Tag Archives: sketch

Watercolour Journal Workshop with Janice Tanton at The Banff Springs Hotel

Janice Tanton sketch journal - Haida Gwaii, Burnaby Narrows

A page from my sketch journal – Burnaby Narrows, Haida Gwaii. ©2014 Janice Tanton

I’d like to invite you to join me for a morning of fun and art that is personal to you. This simple technique of ink and watercolour will be something you can use all your life to create and record those moments of importance in your life.

Throw away that Instagram and Facebook post for a quick sketch and some penned thoughts

that will stay forever in your mind. This workshop is suitable for ages 9 – 99+ and total beginners. Even if you say you can’t draw a straight line or a stick drawing, this workshop is for you! As part of the wonderful Banff /Lake Louise Tourism springstART Festival, I look forward to welcoming you to my home territory! Check it out – lots of great workshops by artists who live and work in the valley, including soapstone carving!

Date: April 19
Time: 9:30 am – 12 noon
Place: The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Norquay Room
Cost: $31.50 plus meagre supplies

How to register and short materials list available here:




Post Surgical Sketches – Let the Dance Begin

Self Portrait, Jan 21, 2013

Self Portrait, Jan 21, 2013

I am pretty sure that it was the morphine and anaesthetic that kept me up all night after my surgery, but as I was lying in my hospital cubicle 6 hours after coming out of surgery, I realized that there were images dancing in my head. Ones that I should not keep to myself. Having been surgically altered forever, my “outside” was never going to be the same, but my inside was still dancing, singing and yearning to be free.

Being the optimist that I am, I had a sketchpad and pencil on the table next to me, even though I’d been told I may not be able to move my hand or arm for days afterwards. Leaning against the rails that kept me from falling out of the bed, I sketched away, and was able to sleep, and sketch five times during that long night.



I realize a week later as I drag my painful self around the studio, that the pain medication made this totally possible, but I’m encouraged to think of some new possibilities for paintings in the upcoming months. The lovely night nurse that kept checking on me told me the story of her son and his fiancé, a similar love story to that of Kevin and I….so I created one for her too…but it’s with her now. I found these simple pieces to be the most personal pieces I’ve done to date.

Self Portrait, Jan 21, 2013

Self Portrait, Jan 21, 2013

Self Portrait, Jan 21, 2013

Self Portrait, Jan 21, 2013

Creativity gives us hope, a vision and ultimately – a goal. We should never be afraid to express ourselves, no matter the situation we find ourselves in.

Triumphant Wins and Epic Losses – This Week In The Studio

Tom Cranebear - Sketch : ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper.

“Tom Cranebear – Sketch” : ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper.

Not every day in the studio leaves me feeling elated. Some days, things don’t work out the way I wish they would – colours refuse to mix to my satisfaction…I can’t seem to draw worth a heck….the phone keeps ringing and somehow, I just can’t get that “rush” that I love so much. When those days go back to back, it can be downright debilitating and eventually leads to a painter’s “block” for me.

Epic Fail(s)

Earlier, I was thrilled when my friend Rose came to visit from California and we had made a “painting date”.  Her visit was short and we had one day to get out painting together. (Woot woot!) On the heels of all the plein air inspiration and good work done in Haida Gwaii, I was eager to get out and paint locally and with some top notch painterly company and conversation. Well…the gremlins stepped in and nothing seemed to click for me as we sat in front of Rundle Mountain, Sulphur Mountain and Vermillion Lakes in Banff. The light was quite flat, so a challenge to find something interesting. In the end, I came out with a nice little painting of Rundle – recognizable but without that “zing” or that thrill that I usually get when working outdoors. Epic fail, as my kids would say. They actually quite love days when I come home with “Epic Fails”. Once, I even let them paint over top of an “Epic Fail”….I think they actually made it look better. I’d post a photo of it…but I’ve honestly lost it somewhere in the studio. (I think it might have been on purpose.) If I find it…I’ll post it. (ick)

A few more Epic Fails occurred this week. I’ve been working away on this piece but have been unhappy about a few compositional aspects, so dove in with the paintbrush. I think I might have messed it up more than I had in the first place, so that sure has got me down.  Two setbacks like that were enough to move me off working on other pieces that I’ve started and I literally had to go back to the drawing board to get some confidence in my work again. I started with the sketchpad and worked on this preliminary study for a client’s commission piece:

Chantal - Working Sketch ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 14"x18"

Chantal – Working Sketch ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 14″x18″

That….at least made me feel a little better, and led me to work on a second sketch the next night – that one is at the top of this post.

Triumphant Win(s)

"Work in Progress - Tom Cranebear" ©2012 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel. 14"x18"

“Work in Progress – Tom Cranebear” ©2012 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen panel. 14″x18″

Sometimes you hit it on the nail. This one, I’m very happy with…so far. I received some new brushes from Rosemary & Co. in England, and I do love them. I’m not saying it’s the brushes that helped, but sometimes having a new “toy” to play with is enough to shift you out of the doldrums of failed paintings and keep you moving forward.

I still have a fair amount of work to do on the edges and blending, but I’m pleased with it. Next week could find me in the spiralling, repeating pattern of Triumphant Wins and Epic Losses.

I’d bet on it….and I’d never trade it for the world.


The Toughest Art Critic

I’m my worst critic, but I know it’s close to being good when Kevin is speechless.
Today, after a cold and busy day of work, he walked up to the studio, took a look at my sketchpad and shed a tear.

Lord how I love them all more than anything in the world…thank you for making me an artist.

The Artist's Daughter - ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 18"x14"

The Artist's Daughter - ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 18"x14"