Happy Holidays!

Hello all!

It’s been a bit! I’d like to say I have been very very busy but the reality is that I got caught up doomscrolling all forms of social media. It’s amazing how much that steals the time and for me it makes me feel less creative, tires out my brain and my eyes! My New Year’s resolution is to get rid of most of those apps. I do like Instagram which my link is in the side menu. And I also like the new Post News, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback there. As always I’m on WetCanvas.com despite the changes, I still like the forums. I don’t know how much longer it will remain open but I think it’s still one of the best sites. Painting Friends is a nice forum for the most traditional sort of artists. It’s a gentle place as well if you’re looking for a good place to land that’s not Twitter or a site similar to that.

I think I’ll round out the year with a bit of this and a bit of that as I haven’t been keeping up.

Here’s some rocks I painted. I’m going to place them on some of the walking trails in the area for people to find and take if they wish to.

Here’s a small selections of crochet that I’ve made. These are all my own patterns and I will try to get them all published.

Here’s an Acrylic of Tallie.

This is from a challenge on WetCanvas (we do monthly ones in the acrylic forums). The challenge was to only use palette knives and a limited palette to boot. This was all done with knives and is 16 x 20. Bit of a mess but lots of fun.

I hope the holiday, whatever you celebrate find you well and I hope the New Year brings you good health, good company and lots of creativity. Take care.

Maud Lewis

Maud Lewis was a Canadian artist who created beautiful folk art despite suffering terribly from rheumatism. The film “Maudie” detailed her life. I think it’s still on Netflix.

She was a talented folk art painter even going to the extent of painting every surface of her tiny one room home. Her entire house is preserved inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. There’s even a virtual tour which is worth looking through.

On WetCanvas, which is still alive despite the owners, we have a monthly challenge in the acrylics forum. The theme for May’s challenge (I know I know I’m late posting but I don’t think anyone is reading this, blogs seem to be passe but I’m good with talking to myself!) was to either do a study of one of her paintings or do your own inspired by one of her paintings.

Folk Art seems easy but funnily enough more people had a hard time with this than with other genres or subjects in past challenges.

These are mine. The first one is based on her “Snow dog” but instead of her white dog I used my Tallie. This is 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

A happy folk art painting of a yellow labrador retriever, dog, in a garden of tulips with plum blossoms overhead
Tallie in the Tulips

The second is a copy of “Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy Going Fishing” 13.7 x 12.5 inches. I used some crackle on it as I had a tonne left from another project.

Folk art painting of a ship going out to fish. A landmass with a lighhouse and several other buildings can be seen in the background.
Study of Maud Lewis’s “Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy Going Fishing”

The big one is 20 x 16 inches and is the top half of the inside of her storm door as seen in the museum. I had fun painting the canvas to look like wood!

Folk art painting of a door with a painting of a blue bird and flowers in a red vase.
Maud’s Door.

I enjoyed this challenge so much. Folk art is a genre I rarely do but appreciate more than any other.

I hope you enjoyed looking. As always, if you have a question, please ask in the comments below.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2022


No, not the music kind. I do love that though.

Thwomp thwomp throw your arms around! thwomp thwomp (that’s me dancing to the beat)


I received a new Ipad and Apple pencil. I’m quite enjoying them. I downloaded both Procreate and ArtRage. I haven’t tried ArtRage much yet but I’ve been having fun with Procreate.

Procreate has a symmetry option which I’ve been having fun with.

digital artwork showing a symmetrical line work image of doves, swans and fish kissing
Kissing Kissing Kissing
digital art image of a colorful snowflake on a black background
Snowflake in pastels
Digital art image of a mermaid ticking the chin of a friendly sea dragon.

To create something similar.

This is what I did.

Layer 1: random color splotches then used a Gaussian blur to smooth the edges. I saw one lady online used the smudge tool to make it looks like those ones we used to do in school with colored pencil under crayon, I liked the smoother vellum sort of look. You could really do anything or even one bright color.

