A Creative Solution


Someone has said, ” if it ain’t useful , of high sentimental value or a work of art then toss it out!”

Well that’s easier said than done when you have my sentimental over-attachment personality that rivals that of some giant,  tentacled creature from mythical lore. Okay…that was a little over the top, I know. Childhood images of the Seven Voyages of Sinbad came to mind. Apologies.


The Big Clean hit theatres this summer. Ahem, I mean my studio.  One result was the discovery of a ziplock bag of old watercolour tubes I used to use. ‘Haven’t used watercolors for quite some time and some of the tubes were as hard as rocks. Sure I probably could have performed some grade-8-like biology surgery where frogs have seen better days  to gut open the tubes.  This would then have exposed cylinder blocks of color that could be revived with a splash of water…maybe.

Some of the watercolors still had their original price stickers on them showing their true age.

What was I going to do?  It was down to that last pile…y’know, the one you’re always left with after a big clean up: paper clips, used popcicle sticks, Q-tips and maybe even some ketchup pack-ettes! At this point you’re feeling like an exhausted god determining the life or hapless fate of your kingdom. Should it stay or should it go now?

After some time a creative solution  was found!  However- whoever holds the time-lapse video on our lives would have had a great chuckle to replay the scene of me picking up the bag of watercolours and then placing them back down, rubbing my chin with indecision and then picking them back up AGAIN!! ha ha

So here’s what happened. Like something from Arthur Koestler’s  The Act of Creation an idea struck me!  If it were (a.)no longer useful and (b.) not quite of sentimental value then (c.) it must be a work of art!! And so it became.


To do this you’ll want a cheap 8 x 10 canvas, glue gun, matte varnish (waterbased), a couple ( or more) acrylic craft paints and newspaper clippings. You may want to use a small sharp exacto knife to move and place the newsprint cutouts ( unless you have little tiny fingers ). I placed a glittery star in the open space just to balance things out and make some contrast or for some unknown reason. I also dropped a few drops of rubbing alcohol on the fresh paint just to create some subtle rings/texture to the canvas before it dried. I used the matte varnish to glue everything  down including the star ( and except the tubes, of course). I don’t recommend rubber cement for the plastic star as I suspect it would cause it to curl. Not sure.

Also added was a few drops of acrylic red paint at the mouth of one tube missing a cap. Just a little something you know ;^)

Also don’t forget to place a hanging wire at the back.

Hmmmm? Now I have to hang it somewhere..Uh oh ..the walls are already full of art! Crap! yah dee yah dee ya

Cape Blomidon NS

Nova Scotia Art

Practically encapsulating the view from my living room window (in the summer) this is a painting of Cape Blomidon Nova Scotia. It’s painted on a primed wooden disc which is adhered to a wooden laser cut decorative backing.  You can get more info here.

Things have been rather quiet here punctuated with the odd snow storm and blizzard. I’m afraid I’ve had a grip on the shovel more than the paint brush…but I’m getting there :^) Actually have another one on the easel now…maybe give you a sneak peek next time.

Thanks for visiting…see ya soon!

A True Treasure


I have a niece that’s such a treasure.  So I decided to make her something that was just that!  Here goes…I’ll show you the behind the scenes.  It all begins with one of those unfinished jewelry boxes you pick up at the dollar store and a little plastic skull..the kind you see floating around near Halloween.  yeah I keep a couple just in case…you never know when you’ll need one.


Here’s a gallery of photos followed by some brief observations.

So here’s some details.  I believe my time is worth something so instead of spelling out every step and listing every ingredient if you want to know how I did something…just ask me.  I’ll gladly share the info and you can improve on it or do it your own way.

The skull was hot glued onto the plywood box.  The box was covered with  a flexible modeling paste and while the paste was still pliable a skewer was used to draw lines through it. A 50/50 mix of white glue and water was used as paper mache mix.  ‘This case I made it a little too watery.  I used some masking tape to fill in the space around the skull. Then globs of  glue soaked paper towel was sculpted around the skull to form a 3D base. A more pulpier mix of toilet tissue was then applied.  Everything was left to dry.  The skewered furrows on the box were painted black. The inside of the box painted gold. The rest of the outside of the box was painted with a couple brown tones including Americana Georgia Clay and touches of gold paint.  Paint different colours together wet so they blend…get messy, ha. Also there is a thin sheet of foam cut to shape cemented (rubber cement) to the very bottom of the whole box. 

