Change of Pace

Just like life, my art practice can be unpredictable. It’s nothing profound or weird yet to me it feels like a new day. I made a radical decision a few weeks ago as the spring fine art show approached. It happened as a whisper that sneaks into my quiet early morning art practice and although it really caught me off guard I knew in that instant that it was true.

I have decided that for at least the next 6 months, I am shifting my focus away from making “sellable” art and committing to a deeper exploration of my art practice. There was a lot to unpack with this decision and I was full of questions with few answers so I am taking the time to answer those questions. I know when I started painting there was play and curiosity but I was very much in the “ I have to learn from someone else what to do, take a course, how to make someone else’s art”. I doodled and played with my materials, but I never tracked or kept anything in those early days and I certainly didn’t journal what I was feeling. I have a few digital images but dumped most of it along the way. In the last few months, I have stumbled across a few new podcasts lately that raised the questions of:

“how much time do I dedicate to play in your studio”.

“do I pay attention to the visual aspects of mark making; do I play with those marks, to understand them better

“do I know why something is attractive to me”

“do I know what something turns me off?”

“do I use different materials to develop what I like?”

“is there something else that I want to try?”

These are just a few of the topics that have been coming up. If you read my last blog, you know I started a much anticipated online workshop Creative Shift with Sally-Anne Ashley. In a nut shell, its a deep dive into the whys of my art practice, with thought provoking assignments to dig deep into the process of my art and through journaling, we slowly discover who we are and what we need from our practice and what we need to grown within our practice.

Now maybe this course has given me a reason/excuse to take this break (but do I need a reason?) but I believe I owe it to myself to follow through with my decision and this 10 week course is part of that decision. During these 10 weeks I am basically working in my art journal and on loose paper pages while journaling my thoughts and processes in response to the assignments. Sound heavy? It is, but in a gently thought provoking way. I’m sure I will make pieces on canvas to develop some ideas further but selling wont be my focus. What was a surprise to me that once I said the words out loud I felt like a weight and a pressure had been lifted from me that I didn’t know was there! I was and continue to be surprised by how I felt. How long have I been feeling this way? How could I not be aware of these feelings? Would I have heard this feeling if I hadn’t been on this introspective course? possibly. Would I have pushed through to make stuff that wasn’t feeling right (more than likely)?

Early in my art practice I decided I wanted to be a landscape painter, and once that decision was made I felt like couldn’t go back. I worked at it with some pockets of sellable success but I feel like I didn’t develop how to interpret what I see so that it is meaningful to me. I’ve made beautiful pieces ( my Mississippi Sunset series) in those early days. I know now what I was searching for was how to recreate how I was feeling but and didn’t have the visual language to do it consistently. In my giant aha moment last year, I literally stopped in my tracks and took in this piece of information. I didn’t have the answers but I am starting to understand it now.

I was shocked to see last week that I have written 77 pages in an A4 notebook! Pages and pages of thoughts and notes, processes and failures, even more pages about my art practice that I had never put into words before. To say it’s been helpful is an understatement!! The current week six has been the most challenging week so far and I am meeting with a ton of resistance and that’s ok, I’m my resistance I am finding my way.

From this weeks “notice what you notice” assignment

As May draws to a close and with my decision to focus developing my art practice rather than spending time painting scenes that I think might sell (because I’ve proven to myself over and over that it doesn’t work), I am feeling pretty hopeful. I am grateful that I heard that whisper and I am proud of myself for following through on the idea. I am also thankful to have found Creative Shift. Thanks for joining me on my artistic evolution !Have a great month everyone!


April started off with a bang of an ice storm that knocked out power for many in my area of Easter Ontario. I was fortunate, I didn’t loose power so other than the inconvenience of waiting in a long gas line up, my life carried on.

Prep for my upcoming show is pretty much complete. Yesterday I packed up all of the small pieces as well as all of the stuff for my booth. With so many new paintings this year, getting all of the pieces ready was a big task as most required the full treatment of hanging wires, signatures and business cards. I am excited for the show this year, its the biggest show our local arts association has put on, 76 artists under one roof, not bad for small town Ontario! I will be sure to update you next month on how I made out.

Back in January I had a crazy flurry of creative activity, starting 12 new pieces and tweaking 5 more. I had a pile on my palette table and one on the floor. I have been slowly plugging away at them and I can now report they are all finished! It felt really great to wrap them all up and more importantly I am happy with them! Wouldn’t you know it though, not long after that pile was finished I had another one built up!

The Foods We Eat series is complete!

I transformed and completed the redo of my bird series this month. I love my painted birds but they were on a neutral blue or green background and always felt a little ho-hum. Once I got them back from the shop where they were hanging I immediately collaged all but two to bring them all together as a series. So far on this mixed media journey, this method of collage is my favorite. The palette I use for this series offers so many forest like colours to play with.

