Painterly and Cindy and More on ~ Book Clubs are for Writers, too

Painterly Cindy and More Talks about Book Clubs ~ Why they are good for writers

If you are a subscriber to my newsletter, you have already read point one on why it’s important to your writing creativity to belong to a face-to-face book club, so jump down to point 2 to read the rest of the article. If you are not a subscriber, why not? Here’s the link to sign up. I promise. The most you’ll receive is ONE newsletter per month.

1-Belonging to a book club forces you to read books you might not normally know or consider. Sounds like you are back in high school? That’s not the point. Let me give you an example. I recently ‘had to read’ this book for book club: Frank Parker Day’s book ‘Rockbound,’ the 2005 selection for Canada Reads. This book was a struggle for me! I admit it. However, because I had committed to reading it for book club, I persevered and I am glad I did. I learned a lot about the eastern part of Canada, and how to write accents in dialogue.

2-By taking part in a book club makes you socialize. Writing can be quite solitary. So, by showing up for book club, you are forced, yup, forced, to show up for something social. Those connections are good for your brain, and foster a sense of belonging. Besides, belonging to book club can also provide fodder for character development. Shhh! Just don’t tell the book club you are doing research.

3-At book club, everyone gets a chance to speak and some people share a lot! As you listen to their ideas about what worked (and didn’t) in the book, these ideas can inform your writing. Ideas (both good and bad) about plot, character, and setting, to name a few, will assist you in your writing, if you let them.

Book club also allows you to talk about good writing. This can build confidence about literature and even your own work.

4-Preparing for book club can be like reading any book. Reading is a form of travel. You can find yourself in a new setting or a different period or facing issues you never knew existed. It’s a cognitive exercise, of sorts. It’s an opportunity to crystallize your own ideas and techniques for writing. For instance, I recently read some short fiction by Rick Moody, an author I was not familiar with. His name came up during book club’s exploration of short fiction collections. Now, he is an author I want to study and emulate.

See you in July when I discuss the merits of travel on creativity (visual art and writing).


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It’s time to get doodling. Doodle your way to this latest artist blog.

Whether you call yourself an artist or not, you might find that you enjoy doodling. Do you ever wonder why you doodle? What is it about doodling that is so compelling?  Why should you do it?

An example of doodling used in visual art. You can see other examples on my website.

The critical component of this piece that I created for my grandson, Kai’s bedroom, is doodling. The colour blue adds interest and context. This image is available in my Canadian online shop, Painterly Cindy and More, Art of Where, Montreal.

Back to why doodling is good for you.

It involves making marks and anyone can make marks on paper. It’s fun. It can be meditative. It is easy to do. It is simply the use of line and shape. Doodles can be created from memory or randomly. Doodling allows you to experiment with shape, design, repetition, texture and patterning. It is a good warm-up for other artistic pursuits, whether they are writing, painting or other art forms. Through doodling, you can experience what you’ve seen in the world, and translate those images onto paper. Simple shapes can be conveyed in innovative ways. The marks you make can be abstract, interpretive, representational or accurate. Doodling is capable of stretching your creative muscle.

You can doodle using pens, markers, Sharpies, pencil, watercolour, acrylic paint, acrylic markers, and Posca markers. A fine-tipped pen will allow you to create delicate details while acrylic paint will give you a more textured feel.

Suggestion: Keep your doodles. You never know when they might come in handy.

Suggestion 2: Draw a simple flower using doodles.

Draw it again, (similar shape and everything) this time adding a wash of watercolour e.g., one colour only. Which do you like better and why?

Suggestion 3: Doodle using only black marker. Then try doodling with a variety of colours (e.g., using fine-tip markers). Which do you prefer?

What tools do you usually doodle with? Write on my Facebook page and let me know. Share a picture, too, if you want.



Trees, Fine Art, Painting and Collage also known as having Fun with Glue

Do you like to work fast? Then this project is for you. I am glad you are taking interest in how to create your own mixed media painting featuring trees (or whatever else you wish to substitute).

NOTE: Inspiration for these tips are care of the following artists, artists whom I admire: Kellie Day (Visual Artist, Colorado, USA), Laly Mille (Visual Artist, France) and Sandrine Pelissier (Visual Artist, N. Vancouver, BC, Canada).

