Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The opening saturday for the Emmaus group exhibition at The House in Calgary was fantastic. The art presented is of high caliber. Sharon has done a wonderful job of instructing new painters and inspiring all to excel. An added treat of the day was Naomi singing which was delightful with spectators being moved to tears, her voice is so strong and melodious.  Emmaus members put on a wonderful spread of fruits veggies and treats, there was abundance.

Here is the surprise back of the Retablo titled "Life Preserver"

This is what the front looked like when finished. With the doors closed the tree of life dips its taproot into the red center of the door panel, but of course in getting ready to go I forgot to get a finished shot with the doors closed. This piece garnered a lot of interest and was sold during the two hour opening.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Next Weekends Emmaus group Exhibition

The Emmaus Fine Art Group
is proud to present our big show of the year    
 “From Death to Life”   
 at The House, 126 10th Street NW
 Calgary, Alberta
 March 25 to early May, 2010
 hours:   9:00 am to 10:00 pm daily
 live music evenings Fridays and Saturdays
 open mike night Thursdays

 All Welcome to an Official Opening

 Saturday  Afternoon, March 27, 2010    

2:00 – 4:00 pm

 Artists in attendance           Snacks served
 Music vocals provided by Naomi Derksen

 © copyright 2010 detail of “Life Preserver”  by Teresa Stieben BA with distinction

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seasons Red still Lingers

A couple of images snapped this afternoon. Mittens atop a melting ice pile in the lane and christmas balls still hanging from a tree down the street. I like how the street reflects from the ball, and if you look close I can be seen down the street. The shot was taken with a 300m lens.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

sign of spring?

Ladybugs are they a hopeful sign of spring?  I spotted 5 in all scouring amongst last seasons decay which is this seasons fertilizer. Nature is the best recycler ever. I got so excited that I went back for my camera to share them here. The next shot of the leaf on icy snow was taken about four feet away from where the ladybugs are. The Merlin is back, I can hear the call as it flies by. Is he, or she advertising for a mate or declaring territory?

 Seeds and leaf on ice.

While photographing the ladybugs this chickadee flew in to check me out. Its mate kept at a distance but this one bounced around for a few minutes between the branches stopping to pause and cock its head. Chickadees are hardy birds, I am so glad they are year round residents.


Last friday a friend took me to a  Society of St Vincent de Paul charity sale where I picked up this tiny bird frog. I paid $4.00 for it which I feel was overpriced, but felt it would be cute with spring violets in it. The vase sketch was done a few years back. My sketchbooks are getting full so I'm now drawing on pages not previously filled in.
I used to enjoy going to church sales for an outing and to purchase reasonably priced knick-nacks. I find now though that greed has overtaken and items have become overpriced. When I mentioned prices to a volunteer the attitude was if someone really wants it they will pay for it, after all its for charity. How sad. Charity sales that used to serve dual purpose of raising funds and selling items at low cost so low income people could have a few nice affordable items are now only looking to sell at overinflated prices.  I discovered to my dismay Loonie store items at triple their costs, ouch! needless to say my purchase was tiny. 
Anyhow regarding the expensive purchase I figured I had best draw it seeing as I keep telling my children that I collect trinkets to use in paintings and about now they are starting to wonder if I am rather too easily influenced by pretties as I really have not been drawing or adding them to paintings that often. My daughter called me a hoarder, ouch! Really I do have good intention to use the pieces in paintings.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yellow warblers and a touch of spring

A new start.

Yesterday afternoon was a pretty good day for me, I finished my Oriole in the cherry blossoms painting (photo to come later) and started roughing in another floral with yellow warblers. I worked from sketches that I previously played with in watercolor pencil. I find when working up onto canvas that I refer more often to the watercolor drawings than to the photos which I compiled the drawings from. As the canvas is larger than my sketches I also allow the floral to grow and fill the space; after all my sketches and photos are only a guideline to refer to for color and structure.