April is also the month I have been waiting to arrive! A highly anticipated workshop started on the 17th, it’s Creative Shift with Sally-Anne Ashley, a UK artist. I first heard of Sally-Anne on the Art Juice podcast last fall, she talked about finding the why’s behind the artist process and something really resonated in me. I knew at that moment that this was a workshop I needed to take for my own artistic evolution. This is not a painting workshop rather a deep dive into the why’s of my art practice. I’ve never spent much time thinking about why, other than the superficial “because it turns me on” but it’s now time to ask why, why does it spark my creative juices? When I bought the course back in December it seemed so far away and yet here we are two weeks in!

I won’t lie, some of the exercises cause me some struggle and I have to think that it’s a good struggle, unearthing many more questions as answers. Opening up my curiosity about my life and my art journey, I have been spending a lot of time journaling out my answers. One of the exercises has sparked more moments of my off-again on-again creative writing practice! That practice comes in fits and spurts and since I prefer to write long hand in spiral notebooks for everything, I have a decent collection building up! The picture below shows my creative writing notebooks.

I have paused my painting practice for the duration of the workshop, using this time to play and develop ideas in my art journals instead. I felt this natural pause happening in the weeks approaching the workshop. I was driven to finish the bird series knowing they were for the show and had no new plans for anything on canvas. It’s ok, I write down ideas that come up in my studio log for another time. That being said, if I am moved to start a new piece I will and for those wondering, yes I am still getting up at 4am to journal and play in my studio. Last week I was exploring my love of these green squares that showed up in my abstract pieces earlier this year. I tried other colours but this permanent green light is the favourite so far.

Green squares art journal exploration

My workshop continues for 8 more weeks so I will update you on my progress in my next blog! For now, I am looking forward to seeing where the shift that’s happening takes me!

If you are in the Ottawa area, please stop by the show and say hello! I will be at booth #27

March 2023

March is that month for me that feels like winter will never end. The repeated heavy snowfalls, the cold nights and loosing an hour’s sleep as we return to daylight savings time all make for a long drawn out finale. I know winter is winding down but it feels relentless at this point.

I completed my 18×24 mixed media piece, this was a really fun piece to make. I didn’t know where it was leading me most of the time but in a flash one Saturday morning I found a creative use for those tabs left behind from my art journals. I rounded up all of the pieces I could find and painted them a neutral colour and began to lay them out. A city scape was born! This is not where I thought this was going to go but I am pleased with the end result. I had started a second smaller piece based on the top left corner of the original and in the same style. I always call them sequels but they are their own entity, the trick with sequels is allowing them to be their own creation and for me not to focus on duplicating the original. I always hit a point where I rush to the end and forget to build visual interest similar to the first. The second is a 12″x24 canvas and it’s now complete.

In January I had such a rush of creative ideas and started so many pieces that they were stacked up on my palette table 6 canvas deep! I am now getting around to developing those mixed media pieces. Some work and some don’t and the rest I still have no idea where they are going! I still need to finish my series~” the Foods We Eat”~ but I am having trouble sitting down and working on it. Everything is cut out and ready to go but I can’t help wonder why this series that I was once so excited about no longer moves me to action? More to come I suspect!

The Foods We Eat #1

Our local art show is 2 months away and I am slowly plugging away at completing pieces and tasks to tick them off my check list. My hope this year is to bring less pieces and not jam my booth full. A lofty goal considering that at the last minute I tend to add ‘just one more”. I hope to have 12-15 ready for the show with another 5 ready for day two if needed. I am bringing less large scale pieces this year, they don’t sell as well as the smaller pieces and I am trying to be mindful of the overall look of my booth.

My first lighthouse

I am really enjoying my new painting group and getting to know all the women that I paint along with. Rarely in my adult life have I experienced this kind of fellowship and community that I feel when I am painting with these women. They are a welcome break in my busy work week as we share laughs, food and art making!

My efforts on collage day in my painting group!

Our art group was invited to have a 2 month show at a local art gallery and music shop in a neighbouring town. Next Sunday they are hosting us for an artist meet and greet, something I am really looking forward to! I have 3 small pieces in the show and will enjoy hanging out and talking art!

Coming up in April I am looking forward to a new workshop starting on the 17th and have lots of show prep to get done in the meantime. Wish me luck!! 🎨 on!!

February. Change, Growth and Evolution

February was all about free workshops and following the creative leads that come across my path. I made a decision back in the fall to take as many free workshops as I can this year and so far February has not disappointed! For such a short month it was busy!

All three of the free workshops I signed up for are now finished. It was interesting; two of them did not resonate with me at all and the third was just ok until the last day. The best was saved for last on that final workshop: A new way to look at colour theory as it applies to the piece being worked on: Colour Harmony. Sounds dry, I know, but it wasn’t, it was another big piece of my art journey. This workshop was the free week leading up to the Art2Life’s signature program CVP. At this time it is out of my reach financially but I am leaving the door open for next year (and saving some money while I am at it) since his way of teaching resonates with me. Not right now no longer means never. If you remember I took his 21 day Spark program in September of last year and it changed my art, it changed me and I am still unpacking many of the lessons.

