I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Saturday 13 January 2018


Jeffrey Watts 11x14

Every year I  need to get back to basics.  While I enjoy the impressionistic gallery landscapes I do -they are fun and experimental - but I regularly feel the need to test and improve my basic skills. This winter I am doing two things: making colour charts and taking the Watts Atelier on-line portrait drawing classes.

I never did colour charts , I should have, but they  always seemed laborious - but this year its happening. To make it easier I purchased premade charts from Colour Frontier.   I plan to do them using water mixable oils. For help I have the   RichardSchmidt text and a number of YouTube videos (just search under colour charts).  I will let you know how I do.

My best early training was at the Jeffrey Watts Atelier in California. I spent 6 months drawing and painting from life – portraiture, figurative, plein air and still life. I have returned twice for a refresher and taken a series of his recent on-line courses. Jeff and his colleagues are great teachers – but its serious stuff.

Jeff Watts - I was fortunate to purchase this 11x14 sketch  while there

This year the Jeffrey Watts Atelier is offering for the first time life streaming classes: one with Jeff for 20 minute fast layins and one with Eric Gist for a head drawing class. The intent is to bring you right into the regularly scheduled classes. I am just taking the basic $99 series - just auditing the classes starting next week and goes into March.  Again, I will let you know how its going. 

Thursday 4 January 2018


For the last few years I have purchased my tablets and laptops with digital drawing in mind. I am an Android user and have been using Samsung systems.. And while I spent some time learning to become comfortable with both hardware and software  I never really invested enough time to become good with it and found the  systems awkward to work with " in the field".

Recently I purchased my first of the Samsung Note series - the Galaxy Note 8. Its the largest phone ( a phablet) and comes with its stylus - the S Pen. Using it totally changed my use of the digital approach. The difference is the convenience of the smaller hardware. I can hold it in one hand and draw with the other comfortably. Its with me all the time. Sketching from the car, in the field, doing plein air, in the dentists office or barbershop. The new S Pen and phone glass are wonderful to work with - great sensitivity and control.

Software I started with was Autodesk Sketchbook which worked well but was more sophisticated than I needed. I wanted something simpler for quick, sketches yet still complete. I have started working with Infinite Painter and am finding it more than adequate and very " handy" for the sort of sketching I am doing.

I use it for simple line sketching or  creating a shape plan in value/colour using the FILL tool. I also use it in the studio for playing with ideas in advance of beginning a painting - abstracting colours etc.

In doctors office 

Simple shapes in the field 

onsite sketch with value plan

Waiting at the Border Crossing to US from car 

field sketch  - shapes, values and colours

On BC Ferries 

done on site Crystal Cove, Tofino 

So while I rarely used the larger  tablets for sketching  " in the field" I now use the Note 8 all the time. Its always with me.  At this point Apple does not make a phone with a stylus but rumour has it they might soon.