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Happy New Year!

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Happy Holidays!

It is the time of year we reach out to friends, bring our families closer together if we can, and are extra nice to strangers.  Even if we are remiss in some areas the rest of the year, at least we do it the once!  And what a year it has been.

For me, it has been a good year.  I have painted a number of paintings I am happy with, I am happy to have sold several pieces of my art, I’ve been lucky enough to do some traveling to far away places, I’ve made new friends, and I’ve been able to spend time with several of the special people in my life.  I hope your year has been good too.  But if it hasn’t, remember:  a new year is coming, and when things are bad, they will get better.  They will.

Now I am going to share with you one of the pieces I painted as a result of my trip west.  This was a scene on one of our hikes.  It was in the Valley of the Five Lakes – the same hike I talked about in “A watercolour inspired by this summer’s trip to Jasper“.  This painting is called Fourth Lake, Jasper.  It is amazing how the scenes change along a single hike and depending on the direction you look.

If by any chance you are still gift shopping and you wish to browse my gallery (watercolours and fractal art available!), please know you are welcome – just contact me here or send me a facebook message, or phone me (519-879-9903) (be sure to leave a message if I don’t answer!).  Don’t hesitate to ask for an evening appointment.  If I don’t see you, I wish you all the best this holiday season.

Fourth Lake, Jasper. Watercolour on Paper. 11×15″. Artist Lianne Todd. $280.00

The Cats of Italy, number 1

Everywhere we went in Italy, we encountered cats who seemed to have a great deal of freedom.  Some obviously had someone who they answered to, and others were definitely feral.  At some point during the trip, I decided I had to do a series of paintings centered around the cats of Italy.

This first scene is appropriately named Cats of Lucca, as that is its location.  Lucca is a beautiful old walled city, (the walls are very thick, with tree-lined pathways you can walk or cycle on all the way around), with many sights to see.  There are towers to climb, beautiful churches to see the inside of, an oval plaza on the site of an ancient Roman amphitheater, the Piazza Napoleone (a Green Day concert was being prepared for later that day when we were there), and lots of shopping!

But this is an ordinary street scene in Lucca, with the warm Tuscan sunshine angling in and cats lounging and gazing into the distance.  I hope you like it.  If you’d like to see the painting in person, don’t forget our studio tour here in Otterville is next weekend, the 18 & 19 of November!

Cats on the streets of Lucca, watercolour painting

Cats of Lucca. Watercolour on paper. 15×22″. Artist Lianne Todd. $450.00

Welcome Back to Otterville

It’s November again and the next couple of weeks will be busy with finishing up paintings, framing, cleaning house, and that sort of thing as I prepare for this year’s studio tour in our little town of Otterville.  Where is Otterville you ask?  We are quite close to  Norwich, Delhi, and Tillsonburg, not far (half an hour) from Woodstock, Ingersoll, Simcoe, and Brantford.  And we are easy enough to get to (about an hour drive) from London, St. Thomas, Stratford, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge,  and Hamilton.

Otterville has changed a little bit since last year – we have some new landscaping by the falls, generously donated by members of the community.  Our beloved corner store, Otterville Variety, closed at the end of summer.  Now we have a new store there which just opened a few days ago – Market by the Falls.  I haven’t even been in there yet but it looks really nice!

Here is our press release for the tour (composed by Shirley Hokke, Sue Goossens and myself).  If you keep scrolling, you’ll find a condensed version of the information and a map of the tour – all contained on our postcards which you’ll find at kind local businesses, libraries, and tourism offices.

Welcome Back Studio Tour Press Release 

The artists of Otterville invite you to experience a full range of unique artistic visions at the 21st Annual ‘Welcome Back to Otterville’ Studio Tour November 18 & 19.  
This year, the artists highlight traditional paintings, original mixed media pieces, photography, art cards and jewelry that represent an artistic vision for the meandering spirit. Functional bird houses, outdoor furniture, and engraved items all encompass a wonderful lead in to the winter holidays.  You will be pleasantly surprised to find diversity, yet warm hospitality, in the historical village of Otterville.  The warm scent of hot apple cider or cranberry wassail brewing, and home baking at some of the studios, adds that extra welcoming touch.

Trudy Verberne creates one-of-a-kind greeting cards often with matching envelopes. She is exhibiting with artist Linda Hoffman. Located just minutes away is Shawn Pinnoy, owner of Stix and Skids, selling up-cycled décor including wreaths, bird houses, barn-board signs and much more.
Ralph Moore & Sons specialize in birdseed and seed mixtures. They offer a variety of bird-feeders including Droll Yankee, Squirrel Buster, Perky Pet, Pinebush, Going Green, Chapelwood, and some handcrafted by local artists.
Nordale Woodworking specializes in the production of solid wood furniture and outdoor poly lawn furniture. (They are not open on Sunday.)
There is a new studio on the tour this year. Tammy Gould does creative laser engraving. She creates gifts on glass, wood, and metal. Custom designs are available.
Jillian and Kaleb Driedger, owners of In Bloom Designs, create handmade bright and earthy jewelry. Their designs feature beautiful gemstones and mixed metals along with exotic and recycled woods.
Sue Goossens, Shirley Hokke, Mae Leonard, Linda Hoffman and Lianne Todd are professional artists compelled to create with completely different styles – artists who welcome you into their home studios to share their passion.
Sue has a large collection of watercolours both on paper and canvas. Landscape, architecture and a few florals!
Shirley paints from her heart in conceptual oils and watercolours.
Mae puts her whole imaginative spirit into her acrylic paintings.
Linda paints with watercolour and oil on canvas and has a unique creative outlook.
Lianne skillfully explores nature’s patterns with vivid watercolours and digital art, in many different and surprising ways.

