her story and I love her art.

She produced an unparalleled body of work spanning over 75 years with an estimated 6000 paintings in a variety of media. She was elected the first woman President of the Ontario Society of Artists and has taught some of Canada's most distinguished creative people.

A quick sketch that I made of Doris McCarthy
in my art journal September 2014 ("Plein Air" collage)

Doris McCarthy "Holy Point" Oil on Canvas 34" x 48" 
Here is what I have come to love and know 
about Doris McCarthy's wonderful life:
  • Dorothy was born in 1910 in Calgary, Alberta,
  • She grew up in the beaches area of Toronto.
  • In 1926 she earned a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art (OCA) where she was mentored by some of the premier Canadian artists of the early twentieth century (i.e. Arthur Lismer and JEH MacDonald)
  • She attended the Ontario College of Art from 1926 to 1930
  • She became a teacher shortly after 1930 and taught most frequently at Central Technical School in downtown Toronto from 1932 until she retired in 1972.
  • She traveled abroad extensively (five continents) and painted the landscapes of various countries
  • Her best known art is her Canadian landscapes and her depictions of Arctic icebergs. 
  • She loved people and was quite sociable but also had a great appreciation of solitude, most often in the form of the northern Ontario wilderness. 
  • Some of her early painting trips involved adventures in Muskoka, Haliburton, Georgian Bay and the Arctic with groups of other devoted artists (usually women artists).
  • Retirement in 1972 (at 62 years of age) freed her to paint full-time and fulfill her dream of visiting the Arctic,
  • She was a lifelong learner. In 1989, (at 79 years of age) she graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough with a B.A in English
  • She died at 100 years of age. She passed away peacefully on the morning of November 25, 2010, at Fool’s Paradise, her beloved home atop the Scarborough Bluffs

“Fool’s Paradise will continue to be… 
a place for healing, for laughter, 
for shared tears, for growing.” 
~Doris McCarthy~

5 Minute Video of Doris McCarthy's Life

More videos (6) of Doris McCarthy's Canada

Fool's Paradise
(How I would love to spend time there!)

(Excerpt: Ontario Heritage Trust) "Fool’s Paradise was the home and studio of Canadian landscape artist, writer and educator Doris McCarthy (1910-2010). The site overlooks Lake Ontario along Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs. McCarthy first visited the property during a sketching trip in November 1939. She was immediately inspired by the landscape views and picturesque setting, and purchased the property for $1,250. In 1940, she had a small cottage constructed on the site by local builder Forest Telfer.

McCarthy’s mother, Mary Jane, saw the purchase as extravagant, referring to it as “that fool’s paradise of yours.” The name stuck in McCarthy’s mind and the property soon became known as Fool’s Paradise. Originally, the cottage was a summer retreat, but it became her permanent home in 1946.

Fool’s Paradise evolved and grew over McCarthy’s time there, guided by her personal preferences. The one-storey wood frame structure comprises attached wings off the central small studio, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The interior of Fool’s Paradise follows an irregular layout, as wings have been added to the original cottage over the years. ......" read more here

There are plenty of links to follow below to explore more about 
Doris McCarthy's art and learn more about her interesting life. 

"The National Gallery doesn’t own a thing of mine 
and it damn well should,”
McCarthy told the Globe and Mail in 1990.

Visit Frankiusi Photography for more beautiful photographsof
Dorothy at Fools Paradise!!
“So here I am, content to enjoy every day as it comes, 
and wise enough to thank God for his mercies and rejoice in them. 
My only regrets are my economies (never my extravagances) 
– particularly those of spirit and love.”

~Doris McCarthy~


For her continuing contribution to Canada's artistic community, Doris McCarthy has received The Order of Canada, The Order of Ontario, five Honorary Doctorates, and an Honorary Fellowship to The Ontario College of Art and Design. In November 1999, McCarthy was named the first Artist of Honour at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. On March 11, 2004 the University of Toronto, Scarborough opened the Doris McCarthy Gallery in her honour and will eventually hold her archives.

A Visual Artist First and Foremost....

Globe and Mail quote: "A visual artist first and foremost, McCarthy was also a teacher, author, lecturer, wilderness advocate, handywoman, storyteller, hostess, world traveller, philanthropist, cat lover and virtuoso figure skater who was able to toss off showy spins well into her eighties. She was a whiz at cryptic crosswords, and enjoyed taxing her linguistic skills at solo Scrabble. Her friends talked rapturously about her formidable peanut butter cookies, luscious breads, super-deluxe marmalade, and rhubarb and dandelion wine...... For McCarthy the glass was always full. Early every morning on a painting trip, she would declare: "We have a whole new chance." Her mantra was the word "yes" and her Holy Grail was the infinite glory of the Canadian landscape. As she herself wrote: "I love the world. I love nature. I love creation. I love life.""

I am grateful for Dorthy's art and life story. How it inspirits me so...