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Jr Nature Sketch Club at The Robert Bateman Centre

Join me as the sketch artist for a 10 week session of sketching in nature with the Robert Bateman Centre! Starting on May 7th, 2016 and running every Saturday for the next 10 weeks we will be exploring the eco-systems of the Wild Bird Sanctuary Project on Vancouver Island. 

Children will be guided through 10 unique eco-systems and learn about the wildlife and habitat of local flora and fauna including the re-wilding of habitat in urban settings, nature’s patterns and processes: cycles, networks, nested systems, flows, development and dynamic balance and understanding species at risk.

Our goal is inspire observation and appreciation of the natural world, to foster a desire to protect wild habitat and to help children and adults connect and engage with the natural world. 

For more information or to sign up go to: www.batemancentre.org or call (250) 940-3630

NatureSketch-Jr-Full

 

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Nature Drawing and Journaling

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling:

Nature-Drawing-Cover

This comprehensive guide to nature drawing journaling contains basic to advanced level instruction on:

Ways to use your journal to enhance curiosity, creativity, and sharpen your naturalist’s eye.
Simple techniques to improve your visual memory and help you draw what you see.
Lessons on how to use graphite, pen, watercolor and gouache for fast field sketches.
Lessons on how to draw wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, landscapes, seascapes, and skies.
Full color, 302 pages.

http://www.johnmuirlaws.com/store/the-laws-guide-to-nature-drawing-and-journaling

 

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The Children and Nature Movement

Richard Louv is the recipient of The Audubon Medal and author of national bestselling book, ‘Last Child in the Woods.’ He continues to write and research on the children and nature movement which is growing exponentially. In the following article, he discusses this movement and how we can all do something to be a part of it.

Children and Nature Movement by Richard Louv

 

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Playing in Nature

On April 25th to May 3rd, 2015 it will be “Unplug and Play” week. It’s the perfect opportunity for families to connect with nature this spring by getting outdoors to unplug and play. A hike in nature inspires creativity with endless possibilities to play, explore and discover what muses each individual person!

IMG_7140

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New Muse

 

This fall I found myself longing for a new studio muse. Below is a photo of my new addition…Simba bunny. He fits in beautifully with the family and has a lovely disposition!

Simba

Simba

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The Nature-Inspired Cabin

Another trait of mine throughout my creative career is the desire to live and work in quaint, nature-inspired cabins and cottages. My work was truly inspired by nature when I moved into this 700 sq/ft cabin on the bottom 14 acres of Central Saanich’s Dragonflyhill Vineyard where I lived and painted in this eclectic cabin for 4 years. The Barred Owl family that lived these trees that would often come for evening visits and spring was heavenly listening to the local frog population serenading. I was surrounded by lush westcoast forest, small ponds and roaming sheep.  Life was magical in this cabin and I was truly grateful for the synchronistic events that brought me to this family farm.

Dragonflyhill Studio

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Pastel Surface and Subject Matter

The very first colour medium that my great grandma taught me was chalk pastel. As I started using this medium more and more, I discovered different effects from using various surfaces and subject matter. It was a great medium for learning how to render soft fur and skin in portraits of people and pets. Using a surface such as Canson paper with a bit of tooth and grit allowed for more textured effects on subject matter such as landscapes but also required more spray fixative for hold and was especially fragile under glass framing. I discovered my favourite pastel surface in my 20’s that had the sturdiness of a board, good hold, smooth texture and full acid free archival properties. It was a framing product called suede matboard that came in a multitude of colours in large 30″ x 40″ boards. Below are 3 pastel samples as they evolved throughout the years using velour paper, canson paper and suede matboard. The first one was done over 20 years ago on dark brown velour paper.

wise woman pastel 1993

Pastel on dark brown velour paper

Beacon Hill Park Lookout

Pastel on grey Canson paper

West Coast Landscape

Pastel on grey Suede Matboard

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Muses: Sheep-Dogs

I can’t say that I’m a farmer but I did find sheep were amazing studio muses. They would follow me around like dogs and go for walks to the mailbox in our neighbourhood out in North Saanich. Slippers would be on guard whenever a strange male came near the studio and they were my inspiration to go for long walks in the pasture while they grazed on grass in the morning. In my studio on Dragonfly hill Vineyard out in Central Saanich, BC…Slippers would bang and baa at the door like clockwork each morning for breakfast or break inside trying to help herself while the others did laps around my deck. They still live with Farmer Carol Wallace on her Saanich vineyard on Vancouver Island if you ever want to visit the winery and say HI!

Slippers and Socks

Slippers with her baby ‘Socks’

Thor

Thor

Mittens

Mittens

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The ‘DIY’ Gallery Experience

It was an amazing experience to open the doors and run my own gallery. I moved into the former Yates St loft of artist Jimmy Wright. I had 2000 sq/ft of downtown Victoria space to paint and play in while I attended full-time university.  Learning entrepreneurship in a text book was applied to the real world as nothing helps you grow faster than jumping in with both feet and just doing it. I learned a lot about myself and what I could handle and what I wanted to handle. It built up stamina and perseverance, which would serve me well in my future endeavours.

