Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This is the gradual transformation that takes place during the painting process.  I don’t have a name for this painting yet, but shown below is the set up of my work area and the stages the painting goes through.

have my desk set up with sketches and photographs I have taken of the tiger swallowtail that was feeding from the nectar of my lilacs this spring.  

As you can see, I use butterfly studies as well.  All my research has been collected from my many walks.  These have been collected from my butterfly box.
This is the work so far. As you can see the painting gradually takes on a life of its own. I have started a page displaying a body of my work.  Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/EleanorThorel

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rainy Day

An early morning.  Phoebe is quietly and industriously licking her paws.  It is a sight to behold to watch her wash her face meticulously.  Her movements are dainty, almost cat-like.  As soon as I stirred, Phoebe yawned and stretched, asking to go outside.  So did the cats, Willow especially.  Everyone is polite and patient.  The cats and dog are learning to co-exist peacefully while I house-sit.  It is raining today, a steady rain now.  I have a cheerful fire lit this morning.  Hopefully, it won’t blow out with the low pressure system.  I always find it harder to keep a fire going when it rains due to the down-draft.  I love the sound of rain on the roof top.  It has a cozy warm feeling when one is inside, safe from the elements, warm and dry. 

The rain also heralds a more saturated water table, so those of us with wells can draw a sigh of relief.  It has been a difficult summer, having to conserve water.  We live in a country where water is readily available; so much so that we take it for granted.  Turn on a tap – Voila!  It is as basic as breathing...until there isn’t any, or very little.  I struggled for weeks in that predicament.  I wasn’t the only one.  Neighbors had moved out of their homes and gone elsewhere when it was critically dry.  There was no water anywhere.  Ditches, creeks, even ponds dried out.  There were fires in areas of Muskoka that entailed evacuating parts of the community.

So for today, while there is a lovely fire burning and my dog and I snuggled under blankets, I am thankful for the rain. 

This is an example of a piece that I call Rapids.  It is an abstract and monochromatic look at water. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Work in Progress

It’s time to get back to the drawing board and prepare for another art show.   Although we are buried in snow and frigid temperatures right now, I am thinking of the lazy, hazy days of summer and am preparing for the Enchanted Forest Art Show this August.  
John and Marilyn de Lang are the hosts of this show each summer at their studio, Wood’s End. 

Below is a work in progress...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Doodling and Writing

Many mornings I come across some wonderful quotes while I’m writing in my journal, and reading.  This is a practice that I have enjoyed for a number of years, and over time I have a collection of dog-eared, well worn journals.  

It helps to get some perspective, when writing one’s thoughts down on paper.  One of the quotes I came across while reading a while ago was something I created as a doodle in my journal or “morning pages” which expanded into a little drawing.

This is a quote from James Russell Lowell which I found in Cameron’s book The Complete Artist Way (2007).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Year

So here we are.  Another year has come and gone.  We’re well into the end of January and I have not posted for quite some time.  My new year’s resolution was to cultivate joy.
I have been reading Julia Cameron’s The Complete Artist Way (2007) and have found certain gems that have helped me through my times of blocked creativity.  Although I have written and drawn my thoughts since I was about six or seven years old, my hopes and dreams of publishing remain unfulfilled at this point, but as Betsy Lerner has said in her book, The Forest for the Trees (2000) there’s hope for us “late bloomers”.  One beautiful phrase that I read this morning went like this: “It is very important not to become hard.  The artist must always have one skin too few in comparison to other people, so you feel the slightest wind”.  Susha Guppy (Cameron, The Complete Artist Way (2007), pg. 635).

Well, no worries there.  That describes me to a tee!  Cameron talks about the grey days.  The days where one must keep keeping on. I know too well days like that; when my fears and doubts creep in like dampness that chills to the bone creating aches and pains.  I need to do just that. Hang on and stay the course.  Sometimes I’m able to overcome days that discourage or fans one’s fears by taking pencil in hand and draw my way out of the darkness.  Other days I read and escape, or busy myself in the day-to-day tasks: laundry, bookkeeping, something tangible and practical to keep me grounded.  Being thin-skinned can be very difficult at times.  Sometimes the best thing I can do is surround myself with my books and heated oat bags, huddle under soft quilts and blankets and write like my life depended on it, until I find a way back to the positive and find the strength to keep going. 

One of the projects I worked on recently was a contest that I entered for a book cover.  I didn’t win, however I learned a lot and enjoyed the process immensely.  Featured below was my submission.