Another goal I set for myself for 2023 was to consistently make more art so I can consistently sell more art. Now I know one plus one doesn’t mean a straight line to sales but making art regularly, being in the creative zone more often, being fired up about my art can only mean good things! January was off to a good start, I made/started /refreshed a total of 19 pieces and completed 10. I am happy with the outcome and I don’t expect every month to reflect the same numbers. In February I completed another 6 pieces that I started in January.

I started this abstract piece in January that I have continued to work on all month: I have no idea where it’s going! It’s colourful and full of shapes with some collage and stencils but how to tell when it’s done?! I keep adding more elements to it as they pop into my head. It occurred to me yesterday that maybe this would have been better suited for my art journal. I am sure it will come together eventually, in the meantime I do enjoy looking at all of the different areas within the piece. In reality, I will add another layer over top. but not today.

At the end of January I decided to apply for our local fine art show that takes place in May. I was reluctant to apply this year, predicting that I wouldn’t make the cut. I did have a few reasons: a) I never get juried in but rather I am usually the alternate selected artist, filling cancellation spots and b) my art is changing and evolving. What work to show the jury that reflects that shift? When I recognized that it was simply my fear talking I applied, because if I don’t apply I am guaranteed not to be juried in or even be on the alternates list.

Blue Jay Mixed Media

I am happy to report that I was juried in! 😁😁 I literally jumped for joy when I read the email! I am so thrilled that my work made the cut! Of course I immediately started to plan what to bring! It’s not until May so I have lots of time. Celebrate those moments as they come!

An exploration of tissue paper, paint and gloss medium 😁

I have been invited to join a local arts group that meets regularly to paint and chat. To say I was excited would be an understatement! Several of the artists within that group I have come to know quite well thru participation in my local art show so I am looking forward to joining them. So far the weather and my schedule haven’t cooperated but hopefully in March that will settle down.

I am also exploring my art journal a bit more this month too. I belong to a few online art groups and they each work in art journals differently but they have once key message in common: one central place to put the bits and bobs that spark my creativity and a place to explore my ideas outside my written studio log. I find that I can easily fill my written journal and only occasionally translate that to the visual that is painting and collage. I am slowly pulling meaningful pages from my other journals, I have 3-4, into one place. Nothing is lost however as the leftover pages can all become collage material! Every piece of paper is now being scrutinized for possible collage material.

What will March being? Longer days and hopefully less snow and cold. More art for sure. I am still embracing my early morning studio time as an integral part of my day. My dog Mable continues to be in good health (she’s 10+ years now) and I am thankful that my job allows me to leave it behind and return home to my creativity without distraction. Until next time, paint on!

End of Year Look Back to Look Ahead

At the beginning of the year I knew my art was changing, that I was changing as an artist but every time I tried to write about it it came off sounding whiny and a bit melancholic. I don’t know how many blog posts I wrote and deleted throughout the year. I couldn’t put it into words until just these past few weeks but I think I’ve got it now: transformative.

I started taking workshops this year and joined a few monthly membership groups and it’s is there I found my art community and my art language. Looking back I had always created my art in a vacuum, and in that vacuum I got stuck. What do I mean by creating in a vacuum; I learned alone for the most part, taking classes at a local art store when something caught my eye or found myself wanting some community. I developed some excellent work ethic but also developed some bad habits and beliefs about making art that helped me get stuck.

Have you heard of the podcast called Art Juice? This podcast in particular helped me put words to my struggles as an artist. It also gave me a path. In that podcast they put other artists in my path that would help me see and feel my way out of feeling stale. If you don’t know it, check it out. Another very helpful podcast on my journey is the Savvy Painter podcast, both have helped me immensely. And I cant forget the 21-day creativity workshop called Spark that really shifted my thinking and my journey as an artist.

This year, I learned that:

I love collage;

I love ripping painted paper and collaging them into my art journal

I love ripping up old cookbooks to create collage papers

I discovered art jounals and mixed media,

that bubble wrap is awesome for visual texture

I love grids as part of the underpainting

I got reacquainted with clay

I discovered new colours that I now can’t live without

I started 37 painting and finished 28

I created 7 mixed media pieces, 2 are not finished

I sold 5 paintings

I leaned that I don’t have to keep painting landscapes because that’s what I chose 6 years ago

that not knowing the outcome is ok

that serious work comes from serious play

that I can jump from canvas to journaling and its ok

that my paintings are a bi-product of my creative process

That I can recreate and re-envision older pieces

Transformative is right!! Sitting here on New Years Eve I am grateful for taking the time to look back. I don’t make resolutions or pacts with myself for the new year, I know that I will carry on with this evolution because I cant imagine my life without these new found practices. Thank you all for coming along this journey with me, I truly appreciate you support and comments.

Happy New year!!

