Monday, November 26, 2012


Sketches from landscape site, mostly not quite finished. Top to bottom, left to right: pen & ink, charcoal, pencil, pencil.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Waiting for Winter

As I step out into the leaden grey sky, a gust of wind tumbles dead leaves across my path. The air is the smokiness of autumn but with a chill that holds the promise of the snow to come...fall is here but not for long

Sunday, November 4, 2012


This series of paintings is based on a class workshop where each student was asked to teach something to the class. I chose kung fu. I chose to translate this through enso paintings because of the many shared philosophies between the two practices. Both are a Buddhist tradition (Shaolin Five Animal Kung Fu) and can be linked in terms of both mindset and movement.

These works are not true enso paintings in the strictest sense but were heavily inspired by the philosophy behind it. Enso in Zen Buddhist painting is a moment where the mind is free to let the body and spirit create. It is not an art form practised by professional artists but rather a form of meditation, letting the spirit be present in the work. It is believed that the true character and spiritual realization of the painter is demonstrated through the mark making. 

Since this series was based on my kung fu workshop, I strove for the evidence of explosive movement coupled with dedication to the stroke. I also wanted to draw the connection between myself and my art, creating a more personal aspect to it. To me, they symbolize the inherent perfection of imperfection, the striving to improve but also the humility to accept things as the way they are meant to be.

“The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.” 
 Albert Einstein          

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Earth Art

          This video documents a landscape collaboration in which I made candles out of walnut shells and set them afloat in a lake. I wanted to explore the way a landscape changes in darkness and the effect of adding light. I also wanted to look at the contrast of fire and water: the fire became a part of the water, moving naturally with the currents and reflecting the light, it appeared almost like a part of the landscape yet fire as a part of water is an unnatural occurrence. 
The transient nature of the project was also evident as the candles were subject to the elements and were pushed by the wind and water currents; they weren’t controlled by anything that I did. The wind often blew the candles out, some got stuck on branches in the water and others floated far out into the lake.

I find the most interesting things about landscape collaboration to be the inevitable effect of the environment on the work. Whether it happens immediately or takes a longer time, there is always change. The control of fire was the one thing that historically separated humanity from other species: since then we have gone on to exploit all other natural resources possible. In terms of my collaboration, the landscape’s control of these human made objects showed the real insignificance of people when compared to nature. Environmental factors can destroy almost anything humanity has created. The destruction of our environment through human interference continues but we know that ultimately this will unleash greater forces in nature than humanity can control. 

Thanks to Dave and Patrick for your help in filming.
Soundtrack property of Tony McManus 

Friday, October 26, 2012


“It is the soul that sees; the outward eyes
Present the object, but the Mind descries.
We see nothing till we truly understand it.”
― John Constable

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


“It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. 'I am watching you -- are you watching yourself in me?' Most travelers hurry too much...the great thing is to try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, and not to much factual information. To tune in, without reverence, idly -- but with real inward attention. It is to be had for the can extract the essence of a place once you know how. If you just get as still as a needle, you'll be there.” 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012



“One of the functions of landscape is to correspond to, nurture, and provoke exploration of the landscape of the imagination. Space to walk is also space to think, and I think that's one thing landscapes give us: places to think longer, more uninterrupted thoughts or thoughts to a rhythm other than the staccato of navigating the city.” 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Plein Air

Dwarfed by boulders, set in a landscape of stone and wood, the beach looks out onto the waters of Georgian Bay where the Giants Tomb stands in stark relief against the sky. It is the resting place of the spirit Kitchikewana. Blue shadows chase each other across its surface, quick and silent as if at any moment the giant could  be awakened. As fast as they are gone, they are replaced, a constantly shifting mass that seems to bring the island to life under my very eyes. The wind is a perpetual, ever growing presence, playfully lifting the waves into white caps that dance around the rocks on shore. The trees wave back in response, only just beginning to show the brazen colours that will soon adorn them, as yet revealing only a hint of what is to come.

Plein air painting at Awenda Provincial Park
Painting a picture with words is harder than painting with a brush, but neither of them do the reality justice.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Any landscape is a condition of the spirit."

Henri Frederic Amiel

"Your rocky spine"
acrylic on canvas, 2011

Friday, September 7, 2012

Gallery Visit

I was recently able to visit the McMichael Collection of Art which features a permanent collection of many works from Tom Thompson, the Group of Seven, and their contemporaries, Inuit and first Nations artists, as well as changing exhibitions from other Canadian artists.
Formerly the home of Robert and Signe McMichael, the buildings have expanded to house over 5000 works of art. Their private art collection was dedicated to the works of Canadian artists, especially those who were inspired by the beauty of the natural landscape.

As their mass of paintings accumulated through purchases and donations, their private gallery received hundreds of visitors and the McMichaels eventually decided to donate their entire collection, as well as their home and land, to the province of Ontario. The gallery has continued to grow and is now also home to the cemetery where the McMichaels and six of the Group of Seven are buried.

I love the location of the gallery. Surrounded by forest, it is reminiscent of the scenery that inspired the artists within.

The exhibitions I saw included "Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Canadian Art" which had some beautiful and interesting works-some that I loved were by Nicole Dextras, who's pieces in the show are based around transience and environmental sustainability within fashion.  I also loved the encaustic paintings by Jacques Payette, they had a beautiful ethereal and romantic quality which I find fits in greatly with encaustic. Something about the texture and light qualities of beeswax.

McMichael gallery is definitely worth a visit and I look forward to seeing their next exhibition!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wax On Wax Off

      My infatuation with encaustic began when my high school art teacher brought in her paints for the class to try out. I was immediately sucked in by the rich smells of the wax, the fluidity of the medium and the endless opportunities for ways of using the wax. From painting to embedding or even more sculptural works, encaustic is extremely versatile and can be used in just about any way. Because it must be fused, or melted, in between layers, encaustic tends to yield results that are often different from what is expected. But this is something beautiful about the medium, the unintended mistakes that result in new possibilities.

encaustic on panel, 2012

Because lately I have been working mostly with embedding objects or paper within the wax, I decided to try a more traditional painting approach with this piece.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Fades

Every summer begins with grandiose plans, things I will finally accomplish after being busy all year with work and school, to do lists that stretch a mile, activities that I've always wanted to try...and every summer those plans fall by the wayside, dragged down into the lethargy of the heat, put aside to deal with later. Until finally the end of August rolls around and I'm right back where I started, feeling as if I haven't really done anything after all. Where has the summer gone?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Room of One's Own

      Apparently, a universal characteristic of artists is that no matter how big a studio space, it is never big enough. "Clutter expands to fit the existing space." Never having had an actual studio space, I haven't had much time to put this theory into practise, but I can testify to the fact that it expands to the very limits of the space allowed. So far my art studio space has always co-existed with my bedroom, a basement, shared school studios or the corner of my mother's living room.
Art materials and pilfered water containers aka mugs

Encaustic paints

Art on the other hand definitely has the capacity to completely fill any space. My paintings have overflowed my room and migrated to almost every area of the house.

    Needless to say, I look forward to when I can afford my own studio space!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Touch the Sky

"The High Road to Linton" acrylic on canvas 8x10

"Lochaber Dance" acrylic on canvas 8x10

"Return to Kintail" acrylic on canvas 8x10

     These paintings were inspired by traditional Irish and Scottish tunes, hence the names. I've always wanted to travel to both these countries but so far have only managed it through my art. Celtic music is especially inspirational to me as it is so evocative of the landscapes where it originated.