Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This is a first for me. A diptych! Two paintings that can stand alone or be hung side by side. I must say that this picture does not do them justice, they look much better in "real" life! Don't we all. They are 30 inches by 20 inches each. Two more for my show in New Brunswick! If you are interested in any of these paintings, shoot me an email and I'll let you know more.

Today looks like it is finally going to be mild AND sunny! Hooray. I've seen valiant crocuses and snow drops braving the cold and blooming despite the chill. Co cheery to see them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

tooting Daina's horn:)

This is my friend Daina Scarola, she's a surf artist! She lives near Lawrencetown beach and can hear the ocean from her open windows. We have booths next to each other at the Seaport market and it has been a joy getting to know her. So great to have a kindred spirit to converse with about art, the Universe, food, friendship, travel and all that juicy stuff. This painting of hers is called "Hibiscus Aloha". Click on the pictures to be taken to her shop. ( Hi Daina!)

This part of a series called "Little Blue"

"Seaside Rendez Vous"

Monday, March 28, 2011

tooting my horn:)

I just got my copy of Work/Life 2, published by Uppercase magazine

I've really enjoyed poking through it and getting inspired. Here is my write up and interview.

Very pleased and grateful to be a part of this, makes me feel like I am part of a creative tribe.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Market Sunrise March 26

Yesterday's sunrise from the Halifax Seaport Market. The sun has been steadily shifting postition and is now rising behind George's Island. So pretty. The picture below was taken up in the Bayer's Lake shopping area. I was there to buy an iPad!!!!! So very excited.

The skies are always gorgeous in the industrial park, counteracts the bleakness of the shopping plazas.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Yesterday's lunch! Mmmm, a falafel plate from Tarek's in the North end of Halifax. I love Middle Eastern food. Actually I love ALL food as you might have guessed. (Picture is a bit out of focus,I was anxious to eat!)
Tarek's is always a bustling place. Lunchtime is packed. You line up and place your order. Often there will be a tiny bowl of soup offered to nip the hunger pangs while waiting for your "real" order. Yesterday there were two kinds, pea and beef/orzo. Both good. The menu is varied and hard to choose from, so many yummy things. Great for vegetarians too.

You then find a seat and wait until your order is called. Lots of takeout orders too. My one peeve is that it can be very noisy in there and as delicious as the food is, it was nice to get out into some quiet. Also they don't take debit cards. Great place to try if you haven't yet.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

creative zone

Doing lots of painting! In fact, I'm getting carpal tunnel and tennis elbow or should I say artist's elbow. Ouch. Today I am taking some time away from the brushes and having an overdue lunch with a friend. This is what I painted on my painting apron just for fun the other day when I was working at the market. I like it so much that I've made it into a print and plan on framing it and putting it up on my wall. You can get one too if you want in my Etsy shop.

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” — Henry Ward Beecher

There's room for everybody on the planet to be creative and conscious if you are your own person. If you're trying to be like somebody else, then there is isn't.”- Tori Amos

" Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?” - Bernice Fitz Gibbon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday offering

Just finished this original little painting and have put it up for sale on eBay . Print is available here. I've called it Purple Dusk but will happily change the name if you come up with a better one:) Now for some supper, I'm starving!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blog fluff

Ha! What do you post about when you are too busy to post? The English Gentleman! One of the many acts at the Halifax Busker's Festival. Every August, performers from around the globe come and do their thing, rain or shine.

Here is a small video clip to let you have a look see what they do. Very talented lads indeed:)

Friday, March 18, 2011

super moon

Hey, tonight is the "super moon" The moon is closest to earth as it will be this year, 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers) away. The full moon tonight will appear 14 % larger and 30% brighter than usual. "Arrrrrooooooooo"


I had such fun in my last post reading the creative titles suggested to me. My fave was 3 Sheeps to the Wind :) It was from Phred, whoever you are....thanks! That is it's new name.

Gosh only two days until Spring officially arrives and one day until my daughter's BIG birthday! 21.... Today will be spent making a cake, doing errands, cleaning( always cleaning....if I won the lottery I would hire a cleaner and pay them REALLY well), painting, stuff, and getting ready for the market tomorrow! Busy.

