Easel Tales


One of my favourite places to be is in my studio in the basement of my home, lovingly called The Artcave, or for short, The ‘Cave.  Apron on, fresh water in hand, I dive into my projects to the tunes and smooth voices of the DJ’s on Jazz FM.  It is the quintessential “my space” for all of my art activities, whether starting a fresh series, putting the finishing touches on some almost-finished pieces, or laying the tables for some fun pour painting.  Come see what I’ve been up to…

As Diverse as the Weather (posted March 8, 2018)

Working Title: Spring Bouquet    Status: progressing

Now that my work with the February art show is done, I have been free to get into the Artcave and paint more frequently than I have been in some months.

Working Title:  Favourite Pine                          Status: progressing…

And the weather, which influences my mood and my painting so strongly, has been all over the place. There have been as many blasts of heavy, wet snow as there have been warm and sunny days, beckoning the blooms from their slumber.  I am finding it difficult to return to both of these paintings until the weather makes up its mind and settles down again.

But these are just two of the many I am working on.  Stay tuned for more Easel Tales coming your way soon.


Thinking of Spring (posted February 3, 2018)

I love the snow but my mind has been on flowers.

Feeling like flowers…

In the Artcave I am surrounded by unfinished snow scenes that have definitely stalled.  Tired of banging my brush against these canvases and getting nowhere, I decided to change up my palette and try something different.  Et voilà!  Flowers.

I will let this sit for awhile before I decide what to do with it.  Should I stop? fuss some more? Add some more colour?  I hope the wait will bring me answers…

Dashing Snowmen (posted December 21, 2017)

Night Skiing (9″x12″, $125)

In my early painting days when my work area was still a small table in a cramped spare room, I created my very first painting on canvas.  It was early December and the house was already decorated for Christmas, so naturally I was thinking snow scenes.  Over the next few days, as I explored paints and brushes, I created my snowman painting, Night Skiing, and it has remained one of my favourite paintings ever since.

Bashful Joe

This year as I prepared for the annual Artful Treasures show at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre, I wanted to make something special.  Inspired by my earlier work, out trotted four new dapper snowmen. You can meet them all in the Snowman Series under Abstracts on Canvas in My Paintings.

No Peeking! (posted July 21, 2017)

Shhhhhhh… I’m keeping it a secret.  The caption colour is the only clue.

The painting will go into the space above the new fireplace

I am currently working on a large commission piece for another sister-in-law, to put over their new fireplace.  Because it is so large – the canvas is 2′ x 4′ – and also because I am working on it in duplicate, it is taking up much of my time in the ‘Cave these days.

The dining room also opens to the new fireplace

And much of the room.  My normally ample, if not large easel, can barely hold it, nor is there much room for the other one to stand drying, tilted on its corner, on the tarp on the floor.

The coffee table and area rug face the fireplace


Wish me luck on this extravagant, albeit exciting and at times daunting, venture!



Early Morning Arrival, working title.

During the lengthy drying times, I have completed another painting in the Big Sky Series.  It was inspired by an early morning and wintry arrival time at Logan Airport in Boston for a New Year’s getaway a few years ago.  Let me know what you think!



What a Little Moonlight Can Do … (posted May 31, 2017)

… and a great paint combo!  Lucky for me, the slump I was suffering before the Pelham Art Festival was short-lived.  It snapped when I set aside the stubborn projects I was working on, cleared off my paints table, and pulled up a set of canvases that I had prepped just a couple months ago, each with a moody underpainting of charcoal and mauve edging around a buttery white centre.

Moonlit Shores (acrylic on canvas) is  the largest of a set of three paintings at 24″x20″

I love using anthraquinone blue and cobalt violet with black and white to create night skies, but feeling like I needed something more fresh and bold and fully of energy, I then chose a brighter palette of primary cyan, cad yellow, and cad red to illuminate the sky and foreground.  The result was what appeared to me to be night scenes, each suggesting lively sea shores illuminated by moonlight.

Bursting Forth (acrylic on canvas, framed, 17.5″x14.5″)
After the Storm (acrylic on canvas, framed, 17.5″x14.5″)

This trio of new paintings received a great amount of attention and admiration at this year’s Pelham Art Festival.  These were such a joy to create I am keen to make more soon.  

As for the paintings that have stalled… well, perhaps a bit more than the magic of moonlight is needed for them, but I am sure when the time is right, I’ll be able to finish them. 

