Discovered, a lost set of portraits


In 1992 and 1993 Don Watt requested a series of head study portraits of his daughter’s horses. Her early junior hunters and later open jumpers. The images hung at the Watt residence in King Township for many years. Earlier this spring the two works turned up at auction in Brampton. There, they were advertised as “prints” [reproductions]. A Buyer loved the images, purchased both works., as “prints”.


The Buyer then contacted me to ask about these “prints” [reproductions]. Since I do not do “prints” [reproductions] I was surprised. I immediately offered to examine theme. She had purchased two originals. All these years later the portraits are in exceptionally good condition. Fresh, clean with the reserved whites sparkling.

Growing up, we had two of E M Carr works in our dining room. Every night over dinner I studied them. Through this dinnertime observation Ms Carr taught me colour, to be bold, and to experiment with media, no matter what the subject. Years later the Carr works were sold to a very famous collection. Their new owner allowed me to make this copy of my favourite “Forest Landscape 1913”.


Miss Carr loved watercolour, preferred it to oil. So do I. Inspired by Miss Carr my egg tempera and pencil crayon works often use her method. In the Watt portraits the background and underpainting is oil thinned to watercolour consistency with spirits. The works are on Museum Board, the feel of 400lb Hot Press Watercolour Paper.

Betsy and Whimsy

Betsy 6” x 8” watercolour detail

Betsy 6” x 8” watercolour detail

Betsy is a rescue. She came to live at Absolute Equestrian’s Gracefield as part of the family. She is enthusiastic about her duties as alarm dog.

Betsy was shown the CanAM All Breed Equine Expo April 5, 6 & 7 at the Markham Fair Grounds.

Whimsy 6” x 8” watercolor detail

Whimsy 6” x 8” watercolor detail

Whimsy is a city dog who alternately strolls in the heart of downtown Toronto or country life adventures in the mud with the horses

Betsy & Whimsy are painted in classic transparent watercolour. They come alive using strokes that follow the textures and contours of their coats.

Just Horses 2019, just finished

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Ten weeks of drawing horses & riders from life, courtesy of Toronto Police Service's Mounted Unit. We Looked, Saw and Drew the horses and their riders from life.

"Making Better Pictures Book One: Just Horses".

"Making Better Pictures Book One: Just Horses".

“Just Horses” is built on over 50 years of imaging horses and their people plus 30 years of Making Better Pictures workshops with participants of all experience levels.

Artists of all backgrounds are welcome at Just Horses. repeat participants comment that they can “see” themselves seeing more and doing more with each week, each session. This is a portable inside en plein aire workshop. finished works are created in your studio, at the Horse Palace we sketch, in pencil or portable water soluble mediums…or an iPad

To participate in an upcoming Just Horses just contact the Studio

In March "Discover Graphite" at the Chapel Gallery

It’s way more than just you and an HB pencil. Drawing in graphite provides all artists with the best foundation for all the other fine art mediums. It is expressive, meditative and endlessly adaptable. In this two-day workshop, you will learn how to make this tool work for you. Using plain graphite and paper, you will learn to express yourself sketching any subject. You will be taught how to make sketches of landscapes, flowers and animals that come alive with tone and texture.

It’s economical and portable too. With a small notebook and pencil you will be amazed at what you see. It can be huge with giant slick works making a statement on any subject.

Take the opportunity to explore your creativity in Muskoka in the winter at the magnificent Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge. Wednesday March 27 and Thursday March 28. Refresh yourself with a series of exercises that will open up your imagination to new possibilities while you explore a most permanent medium. It has recorded out world for centuries.

Check out the Muskoka Arts & Crafts website at workshops for more details.

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You Missed Crayon & Watercolour, together at McConaghy Oct 20, 2018

Lively vibrant works got even livelier.

Artists mixed it up with watercolour + coloured pencil at the McConaghy Centre in Richmond Hill October 20, 2018 in a full day workshop that explored how working together makes images even more lively, more vibrant. This one day workshop meant participantscreated and “rescued” personal images, using pencil crayon over and under other transparent watercolour glazes

Here's the link to the Richmond Hill Active Living Brochure

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Magda, Michelle, Irene, Isabel, Marie, Larry, Carol, other Michelle, Robyn & Gwen all proved that theses mediums enhance each other.

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You missed the IWS/CSPWC Symphony of Watercolour

This International Exhibit showed off 90 magnificent works from around the world. About half the exhibit by Canadians artists of note. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” was just one of the works on view.

Congratulations to Ona Kingdon and her crew for putting this wonderful exhibit together.

”In the Hall of the Mountain King” The early afternoon sun glows through the water's of Lake Joseph as the wave starts to plunge towards the granite shore

”In the Hall of the Mountain King” The early afternoon sun glows through the water's of Lake Joseph as the wave starts to plunge towards the granite shore

Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken The Hunter The Hunter

…falls Into the Gyre

…falls Into the Gyre

Four works trace the magic colours of water over the course of a day. "Morning has Broken", in "The Hall of the Mountain King", as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", falls "Into the Gyre".

Isabelle and Buckshot

The 2018 CanAm auction in support of Equine Guelph portrait was bought by the Culverhouse family of Kapuskasing. That's a long way from Toronto. Too far for a casual drive and still very snowy.. So, I captured a series of images of Isabelle while at CanAm. And, gave the family specific instructions on how to capture the reference photos needed to make a portrait. Lighting angles, quality of images, (no cell phone selfies), subject angles and details.  Following the instructions the family provided about 100 reference shots of Isabel & Buckshot.

The Culverhouse's received Isabelle & Buckshot Tuesday September 4, 2018.

"We received the painting today!

Thank you so much for this.  It's a great memory."

Isabel & Buckshot, In Full Flight 12" x 16" watercolour

Isabel & Buckshot, In Full Flight 12" x 16" watercolour

Here they are "In full flight".

Too bad you've missed Vibrant Coloured Pencils at Visual Arts Mississauga.

Write here…

Coloured pencils have been around for a lifetime. The possibilities are endless with this simple portable medium. No water. No muck. No huge bag of stuff to lug around. Just Paper, or another dry surface and the pencils. They never wear out. Never dry out. Never get stale. Some of us have coloured pencils from our childhood carefully saved in their special pencil case, complete with memories of creating an imaginary world of...? Newly rediscovered colouring books have given permission to indulge in the joy of working with our pencil case again. BUT, when the colouring book is done, or we seek greater challenges, what to do?


Participants feedback " 'I really enjoyed the class. Now I want to draw and colour too.' 'Not enough hours in the day.' ' Thank you Nola, ... the fantastic class yesterday !' 'You have different techniques ... that has encouraged me to keep drawing.
Please keep up the great work and encouragement, ...everyone can draw!' 'I wondered why you were giving us these little scraps of paper. Now I know why. I learned, a lot. Thank You'"

Registration is open



Questions? Please contact the studio.

Summer Wanderings

Summer means getting out of the studio, under a tree anywhere with a sketch book and mark makers.

Just doodling, in the city, in the country.

Egg Heads at Banbury Watercolour Workshops

February 21 2018 Nola built some Egg Heads at Banbury Watercolour Workshops. Nola's Egg Head is a tool to make capturing structure in your painting easier

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 See how the familiar 2 dimensional picture guides can turn into a very handy tool.