Add details to the mound like pieces of chain ( necklace jewelry chain), twine, seashells etc.  paint it blue tones ( wet-on -wet). As it all drys you can add sparkle mixed with a clear medium, etc, etc lots of details..ask me if you have questions.


The final touch was gluing in a sheet of foam to the bottom and a little personal note of which I purposely left out the name.


Okay.  Hope this inspires you to do something creative! thanks for stopping by!

To Goldly Go


There’s a bit of ‘photo-shopping’ going on here as I have pasted one image over another before actually gluing the rope to the board on which the painting is on. The border/frame of the paintings are both gold.  As you know, gold can take on different hues. Example: Venetian Gold looks different than Emperor’s Gold, etc.

It would be really appreciated to have your opinion on which gold you think looks best or more fitting.

There are different paintings in this series other than the lighthouse at sunset.  So it may be best to not focus on which gold goes best with the lighthouse only. (Another sample here).

As always thanks for your input.  I will be asking on facebook as well here.

It’s okay to just say I like “left” or “right”



How can you Mend a Broken Art ?

Blind Girl by Kevin Cameron

The above painting called “Blind Girl” ( there’s a story behind that name) has been posted before but this time with a different purpose.

Recently it was on display at a local gallery and when it’s display time was up I had to go fetch it.  When I got home I then noticed the DAMAGE!

Gallery’s have waivers that all artists sign which is a contractual agreement between the artist and the gallery regarding insurance, damages, etc.  In this case the gallery having done all in it’s power is not responsible for any work that incurs damage during it’s stay.

Was I Upset?

Yes and No.

I signed the waiver so I took the chance. However obviously I was a little disturbed about it.  I was thankful that it wasn’t one of my more expensive pieces that had been on display….this time.  Here’s how it looked after i got home.



The green arrows point, of course, to the resulting damage.  I won’t say which gallery it was hung at but I will say, that to me, it looks like the impact of a runaway gurney.  The paintings to be hung are on the floor and leaned against the walls during their changeover, etc.

You can see that the canvas on her cheek is wrinkled and there is about a half inch indentation near the frame and almost a tear right next to it.

How can you mend a broken art?

Disclaimer: A professional painting restorer I am not.  Although I do have years of experience with numerous kinds of paint.

Step 1.  It seemed the best thing to do was start with a stretched or tightened canvas.  This was an inexpensive gallery wrapped frame ( and my low price for the painting was reflective of that).  First the painting is flipped over revealing the back side. here you can see at the corners of the frame that two wedge shaped or more like  rhomboid pieces of wood (canvas wedges) are tapped in to spread the corner of the painting apart slightly and resulting in a tighter canvas.


These are unusually large wedges that I had to make because the slots in the back were unusually large.


 The second thing that was done to tighten the canvas was with the use of fine water mist sprayed on to the back of the canvas in the general area of the damage. Soaking the canvas is NOT a good idea.  I didn’t want the surface coat of paint to become so saturated with water that it might peel off.

A Hair dryer was then used to dry the back of the canvas quickly. With the really cheap non-cotton or vinyl canvas this trick will not work.

Step 2.


A small round brush was used to paint over tear mark.

Step 3

When the touch up paint was dry I gave it a final coat of satin finish.  You can see the results below.


To be honest, at a certain angle, you can see some discolouration but for the most part the indentation is gone and things didn’t turn out too badly.  Hope this info helps.  Any questions or comments, just leave below.  O one more, thing.  In this case the canvas wedges were quite heavy and I may need to attach a little weight to the other side so the painting hangs more balanced on the wall.

Thanks for reading.  If you’d like to purchase this painting or a hand painted duplicate then private message me. Here’s the final:


The Art Of Art Lee ( In Loving Memory of…)



This summer I lost a good friend and fellow artist.  He was only 59 and yes it was caused by the dreaded ‘C’ Word. Life is not easy to understand sometimes. 

I met Art Lee just over 20 years ago.  Him and his wife were especially kind to me and mine.  He loved music and art, hockey and some football but most of all he loved his family.  There’s much more, as you could guess, that could be said of such a person; wonderful things that have already been thought and spoken.  Right now I am pausing to share some of his work with you that a bit of him will live on in all those that view this post. These are perhaps not all his best work.  These are pictures I took for my art gallery a few years ago.  


