Saturday, December 24, 2011


The imagination always comes bearing gifts.

Wishing you all well this holiday, and throughout the new year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


A beautiful, quiet winter day today...
The maple tree outside my studio is bare. It looks very elegant - Its branches strung with heavy beads of rainwater, and dozens of tiny birds who seem totally jazzed to have found the feeder.
I'm working on some new pieces, which I plan to bring to the annual Beaver Pt. Fair, here on the island this weekend. If you're in the neighborhood, it takes place on the evening of Dec 2, & all day the 3rd and 4th until 4pm. I love this event, and look forward to spending the weekend there every year.

I've also just finished making some hand made gift cards to serve as a really special version of a gift certificate. I made one that I hope will put a little magic into the moment when it's recipient opens it.
I have always believed that one of the best things art can do is to inspire someone else to tap into their own creativity. And, after a few people recently asked about giving the gift of tutoring, workshops, or artwork to their loved ones, I decided to create a menu of ways to make that possible.
If you're interested, or would like detailed information and pricing on any item or service, please give me a call or send an email. I will be able to mail gift certificates until December 16th to most places.

2012 workshop information will be posted in January. The one on one tutoring and creativity sessions are available year round, in person or via Skype.

A happy season to all!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Art & Breakfast

Croissant Story


I could spend a lifetime photographing the stories of where our food comes from, all the way from the fields to the table. And, I love to meet people who put knowledge  and passion into what they do. 

These images are  from my recent series of hand painted acrylic transfer prints on wood. Not only are they hanging at one of our favorite local eateries "Barbs Bakery & Bistro", but they're also of  the bakery, and what goes on there in the wee hours of the morning. The show will be up until the end of July. 
If you're interested in learning more about how this series came about,
 I'll attach the show statement below.

I've been enjoying experimenting with acrylic transfer printing lately, and this technique seemed particularly appropriate for a subject that is all about hand made. The transfer techniques are tricky, but also a lot of fun to do. It takes me back to my days of working with Polaroid films,  producing similar effects, yet with all new latitudes. 

Slow food is happening fast every night in the Barb's kitchen....
This series of photographs came about thanks to a Christmas cookie.
A couple of years ago, during the winter holidays, my daughters and I made some cookies that we put a lot of love into. As a holiday greeting,  I posted a picture of them to my art blog.
Not long after that, Barb's owners, Jennie and Jason, began plans to build a new website for their bakery & cafe. Jennie came across my blog, saw my cookie posting, and thought she may have found a photographer who just might also be a foodie.  She was right. 
I have been coming to Barb's for years, and have been impressed by the incredible job Jason and Jennie have done to restore, and expand upon, something the legendary Barb started many years ago. 
I, for one, am really glad they have managed to turn it back into a place where locals enjoy gathering for coffee, good food, and a chat.  Long before these photographs were made, I admired the sight of the freshly baked loaves of bread, lined up neatly on the wood rack behind the pastry case, which is also always full of decadent eye candy. So - I was glad to accept the task of creating a body of work for Barb's.
Jennie, Jason and I sat down one day and made a plan for what they might need for their website. To get to know their products better, I came down one night last summer at midnight and stayed until morning, observing the whole process.
To say I was impressed would be a massive understatement. Jason, and his amazing assistant baker Kai, moved like athletes non-stop all night. The whole event (and it is an event!), in a few words, was all about experience, teamwork, efficiency, and care. With the stereo playing, Jason and Kai stayed in perpetual swift motion. Glancing from time to time up at the clock all night, and with few words spoken, they turned scoops of flour into an incredible variety of  picturesque breads, croissants, & pastries. They worked with the urgency of being up against the clock, yet with an amazing gracefulness and quiet confident artistry. 
When the sun began to come up, they literally ran the hot loaves to the wood display shelves, and filled the baskets with pastries. 
Without a doubt, what I most appreciated observing was the utter care with which each and every single pastry and bread loaf was handled. I could see that Jason gets truly excited when the dough is just right, the edges of the bread are exactly the right brown, and the danish pastry is perfectly tender -"real butter is key". He held each pastry like he was putting a baby bird back in it's nest, and as if he didn't have 500 more to make.
In a world that has gone way too far down the road of mechanized mass food production, I am relieved that this island is one oasis where reverence for food and it's origins is still alive and well. That's
easy to see at the market on Saturdays. Not so easy to see what happens in the Barbs kitchen, six nights a week. That's why I wanted to show some of the photos. Trust me, the show is not a Barb's ad. That's not necessary - you're already here. 
The show is to pay homage to Jennie and Jason for keeping it real. Speaking of which, the barley levain bread -!
PS The Barb's website was completed, thanks to the expertise of Morgan Donnelly, and it looks great!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Workshop Descriptions

Hand Painting Digital Photographs

Learn to take your images to the next level, with the personal touch of your own hand.