Many Beginnings …  (posted May 9, 2017)

“Across the Bay” completed April 2017

Odd how some paintings can be started and finished in a day or two, and others can take months.  Lately, many of the paintings I have started are as yet unfinished, including a couple large ones that I have been working on in response to the Pelham Art Festival’s art challenge: create a piece inspired by your favourite Canadian Artist.  Despite this persistent slump, I have completed “Steeltown Memories” and renamed it “Across the Bay.”  Perhaps I will have more luck in the Artcave once springtime gardening and show preparations are over.  Here’s hoping!

Welcoming Spring and Fresh Ideas (posted April 18, 2017)

Steeltown Nights, completed in early April 2017.  I am in awe of the vast and poignant – yet remarkably beautiful – views I see from the Skyway on my winter drives home from Niagara.

I love winter – without a doubt more than the average Canadian.  But when another gorgeous and shimmering spring arrives, glistening with refreshing rain and warming temperatures, I feel a bit more gutsy with my painting.  Steeltown Nights and Citrus Spring are just two examples of some new and gutsy direction in my painting.

Citrus Spring, completed in March 2017. Irises are my favourite flower and I look forward to seeing them again every year.
Steeltown Memories (working title)

Steeltown Nights has a companion piece in the works (shown here) – I might call it Steeltown Memories.  I like the layering of the shorelines, but it still needs lots of work!

Final painting in the Big Sky Series – yet to be named

The final painting in the Big Sky Series still needs some work, too.  I love the pink in the sky over a snow-covered scene, but I can already tell that it will be difficult for me to feel like working on a snow painting now that winter is behind us.  Or, perhaps it should be an early spring snowfall?  The snow does look a bit heavy and wet and, well, temporary, doesn’t it?

Very early stages of a beach scene

Another painting is quickly becoming a beach scene, something very new for me, but inspired by the brighter blue that I picked up recently and have not used in a long time.

Water having drained off a rocky shore after another big wave.

And the last one, which I began soon after completing Citrus Spring, suggests the aftermath of a crashing wave of sea water draining away over the rocky shore.  Wow, do I ever love crashing waves, especially their cool and refreshing effect in the hot, hazy sun.

None of these are finished.  Who knows what will ultimately become of them?  I can hardly wait to find out…!


More Big Sky and a Touch of Love (posted February 11, 2017)

"Any Ole Port," the 8th painting in the Big Sky series, by T. Clancy
“Any Ole Port,” the 8th painting in the Big Sky series, by T. Clancy

Painting, pre-show promotion, posting – how do you fit it all in at once?

In my case, the more on my plate, the busier a bee I become, and preparing for this year’s Art Lovers’ Affair at Hernder Estate Wines just outside of St. Catharines kept the “honey flowing” for a couple very productive months – what a rush!

Hard to believe even for me, but I was able to include an even newer painting than my live auction entry (below) in this year’s show, which I completed just days before I had to pack up all my paintings and cart them down to St. Kits. “Any Ole Port” seemed to just fly off the easel.  My brother (“Coach”) was over for Super Bowl weekend and, once again, gave the advice I needed to make it work so quickly.  He’s a genius.  I wish I could keep him tucked away on a shelf in the ‘Cave and pull him down whenever I need him. Or, he should just visit more often!

IV. In the Garden
IV. In the Garden by T. Clancy

Plus, as early as December, I began the process of creating a special set of paintings for my new exhibit for February at Mama Mila’s Café, here in Milton. Knowing she likes exhibits to be as uniform as possible for the long, thin ledge of a display shelf, I chose 12″x12″ canvases that I would later put into wide, black frames.  I had a lot of fun creating the multi-layered paintings, first with washes and then pours, later knife, and then a slick of glaze.  But something was still missing, until in late January I decided to add a touch of red to each one – like Cupid’s arrow adding some love.  I hope you like my new Touch of Love series.  Better still, go to Mama Mila’s if you are in Milton for her delicious soup and a grilled sandwich, or her homemade pierogies.  She’s quite the cook, and her Café’s quite the find.  Café special: each painting is on for $15 less if you’ve been to her café and have seen it there.

Art Lovers’ Affair for some Big Sky, Mama Mila’s for a Touch of Love, I’ve got it covered.

My favourite song? A Taste of Honey!

