Acrylic Painting Class Winter Session

We started our Acrylic Painting class a couple of weeks ago and we learned a lot, as usual.  One of the things I learned was that it is more difficult to paint trees than you would think. Another is that snow is not just white.  Painting makes one more observant and you really look at things differently.  You see shapes and shadows and composition everywhere you look.  Painting has opened my eyes and I love it.

The photo I chose to paint was this one.  It is just a few steps from my front door and a treasured part of my new life in Ottawa.

The Greenboro Trail at Elizabeth Manley Park

The Greenboro Trail at Elizabeth Manley Park

I was sick with the flu last week but managed this week to finish the painting. Actually, I think there may be a couple of finishing touches still, to fix it up, but basically I’ve completed it.

Elizabeth Manley Park.  January, 2013

Elizabeth Manley Park. January, 2013


Our next project is a repeat of one from our last class – green trees with reflections in water.  Looking for a nice photo to paint with a point of interest like a house, cabin, lighthouse, barn, etc.

Have a nice day and thanks for reading. – Maureen


Snow Shadows – Greenboro Trail

The art class that my sister and I are taking is helping me see the world in a new way.  When you are doing a painting you tend to see things that are easily missed in the hurry and scurry of the “real” world.

The first painting we did was of green trees.  The second one was reflections in water.  The third was clouds.  The fourth and final one was rocks.

Next week we will start the new course which we are sure will be a continuation of the first eight lessons.  I think we will be doing a snow scene in the first class.  Our teacher, Blair, brought in a few of his own snow scenes and they were beautiful.  What we noticed were the beautiful and colourful shadows made on the snow by trees and buildings.

When my husband and I were out walking on the Greenboro Trail last week I noticed the shadows on the snow.  My fingers almost froze as I started photographing every scene.  I think I’ll pick one of these paintings to try at the first class.  What do you think?  Which one should I pick?

Snow shadows on the Trail.

Snow shadows on the Trail.


The Greenboro Trail - January, 2013.

The Greenboro Trail – January, 2013.


Another view of the Greenboro Trail.

Another view of the Greenboro Trail.


I am looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks for reading. – Maureen



Fifth Son – A Book Review

Fifth Son by Barbara Fradkin

Fifth Son by Barbara Fradkin

Among the books I read in 2012 were six books by Barbara Fradkin, a Canadian writer who was recommended to me by my daughter, Michelle.  Michelle is an avid reader who enjoys mysteries as much as I do.

Barbara Fradkin worked as a psychologist and has brought this knowledge to her mystery series, featuring Inspector Michael Green of the Ottawa Police Criminal Investigations Division.  Fifth Son is the fourth in the Inspector Green series.

A man has fallen to his death from the tower of a church in a rural village, part of the newly expanded city of Ottawa.  Did he jump or was he pushed?  Green is called in because the local police officers are not sure.

Green’s methodical questioning of the villagers and nearby farmers opens up a whole new area of the investigation.  It seems that a family of young men who had lived on a nearby farm may hold a secret so terrible that it is impacting this case years later.

Green’s teen-aged daughter, Hannah, who has recently come to live with him and his wife, reluctantly helps her father when she tells him that she knows one of the key witnesses, who is a special-needs student at the school where she volunteers.

Fradkin’s knowledge of the city of Ottawa and the surrounding area adds a note of authenticity to the characters and setting of the novel.  An example of this that I particularly enjoyed was her description of an apartment building in the Alta Vista area of Ottawa, “…which would have been tolerable had it been on the north side overlooking the grassy shoreline of the Rideau River.  Unfortunately, his miniscule apartment faced west over four lanes of Bank Street and the Billings Bridge Shopping Mall parking lot.”

This book was a great read, with lots of action, deft character descriptions, and a plot that pulls us in and carries us easily from the initial days of the investigation to the surprising conclusion of the mystery.

Barbara Fradkin has done it again. Her books have earned her a permanent place on my bookshelf.

I encourage you to pick up one of the Inspector Green Mysteries.  You won’t be sorry.

Thanks for reading. – Maureen