March 20, 2018

Mandarins and Limes

Mandarins and Limes, 36x18 oil

The calendar says spring has arrived!  A new season with new expectations, at least regarding the weather.  Instead of saying 'it's a warm winter day', now we'll say 'it's a cool spring day'.  Spring means freshness, opening the windows, letting the crisp clean air flow through the rooms, pushing the stale winter air out.  When I placed the mandarins and limes on the bright white cloth I immediately thought of how fresh it looked and how, for me, it looked like spring.        

March 13, 2018


Beginnings, 18x36 oil

I painted 'Beginnings' in response to the upcoming show The Journey, at the Art Gallery of Burlington this coming April.  My thoughts were on my daughter's upcoming wedding this spring, and my niece's two young children.  While thinking about all the scary, but wonderful beginnings a person takes in their life, I receive a call from my sister that our father is being rushed to the hospital, (yet again), and only last week having arranged care and meals for our mom.  It's a sobering thought that every journey comes to an end eventually, sometimes very smoothly, and sometimes with a lot of bumps in the road.    

February 26, 2018

Farm Swallow

Farm Swallow, 8x8 oil

A client asked me to do a painting of a swallow.  I did some research and found out that barn swallows are becoming endangered because the old barns are being replaced with newer, more efficient buildings.  Hopefully these swift little birds will be able to adapt before it's too late, there are still a few old barns out there.  

February 07, 2018

Hidden Valley in Winter

Hidden Valley in Winter, 14x11 oil

It's been some time since I've been outside to paint.  Monday was a beautiful sunny day.  I grabbed my paints and winter gear and headed out.  I managed to get most of this painting done on location, but ran out of white paint rather quickly.  Here is the painting after finishing the white parts in my studio.  

February 02, 2018

The Keeper

The Keeper 16x16, oil

Throughout this year there will be themed shows in the Fireside Lounge, at the Art Gallery of Burlington.  During the month of February the theme is the human figure.  I chose to focus on painting an elderly hand.  Luckily I had a wonderful model, my mom.    

January 30, 2018

Earl Grey

Earl Grey 6x6, oil

Here is a simple little still life and a great little exercise in observation.  

January 16, 2018

The Swallow and a Fly

The Swallow and a Fly, 8x8 oil

The Swallow and a Fly, sounds like it could be a children's story.  When I'm deciding what to paint and planning my composition, I tend to imagine a story and my painting is capturing a moment in it.  

January 09, 2018

A Party of Pomegranates

A Party of Pomegranates, 8x8 oil

I find the hardest thing to do after the holidays is getting back into a routine.  Doing 'a painting a day' is a great way to get back into a steady routine.  Unfortunately, this January I have too many things on the go to even consider getting a painting completed every day, so here is my painting of the week, a much more reasonable goal :)    

January 03, 2018

A Heavenly Treat

A Heavenly Treat, 8x8 oil

Happy New Year!

I thought I'd start the year off with what looks like a humble little cupcake.  Appearances can be deceiving though.  This is no ordinary cupcake.  I'm not really a cake fan, (no matter how pretty they look).  I'm always disappointed after the first bite.  My husband was given three of these little cakes as a gift just before the Christmas holiday.  The package was labelled Nothing Bundt Cakes,(  Yum yum yum!!!  They were so good, I was inspired to paint the third cupcake.  We inhaled two of them in no time, (my husband polished off this one the next day, luckily after I managed to do a painting of it).  

Painting Lessons:
It looks like I'll be starting a small 'Beginner Oil Painting' class this month.  There are a few people that have emailed me with definite interest.  Please send me an email if you are interested,  You can check out the 'Painting Lessons' page for more information.  

December 19, 2017

Packaged with Care

Packaged with Care, 12x16 oil

If you've ever had to get packages sent off in time for Christmas, you'll know that timing is crucial.  I always start with good intentions, but trying to wrap my head around shopping for Christmas gifts early is difficult.  Perhaps it's a Canadian thing, but I find it easier to get into the spirit of Christmas when  I have to bundle up with 3 or 4 layers of clothing, walk around streets and markets filled with other shoppers, carrying my thermal mug of foamy coffee, while armed with a big tote bag that gradually fills with special treats and gifts.  My point is, there are six days until Christmas and I'm heading to the post office today to send off the final few packages, surely to arrive well into the new year, (heavy sigh), and no real excuse. 

