Canadian Artist Corinne Aelbers

Today I'd like to introduce a special artist to you. Corinne Aelbers of Burnaby, British Columbia, has been selling her watercolour paintings in galleries in the Pacific Northwest for over fourteen years! Her painting "The Red Barn" (shown below), captured me with the wonderful feel of the Fraser Valley. I asked her to share a little about her creative process and materials.


The creative process has always fascinated me. When I was four years old I remember making doll clothes with my godmother, I loved making the tiny outfits. I had a prized collection of colouring books and spent many hours filling the pages. After I graduated with a Graphic and Communications diploma I took watercolour classes. I felt confined by the structured world of graphic design. Painting filled my desire to be spontaneous. That was many years ago.

Artist: Corinne Aelbers
Title: The Red Barn
Image size: 1 3/8 inches x 3 3/8 inches (3.5 x 8.5 cm)
Front panel size: 3.5 x 4 7/8 inches (9 x 12 cm)
Medium: Arches 140lb cold pressed watercolour paper
I use Arches 140 lb cold pressed, for most of my work and occasionally 300 lb, mostly for larger works. I have found these heavier weights do not warp when water is applied and can be reworked without damaging the paper Arches is PH neutral, very durable, has a warm natural tone and a beautiful texture. Made in France, it is found in most art supply stores.

Watercolour papers used to be made from old linen rags that were cleaned, broken down into pulp, poured onto a wire mesh, transferred to a felt blanket then pressed to release excess water. Linen paper was highly prized by watercolour artists. Today artist quality watercolour paper is primarily made up of cotton fiber produced using a cylinder mould. Cotton fiber ensures a neutral PH (acid free) paper, essential to longevity and stability over time. Sizing (a gelatin) is added to allow mediums such as watercolour to adhere to the surface. Too little sizing and paint will bleed through, too much and the paint will not stick to the surface. Watercolour paper comes in different weights measured in pounds per square meter, the higher the number the thicker the paper.

Arches watercolour paper has three surface textures to choose from. Hot pressed which has a very smooth, fine texture. It requires a good understanding of the paint's characteristics and works well for controlled results. Cold pressed has a medium texture. I find is the most versatile and forgiving to work with. It can be used to produce controlled and uncontrolled textures and washes. And Rough which has a very coarse texture and produces interesting textures and granular washes that cannot be achieved with the smoother surfaces.

Artist: Corinne Aelbers
Title: George (sold)
Image Size: 21 x 29 inches (53 x 73 cm)
Paper size: 22 x 30 inches (56 x 76 cm)
Medium: Arches 140lb cold pressed watercolour paper

The little art cards I paint daily help me stay loose, comfortable and unforced, kind of like practicing playing the piano it keeps my in tune. Each card is an original miniature piece of art and are often framed by those who purchase them.

Pursuing artistic endeavors has enriched my life in so many ways. I have met so many interesting and talented people, have and continue to learn a great deal and have been to many places I might not have otherwise visited. The lifelong journey I started as a child has been well worth the effort.

Thank you for sharing, Corinne!

Watercolour gift

One of my favorite things to do as a gift is make something special. This year I've made mittens, scarves, paintings, and even a casserole! A very special lady had a birthday recently, and here's what I made for her.

 Recognize my inspiration for this one?