Monday, December 30, 2013

Through the Fog

This painting of the lionsgate bridge was a Christmas commission for a friend of mine. It measures 36" by 48" and was painted with acrylic paint. I actually enjoyed the process of making this painting which is surprising since I have had a love hate relationship with landscapes in the past.
Landscapes have never really been my thing but because my father paints landscapes my first painting was of a calendar photo of autumn trees. I hated it from the moment I started and I think my dad actually threw it out when I was done. I painted a portrait shortly after (it was so much better) which I count as my first painting.

 I painted this painting in very distinct steps and layers which meant I was finishing off sections as I went instead of working on everything at once. I started with the sky across the top of the canvas and then painted the mountains over that. I was very concerned that I would at some point ruin the blue wash I had worked on but luckily I managed to make it all the way through the painting process with only a few small glitches.

The fog was tricky. I didn't want it to look like snow or like I had forgotten to paint half of my canvas so I did some sponge painting of various colours to give it some depth and then smoothed it out with thin layers of white.
 The bridge was another tricky thing to do without messing up my previous layers. For a brief but stressful moment I thought I would be starting over but it all worked out in the end and I covered my small error with the trees across the front.
The pine trees were tedious but easy to do, although they looked like shadows till I fogged some of them out. The final touch was the red and yellow leaves of the largest tree which really made the difference between the foreground and all the layers behind it.
I am very pleased with how this painting turned out and happy to add it to the collection of 2 other landscapes I have painted. lol
Now I have time to get back to my other paintings that have been laying dormant for the past stressful month!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Keep Dreaming

 Keep Dreaming

With every dream you dream
and every star you see
one more chance to become
who you want to be

Don't cry for every star
that falls from your sky
there's more where that came from
just dream big dreams and try!

Since I was on a deadline with this painting I had to make quick decisions...which I am not good at. Because of some of those quick decisions I feel unsettled about how this one turned out.
I took a bunch of reference photos over the summer at my cabin and luckily this one worked well in a square format. By the time I sketched it out and came up with the background half of my allotted month was gone. I dove into the project but because of my rush I feel like I missed many little things along the way but perhaps I am just paranoid. I prefer to sit and ponder a painting for hours/days/weeks sometimes before confidently moving on to the next step but there was not enough time for me to sit and stew about the concept/composition and small anatomy issues.
This painting is now for sale at the Oneft2 online Gallery. This gallery sells 12" by 12" paintings created by a handful of artists. I am very excited to be working with this gallery site and "Keep Dreaming" is my first contribution.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Tags

Despite the fact that I can be a little bit of a scrooge I have spent many hours hand painting holiday gift tags for my Etsy shop. I actually have two Etsy shops, one with my art and the other (Das Buch) that I fill with craftier things like journals, bookmarks and gift tags. Everything in this shop is handmade and hand painted by me.

Creating these items is time consuming and tedious but there is something really special about handmade items. Each set of gift tags is hand painted and some are decorated with gold leaf and glitter. My goal is to make gift giving more personal with these cute little tags!

I also create hand painted bookmarks and Journals for this Etsy shop. I create the Journals using a coptic stitch so that when open the pages lay flat. Every journal and bookmark is unique and one of a kind. A small handmade luxury and a great gift for creative writers and bookworms!
Check out my Etsy shop to see more of my handmade items!
Das Buch

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Time to Embrace the Holidays

I have spent the last month complaining about the multitude of Christmas commercials and extra early holiday promotions. I have heard so many Christmas songs I cant believe the holidays aren't over yet, but since American Thanksgiving has now arrived I guess I should embrace the Holiday Season. 
This year I am offering a 20% off coupon code ( RADXMAS13 ) that can be used for anything in my Etsy shop!  
My shop is filled with art of many different price points. 
Prints are a cheap and easy way to share art with your friends and family. All of my prints are printed with my professional Epson printer with archival ink on 100% cotton cold press watercolour paper. Each print has a border for easy framing and matting. I offer prints in a variety of sizes; 5" by 7", 8" by 10" and 11" by 14".
My shop is also filled with my original paintings which come in all shapes and sizes.
 Good luck to everyone on your Holiday shopping! Feel free to shoot me a message if you are interested in a print that is unlisted or have any questions about my artwork! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pencils and Portraits

Every once and awhile I feel the need to put down the paints and get in some pencil practice. It is always good to take the time to step away from my current work and do some quick (sometimes slow and tedious) sketching!
Portraits and getting a good likeness can be really tricky so I try to get in some regular practice to keep improving my skills.

This first girl is just a practice sketch that is definitely less than perfect. Adding colour to the background is possibly a distraction from this as well as just a random experiment.

I really enjoy drawing my good friend Clayton, partly because I have done it so often his face is very familiar to me. In this particular instance I enhanced the pencil drawing with watercolour to give it a little more life!

