Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year End
Christmas is finally over and all of the art projects that went with it! In total I made 25 cards, 10 mini cards, 2 custom paintings and a few other things for some special friends. My holidays were filled with family, friends, too many dinners and an unfortunate encounter with that nasty flu that's making the rounds. Santa brought me warm socks for dance class and my sister replaced my empty watercolours! (I also managed to acquire another Hedgehog!)
I am happy now to be getting back to my art and painting for the remainder of this holiday break.
In total this year I completed 25 paintings although about half of them were very small. In the next year I would like to complete a few larger pieces as well as more little ones for my Etsy shop. mushroom paintings will be the last ones I complete this year. The first version of Shrooms on a Hill is acrylic on canvas 5" by 7" and the second one is watercolour and pen and measures 4" by 5". They can be found in my Etsy shop

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Party of Three

A few weeks ago I painted a blue whale painting all in one day. I was in the zone and everything worked according to plan so I though another "underwater" painting would be fun and simple. This jellyfish painting turned out to be the opposite. Instead of one day it took me three weeks to complete. There is definitely more details in this painting and more colours but for some reason I was constantly frustrated by it. It was difficult to make the jellyfish appear partly translucent and to make them look like they are floating. I'm not sure if I accomplished either in this painting but I tried.
 I am happy to be finished with this one and excited to move on to something different. I have not decided what my new painting will be but I have an old one to complete first so I have some time to mull it over!

Party of Three is 10" by 20" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas. The edges are painted black so it does not need a frame.  This painting is now available in my Etsy Shop!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Acrylic Floral Study 3

Tis the Season for great sales and overly busy stores. As much as I dislike the commercialism of this particular season I couldn't help but make a stop at Michaels on Tuesday to pick up a few 70% off canvases! I bought a small stack of 5" by 7" canvases and intend on painting some random studies on them. Because they are so small they will be a nice affordable addition to my Etsy shop. 
Getting back to acrylics this year (I've spent the last two years playing with mostly watercolours and ink) has been a lot of fun but I want to use these small canvases to help brush up my skills for larger acrylic paintings. 

I started and completed this rose painting on Wednesday. Although I'm always tempted to add more detail I tried to keep this one nice and simple and as classic as possible. My Dad and I have discussed at length how difficult flowers can be so I thought this was a good opportunity to practice!
Acrylic floral study 3 is 5" by 7" acrylic on canvas. I painted the edges black so it doesn't need a frame, which makes this a cheap and easy way to decorate your wall! It is now available in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Big Blue Whale

It's been a long time since I started and completed a painting all in the same day. I got excited about this whale late Saturday afternoon and completed it some time after 1am. I was in the zone and it felt great!
I watched an interesting documentary about blue whales a few months ago and decided that if I were to paint a whale it would have to be a blue one. Did you know that blue whales are the largest animal to have ever lived? Which means they are bigger than the biggest dinosaurs were, which is crazy!

Big Blue Whale is 10" by 20" acrylic on canvas. I now have it listed in my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Censored Nudity

This photo of the painting was deemed to be inappropriate 
Last week when I posted my new painting something strange happened. I posted it to my facebook page as usual and set up a couple of dollars worth of ads so the post would reach more than a handful of people. But then, for the first time ever, facebook did not approve my advertisement on the basis of implied nudity. Which is crazy since they have run so many other ads with much more graphic nudity than this one! 
The Facebook approved image
SO I made another post using a different image of the painting to see what would happen.... almost immediately my image and post was approved for advertisements. How can the same painting be denied and approved in the same day?
Nudity and censorship has been a big topic on the internet. People have varying ideas of how much and what types of nudity are appropriate for social media sites. Nudity in fine art is normally treated differently than nudity in photographs and sites like facebook have differentiated between them. However the language they use to moderate these ads is so loose and up to interpretation that it seems to depend on who is approving the post. 
The first message they sent me said that my image was not approved because it contains "excessive amounts of skin or suggestive content. Facebook does not allow images that depict people in explicit or suggestive positions, or images that show nudity or cleavage." Which is not quite accurate since nudity in art like the statue of David is considered to be appropriate. Since this is a painting I would argue that there are not excessive amounts of skin and her pose is not sexual. 

