I paint in a somewhat realistic style. It's what I like. It's what I'm comfortable with. It's the type of art that appeals to me the most when I see other artist's work. I paint from photographs.....mostly all that I have taken myself. A watercolour teacher that I had several years ago was very strong on that point. Nothing to do with copyright etc, but she felt that if you take the picture, you know the place....you know the feel....you know what's just outside of the picture....you probably remember the day...and the weather. And it's way more comfortable to me than even thinking about painting outside.....in the sun...with the bugs....nope. Not going there.
A few weeks ago, I was looking through my photo reference box and recognized some of the photos that I had painted several years ago. Since I also have photos of all my artwork, I was able to match them up. It was interesting to see the ones that I painted closely to the photo (some argue that is not painting, just copying....I don't agree, but I'm not going there right now ;) ).....and the ones that I change. I do often change the seasons, especially in house portrait commissions.
So these are just a few samples of the Before...and ....After. Sometimes my paintings look like my reference....and sometimes they don't. I never know where I'll find inspiration.....or how I'll end up using it. I just know that there is no shortage of it!
It's been almost a year since I started teaching Beginner Watercolour classes! What a fun and challenging direction this has taken me. I am enjoying it and I hope that my students have been enjoying it too!
The next 4 week session begins in the middle of March. I take the students through very basic techniques each week. We do not paint a picture, just exercises. After Class 1 & 2 are completed, the students progress to Level 3 which is also open to anyone with painting experience. Here we will be working together on the same painting over 1 or 2 weeks.
Each unit is 4 weeks long, so it's easier to fit into your busy schedule. The class size varies from 1-6 students, so we have more time for individual guidance.
To register, please click below, or visit
Well January has certainly been a fast month! I had great plans, remember.......so how did I do?
....I did get the bookkeeping done, including inventory. Decided to have a MIDWINTER SALE....30% off!.....I have a LOT of cards and prints and I'll be adding more this spring. What a great deal. Sale is on until the middle of February.
....I did get the storage/organization done. I love my new IKEA Alex drawer unit
.....I did get the classroom organized......that same trip to IKEA came up with new tables giving each student more room. It will be a lot better!
.....I did a commission piece
.....I did other bookkeeping commitments
.....I got ready for 5 workshops coming up in February
.....I got lesson plans re-organized for classes starting again in February
.....but that's all.
No, I did not get time to paint :( Oh well, it's a new month soon!
The Debbie Ellis Watercolours crew at work in 2019!
As we always seem to say, I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I'm not sure why that is, and I thought that it was just something that you felt as you got older. But when I talk to young people, they comment on it too.
So what does my 2019 look like in retrospect. It has been a very good year. Thank you for all the support this past year. It's been very nice meeting so many new people and chatting with them. And I certainly appreciate the many people who have added to their 'Debbie Ellis Watercolours' collection.
As I eased into full-time retirement from bookkeeping, it seems that my art world increased in busy-ness. Go figure. Isn't that always the way. I thought that I would be able to 'paint every day'. Not happening! ( I will add here though that we did spend 6 wonderful weeks on Vancouver Island in Jan/Feb and I did 29 new paintings...yes I painted almost every day on my 'holiday')
The business side of Debbie Ellis Watercolours takes a lot of time and energy and I'm loving it. Between setting up this website....ongoing Facebook posts....starting & posting on Instagram....planning & teaching workshops....planning and starting to teach beginner lessons.....increasing the scale of my Etsy shop and linking all 200+ items to my website.....taking part in 17 shows/craft events which included 15 Fridays at the Hespeler Village Market and 4 days at the Cambridge Christmas Market......commissions.....arranging for & upkeep of my work at The Old Marina Restaurant(Puslinch Lake), Mosborough Market, Olde Bridge Place(West Montrose), and The Revive Studio in Cambridge....keeping updated inventory of prints and cards......planning & getting new stock of prints and cards......answering queries through Facebook, my Website and Etsy (did you know that a lot of my Etsy sales are actually to the US?)....overseeing the matting (thanks to my husband Dennis) and packaging of originals and prints.....and much more.....it's actually hard to find time to paint!
So now it's time to take a pause for the next month......I thought.....but I know me...It won't happen. I've already got a list as long as my arm of things to work on (updating Etsy shop/organizing storage/re-organizing the classroom area/work on SEO for website & Etsy shop/doing some year end bookkeeping)....
.....and still I hope to paint!
Do you have someone on your Christmas list that may be hard to buy for? Or perhaps you're looking for a very special gift....a one-of-a-kind gift. Here's a great idea.
Gift Certificates or E-Gift Cards are available for all Debbie Ellis Watercolours items:
- original art
- giclee prints
- watercolour classes
You can choose your own $ amount and the recipient can make their own choice of art, prints, cards etc
You can choose a class or workshop which is a specific $ amount (plus hst)
You can choose a commission (see commissions page for info) and pay for the size of your choice (plus hst)
....time for Christmas markets and more!