This image is the one that appeared in the April 1, 2018 newsletter just issued to subscribers’ mailboxes. It is titled: Four Aspens and is a mixed media (acrylic and collage) painting. This original work is available for $100- (CAD).

Wonder how I did it?

I used a 12 x 12 inch stretched canvas available in any discount or dollar store. You can also use paper (thicker is best, like good quality watercolour paper). Using two colours plus black, I used a sponge to stamp acrylic paint on stencil images over the canvas. There was no plan. I just stamped intuitively knowing I would be doing more to the canvas later. As I painted, I allowed each colour to dry to the touch.

HINT: I also dragged the edge of a Pringles potato chip lid through damp paint to create swirls. Notice, too, how I took the stencil images to the edge of the canvas.

When the canvas was dry, I tore strips of MY OLD manuscripts to make trunks and branches. You could use magazine stories or pages from an old book. I also had some other print material with wingding symbols lying around so I tore them up, too. For collaging, I used ACRYLIC MEDIUM (an acrylic retarding agent) but you can also use something like Modge Podge or even thinned white glue to adhere the strips where you want them. See how the branches appear to overlap or are behind the trunks of nearby trees. See how branches and trunks go off the canvas. These techniques make the painting look more natural.

HINT: I use the edge of an old credit card to smooth out whatever I am adhering to a canvas. This helps release the bubbles.

Now it gets exciting. Below you can see that I added green (some green mixed with yellow, some mixed with blue or teal) and dabbed here and there to create a background. See how some of the collage elements seem to breathe from behind the trees. Looks so amazing, doesn’t it?

HINT: Remember that old plastic credit card? I cut one on the diagonal and used the tip of it to create (scratch) smaller branches into the canvas when the paint is still slightly damp. I also swirled the tip to create a few leaves, here and there (in the branches and background and near the bottom of canvas).

Last minute details: I used a bit of diluted yellow alcohol ink but you can use diluted yellow acrylic paint to create some other leaves. I dabbed my finger to create some lighter leaves.

I also chose to outline the right side of many of the trees and branches with a white POSCO pen. This is optional. I also used charcoal on the left side of the trees and smeared it to create shadow. Some of the smearing is on the trunk. Looks kind of abstractly natural. I added some beige paint here and there on the trunks, too. All optional. After, I painted over the entire painting with acrylic medium (glossy) to give it a sheen and protect the painting. Also optional.

I think it is finished. What about you?

HINT: In these last stages, I often paint with my finger tips. Try it! Acrylic washes off your hands with soap and warm water. You may also use disposable gloves, too, if you must.

Next steps: You don’t have to use my colours or my exact techniques. These are here to spark some interest in your creativity. Have fun. Take risks. Play.

Why not even take a photo of your painting, crop the edges so it is square, and upload it to my Facebook page. Get to my page via this link.

Four Aspens, 12×12 Mixed Media, $100- (CAD) for original art of this size.



Painting and Making Fine Art

I have been painting with acrylic and adding other collage components. Most of all, I have been having fun making fine art. Any of the following are for sale.

These are some of the study paintings I completed in order to prepare for a large format (36×48 inch) commissioned painting.

To arrange for your own commission painting, use the contact form on this website.


‘Red Shoes Rock’ Mixed Media with Acrylic. On 12×16 inch stretched canvas. Ready to hang. For sale $100-

‘A Lady with a Red Umbrella’ painting on 12×16 inch stretched canvas. Acrylic medium. For sale $100-

SOLD. CONTACT me if you wish to obtain a print of this image. Prints are a very reasonable way to obtain art and you have the flexibility to order a print in a size different from the original, as a poster, on stretched canvas, on paper or even on a wood panel. These prints are produced by a company I use in Montreal, Canada.

‘A Lady with a Red Umbrella on Black’ painting on 12×16 inch stretched canvas. Acrylic medium. SOLD



It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster

April has flown by!

Lily Pad Pond will appear on a banner near the Owen Sound harbour in 2017.

April has been a roller-coaster. My grandson was here for a visit with his mom in early April. Then I finished up marking papers for a course I teach for Queen’s and prescreened150 stories for the Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story Writing Competition. And all the while I awaited feedback on some art submissions I’d made.

Recently I contemplated why it is so important for me to be creative. Frankly, I have no choice. It’s part of my DNA. How do I know this?

