Tag Archives: original painting

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



I remembered to take my camera last week, so I thought I would post a few photos of the exhibit in Tillsonburg.  Also, in my last post I didn’t give you the closing date for the exhibit!  It will be … Continue reading

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

Festive Greetings

Happy Winter Solstice everyone, it’s a good day to celebrate, for me personally, and for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere where we can anticipate longer days from here on in.  Whatever you celebrate in the month of December, I hope you know that you are loved and I hope you receive a gift of some kind.

For me, it’s been a very busy year filled with working for IWS Canada, traveling, learning new things about me as a painter, and coping with a lot of physical pain and limitations that continue but will only last another year or so (I’m told).

One of the main things I focused on this year was painting en plein air, which was something I started doing more of the previous year but hadn’t done a lot of prior to that.   I’ve thankfully reached a point where I do feel satisfied with my results (small though the paintings may be)!  While I do have great admiration for those who paint outdoors, and have met some who paint in really extreme conditions, I have to admit I know now I will always be a studio painter.  My plein air pieces are quite special to me though, as they are filled with the memory of being there for an extended time, the sounds, the smells, the people who stopped to say something… there is definite value in that.

That being said, being a studio painter involves being in the studio, and I found all the computer work that was necessary for the IWS Canada volunteer work kept me out of the studio way too much!  In addition to this, it compounded the physical problems I’ve been having.  In contrast, when I paint, all the pain disappears for the duration of my painting session.  So, I have stepped down from my position as Publicity Director and am leaving it in capable hands, much to my relief.   It has been very rewarding working on the IWS Canada team for the last four years.

This coming year will be spent painting in the studio, creating fractals, and sorting through all the things I’ve been putting off sorting through.

I would like to take a moment and say a huge thank you to all of the collectors who approached me or went to any of my exhibits and purchased artwork this year.  You made everything easier!

In the New Year, I will sit down here and tell you all about my trip to Portugal, and show you some of my paintings from there.  In the meantime, please have a safe, happy, love- and peace-filled holiday season!

A Winter Dawn at the Farm. Watercolour on Paper. 15×22″. Lianne Todd. Private Collection.


More Watercolours inspired by Jasper

I’m getting ready for this weekend’s Oxford Studio Tour, and have now framed some more of my work that I just recently finished.  I thought I’d put the ones I have done of Jasper National Park, Canada, all together (except for the one that sold, and the one that is being juried for a show) in this post even though one of them (the last one in this post) has been featured before in my Happy Holidays message.

This first piece is of a view from our hike along the Maligne Canyon.  I don’t mention the name of the canyon in the title because this particular scene doesn’t really give you an idea of the depth and narrowness of most of the canyon.  I just really liked it.  I actually struggled with the title for a while, and finally settled on Canyon Creation, Jasper, because I think it shows how the canyon is at least partially created by the water flowing through the gaps in the rock, carving out potholes and other interesting features.  This one is done on gesso-coated paper, (Strathmore Aquarius II 80 lb paper that I coated with Liquitex gesso), so it looks a little different from the other two, which are done on cold-press Arches bright white 140 lb paper.

Canyon Creation, Jasper. Watercolour on Gessoed Paper. 11×15″. Artist Lianne Todd. SOLD. Private Collection.

The next one is of Pyramid Mountain, which was my favourite mountain in Jasper because of all the colours of rock, and the sort of diamond-shapes formed by the rock.  I just found it really pretty.  We did the Pyramid Mountain hike on our first full day in Jasper, and were lucky it wasn’t quite as smoky from the forest fires in BC that day as it was on other days.  Beautiful hike, even though we went in a direction we didn’t at first intend to!  This is the same hike that had the birch trees you can see in my previous post Hopeful Ventures.

Pyramid Mountain, Jasper. Watercolour on Paper. 15×22″. Artist Lianne Todd. $475.00

This one is of Fourth Lake, one of the lakes the Valley of the Five Lakes, which we also hiked on our first full day in Jasper.  Lots of beauty along that hike too!  And the lakes really change colour depending on which direction you are looking.  See my post titled ‘A watercolour inspired by this summer’s trip to Jasper’ for more about the hike and another painting which is already sold.

Fourth Lake, Jasper. Watercolour on Paper. 11×15″. Artist Lianne Todd. $295.00

All three of these, along with many more of my paintings and my digital art, are available at my gallery in Otterville.  I hope if you’re in the area you’ll consider coming out to see them in person this weekend during the 11th Annual Oxford Studio Tour.  Maybe you need a little bit of art on your walls!

The Cats of Italy, number 2

As I mentioned in my previous post about the cats of Italy, some were definitely feral and others clearly had a home, like these two Kittens of Venice.  Venice was our last stop in Italy, so by then I was definitely on the lookout for all potential kitty subjects.  We had spent a late afternoon exploring on the north side of the Grand Canal, then were looking for a restaurant to eat supper.  We passed this window just as we found the perfect spot to eat.

Like most windows in Italy, there was no screen, so I was actually able to reach in and give their little heads a scratch with my fingers, and they were so sleepy they didn’t care.  I love the age of the brickwork, and the ornate wrought iron.   Everything in Italy, no matter how simple or practical its use, seems to have been made to look beautiful for hundreds of years.  We could learn a lot from this over here in North America!

During the Oxford Studio Tour, coming up May 5 & 6, 2018, this painting (among others) will be on display along with the previous one in the series, and a new one that I’ll be introducing soon!

Kittens of Venice. Watercolour on Gessoed Paper. 15×22″. Artist Lianne Todd. $475.00

And now, for a little context, here is where we ate, with this window next door.   It was very lovely, and the food was good, though now I can’t actually remember what we ate!   For anyone interested, it was the Trattoria Alla Palazzina.  These are two other views from our table:

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. $475.00

Under the Milky Way

There’s a new juried show opening, at the Elm Hurst Inn in Ingersoll, ON.  It’s called Spectacular Skies.  The title of the show immediately made me think of the night sky: in particular, the night sky in places where light pollution hasn’t destroyed the ability to see the Milky Way in all its glory.  In spite of so many nights away from cities, I’ve yet to really see the night sky in its full splendour, and I hope to do that someday.  I was pondering where, in the world, might be a good place to do this, and my mind went back to this lovely and somewhat isolated cottage at Glen Coe in Scotland.  While thinking about all this during a car trip, I happened to be listening to SiriusXM’s 1st Wave channel, and ‘Under the Milky Way’ by The Church came on.  Complete with bagpipes mid-song.  So, that settled it, I was definitely going to paint this scene.  I dug out my photos of the cottage, changed the composition a little (the photos were taken from a tour bus), imagined it at night, with the Milky Way above it, and got started.

I photographed my work as it progressed, and put all the photos together in this little video.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you’d like to see the framed finished piece, which is a full sheet watercolour on paper (22×30″), it is hanging at the Elm Hurst until May 17.

Opening night at Paint Ontario

If you haven’t been to the Paint Ontario exhibit in other years (I hadn’t) this is really an exhibit worth driving to.  Such an amazing array of really good art portraying so many aspects of Ontario life.  Some really large pieces, some quite small…. mine fell somewhere in the middle, size-wise.  Maybe I should paint larger more often – the large pieces have such an impact.  I loved all the bright colours in many of the pieces, and some of the innovative mixed media.  Very inspiring.  I was also especially glad to see some watercolour pieces winning awards – and congratulations to all the award winners regardless of medium!  I don’t know how a juror would be able to choose, it must have been very difficult.

Anyway,  here is a little picture of me with my two pieces.  I was really happy they decided to hang them together.