I had bought small hinges for my "John" doors at the Habitat for Humanity Re-store which is a wonderful recycling place to buy items others have removed from homes, anyways, I had not counted accurately when I peered through the taped package as its short one teeny tiny screw. On the weekend the search for a miniscule screw will be on, wish me luck. Once I have the doors attached I will photograph the completed project and post for all to see.

I realize I still have a waxwing piece to complete thats been sitting patiently to the sidelines, but as its a fall landscape and I am excited for spring it may have to wait a bit longer. I have another piece I wish to start with a lovable black-capped chickadee nestled amongst blossoms.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Angels where least expected

Playing with images in Pages. Another compilation of my images of Alberta. The photos were taken last summer and fall.

 This angel caught me off guard in a spooky kinda way seeing it just inside the forest at the side of the path. I found out that the angel is a memorial to a young woman who had worked at the Lesser Slave Lake bird observatory. The trail named after her is the Sara Scobie  Songbird Trail at Lesser Slave Lake Boreal Center.  Realizing the purpose of the angel it seemed fitting to be placed with the image of the heart shutters. When we were there the birds were too high in the tree tops to be seen but they filled the forest with song. Ahh my winter memories of a delightful summers day.
Hugs to all, may your day be filled with heartfelt warmth.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Anxiously awaiting spring

We still have snow on the ground but the birds are visiting the feeders less frequently so heres to hoping spring is just around the corner. These were bought daffodils. I planted some old daffodil bulbs at my friends house last summer and am hoping they will present and bloom. I don't think he will have any luck with the crocus bulbs that were planted as the Magpies seem to be digging them out, they must taste good.

Wishing all a Cheerful sunny day filled with Hugs.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Enough light to post state the piece is at now. Its been interesting to photograph as I go along to see the changes made. I've found it best to photograph before I start for the day as once I get going I don't give thought to photographing the piece.

The gold and silver in the tree and moon glow can be seen. I painted red roots from the tree dipping down into the water with the tap root being golden color. The three glass beads are not yet attached. I have a gold color button to place as the moon, though that may be overkill, not sure yet to glue it on or add more golden paint for the moon.

On the inside right door panel I leafed gold up through the red band then applied two washes of red overtop to make the gold subtle as it overpowered the panel when full strength.

The next step will be to pound in flat gold color tacks around the raised border of the main panel and glue down the glass beads and attach the door hinges. 

John 5: 22-24

Seems I forgot to note that it is John chapter 5:22-24 that Emmaus art group choose to translate into a work of art. I have now added the missing "5" thanks to John pointing it out in my previous post.

This piece has gone through much adding and removal of paint. I realize I need to do more of this type of work as I learn immensely by the challenge to overcome problems that present. Though it's a very slow process its also enjoyable for me to once again work with layers and textures.
The outside of the door panels have now been coated with acrylic gel, which I forgot to thin slightly so the glaze is a very uneven thickness; but thats alright as I have since added more paint atop and before its complete I will give it another few washes of clear acrylic. The gel intensified the colors of the collage photo giving back the water sheen. I have roughed in my gnarled "tree of life" under the moon and have since added silver and gold over it but am waiting for the light to photograph it.

The main photo was applied to the substrate with acrylic gel. Both the wood and on the paper were coated then pressed together using a brayer. Being that the watercolor paper is fairly thick and not wanting to find it curled up and off the board overnight it was placed under the weight of a few art books to cure. The nice part about this is that the paper molded to the grain of the wood giving a subtly texture that is hardly noticeable, yet there all the same. The sky is layered with wrapping tissue over wasp paper to give textural depth, then painted with layers of acrylic glazes and wiped back numerous times. Wasp paper is also layered along the bottom for depth, texture and a touch of the natural. I wish I had some beach sand as I would adhere a sprinkling across the shore, but alas, I have none.