I sent a message back inquiring about it because I seriously thought it was a mistake and they would approve the post in a few days. The second message I received said that it would not be approved because "the image being used in the ad implies nudity." By the time I received this message my ads on the other uncensored photo had just finished running and had reached over 500 people.
Personally I have no issue with non sexual nudity. Under our clothes everyone is naked. It is our natural state and I find it strange that we are so afraid of it. 
This image was also rejected even though it has run as an ad in the past!
I will be posting this blog to facebook using one of my older nude paintings just to see if it is approved. Facebook has unknowingly turned this into a game for me and I am interested to see how it goes. I will update this post with any new developments!

My first attempt at running advertisements with this image failed so I chose a partially clothed image to test the nudity line. A bra and a skirt seems to be enough!
I will be getting creative with censoring my posts in the near future! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015


As the days get shorter and cooler I find myself dreaming of hot summer days spent lying in the sun. The changing of the seasons gives me some anxiety as I find winter to be long, dark and often sad. While I don't mind autumn as a season (except for the rain) I find myself anxious of the inevitable grey months of winter. To help myself deal with this seasonal stress I have decided to embrace the seasonal colours in my artwork. Fall colours are probably my favorite and possibly the most cohesive when put together. 
This piece started out in my sketchbook, and after throwing some paint on it I knew I had to do a real painting of it! 

Hibernate is 9" by 12" watercolour and pen on watercolour board mounted on a black cradled board. 
It is for sale in my Etsy shop

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Still Life With Some Life

 Every once and awhile I feel the need to paint some still life. It's good practice for form and shading and it's always nice to switch things up a bit. Lately my Dad and I have discussed at length how difficult flowers are to paint. They look easy but when you are going cross eyed trying to find the specific petal you are working on you suddenly realize there is a 'real' art to painting flowers. It's been a little while since I fought with some flowers so I dove in with these two studies for some extra practice.
In both cases when the painting was finished it felt empty to me. Just some flowers. I wanted more life in the images so I added some life! Butterflies have been fluttering through some of my art lately and the little mouse in the second painting is the vole from my cabin. When I had added life to the still life studies they finally felt fully complete. 
Both of these paintings are for sale in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sketchbook Addiction

 Sketchbook addiction seems to be a real thing. I love buying a new sketchbook, filled with blank pages of possibility; it is always a fresh new start. At first I enthusiastically plan and fill the first few pages with work that will set the tone of the rest of the book and then somewhere along the line the sketchbook and it's blank pages get forgotten and piles up with the rest of my partially filled books. Sigh. 

The thing is, I really like this sketchbook! It is a small Strathmore watercolour sketchbook filled with luscious thick watercolour paper. The landscape layout is a new thing for me so I am trying to pick themes and designs that travel across the spread of both pages. My goal is to have this book completed by next summer. Assuming that this one does not fall into the sketchbook abyss my goal should be attainable! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

64 Faces - September update

Last August I started a sketchbook dedicated to portraits. My idea was that I would get a couple portraits drawn a week and complete the sketchbook in a timely fashion. What actually happened was that I worked in it on and off and then it got lost under the clutter of other sketchbooks and temporarily forgotten until this past month. After a year I have only completed 19 of 64 faces.
These portraits are all of random people (although Sebastian volunteered a photo of himself in a wig) and I try to connect the opposing pages through colour or background designs as much as possible. This sketchbook is all about practice and colour experimentation.  

My new goal is to have this sketchbook completed by the summer of 2016 which means I have 9 months to paint 45 portraits. It's possible, assuming I stay focused and on task!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Life Force

Take root in the Earth and feel it's pulse.We are all connected through it's energy; it's life force surges through our veins. Do not take this Earth's kindness for granted as its power is unimaginable and our dependence is complete. 

This painting started a long time ago. The original drawing is in my old sketchbook that I completed last Christmas. Sebastian dreamed up the concept for this painting and I used a photo of his hand as the reference. It took me a long time to paint all the details in this painting and I could only work on it when I had my camera, lights and tripod set up which dragged it out over the last 6 months. It is probably my favorite painting this far!
Life Force is now available in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dancing In The City

Despite the fact that I danced everyday last week I found some extra energy to do some dancing outside on Sunday afternoon. I danced down the street, up some stairs, across a ledge, up a hill and then all the way back down. I improvised everything and wasn't dancing to any music although I had an instrumental piece stuck in my head from a morning rehearsal.
I only got a few weird looks from people although one guy almost crashed his bicycle into a fence when I was warming up for the pointe section. lol 
Sebastian (aka The Vinylist) created this song specifically for this dance project and we have been waiting for the perfect day to film. This was the first real test of our recently purchased flycam and camera dolly. 
We had a lot of fun making this little video and plan to make more in the future.
While making this video I learned that dancing up-hill is a real struggle but despite the fact that concrete is not an ideal surface to dance on I must say I enjoyed the moment....and ripped up my shoes a little! ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Midnight Vole

At my cabin there is a little Vole who lives in a stump. He ventures out late at night and eats all the seeds left behind by Squeeker, the chipmunks and birds. Essentially he is the clean up crew! He stuffs his cheeks with as much as they will hold and then scampers away to hide it all. 