It's a busy time around our house.....every weekend since Oct 19 we've been at a craft market/show. I enjoy these shows, as I get to share my artwork with so many new people. It's heartwarming to hear their comments, and to listen to the memories that some of my work evokes.
And.....it's time for some new artwork...and cards of course. This fall, I focused on painting some more of the 'other' parts of Cambridge....not just Hespeler which I am most involved with.
I wanted to paint something that was winter/Christmas related to each separate area of Cambridge. Skating on the millpond of the Speed River was my choice for Hespeler.
"Game On at the MillPond" is matted for a 16x20 frame. It is also available in giclee prints and cards. (thanks to Paul Langan for his photo reference.
It is bringing back so many memories for people that see it....and also people who skate on it now!
For my Galt selection, I had to choose the view of the Grand River from Mill Race Park overlooking the steeples at Queen's Square. A silent twilight with softly falling snow was my setting.
For Preston, I chose the setting of Central Park, where "Candyland" is part of the Christmas in Cambridge festivities. I wanted a quiet look at the park, not the busyness of the actual activities of Candyland
Christmas in Cambridge.....it's going to be busy around here for a few more weeks that's for sure! And my market season ends with "Christmas in Cambridge Market" from Dec 12-15th at City Hall. Please drop in and say hi!
We've been very busy this last couple of weeks getting new stock of Originals, Prints and Cards ready for the Christmas Craft/Vendor Sales. I was noticing, when I got to this painting, how amazing the giclee prints are that I get from Pirak Studios in Kitchener. As I mentioned a couple of months ago, these giclee prints are printed on cold-pressed paper with archival inks. Because of the quality of the printing, along with the fact that the texture of the paper is so similar to the cold pressed paper I paint on, I sometimes have trouble telling which one is the original and which one is the print!
I have over 85 different prints available in 2 popular sizes. Other sizes can be ordered with quick delivery. I'd love to see you at one of the upcoming shows and show you the comparison. And you can have a look at my new paintings and prints!.
Have a look at these two. Can YOU tell the difference?
I've recently seen some of my paintings AFTER they are in their new home.....framed and hanging on the wall. Sometimes it even surprises me......I glance at it and then all of a sudden realize that "hey, that's my painting!"
I especially enjoy when people send me photos of a piece (often a gift) with their new owners.
I sell most of my artwork in a white standard size mat that can easily be framed (11x14, 16x20). Places like Michaels and Home Sense have so many interesting frames. Others choose to have the art custom framed and matted. I can paint any size, but find it's helpful to most people to stick to these standard sizes.
Why don't I frame them for sale? Well, a couple of reasons.......
#1. Framing is a very personal choice and I would rather the customer choose the art that they love...on it's own.....and then find the frame that they love.
#2. I don't want to invest in the cost of framing. I would rather keep my painting prices lower....you're paying just for the artwork not the frame. The new owners can then choose to buy ready-made frames....or have it custom framed.
#3. I don't want to haul framed artwork around to shows. It takes up too much space, is heavy, and they are easily damaged.
But because of that, I don't often see my art framed. If you do have one of my paintings, please know that I would be very happy if you sent me a photo of it in it's new home!
What a difference a frame makes!
Watercolour scares and intrigues a lot of people. It's true that it can be difficult, but as with anything, you learn how to work with it. Generally speaking, you work from light to dark.....and you can't paint over your mistakes like you can with acrylic or oil.
BUT......there are ways to fix a problem area ........sometimes
I was working on a painting the other day, and realized that I had gone way too dark and blobby. Instead of filing the painting under 'G', I remembered about the Mr Clean Magic Eraser
Did you know that you can remove watercolour with Mr Clean Magic Eraser? Cut off a small piece, wet it, and rub the painting carefully. Let it dry. Re paint....carefully :)
See! It's easy!
I have such a collection of watercolour brushes. And most of them I don't like. It's frustrating that you have to buy them without knowing if they will work for you or not. Will they hold enough water....will the point hold......how does it feel. So, I have a collection of them!
I've been buying brushes lately for the watercolour classes that I've started teaching so I'm trying to pick brushes for my students that are not too expensive (to keep costs down) but that will still work for them. Pet peeve of mine is giving learners substandard tools.....they need the good ones!
So while I've been doing that, I've been thinking about my own brushes. I have heard that the Escoda brand is a favourite of watercolourists, so I thought let's try them. I bought a #12 round last month and have just started using it. Wow. It's great! It holds so much paint and keeps that point. It's a workhorse brush for me know. But, I thought if that one's so good, maybe some of the other sizes are too. So, time for a little treat for Debbie. I am so pleased with them. I think I'm just going to get rid of almost all of my old brushes. Hmmmmm what do you do with old brushes that don't work so well.......hmmmmm