Season of Change, The Big a-ha!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I enrolled and completed a 21 day creativity workshop in September through Art2Life called Spark. I was hoping it would help me understand what’s changing in my art and to help me move with it or through it. It was a busy 4 weeks of live calls , videos to watch and art to make aka homework. The instructors art style isn’t my style since he is an abstract painter and at the beginning it’s the excuse I used to convince myself not to take it any further after the free series. But something happened in the last day of the free course that caught me off guard; a flood of ideas poured out and into my art journal! For most of the year I struggled to pull ideas forward, painting what I hoped would sell and not really understanding what was happening but I really didn’t know what I wanted.

My word is stale. I was stale, my art was becoming stale and especially my landscapes! I was so relieved when I could put a word to it and what a prefect word it was. The definition of stale is no longer fresh and pleasant.

Stale landscape from August

I completed this landscape shortly after my vacation, when I’d hoped the break from my full time day job would allow me to paint for a few days but nothing really came. This was an idea completely out of my head inspired by a road trip with my sister but when I completed it it was just blah..and as much as I tried to get excited about it. It’s just blah but I didn’t know how to paint my way out of it. I was stuck, and stale.

Just before the free program began I picked up a three years old painting and finished it. It was effortless and colourful..

Happy #5 glows in my studio

The Spark program with Nick Wilton at Art2life helped me play a bit more; with no expectation of an outcome, with different methods and tricks, tools and paint. The whole program is done working in a journal with whatever you have. I liked both the simplicity of the art journal and the variety of the topics of the exercises. I looked for ward to coming home and seeing what was going to come next. The pages in my journal are different than anything else I’ve painted, working at playing, colour combinations, texture and covering it over if it didn’t feel right. All the while working through limiting beliefs and long held truths that were no longer applicable.

My aha moment came in module 3 when a guest speaker talked about colour and colour value and how it’s so easy to keep “playing it safe in the mid tones“ is a common trap and leads to boring art . It struck me like a lightening bolt!! I stood up from my desk and gasped out loud! I then looked at my most recent landscape and realized that that’s me!! Totally! Totally stuck in those mid tones! How did I get here? Was I always like this? When did this happen? After the call was over I looked at my website, both my available pieces and my sold gallery to see what I could see. In the sold pieces, I saw lots of colourful pieces and a few mid tone landscapes and for the next few days I looked through my art with a new lens!

I’ve been slowly creating in those mid tones, moving away from bright and bold colours choices! I had to sit with this realization for a bit and I still was as the workshop started to wrap up. It stopped me in my tracks for a good 24 hours ..

Don’t get me wrong, I love my landscapes, they are all part of my artistic evolution and my collectors of who have my landscapes love them too. It’s the first subject matter I wanted to master, more than anything.

Untitled 12″x24″ Acrylic on Canvas $350

But I have been stuck and now that I know why and how , I have to learn how to stay out of the mid tones. I love landscapes but landscapes don’t love me (for now). In my monthly mentoring group that took place just after Spark ended, the 2nd of 2 major ahas happened. As I was discussing my garden series, the textured colourful series rebooted in 2020, I showed everyone the piece I was refreshing. I lit up ! I was so happy to discuss my methods, the idea and the outcome! I disclosed my growing apathy and unhappiness with landscape painting! I couldn’t work on my chosen pieces for the assignments because all I could see was blah. I soooo want to be a great landscape painter! The moderator helped me see that maybe I am a mixed media artist and if I was to incorporated texture it might improve my relationship with landscapes.!? Holy moly what a revelation!

My textured mixed media pieces aka the Garden series

I am still processing and digesting these 2 big ahas. As this week began I was exhausted, trying to understand and integrate these 2 new parts of my art. At the beginning of the year I knew my art was changing but I didn’t know how or why. These last 5 weeks have given me some answers and also opened up a dozen more but I’ll save that for another blog!

Thanks for coming along on my artistic journey! Feel free to drop me a like or a comment and please check out my available artworks for my current offerings and please share this post! Until next time 🎨on!

Season of Change

What a difference it can be in my creative journey from one month to the next! August felt very much like molasses in January, a slow moving energy that felt very sticky and uncomfortable. I deleted the first blog draft because I found it too whiny and very much ” somebody tell me what to do!!!” I didn’t have the words for what I thought of my art practice was becoming then but I have it now: my art, specifically my landscapes, was growing stale, very much a ho-hum kind of art that didn’t impress me but I couldn’t figure out how to change it.

September has always felt the New Years to me, I’m sure because of the school year but it always feels full of hope and new beginnings. This September was no different. I started my online mentoring program on the 4th through Mastrius, based in Alberta; I am the mentee, one of 9 women (totally coincidentally) that gather 2x a month to learn not only from our mentor but also each other! I’m looking forward to growing in this supportive community. We started off my doing greyscale work, of which I am not a huge fan but did complete the 2 pieces that I’d chosen. I applied to be a part of their online art show later this fall and was accepted! I am busy creating a few small pieces that I will share in my next blog.

