Return to Nature

Return to Nature

Nature drawing reminds us that we are stewards of our land, and we need to be dedicated to preserving it for the enjoyment it brings to all levels of our lives. Drawing from life and using nature as our muse fosters compassion and empathy and ultimately reminds us of this interconnectivity. Observational drawing honours the truth in the beauty that is around us.  Not a single subject is without it’s own unique set of characteristics that make it impossible not to be in awe.

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Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May…

Spring is finally here and I have a few exciting announcements to make! So why don't you grab a cup of tea, turn on some soothing music and read all about it...




Newest Exhibition: "Darling Buds of May"...


Watercolours  &  New Oil Paintings now on display at

Mint Hair Studio (until the end of May)
1071 Wellington St. W. Ottawa - 613.695.3133

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: 
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, 
And summer's lease hath all too short a date, 

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, 
And often is his gold complexion dimmed, 
And every fair from fair sometime declines, 
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed. 

But thy eternal summer shall not fade, 
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, 
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, 
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st. 

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, 
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

~William Shakespear's 18th Sonnet

Spring/Summer Brush Sale!

Introducing my new Synthetic Brush set of 6 - great for beginner. All of my favourite sizes in a smooth, supple, golden taklon bristle - great for beginner watercolorists or acrylic painters. I only have a few packs left at this price. At less than 10$ brush !

Also ON SALE (and just in time for outdoor painting & cottage season - My beautiful #8 pure Kolinsky Sable Pocket Brush is on sale now while quantities last…. was $55 , Now $45!

Workshops Coming up...

I have a few weekend workshops to choose from as well for those of you who can't participate in evenings or weekdays classes. 

Just remember that, for all classes REGISTRATION is first come first serve, classes fill up FAST!  
Online registration is the best way to guarantee a spot. 

Easy access from the highway

free parking,

small classes (max 8 students)


Painting Retreat at Ghost Ranch August 2016

Study at GHOST RANCH en plein air where painting & photo opportunities abound. Vistas of red earth and turquoise sky were made famous by Georgia O’Keefe.   Mediums your choice of: Watercolour, pen & ink and pastel. Primary focus will be on watercolour - techniques, but Crystal welcomes any one of these mediums and will demo accordingly and guide individuals as per their needs. GHOST RANCH: August 28 -Sept4 3 days in Santa Fe will also be added (exact dates TBA)

CLICK HERE to READ MORE or to RESERVE your spot before August 1st 2015

I'm proud to announce my newest endeavour...

I have been very busy working on my first Art Trade Show. I've just launched teh website and facebook page as well. I think many of you will be very interested in this as an opportunity to expand your skills and Learn, Explore and even showcase your work! 



ART + SCHOOL + FAIR is Eastern Canada's first & only Art Material Trade Show. We bring together the best names and brands in the industry. See and try all of the latest tools and products on the market and walk away with a few samples!

An opportunity for ages 10 and up to learn, explore, try and best of all… SHOP direct from the manufacturers themselves.  We've invited well known instructors and professionals to share their tips, teach classes and demo exciting and innovative techniques. Whether you are a professional, or just starting out you'll leave inspired.

Buy supplies:
Chat with and buy direct from leading Art Manufacturers in the Expo Hall. 

Get Creative:
Register for an art class with a leading Art Expert or take in our free demos! Try something completely different or build on your existing skills by exploring exciting, new techniques & products. Workshops and Demo's will be running both days. There is something for everyone! 

Be inspired:  Stroll through Inspiration Avenue an art exhibition area where artists will be displaying their work. Leave with free samples, new products, a brain full of ideas and a full heart to inspire your next work of art! 


Day of the Dead Costume fun!

treasure hunting for texture and colour  ...

treasure hunting for texture and colour  ...

Yes, yes, when am I NOT thinking of Mexico?

However true that might be, with Día de Los Muertos fast approaching, I thought I would share what I've been up to! 

It's been fun scouring for items to fulfill my vision. I had created these little watercolour illustrations (below) to narrow down my options for my Glamorous Skeleton La Catrina. I've decided to go with the Big haired Mother nature version on the left. What do you think? 

My sketches for La Catrina, (Day of the Dead Skeleton). 


Probably the most iconic figure, La Calavera Catrina ('Dapper Skeleton', 'Elegant Skull') was made famous in a 1910–1913 zinc etching by Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator and lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada. The image depicts a female skeleton dressed only in a hat befitting the upper class outfit of a European of her time. Her chapeau was inspired by French and European styles of the early 20th century. She is meant to portray a satirization of those Mexican natives who, Posada felt, were over embracing European traditions of the aristocracy in the pre-revolutionary era.


El Día de los Muertos  is ancient indigenous ritual that has merged with Catholic theology and is now celebrated in most parts of Mexico and even foreign Mexican communities. 

The belief is that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

In most Indian villages, beautiful altars (ofrendas) are made in each home. They are decorated with candles, buckets of flowers (wild marigolds called cempasuchil & bright red cock's combs) mounds of fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto. The altar needs to have lots of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. Toys and candies are left for the angelitos, and on Nov. 2, cigarettes and shots of mezcal are offered to the adult spirits. Little folk art skeletons and sugar skulls, purchased at open-air markets, provide the final touches.While t

Today, the symbol of the  sugar skull (calavera) has ended up on almost everything imaginable from tattoos to nail design to paper plates and diapers... Sugar art was brought to the New World by Italian missionaries in the 17th century. The first Church mention of sugar art was from Palermo at Easter time when little sugar lambs and angels were made to adorn the side altars in the Catholic Church.

I'll post photos of my finished costume!


Floral Workshop at the Central Experimental Farm















A great time today with my ladies. Teaching them some simple tips on how to take better photos for their own painting reference.A great time with