Friday, November 30, 2018

November 2018: A Month Honouring Great People

I was so excited to be heading to Toronto in the beginning of November to visit and sketch at the Royal Winter Fair, but when I showed up at Exhibition Place, I discovered that the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees IATSE Local 58 stage technicians were still being locked out and I refused to cross their picket line and I sketched them instead.

They really appreciated the support and my sketch was well received on social media. 

IATSE 58 Members on the picket line at Exhibition Place, Toronto

Better yet, on November 15th, IATSE Local 58 voted in favour of ratifying a proposed contract with Exhibition Place, bringing to a close their four-month lock out.

The IATSE 58 folks weren't the only heroes that I sketched in November.

When I heard that one of my social justice heroes John Clarke - a labour, anti-capitalist, anti-poverty activist (who I first met in the 1990s through the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty ) was “retiring” in May 2019 I sketched him as well! There's not a LOT of money in anti-poverty work so friends are contributing to his pension fund here:

And then I heard about the passing of Harry Leslie Smith who was a WWII veteran, writer, passionate critic of austerity and tireless refugee advocate. I had been following him for some time on social media and when he required hospitalization, I followed his son's tweets to the end. Harry is such an inspiration and I just had to do a sketch of him as well!

I also sketched Anne Innis Dagg whose time in the spotlight has finally arrived! Her movie the "Woman Who Loves Giraffes" was being promoted and I was surprised to learn of her story for the very first time! How is it that we have a woman who is the "Jane Goodall of giraffes" from Toronto and I have never heard of her?

Mary Riter Hamilton

Mary Riter Hamilton with her dog outside her shelter

I attended a symposium in November honouring the life of artist Mary Riter Hamilton. The event was hosted by War Amps Canada and Library and Archives Canada

Mary refused to sell any of the 300 paintings that she produced overseas under the harshest of conditions, choosing to donate them to the Canadian people instead.

Mary returned in broken health and lived out the rest of her days blind in one eye and impoverished.

Mary Riter Hamilton was buried (1954) in an unmarked grave beside her husband in Port Arthur, Ontario 

Thanks to the Ontario Genealogical Society (Thunder Bay branch) and the Royal Canadian Legion, a grave marker was added in 2008.

'Trenches on the Somme', Mary Riter Hamilton
Read Josie Holford's "nevertheless she persisted" summary of Mary Riter Hamilton's life's work here:

Mary Riter Hamilton painted the temporary monuments and crosses that were built by soldiers during the war. 

Mary Riter Hamilton wanted her works to be preserved together in a national institution as a donation to Canada. In 1926, she donated over 200 of her paintings to Library and Archives Canada, some of which are displayed at the Canadian War Museum in a special exhibition until March 31, 2019.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Painting & Sketching In A World Where There Are Octobers

October is a favourite month of mine. The colours of the trees changing, birds migrating, sweaters needed and hats and mittens taken out of storage. Here is a brief summary of some of my October art encounters and activities.

Artist Talk

I love exploring new art techniques and learning about and meeting other artists. One "artist encounter" that I enjoyed in the month of October was an artist talk given by Brian Turner  at the general meeting of ArtEast in Orleans. Brian works in watercolour and he also teaches an 8 week watercolor class through the Kanata Art Club website for details (

Brian Turner gave an artist talk on composition at the ArtEast General Meeting
Brian had actually put away his paintbrushes for 37 years and he had a work colleague who painted every night. When Brian asked him why he did that, his colleague responded by saying, "I'd hate to reach 85 years of age and discover that I could have been good."

Brian's style of speaking was interactive and he used a PowerPoint to demonstrate all the various elements of good composition. Some of the items that I jotted down in my notes:
  • Brian is a fan of Ikea Verserum frames (11 x 15, 14.5 x 22.5; and 17.75 x 28.5) because they come with acid-free matts and they are solid wood frames that you can wire. He suggests that you "paint to the frame" when you work.
  • Brian likes to have his prints made by with Dave Andrews of Germotte print
  • There was mention as well of Artworld oNe (at Ogilvie and Montreal Rd.) 
  • I loved that Brian uses some interesting tools in his watercolour painting like transparent packing tape (for masking); a magic eraser (for removing objects) and Saran Wrap for atmospheric effects on wet watercolour

Inktober is a monthly activity created by Jake Parker . Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. There are themes for those that prefer to have prompts but I chose to sketch whatever was on my mind that day.