September saw me enroll in a free, week long Creative Breadcrumbs workshop put in by Nick Wilton at Art 2 life. That ran from the 12th to the 16th and was a week of play and discovery. I was guided to this free course by an podcast I recently discovered, Art Juice, out of the UK and in one episode I heard them ask “why wouldn’t you take something that’s free?” It was a total coincidence that their podcast and this workshop were roughly at the same time! Stranger still when you consider that the episode I was listening to was from 2020!! I took it as a sign, to just do it. I knew his style of painting isn’t mine, he’s abstract and I am not but there’s still lots to learn about me and my art practice. At the end of the week long challenge I felt the creative tap starting to turn back on. One morning the ideas just started to bubble up to the surface and I quickly wrote them down in my art journal. I enrolled in the follow up 21 day creative challenge, Spark. Through a leap of faith and a well timed art sale, I enrolled in the Art 2 Life 21 day creative challenge. I believe the universe was definitely looking after me! This leap of faith is the most money I’ve spent on my furthering my art practice. I didn’t expect the course to change my style but the weekly homework and assignments certainly pushed me trough a shift away from that feeling of becoming stale.

Just before the first workshop started I finished a 3 year old painting that was languishing on my bedroom wall. Some paintings I give up on pretty easily, others like this sunflower I just couldn’t bring myself to gesso over. I knew it had good bones and it just needed time to reveal itself to me. I am so pleased with how it turned out and will be sad to see it go when it sells.

When it was done, I hung it on the wall beside my recent landscape that I consider “stale”. It’s an amazing comparison, front and centre in my studio as a reminder; a reminder how fast my creativity can turn around. Do I know what to do with the landscape to make it pop, no, but maybe I’ll figure it out along the way. I’m saving that aha for my next blog..so stay tuned…

See you next time!

This month in the Studio~the August Edition

Hello again and welcome to the late August-ok it’s September edition!! Ok, I almost made it!

Special announcement….if you have started following me on Facebook after reading this blog, especially since my Facebook hack in June 2021, please click on the link on my homepage to follow my active Facebook page and not the old one. I recently discovered that the link was incorrect and fixed it last week. Make sure to unfollow my old account at the same time. Thank you for your attention!

I love August! Warm sunny days while the days slowly grow shorter, granted that this was the rainiest August since 1873..something like that. My birthday is in August as is my annual vacation. I started a new birthday tradition last year, a solo hike around Foley Mountain Conservation area near Westport, Ontario. I had the beach to myself while I sketched, snapped some reference pictures and ate my lunch. It was fantastic! My hike was cut short by ongoing back issues and a very rocky trail but I made the best of it. This year I purchased trekking poles to help me when I hike and they came in very handy! It wasn’t very busy when I was out and about, and I managed some quiet time at Meditation Point.

Painting idea? Possibly

While I was on vacation, I assumed that after a few days rest I’d just start painting again, kinda like turning the tap back on, but my 2 weeks went by and I painted very little. So weird. I knew it was unlike me and it felt weird. In July I signed up for an online art mentoring group that was to start in September. I seriously thought about cancelling, I wasn’t creating anything, nothing was inspiring me. I knew it couldn’t last but I was frustrated. At the end of my two weeks, my sister and I took a trip to an art festival, we made a weekend of it and had a great time. Believe it or not I came home that Sunday afternoon and sketched out 3 new pieces! I can’t describe to you the relief I felt!

Was it the time away? Seeing all of that beautiful art? Seeing some artsy friends? Hanging out with my sister? All the laughing? Who knows.. I’m just happy that I’m painting, I’ve even purchased canvas! I finished 2 of those pieces last week, one I’m super happy with and one I’m undecided about. It’s not bad, it just feels stale to me, like I’ve been stuck on the same outcome over several pieces. I am hoping my online mentoring with help me move thru that.

I am still participating in the free weekly monopalette workshops and one thing I’ve noticed is that I seem to be able to do one or the other, but not both. Either I work my own daily art practice or the workshops, especially over these last few weeks. I can’t seem to find a balance between the two practices but it I’m hoping will come.

One thing I did do on my vacation was sculpt a bear out of clay! Two actually! I’ve had clay here since last fall when I took a sculpting class at my local art store. It has been on my mind to sculpt something but I always pushed it aside. My recurring back issues made it hard for me to sit and my small space made it tight. But one Friday, an hour before my online workshop was to start I had the inspiration to start. It was awesome to get my hands, and my studio, dirty and I finished it a few days later! So in hindsight I wasn’t painty creative but still creative over my holiday.

Big Bear
Once carved, I had to hollow him out and put him back together!

Someone suggested I sculpt my big bear a buddy so he won’t be lonely so using the scraps of clay from the hollowed out big bear I made Little Bear

So much fun!

