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:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

What I Learned From Shari Blaukopf

The Urban Sketchers community will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary this November 11, 2017.

The Urban Sketchers (USk) movement was started on Flickr in 2007 by journalist Gabriel ("Gabi") Campanario.

If you follow urban sketchers on social media you will know that there are quite a few sketchers that really stand out as exceptional and Montreal artist/urban sketcher Shari Blaukopf is one of them for sure!

So I made a request through USk Education Director Mário Linhares  to have Shari put on a workshop (the same workshop that she had previously given at the 2017 Urban Sketcher's Symposium in Chicago) called "Trees and the City"in Ottawa in September.

With thanks to Shari (who is incredibly busy teaching in Montreal) and Mario NOT ONE but TWO workshops were offered and sold-out within hours. The workshops were held on Saturday September 30, 2017 at Sappers Staircase on the Rideau Canal and the weather was amazing!

Sappers Staircase, Ottawa
As an added bonus, Winsor & Newton sponsored Shari's workshop (as they did at the 2017 Urban Sketcher's Symposium in Chicago) and gave each participant a beautiful bag with watercolours.

Shari greeting sketchers and handing out Winsor & Newton bags
Every sketcher received a Cotman Pocket Sketch Box and tubes of artist quality watercolours
What I Learned From Shari Blaukopf

You can read the FULL details (objectives, learning goals, schedule, evaluations, etc) about the workshop at this link  

What I want to do with this blog post is share a few photos from the day and some wonderful take-aways that I got from this great workshop.

Shari Blaukopf welcoming sketchers to her workshop
Our Classroom View

The view from our outdoor classroom
 My Notes: Part 1

Handout: Shari Blaukopf workshop "Trees and the City" (Tree Shapes p.2)
Using her own sketches for examples, Shari described her approaches to painting trees
  • "Leave holes in trees for the birds to go through"
  • All of the branches together = width of trunk
  • Start with drawing the trunk
  • Don't stop tree trunk at ground - extend into shadow
  • You can say a lot about trees without drawing every leaf
Shari's talked about her sketching equipment
We did the following exercises
  • Sketching to warm up - 5 tree shapes
  • Mixing Greens - mix warm/cool; light/dark greens using colours in your palette
  • Painting tree shapes: doing the whole shape of the tree in one go
  • Creating multiple thumbnail/value sketches
  • Completing a sketch of trees and buildings
Handout: Shari Blaukopf workshop "Trees and the City" (P.2)

 Part 2: Composition with trees

Shari mentioned water colour teaacher Edgar A. Whitney who spent less time teaching technique and emphasized the importance of good design. See Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting By Edgar A. Whitney

Source: Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting By Edgar A. Whitney (p.28)
Handout: Shari Blaukopf workshop "Trees and the City": (Composing With Trees p.4)
Source: Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting By Edgar A. Whitney (p29)

Warm-up sketches
While Sharii is colour mixing greens, everyone takes taking notes
Shari demonstrates painting simple tree shapes
Demo: Simple tree shapes

Exercise No. 2.: Workshop sketches - simple tree shapes
Shari talking about painting values
Shari's value painting
Shari talking about composition and thumbnail sketches
Shari's thumbnail sketch
There are five Urban Sketcher groups in Canada  
(Four of the five Canadian USk groups had participants at today's workshop)

Montreal Urban Sketchers
Ottawa Urban Sketchers
Toronto Urban Sketchers
Waterloo Urban Sketchers 
Vancouver Urban Sketchers 

My Work In Progress

My composition/thumbnail sketch

Decided on perpendicular and this is as far as I managed to get before the next session started.
Because I ran out of time, I plan to head back to Sappers Staircase at the same time (11:00 - 12:00 am) to finish this.

I really enjoyed Shari's workshop and learned so much. When you spend a lot of time sketching cities, trees really give life to the bricks, concrete and stone.

It's really amazing how much information Shari managed to impart upon us all in such a short time.
If you ever have a chance to be in one of her workshops, I highly recommend it!

Happy sketching!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hilarious Artist Statement Generator

Thanks to Julie Oakley (, I had great fun this morning playing with a hilarious artist statement generator.

You can give it a try here: (Thanks Jasper Rigole)


Here is my artist statement based on the generator:

Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Cindi Moynahan-Foreman (Comox, B.C., Canada) makes paintings and mixed media artworks. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, Moynahan-Foreman often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.

Her paintings are characterised by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middleclass mentality in which recognition plays an important role. Cindi Moynahan-Foreman currently lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario.

Monday, September 25, 2017

"Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely"

My Monday inspiration came to me this morning by way of  Tara Leaver's  email that started with this lovely quote:

”Happy are the painters, 
for they shall not be lonely. 
Light and colour, peace and hope, 
will keep them company to the end of the day."  