With the first few simple strokes, discover how to reveal the heart and depth that exists in the collaboration between you and the image.  Hand-painting is an inspiring and fun process, transforming each image into a one of a kind artwork. Working on both color and black and white prints, we will enliven images by accentuating lines, enhancing highlights, tinting large areas, and more.

In a relaxed, bright studio setting, I will work with you, side by side, guiding you through my own particular process of applying texture and color to digital photographs, using acrylic paints, pastels and pencils.

Tips for selecting optimal printing surfaces for your images, handling and presenting your finished artwork, and the option of using oil paints will be discussed.

Three dates available for this one- day workshop:

May 15  Sunday

June 26  Sunday

July 11   Monday

10 am – 6 pm


You will be asked to bring a few work prints. Suggestions for selecting them will be given upon registration.

All levels welcome.
6 participants per class.

Photographic Alchemy

Alchemy: A power or process of changing one thing into another; esp., a seemingly miraculous power or process of changing a thing into something better.

This workshop explores the creative process of transforming any photograph into something beyond the original capture, bringing it closer to your vision.

We will discuss ways to identify, and visually emphasize, your original inspiration for a photograph, as well as reveal possibilities for using the original image as a launching point for your imagination.

Through a slideshow of before and after examples, lecture, discussion, questions, answers and samples, you will become aware of an inspiring and infinite world of possibilities for your images.

Emphasis will be placed on the use of Photoshop techniques, hand-embellishment, and alternative printing surfaces.

This inspiring day is about planting seeds of creativity. We will not be attempting to create finished products.

Participants should come prepared with several images* to be used in discussion, and a notebook. A laptop computer is optional.

Three dates available for this one- day workshop:

May 21  Saturday

June 24  Friday

July 9     Saturday

10 am – 6 pm

Open to all levels of experience. Knowledge of Photoshop is helpful.
6 participants per class.
*Details regarding images will be given upon registration.

Layering Images in Photoshop

This workshop is an inspiring digital adventure for Photoshop users who would like to explore the immense creative potential that lies within every image.

You will learn to combine the original photographic capture with additional images for added content, color and texture. Layering images an art form in itself, yielding unique artworks with endless possibilities.

I will instruct this workshop as a step by step process, with all of us working on a common image, at the same time, on laptops. In the first half of the day, using a projector & screen to guide you through the process, I will share my favorite tips and techniques for layering. As we proceed, during the second part of the day, you will have the opportunity to work with your own images.

With an emphasis on creative play, artistic integrity, attentiveness to detail, and a respect for the subject and “story” of the image, you will be well on your way to a whole new world of image making.

Printed notes will be supplied, so that you can review the information, and continue the techniques at home.

Participants are asked to bring a camera and a laptop. Basic knowledge of Photoshop is required. CS versions recommended.

Three dates available for this one-day workshop:

May 22  Sunday

June 25  Saturday

July 10   Sunday


6 participants per class.

Mounting Images to Wood 

Mounted images hold a space in a room in a very special way, similar to the way an original painting provides an atmosphere far beyond it’s frame.

Freeing the image from the boundaries of a framed border can give it the potential to be transformed from being an object, to becoming an experience.

Also, choosing to mount images to wood panels allows you to eliminate the glass that is traditionally used with photography, but can be distracting not just because of reflections, but also the fact that there is an actual barrier in between the image and the viewer.

In this very hands-on workshop, you will learn to produce beautiful, polished mounted artworks, using all archival materials and processes.

You will leave with a finished piece, built to last a lifetime, along with the knowledge to continue the technique at home with a minimum of tools. 

This course is divided between two consecutive days to accommodate drying times needed for glues, etc.

Three sets of dates available for this two- day workshop:

May 29-30  Sun-Mon

June 27-28  Mon-Tues

July 12-13   Tues- Wed

2 – 6  day one, 10 – 2  day two


You will be asked to bring a selection of prints to choose from for mounting. Instructions will be given upon registration.

6 participants per class.


Registration by phone is preferred:   (250) 537-6120

All workshops are $145, less $5 each for multiple registrations.

Due to the limited class sizes, advance registration and payment is required.
Accepted forms of payment: Visa/MC, Check.
Fee includes HST, all materials except for prints, coffee & tea.

After registering, you will receive confirmation, a receipt, directions, and additional information, by email (or standard mail if preferred).

Workshop Schedule-Spring/Summer 2011

Voila... The WORKSHOP SCHEDULE for the coming spring and summer is ready!
I am excited about this series of small group sessions, all of which will take place here on Salt Spring Island, in the new studio.  

The workshops are designed around the kinds of things some of you have asked for, as well as being subjects I particularly like to work with.
Every session is limited to six participants, to provide each of you a very personal, focused learning opportunity.