I made two little paintings of this darling creature. The first is watercolour and ink (5" by 4") and the second one is acrylic on canvas board (6" by 8".) I used the same reference photo for both paintings so it is interesting to see how different they turned out.
They are both for sale in my Etsy shop!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015


A few weekends ago at the cabin we saved a tired bat. He fell out of the sky around 7pm and seemed to be in distress. He couldn't seem to fly and when he tried he would fly erratically and then end up on the ground again. Using a stick we transferred him to a box and offered him sugar water and a few crickets. He drank some of the water and then sat happily crunching his crickets. He slowly crawled out of the box and was just sitting on the tree stump. We kept thinking he had died ( at least he had a fantastic last meal) but then he would twitch and move again. We gave him a little tree bark tent and left him to figure his life out. A few hours later he had flown away...hopefully fully recovered to live out the rest of his life....happily ever after?! 
I decided to make a little painting of Batty to accompany the video. It is 4" by 5" watercolour and ink and is listed in my Etsy shop for just $20.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why Art?

Why do I make art? I'm really not sure. Most days it feels like a compulsion. A compulsion to express, to create and to feel a certain sense of accomplishment which is then often accompanied with feelings of self doubt and confusion. I like very few of my paintings and often feel a sense of failure after completing one. No matter how good a painting may be, it could always be better!
The last few weeks I had multiple friends ask me "when do I find the time to paint?" The only answer I had for them was that I spent as much time as possible working on my art. It seems like an obvious answer to me but I'm not sure what other people do with their time? Why do I spend 10 - 20 hours a week painting and drawing? my answer....what else would I do with my spare time?
Like ballet, painting is a skill to be learned and honed in a technical fashion. In order for me to develop the skill and technique required to be a successful artist I need to be dedicated to my practice. Just like everything else you just need to practice!
This is my most recent experimental painting. I was excited and felt compelled to paint it....and then when it was done all my excitement drained away with the thought "is this art, or just a jumble of ideas?" I suppose the answer isn't important as long as I learned something from the process. I like the blue, I like the gold but all together there is something I dislike about this painting....maybe I hate squares. 
After looking at it for a couple of days I hate it a little less....perhaps it is growing on me!
I have titled it "Blue Ballet" and it is 12" by 12" acrylic on canvas. It is in my Etsy shop and I hope it sells so I don't have to look at it everyday. lol
The truth is I have no idea why I make art but I do know that it excites me and is a constant inspiration in my life. I don't know how I could live without it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ballet Book

I started this journal months ago. Procrastination is one of my more developed skills. After looking at it in pieces all summer long I finally stitched it together and completed it. I think this may be one of my favorite journals I have made so far. The gold makes it look fancy and matches the tutu on the front. I also put some blue sheets of paper into the signatures to complement the cover and overall feeling of the piece. 
This journal is listed in my book shop, Das Buch with all of my other journals and paper crafts. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

More Shoes

I hope you aren't sick of shoes yet..... sometimes it feels like that's all I paint. I have been working on this painting for about a month and I have finally completed it (it has a friend that is currently on my easel.) As usual these are one of my many pairs of well loved worn out pointe shoes. This painting was painted on a canvas that was lying around and I only just discovered that it is a strange size 10" by 13" (I think my Dad stretched this canvas 30 years ago.) The edges are painted black however there are staples all around it so it will need a custom frame. This painting (acrylic pointe shoes 2) can be purchased from my Etsy shop!

