Category Archives: Tourism

This weekend! Welcome Back…

Just a reminder – this weekend is our 23rd Annual Studio Tour here in little historic Otterville.  The weather has cooperated to make Otterville look exactly as it does in the image on the postcard. That was not my intention when I designed the postcard!  Sorry folks… but guess what?  The forecast for the weekend is – SUNNY!  So the snow currently present should at least look pretty.  And most of all, you shouldn’t have any trouble driving here!

Once you arrive (here is a map of where I am), if you haven’t acquired a postcard from the multitude of places we’ve all left them, or printed a map from either here or the website, just look for the yellow flags to show you where participating studios are.  There is no admission charge, and each of us will have some postcards available.   Sometimes there are extra places open in town just for the weekend, which is great too, but the yellow flags indicate those who have actually paid for our advertising, so we hope you will definitely visit all those with flags.  You never know what unique and perfect item you might find if you go, or miss if you don’t!

Just click on the image below, and then save and/or print:

Map of Welcome Back to Otterville Studio Tour 2019

Look for the yellow flags!

This is my most recently completed painting.  It’s what some of the countryside around here looked like earlier this fall.  I shared it on social media as soon as it was finished, and had interest from more than one potential buyer.  It has now sold, and they’ve chosen to frame it themselves.  They’ve even been kind enough to leave it with me until after the tour, so that I can have it on display.  Although… I’m not sure where I am actually going to do that, as I have so many other recent paintings and fractals to show you!  It’s been a very creative year.

Three Kilns. Watercolour on Paper. 11×15″. Artist Lianne Todd.  SOLD


Welcome Back! or welcome for the first time…

Lianne Todd, Annette Lilley, and Sue Goossens with their creations.

Press release:

Visit the historic village of Otterville for the 23rd annual  ‘Welcome Back to Otterville’ Studio Tour November 16 & 17. Each year, the artists of Otterville open their studio doors to exhibit their original art, photography, art cards and original mixed media pieces as well as bird houses, steel and wood works and unique floral creations. Treat yourself to a quiet day in the countryside and enjoy some hot apple cider or cranberry wassail and homemade cookies while you experience a world of creativity.

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. Stock up on quality bird seed while in their shop.
Rooted in Floral is a new shop in Otterville. Annette Lilley creates original floral designs inspired by nature using dried and artificial products. When in season, flowers, herbs and botanicals from her farm are a favourite for that special event. Rooted in Floral will be open for the Tour and the following Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Christmas. The Shop will be open by appointment as well.
Sean Kilbourne is a millwright by trade and is new on the tour with unique wood and steel pieces. Commissioned by someone to make legs from steel for a live edge piece, he was impressed with the finished product. “I set out to find my own live edge wood so I could play around with different styles of legs. Steel will always be my go to but I have found a way with wood tools. By working with the two combined mediums my knowledge is always increasing.”  Sean will have available some amazing pieces of functional pieces and furniture.

Sue Goossens, Lianne Todd, Linda Hoffman, Marlene Long and Mae Leonard 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! Her subjects represent scenes from northern Ontario, British Columbia and visions from her trips to Scotland and Italy.
Lianne Todd creates vivid watercolours and digital art reflecting nature. She depicts beautiful scenery from her travels and the life within it, as well as abstract-looking fractal ‘scenery’ and ‘life forms’ from her travels through digital ‘realms’ she creates, using vibrant colours on many different kinds of surfaces.
Linda Hoffman paints what is familiar and emotionally connected to her imaginative mind. She works in a variety of mediums and styles.
Trudy Verberne will be sharing Linda’ studio space. She handcrafts unique and meaningful greeting cards.
Mae puts her whole imaginative spirit into her acrylic paintings. Truly unique! Follow the garden path to Mae’s display in her barn in the village.
Marlene (Young) Long has just moved to Otterville and this is her first year on the tour! She previously lived in the Niagara region. She paints landscapes and various other subject matter in oil.

The tour website has photos of artists’ work and a map to all the studios. For more information call 519-879-6352.
All are welcome to visit each studio in Otterville on November 16 & 17 from 10am to 5pm. Watch for yellow flags at each location, as these denote participants who have contributed to advertisement of the tour.  A special thank you is extended to the Township of Norwich for their support.

Map of Welcome Back to Otterville Studio Tour 2019

Upcoming Shows in November

It’s been a busy and and also at times very difficult fall so far, so I haven’t been doing too much blogging.  But I do need to publicize some shows I’ve got coming up.

This year, I’m actually participating in Oxford Creates again.  It’s been a while – I just checked and the last time I did that show it was 2011!  Where did that time go?  This year Oxford Creates is two weeks before Welcome Back to Otterville, making things a bit easier for organizing.  It is also at a different venue, so if you regularly go to that event, note the new place.