LC Gallery

LC Gallery 4

LC Gallery 5

LC Gallery 3

LC Gallery 2

Mopsey bowl of salad

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Muses: The Studio Bunny

As I look back on the last 20 years of studio time, there has always been one consistency…a studio bunny. The studio bunny has always been a constant muse for me, bringing playfulness, joy, friendship and love to my work on a daily basis. I have never painted a show without having a studio bunny by my side. My first painting companion was “Buddy” bunny…a little red-eyed, Netherland Dwarf with an attitude. He lived in the upper floor of a two story bunny condo and was my high school companion for 10 years until his passing in 1997. In 1998, I moved to Victoria BC to attend school and one day fell in love with a baby mini lop-eared bunny which I named Mopsey. In 2002 when I opened up a studio/gallery on Yates St in downtown Victoria, Mopsey became the official studio guard bunny. She was litter box trained and had free run of the studio, following me around almost everywhere I went. In the fall of 2006, I had to put Mopsey down. My heart was broken and I swore I’d never get another bunny again. In 2007, I met Flopsey…a baby grey mini-lop and she came back to my studio cabin with me. A few months later, Flopsey was joined with Beatrice bunny, a fluffy Lionhead and we were one big happy family. Flopsey passed away on my birthday last year in 2012 and sent me once again into heartache. She is survived by “Shay” bunny who currently blesses my studio work and most recent 2013 exhibition.

Bud Bunny

Buddy Bunny

Baby Mopsey

Mopsey Bunny

Flopsey and Beatrice Bunnies

Flopsey and Beatrice Bunnies

Shaybunny

Shay Bunny

 

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Phases of Acrylic Painting

First Art Show

My very first art show was in 1993 where my high school art teacher, Mr. John Waite, arranged a hallway display case at WL Seaton Secondary. The bottom 3 panels were my first acrylic paintings that I ever created and I sold every piece in that show for a whopping $20 each! That same year I entered those paintings and 15 other pieces into the Interior Provincial Exhibition. I received 15 first place red ribbons, 2 second place blue ribbons and 1 third place white ribbon along with 3 rosettes for “Most Points Teen Division”, Most Outstanding Artwork in Show” and “Most Points Overall.” I received $70 in prize winnings but even more exciting was my first big sale of $300 for the “Most Outstanding Artwork” winning piece…a pastel portrait of Chief Dan George.

IPE 93 #2

Cheif Dan George

Chief Dan George – Pastel, 1993. (Age 15)

My acrylic style began to evolve in the year 2000 with a trip to New York. I spent an entire week sketching in Central Park and completed a small acrylic series “Bridges of Central Park.”

Greywacke Arch, Central Park Bridge Series #2, acrylic, 24x NYBridalPath

In 2006, I registered for an art class with Victoria based artist Nicholas Pearce. Nick is an excellent instructor, grounding his students with the basics from start to finish using only Cad Red Light, Cad Red Dark, Pthalo Blue and White. Below are the two 24″ x 36″ pieces I created from his class.

Amity in Flamenco

Self Portrait

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“Painting in the Key of Nature”

 I’ve always sensed that my place of peace was in nature. As a little girl growing up in the Okanagan; birds, animals, flowers, gardens, trees, rocks, crystals, lakes, rivers, mountains, snow and mud-puddles have always inspired my creativity. In the spring of 2013, I was teaching private art lessons with a talented young Gr.4 student. Her sense of colour, compositions and design were unhindered, whimsical and fun. In June, we moved the lessons out of the studio and into nature. Partnering with Aaron Deans from the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, we created “Jr Nature Sketch Club.” Every two weeks from June to September, we ventured out into a different eco-system with sketchbooks in hand learning about native flora and fauna in our region. In a few short months our group grew from 5 kids to 20, all brought together by the common bond of art and nature.

Nature and children were two major influences in my work. Taking three months from July to September, I imparted out to a small cabin on a river with my easel and paints. I lived without internet or cell service and proceeded to let the brush flow. There is an element of ‘whimsy’ that has appeared in my work that was never there before. The influence of children and nature surely played their part in this acrylic on canvas series of lotus flowers and lily pads. This is when I realized that they were teaching me and nature was our common conduit.

 

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 22″.   

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 20″ x 48″ 

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 24′” x 36″  

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″  

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″  

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″ 

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″  

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″ 

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 12″  

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 12″  

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 12″  

Leanne Cadden Artist Vernon

Acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 12″   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My First Influence

My very first post is lovingly dedicated to my Great Grandma, Di Varley. Grandma Di was a local Vernon artist who specialized mainly in porcelain painting on plates and dolls; she taught me to draw as soon as I could hold a pencil.  Grandma was blessed with many inspiring artist friends and as a little girl, my first watercolour influences sprouted in the studio of Patricia Lawton, pastel portrait tips from Norma Aiken and acrylic landscape inspiration from her friend Mary Keith.

The art influence continued in Victoria BC from Grandma Di’s cousin, Bernie Evans. Bernie and I had many weekend outings to the local galleries, parks and afternoon tea times with his friends Doug and Lorie Genn. In 2000, Doug and Lorie invited me to an inspirational weekend retreat at Painters Lodge, Campbell River for “Painters at Painters” where their son Robert Genn was one of the guest artists. It was an all-star cast that weekend with 26 Artists in Residence including Fenwick Lansdowne, Toni Onley and Ted Harrison. It was the weekend that changed my direction in life and I knew on the trip home that I wanted to be an artist. Upon my return from Painters Lodge, I switched my 2nd year major at UVic from Biochemistry/Microbiology to Entrepreneurship in hopes of learning how to make a living as an artist.

I am grateful for every minute that I had with Grandma Di and Bernie. It is because of them that I had the support and courage to follow my heart and meet the influential artists that would shape my future.

Great Grandma Di Varley, Pastel Artist

Great Grandma Di showing her painting.

Bernie and Leanne

Cousin Bernie and Leanne on a weekend outing in Beacon Hill Park, 1999.

Great Grandma Di Varley, Porcelain Artist

Great Grandma Di showing some of her porcelain work at local painting exhibition.

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