Monday, 30 April 2012

Elderberry Hedge General Store

"Elderberry Hedge General Store"
(Watercolour, 7x10")

    As way of introduction, this is Zella the proud proprietor of the General store in the village of Elderberry Hedge.  Zella took over the running of this very useful shop several years ago and she quickly became well known to all who live in village as an extremely helpful squirrel; always willing to lend a hand.
    Zella's store has a "little bit of everything" and all is kept in excellent order.  Townsfolk and visitors often comment on the neat appearance of the store to which Zella will always smile and reply, "A place for everything and everything in it's place."
    Zella is quick as a wink at filling customer requests, so much so that townfolk say when you go to Zella's store and ask for anything, it's in your hand before you have time to change your mind!  Partly due to her amazing organizational skills but mostly due to the fact that Zella simply loves chatting with everyone who comes into her store.  "If you get business out of the way quickly there will always be more than enough time left for catching up with friends!"
     Every October the townsfolk of Elderberry Hedge celebrate the harvest with a Fall Festival Bonfire and each year Zella donates a big bag of popping corn kernals so that everyone can enjoy popcorn-on-a-stick by the bonfire.... You cannot attend the bonfire without becoming a willing spectator of an impromptu school: watching Zella show the younger children how to spear their popped corn with a clean thistle prickle and then instruct the older ones how to do the same with a Honey Locust thorn.
    When Zella is not at the general store she loves to go on hikes through the woods looking for interesting pine cones - she loves collecting them!  Her collection is quite extensive, even including a very rare Monterey Pine cone which she traded with a badger for a sack full of oats.  

♥ Cath-

P.S. I am indebted to Emily Ann for the imformation listed above.  I was only just being introduced to the village of  Elderberry Hedge when I documented Zella's store with the painting I included above.  I'm sure my travels will allow me to re-visit Zella's neat-as-a-pin general store and after a while I will hope to have heard enough stories to share some her wonderful adventures in Elderberry Hedge with you!  


Sunday, 29 April 2012

I ♥ Sundays!

"I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go into the house of the Lord.""
(Psalm 122:1)

    I have decided that each Sunday I will post one of my photographs with a bible verse because Sundays are a wonderful day for my family and I to gather with other Christians to praise and worship God!
    ♥ Cath-

P.S. This photo was taken a few years ago on a beautiful warm day in early May at Brock University - a budding tree at the Pond Inlet.

Friday, 27 April 2012

A Discovery

"Oh, that’s the ol’ manor house, ma’am, no one has lived there for more than half a century.” 
Those words echoed in my memory as I stood and looked at the house that at one time I’m sure was the most beautiful estate in the township:  Elderberry Manor.  The brick stood sure and fast until your eyes trailed toward the crumbling foundation.  The paint was chipping on most of the woodwork, and a few of the smaller window panes had been broken.  It seemed a shame that such a lovely house know stood empty and – lifeless.   
Acres of property surrounded Elderberry Manor. Beautiful grounds complete with orchards, fountains, ponds, and long ago, prize-winning gardens...  Townsfolk say that there was even an intricate hedge maze tucked in among the other beautiful features, but now all overgrown and somehow forgotten.
Or so I thought.  Little did I know that just behind this lonely house was a place bubbling over with life;  I myself didn’t quite believe it – it took a little girl named Emily Ann to finally assure me of its existence, for one had to look very carefully to see it…


Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Doodle That Inspired

"The Library"
(Watercolour, 7x10")

    This is the 'doodle' that inspired a whole waterfall of ideas....    
    While making this doodle, because that's what it started out as, I knew it was just for me so I could simply play.  I began with the tree because I wanted to play with a new texture idea I had and then the hedge came into play because I like drawing leaves... a little girl - reading of course! - soon I realized she needed fairy wings. Next the window, and who should appear in that window but a robin wearing pince-nez! A whimsical, swan-neck flower and a Chinese Lantern flower over the door were some of the last bits to be included...  
    For me, at the time, this picture told me just enough of it's story to interest me into exploring this seemingly quiet village.     
    I have visited this l'il village quite often since the time I completed this illustration late last year and have documented through simple illustrations what I discovered there... there is still so much left to explore - I can't wait to share it with you!!