I will be around for Welcome Back to Otterville this year, and we have a few new artists/artisans on that studio tour as well.  More on that later!  For now I will present you with the advertising poster and postcard for the two shows.  If you are on social media, we’d love for you to share these images.  You can also email your friends with the link to this blog post if you like, or share it as well.

Oxford Creates Art Expo is November 2nd and 3rd (see hours) at South Gate Centre, 191 Old Wellington St. S., Woodstock.

Welcome Back to Otterville is November 16 & 17, 10 am to 5 pm, at various locations in Otterville (visit our website for a map)

Oxford Creates information


A New Outlet for my Art!

Over on my other blog, at, I posted yesterday about a new place my art can be purchased from.  Here’s a LINK to the post.  Please have a look!

Mama & Me, the Canadian Artisan Gift Boutique in Clinton, ON.

Meanwhile, don’t forget:  my exhibit ‘Discoveries in the Land of Discoverers’ is still on at Annandale House in Tillsonburg until September 10.

Algarve Coastline. Watercolour on Paper. 15×22″. Artist Lianne Todd.


‘Discoveries in the Land of Discoverers’

I will eventually get back to telling you more about my painting travels in Portugal last November. I just want to mention this show as I hung it today (10 pieces are mine) and it’s ready for viewing!

I finished a new painting yesterday, just in time for the show.  It is inspired both by my trip to Quinta da Regaleira, in Sintra, Portugal, and by a book I am reading right now – it dwells a bit on the Grail Romances which I find particularly fascinating.  In fact, the Quinta da Regaleira property’s architecture and structures are partly inspired by alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, and the Tarot, and many of these have been related strongly to the Grail Romances at times, including in the aforementioned book.  More about Quinta da Regaleira later… (it really captured the imagination) … for now I want you to see the finished painting.

The Stuff of Grail Romances. Watercolour on Gessoed Paper. 15×22″. $500.00. Artist Lianne Todd

You can get a much better impression of it if you actually go to the show, of course!  All of the pieces are ones that have been inspired by Portugal.

It’s at Annandale House (N.H.S), in Tillsonburg, on the second floor, in the gallery there.  Go check it out!


Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday (July and August only) 12:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

(Holiday hours may be different)


Annandale National Historic Site & Museum
30 Tillson Avenue
Tillsonburg, Ontario
N4G 2Z8

An Exhibit overlapping the Oxford Studio Tour

It is exactly one week until I welcome tourists into my home gallery (MAP) for the weekend of the 12th Annual Oxford Studio Tour (MAP).  In the past I’ve had visitors from Port Dover, Aylmer, Delaware (ON), Dundas, Kitchener, Lambeth, Stratford, St. Thomas, Oakville, East York, London, Hamilton, Ilderton, Sarnia, Sudbury, and even Ohio!  One thing I always enjoy is the conversations, when they happen.  I’m not much for small talk, and I tend to leave people alone to enjoy their viewing in peace, but art has a way of stimulating the kind of conversations I like to have.  I hope all will feel welcome to express their reactions to what they see in my gallery!

I hope you will also visit all the other locations on the tour, as we have a huge supply of talented artists here in Oxford County.  There are 40 of us participating this year, at 16 locations.

In the meantime, and after the tour, there is another exhibit happening in Tillsonburg.  I had a chance to see all the pieces when I dropped mine off – very interesting interpretations of the theme!  I have one piece in it, featured here:

Announcing H2O Exhibit, OCCISample of art at Lianne Todd's GalleryPlease click on the image to visit our Oxford Studio Tour website and find full information.  While touring, look for the red signs to help you with directions.




12th Annual Oxford Studio Tour May 4&5, 2019 — Oxford Studio Tour

I am not in the photo this year, but I do hope to see some of you at my gallery on May 4 & 5!  I have so many new pieces of watercolour and digital art to show you.

Location #4 on the tour.

The 12th Annual Oxford Studio Tour will feature 40 artists including seven newcomers in 16 locations Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Representing the group, are: (Ieft to right) Sue Goossens, Vonnie Snyder, Alex Smith, Lesley Penwill (front), Tabitha Verbuyst (rear) and Kate Innes. Information on […]

via 12th Annual Oxford Studio Tour May 4&5, 2019 — Oxford Studio Tour

A Trip to the Edge of the World

My villa mates were extremely kind and invited me along with them for a car trip to the edge of the world and back.  (It was only about 85 km away.)  Well, it used to be considered the “edge of the world” back when people didn’t know yet if the earth was round.  It’s the most southwestern point of Europe, Cape St. Vincent, where the town of Sagres and a historical fortress mark the point where Prince Henry the Navigator allegedly operated his nautical school and scientific institute.  Here is where the great Age of Discovery began, and Portugal did very well because of it, until a few centuries later when a great earthquake made a mess of things.