All are welcome to visit each studio in Otterville on November 18 & 19 from 10am to 5pm. Watch for yellow flags at each location. Maps are available online at www.WelcomeBackToOtterville.ca, or pick up a postcard at local businesses. A special thank you is extended to the Township of Norwich.

A watercolour inspired by this summer’s trip to Jasper

On our first full day in Jasper National Park this past July, my daughter and I did some hiking.  In the morning, we started the Pyramid Trail, which I will no doubt be painting scenes from in the future.  Pyramid Mountain was one of my favourite mountains to look at and has so many colours when the sun shines on it.  The instructions we were following eventually revealed themselves to be outdated, so we ended up doing the trail in a direction opposite to the way we meant to do it, and our hike was a bit longer, but it was such a scenic hike!  Beautiful birch forest against blue sky (will be painting that too!), panoramic vistas of the Athabasca River valley and the town of Jasper, and the mountains on all sides of us provided a constant stream of visual inspiration.  Granted, it was a little smoky because of all the forest fires happening in B.C. at the time, but in some ways that added to the depth and made the lighting more interesting.  It turned out to be one of the clearer days we had.

After some rest and a late lunch, we set out for the Valley of the Five Lakes hike.  These lakes, which are such a lovely emerald green and turquoise colour, were a treat to hike around, and the small creatures that revealed themselves to us were adorable.

Least Chipmunk, venturing onto my daughter’s shoe…

At one point, we reached a couple of red Muskoka chairs (Adirondack chairs to some of you :)) “Parks Canada placed seven sets of red Adirondack chairs in quiet and scenic locations throughout Jasper National Park for visitors to enjoy the exquisite mountain and lakeside vistas. Each location shares a great story about the landscape and history.”  So we enjoyed a nice rest in those chairs and the view before us.  Someday I’ll paint that too! But I wanted to start with a painting that showed off the colour of the lakes, (not so easy to capture by photography, I found) and actually showed the red chairs.  As you may recall, I recently did a painting of Four Chairs that actually exist very close to my home – I can almost see them from my window – so I thought it would be fun to do another painting with red chairs in it from far away.  Here is the end result of that painting adventure.  It was fun getting the atmospheric colour right and setting the large mountains off in the smoky distance.

Two Chairs in Jasper, July 2017. Watercolour on paper, 15×22″.      Artist Lianne Todd. Private Collection.

 

And to finish the story, here is a photo of my daughter and I with a portion of the lake as a backdrop.  I am so thankful to her for inviting me on this trip!

Canada 150 celebration in Woodstock this weekend

Tomorrow, I will participate as an exhibitor at ‘Pavlo in the Park‘. It goes from 2 pm to 9 pm in Woodstock Ontario’s Victoria Park.

It has been a pretty busy summer, and I’ve put together a post on my other blog telling all about it if you’re interested.  It has filled me with inspiration and I’ve been itching to get busy in my studio.  After this weekend, I finally can.  The paints await!

Painting Holiday in Italy!

I do apologize for the months of neglect.  I didn’t even wish you a Happy Canada Day but with it being our 150th perhaps I’m allowed to say Happy Birthday Canada all year long.  More on that later!  I did participate in an art show in June with our Artists of Oxford group at The Arts Project in London, Ontario, called ‘Canadiana’  I had three paintings there and one of them was a new one.

My husband and I also took a trip in June, to Italy.  It was a big deal for us, celebrating a milestone birthday and a milestone anniversary!  In fact it was the first time the two of us have been overseas together.  We had a terrific time, and while I’d love to share with you the many photos I took (over 1000) I am sure that is not what you’re here for.  So, instead, I will share the paintings I did and tell you about my painting holiday!

You see, a friend of mine had recommended this place called The Watermill in Posara, Italy, which holds painting holiday workshops.  We visited Florence first, before being picked up at Pisa airport by the Watermill staff, and spending a week there.  Later, after we were dropped off there again, we visited the Cinque Terre, Milan, and Venice, driving our own rental car (tip:  don’t do that, take the trains!)

But The Watermill will stay in our hearts and minds as the true holiday.  Okay maybe one or two pictures are warranted:

Courtyard of Watermill

Side of Watermill. Our window was the far one.

They  were so welcoming, catered to our every need, and we made lovely friends there from all over the world.  And I got to learn some painting techniques from master watercolor artist Keiko Tanabe!  The countryside around Posara is absolutely beautiful.  Every day had an excursion to an interesting place for us to paint or just explore.  So many interesting things in a short distance, that most tourists would miss.  (If only we could have stayed in Lucca a few more hours for the outdoor Green Day concert!!!).

Anyway, I gained some great plein air painting experience and instruction and best of all, we two both had a great time!

Here are the paintings I completed during the week:

Vernazza, painted using Keiko’s photo reference and following her demonstration. Later, after the painting holiday, I was able to actually go see this place!

Verrucola. Painted mostly en plein air. Finished in studio with my photograph as reference.

Market Day in Fivizzano. Painted en plein air at beginning then finished in studio from memory.

Convento del Carmine. Painted mostly en plein air, finished in studio with my photograph.

It wasn’t all fun and games, we worked hard!  🙂

Painting in Verrucola

Sketching in Lucca

Discussing progress in Convento del Carmine

And now, I’m off on another trip!  This one across Canada, by train, with my daughter!!