My mind doesn’t shut off. If I am on a walk in the woods, I am ‘copy editing’ a story or considering how I might improve a painting or trying out dialogue in my head.

My work challenges the status quo. It is never ‘normal’ or like other people’s work. It is always pushing boundaries.

‘June Day’ also goes by the title ‘Iris Explosion.’ It was recently awarded 3rd prize in the category  ‘Works on Paper’ at the Walkerton Juried Art Show.

I’m always observing. I listen in on other people’s conversations when I’m at coffee shops and I stare at people, gathering impressions of their looks and quirks in the hope I might use this information in stories.

I focus deeply. Sometimes I don’t want to stop because I am ‘in flow’ but I know I must in order to make dinner or do chores. But I don’t want to.

And finally, I battle resistance. Sometimes I just don’t feel that what I am doing is good enough. I suppose that is one of the draws to submitting work to the public, whether writing or fine art. I must take the risk of showing others what I have created in order to ‘prove’ over and over that what I’m creating is in fact more than just ‘okay.’

I leave you with this quote:

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.






March Blog Update

My Creativity Newsletter Theme continues this spring. In April I’ll be discussing my thoughts about stepping outside of your comfort zone. In fact, I applaud it. Please subscribe to the newsletter via this website.


In May my first poem will be coming out. The prose poem is part of a ‘Canada 150’ project, an anthology of poetry and short fiction about every territory and province in Canada. So exciting. More about that in a future blog update.

Recently entered a few writing and art contests. Best approach to those types of contests is to ENTER and START A NEW PROJECT. Yup. Best to forget all about entering and throw yourself into something new and exciting. I just put the finishing touches on my 2018 calendar project, an annual project in which I feature a thematic approach to 12 images and produce a desk calendar. NEW IN 2018 is a choice of a desk OR wall version of the same calendar. The theme is: Animal Farm, based on the novel of the same name by George Orwell.

Here’s an earlier version of one of the images I’m including in the calendar.

Speaking of entering contests: My abstract image, ‘Red Dress,’ received a ‘SPECIAL MERIT’ award by Light Space Time Online Art Gallery. This leaves me tickled pink (or, in this case, tickled red).

Just as I was updating this blog, I received a phone call that two of my 150 mm x 150 mm ’tile’ art were snapped up by buyers in the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op so I guess I’ll be busy tonight replenishing inventory. How sweet is that? The image below shows you one of the tiles that sold. Thankfully I uploaded this image to my Art of Where web store, Painterly Cindy and More so more people can acquire the art in the form of a print.



Happy New Year! So much is new with my art and writing.

Leaves on Ink
(Alcohol Ink on Photo Paper with Permanent Gold Marker)

During winter, I spend a lot of time working on my visual art, both producing and learning new techniques. In December I enrolled in a self-paced online alcohol ink and encaustic art course called Energy, Motion and Flow. The instructor is a school administrator from NJ. Her name is Alexis Bonavitacola. I am learning so much. Not only is she exposing the students to techniques with inks and waxes, she is also introducing so many apps and websites to enhance how our art looks when we post it online for clients. I have until December 2017 to finish over one hundred videos. Incredible, right?

          Title: Balloon Extravaganza ~ Abstract
(Alcohol Ink on Photo Paper with Permanent Gel Pen)

Over Christmas, Two Cities Review, an online literary magazine based in Boston and New York City, nominated my creative nonfiction piece ‘Split Second’ for a Pushcart Prize. The finalists will be announced later in 2017 and their work (poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction/essays) will be published in a Pushcart anthology showcasing the ‘best.’ I am honoured to make it onto the long list.

Also in December, I received an email from Light Space Time, an online gallery, telling me my mixed media submission, ‘Three Birches,’ had received a Special Merit Award in the All Women 2017 Art Exhibition. The perk to this recognition is receiving increased online traffic to my website and social media. The original piece is part of a private collection in Bruce County.

Three Birches

Three Birches, Mixed Media, 24 x 24 on birch flooring
Prints available through Painterly Cindy and More

In January I have been using apps to show my art work on walls such as virtual homes and art galleries. These apps are so cool! Here is a sample.


Leaves on Ink, Alcohol Ink and Sharpie
Can be yours. Simply contact me and we’ll price out a print size and style that fits both your wall and budget.