Layer 2: filled with a dark then set the drawing guide to whatever symmetry option and then used the erase tool to draw.

I like the monoline brush for these it gives a nice smooth edge.

Hope your enjoy!

Any questions? Comment below and I will get back to you ASAP.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2022

All roads lead to gnome…

Note: I’ve done this pattern several times but no one else has so if you see any mistakes or have any questions please let me know. If you don’t wish to sign into WordPress to ask a question, you could ask me on my Twitter or Instagram. My account links are at the side of this page.

For this gnome I used worsted weight wool and a 4mm hook. Size will vary with different yarns and hooks sizes.

I used a bit of black embroidery thread for the eyes.

I would classify this as an easy to intermediate pattern.

Short forms used.

MC= magic circle (see this tutorial on YouTube)

sc = single chain

INC = a single chain increase done by crocheting two single chains in one stitch

DEC = invisible single chain decrease (see this tutorial on YouTube)

*to* = repeat the instructions inside the asterisks around.

 Gnome Crochet Pattern 

Gnome Body

1) 6sc in MC (6) 

2)  Increase in each stitch around (12) 

3) *sc, inc*  around (18) 

4) *2sc, inc* around (24) 

5) *3sc, inc* around (30) 

 6) sc in each stitch around  (30) 

7) sc in the back loops only in each stitch around (30)  

If you prefer a smooth rounded body with no definition, sc around as normal instead of in back loops 

8) *4sc, inc* around (36) 

 9-12)  sc  around (36) 

13)  *4sc, dec* around (30) 

14) Sc around (30) 

15) *3sc, dec* around (24) 

16) Sc around  

17) *2sc, dec* around (18) 

18) Sc around (18)    

Fill with beans/weight and stuffing (see note below) 

Switch to face color using an invisible stitch   

19) sc around (18) 

20) *sc, dec* around (12) 

21)  Dec around (6) 

Stuff firmly and finish off.  

Note: To stuff, place a small amount of stuffing lining the inside. Place a small bag made from cut nylons or scrap material inside. Fill with dried beans (available at the grocery store). Sew off the top of bag and add more stuffing until full. Gnome will tip over if there are no weights/beans inside! 

Gnome Nose (in same color as face color) 

1) 4sc in MC (4) 

2) Increase in each stitch around (8) 

3-4) sc around (8) 

Add a bit of stuffing if desired or use the end string from the magic circle to plump up the nose. 

5) Dec around (4) 

Finish off leaving a long enough piece of yarn for sewing. 

Sew on right above the color change line.  

Use embroidery thread to make eyes in whatever shape you find appealing 

Gnome Beard in whatever color you prefer  

Note: row count does not include turning chain 

1) Chain 8, ch1 for the turn (8) 

in 2nd stitch from hook 

2) *Inc, sc* repeat until end of row,  ch1 and turn (12) 

3) *Inc, 2sc* repeat until end of row,  ch1 and turn (16) 

4) *Inc, 3sc* repeat until end of row,  and turn (do not make a ch1) (20) 

5) skip the first stitch, *3dc in the next stitch, skip the next stitch, slip stitch* repeat from * to * to end of row. This gives you a 5 scallop edge.  

Finish off and leave enough yarn for sewing.  

Beard will form a half circle with a half circle cut out in the top part which will fit under the nose. Place and sew. One side will be more textured than the other, use whichever side you prefer.  

You could also instead make a beard with yarn bits as you would with doll hair or make braids or use faux fur or fuzzy yarn, etc. You could even alter the pattern above to use bobble stitches.  

I made my gnome bald but you can add hair in whatever style or way you prefer.  

There are a lot of YouTube videos on adding hair to yarn dolls that you can check out. Find something that suits your fancy or holiday and have fun with personalizing your gnome! 

Gnome Hat 

Do not stuff or gnome may tip over even with beans or weights inside the body.

