Sunday, November 17, 2013


L-R: self-portrait with full palette, monochrome study, three colour palette study

   The amount of portraits I've done in the past can probably be counted on two hands. Ok, if you include any faces incorporated into my paintings you'd have to have some feet in there too, and maybe a friend. But I have never concentrated on portraiture as a vehicle for expression. This fall I decided to take a portraiture class on a whim (and to fill an elective) and it has opened my eyes exponentially to the potential for depicting the human face. Its especially fascinating to see the variety of interpretations of one single subject.
  Its also made me more aware of the way in which I paint. What I interpret as my own incompetences reads to others as a distinct style and not necessarily incompetent at all, so in that way I've come to embrace my own way of painting a little more rather than what I aspire to.    
   "Reading" portraiture for me is one of the most difficult aspects–what is the artist trying to convey through their choices? Each decision leads to another narrative. While some say that portraits allow the real, true essence of the subject to be shared, I find my interpretations take a complete 180º and I'm left baffled. Ultimately the artist sees what they want to see and even then, the image put down becomes something entirely different to another viewer. But this mystery is what makes portraits so intriguing. As with real people, you can never really know them, only think that you do though the lens of your own milieu.
   These are just some brief thoughts but the world of portraiture is wide and its history is long. I look forward to continuing my explorations in painting the face.

* all portraits studies from life–from top, left to right: monochrome, self-portrait with full palette, full palette with colour interruption, full palette study

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Studio Tour 2013

Hello all, I will be participating in the Mary Allen Studio Tour this year, so come out and see some great  art–painting, pottery, jewellery and much, much more (not all by me fyi!). The tour consists of several different locations to visit and view artists' work, many of them in their homes or studios.
It's a fun way to see some more of the neighbourhood as well as to get glimpse of some artists' studios and to speak with local artists about their work. There will be live music at several locations and, as well, opportunities to explore some local architecture and history–and these events are all free.
By visiting all the studio locations there is also a chance to win a gift card to be spent with an artist of your choice–not that you needed the extra incentive, right? Right!
So do something extraordinary with your weekend and come out and explore the Mary Allen 2013 Studio Tour.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gallery Visit: Hugh Lane

While I haven't mentioned it much on this blog, over the summer I backpacked around Ireland–which as you can imagine was a most fantastic experience. One of the amazing highlights that I hadn't considered previous to arriving was the amount of galleries and museums that are free to the public, not to mention the sheer volume of arts related events and festivals that inundated half the cities I visited. It was truly wonderful.
The Hugh Lane Gallery was a fantastic highlight in my visit to Dublin city. From their impressive collection of well known artists (Monet! Manet! Renoir! Morrisot! ..umm, I was very excited to see my art history text book come to life) to the perfectly preserved studio of Francis Bacon (yes, in the gallery!) to the wonderful stained glass windows by Harry Clarke illustrating Keats' poem "The Eve of St Agnes" this gallery is lovely.

I was also impressed with the range of Irish artist that was showcased from the historical to the contemporary. There was quite a wide range that allowed for a brief historical overview of major movements in Ireland and hi-lighting many historical events as artists reacted to the times.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Burning

     As with a lot of my art, I find that the idea for this altered book came before I figured out the reasoning behind it. That usually comes later after the piece is finished and I find myself wondering what to say to people when they ask "..but what's it about?" Once  I can step back and really look at it, I often find I have put more into something then I originally intended or even thought about as I was creating it. But when I do get an image that I feel I have to create before it has time to slip away, I generally don't question it in depth. Some more thoughts on this particular piece can be found here.

I have had a long standing attraction to the altered book as an art piece, probably because I've always been a pretty bookish person in general. Libraries and book stores have always been one of my favourite places to visit and combining books with art just seems like the natural progression.

Altered book art is altogether fascinating. Not only are the options seemingly infinite for ways to work with paper and books but it is also intriguing to me partly because of the stigma that surrounds the act of altering, and thus destroying in some sense, a book. I haven't made very many altered books myself but even when I started on this project I had a tough time going ahead and doing it. Even though it was a damaged book that I would never be tempted to read, I was treating it like a sacred object. 

In an age where information is now so readily available, perhaps it seems strange to hang on to this idea of the book being the single, authoritative source for knowledge. There is an illusion that simply because something has been put into the printed word that it is also the valid place to obtain information. Especially when the internet has so many varying opinions that are readily accessible, it is tempting to hold onto this view...

Perhaps this is where that stigma around destroying books comes from, and yet I have none of the same qualms surrounding other sources of information such as cds, dvds, etc. Books are special. There are piles sitting in my basement that I can't bear to get rid of, even if I may not read them again. My shelves are overflowing with books from my childhood that I've practically memorized and others that I plan to read–eventually. As soon as I finish the five I'm working on now.

I love the altered book because it offers a transformation for those books that are a hard to let go of, but I know I won't continually return to. It gives them a new life, a new purpose, and a new medium to say something different while still retaining that memory of what it once was. 

"Silence" detail encaustic altered book, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


"Backdraft" acrylic on canvas, 2013

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Rude Wind

acrylic on panel, 2011
This is a painting from a couple years ago but it makes me long for the weather to finally warm up so that this could become a possibility.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Organized Chaos

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.” 
 Mary Shelley

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gallery Visit: Jane Ash Poitras at the ROM

"Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101" Jane Ash Poitras, 2004
mixed media
Jane Ash Poitras is a well recognized figure in First Nations contemporary art and the paintings featured in the ROMs First Peoples gallery show why. Bursting with colour and rich in imagery, they give a profound sense of narrative that explores the impact of colonialism in First Nations people.

Friday, April 5, 2013

"'Paint only what you see,' his hero Millet had admonished.
'Imagination is a burden to a painter,' Auguste Renoir had told him. 'Painters are craftsmen, not storytellers. Paint what you see.'
Ah, but what they hadn't said, hadn't warned him about, was how much you could see."
                                                          –Christopher Moore, Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art


Sunday, March 24, 2013


"Silence Will Serve" encaustic altered book, 2013

There is a mystery too deep for words;
the silence of the dead comes nearer to it,
Being wisest in the end. What word shall hold
the sorrow sitting at the heart of things,
The majesty and patience of the truth.
Silence will serve; it is an older tongue:
The empty room, the moonlight on the wall.
Speak for the unreturning traveller.
-John Hall Wheelock

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Past and Pending

Work in progress

Quilting- a narrative of heritage, the past and present, memory and emotion. Piecing together scraps of history that bring these layers of feeling together into a cohesive story, a mythical narrative that stems from the imagination and pushes its way into the world, becoming truth.

Thursday, January 24, 2013