I like how it turned out so I will likely be applying this technique in the future!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Art of Journals

 Every once and awhile I feel compelled to create something reasonably useful. I have always been obsessed with books and journals and find a certain sense of satisfaction in creating my own. It's a lot of work but the end product is pretty fancy.
This journal started off with an abstract watercolour painting which served as the background for the covers as well as a matching bookmark. I painted the floral design in gold leaf and adhered the paintings to my cover boards which I also painted gold. The paintings are sealed with varnish and somewhat water resistant.
I cut all of the inside paper to size and fold it into signatures and then glue some fancy paper to the outside of the fold to create a colourful spine for my journal. Then I stitched it all together and glued in my end papers.The coptic binding stitch allows the journal to open flat without damaging the spine.
I probably spent about 4 hours total creating this journal from start to finish. I was at my cabin this last weekend and sat in front of a roaring fire stitching it together. The process is rather cathartic and relaxing, much like writing in a journal. 
I sell these journals in my second Etsy shop: Das Buch and hope that they will be appreciated as tangible useful art, or at least give someone a fancy book to scribble notes in!

Monday, September 23, 2013

No Art, Just Dance

September is a crazy month filled with confusing schedules, erratic weather and tired children. The dance season started up again and I've been back in the studio teaching five days a week which has left me exhausted and feeling less artistic than usual. There is always an adjustment period as I get back in shape and back into my teaching routine. The first week my calves were so sore I could barely walk and the second week my back began to ache. I'm hoping this week things even out a bit and I will be able to walk like a normal person! :)
Teaching and choreographing is creative and I love every minute of it but unfortunately my sketchbooks have been neglected in the meantime. I'm hoping to get back to them this week and create some fun things to share with everyone. I have a few half finished sketches on the go that I'm hoping to complete this week. 
In the meantime I have a video of me dancing. This is from June 2013.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

People Who Dont like Art shows

I am honored to be participating in Canada's first RAW art event in Vancouver. I have spent the last three weeks painting, browsing hardware stores, working out my display and selling tickets. Selling tickets in the summer is hard enough because everyone is on vacation but selling tickets to an art show is even harder because most people dont get too excited about art shows. This never really occurred to me since I spent most of my childhood summer vacations browsing art galleries and museums and loved every minute of it. 

RAW is a different kind of show that does not include old ladies painting flowers (not that there is anything wrong with that!) and landscapes in a quiet library type setting. On Friday night Gossip nightclub will be filled with 40 different artist displays that you can browse through in between the fashion shows, live bands, pole dancer and comedian performances. Then at midnight the art comes down and the after party begins. This is an Art show for people who hate Art shows! There is nothing stuffy and boring about this event and there will be a lot of weird, I mean creative people there to connect with.

So if you are free Friday August 23 and want to do something different with your evening grab a $15 ticket to the premier RAW Vancouver event!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Two Weeks Till RAW

It is less than two weeks till RAW Vancouver and I am super excited but drowning in half finished paintings. Six paintings to be exact and I still need to start one more. 
This art show is unique as it celebrates all types of art and the artists behind it There is live entertainment in the form of a fashion show, musicians, hair and make-up artists and a film showing as well as 40 exhibiting fine artists. The event is about artists coming together, sharing and connecting.  

The show is being held at Gossip nightclub on August 23 and promises to be an entertaining night! There is something for everyone at this event and it promises to be an entertaining night!
I have $15 tickets for sale on my RAW profile, they will be $20 at the door!

I am also excited to be collaborating with  Sebastian and bringing colour to some of his drawings. There is always a somewhat abstract hidden story in his work and I enjoy retelling it with colour in different mediums. Although, that said some of the details (the bees) can be very tedious!!!

I will have another update on my progressing work at the end of the week!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Moment For Thought

June was a crazy month filled with end of the year rehearsals, photos and dance shows. The dance season starts in September and our June shows showcase the hard work that the students and their teachers have put in throughout the past ten months. The stress and work all paid off and to my great relief my little ballerinas (3-4 years old) even stood in a straight line on stage!
As June comes to a close and dance takes a two month break I have found myself with a lot of spare time. I enjoy this break because it gives me time to really focus on my art but sometimes I miss the busyness of my regular schedule. For the first few days I felt like I couldn't create. There was no vision or inspiration to push me to paint so I not so patiently waited it out with some silly doodles till my muse reappeared. 

'A Moment For Thought' was partially sketched out a few months ago but jumped out at me last week as I was flipping through my sketchbook. I spent the last week thinking about the direction of my art, where I want it to go and the bigger vision I have for it so this is a small representation of that process.
Since I have so much spare time you can expect regular blog updates and art for the next few months as I intend to paint the summer days away! 
Happy Canada Day :)

Friday, June 28, 2013


Hands have never been my favorite thing to draw. There is a lot going on and it takes a lot to make what starts out as a crude claw into something that resembles a hand with five proportionate digits. Because I struggle with hands I decided I better dedicate some time to them. This series of five paintings was a study of form, colour, evolving composition and layers.
Heart in my Hands
All of these paintings are 8" by 10" watercolour on watercolour paper mounted on cradle back board.
Each painting has a message and a meaning behind it. Some titles make these meanings more obvious while others leave it up to the viewers interpretation.
One Hand in Peace  
My ultimate art goal is to capture moments in dance that hold meaning, movement and symbolism. At first I felt that this project of hands did not fit in with my other work but hands happen to be very emotive in very symbolic ways. Aside from ASL (American sign Language) hands have a very distinct language and help us communicate in our day to day lives.