(For candy corn hat start with white yarn) 

1) 6sc in MC (6) 

2-3) Sc in each stitch around (6) 

4) Inc, 5sc (7) 

5) sc around (7) 

For candy corn hat only : switch color to orange 

6) sc around (7) 

7) Inc, 6sc (8) 

8) Inc, 7sc (9) 

9) sc around (9) 

10) Inc, 8sc (10) 

11) sc around (10) 

12) 5sc, inc, 4sc (11) 

13) sc around (11) 

14) Inc, sc 10 (12) 

15) sc around (12) 

16) *inc, 3sc* repeat from * to * around (15) 

17) sc around (15) 

For candy corn hat only: switch color to yellow 

18) *inc, 4sc* repeat from * to * around (18) 

19)*inc, 5sc* repeat from * to * around (21) 

20) *inc, 6sc* repeat from * to * around (24) 

21) *inc, 7sc* repeat from * to * around (27) 

22) *inc, 8sc* repeat from * to * around (30) 

Leave a long string and finish off by sewing round in each stitch to make a nice edge. 

Use snaps to attach to head. Sew the snaps on the head first where the ears would be. Then match up on the ones on the head and sew on. 

By making a removable hat, you can interchange hats and change your gnome as you desire for various holidays and seasons. 

You can decorate the hat with flowers or beads or personalize it anyway you’d like.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2022

One Last Hurrah, a final ATC trade.

We decided to do one last ATC trade on WetCanvas.com before it evolves into it’s new form. (the forums will be archived so you can still look up tutorials and such on it). The theme of the forum was basically a free for all, artists choice, with the title “One Last Hurrah”.

Of course we may be able to do trades on it’s new reincarnation but I’m not sure what that’s going to look like.

I decided to do some houses and trees that I had been meaning to do for awhile. I did these all in ink with a touch of watercolor (most of which did not show up in the photos!).

Here’s a couple of them. These are all of course 2.5 x3.5 inches.

This last one is me paddling away on my kayak!

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2021

Abstraction and impressionism

This whole year has been an abstraction and I’m not impressed with it but I hope it’s finding you well.

I did these as part of a challenge over at WetCanvas. I got right in there with fingers and palette knives and large brushes. These all started out as innocent sheets of 12×18 watercolor paper, they ended up being various sizes depending on how much I tore the paper. I ruined a couple of brushes and one shirt but it was thoroughly entertaining.

These are some of my favourite places.

“The landscape”
“Water’s Edge, Niagara”
“Horseshoe Falls, Niagara”
“The beach”
“The field”

Let me know in the comments what you think. If you’re on Instagram, give me a shout over there, so I can follow you, I mean that in a general Instagram way not like a deranged stalker or anything.

Stay safe and healthy.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2021

Some odds and ends

I’m still getting used to the new editor on WordPress, It’s been around for while but I’ve been using the Classic option which seems to have disappeared. I have to say, I very much dislike this block editor.

Anyway, I’m still missing Sammy. I think I probably always will. My sketchbooks are full of small sketches of him. I turned one into a small embroidery.

While I’ve been crocheting more than anything, I have also been having fun collecting Victorian drawing books. Many of them are out of copyright and some companies have been reprinting them or pieces of them. I love looking at the old drawing prints. I tend to leave a good bit of white space or implied backgrounds, you know a few squiggles here and there. It’s a bad habit. The Victorians are the opposite, looking at their prints reminds me to fill things in, not every thing but some things.

I started this, which is a fairly small drawing, in a fairly small sketchbook. It’s a tree, thought I’d tell you that in case you didn’t recognize it as such. (I think I’ve using emojis too much, I so wanted to put a little face with it’s tongue sticking out there.) (oh no and then I wanted to follow that parentheses with a rolling eyes emoji!) Anyway, I digress, this tree is enormous, It’s one of the biggest trees I’ve ever seen. You can see in the background what I mean by an implied background, a few squiggly things here and there. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s only that I tend to do that every time.