I'm trying to stick with my dance theme while I get back into acrylics which  I intend to continue using on a more regular basis. Yesterday I dug out my Dad's old rickety travel easel and ventured into the backyard for a day of painting in the garden. The weather was perfect, I just wish I was sitting next to a quiet lake instead of in close proximity with the highway. Perhaps one day I will live on a lake and paint outside all summer long....till then I will have to settle for the haphazard garden and highway noise. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rainy Day at the Cabin

We spent this past weekend at the cabin....again! When we woke up Saturday morning we realized that the weather man had been right and it was going to rain all day long, making it the perfect day for an indoor video project. I always travel with extra art supplies and paint but the majority of this project is created with found objects. Sebastian went foraging in the woods while I painted the background and then we set it up beside the window so we would have as much natural light as possible! 
The whole project took about three hours to complete. We spent about an hour taking 243 photos which then turned into only 15 seconds of video. Stop motion animation is very tedious and slightly stressful as the slightest bump of the table can ruin the whole project.
The worm worked out surprisingly well in the little butter container. I think he was really high off of the yellow nail polish fumes. He managed to move at the perfect speed although he slowed down a bit near the end and needed some help. 
This little project has inspired a larger one that I am currently working on the background for. This next one will be longer and much more complex. Rainy days sometimes inspire the best ideas and concepts!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Flower Card with a Video

Summer is going by way too fast for my liking, I never seem to get enough work done! However I did manage to multitask and create a card and a painting video last week. It's a simple little flower card but as you can see there are many layers and a few different types of media involved. I used a pen instead of black ink because the card is so small and I wanted a finer line. I'm not super excited about it but it is cute, and I'm sure my Nana will love it!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

3D Painting...sort of

Most of the time I am sufficiently happy to spend my time in a two dimensional world of painting, but every so often I crave a three dimensional project. Yes, this means I have started yet another project/series leaving all of my other art endeavors to silently collect dust for a few days/weeks. I wish I was a little less scattered with my inspiration and projects but I also like to follow that inner voice that compels me to make strange useless things. 

I bought a few packs of  firm sculpey this week and just started experimenting and playing with it. Sticking to a nice and easy subject matter I made a decent looking pointe shoe with ribbons. My issue then was how to best display it. I found this cute little 4" by 5" frame, so I painted the frame and backboard which would then provide the background and platform for the shoe. 
After putting this all together I realized that I had subconsciously recreated my pointe shoe paintings which I have been painting on an off for the past five years.  I am currently sitting in front of two paintings with similar colour schemes and aesthetics which means I just accidentally made a three dimensional version of one of my paintings...weird. 
This little guy can now be found in my Etsy shop and chances are there will be a few more variations of this before I move on to other projects. :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Shoe Commission

Sometimes commissions are a pain in the ass but in this case I enjoyed the whole process. It is always difficult to figure out what someone expects their painting to look like, and non artists often have a hard time explaining their vision. Often people decide what they want after seeing something they don't like which ends up causing lengthy revisions and repainting. However, I love working with great people and bringing their vision to life. 
One of the perks of commissioned work is getting to know my clients and their stories. My client Kelly and her best friend took a  graduation trip to LA, where they both splurged on a pair of designer shoes. To celebrate her friends birthday Kelly had me paint these shoes as a memento. Since I spend a lot of time painting ballet shoes this fabulous pair of Jimmy Choos was a nice easy painting to complete.
It took me approximately ten hours to complete this 11" by 14" acrylic painting. Initially I did four sketches for this commission to work out the composition and then coloured them to see if I was on the right track. I then got my paints out and started working. I added gold, silver and bronze paint to my pallet for this particular piece to help capture the sparkly shoes.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sketchbook Flip

In December I finished my big studio sketchbook. It took me almost three years to complete roughly a hundred illustrations/drawings/sketches. Some pages are filled with quick pen doodles while others have carefully drawn and painted figures. It's interesting for me to look back and see my progress as well as reoccurring themes in my work.

This weekend while enjoying the beautiful mountain weather at my cabin I finally found time (with the help of Sebastian) to make a quick little film for it. As usual Sebastian (aka The Vinylist) supplied music for my art and in this case he even edited it for me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pink Orchids

At the end of each dance season I am the lucky recipient of a multitude of handmade cards, rainbow loom accessories, starbucks gift cards and other fun ballet themed things. My favorites are the handmade cards and letters of appreciation that I get. I think my favorite card this year had a mermaid ballerina on the front! 
This year one of my students gave me a beautiful pink orchid. We shall see if I am as good as my mom at keeping these tropical beauties alive but just in case I thought I should paint them and preserve their beauty! 

Pink Orchid is 6" by 8" watercolour and ink on watercolour board mounted to a cradled wood board. These pink orchids can be found in my Etsy shop!