Also, today is the Blogger's Day of Silence in support of the disaster in Japan. Instead of being silent, (I found out about this too late) am going to directly donate 100% of all funds from all sales of my prints today to **Shelterbox Canada as well as make a personal donation. I 'm not sure if silence does much to help things or raise awareness. It is knowledge and information that does. I've quietly reflected on the scale and horror of this disaster and am doing what I can personally to help out. Each of us should do what we can, every little bit helps. Here is the live translated feed of NHK ( the national TV Station in Japan) Best info on the situation.

**Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

this painting needs a title

Here is another painting for the New Brunswick show:) 16 x 20. Summer is getting closer. Spring is only 4 days away.
Just for fun....any title ideas?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Work/Life 2

Exciting news! I am in this book! eek! It is beautiful. Uppercase is a wonderful magazine dedicated to art and illustration and all things creative. Occasionally they publish gorgeous special books and this is one of them. The book is also off to the initial targeted mailing to art directors, publishers, advertisers and media. Over the next few weeks and months, the book will be made available (free of charge) to select art directors and buyers at various trade events across North America. Wow.

I can hardly wait to see it. What a wonderful opportunity. It features 100 illustrators from around the world and lovely inspirational bits and pieces. When I get my copy I will share my spread. If you click on the link, you can see a couple of my photos that were used for a page on creating:)

Monday, March 14, 2011

New York again...and again

I've still got pictures from New York to share. Can you believe it? The dangers of digital cameras. It is so easy to go snap, snap, snap. These are some that are not your typical tourist shots but I really like them.


Lower East Side, would love to have popped into the Cup and Saucer. If those walls could talk....

Not sure where but I loved the feeling of the staircases and quiet afternoon.

Another place to go back to.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lemon Ginger Carrot Soup

These unlikely ingredients make the most DELICIOUS soup! I've been feeling under the weather, battling a sinus bug or something and this soup is exactly what I needed. Garlic, ginger, lemon, carrots and tomato! The recipe comes from Kinloch Lodge on the Isle of Skye.

Lemon Ginger Carrot Soup

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter ( I used oil and butter)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion ( 2 onions for me)
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger ( 2 for me)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds medium carrots, peeled, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped (about 1 1/3 cups) ( I didn't seed them,just chopped)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel ( 3 for me)
3 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 small carrot, peeled, grated

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
Add onion; saute 4 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic; saute 2 minutes.
Add chopped carrots, tomatoes and lemon peel; saute 1 minute.
Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.
Puree soup in batches in blender or use immersion blender(that's what I do) Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with grated carrot and fresh parsley.

I topped it with Italian parsley and more lemon zest! It is light and lemony and gingery and wonderful! I bet it would be a great chilled soup for the summer.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Country Living UK

This is a new secret vice of mine! Country Living British Edition. I just discovered it a few months ago. I wanted to buy one last month and there were none, so I asked a salesperson if I could be notified next time they came in. It is more popular than the American version of the magazine and they get 60 in each month which all sell out, who knew? They are always a month behind when they arrive but so is our weather so I don't mind:)

It fulfills a secret fantasy of mine to be living in a charming cottage or manor in the British countryside in a small cosy village surrounded by gardens and friends nearby.

The pictorial below is part of an article about four artists in Cornwall that get together once a month to craft, create and eat yummy food.

Inside the pages are recipes like St. Clements posset with rhubarb compote. I always wondered what a posset was.

Gardens and plants and living in the British countryside. Perfect escapism and full of inspiration.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Here is an interview I did with Marilyn over at La Salonniere a few weeks ago. She talks to all kinds of fun people, pop by and have a read. I have known Marilyn for many years, she is a brilliant poet and writer. I thought I would post it here for posterity.

Artist and photographer Shelagh Duffett is brimming with creativity. She paints delightful folk art, shoots gorgeous photographs and even creates her own recipes. Shelagh resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is mother to an almost 21 year-old daughter and guardian of a plump grey tabby named Monty. I’m so very pleased to feature her here and hope you enjoy our conversation about some of her creative endeavors.

