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Memories of Summer

Is there nothing better than sitting out in your backyard eating summer ripe berries? The sun on your back, and sweet delicious fruit…yup you can tell it is the middle of winter and I am beginning to dream of spring time.

This painting is from photos I took way back in 2013 but I wasn’t confident enough to try to paint from the images I got. Painting glass is more than a bit intimidating. There is a lot on information in a very small space. I had to also develop my patience level because it also takes quite a bit of time to properly and carefully capture all the abstract shapes in the glass.

Fear is a big part of what artists have to overcome. Fear can hold one back, not allow one to expand and develop. People are surprised to hear that I too feel fear. Sometimes it slows me down for a bit, but then I find a way to get beyond it. Mostly by asking myself “What is the worst thing that can happen?” The answer “the painting doesn’t work!” Yes indeed it may not work but what harm does that have on me…none. Every painting I find that I continue to develop and learn. I have burned quite a few paintings that were not to the standard that I want in the world but as they burned I say “Thank you for what you taught me”. 🙂

Above are some of the images that I took on that hot summer day in 2013. I bet you can see a theme (beyond berries). I adore black and white fabric. I had an extensive collection when I quilted and I never ever made a quilt with it. I just had a hard time cutting it. So I sold the vast majority of my fabric collection in the fall of 2016 once we moved back into the house. I don’t quilt any more so why have my fabric collection take up so much space. Don’t worry it went to a very loving home where the first quilt my friend made…was with the black and white collection. I LOVE IT! 🙂 You can see how interesting some of the set ups are but some are not at all. That is the joy of digital photos…at least you can through the vast majority of the images away.

Step by step…day by day…my painting grows and so does my confidence. I know I have been bitten by the painting glass bug! Wow it really pushed me to render this as accurately as possible. Below is the completed painting. I am really pleased with the glass.

“The Sweetness of Life” , 38x56cm (15x22in), Watercolour on 140 lb Arches Cold Press
What did I learn on this piece…strawberry seeds are crazy for the amount of time they take…each one had at least 3 layers on them. I am not sure I will want to take on doing another strawberry for a very long time. LOL. Creating a smooth berry turns out to be a small challenge. One that I will have to work on to even get better. The other big lesson was that I should never let impatience get the better of me…putting all the little dots of masking fluid got away on me because I was impatient…then at the end I had to ‘fix’ a bunch of unnecessary areas which added a fair amount of extra time.

I would love to hear what you think of this painting. 🙂 ​Thanks for stopping by.


Painting the winter days away!

I have been enjoying painting this winter. The first painting I accomplished for the new year is ‘Venus on the Shelf’ 40x50cm Acrylic on cradled board. I began with playing the various elements that I had collected. I ordered a range of used books with Venus in the title. It was really hard not to order some of the books. What great titles I found to use: Unearthing Venus, The Venus Fixers, Venus Prime, Venus with Bicepts and the list goes on and on. I couldn’t fit in some of the titles I got a kick out of like Venus Envy and Cruel Venus.

Above are a few of the set ups that I did.  The bottom one is the one I finally decided on.

​Then I began to paint!  Working back to front.

I discovered that I need to have a tool to help me see the small details of the still life.  So after hours of trying to find exactly what I was looking for with binoculars I finally contacted an artist who I follow and asked where he got the ones I see him use.  Thankfully artists are so helpful and I received a response right away and had the binoculars ordered right away.  I can’t wait to work on my next still life…that will be in March. It is a commission so I won’t share until it has been gifted.  🙂

It was a real challenge in a number of ways but I was able to stay focus and got through it fairly unscathed.  🙂

This painting is available and can be found HERE.  

I would love to hear what you think of the painting.  Thanks for dropping by.

Prepping for Teaching

So the show was completed and then it was directly back into teaching my Acrylic 1 class.  This class is specifically for beginners and those who had just played with painting but really want to dive deeper into the processes.