My approach is always to teach what I doI do my best to distill many years of exploration and practice, down to what works, and share that with you.

My goal is to provide you with skills and ideas, that will unlock the door to the potential that exists in each of your photographs. I trust that every time you have lifted your lens to photograph something, you did so as a response to inspiration. That initial inspiration is the key, and will be an important focus of our time together.

I’m really looking forward to these workshops. We’re bound to have some fun. 

I've also been working on putting together workshops in southern California, and the Santa Cruz area  because of requests, followed by kind offers of help with logistics, from some wonderful people in those areas. Look for those workshops  in the fall catalog, when it comes along around late May or early June.

If you are interested in any of the workshops this spring/summer here on this beautiful island, send me and email, or give me a call to request the full catalog by pdf:


May 15 Sun          Hand Painting Photographs
May 21 Sat           Photographic Alchemy
May 22 Sun          Layering Images in Photoshop
May 29-30 S-M     Mounting Images to Wood

June 24 Fri           Photographic Alchemy
June 25 Sat          Layering Images in Photoshop
June 26 Sun         Hand Painting Photographs
June 27 –28 M-T   Mounting Images to Wood

July 9 Sat             Photographic Alchemy
July 10 Sun          Layering in Photoshop
July 11 Mon          Hand Painting Photographs
July 12-13 T-W     Mounting Images to Wood

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Painters Lodge this Weekend

Just a reminder that Photographers at Painters is coming up this weekend. There are still has some spaces available for the weekend workshop extravaganza in beautiful Campbell River, Vancouver Island.  Here's the link: Photographers at Painters
Bound to be at least as much fun as the royal wedding!


I'm thrilled to share that I've recently moved my art studio to a bright new cabin in the trees, here on Salt Spring Island!
I'm incredibly grateful, and proud of the fact, that for nearly twenty years, I have been able create a life that included a home studio. I have made art while the soup simmered, the kids did their homework, the cat wanted out...and I wouldn't have had it any other way (okay, maybe less laundry).
Now, all of my daughters have grown into beautiful women, gathering their own creative momentum. At a certain moment, I realized it was time.
This new studio is perfect for what I do, and plan to do in the future. I feel so fortunate to have had it come my way.
My daughter, Chloe, described the excitement of it very well when she said "It's like when the winds came, and Mary Poppins arrived with the umbrella, you know?!"  She called me the next day to say "Momentous! That's the word for it!".


Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan

May your homes and hearts be swiftly mended.

"....To tread softly over sore ground in order
that somewhere beneath the raw estrangement
some fresh spring of healing might be coaxed
to release the grace for a new journey...don't allow your
sense of self to wilt. Draw deep from your own dignity..."
-John Odonohue

How we can help:  Canadian Red Cross American Red Cross

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Water, food, shelter, a sharp pencil…

and a few decent tools...

 In the studio, just as in the kitchen, I have found that there always seem to be a few tools  essential to the process of a smooth(er) workflow. That is not to say we can’t also make do. In fact, often with least at hand, the best of our creativity comes forth from the deep well of resourcefulness in each of us. So, don’t get me wrong, this post is not about “tooling up”!
In fact, is sort of the opposite.  It’s about narrowing it down to what really works, which may be different for each person.

However, since I am always interested and grateful to learn what works for others. In turn, I’d like to contribute to the big exchange going on.The internet has become a great tool, in it’s own right, allowing us to “cross pollinate”, both practically and creatively.

Apart from the the camera, and the officey obvious (rubber bands, pens, paper clips, loose change, spare buttons and fortune cookie messages  …), here are a few of the items that I consider especially helpful on an average day in the studio:

First, possibly the most important, also hardest to come by: A big, clean, empty surface. 
Before I set this up, I used various surfaces such as a drafting table, the dining room table, the floor...

A good cordless mouse. I really like this  Logitech “Anywhere MX”. It has good, smooth control for handling detail work. I just wrap it in the Belkin wrist rest it lives on when I leave the studio with my laptop. See that tiny black chip resting in one of the USB ports of the computer? That's what makes the mouse wireless. It stays in that port all the time.
 Inspiration: I really love having inspiring things to read and to look at in my workspace. Books, a branch of something I found on a walk, stones, a shell, a postcards, photos of friends and surroundings are always evolving, and I feel a sense of synergy in my working environment among these things.

 A large smooth, hard art board: A truly smooth surface is necessary for  hand-painting. I use big clips or tape to hold the images in place, and usually use this board at the easel, or propped on the table.

 Rotatrim paper cutter: Amazing tool. Self sharpening, and a total workhorse. This one is called a "Mastercut ll".
And, I really like this clear ruler.