I have to remember to be kind to myself when I am labelling my time as creatively slow or uncreative. It’s ok to not be going full tilt all the time. Sometimes slowing down and reflecting are key to creativity, or at least my creativity. My art mentoring starts in a few days, I am feeling much more connected to my art practice and I still have a block of clay to use up! Stay tuned and 🎨on!!

This Month in the Studio~June/July

June got away from me so instead of rushing and sweating out a hurried blog I decided to do a combined update of the goings on in my studio. It’s nearing the end of July now and my holidays are rapidly approaching.

I finally took myself to the National gallery in Ottawa in June during a week off from work. I needed to commune with Lawren Harris and visit Emily Carr’s collection. When I feel creatively low and need inspiration I go and sit with Lawren Harris’ North Shore and just let it refill my sense of awe. I struck up a conversation with a woman who sat on the bench beside me, who came to visit The Group of Seven exhibit as well. It was a lovely few minutes talking about Lawren Harris, travel and art schools, the conversation eventually came around to my own art and she happily asked me for a card! My inner artist was beaming ! Every trip to the gallery always ands with a stop at their excellent gift shop where I bought a book of the Collected Works of Emily Carr. In one of the weekly Monopalette workshops I participate in we discussed and used Emily Carr as inspiration. It rekindled a desire to take a deeper look into her art and her life as an artist living in BC, on Canada’s west coast. When I came home I found a book of her personal journals online so I treated myself and bought it. The book is Called Hundreds and Thousands and what I find really cool is that I can follow her journal with the Collected Works book since they are both chronological. I find it awesome and comforting to read her doubts and fears, not only about her art but about each piece that she creates, her life as an artist, as a woman and the challenges of her time. I feel a kinship with her because she feels the same about seeing Lawren Harris’ works that I experienced as well~”Something has spoken to the very soul of me, wonderful, mighty, not of this world”~

I am still participating in the weekly Monopalette workshops and we wrapped up the spring colours, shell pink, aqua blue and Naples yellow at the end of June. I will admit that most of my creative time is now working in my art journals, doing the assignments and playing around with those colours. One artistic hurdle that happened in June was two of the workshops were on portraits, not my favourite so I procrastinated a bit but eventually completed them. I think I finally found a way to create faces that makes sense to me! Since I started painting, it is my most struggled-filled creative process, so having this new technique that makes sense to my brain is such a relief and it dials down my anxiety around faces. It feels like a huge roadblock has been removed and although I still need to practice its a great feeling to not be totally paralyzed around the subject.

The new colour palette for summer, is pyrrole red, teal and cadmium orange. The first workshop was an “aha, I love this colour” revelation and it was on Canada day!

Compared to 2020 and 2021 I am painting on canvas very little this year. I often wonder if I was so prolific during the height of the pandemic that I exhausted my creative self. I have started and stopped about a dozen pieces and have only completed about the same in 2022, for or me it’s usual. I am however creating more pages in my art journals, discovering a love of collage and still trying to learn watercolors. In my art journals I finally have a place to create the memories from my all travels to Scotland. Not really canvas worthy, I never knew what to do with my desire to create art from those images and memories. Creating those pieces fills me with joy at remembering my adventures and makes me miss Scotland a little bit less.

I keep reminding myself that this art journey of mine is an ongoing evolution and to be patient and kind with my inner artist. I had a sale in June that reminded me of patience, a large painting completed in 2019 found it way to its forever home out of the blue one Saturday afternoon. I call it my “bing-bang-boom” sale; they had been looking at it for some time and that weekend it was time! yayy! Other than the sales from the art show in May, it is my only online sale of this year.

Cedar Moon #5

Maybe there’s a point my inner artist is still trying to learn..don’t judge, just create. I didn’t start making art to sell, it was always an unexpected bonus. When I make art to with the intention of increasing my sales, it lingers and acts like a vacuum to my creative doubt. The sale in June was a piece of a favourite series, Cedar Moon, and when I sat down to paint another, it came out quite easily. In one of my workshops the line “you love what you love” really stood out for me that I turned into “paint what you love” for my creative practice. Lately that has turned out to be red canoes, my Scotland memories and Cedar Moon pieces. I’ll just keep painting and sharing!

Cedar Moon #8 12″x36″ Acrylic on Canvas $450

See you next month! 🎨on!!

This Month in the Studio, May!

Art shows are hard and fun all at the same time. The spring 2022 local art show has come and gone and it was so good to reconnect with my art buddies and talk to the customers. I did well, sold 3 pieces which paid for my booth with a little bit extra! Typically this is the only show I do every year when I am lucky enough to be juried in.

Set up was a dream this year. We were at a new-to-us venue and there were no stairs!! Unload the car onto a dolly and wheel it all in! My worn out knees and back appreciated the lack of stairs! As I was setting up I realized I had a hole in the back art wall of landscapes. Moving something over, to me, didn’t fit the layout I had planned but I did have this one almost finished piece that would be perfect for that spot! So after set up I came home and finished it. I sold it Saturday morning! Funny how that worked out! So in the end I still had that hole in the back wall after all!