One of the last words he spoke to me in the hospital, as he held two of my paintings,was “…if only ya had the time.. “ They weren’t spoken in a tone of regret but of insatiate interest, as if to say in wonderment, ” oh, what one could do if they only had the time.”  I’d like to think he was getting a glimpse of that eternal “time” where he can create forever.   I’d say “Rest in Peace,  Art”  but I know he’d rather be working, painting…


Deserted by Arthur Lee

Batteries Not Included


I’m liking the pop art genre again.  I think it’s more *me*. It’s kind of a side thing to making logos and graphics but I like how I get to build crazy s….., stuff!

So I call the pop tart “Popped Art” and the robot, “Batteries Not Included”.  I’ll post some pictures in the making next time. They both are painted and created on canvas.  The robot actually is made of 4 canvases fastened together. It has not been fully coated and there is a little feature I want to add but since I haven’t posted in a while then I thought I’d show it to you as is.

My interest is in vintage and retro items.  Maybe it’s just the kid in me.  Well thanks for visiting again!  I’m anxious to show you something else in the works but it’s not finished enough yet.  Maybe next time.  O, the eyes glow in the dark…spooky!  Be seein’ ya!

I Get By With…

MebyWallYou said it, “…a little help from my friends!”  Here’s a better picture below of the final.  I’m looking a little serious in the photo above most likely because it was taken in the early hours of the morning.  It may not look like much from a distance but once I got started it took me 16 hours non-stop to paint it.


This shot shows the finished  job.  I didn’t get a close shot of the Venetian Gold stroke or outline that was around all the letters. This was likely taken around 1:30 am.  Contractors were coming to install the stair railing the next morning and the platform ( which the carpenters put together for me) would be disassembled .

So at the clients request the entire slogan was hand painted with the aid of lots of blue tape.  I used transparent Contact paper which is very low tack for some of the curves and letters.  I bought it at Home Depot for about 14 dollars a roll.  The “S” letters and “R”‘s and any with a curve were stencils I made at home with the contact paper.

Tip:  Always use Blue low tack painters tape so as not to damage the original base coat of paint. ALSO:  I found that using only the outside stencil of letters with large curves like “P” or “D”as a guide ( one straight edge) -as you can see below-   I could simply stroke with a brush the inner curve- that is,  you only have to pay attention to painting one straight edge while the right or outer-side would naturally be straight.  This may sound confusing.  In other words the curve in “D” has contact paper cut to the shape only of the outside of the curve.  The inside (the counter) space can be freehand painted fairly straight since you don’t have to worry about the other edge as you paint.  I improvised this while actually doing the project in order to save time.  Wherever  you use contact paper it is a good idea to brush on a clean coat of sealer ( Like Jo Sonja’s) to seal any edges.  Unlike low tack painters tape the contact paper doesn’t seal as good even if it is rubbed down and paint can seep under your edges and leave a crude , irregular edge of paint when you pull off the stencil (contact paper).

All in all it was a good time and the client was very personable and easy to work with.  We had some great life conversations way past midnight.  He set up some music and  we both enjoyed  the likes of Cream and Led Zeppelin. Poor guy had to stay up late as well.  I don’t usually do this kind of work anymore…gettin’ old ha! It’s not like drawing with computer where you can make mistakes and quickly erase them or just painting over them on your easel.

 I had to use a paint dryer (like a hair dryer) to speed things up.  Fortunately the plumbers were there that day and one heard me murmur something about a dryer and he volunteered their dryer used for thawing frozen pipes.  That was a blessing!! ha!

Here are a few more close up shots for ya.  Hopefully this post hasn’t bored you to eternal sleep!  Thanks for visiting…I always appreciate it. Take care , have fun and be safe!



Talk About Pop , Pop , Pop Music


Just finished a proto-type ( is that the right word?) for a larger painting I’m doing.  I’m working on a new series of Pop Art for an upcoming show in a local cafe (More to follow over the next month or so- the showing is in May).  The painting is 5 x 7 on canvas.  Some of the upper left corner is a little out of focus.  Here are a couple more angles for ya.  Thanks for dropping, er ‘poppin’ in!