Sometimes, my Inktober inspiration came from research I was doing, current events or things that I spotted on my daily dog walk with Lexie.

"British Home Children" (calligraphy ink on Bristol)
"Being Watched"(India ink on Bristol) (added to my "Pets In Windows" collection)

Nobel Prize Winner Donnna Strickland (ink on cartridge paper)
"Dunn's Diner is Done" (Black and red ink on Bristol)

October Life Drawing

I love drawing and painting people. Ottawa has a wide variety of opportunities to practice. (See my 2017 blog post that's in need of an update)

Aretha Franklin (watercolour in my Strathmore Series 500 sketchbook)

I was grateful to make my way back to Atelier Denu and DATR (Drawing at the Rooster) this month and it was great!
Drawing at the Rooster (October 2018)
October Musings

I have been completely obsessed with a twitter list I have called "Farm Life". I spend a good deal of time following quite a few farmers in Wales, North England, Scotland, Ireland and Ontario.

These farmers and shepherdesses post a lot of photographs and videos and I often capture the images and sketch or paint them for the pure joy of it .

Here are a couple from October in watercolour and acrylic.

"Mom's Protection" (watercolour)

"Sheep Dogs" (acrylic)
"Regal One" (watercolour)

October Plein Air Painting

My October Plein Air recap was going to basically report that its clearly getting too cold to be spending long hours outdoors. Recent excursions to Bates Island and the Mackenzie King Estate required mittens and hand warmers and both trips were quite wonderful despite the wind (and snow).

Me painting the sun setting from Bates Island in Ottawa

Two hours of progress on the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau, Quebec

Toque and hand warmers needed at the Mackenzie King Estate

I don't remember reporting on our plein air trip to Upper Canada Village that took place in September. I absolutely LOVED this trip and would LOVE to do it again next year!

Upper Canada Village has so many beautiful views. This one started on the veranda of the kitchen area and finished at home
I was drawn to the "Z" composition lines of the fence and houses and the beautiful pear tree. This one was also finished at home

October Urban Sketching 

I organized the October Urban Sketching event on October 20th and you can read about the event and see my photographs on my Ottawa Urban Sketching blog.

 Looking Forward to November

The month of November will begin with another event that I organized for our  Urban Sketchers at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and then the following weekend I will be traveling to Toronto to visit with my family and daughter and also attend the the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The last time I sketched at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair was in 2015 and I blogged about it here:

Then Lexie and I will retreat back into our tiny, cramped studio space and see if we can fill it ALL up with some beautiful art work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The DRAW 2018 October Exhibition & November Soirée

The Dumoine River Art For Wilderness (DRAW) art retreat took place on the Dumoine River in Quebec this past August.

In October 2018, on Thanksgiving weekend, the Canadian Park and Wilderness (Ottawa Valley chapter known as CPAWS-OV). held an Exhibition (October 5-8) in Bristol, Quebec

In November 2018, art donated by the artists will be sold by silent auction at the Ottawa Art Gallery and the proceeds will be used to protect the magnificent Dumoine River in Quebec

DRAW Exhibit: October 2018
The October exhibition was held at the beautiful Cidrerie Coronation Hall Cider Mills in Bristol Quebec. The drive to the vernissage from Ottawa was magnificent with the trees displaying their beautiful autumn colours

Below, I am sharing some photographs and videos that I took at the vernissage which was held Saturday October 6 between 2 and 4 pm.

Cidrerie Coronation Hall Cider Mills in Bristol Quebec
The painting that I contributed to CPAWS-OV I called "The Last Portage/Heading Home” and it captured artists Becky Mason and Reid McLachlan as I saw them paddling home from our art retreat in August at the mouth of the Dumoine River below Ryan's Chutes.

"The Last Portage/Heading Home” by Cindi Moynhan-Foreman, acrylic, 10 x 20
I loved seeing it nestled among all the other artist's magnificent works on the wall at the exhibition.

All four walls at the Cidrerie Coronation Hall Cider Mills in Bristol Quebec were covered with incredible art that was inspired by the Dumoine River and I have tried to capture ALL of it, albeit just glimpses that do not do them full justice, in the following videos so that you get a taste of what is available for sale in November.