Typically following the show, I slide into this creative slump: partly from lower than expected sales, partly from having to cart everything back home again but mostly just because it’s exhausting. After my first show I didn’t paint for 6 weeks, and for this daily painter, that’s an eternity. After the show last September I hardly painted until just before Christmas when I was asked to paint a Cardinal for a Christmas present and that sale resulted in one of my kingfishers selling! This year I made a plan for after the show, a plan with a list of what to do, paint, read, create and so far so good!

My good intentions of getting this blog out before the dying days of May were interrupted by a massive storm and a 4 day power outage in my area in Ontario. I barely painted, I barely came into the studio and when I planned to paint outside, it would rain. With the constant worry of a dying cell phone, I couldn’t even update my blog using my phone. On Tuesday evening my power was restored and I continue to be very grateful for the hardworking line workers who worked tirelessly to restore what they could when they could. I learned some lessons with this last power outage, buying and keeping charged a charger pack for my phone and a small battery pack to run a light and charge my devices; never let my car drop below a 1/4 tank, even though my neighbourhood gas station is two blocks away. Our town was entirely without power for 3-4 days so my convenient gas station was of no use to me as I was running very low on gas; and yes, I lost almost everything in my fridge and freezer.

In the studio, not alot has been happening. I continue to work on my Monopalette workshop mixed media classes, even though 2 of the last 3 classes were about drawing and painting 3/4 profile view of faces. Not my favourite thing to draw or paint, I drag my heels kicking and screaming all the way to my sketch pad. The power outage was a perfect excuse for me to not complete the class, but I have learned that what I avoid will persist in my doubts so later today I will work on that class. This month though, I did have a sort of epiphany about my whole body reaction to anything portrait. As I was really letting my inner critic kick my inner artist’s butt one day, I thought to myself what could anyone have possibly said to me in my young life to make me have such a visceral reaction to portraits? It must have been a whopper to continue to have a strong hold 4 decades later!! So I straightened up, took a deep breath and told it to F*** OFF! Letting go of that belief is long overdue and slowly as I keep practicing I am experiencing less of a body reaction and more of a “meh well, ok” kinda attitude. A baby step but a huge shift for me as an artist. I continue to build my art journal, experimenting with watercolour and collage. The canoe page is really quite lovely!

One of the paintings I took to the art show, which received alot of attention and compliments but didn’t sell, sold yesterday! A couple had their eye on it and yesterday, the time was right for them to purchase it. It is a particular favourite of mine and although I am sad so see it go I am elated that its found its forever home! What a great way to end this month! This is my first online sale of this year, so I am super happy about it!

Cedar Moon #5

That’s a wrap for this month in the studio. I hope everyone is well and is taking time to recharge. I am going out to buy more art supplies! Bye for now.

This Month in the Studio, the April Edition.

I bet most of thought I’d forget/procrastinate or just put it off until it was too late! Ha! And yes, I’ll give you that it’s closer to the end of the month but still, it’s April!

It’s been steadily busy here in my home studio, getting ready for the show next weekend, working full time and looking after my dog keeps me busy. Oh and don’t forget painting!

Two weeks ago I sat down and made my pre show “what pieces to bring list” and it’s already been revised a few times. But my strategy is simple this year- bring lots of smaller pieces and a few (2) of the big ones. As much as I love painting big pieces, they need a buyer with some big wall space.

Lake Louise is 24”x36” acrylic on canvas.

Today I started to pack up the small pieces: the birds, the garden series and a small landscape or two. I’m doing so I found 4 pieces that are not ready so that’s my work for tonight. I always find it a bit sad when the art work comes off my wall but hopefully after next weekend many will have found new homes.

Some of my bird paintings.

I am still participating in my year long colour and mixed media exploration over at Paint Wisdom Studios. It’s a wonderfully supportive artistic community and Monopalette is absolutely free! I highly recommend it if you want to try something new and explore colour.

Shell pink, our colour for April.

I also treated myself to a travel sized watercolour kit from my local art store! In my art journaling for Monopalette I found I was watering down my acrylics so it seemed like it was time to learn how to use them! Plus that’s what I’ll be taking to Scotland in 2024 when I finally plan on getting back there!

I’m still managing to produce new paintings thru all the show prep, I can’t not paint! In one of my workshops someone said the following statement: paint and you love. It really struck a chord with me so I have taken it to heart this month, exploring more florals and birds simply because they make me happy! I still love my landscapes but at times they can be overwhelming challenging.

My Hummingbird Garden will be going to the show!

It will be good to be at another live show and I am looking forward to it even though it’s exhausting! In next months blog I’ll let you know how it all went, until then, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

On the Chopping Block

I read somewhere that a famous artist once said that it’s better to paint over any older unsold paintings than it is to discount them and sell them at below the artists market value. I have 8 such paintings, truthfully I have about 15 of these pieces, older and unsold, sitting in a box, standing in the closet in my studio or hanging on my walls. I live in 600sq.ft. Space is limited here, wall space is ever shrinking as a continue to create and evolve.