There are actually two points on the cape, one of them more to the south and one more to the west.  Sagres, and the fortress, are at the southern point, and the Portuguese Navy’s St. Vincent lighthouse, the second most powerful in Europe, is at the more western point.  We visited the southern point first, and explored the fortress.  Go ahead and click on any of the photos to make them larger.

The most southwestern point in Europe, visible from the area near the parking lot of the fortress. You can see the fortress up on the right.

Here is the restored Fortress itself, as seen from the parking area.

The St. Vincent Lighthouse, visible on the other point. This is a magnified view.

Remnants of the compass rose? No one knows for sure what it is.

We explored the whole cliff area behind the fortress as well.

The area between points is clearly popular with surfers! (click on it to zoom in and see them)

There were lots of interesting kinds of vegetation on the cliffs, but these seemed awfully familiar 🙂 – crocuses in November? Nice.

Not all parts of the cliff are completely solid, and you can hear the ocean through the cracks. Have a look at the arrowhead shaped part of this one…

Lots of turbulence!

Selfie with the point in the background. This lighthouse is smaller than the other one.  It was a windy day!

All around the cliffs, there were several fisherman dropping their lines down to the water.  I shuddered to think of the balancing act required to reel a substantially sized fish in.  I photographed several of them.  I just finished this the other day.  This fellow was pretty much right on the most southwesterly point, and struck me as a great subject for painting.  And I also really enjoyed painting all the textures!

Fisherman at the “Edge of the World”. Watercolour on Paper. 15×22″. Artist Lianne Todd

One of the things I found refreshing in Portugal was the general lack of guard rails.  It gave you the feeling of being trusted to be sensible.  There were warnings about going near the cliff’s edge, but it did not stop these intrepid fishermen who probably do this all the time.

After we finished our fortress and cliff exploration, we stopped for some lunch in Sagres, at a place called Retiro do Pescador Restaurante.  It seemed like a fantastic place to get a fresh fish meal if you knew how to order such a thing, and what you liked.  I, being new at ordering a meal based on the fish freshly caught and visible in the fridge by the door, didn’t do that.  I ordered the fish soup.  It was good, but I kind of wished I had been more brave and more prepared to spend the time and money for a fancier fish meal.  Maybe there will be a next time!

We then moved on to the other point at Cape St. Vincent, where the big lighthouse is.  Here it is up close:

We did ask if we could see inside, but that was a firm “No”. Would love to see it operating at night, and sit under the stars out here.

Resident Lighthouse Cat. Of course!

We had some delicious ice cream at the lighthouse area.  Be sure to have some if you go!

After we left the lighthouse, we decided to go up to a beach on the West coast, recommended in a guide book, called Castelejo.  The drive down to it was quite interesting – narrow winding hilly roads on which you didn’t really want to meet any other cars.  Turns out, this is a very popular beach with surfers – in fact I think we were almost the only non-surfers there.  I was unprepared for the scenery.  Very nice indeed – and I’m sure it would be even nicer in the summer!

Call me chicken, but it didn’t look like the safest place to surf!

CastelejoA different kind of beauty from the beaches of Albufeira.

After having a good look here, we started to head back toward Albufeira.  We drove down to Burgau, then along the coast to Luz, then to Lagos.  Spent a little while wandering around Lagos.

My favourite building in Lagos, covered in green ceramic tiles.

Then on to Guia (rumoured to be the origin of Piri Piri Chicken) for a wonderful supper at a place called Paladium.  Family owned and operated, all were extremely hospitable and the Piri Piri Chicken was great – SO much better than the first time I had it.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  I would like to take this opportunity thank Richard and Diane, my villa mates, for inviting me on this memorable day trip.


Praia dos Olhos de Água

Continuing with my painting holiday in the Algarve, Portugal:

After two full days in the jeep (see previous posts), I was ready for a day that involved walking.  So, I decided to check out another beach within walking distance, called Praia dos Olhos de Água. Olhos de Água literally means “eyes of the water” and refers to a spring there on the beach at low tide (see Wikipedia).

But, just in case you forget which beach you’re on, someone has kindly provided a painting of eyes so you know. 🙂

As you can see, it was a lovely day.  The walk took about half an hour, but I was carrying quite a few painting supplies so it wasn’t exactly an easy one.

Jorge, our jeep tour driver, had suggested a great spot to paint from, so I scoped that out first, but decided to take advantage of the great beach day and do a good amount of sunbathing before starting.

After that, I treated myself to a mango sorbet gelato cone on the patio of one of the little beach restaurants, while I enjoyed the view.  It was lovely!

I also took a few photos of the beach for future reference – one of them I used to begin a painting on a rainy ‘rest and laundry’ day.  I finished it later, when I got home to Canada.  Here it is:

Olhos d’Agua Beach, looking North. Watercolour on Paper. 14×20″. Artist Lianne Todd

I finally got around to plein air painting in the early afternoon, at this spot overlooking the beach, recommended by Jorge.  (A set of stairs leads up here from the beach).