1. Shelagh, when did you decide you wanted to make your living as an artist?

When I was little, my dad got the idea of using white shelving paper (which came in long rolls) for me to draw on and as a result, the most amazing murals were duly created by tiny me, landscapes which morphed into seascapes, into fairy lands into random scribblings into outer space...all manner of things. I still have one of those rolls and it amazes me when I look at it! Very inspiring. Tells me that I was always creative.

My first "real" job was as a film editor for television news and that evolved into camerawork and producing, directing, etc. for various networks and private companies. So I guess images have always been a huge component of my working life. The painting came purely by accident.

In 1999 we had an old Huckleberry Hound lunch box that I did not want. I'd heard that they were quite collectible so decided I would sell it. Our local flea market was not an option and I had heard about eBay and wanted to give it a whirl. At that time, there was only "eBay," no eBay.CA or UK or whatever, it was in its infancy. Well...the lunch box sold for $125. Hooray! I immediately scoured the house for teacups and interesting bits I could sell. In the meantime, I had been given a box of acrylic paints for my birthday and for fun had painted a quirky folky fish. One day, I was looking at it and thought, "Hmmm, eBay has an art section..." I listed it, and it sold to a person in California! I was delighted and then felt guilty that maybe the buyer thought I was a "real" Nova Scotia folk artist. I immediately painted another to assuage my guilt and that sold to someone in Toronto, the next painting went to Vancouver and the rest is history! I've been doing it ever since. It enabled me to stay home with my daughter as she grew up.

2. Has your creative path taken any surprising turns that you didn’t anticipate when you began your artistic journey?

My art has definitely improved since I started. The old answer is true, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." I think the surprising thing to me is that I am still doing it. My art is all over the world now and I have to admit that gives me a thrill.

3. Your folk art paintings are colorful, vibrant and fun. Do you have a painting schedule you like to keep, or do you wait for the muse to strike?

I used to paint almost every day whether I wanted to or not. It was my "job" and I had to paint to earn money. The more I painted, the easier the ideas came and the process of sitting at my art table became part of my daily routine. Now that I sell prints of my work, the pressure has eased a bit and I am not painting as much as I used to. I'm also busier with blogging and market selling and doing work for other venues. I hope to get back at it in a more regular way this month.

4. Have photography and painting always coexisted in your creative life or did you come to photography later?

Photography came first. My dad had a camera and used to develop his own pictures when he was younger. I was fascinated by the process. I bought my first camera when in my late teens and have been taking pictures ever since. I actually prefer photography over painting. I think it is the immediacy and simplicity that appeals. You compose with your eye and then just click the shutter. Painting is much harder, more time and skill involved. A bigger investment of yourself.

5. How does photography complement your painting and/or vice versa?

I think that they are both about composition, colour and light. The way the eye travels around the image. The feeling I want to evoke. They are similar. I like graphic simple images with lovely light.

6. You’ve sold some of your photographs via stock photography sites. Can you share an example of how one of your photos was adapted that particularly delighted you?

Gosh, I have only come across a few examples and quite by accident. In microstock photography, once your image is sold the purchaser can do what they want within the guidelines of the license. One usage that pleased me was randomly coming across one of my pictures of junk food on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution site. It was used as an example of what not to eat but exciting nonetheless (not there anymore). That picture was also used in a biology textbook in Hong Kong. An image of the Eiffel Tower was used in the Philadelphia International Flower Show's poster. One of my most popular photographs of a pair of red shoes has been used by an Italian advertising agency in their logo. That one was seen by someone else and reported to me. Really, it is rare to come across one's own microstock images in use.

7. You write a wonderful blog, Alice in Paris Loves Art and Tea, which came in 2nd in the People’s Choice award in the 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards. As a successful artist, why is blogging important to you?

Thanks, Marilyn! Blogging is important to me because it is another creative outlet. It also helps me to spread the word about my art (marketing) and things that are important to me (championing). For example, in 2009 I read the book Three Cups of Tea and was very moved by the work done by Greg Mortensen. I decided to take action and with the help of my blog readers we raised over $1000 for his foundation. I also love the friendships I have made and the ideas I discover through blogging. I find it quite inspirational at times.