The first night is just about paint.  Well every class is about paint really.  We start with figuring out how transparent or opaque the paint is, and then we start the process of understanding value in a very practical way.  New brushes, new pallet knife, new ways of exploring paint leads to happy smiles.  🙂

Have you taken a class that really helped you expand as an artist?  What was it that did that for you?

Thanks for stopping by.  I shall see you soon!


476 After such a busy time I thought I would start at the beginning…I will start with my 5th Annual show called Ethereal Whisper that happened at the end of October. I can’t believe a month has gone past already.

When I started to paint 5 years ago in July 2012 I decided to do an annual show.  Well what a good decision that was, as it means each year I challenge myself in new ways.  This year my challenge was to work larger in acrylic and to continue to explore birds in a very realistic way.  I struggled with patience because these paintings both took longer than I thought they would (as most painters/quilters/metalworkers and so on know).  I had to remind myself that “it takes what it takes” and not be frustrated that I wasn’t getting to the other boards I had prepped for painting.  In the end,  I was amazed and excited at how well the owls turned out.  So learning to be more patient ultimately turns out to be a good thing! 🙂

There has been a couple of times in the past 5 year that I have seen a jump in my painting skills.  It is fascinating as it is a dramatic happening that presents itself from one painting to the next.  I can see more and I can render what I see at a new level.  The owls were that for me.  Now I am excited with that skill development because it is time to dream of new directions.  More on that another time! 🙂

The show was a blast and it was so fun to catch up with all the folks who came.  The wine flowed, there was plenty of conversation and laughter and best of all, after months of being in solitude painting I got LOTS of hugs!  I needed those hugs.  🙂 I do love sharing my work with people and to have some welcome a piece of my art into their homes is a big honour.    Thank you!

Thanks for stopping by.  I would love to hear from you.  Have a fabulous Thursday evening.


Recently I lost a friend.  She was a woman who I first got to know through mail when she sent a little note and ordered a set of cards.  I mailed out that first order not realizing how special Wendy would become in my life.  She was one of my greatest fans!  She loved, well actually adored, all flower paintings.  She gave cards out to friends and family and they were my art cards.  That made my heart glad that she was sharing my art work with those she cared about most.

In 2015 I was in Toronto for a few weeks.  I was so thrilled to go and meet Wendy in person.  We had emailed and written letters back and forth for quite a while.  We spent a lovely day together and she showed me her part of Toronto.  I will always treasure the memories of sitting on her porch, chatting and watching the world go by on a beautiful sunny day.  She was such an interesting person to talk to.

“Friends”, 11x14in, Watercolour – Commissioned

This past spring Wendy decided that she wanted an original painting of her own so she commissioned me to paint her favourite flower – two irises side by side.  She and I communicated back and forth about what she wanted and she chose the final design.  Each person who gets a commission is different, Wendy wanted to see the painting when it was done but not in process.  So when the piece was completed I sent her off an image and asked her if she wanted to name it.  She did and she named it, very aptly, ‘Friends’.  I thought it was a prefect name!

Wendy you will be missed!  You had a kind and generous soul.  Rest in peace my Friend!

476 Are you wondering where I got the name for my Art show?  It is because I am painting owls.  Great Horned Owls to be precise.  I hope to get a  Great Grey owl painting too…but time will tell.  I am also painting flowers.  🙂 So I have been flowing between watercolour flowers and acrylic birds.  Birds have really captured me.  I am loving painting them. So here is the start.

This spring the most magical thing happened…Great Horned Owls took over a Ravens nest at a local school.  It was AMAZING.  I spent a fair amount of time there photographing them.  I don’t know if in my lifetime I will ever have the chance to see owls nest again but I have photos to work from for the next few years.  It was truly a gift from Mother Earth.

I have completed the eyes.  I seem to need to get the eyes all finalized before I move on.   I have started on the branches that surround the baby male owl.  🙂  It had fledged to branches close by the nest when I was there taking photos.

Working on the head.  I am pleased with how it is turning out.

