Tulips to save the day

  I find March is a difficult month for me as I looking forward for the spring arrival  however  the temperature outside remind me winter still in charge. This Monday, I woke up to another grey day and the sun … Continue reading

A painting a day #30 “center of attraction”

It is a bitterly cold winter day here which made me think of the spring tulips. it will be at least six more months to  the tulips in my garden  I painted this watercolor to cheer myself up. Hope you … Continue reading

Orchid fever

I love orchids and grow some in my studio. During the winter, some are in bloom, I just had to paint them. Here is another step by step how the painting came to completion.

wip pink orchid s

orchid f s

orchid with pinks s

orchid day 3

orchid day 3 final s


My inner spring in winter

Today is the second day of extreme cold alert and with the wind is -32C. I haven’t set my feet out side since Sunday. However I have stock up enough food and art supplied and likely able stay in till … Continue reading

Treasure from season’s past


garden tresure

Treasure from season’s past

I came across two dried maple leaves I saved in a book this morning. I don’t know how long it had been there. After looking at them for a while, I thought of how fragile they are but survived all those years in a book. Soon enough, an idea came; I wanted to draw on them. I used a Sharpie carefully draw an owl on it and make sure not to press to hard as it would break the fragile leaf.

I was happy with the result and look it out to the garden to take some photos with the snow covered garden.

My Christmas Eve Incident

christmas night



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I always think Toronto is a safe city and never encounter any troubles walking in downtown. On Christmas Eve, I enjoyed being alone in my building and painting. Winter in Toronto and darkness came early; even it was not 6pm it was very dark outside. I was heading to the subway to go home as usual, I use the same path every night which only a short walk to the subway. I was just a short distance before I reach the subway entrance.

All of sudden, I heard someone running fast behind me and before I knew I was being bear hug from behind. A man’s voice spoke, demanded I gave him my phone! Although I was in shock but still managed to told him I did not own a cell phone.

“I saw you” that was his reply, then I realized he must saw me taking photos a couple of street earlier and mistaken I had a camera phone. He has followed me and wanted to rob me. I had my camera in my coat’s left pocket. On my left shoulder I was carrying a heavy bag full with my art supplies and news paper for my trip home

. My camera is important to me and I use it daily so I was not given up so easily. My instinct was to call for help; I yell “help! Help!, help!, as loud as I could. He tried to cover my mouth with his hand which gave me the chance to bite into his finger as hard as I could.

With the pain on his finger he released his hand from my mouth and tried to slam me against the iron fence next to the walkway. However he was still bear hugging me which make it hard for him to do this. He lost his balance and both of us hit the ground, He was underneath me and because of the cold weather I had on layers of clothing and with him to cushion of my fall. I was not hurt and I kept yelling for help.

Within seconds two men appeared while both of us still on the ground and he still has his holds on me. I told the men to call 911 as I was being robbed.

However the thief claimed I took his phone and he was merely trying to get it back from me. The men seem confuse of who to believe at first. Finally the tall young man made the call and describe what he was seeing to the 911 dispatcher.

 Meanwhile, I was able to got up and stand closer to the tall young man and he hand me his phone. I was ask by a woman from 911 to describe the thief, his age, height and his clothing while he was still few feet away from me. As I was on the phone, the thief calmly first walked and then ran away and disappear from our view.

The woman from 911 instructed me to remain on the scene for the police arrival and stay in a safe area where I could see. I thanked the young man for his help and wish him a Merry Christmas he then left. Although I was only feet away from the subway entrance where usually is a busy spot. However being Christmas Eve with all the offices in the area was closed for the holiday and it was an extreme cold night, there were few on the street. After waiting for about 20 minutes I was cold and I feeling rather very unsafe. What if the thief returns? I would not be as lucky as the first time. I decided since I was not hurt and nothing was taken from me. I better leave that area and head home..


Christmas gift from a gardener

parrot tulips

My friend Giuseppe is a former opera singer turn opera coach and director. He is also a passionate gardener. Every spring, he plants and rearranges his massive garden as always he impresses us all with the most glorious display of plants and blooming flowers. Friends would visit him to see his amazing garden and greenhouse. He never disappoints us, always come up with the most unusual color combination which ones never expected.
It was him who introduced me to the wonder of parrot tulips. He panted many of them all over his garden. I love the wild combination of red and green and the unusual petals. One Christmas, he surprised me with a bag of tulip bulbs and told me it was the parrot tulips.
When the ground was soft enough in spring, I planted them and then forgot about it. No flower appears that year.
However when next spring came, flower buds appeared after the leaves became taller. Every evening, soon after I arrived home I would head to the backyard to check on its progress.
On a warm spring day, my parrot tulips open, it was the most glorious sight with the dashing colors under the evening light. My gift of the parrot tulips makes their appearance very springs and I always thankful for this wonderful gift from a good friend and a great gardener.

Snowy day is good for painting

pink orchid watercolor

december Iris

It has been snowing all day here in Toronto. As soon as I get in my studio it just started to snow and haven’t let up. I love the snow; it looks like the dancing snowflakes cover the streets with a white blanket. The streets are is quite without the shoppers and few cars are on the road. I enjoy the warm inside and work on my paintings.

I don’t know if other artists are like I do, I like to work on more than one painting at a time. Both finished this afternoon.  Both the pink orchid and the blue iris are 16”x20”, on Arches 140lb rough paper.

Art and weather

iris in winter

I don’t know about other artists, I notice I tend to choose subjects opposite to the weather. Yesterday was a very cold winter day with strong wind. After spending an hour outside taking photos of snow, I started to work on a painting of iris.  Iris is a spring flower and likely not to be seen here for few more months. However painting it make me forgot how cold it was out there.

In the summer, my studio has no air conditioning. On a hot day, I would paint waterscape, ponds or lakes to keep cool.

I guess it is mind over matter with little help by art.

Winter iris, watercolor on arches 140lb rough paper, 12”x20”