I’ve also been on twitter too much this last year. Now it’s not what you think, I do occasionally get sidetracked by the political drama for sure but mostly I follow the museums and archeologists and such. They put such fascinating things out into the twitter world. Lately I’ve been looking at old Roman coins. It’s interesting how modern and stylized the designs are.

This is a drawing from a coin that was minted in Lyons around 330-337 BCE. It’s the Wolf with the twins Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome who as infants were sent down the river in a basket to drown, instead they were found by a wolf who suckled them and a woodpecker who fed them until a shepherd arrived and took them in as his own).

I’m going to make an embroidery out of this as well.

I hope you are all safe and healthy.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2021

Hello..it’s me..

I was wondering if after all this time
You’d like to see my blog…

I have been neglecting the old blog, there’s all sorts of cobwebs and paintbrushes laying about in here.

Sampson the purple dog is doing well. He is 13 now.  He had to have surgery on his leg to remove a tumor but it was benign, thank goodness. It was a ruff operation but it didn’t take him long to get back into his yoga routine.

He’s been pretty lonely since Zeus passed away. He grew up with three cats and Zeus of course was his nonstop companion. He was having fits every time we left him alone and let me tell you terrier fits are very very loud so in March we got him another friend.

This is Tallie, she’s a little girl lab. She loves Sampson so much even though she finds his chipmunk obsession bewildering. He seems to find her entertaining too.

She’s growing quickly and is already bigger than Sampson. She won’t get as big as Zeus was but she’s big enough now that she can reach the countertops and that has been loads of fun.

Arts and crafts wise I was so sure, I’d have all sorts of time with the quarantine to do stuff but nope, Life was like “Hey! You! Busy! Busy!”.

I did make a few animals. This is from a pattern on “All About Ami“. She has such great patterns. Check her site out.

This turtle is a combo of a few different patterns.  I really wish I had written down what I did but I think it’ll be easy enough to redo. The hat I made up with scraps.

I’ll be back soon with some experiments and such that I’ve been doing. Until then pass this lemon Bundt cake around and I will talk to you soon.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour’s website. Check out their advice on making Bundt cakes, if you’ve never made one before. I doubled the icing recipe because why the heck not.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2020






Return of the eagles.

The eagles are back!

I live in an area where bald eagles flock to breed. They come back every year in the hundreds.

I haven’t been taking too many photos as my camera’s shutter seems to be wearing out but I did take these while I was walking Sampson. This one seemed very interested in Sampson.

This one did too. His claws are in such sharp focus.

I was playing with some white ink on black paper. The paper seemed a bit soft, it wanted to absorb and absorb which ended up working in my favor, I was able to put many layers. Now in my first eagle here which is about 5×7, I went a little too crazy with my top layer and lost some of the shading.

This one is better. I would have continued down the shoulders but it ended up in a card frame for a friend who likes eagles. The one thing I love about ink, is that it tends to look complicated but it’s all just little dots and lines. Pretty relaxing to do.

I used a dip pen with a G nib on it. I buy the ones that are marketed towards anime online. They flow well and you can make thick or thin lines depending on how much pressure you use.

Since I mentioned Sampson, here’s a quick one of him in white ink on card stock.

I also did a squirrel in the white and grey ink who looks a bit of a know it all.

I did a polar bear too but had to weigh down the paper afterwards as it buckled. He looks like he’s fretting, given that the icecaps are melting fast, I can’t say I blame him.

If you have questions, please ask in the comments.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2020

Ink ink ink…

I recently bought some dip pens and have been playing with them. I love the G Nib though for some reason it’s hard to find in my area. I ordered some online since I’ve already killed the one I had.

A fish.

A quack.

A grrr.

A hedgehog with a little teeny tiny woof and a flower.

The sausage woof that I live with.

©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog.com, 2019