Wednesday, September 10, 2014

my last post

i've loved this space for a very long time.  it's been on one hell of a journey with me.  but time to move forward with a grown up website with my own domain name.

if you're still reading this, then come join me and continue on my journey with me at,

hope to see you there!

Monday, June 23, 2014

around here lately...

so the living room reno is quasi done.  my favorite space right now in the entire house.  it now feels like me.  painted white floors, grey walls, sheep skin... sigh.  my happy place.   this in 'my' hangout when i want some alone time.  kids, dogs, husbands are not allowed in here.  ever.  after our vacation i will finish the dining room, same white floors, and grey walls.  then on to the upstairs redecorating.

yes, you're seeing that right, it's a sam harris vinyl on the lower table!! damn i love the 80's

i'm also getting back into the groove of painting.  i had just about given up on the whole damn thing....  i think i was overwhelming myself with colour, and becoming absolutely obsessed with getting it 'right'.  so, i stepped back and went back to black and white.  i read somewhere, that back in the day, a master artist wouldn't let his protege paint with anything other than black and white for an entire year... and only then, would they be permitted to explore colour.  so, yup.  that's what i'm doing.  and i'm thrilled with the results.  not to mention i'm painting super big.  bigger than i've painted before.  i eventually want to paint faces on to huge canvases, like chuck close kinda huge canvases.  there's something so arresting about being met with this huge image, eyes staring back at you.  it's jarring and that's the effect i want it to have.  i lvoe the drama, which is also heightened by the black and white.

100% fabriano watercolour paper, 170 lbs, acrylic paint

the only real problem is these images don't belong to me.  i got them from the internet, so i can't really do much with them but practice.  my goal is to photograph the women in my neighbourhood.  yup.  i want to photograph real women, everyday, work-a-day, stay-at-home-moms, coworkers, friends, family.  photos of real women.  so much more personal, and more fun to paint.

wonder if i'll get any takers.

acrylic paint, 100% watercolour paper, 340lbs
 funny though, how a few images i've already painted out get painted again and again...  like the one above.  it haunts me.  this must be about the 4th time i've painted her out, wonder if when i'm finally done this huge 22" x 30" piece, i will have it out of my system.  finally using my larger sheets of fabriano 340 lbs watercolour paper.  it's absolutely divine to work on.  somehow i haven't managed to capture what it is that i want from it.  perhaps i'm still searching for it's meaning.  kind of reminds me of me.  the look of her rounded cheeks, her turned down lips, and those sad eyes.  what is her story... it's compelling and it pulls me in each time i look at her.

that's how i feel about this image below as well.

i've painted this one at least two other times.  here i go again trying to capture what it is that i'm so intrigued with.  who are they? what's their story? such beauty in their oddness.  cute yet slightly creepy.  reminds me of the photographs of diane arbus.  particularly this one.  i find so much beauty in the odd, in the quirky, in the scars and imperfections.  it's those qualities that i find so beautiful and am inspired to paint.  how incredibly banal it is to paint pretty magazine worthy faces.

i had to laugh, the other day my 16 year old nephew, Max walked by my studio and I had all of my pieces still up, in varying states of completeness, and he shuddered and said, 'ohhh, your paintings give me the shivers..., they're, i don't know.... weird'.

and well, that was the best most compliment he could have given me.  it's that kind of state of arrest-ness that i want my pieces to possess.  i want you to stop and feel something.  even though at first it might seem like the only word you can come up with is 'weird'...  but hopefully it'll spark some inner dialogue within you.. perhaps it's jarring because we see some of our own self in these images.  the self that is unsure of the face and body we live in.  feelings of alone-ness in our uniqueness, in our wanting to feel 'normal' and accepted and loved.

everything we do, everything we say, everything........ doesn't it all just boil down to wanting to feel normal, loved and accepted?

on my bookshelf
so, in case you're wondering what i'm reading these days.... well this is it.  diving into the lyrics and music of nick cave.  he's one strange puppy.  and well, if you haven't guessed it, i'm very much into strange... :)

i'm off this Friday, driving down to my beloved atlantic ocean.  back to my heaven on earth paradise, wells beach in maine.  we're road tripping it again cause driving for 9 1/2 hours with 4 adults, and two kids is always fun... :) can't wait to stop at the big moose in vermont for a pulled pork sandwich.  mmmmmmmmm-m.

see you on the flip side my friends.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

shades of grey

i've made the mud room in behind our kitchen my working studio space.  the garage transformation isn't happening fast enough, and i was getting tired of waiting, and not painting.  this is my nook for now.  and it's a temporary fix but it'll do.  

despite having all the colours under the sun in my paint stash, i keep going back to my shades of grey.  it's all i want to paint with these days.  so obsessed with grey, that it's also become the main colour in my home...

it's sexy.  and mysterious.  and particularly so when the image just fades into black.  when put together as a series it creates rather a powerful visual.  perhaps it's that i'm still intimidated by painting with colour.  or at least i haven't been satisfied with the results of painting with colour.  i'm finding colour feels harsh, almost hostile.  painting in black and white feels easy particularly on the eyes and the psyche.

