Category Archives: fine art

Whose Art Is It Anyway?

I usually don’t pay attention to any crazy-artist streaks within me, but I suppose from an outward standpoint it’s probably obvious. I have a tendency to swing between extreme emotions about everything I do, spending half the time loving a painting, and the other half hating it. But that’s normal, right? Creating is hard.

I also like to spontaneously change my work after it’s finished. One might say “destroy.” “Ruin.” “Cover up.” I say “improve.”

I have been known to quietly remove an unsold work from public view in order to change it in such a drastic way that it is essentially a brand new painting. First I’ll paint it white. Then I’ll paint it over.

This infuriates my husband. In his mind, the work now belongs to my fans and my audience, even if no one owns the physical painting. In my mind, the painting isn’t finished until it has a home, and as long as it’s hanging on my own wall, we’re calling it a “work in progress.” Continue reading

In Pursuit of Passion

This past weekend I was talking with my dancer friend about a film she’d recently seen (Pina, a tribute to dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch) that she was very enamored with. She said I had to see it, that all artists would benefit from watching it, regardless of what art they created. I wasn’t opposed to the idea. Having read and benefitted from dancer Twyla Tharp’s universal perspective in her book The Creative Habit, I felt like I was down with the dancing crowd. I didn’t feel compelled to run out and see the movie, but sure. Why not.

To make her point, and because she had a captive audience, my friend whipped out her laptop to show me a few YouTube clips of the film. Okay, yes, it was pretty, and they definitely knew how to dance, and fine, they–OMG WHAT WAS THIS?! What were they doing?! The fluid movements and lovely down tempo beats! The sets! The costumes! IT WAS RAINING ON THE STAGE! The color and texture and framing and… holy crap, this was like watching a painting. I saw each scene much like I see the beginnings of ideas when I start a new piece. It was beautiful. I was downright inspired.

I love talking to other passionate artists. I love hearing them blather at length (as I do) about their individual loves and interests in art. I don’t even have to be familiar with their art to know why they do it. It’s a kinship. We speak a dialect of passion. Continue reading

The Shower Scene – A Gallery Story

I want to say upfront that this is just one story from my life, and not a commentary on the gallery system as a whole. My personal experience with “traditional” galleries has ranged from lackluster to unethical (and possibly illegal, but I’ll get to that in a second.) I do not believe they’re all like that. I’m very open-minded about galleries. I’ve simply had great success and enjoyment representing myself, and doing so is not a reaction to anything negative as much as it is a belief in doing something positive.

But anyway.

When I was starting out professionally, I heard from a number of people within the local art scene that I was ready for my own show. So I went out and got one. The gallery I’d found was up and coming, an offshoot of a more successful gallery nearby. The owner (we’ll call him Shawn) was an artist himself, and sold a great deal of work, all at higher end prices, with a pretty significant and growing following in the area. He liked my work, and immediately offered me a show. After securing a date, I heard from fellow artists that although his art “was a bit formulaic,” he seemed to be a fantastic businessman. The openings I attended in the months leading up to my show were lively events.

When I arrived at the gallery the morning of my own show to set up, I could sense a weird and unexpected attitude from Shawn. He was cold and unhelpful. He abruptly announced that I couldn’t use blacklights, a fairly integral part of my art, despite seeming enthusiastic about them a few weeks prior. He further informed me that I wouldn’t have access to half the space I was promised, because another artist was using it. When I firmly explained the necessity of the blacklights, he finally told me I could use a small room through a hall and in the back for this purpose.

I was determined to keep a good attitude about things. Continue reading

Don’t Make It Good

Don't Make It Good

I wasn’t always a painter. Sure, I’d dabbled before, but it was never something that had any sort of hold over me. In fact, I found it boring. Then one day, out of the blue, I had this terrible, burning, incredible need to paint. To really paint.

So, I did the only natural thing to do. I found this awesome painter I was acquainted with, who had a long and successful career as an artist, walked straight up to him and said,
“I want to paint.”

He didn’t blink. In fact, he told me exactly what to do.

The most important thing, he said, was not to spend too much money on materials. Specifically, he told me to start out with house paint, preferably the “oops” paint (the cans that had been messed up at the hardware store), because it was cheaper. At first I thought this was in case I decided I didn’t like painting. A good point, to be sure, but in actuality he didn’t want me to feel guilty using up anything I’d bought. Which I would have.

Then he told me what continues to be the best advice I have ever received about art, ever:

“Don’t make it good.” Continue reading

Why I Hate ‘Work of Art’ (and why I watch it)

Fingerprint of Inspiration

If you’re not familiar, ‘Work of Art’ is a reality TV show on Bravo about artists, in the same vein as Project Runway. Artists with different styles and backgrounds compete against each other toward one last battle, the prize being money and an official show in a fancy art place, displaying all the crap they made over the course of the season.

Each episode presents a new “challenge,” or theme, to inspire the artists to make a piece of art that will be judged against all the rest, after a time limit of one day in which to conceptualize, create, and finish their art. It has to be unique, innovative, something that passes the approval of “qualified” judges, and must never be too reminiscent of their own style or in any way similar to what they made last week.

It’s not much different than pulling in ten random people off the street, throwing them into a craft store for 20 minutes, and then demanding they produce genius art in a day.

This is not a venue in which these artists are allowed to display their lifetime of creativity, the progress in their own careers, or their unique fingerprint of inspiration. It’s a pressure-filled war zone where they are emotionally blindfolded, dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and told to build epic cathedrals out of popsicle sticks. Their reward is a harsh critique from some dude who owns a gallery in New York and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Sarah Jessica Parker will grace them with her presence. Continue reading

The 2011 Printable Fine Art PDF Calendar is Here!

It’s been a long time in the making but here it is! Each page features a beautiful full colour illustration for each month of the year. The calendar is 14 pages and includes both a front cover page and back cover page.

This calendar is in printable PDF format and optimized to print onto 8.5 by 11 inch sheets of your favorite card stock or fine art paper. After printing simply cut the page in half to create the finished calendar pages that measure 4.25 by 11 inches, punch a hole and loop through with a ribbon to hang. Or use your favorite clip for hanging.

Easy to follow instructions are included on the first page of the PDF.

Have fun making calendars for your friends, family and co-workers!

UPDATE – the sale in now over. You can buy it on HandamdeCloud and on Etsy. It will automatically download to you from HandmadeCloud while I’ll email you the file if you purchase it on Etsy. And do use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY and you’ll get 25% OFF your entire order.

This digital PDF calendar is licensed for personal use only and not intended for commercial use.
(Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License)

And PS… The completely handmade by me and ready to hang on your wall sea life inspired wall calendars and mandala and floral inspired desk calendars are in stock and ready to ship too.

A little Something – Series of three illustrations

Series Title – A Little Something (series of three paintings)
Medium – Kroma Acrylic, Ceramcoat Varnish and Faber Castel Pitt Artist pen on Cypress Archival card stock
Size of each painting – 8.5 x 11 inches / 21.5cm by 28cm)

Continue reading

Secret #4 – Saying Good Bye

One sunny afternoon I sat on my deck in Vancouver, brush in hand not knowing what to paint. I stared down at the piece of two by two foot freshly gessoed masonite board firmly planted on my lap. The sky was ultramarine blue, the garden glowing green and most colourful that day in late July, 2004. My senses were overwhelmed by the beauty of this environment. I glanced down at the board and at a the light grey shadow there; my shadow.

I gingerly traced it beginning to fill in whimsical areas of enchantment with much excitement and more importantly, contentment. Continue reading