Have a wonderful Christmas, and thank you for following my artistic journey,
Helen :)


November 29, 2017

A Cinderella Story

A Cinderella Story, 18x24 oil

When I purchased this old chair, it was sitting outside a furniture store with a price tag tied to it, flapping in the wind.  To me the tag said 'save me'.  Although the chair was 'imperfect', all I saw were possibilities.

November 21, 2017

Anticipation - Sold

Anticipation, 12x12 oil

Guess what's inside the package?  I'm the worst person at Christmas time!  If there's a present under the tree for me, I will definitely try to peek into it.

November 08, 2017

The Assembly Line - Sold

The Assembly Line, 8x8 oil

Eggs, eggs and more eggs!

October 31, 2017

Little Visitor

Little Visitor, 6x6 oil

Recently I've been seeing a few of these little birds flitting around my backyard.  They are quite tiny with very short tail feathers.  I looked them up, (of course), and found out that they're wrens.  Apparently bluejays prey on them, and there's a fairly large bluejay population around here.  I'm guessing the wrens are just visiting and will be moving on soon.  

Coming up this weekend, November 4 and 5, is the Burlington Studio Tour.  If you're in the area come by and say 'hi'.  You can see all the artists and the map at    

October 20, 2017

Patience - Sold

Patience, 24x24 oil

I just finished this painting.  As I sit here trying to remember why I chose to paint this painting, my mother's face pops into my head.  I know that she waits for me (and my sisters), to call her rather than calling us.  Although I don't think of her as a crow or raven, more like a robin, (I love robins).  I like the look of the black bird on the black phone, creating one unit, one message... perhaps a reminder.

October 04, 2017

The House in the Middle

The House in the Middle, 6x12 oil

Saturday, September 30 was 'Culture Day' in Burlington.  I spent the afternoon with a few other artists painting en plein air in the neighbourhood behind the Art Gallery of Burlington.  It's always fun to paint amongst other artists and see how everyone interprets what they are seeing.  

Today is exactly a month away until the Burlington Studio Tour, (November 4 & 5, 2017).  I will have new paintings available as well as my plein air paintings, (unframed and framed).  I love being a part of this tour, seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones.  You can see all the artists on the tour and view the map at        

September 26, 2017

Dappled Farm

Dappled Farm, 9x12 oil

Some of my favourite places to paint are farms.  Yesterday I painted at Myers Apple Farm.  Although the weather was extremely hot, finding a spot in the shade with a bit of a breeze made all the difference in the world, (and a bottle of water by my side).  

September 19, 2017

Sitting on the Line - Sold

Sitting on the Line, 5x5 oil

Now that it's mid September, I'm starting to think ahead towards my next show, (Art in Action Burlington Studio Tour).  I have a few small canvases and boards sitting in my studio waiting to be put to use.  So far I've done a few tiny paintings of chickadees doing birdlike things, (among other things).    

September 12, 2017

The Babbling Brook, Lowville Park - Sold

The Babbling Brook, Lowville Park, 8x8 oil

Yesterday I went out to paint in Lowville.  A pretty little village that is part of the city of Burlington.  The stream that runs through Lowville Park will soon have salmon travelling along it's meandering path, dotted with fishermen along the banks.  Yesterday you would have found artists dotted along it's banks, capturing the beauty of the day, no salmon yet.  

September 05, 2017

Garden Strawberries - Sold

Garden Strawberries, 6x4 oil

Eye to Eye

Eye to Eye, 6x6 oil

This little bird has become a regular visiter in my backyard this summer.

August 29, 2017

Ready for Chopping

Ready for Chopping, 12x12 oil

The end of summer is here!  I spent last week at a cottage that my family and I have gone to occasionally over the past 20 years.  I brought all my painting gear, thinking I would spend some time painting the beautiful scenery.  To my surprise, I only managed to do one painting, (not of the scenery).  I did manage to read a whole book, swim in the lake every day, and play some fun games with my family.  

I'm spending this week getting ready for Labour Day Weekend.  I will have a tent set up at the Distillery in Toronto for 4 days! (Sept 1-4, 2017).  
Hope to see you there!  