In December I began writing a ‘creativity’ newsletter and will continue on this topic until early summer, 2017. This is an opportunity to ‘give back’ to my newsletter followers. Maybe something I mention might inspire one of them to follow a dream and create. If you are not yet a newsletter recipient and want to know more, just click to complete the online form.

Finally, today and during the next few months, I will be periodically uploading new images to my online store, Painterly Cindy and More. Why not check it out? Today’s features are in the wall art section of the store. I now have TWO pages of wall art available as prints, posters or on a wooden canvas.

Stay tuned for more updates on the blog in a few weeks.


December comes whether you want it to or not! Gift yourself!! Art and More.

Well, December is here. It is raining in my part of Canada as I write this update. How bizarre is that? Earlier in the week it was 15 degrees C. And, where is the snow?

Did you know? I have so many cool art ideas to try once the wind howls and the snow blows. I’ll be working ‘loose,’ as artists like to say. I’ll be using acrylics, watercolour, alcohol ink, mixed media and, wait for it, hot wax with oil paint. You can bet the colours will be bright and the textures bold. Infullsizerender the meantime, here is a reminder of some of the things I have done for you, the art lover.

I have desk calendars. Each year I create new designsfullsizerender_5 for the calendar. The 2017 theme was ‘In Flight.’ The majority of paintings are of dragonflies. There is a ladybug and a butterfly. What fun and joy they bring. $15 buys you one calendar. I include the shipping and taxes in that price. Contact me through the link on my website to order.

A client special-ordered Frog Themed 2017 desk calendars and if that is your preference, I can ship directly from from where they are produced. NOTE: Sooner is better! Same price point: $15 ea, includes shipping / taxes.

I do a lot of writing in summer & more visual art in winter. Don’t ask me why! Maybe it has to do with the seasons. In summer, I can sit and compose on my porch. Later I transcribe on my iPad, while by the pond.

??????????I have cotton tote bags. The cotton is high quality and washable. A large ‘Deluxe Classic’ Tote (18×13) is $25 (shipping and taxes incl.) and the smaller ‘Classic Cotton Tote’ (13×13) is $20. Something for the book lover, the gardener, and the stressed-out! Again, the contact me button is the way to message me about purchasing these gifts.




In winter, I spend a lot of time inside, in my studio, with meditative ‘pondering’ and then creativity. I keep an art journal where I jot ‘ideas.’



I do not use fullsizerender_3all of the ideas but I sure have fun capturing them. I also spend time out-of-doors snowshoeing or cross country skiing. During this time, I reflect on the patterns in the landscape, the negative space made by branches, the sun on the snowy surface, and the shapes all around me. You get the idea. The harmonized movement of legs and arms pushes blood to my brain and energizes me.









I still have more gift ideas for you and/or loved one but you’ll have to pop over to Painterly Cindy and More and shop from the Art of Where online store based out of Montreal. There are tons of new and familiar patterns and art. I recently uploaded some new scarf designs and wall art.

Happy Holidays and Best to You and Your Loved Ones in 2017.




Blog Entry on a Rainy Day about Art, Visual Art, and Website Update

Did you know that you can purchase my wall art mounted on wood?

A message from the Painterly Cindy and More Art of Where website, ‘Durable Wood print, printed using UV set inks. All of our wood is sourced from sustainable forests in Canada. Available with a bright white background or with the natural wood grain, with a choice of 1″ or 1.5″ thickness.’

Vase Bouquet

Original fine art

Check out Painterly Cindy and More to discover more about this option. And, while you are at the website, do not hesitate to check out the clothing, scarves, and accessories / pillows available. Want to commission me for an extra-special gift for someone? Contact me to discuss pattern, art, colour, options, design…anything is possible.

Let’s stay in touch about art and news. Did you know that I send out a monthly newsletter? Click here to subscribe / sign up. You will find the subscribe button on the middle, right side of the website.

Okay to share this blog about my website with others? Of course. The more the merrier.

Didn’t get around to ordering a 2017 desk calendar featuring my dragonfly and lady bug art? No worries. Just send me a quick message.

And, while you are at it, go find an umbrella. It’s pouring!

Speaking of water, my salmon image was awarded First Prize at the Bruce County Public Library Reel Fish Contest in 2016. Interested in this style of art? Contact me toPsychedelic-Sam-300x129[1] discuss.