♥ Cath-

Monday, 23 April 2012

Springtime Joys Too

"Springtime Joys Too"
(acrylic, 12x12" stretched canvas)

    I do most of my painting while the girls are at school.  The house is quiet (ie. interruption free) and I can listen to my classical music and just paint.  I have believed that I need this kind of environment to paint - chaos is not condusive to concentration so when the kids are home, I'm a mom and not a painter... but over the last few days of busy-ness I have come home wishing to get more work done on my paintings and so even though I heard the voice in my head saying, "You can't paint now, the kids are home", I walked to my art table, sat down and painted!  I wasn't able to dedicate hours to the effort at any one time, but little by little over the last few evenings I painted a bit here and a bit there and finished my painting -  all while the kids were home and running from room to room, asking questions, needing help with projects and watching television - I don't know about you but I call that a breakthrough!!

Detail of Springtime Joys Too
    This detail of the field mouse climbing between two daffodils to get closer to the branch of blossoms is the exact image I saw in my mind while walking to the library one morning... I had just completed "Springtime Joys" and thought that since I had one more 12x12" cnvas left that a companion piece would be nice... I knew that a mouse would work well in the companion painting so I gave it a little more thought and then pow! This image popped into my mind and I smiled out loud when I saw it! 
    I continued my walk, a little more quickly mind you, using my time to focus on the image and as soon as I got home I ran to my sketchbook and recorded my thoughts!

      Simple joys appreciated become so much more!
    ♥ Cath-

Springtime Joys 'set'


Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Stack of Teacups - Framed!
(Original print framed to 4x6")

    All it took was a wonderful, dear friend to get an inspiration about how to display my greeting card design for me to see my artwork in a whole new way!
    A whole new world seemed to open up to me today as I sat and visited with my lovely friend Lisa.... Lisa has always believed in me and has always seen potential in my artwork.  So when she went and retrieved a frame and put one of my greeting card designs in it she was really giving me a huge gift - she gave me the gift of believing in my artwork and seeing it as having potential to be sold...  She gave me possibility! 
    After traveling home, my mind swirling with new ideas, I stepped out of the car and saw the endless expanse of blue sky and suddenly said to myself , "That's how I feel right now!" 
    The possiblities are endless!! 

♥ Cath-

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tulips at John & Lisa's

"Tulips at John & Lisa's"
(Arches, 9x12")

    Sometimes you never know where your next inspiration will come from but when you eyes fall upon it and you know you want nothing more than to sit and paint the view - you'll know you've been struck by it!
    Tulips have the 'perfect' green stems and leaves - that particular shade of green gets me every time - I can't help myself from falling for it!  Pair that with a beautiful pink or red on the petals and I'm a goner - "Get me some paints and a brush - STAT!! 
    Hoping you have a inspiring day too!
    ♥ Cath-
    P.S. I'm continuing work on my second Springtime Joys painting and it's coming along nicely.  I worked on it most of yesterday and again this morning, that is until I visited John & Lisa's and well, you know the rest of the story! : )  

Monday, 16 April 2012

Springtime Joys 2 - Preliminary Stages

Springtime Joys 2
(Preliminary Sketch)

    It's a beautiful and inspiring day outside but a little too windy to do any plein air painting so I am working indoors, with the windows open, on a second painting in my "Springtime Joys" series... 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Molasses Oat Bread

"Oats and Molasses Bread"