August 15, 2017

Still Life - Sold

Still Life, 12x9 oil

I love this old black phone.  I had it sitting on a table for a little while, (in my house), and it seemed to make itself right at home.  At any moment it might have rang, or so it seemed.  Most of us have now opted for mini computers that we carry around in our pockets.  Is there still life in these charming phones or are they truly a thing of the past.

August 10, 2017

Love - Sold

Love, 14x11 oil

Here is another painting to add to my continuing theme of 'Salad Bling'.  I was washing a basket of a variety of fruit when this cherry and plum seemed to be instantly attracted to each other.  I think they make a great couple.

August 01, 2017

Little Sparrow - Sold

Little Sparrow, 6x6 oil

I've been trying to paint the different varieties of birds that have visited my backyard this summer.  The sparrows are the regulars.  They've been here ever since I put the first bird house up.  I think of them as my wild backyard pets.

July 25, 2017

Lemon Zing - Sold

Lemon Zing, 30x10 oil

When summertime rolls around and farmer's markets pop up everywhere, I can't help but be inspired by all the beautiful fruits and vegetables.  I've started a series of paintings with the theme called 'Salad Bling'.  

July 18, 2017

Rosy Red Radishes

Rosy Red Radishes, 24x12 oil

This painting was so much fun to paint!  I'm not a huge fan of radishes, but whether you eat them or not, radishes make a salad look amazing.  I like to think of them as salad bling.

July 11, 2017

Extra Large - Sold

Extra Large, 6x8 oil

There's a big old tree in my backyard that I have hung bird feeders and bird houses on.    Every morning I love to sit on my back porch, (now that summer is finally here), drinking coffee,  watching the birds come and go.  

July 06, 2017

Standing Alone

Standing Alone, 6x12 oil

I was inspired by this flower to play with colours.  I've kept all the colours fairly intense, resulting in a painting that has turned out to be quite graphic.  

June 27, 2017

Fresh Strawberries

Fresh Strawberries, 6x6 oil

There is nothing like the juicy sweetness of fresh picked strawberries.  Unfortunately they only last long enough to paint one small painting before they disappear, (into someone's belly, yum!).

June 23, 2017

Roadside Parking

Roadside Parking, 12x9 oil

June 15-18 was the first annual Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival.  Parrsboro is a friendly little seaside town on the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.  I was one of the 35 artists painting in this juried event.  We had specific boundaries to paint within every day.  Our blank canvases/boards were stamped on the back at the beginning of the event, (to be sure that everyone started with a blank 'canvas').    

This painting, 'Roadside Parking', is the first painting that I did.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  I managed to get two paintings done on the first day.        

June 06, 2017

The Last Peony

The Last Peony, 9x12 oil

The local Farmer's Market has started up this month.  Two weeks ago there were only a few stalls selling goods.  One selling mainly rhubarb, another last year's apples, and of course the one selling flowers.  Although my garden is full of flowers, my peonies are not even close to blooming.  I picked up a small bouquet of peonies, thinking how nice it would be to paint.  Time got away from me and now I only have one left, which won't last very much longer.

May 30, 2017

My Lemon Bowl

My Lemon Bowl, 12x12 oil

There are so many uses for lemons, so I know buying a few to sit on the counter as decoration will not go to waste.  Of course, since I have this beautiful still life, I can't help but paint it.    

May 23, 2017

Vine Ripened

Vine Ripened, 6x12 oil

There is nothing like a fresh off the vine tomato.  Although the tomato in the painting was store bought, I purchased my first tomato plant of the season yesterday.  I'm the only one at home who likes tomatoes, so one plant will probably do.    

May 16, 2017

Tulips on the Table

Tulips on the Table, 14x14 oil

Tulips are in bloom everywhere!  Although short-lived, their beautiful burst of colour enlivens the spirit, reminding us a new season of warmth and sunshine is on its way.

May 09, 2017

The Nap - Sold

The Nap, 36x24 oil

I have been avoiding posting this painting partly because I've been so busy getting ready for my current show, (Signs of Life), but mainly because I'm not sure what I should write.  Each painting that I do has many layers of thought about what I want to convey, but to have to put those thoughts into words is the tough part.  So I've decided not to write about this painting and tell you about my show instead.