I'm thinking about placing a small pale shell in the right hand corner, but am undecided as it may weight that corner too much due the sail boat resting there.  I just love that there is a red life preserver in the boat as that helps the warm cool theme play out. At first I considered painting it a darker red to make it more noticeable thought I realize that it probably works better as a statement of faith as is. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

John 5:22-24

Presently I'm working on a project for a group show in Calgary based on John 5:22-24. I wanted to work with layers and a bit of depth so I decided on a Retablo, a type of devotional painting that combines media and usually has a shallow shelf. 
This is what I have started with. Gerald cut the plywood for me and which I then coated with wood glue and acrylic gel to seal it to prevent the lignin in the wood from drastically altering the photos I intend to collage. As an after though it may have been interesting to watch the piece alter and change rather than be preserved though. Must keep that in mind for the next one.
An image of water, refreshing water running over colored rock is collage on the door panels. The photo taken last summer in Redrock Canyon was duplicated and then flipped in Pages to further abstract the image. So in all, on each door panel the photo is duplicated four times.

My substrate is thin 1/4 inch plywood panel.

Here is the Redrock photo I duplicated. Last summer I was seeking the beauty of the abstract in nature.

The triangular part of the main panel is painted blue with black washed over. The center square strips are layers of red and blacks washed thinly one atop the other with a little wiping here and there.

On the inside door panels fire is represented; cleansing fire. I played with images in Pages as I cannot for the life of me figure out photoshop elements yet. On the left a chickadee in flight collage into a sunset image. The image was to fill the wood panel but the printer did not translate the size and printed it much smaller than I requested. As I have no more of the same thin watercolor paper I decided to work with the image as it was and tore back the edges. Layers of acrylic reds were then applied and subsequently wiped with a rag, then black applied and wiped back, then another red to get to this stage. The right hand panel is an image of fire layered over a sunset image. I love the bird shape produced by the flame and felt it would compliment the chickadee on the left. A red band which will later will be painted gold runs down the right hand side.
More to come, enjoy your day and share a smile.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Introducing Grandpuppies

Introducing Grand-puppies

My daughter named her mini-pin Loki, now I just sensed naming a dog after the God of mischief might not be such a good thing. Right now he is curled up in a basket by my feet. As he does not like being alone I brought the basket into the room and Loki happily jumped in, wound himself up in a tight ball and settled down for a snooze. In the above photo he is looking for the squirrel that runs along the fence line.

This is Fozzie, Loki's older cousin. Fozzie is my son's and his girlfriends Pug. 
A few years back an older couple mentioned they were going to Calgary to visit their grandchildren. I said I was also traveling south but that my grands were real dogs. The lady looked at me in shock and her husband burst out laughing. In July my first grandchild arrives into the world, I am so excited.
I have been working on an appliqué quilt for my grandson to snuggle up in.

My John project keeps taking unexpected turns. It will look nothing like my initial concept. I believe that is one of the beauties of creating, all the unexpected turns and minor mishaps that inspire one to make alterations. I feel sorry for people who know exactly what their finished piece will look like before they start and then strictly hold to that initial idea rather than having fun exploring possibilities. I believe I shall photograph it at this stage. More on that later. have a blessed day and Hugs to all.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Goddess

I still have not figured out how to use photoshop elements. Elements 5 came with the camera I purchased last summer and I am having difficulty finding free tutorial info on line, but aside from that I am learning how to do a wee bit of manipulation in Pages. This is a photo collage of images I snapped this past summer. I love the eternal Goddess image. The Goddess has been with human kind throughout the centuries and survives even though early Christianity attempted to smother her memory; she abounds alive and well in Miriam images.

It has been wonderful having my daughter here for a few days. She has been busy creating mono-prints and completed a wonderful block-print using ez-cut lino while I played with my John collage project. I could not find my printing inks so she used acrylic paint, which worked but did not have the best consistency for rolling onto the brayer. I think I shall purchase some inks and more ez-cut for the next project when she visits again. It looks like so much fun that I am now anxious to attempt a bird print.

My daughter has left me my grand-puppy to watch for a a few days while she goes to visit her father as they don't allow dogs on Greyhound; ironic.

I looked over a small section of her travel photos (a few thousand) and I am blown away with the images she has. I am encouraging her to apply for an exhibition somewhere as they are too fantastic not to be seen.
May you all enjoy the day and capture a hug.