CPAWS-OV Open House 
October 25 

You are invited to an Open House being held by staff at CPAWS Ottawa Valley. Our art from our DRAW retreat will be on exhibition. Find out what CPAWS OV is all about. Light refreshments will be served.

ALL Artwork Is For Sale in November

All of the artwork in the videos above that was created at the Dumoine River Art For Wilderness (DRAW) art retreat in August 2018 is available for sale by silent auction and the proceeds will be used to protect the magnificent Dumoine River in Quebec

Canadian Park and Wilderness (Ottawa Valley chapter known as CPAWS-OV) is hosting the Soirée in November 2018 at the Ottawa Art Gallery

CPAWS Soirée: November 2018
The evening will feature a display of artwork created during our 2018 Dumoine River Art for Wilderness retreat. All of the artwork will be available for sale by silent auction during the event. Artwork by established and emerging artists will be available (see the list of artists below)

The event takes place in the Alma Duncan Salon at the Ottawa Art Gallery and we would love to see you there! 

To learn more about the Soirée and/or to purchase tickets click here:

To learn more about the artwork available for auction, please click here (

DRAW 2018 Artists

Artists who were able to attend June 2018 Meet and Greet in Gatineau Quebec

Front Row (left to right)
Back Row (left to right)
Artists not pictured above who attended DRAW 2018
My previous blog posts about the 2018 Dumoine River Art for Wilderness retreat.
If you are receiving this blog post by email, you will be unable to see the above embedded videos. Here are the links:

Friday, September 28, 2018

Making Art Inspired by the Dumoine River

I previously blogged about the art retreat that I had been selected to attend that was organized by the Canadian Park and Wilderness (Ottawa Valley chapter known as CPAWS-OV). The retreat is called the Dumoine River Art For Wilderness (DRAW) and it took place on the Dumoine River in Quebec this past August.

Group photo taken at the Moore Farm in Gatineau, Qc. at the June DRAW2018 Meet and Greet
From August 1-6, 2018, approximately thirty staff, volunteers and artists camped on the shore of Robinson Lake and created art.

My plein air set-up on Day 2; Grand Chutes, Dumoine River
Below is a very brief report on some of the art that I created that was inspired by the incredible Dumoine river: my donated art; my plein air paintings; my sketches and some printmaking that I did while I was at camp and at home.

 My Donated Art

The DRAW retreat is free for all participating artists, in exchange, all artists will donate one completed piece to CPAWS-OV to help support the campaigns that protect the Dumoine River and wilderness across Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.

The piece that I donated is called ”The Last Portage/Heading Home”

”The Last Portage/Heading Home”; acrylic; 10 x 20
Title:”The Last Portage/Heading Home”
Size: 10 x 20 inches
Medium: Acrylic on cradled birch panel

“Along the 129 kilometres of the Dumoine river in Quebec, you can still hear ancient conversations between the river rocks and the water at every rapid, swift, chute and waterfall.
At the mouth of the Dumoine where it meets the Ottawa river, below Ryan’s Chute, the river grows quieter and slower.
That’s where I spotted artists/canoeists Becky and Reid heading home.”

There will be an exhibition of the art made by ALL of the DRAW 2018 artists from October 5-8 (Thanksgiving weekend) at Cidrerie Coronation Hall Cider Mills, Bristol Quebec. Please drop by if you can!

I also donated a 5 x 7 acrylic painting of Ottawa-based forager, wildcrafter, writer and educator Bryan Dowkes to the CPAWS-OV office.

Ottawa-based forager, wildcrafter, writer and educator Bryan Dowkes

Bryan joined us at the Dumoine river and shared his deep love for the outdoors and his years of experience foraging.

Bryan serving the fermented wild soda prepared two days earlier
The four wild sodas that Bryan created during the week were: white pine and sweet fern; blueberry, wood sorrel, wintergreen and juniper berries; strawberry, lime and wood sorrel; and the everything soda with strawberry, lime and wood sorrel. Can I just say that they were absolutely delicious! Thank you Bryan!

(The sodas that Bryan created were based on The Wildcrafting Brewer: Creating Unique Drinks and Boozy Concoctions from Nature’s Ingredients by Pascal Baudar.)

My Plein Air Paintings

I created three acrylic plein air paintings on the second day of camp (Thursday August 2, 2018: see the photo of the Grande Chutes above for the first two) This painting (below) that I called "Sacred Rock" was inspired by the egg-shaped rock located in the exact same spot at the two Grand Chutes paintings but facing in the opposite direction away from the river.