8. The recipes you post on your blog look positively scrumptious, yet seem easy enough that even a non-cook like me could make them. You’ve even authored a cookbook, Nova Scotia Potluck. What local dish do you recommend that visitors try?

Gee, that's a tough one. I suppose fish chowder or fresh fish and chips would be what I'd recommend to any visitor coming to Nova Scotia. Depending on the season, maybe blueberry pie or lobster. We've got some great restaurants here and fabulous cooks so one would never have to worry about not eating well.

9. You’ve lived in Halifax most of your life and seem to have a genuine love affair with the city, as evidenced by your beautiful photographs of it. How do you maintain a fresh eye behind the camera when you’re shooting your hometown?

Really, Halifax is an easy city to take pictures of. It is beautiful. I have my camera with me most of the time and I never know when a picture will hit me on the head and say take me! Depends on light and place. One of those weird things, images jump out at me unexpectedly.

10. Recently you’ve sold your artwork at Halifax Seaport Market. What have you enjoyed about the farmers market experience?

The Halifax Seaport Market is a wonderful world class green building right on the harbour and it is filled with light. I have only just started selling there and so far I am enjoying it. I think the location makes a difference; I don't think I could be selling if I was in a dark enclosed space. One thing have to say about the experience is that it is quite different to be talking to customers face to face rather then via an internet connection. Much nicer really. I have enjoyed the people buying and those just chatting and the vendors as well. Working from home is a bit isolating. The internet helps with that but nothing can compare to real humans:)

11. I always love to see your beautiful travel photography. Is there one destination you’d like to visit in 2011? What do you envision photographing once you’re there?

Marilyn, I have no plans for this year, yet...but I would LOVE to walk the Camino de Compostela de Santiago...have wanted to do it for YEARS. Something about a long meandering walk meeting people from all areas of life and different countries, seeing Spain and living simply for a few weeks really appeals to me. Having just said that, New York appeals too. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rainy Mondays never get me down

It's a rainy Monday in Halifax. Yes, the temps have finally gone up a bit and all the snow is disappearing. Good feeling. I have a warm purry lump on my lap and I am finding it hard to type here:) Mondays are my Saturday! Since I've started spending the weekends at the market, my days are disjointed and I never seem to know exactly what day of the week it is.

Remember a show I talked about quite a while ago? About a seaside town called Haven full of spooky and sometimes eye rolling happenings but really beautiful to watch because the cast is great and the entire thing is shot in Nova Scotia? Well, they start filming here again on April 1st for season 2. I am psyched. Might even try for some background work on it:) How about a bit part? You can watch Season 1 here for a taste of Nova Scotia in summer and some Stephen King styled escapism.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

work in progress

A tres messy corner. I was working on this painting at the Seaport Market on Sunday. One of the pieces for my upcoming show in St. Andrews, New Brunswick this July. Starting early on the paintings because I have a lot to do! I have to say it was quite the experience painting with an audience. Made me feel very self conscious and embarrassed. Like sitting there with no clothes on. I soldiered away because I really have to get the work done and don't want to waste the time I've got there.

At one point, two little girls pulled up chairs and sat behind me eating their snacks and staring at me while I worked. Ever feel like you're being really closely watched? I did have some cute conversations with little ones, lots of questions, like: What's the cat's name? Is it a boy or girl? Is the bird it's friend? Can you paint horses? Adults would usually ask what kind of paint I was using......acrylic:) Even posting this pic was sort of hard because the painting was not finished yet and looks much better completed. is Hal. 24 x30 inches

a closer side view:)

mail lovely mail

Today was a happy mail day. I received a package from Japan! Remember the One World One Heart event last month? I was lucky enough to win something :) I now have a lovely wee flock of peace cranes and some cute extras:)

A friend just emailed me: the item with images of "emperor" and "empress" says "o-hina-matsuri". This refers to the Girls' Day festival celebrated in Japan on Mar 3rd. They explain a bit more here:

Thanks so much to Mekkan in Nagoya , Japan. Here's Monty giving the origami cranes his stamp of approval.