francis bacon once said in an interview, '.... the only thing we have to paint is our nervous system..'... and this so rings true for me.  right now, my nervous system needs calm edges, that fade into white or black without effort. a place where your eye can rest, and escape into the lost edges.


and of course, a puppy update.  oscar is now 6 mos. old, and getting bigger.  he was 1.5 lbs when we first took him to the vet, and is now a whopping 4.5 lbs.  he's such an entertaining little character.  he's pretty hilarious actually, especially when he gets really excited and runs about, or more like, hops about like a deer. i must catch that on tape next time.  if he's not on top of me, he's near me, or touching me... always within close proximity.  and that's more than alright with me.  he loves having his face touch skin...  and i love having his face close to mine, keeps me warm and cozy all night.  i must say, dom and elisa are feeling a little jealous of the little guy getting so much of my attention during the day and night!!  ;)

loving this live version of 'you' by  //THE1975//

and i'll leave you with this awesome performance:

Monday, May 5, 2014

// T H E 1 9 7 5 //

i am totally geeking out.  i impulsively bought two tickets to see this young band in concert tomorrow night, tues may 6th.

i found them via a remix i was infatuated with, and i haven't stopped listening since.  they make me feel 17 again listening to echo and the bunnymen, howard jones, the smiths, talking heads, u2...  they're a dash of old school with a modern twist... but so damn young and talented to boot.

so yea!  i'm bringing my nephew max who's a teenager and full of teenage angst, young, hip, and ok with going to a concert with his old auntie. i'm such a geek.

and here's the kicker, they're playing at kool haus, you know, the government, aka RPM (way back in the day)...   my old stomping grounds every tues, fri, and sat nights...  yup.  coming full circle, i am.  makes me laugh.

and for your listening pleasure, here are a few of my faves:

and another...

and the awesome remix of settle down that got me started in the first place:

i'll give you a full update after tuesday night (that's if i survive a concert hall full of young, screaming girls, and head thrashing boys!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

painting the figure: day 3 with gillian iles

todays class was taught by the awesome gillian iles.  such a natural at teaching, great clear instructions with incredible examples, very helpful live demos on colour mixing,  and a fun personality to boot.  it was a real pleasure being in her class.

deconstructing skin tones; tint/value/chroma; and how to apply it using a limited palette.

some examples of what she wanted us to do....  euan uglow:

painting, figure painting, euan uglow, uglow
euan uglow

painting, figure painting, euan uglow, uglow
euan uglow

my girls looked a little jaundiced, but a great exercise none-the-less.  i can't believe how much became so much clearer to me in just one 4 hour class.  she's remarkable that gillian iles.

these studies were quick and dirty, but i've been so inspired that i'm going to experiment all week with this lesson...  see if i can make my skin tones less jaundiced and more 'natural' looking, and more variation in my shadows.

figure painting, ocad
seated pose #1
yellow + red = orange, plus white to create three slightly different tones
red+blue = purple for the darkest darks 

figure painting, ocad
seated pose #2
yellow + white + red  = lights
red + yellow = orange + white =  mid tones with some dark added
red + blue = dark purple = darks
yellow + blue = green added to the dark purple for variation in shadows
there is soooooo much that is wrong with these studies, but hell if i'm not going to keep trying to get this right.  not to mention working on brush strokes, less is more with this type of painting, and learn to change brushstrokes to model the form...

oy.  so much to learn.  so much to remember.  a little overwhelming, but soo exciting.

 “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 
                                         --Thomas Edison

ummm, that's what i'll keep telling myself thomas... now off to read this article, on creativity and the gift of failure.  ha!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

painting the figure

so the 'painting the figure' class at OCAD with bogdan luca has begun.

Day 1:  class work, a series of 15 minute poses
my two pieces are the third one from the left (top and bottom)

i 'figure' it's time my painted faces get painted bodies.   i wasn't feeling very confident about the class when i first signed up,  i've never really drawn or painted the figure.  but i must say, there's nothing like doing something you're afraid of to break new ground.

drawing from life, in the proper conditions with lighting, is really an incredible experience.  i thought i'd giggle like a school girl with strangers posing naked for me, but it was alright. ha! once you put some paint on paper, and get into the zone, you forget you're in a class room, and there's an instructor watching and critiquing.

figure painting, ocad, acrylic
Day 2:  one hour pose

i really need to get myself into a life drawing class more often....

first day we had a female model, who was at least in her 70's.  and boy was she confident in her skin.  she was a flamboyant blonde,  with a fresh lily in her up-do.  man, i wish i could be so confident in my own skin, and i'm half her age for god's sake.  perhaps in my next life, i'll come back as a life model.

our instructor, bogdan luca,  is a pretty fabulous artist and teacher.  i'm such of fan.  his classes are always interesting, and challenging pushing me out of my comfort zone.  this is exactly what i was looking for.

now if only i can get dom to pose naked for me, it would be a great help.  ha!