My reference photo of "Sacred Rock"
"Sacred Rock"; 6 x 6 acrylic/mixed media

The unfinished painting below was created at the Open House that was held on the last day (Sunday August 5, 2018) at camp. I had just started blocking in the colours with my palette knife when the Open House guests started arriving and I greeted them showing them around camp and I eventually abandoned the painting!

Unfinished painting "Robindson Lake"
I posted the unfinished painting on social media and then took a twitter and facebook poll for fun asking people if I should "Work On It?" or "Leave it Alone?"

To my surprise, the majority of "voters" wanted me to "Leave It Alone!" I must say that I am tempted to, at a minimum, add some branches to the trees

The photo I took of the scene before I started painting

My Sketches

I did a number of sketches at camp in my Strathmore art journal and a number of additional sketches when I got home from camp. Here are just a few ...

I sketched Bruce and Lynn's camper while waiting for a drive to the Grand Chutes
On Saturday August 4, 2018 in the evening after our pontoon ride to Ryan's Chute, the night sky was clear enough to see the planet Mars (at its closest to earth since 2003 and won't be closer until 2035) , some shooting stars (from the Perseid meteor shower ), Cassiopeia and a satellite overhead. I made a visual note of it in my sketchbook.

Mars and some shooting stars from the Perseid meteor shower
I was pretty impressed with my ability to keep everything to a bare minimum in terms of luggage. My goal was to be able to carry everything all at once without making multiple trips to and from the campsite and I succeeded! Five items in total: (1) Duffle bag on wheels with (2) sleeping bag attached; (3) Back Pack with easel, paints, and tripod chair; (4) Tent, camp chair and tarp bungeed together and (5) my shoulder bag sketch kit.

I did a quick sketch of ALL my bags in the early morning before my transportation to camp arrived
I did lots of sketches of the artists at the retreat once I got home.

The sketch below of artist Christopher Griffin captures how he worked all week. I was in awe actually. Propping large pieces of canvas and painting with bitumen it was quite brilliant and amazing to watch!

Artist Christopher Griffin


In addition to my watercolour sketches and acrylic paintings, I brought my printmaking materials to the Dumoine river. I brought my Akua Intaglio black ink because these inks are:
"...non-toxic and fume free. They can be used for all types of intaglio, photopolymer methods, relief and monotype. They are the only inks with endless open time – they will never skin over in the jar or dry on a plate.

These inks clean up is easy with just soap and water, not hazardous solvents, leaving you with more studio time!

Soy-based with a high pigment load, Akua inks deliver rich, vibrant colours and strong blacks without compromising your health."
Creating a monotype of "Goats Island" based on my morning sketch

My early morning sketch of "Goats Island"; watercolour in Strathmore 500 series Mixed media Paper (100% cotton)
First Pull Monotype; "Goats Island"
Monotype; "Goats Island" colourized with watercolour and watercolour pencil
I also decided to create a linocut of "Goats Island" with the intention of doing a three-colour reduction. I did not make the September 27 deadline for artwork but I intend to continue with this linocut and will update this post when I am done.

The design for my linocut
The linocut is ready for the first colour


First of all, I want to thank ALL of the CPAWS-OV staff, organizers and volunteers for organizing this great artist retreat.

Thank you CPAWS-OV staff and volunteers!

I want to also thank ALL of the artists who attended the week. I returned home so enriched and inspired from witnessing the many different styles and mediums.

I want to give special thanks to artist Marie-Christine Bedard and her partner for driving me to the Swisha so that I could attend DRAW 2018 and also artist Charlotte King for driving me home to my family in Ottawa.

I am looking forward to the Exhibition (October 5-8) in Bristol, Quebec and the Soiree at the Ottawa Art Gallery on November 14th.
The evening will feature a display of artwork created during our 2018 Dumoine River Art for Wilderness retreat. All of the artwork will be available for sale by silent auction during the event. Artwork by established and emerging artists will be available, including pieces by Aleta Karstad, Phil Chadwick and many others. To learn more about the artwork available for auction, please click here (

The event takes place in the Alma Duncan Salon at the Ottawa Art Gallery and we would love to see you there!

Links to my previous blog posts about DRAW 2018