Happy Thanksgiving in Canada.  Our family will be celebrating it in just a few weeks when my show is completed.  🙂

11 Painting days left…


Ptarmigans hiding in Willow, 20x20in, Juried in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s show “Acrylics in Action. 

Click HERE to see the other works in the show

It doesn’t matter if the break is a month or a week (or longer) I seem to struggle to get my brain to get focused on painting again. Do you have the same problem?  I often wonder if my brain just enjoys not having to work so hard or if it is just basically loves being a lazy sod.  We went to care of our grandson last week…so now I am trying to get settled back into painting.

How do I manage to get back to work and try to get the flow going?  I have to admit that the first two or three painting days are really difficult. I find myself out of my studio and doing something mindless or easily distracted by anything that comes my way.  Oh I am thirsty.  Oh I need to do this immediately (what ever ‘this’ is).  Oh I forgot to bring that down to my studio…better go and get it.  Oh I am tired.  Oh bathroom break. And on and on it goes.

Then the second challenge is that I have to figure out where did I left off of on the painting.  I have found that is is much easier to have a painting in progress as this takes one more decision away because at least I don’t have to figure out what to paint next.

So I do have some things that help me to get settled.

1. I sort my space, turning on a podcast and making my studio habitable again is helpful.  This is a great procrastination technique that allows for contemplation time on the painting so maybe I will figure out what to tackle next. 🙂

2. I listen to Artist interviews on Savvy Painter podcast,  John Dalton’s Gently does it podcast, Suggested Donation podcast, or Eric Rhodes Plein Air podcast (just to name a few).  This helps to inspire me to get focused again.  I love listening to artists talk about their work and successes, their schedules, and their struggles.  Most of which I can totally relate too.

3. I tend to go out of my studio on all the various ‘errands’ that my mind comes up with, then I paint in between. I make sure to stop the artist interviews so I don’t miss anything.  I do that until I start getting cranky.

4.  At that point, I remember to use the next strategy which is putting a time limit on how long I am going to stay and not leave the room.  I will say an hour or two and then I can take a break.   Often at the end of the hour I am finding that my brain will be  more settled in. This continues on until I don’t even have to think about it.  I just can work for 4 hours straight through. Two of those sessions most days gets me the hours I need to get the work accomplished.

There are a few things I never do in my studio…listen to dancing music (or all I want to do is dance and I have found it hard to paint while dancing) or listen to things that require my undivided attention. I keep all food out of my studio as well as I don’t want to mix food and paint…seems like a bad idea.

I have 15 painting days left before I have to get all the details of my annual show accomplished.  Thanks for stopping by.  See you soon.






It is hard to believe that it is time to register for my fall and winter Art Classes.  Where has the year gone!?! I will be teaching a range of classes that are for beginner students. There are only 6 spaces in each of the classes.  The level 1 classes filled up in a matter of 36 to 48 hours.  Make sure you get registered as early as possible. Registration opens Friday September 1st at 12:01am.  (Yes I will be up at that time getting all the links prepared to go live)

For dates, times and more information head over to my website by clicking HERE

Below are some of the classes from last year. 🙂  And to read what some of my students testimonials click HERE

Watercolour 1 & Acrylic 1

02.07.17 AC1 and WC1 Collage.jpg

Acrylic 1 in the fallAcrylic 1 Art Class Yellowknife Shawna Lampi-Legaree.jpeg

Drawing 102.11.17 Drawing 1 Collage.jpg

Drawing 2Feb 2017n Drawing 2 Collage.jpg

Acrylic 2Acrylic 2 Art Class Yellowknife Shawna Lampi-Legaree 2017.jpg

Watercolour 2

Watercolour 2 Art Class Shawna Lampi-Legaree.jpg

Open Studio Advance Classes for AcrylicOpen Studio Advance Acrylic Classes collage.jpg

I hope you will join me this winter to begin to explore your more creative side!  See you soon.

This past May I put in a proposal to the City of Yellowknife’s call for painting various electrical/traffic control boxes around town.  I sent in 4 drawings like this one below.

When I was designing for this project I had a number of things that I wanted to consider.