Signs of Life is about how we go about our day leaving a trail behind us of what we did... a cup or book left on the table, laundry on the line, a toy on the floor etc.  I think it is a fitting theme for 'Mother's Day Month'.

April 18, 2017

The Extended Conversation

The Extended Conversation, 24x36 oil

Did you need to use the phone?  Almost everyone I know now has their own personal phone.  I remember when the one phone in the house was a constant source of frustration, especially when you were waiting for a call.  

April 11, 2017

Invitation to 'Signs of Life'

The date of my show and the opening have been finalized, and here is the invitation.  I'm working on a couple of final pieces and am really looking forward to this show!  I can't believe my last solo show was in 2013!

The artwork in the invitation is called 'Hanging Out Together', (48x24 oil).  

April 05, 2017


Parked, 18x36 oil

Spring is here! (in some parts of Canada).  I've noticed my garden has started to wake up, but I haven't seen very many bicycles on the roads yet.

March 29, 2017

Two Eggs

Two Eggs, 14x14 oil

What did you have for breakfast?

March 20, 2017


Unmaking, oil 36x30 

Currently I am working towards a show I'm having in May.  I think it'll be called 'Signs of Life'.  At least that's my theme that I always seem to be painting about.  It's about what we leave behind when we leave a room.  Those small things that most of us may be completely unaware of, or perhaps just don't care to think about.  The unmade bed, the orange peel left on the table, cup on the floor by the chair etc.  I chose the month of May because of Mother's Day.  As any mother would know,  these small things are what become the unmaking of a house, (or is it the making of a home, I'm not sure).  The show will be in May at the Fireside Lounge, Art Gallery of Burlington.  I'm hoping to have an opening reception, but I won't know the date until April sometime.  

March 13, 2017

Watercolour Paintings

The past few weeks have been busy ones.  I have three paintings on the go, I've just finished teaching beginner watercolour and intermediate botanical watercolour classes and I'm just getting over a cold, (I could have done without catching the cold).  I loved teaching the classes.  I know that some of the beginner students had never painted in their lives and really struggled, but in the end they were creating their own paintings.  Above are a few samples of watercolour paintings I did to use as demonstrations in the classes.  

January 31, 2017

January Paintings

This first month of 2017 has been a busy one!  I attempted to do a painting a day, the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, but I didn't quite make it.  So here is my collage of 23 paintings in 30 days. 

January 27, 2017

Botanical Berries

Botanical Berries, 6x6 oil

These red berries tend to be found in flower arrangements quite often.  I picked them up specifically to use as reference in the watercolour painting class that I'm teaching.  In fact, my studio has all sorts of flowers in it at the moment...all for research purposes of course.  I was looking at a book containing botanical paintings of the past, and they all seem to have pale tea coloured backgrounds, probably because the paper that the paintings were on dulled over time.

January 26, 2017

Dressing the Table - Sold

Dressing the Table, 6x12 oil

This painting was mostly done a while back, but needed a few minor tweaks.  I really like the looseness of the brush strokes.

January 25, 2017

Pack o'Pears

Pack o'Pears, 10x8 oil

Yes, my theme this month is 'things in my studio'.  No, these pears are not normally in my studio, although they were in my studio while I was painting them.  I'm bending the rules a bit, but I really felt like painting these pears.

January 24, 2017

Milk, Cream or Soy

Milk, Cream or Soy, 12x6 oil

I am posting this painting, but I think I will eventually work on it a little bit more.  I'm thinking of perhaps adding a flower, or a spoon, (needs more thought).  I'd say this is a work in progress.

January 23, 2017

One of a Kind

One of a Kind, 8x8 oil

It doesn't matter how many flowers I paint, I find it amazing that even within the same plant there is something unique and different about each flower.

January 22, 2017

On the Menu Today - Sold

On the Menu Today, 9x12 oil

Since my theme this month is 'things in my studio', I thought painting these acorns with this dessert bowl would make an interesting combination.

I've noticed that my paintings have been getting fairly tight, so with this one and yesterday's painting I've tried to force myself to be looser by using a larger brush and painting the impression of what I see rather than worrying about exact details.