Upcoming Art Lovers’ Affair Live Auction (posted January 16, 2017)

When Sea Meets Sky (22"x18")
When Sea Meets Sky (22″x18″)

I will be auctioning off When Sea Meets Sky at the Art Lovers’ Affair on Saturday, February 11, 2017. It will be your big chance to bid on this latest piece in my Big Sky Series.  Don’t miss it!

Some “Easel Updates (posted January 5 ,2017)

This past Holiday Season has been a very busy and productive one for me in the Artcave:

New Series Named

After some great input from family members visiting over the holidays, Persian Nights came up as a possible title for the series and quickly became the overwhelming favourite, suiting the consistently dark, mystical, and magical atmosphere of the paintings.

Coach says, “It’s time to frame!

My brother is my best art instructor and coach.  A trained artist himself, he is a gentle but firm critic, and is able to pinpoint why a painting isn’t working yet, or can offer many suggestions for next steps if the painting has stalled.  It was Coach who suggested I put a moose in the wetlands painting now called “Good Morning, Moose.”  That simple addition made all the difference!

Morning Bouquet (working title)
Sneak peek:  Morning Bouquet (working title)

When he saw a few paintings I had held off on since the summer, his only comments were, “Done.  It’s time to frame!”  Talk about a great Christmas present!

Roses by Moonlight (working title)
Sneak peek: Roses by Moonlight (working title)








The Art Stack
The Art Stack

The Renos Have Begun! Phase One: The Art Stack

My husband has built and installed The Art Stack (a stand-alone shelf unit from Ikea!),

and I just have to get the boards and trays to use as portable art tables for my paper pieces.  Stay tuned for the next phases of my reno!




New Series – Still to be Named (posted November 28, 2016)

Painting with the restriction of 3 colours, plus black and white, has been

Persian Nights

so enjoyable and rewarding with the Big Sky series that I wanted to see if I could get something going with a new palette.

I wouldn’t call it at all similar – the new colours really do take it to a different place in the imagination – but I like it!  Have a look at the others I did (click here), and perhaps you can decide what this “New Series” should be called.

Latest in the Big Sky series…  (posted November 9, 2016)

Rocky Shore (acrylic on canvas, 30" x 24")
Rocky Shore (acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 24″)

Yesterday I had a few hours on my hands before my husband and I would have to leave for dinner and a play in Toronto and I was in the mood to paint. The day was grey, soon to be drippy with rain, and I was feeling like shaking some life into any of my unfinished paintings. The almost-finished version of Rocky Shore greeted me once again over in that corner by my easel. I can assure you it was not with a smile, but rather the usual impatient, what-about-me pout.

I know, I know, I certainly had left this dear painting for far too long, over 6 months, but I knew it needed some big adjustments, not to mention the right state of mind.

Huh! It looks like I was in just the right mood to make the big changes needed.

One thing I did not change was the palette. I had made a promise to myself to use only 3 paints, plus white and black, for all of the paintings in this series. I have rather enjoyed painting with this restriction, and in this case, it was a life saver to approach the piece after so long knowing I at least had the colours right!

I’m going to leave it for awhile, but I believe it is done, or very close to done. Tell me what you think.

Cruising Through Europe (posted September 2, 2016)

As everyone had told us before my husband and I left in the middle of August, a river cruise is the best way to travel in Europe because you unpack once.  But believe me, it is much, much more than that.  The ship has become a happy and very comfortable home to go back to each day, leaving us free to mingle and shop and learn and live in the moment with happy abandon.  While this is the trip that I wish would never end, still I am eager to get home and resume my painting.  The charming villages, towns, and cities along the Danube have filled me with so much inspiration I am bursting with it.  Below are just a few of the sights that I hope will find their way into my paintings when I get home:

acrylic painting of an injured charging bull in an artist colony in Serbia
acrylic painting of an injured charging bull in an artist colony in Serbia
spiral staircase inside a Croatian home
spiral staircase inside a Croatian home
morning sunrise along the Danube, between Austria and Germany
morning sunrise along the Danube, between Austria and Germany
cascading flowers in charming Passau, Germany
cascading flowers in charming Passau, Germany
painted pathway marking the way for tourists in Passau, Germany
painted pathway marking the way for tourists in Passau, Germany







A Happy Return to Pour Painting (posted August 16th, 2016)

A friend was over recently to learn how I do “pour painting.”  She took away two small creations and lots of big ideas! Below are my three small pieces in their initial stages:

Summer Sun - early stages First Bloom - early stages Rise to the Occasion - early stages

which I am tentatively naming, in order from left to right: Summer Sun, First Bloom, and Rise to the Occasion.  Naming is a big part of the fun for me.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

DelightThen, and especially after the recent sale of Evening Ball, I found myself re-inspired to create a much bigger “pour,” which I have tentatively named Delight, in large part because that was how I felt when I was creating it.  I love the theatrics of this one!