Winston Churchill

This lovely Churchill quote comes from the book, "Painting As A Pastime" (first published in 1948), and it is in the Canadian public domain (but may be under copyright in some countries.) for free at Project Gutenberg Canada ebook #1373

"Painting As A Pastime" by Winston S. Churchill

"Painting is a companion with whom one may hope 
to walk a great part of life's journey."

"Buy a paint-box and have a try."

I encourage you to sign up for Tara's newsletter emails (fortnightly letters in your inbox full of stories, ideas, offerings and new things to try. ) or to read her blog that has articles such as: How to start a painting: 7 artists reveal their process.

Happy painting!

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Pontiac Artists' Association 2017 Artist Residency (Part II)

On the drive to the residency with artist Kate Strickland we witnessed this sky!
This is a long, LONG post about my experiences at the  Pontiac Artists' Association 2017 Artist Residency in July 2017.

Lots of folks have asked me about my residency experience and said that they were looking forward to reading the details on my blog. I hope that this late, condensed version of my experiences pays proper tribute to the incredible artists and many other folks that I met in Pontiac, Quebec this past summer.

The photo above of my drive to my Quyon, Quebec host's home (Elaine and Wayne) was wonderful. Not only did Kate and I see deer along the drive, we also witnessed some beautiful crepuscular rays poking through the clouds over the Ottawa river. This, we both took, to be a sign that the week would be great and we were correct!

The Stone School, Portage-du-Fort, Québec
The Stone School (pictured above) would be our home base for two days of workshops during the residency. A beautiful heritage building, the Stone School (in addition to space for workshops) has two galleries (an upper and lower)

My sketch of my supplies for the Artist Residency
Fortunately, I had a majority of the items that appeared on the residency supply list. I was pretty happy that I was not packing a LOT because I was getting a ride there and back from two other artists (Kate Strickland and Laurie Foster-McLeod) and their cars were already loaded with their supplies!
 Book making with Valerie Bridgeman

Day One of the Residency took place in the workshop of artist Valerie Bridgeman who does pottery, printmaking and book arts.

Artist Valerie Bridgeman providing instructions on making an art journal
I was delighted that she would be instructing us on how to create our very own art journal.

It was immediately obvious that Valerie really enjoys teaching people how to create things that they love. She offers creative, hands-on workshops in her studio (and elsewhere) where you can learn how to make paper, handmade artists’ books, print without a press, decorated papers, or create artist trading cards.

We created a "double pamphlet book" style art journal: (I took notes while making my book but there are some great photos of the process here:
  • We started with two sheets of paper that we cut into 8 pieces (using a bone folder to crease first)
  • Its important to be aware of the grain in the paper when doing this. This can be determined by looking at how easily it freely it bends: There will be less resistance in one direction than the other. The bend with less resistance is parallel to the grain.(Here's a great video if you are curious to know more
  • We were offered Reich's SAVOY, 100% Cotton, 80 Text and a plainly coloured paper to use for our cover and Valery suggested that we could decorate the cover later.
  • The holes were punctured with an awl and then threaded with embroidery thread
I really enjoyed this workshop a LOT. Here are some photos of my completed art journal that I have since used as my Ottawa Nature Journal.

My Art Journal
I love the way that the journal lies flat to sketch in

I decided to use my journal as my Ottawa Nature Journal to record the seasons

Demonstration of chain saw sculpture techniques 
by Peter Van Adrichem
Peter Van Adrichem
One of the delightful experiences of this residence was meeting the other visiting artists like Peter Van Adrichem, Peter Van Adrichem is a woodcarver with 20 years of experience. His website is 

Peter's Fleetwood Studio in Kemptville, Ontario opened in 2000.

Peter Van Adrichem
Peter explained to us his tools of the trade. He works with a small-sized and regular chainsaw with a standard chain. Despite me phobia of saws and blades of every variety, I enjoyed Peters explanations about Quarter tip and dime tip blades and his demonstrations of the various cuts (straight, grinding and jabs)

Peter described his safety gear:

My workshop "Sketching and Paying Attention"  by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Artist’s talk: Catherine Timm, Fiber Artist 

  Pocket Assemblages with Kate Strickland

"Sacred Nature" by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Mark Making Workshop 
with Karen Mackay 

Dinner at Cafe 349    

Printmaking and nature-based plein air workshop “River Works” 
with Rob Hinchley.

This is my plein air painting and a photo of me painting it by Laurie Foster

Dinner at Dale’s, Calumet Island.

Artist’s Talk with Geraldine Taylor

about her work on the 1983 "Company of Artists and Patrons" Portfolio and her belief that art is not necessarily created by an individual, but by a whole community.

Demonstration of chain saw sculpture techniques 
by Peter Van Adrichem

Vernissage: “The Nature of the River”:  

We held an exhibition of works created during the Residency week at Art Brûlant and Impressions in Shawville, Quebec.

Thankful for the whole experience

Special thanks Elain and Wayne, Laurie, Kate