    Sometimes you just have to follow a craving inspiration!  Molasses bread with oats and whole wheat goodness baked right in... Mmmm-Mmm! 
    Using only a few common pantry ingredients the bread comes together quickly and in the end you get to enjoy TWO loaves - or you could keep one and give the other away. But if you decide to share - do it quick, because after you taste this bread your tastebuds will go all Scrooge and Grinch-like toward the idea of sharing!! 
    This recipe is a keeper... A thin, crisp-on-the-bottom crust wraps itself around the soft and slightly sweet inside - so-o-o good sliced and served up all sammich-style with some really good ham and mustard.  A little butter and jam alongside a cup of tea would be delicious too!!   : )) 
    Make some and see for yourself how easy and delicious bread from scratch can be!! 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

(approx 6"x8")

    As soon as I saw this vibrant bunch of radishes in the grocery store today I just had to buy them because they were calling out to me - not to eat them - but to paint them!  Talk about inspiration!!  That red, the green - WOW!!
    I have, however, found out that you can roast them like any other root vegetable, allowing them to lose their sharpness and take on a natural sweetness that is similar to carrots... so after studying them a little further through scetching and painting I think I'll through them in the oven and try out this new-to-me cooking method! 

Monday, 9 April 2012

Scribble Project!

Inspired by fellow artists who have lent their creative talents to this fun scribble project I too let my imagination free and filled in the thought-prompting template... You can too! This project is on-going and there are plenty of other opportunities to scribble after you've sent in your first completed scribble sheet - the lady behind this project - Lisa Curie - replied to my submission with three new pages for me to fill in and submit for her Scribble Diary... lots of fun!  Here's the link:
As soon as my oldest daughter (11 and 3/4!) saw the Scribble Project template she wanted in on the fun!  I love this!
And of course my youngest daughter (9) can't be left out of this kind of creativity!!  You can definitely see how individual they are - I love it!! : )

Hoping you find wonderful ways to express your creativity today!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter!

    Wow, I can't get enough sugary treats this weekend... I'd like to think it's just the artist in me that is attracted to all the bright colours but I've never found myself sneaking samples of my acrylic paint while I'm painting, so what is it about Easter candy that makes it so irresistible this year? 
    Every Spring a sugar surge crashes my regular eating habits, right around my birthday. Someone buys a cake and I end up eating more of it than I should, friends take me out for lunch and insist on me having a dessert to celebrate my big day.  Soon I begin mindlessly gobbling up leftover cupcake supplies from the baking cupboard! Oh yeah, I am so-o-o sliding down the slippery slope of saccharin servitude!!
    Most years I get a week or two of blessed reprieve between my birthday and Easter to get this sugar thing under control but this year Easter has fallen only one week after my birthday and I'm already eyeing the kid's Easter baskets! ~help!~
    I must remember what Julia Child once said, "Everything in moderation - including moderation!"  : ))

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Inspiring Felicity

 "Springtime Joys"
Acrylic on 12"x12" stretched canvas

    Felicity, according to, is the state of being happy, especially in high degree; bliss, also, an instance of happiness. 
    The spontaneous ‘spark’ of inspiration elevates my spirits to this state – that crazy feeling that has me looking for any scrap of paper I can find just to get the idea jotted down while it’s still fresh!  Some sparks being so strong that just getting it on paper is not enough, I need to take it further, develop it into something more, something tangible…. These big creative sparks can become paintings, sculptures or even baked goods - whatever expresses it best – and my mind doesn’t completely settle until it has exhausted the idea to the best of my abilities. I guess it’s fortunate that these BIG sparks don’t happen all the time otherwise I would never get any housework done!
    Most often I push myself to stay creative. When I sit down in the evening I grab my sketchbook to doodle and sketch.  Sometimes I block in time to paint and tell myself, “Let go and just go with it, see where this takes you.”  Hey, you never know one day, that one pencil stroke in my sketchbook may be what spurs on an idea and another BIG spark is created…
    No matter how the inspiration comes, when it’s in me I always find myself quoting Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen’s  'Sense & Sensibility', “Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?”