Look for the final painting in another post – I didn’t get to finish it on this day.  When I literally started having to hang on to everything to keep it from blowing away, and noticed that the sun was getting quite low in the sky, I knew I had to call it quits.

On my walk home, I sort of made friends with some cats :).

Cats of Quinta da Balaia

Jeep Tours in the Algarve

The next day after my walk to Old Town Albufeira last November, was my first jeep tour.  I had booked two tours, one on the Monday and one on the Thursday of that week (telling them Tuesday would also be ok).  The first one I booked through Expedia, and the second one I found through My Guide Algarve, but both of them were run by Portitours, or MTS Globe.  I am not actually sure which is the owning company.  Anyway, as it turned out, since it was end of tour season, I had the second tour on Tuesday with the same driver!

The first tour was to the east of Albufeira.  Our driver, Jorge (I hope I am spelling his name right), picked me up at the end of the villa driveway in the morning – very convenient!  Then we proceeded to pick up the other 4 who were somewhere around Vilamoura, I think.  It was a very educational day, and I took tons of photos (259 on one camera).  I will include a few here but some are destined to be paintings.  In fact I have finished one!

Moorish Chimney #1. Watercolour on Paper. 22×30″. $950.00 Artist Lianne Todd

Portugal is full of these Moorish chimneys.  Some are very old, like this one, and others are very new.   Jorge pointed this one out to me for photographing first!  I find it really interesting the Moorish style of architecture has been embraced for so many centuries.  It gives a very harmonious feel to the country .  I’m sure these chimneys must be quite practical from the standpoint of preventing storks’ nests blocking them as well!

The dirt roads all over the countryside are private roads, but we were told anyone is allowed to use them if they want, for jeep travel, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and I think dirt biking.  They hold famous car rallies on some of these roads as well.  Jorge was very charming and entertaining, and so knowledgeable about all of the plant life, the animal life, the farming, the natural resources, and more! (Please click on photos if you would like to see a larger version of any of them).

One of the many dirt roads we traveled!

Thistles are used in the making of fresh goat cheese.

This Olive tree is 1500 years old!

We stopped for coffee at this little place.  They serve an excellent and inexpensive espresso, and the room has a lovely cork ceiling.

We were taken to a local distillery where Jorge gave us a great education about the production of Medronho brandy (firewater) and honey.  The firewater has a very distinctive flavour, and we were taught the particulars of how to first taste it.

These are medronho berries, which they make the spirits with.  They are edible, with a mild sweet flavour, though we were advised not to eat too many at once.  The plant is nicknamed a strawberry tree, but they don’t taste like strawberries.

Here is where we ate lunch. Delicious!

Complete with elusive garden cat.

Later we stopped in this little town for another break.  I bought some fresh local goat cheese, which I had to hunt for a little in a tiny market.

And at the end of the day, a rainbow.

Rainbow over the Algarve

The following day, the jeep tour went west, towards Portimão and Monchique.  On this day, there were 3 other tourists, a French couple and a lady who spoke many languages including French, Portuguese and English.  Jorge gave this tour in French (He asked me first if this was ok – I said yes.  I used to speak French fairly well, a long time ago.  A little rusty!  But I was able to understand most.) Again, I took many photos – 277 this time.  Obviously I am only selecting a few.

We started with a boat tour of the river at Portimão.  We didn’t travel up the river as far as I would have maybe liked, but it was a good tour.  Lots of birds!

View from the boat before we left the dock. Stork’s nest, baskets for harvesting shellfish (can’t remember, were they oysters?) – see next photo!

The shellfish (oysters?), attached to one of the pillars below the baskets.

Ponte Dona Maria, built by Gustave Eiffel, before he built the tower!

Bonelli’s Eagle. I know, it’s blurry. They’re fast, ok? And it’s hard to hold a zoom lens steady when you’re in a boat.

Cormorants and a stork.

I was told these people were digging for bait.

And this cool castle someone built to live in.

Then we stopped at Ferragudo (that’s a fun name to learn how to pronounce properly 🙂 for a break.  (Photo shoot for me – working now on one of the many scenes as a painting, which is how most of the photos will end up).

The walkway out to the harbour from Ferragudo.

Then we were off into the Monchique mountains and to a restaurant for lunch.

A grove of cork trees. Learned so much about cork! But I will let you learn about that on your own jeep tour 😉

wild cotton

And later, more education on medronho and honey!

Medronho berries in large tubs.

Honeycombs, centrifuge.

We saw some of the damage that had occurred because of recent forest fires too.

Guardrails are not a thing on these mountain roads!


A brief look at Silves (I came back here another day).

All in all, another good day, and a fine ending to it.

Obrigada Portitours!