In the past I have sold a couple of older pieces either at an art fair or through Facebook at a reduced price so I know it’s a possibility but as I have previously mentioned in previous posts and blogs, my style changed in 2020. These pieces were created pre 2020 and it’s fairly obvious if you are a regular follower.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t love them; I learned from each of them on my artistic evolution but I need to let them go now. So I guess this is “Last Call” on these pieces. Don’t be sad, it’s just part of my process. At least I have learned to wait for a few months and in some cases years to paint over them because I used to only wait days or weeks before getting the gesso out! A friend recently asked me how I could do that, paint over pieces, compared it to erasing them from my artistic journey. Since I have the digital images on file I am technically only repurposing the canvas; it’s a practical decision.

I am not in a rush to paint over these, it will be a project for the dreary days of the fall and winter, and it also requires me to be in the right headspace. For now, I will be taking the ones off the wall and standing them in my studio closet, which strangely enough, is the hardest part for me.

The journey and the evolution continues,



the Home of AnnesCanvas

Welcome to my blog and online gallery. All of my original one-of-a-kind paintings can be found in the Available Artworks Gallery. Dimensions and prices are with each piece so please do not hesitate to contact me for more information. Shipping can be arranged within Canada.

Cedar Moon Series

Cedar Moon Series


New year new you ?!?! blah blah blah. New year, same me with more art making is how I choose to interpret that old discouraging saying. There is nothing wrong with old me, last year old me went through a fairly significant creative shift so I just want to carry on with that feeling and drive.

I started this year with a free online course, Your Best Year Yet with Michelle at United Art Space and have already booked my first creativity workshop Called Creative Shift with Sally-Ann Ashley. Last year a little earworm from a podcast chastised me into taking a free course, “because why wouldn’t you take a free course” the host said and that has taken hold. Not all free workshops are a win but it exposes me to a different way of thinking about my own creativity and how I can bring what they are teaching into my own practice. My next free course starts in 14 days! I think the biggest take away from all of these workshops is the community that I am building, a community of like minded people on a the creative path. A place to get advice and support when things aren’t going so well and a place of encouragement and growth when we have an art win.

My studio wall

My exploration of collage and mixed media continues, I am finding that the collage brings with it a sense of calm where the gremlins in my brain don’t hold any sway over my thoughts. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is! A big addition to my practice last fall was intentionally getting up at 4AM, yup I said 4 am, so I can have some studio time before I go to work. To be able to create my art from a restful place and not from one of fatigue after work is such a relief. For me it has been an incredibly freeing move that I think makes me a better human. Having those 60-90 minutes of quiet creativity is wonderful! I make my coffee, do my 30 minutes of journaling and quietly enter my studio. My dog no longer shows any interest in my early rising so I have this precious quiet time to myself, no music and no podcasts just creative silence. The silence allows me to hear my thoughts without a lens of noise and distraction. I think it helps me capture those brief and fleeting thoughts and ideas more easily.

Long Distance Call

Another big boost to my overall creativity is I that I watch less TV and movies. Especially in my most creative periods, those early mornings, TV can derail my drive to explore new ideas. I limit what I watch and when and for how long. And to all those who know me and my love of Star Wars and Marvel, I still paint to those movies, lol, just less often. I know them so well that its just background noise. Strangely what I can’t watch while painting anymore in any kind of murder mystery..we are all unique creatures of habit aren’t we?! What do you listen to while you create?

Collage, texture and paint!

With these changes I no longer feel like I ‘have to” paint on the weekends to prove that I am an artist, whether it be to myself or to the insatiable social media algorithm. I used to rush to finish work to post on Sunday, like a badge of honour to prove my worth as an artist, yes I am shaking my head as I type this! I definitely feel the quality of my work coming forward now is better, less frantic and feels more like me.

Turquoise drips and lines

I don’t make resolutions, I barely set intentions but this year I am doing some goal oriented work in the Best Year Yet workshops. I’d like to experiment more with different things like acrylic inks, more palette knife work and of course collage and mixed media. I reorganized my studio yesterday and added more storage because new adventures require more stuff and my 8’x10′ studio is jammed! I found a painting under my chair during the cleanup! I vaguely remember doing it but I definitely remember I thought I was blah. So I cleaned it up and now it’s lovely!

I have also planned to take one more workshop, probably starting in May or June, it is one I have been waiting to take since I missed it last year, don’t worry I will keep you posted. I almost forgot, I am going to see Elizabeth Gilbert here in Ottawa in April!! I was all set to see her in Montreal in 2020 but the pandemic tail care of that plan! Lots of good things are happening in April, I cant wait to tell you all about them!

Happy Sunday peeps, I hope you get to spend time doing exactly what you love, because we all deserve to follow our dreams! Have a great month and to steal from Brene Brown “stay awkward, brave and kind” oh and Paint on!