The humble brayer, essential when adhering prints to surfaces (I don’t use it directly in contact with the print).
Paint brushes, etc: All shapes and sizes of paint brushes are, of course, invaluable for hand-painting prints. 
When they get a little too scruffy, I move them to another jar on the desk where they live a long productive retirement doing all kinds of things.
 That jar has an incredibly useful assortment of other tools as well:  Knitting needles, chopsticks, bamboo kitchen skewers, Q- tips, fluffy makeup brushes, the saved plastic spine edge of a report cover, etc. One of my favorite tools is a porcupine needle found on a walk in Italy.
 If you do your own framing....can't imagine doing it without a Point driver and double sticky tape gun.
 Swinging arm lamp with daylight bulb….When short winter days just don’t provide enough sunlight to get the work done in real daylight.
 Portable hard drives for keeping things backed up: My favorite are the “G drives”. This one is 500 GB.
 Sometimes it is really the smaller things in a fine tip sharpie, or a gum eraser...

 Card  case: Great little hard, portable chip case.

And then, of course, there's The Tool Drawer....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feeding the Birds

Traveling to a gorgeous place, and gathering together with birds of a feather, in the spirit of creativity… Up here, one might describe that happy convergence of purposes as “feeding two birds with one scone”.

There is an extraordinary place, in this part of the world, called “Painter’s Lodge”.  The resort & event center is situated by the ocean on northern Vancouver Island, in Campbell River - the land of salmon and eagles.

I feel fortunate to have been invited to present at the annual “Photographer’s at Painter’s” weekend this year, alongside eleven other diverse, experienced photographers.

I’m excited about the list of sessions, and definitely plan to sit in on as many as I can while I’m there. The two day, two night event, April 29-May 1, 2011, will include a series of workshops, demonstrations, panel discussions, and a gallery exhibit.
If you’re interested in attending, or are just curious, check it out by clicking this link:  Photographers at Painters 2011

News flash: There is a photo contest going on right now, for a free trip to Photographers at Painters this year. The contest ends March 20th.
To learn more about that, click here: Photographers at Painters Photo Contest

Oh, and if you fish, you’ll be in heaven. There’s a salmon derby going on at that same time!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Budding Tree: A larger image file to work with

I realize that the image file I invited you to borrow from the blog post is really small.
Click here for access to the larger image file in a Mobile Me gallery. It's 4x6, 300 dpi. Have fun!

What I saw on a walk...

 "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished" - Lao Tzu

There is a powerful, electric, vitality in the spring landscape. Every day that I look around me, I see exciting transformations occurring, bit by bit. If life gets too busy, and if we drive everywhere, we run the risk of not seeing this magic until the trees burst into blossom on a warm spring day, then shout out to us again in the fall in a blaze of color.
That's why I love to walk. Throughout the year, the pace of my feet allows me to notice the subtleties going on, continually, between seasonal peaks. On a walk last week near my home, I was drawn to the tiny buds forming on the branches of trees and shrubs along the road.
The bright scattering of buds looked like living fireworks to me. With the lens I had on my camera, and in the textured, lovely spring palette of colors, I found it difficult to capture the display. So, if I were to just show the original image, viewers might not see what I was noticing, without an explanation. That's where the fun and creativity in the studio comes in.
Most of what I do with Photoshop, and hand-painting, is an effort to emphasize what inspired me about the subjects of the photographs in the first place, and better convey that to others in the finished image.  Here is the budding tree after playing with it in Photoshop, and the original capture below.

Here's an invitation/challenge for you!  If you would like to, drag off the original image of the tree, and work with it to see how you might be able to capture the "fireworks". I'd love to see what you come up with and compare notes. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Colors of Winter

This is the time of year when the landscape looks, to me, as if it has been embroidered by richly colored threads onto pale silk.
The fine bare limbs of the willow trees are an incredible bright gold now. Leafless shrubs and hedges are alive with intense purples and reds against their backdrops of sleeping fields. I love the palette, and the pen and ink quality of the lines in the winter landscape. If you look closely at the branches, you can see the tiny buds that mean everything is about to change again, and very soon! That means a completely new, beautiful palette. Never a dull moment, in the natural world.

The new year is well under way, and I sincerely hope it has started off in an inspired and happy way for all of you.

I'm nearly ready to publish my 2011 workshop schedule! Dates and locations will be posted to my blog very soon. This year, in response to requests, I plan to offer three separate one day workshops, that will be held over consecutive days in most locations. It's fine to choose to attend just one, ala carte. If you would like to participate in more than one, you will receive a package discount. The classes this year will be:
1) Alternative Techniques Overview: Lecture, demos, intro to materials. No hands on.  
2) Hand-Painting Intensive: Hands on, all day, learn to paint on digital prints.
3) Photoshop Step-by-Step Immersion: Hands on, basic knowledge of tools  required. Bring your own laptop with Photoshop.
So far, classes are shaping up to take place in Southern California, Northern California, Washington and British Columbia.