Hand in Hand
 Hands are agile and can express complicated thoughts and emotions through simple movements. My chosen moments so far depict peace, love and friendship but if I continue on in this series there are some darker concepts I would like to play with. Life is full of positive and negative energy and I would like to represent both sides.

Heart on a String
 There is so much that can be said with our hands and we often don't think about it. In the dance studio I am constantly talking about the quality and energy of hands and fingers but in real life they aren't given the credit they deserve. The way you touch people and gesture towards them can change the meaning of your words which makes our unofficial hand language very important when we communicate.

I will probably take a break from hands for awhile as the dancers in my head are taking over! 
These paintings are for sale in my Etsy shop I hope you have enjoyed them!

Monday, June 17, 2013


Rachelle Anastasia Dyer

Throughout my childhood I had my initials (RAD) hanging on my wall above my window but had no idea what they represented other than my name. Various family members had commented on how cool they thought it was but no one really explained it to me.
When I started taking ballet I felt very special to have my initials printed in the corner of my bodysuit. I later (much later) realized that they stood for the Royal Academy of Dance and were not personally monogrammed for me specifically. I clearly thought the world revolved around me! :)
I looked rad up in the urban dictionary.

Rad - An abbreviation of 'radical'--a term made popular by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Still primarily used by people on the West Coast who find words like 'cool', 'awesome', and 'tight' to be tired and overused; 'rad' is generally considered to be a much higher praise than the aforementioned superlatives. Also used as a general expression of awe

This definition might not quite apply to me but I am hoping it applies to my art and the things I create. I have been blessed with fun initials and intend to own them and use them to their full extent!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cabin Trip #1

 Last weekend I had the chance to escape from the city and spend a few peaceful days at my cabin. My cabin is rustic with no electricity or running water and mere meters away from a glacier fed river. The absence of city sounds is refreshing and calming. 
This time of year the river is so high that you can hear the rocks rolling and banging against each other. It is one of my favorite places in the world. 
I took my art supplies and spent hours sitting and listening to the river while painting and contemplating future projects.
We met an eager Bear on the side of the highway and I fed gophers organic apples. One particularly plump gopher refused to eat apple bits that we threw on the ground...hence my painting! 
The trip was amazing and I can't wait to go back.

I can't help taking a develope photo everywhere I go! :)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Heart In My Hands

Heart In My Hands

I wiggle my fingers at the start,
Put together they form a Heart
Precision is key for my hands;
A heart that travels to foreign lands.
Each finger curves to do it's part,
Together they can't help but make art!
The act is simple and the meaning deep,
This heart in my hands I will forever keep.

Heart in My Hands is 8" by 10" watercolour on paper mounted on cradle back art board.

It is for sale in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Shows

This spring I had paintings accepted into two different galleries. I have participated in the Delta Arts Council ArtSpacific show the last two years and finally this year I made it out to see the exhibition and vote for the people's choice award.There were some really great paintings and I am honored to have been part of it!

The second show I am participating in this month is the Surrey Arts Council's "Just Dance" exhibition. I have three paintings showing at the Newton Cultural center until the end of the month and one of my paintings (Rise Up) was used to promote the show in the "Spotlight on the Arts" monthly magazine.
Arts Council of Surrey

April is crazy and hectic and I have had little time to paint or make much progress on anything, but I thought I would give everyone a nice little update on where my art is this month!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I Hate Feet

I hate feet! Ok, maybe hate is a strong word but I am not a big fan and I definitely don't have a foot fetish. I find that everyone's feet are weird in different ways, different toe lengths, shapes and then callouses and bunions make each individual foot an entity of it's own. I have never looked at someones feet and thought they were beautiful, unless of course they were dancing. 
 I love dancing feet! There is something about the overdeveloped muscles of a dancers foot as it arches and flexes that makes me supremely happy. There is nothing better than a deliciously pointed toe. 
My goal for these foot paintings was to show the strength and musculature involved in supporting a dancer and the beauty that is found in these moments.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Moving Through

Moving Through is 16" by 20" watercolour on paper mounted on cradle back board.

I am both happy and completely dissatisfied at the same time with the way this turned out. Torn between love and hate for this piece I am "moving through" and on to my next dance painting. Pun intended of course!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Printing Prints

It has been awhile since my last post because I have been busy dancing! It was a great show and a crazy month but the rehearsals put me a little behind on my painting ventures. I have a painting in progress that will be done soon but in the meantime I am excited about my new toy!
Over the holidays I purchased a fancy Epson printer (Epson R3000) to improve the quality of my art prints. I now have the ability to print on 100% cotton watercolour paper with archival inks in a variety of sizes, the largest being 13" by 19". I am now slowly re-organizing my Etsy site and will be offering different sized prints in the near future.

Etsy shop

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance” ~Unknown