I am looking forward to finishing these and making more.  Stay tuned!

Another Big Sky Painting  (posted July 28, 2016)

… dare I say “on the horizon!”

The Narrows
The Narrows (22″x18″, framed)

I won a beautiful frame fitted with a blank 16″x20″ canvas in a draw last year and realized not long ago that the colours I have been using in my Big Sky series match the frame quite well.  I’d been meaning to use the canvas for my Big Sky series and hadn’t got around to it until recently.  I have just finished it and named it “The Narrows.”  I plan to bring it to the Art by the Lighthouse art show this weekend at the Pumphouse. Send me a comment and tell me what you think.

Latest Commission a Success! (posted July 13, 2016)

While remarkably different than the painting it was meant to resemble (In the Midst, below), the painting I created recently for a commission was a resounding success!  The homeowner just loves it!  She had had a place in mind for it, in her newly painted family room, but decided to try it in different locations just in case.  It seemed to suit the colouring in every room, which surprised her – she hadn’t realized until then how well she had kept the same tones throughout the house and was simply thrilled to discover that through this painting.  For fun, I have left it up to her to name and will post it when she has decided.

In the Midst (acrylic on gallery canvas,30"x40")
In the Midst (acrylic on gallery canvas,30″x40″)

Captivating Favourite (posted July 4, 2016)

Working with a new wide brush, I used the same technique as my Big Skies, Low Horizons series, but to brighten things up for a more floral feel, I used primary cyan instead of azurite hue, cadmium yellow instead of iridescent gold, and threw in some dioxazine purple.  While I hadn’t planned to stop at this point, everyone who has been in my studio points to this one as their current favourite.  I have since received a commission to create a similar painting but with the azurite hue subbed back in.  I am very close to finishing it and look forward to posting the result very soon!

Oh, and Orcas Arriving is now done.  See the caption in the photo below.

Big Skies, Low Horizons (posted June 19, 2016)

I had seen a set of 3 large paintings, all with big, cloud-filled skies and low horizons at a friend’s house a few years ago and was instantly covetous; I wanted to do that, too!

When I set out on this grand scheme, I started on smaller canvases to practise, and decided to restrict my palette to just Azure Hue, Primary Magenta, Iridescent Gold, and of course, white (titanium) and black (mars).

Here’s what I have so far, only two of which I can say are finished:

Staying the Course (22"x18", framed, $200)
Staying the Course (22″x18″, framed, $200)
Lake View (12"x12", $90)
Lake View (12″x12″, $75)

The iridescent gold is quite transparent and perfect for being able to warm things up with subtlety in both of these finished pieces.



Orcas Arriving
Orcas Arriving (22″x18″, framed, $200)
Rocky Shore - process 1
Rocky Shores, unfinished

I am happy with how both of these two pieces have progressed.  I’m looking forward to getting them done soon, hopefully in time for my show at Figg Street Co. (in Thorold) in August.



Meadow and Sky (working title), very early stage
Meadow and Sky (working title), very early stage




I have not returned to this one in awhile because it is so different from the others, I need to be in a special mood to work on grasses and wildflowers.




The Progress of “Gumshoe” (ongoing)

In addition to several smaller pieces throughout my studio, I usually have 1 – 3 larger pieces on the go.  Gumshoe is one of these larger paintings – it is 4 feet by 3 feet.  I haven’t been able to work on “him” as much as several months ago because the springtime has brought with it many exhibits, shows & sales, sitting in the local gallery, and more.  Check out his progress, from most recent to least.

Gumshoe process - June, 2016
June 2016:  I haven’t had much chance lately to work on Gumshoe, but did think it needed a bit of warmth in the background
Gumshoe process photo 2
April 2016: Here is the latest version of “Gumshoe.” Believe me, I have an idea of where this is going, just not getting there very fast.  Wish me luck!
tentative title: Gumshoe
January 2016:  The first stages of Gumshoe

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