1.  The final painting will be seen from a vehicle driving past (I had no idea which box I would possibly get) which meant that the design needed to be large and adaptable.

2. Winter lasts a long time up here, so I felt that the design needed to be something colourful and cheerful.

3. I love painting flowers, so painting something I know really well seemed to make sense.  Plus I could paint flowers that grows in profusion around Yellowknife – Wild Roses (one of my favourites). I got to indulge in one of my favourite colours – Pink!

4. And I wanted to address something that is of concern – aka the Bee population.

In the end there were 15 boxes to be painted.  I got allocated a box right here:

It was most likely the busiest corner in all of Yellowknife, which had its own challenges as you can imagine.

There were a lot of firsts with this project.  It was the first time I have painted outside.  It was the first time I have painted this large.  As well, it was the first time I painted on metal.

There were many challenges to deal with.    I had recently hurt my back, this meant that I really had to be mindful of how I moved while I was painting.  As soon as my back allowed I got to working on the mural.

The weather was hot this July and when I returned from our holidays in August.  I was painting outside in temperatures ranging from a very cool 10C (I wished I had long johns on that evening) to 30C.

Another challenge were the amount of interruptions that happened every time I was painting.  I enjoyed (for the most part) interacting with people as I don’t get to do that day to day in my studio, but I have to say that it took a lot of energy and then it added so much more time. It took me more twice as long (well maybe even more) to get the painting completed than others who’s boxes were in more out of the way places or even a few blocks over on Franklin.

The wind was yet another challenge that I hadn’t considered.  LoL!  It made the paint dry faster and made it hard to hold my image to see where I needed to go next.  Thankfully I figured out the ball cap to keep my hair from being in the way before I started.

The last big challenge was the constant beeping from the cross walks.  This nearly drove me batty.  Thankfully my son Sean borrowed me his noise cancelling headset so I could listen to podcasts and not listen to the beep, beep, beep, beep…

When I got the box assigned to me, I went down to check it out,  I discovered that the traffic control box has two smaller boxes attached to the large main box.  I had intended to wrap the flowers around the box. But this wasn’t going to work so well on this box.  See below a bit of the painting progression. I kept forgetting to take photos each time I finished painting for the day.

This meant that I had to put on my artist-problem-solving-thinking-cap on.  One morning I woke up with the idea of painting the sides of the small boxes pink and putting quotes on them.  Thanks to Janet at Signed for printing them for me and to my friend Henri Brown for helping to put them on!  

I also have to thank Kelly Bluck for coming to watch my stuff so I could take bathroom breaks, which allowed me to stay and paint longer.  🙂 I was limited to 2 hours until she came to my rescue.

I have been told that people stop at my mural and walk around the whole box to read the four quotes on the mural:  “When the flower blossoms, the bee will come.” ‘Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.’  “The Earth laughs in flowers.”  ‘A flower blooms for its own joy.’   That makes me smile.

Head over to my facebook page to see a short video I did of all 4 sides. ‘Like’ me while you are there.  There is a give away coming up real soon.

Here I am at the end.  I am happy with the results and also happy to have it done.  I do hope in February, when winter is in full swing, that my mural will cheer people up and remind them that indeed the wild roses will bloom again in a few short months.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you again soon.



The month at NACC was really fun. I had an Opening on April 7th.   Then every other night I was there painting.  Well at least beginning a painting with the focus all on birds.

So I painted Ptarmigans

an Eagle

A raven (which I finished)

and Snow buntings

I had quite a few people take time to explore my paintings and I got to talk to a few of them. 🙂And after all the shows I had a spectator do the draw for the basket and Beth Collinson (one of my students) won the basketful of goodies. 🙂

It was a busy month and it was great to see everyone and to chat.  Now I am finally back to painting. I started a commission yesterday and also will be finishing the rest of the birds. I got the raven done before we went on holidays.

“Heedful”, 6×6 in, Acrylic, SOLD

Thanks so much for dropping by!  See you again soon(ish). Have a great week.