“We have forgotten what rocks and plants still know, we have forgotten how to be, to be still, to be ourselves, to be where life is here and now.” E. Tolle
I’m venturing out of my comfort zone.. and silence this week to share a video chat from the studio, recently posted Linked IN and Instagram. No need to subscribe or log in. ( I recognize many of my followers aren’t on social media, that’s totally ok!)
With work that I do, it’s easy to feel like we aren’t contributing enough and even ..unnecessary ( one artist sadly confessed) during a time like this.
I can understand his and other creatives despair. I haven’t been immune to fleeting feelings such as this.
But, if we look back in time, the arts still flourished during war, drought, and illness. People have historically found comfort in and invested in art. They have reached to art for hope, inspiration. It celebrates our humanity.
Viewing art reduces stress, prompts ideas, innovative thought, imagination, observation. Science suggests it can help to heal, emotionally and physically.
Art can transport us. And maybe, just maybe some of you are waiting to be transported, even for a few minutes.
I would love to indulge you.
These new pieces are created indoor with a plein air intention, using techniques with few brush changes, limited colours, infused with the freshness of the outdoors, on small transportable canvas.
This 8×10 and 5×7’s have flexibility to be exhibited in smaller spaces, and can be framed for desks or tables.
As mentioned in the video, I am sending wellness thoughts and positive energy to you all. Thank you for continuing to infuse your life with art.
To the little creative beehives around the world, know you matter. The work you do, with positive intention, it matters. We all have something to offer, ways to help and be of service. Together we are a beautiful force of nature.
~ Longevity, wellness, and innovative thinking thrives in those who do not lose their sense of playfulness~
Clients brought a surprise gift when they arrived last month to view their commissioned painting.
This unique offering, personally delivered with a wonderful story, has creative aspects, challenges, historical content, and fun “whimsy’s’.
As if an antique wooden puzzle of Van Gogh’s wheat fields in a pretty little box wasn’t enough to delight me, their account of puzzle history and idea behind sharing this historical gem was captivating.
I didn’t even know what a whimsy was.
This isn’t your cardboard run- of- the- mill puzzle. It’s truly a crafted work of art. Every single piece reflects masterful work of craftsman and painter.
Holding these delicate timeless items with their scent of history causes one to ponder previous generations gathered around kitchen tables, marvelling at the makers intelligence.
The creativity applied to create these puzzles is amazing. A beautiful merging of art & craft.
Like other art forms, they are collected, saved, cherished and passed down in families.
My clients explained, in early puzzle making days the master craftsman, using a jigsaw, cut complicated designs in the wooden paintings, or ‘prints’.
Pieces were sculpted in the shapes of animals, people or objects, called a ‘whimsy’’, and cuts along colour/ design lines were created to confuse and challenge. Considered cheating if one sees the image, early puzzles never came with picture of the finished puzzle.
Naturally, some antique puzzles are missing pieces. My clients suggested with Marc’s fine woodworking skills, we could make replacement pieces, with wood and paint.How awesome is this idea!
While building Van Gogh’s brilliant painting, I have my own puzzle challenge rules, including :
“No looking”at the image.
Having no reference, I am unclear on what images I am putting together. It is great for building creative muscle, by detaching from labeling things.
I wear sunglasses to distort the colour. This forces me to look for pattern recognition in Van Gogh’s brush strokes…. bold complicated brushstrokes that diverge in all direction. It is a sort of upside down way of thought, colour on top of colour challenge. It’s truly a wonderful way to study his brilliant brushstrokes.
Puzzle themes vary immensely, and can be engaging for people of all ages. Benefits participating in this inspiring activity include creative, intuitive, intellectually building fun, with options to achieve solo, or with family & friends.
Searching for a unique fun way to constructively pass time? to engage your focus without requiring passwords or technology? Check out antique wooden puzzles for sale on various websites. To view and purchase new, with amazing art & whimsy’s see Liberty Puzzles online.
~“Whoever wants to understand much must play much.” Gottfried Benn
“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable.” Lucia Capacchione
“Play is your route to mastery.” Sara Genn
A source of play is a positive activity in possibly challenging times.
A gentle reminder, social distancing does not mean staying indoors at all times, refreshing excursions outdoors in nature lifts the spirits and builds immunity.
Artists, familiar with isolation, often working solo, know we may not always be in physical contact but are a part of a community none the less, and feel the strength of it. You are not alone.
New work~ A constructive week in the studio tweaking paintings that have been awaiting my final touch!
Poppies 9×12 oil on canvas ~ $530.oo
Northern Rock 16×20 oil on canvas ~ $1,030.oo
Grasses Plein air ~ 6×8 oil on board ~ 400.oo
Winter Forest Plein air 6×8 oil on board ~ $400.oo
His signature has long faded from weathering in cherished usefulness. The handle’s slight curve fits my hand perfectly, still smooth to the touch.
Each morning I retrieve my little pine cutting board, I pause to think about it’s maker, and his inspiring story.
He was a race car driver.
He is in the Canadian motorsports hall of fame, and participated in Formula 1. He was sought by Hollywood and became Steve McQueen’s stunt driver double.
He hung out with Paul Newman.
He was like a Clint Eastwood character, lean and quietly graceful with salt and pepper hair, clad in denim. When I met met him in the 80’s, a woodcarver, he gave the impression of anything but a person who had once lived the fast life.
He was rather reclusive, residing in a remote part of Vancouver Island with his lovely wife, in a log cabin made by his own hands.
He was my landlord.
I knew nothing of his previous career, and I think that pleased him.To me, he was a soft spoken, nature loving spirit, who rented me the wee loft above his studio.
Arriving to collect first rent, he spotted my sketches on the table. That glimpse inspired a host of questions and dialogue about creative process, the life of an artist and what brought him to his chosen career of carving.
Have you always worked with wood? I remember asking.
Well, I once drove cars.
The fast kind.
He was private and reserved, so, respectfully I didn’t inquire about his dramatic change in locale and career. When it did come up in conversation, as he fixed my broken front window one day, the sunlight glinting off his calloused weathered hands, he voice became even quieter.
Finding his way to working with wood full time, a childhood joy, was a life saver, he said.
‘Hollywood” he said with a sad downturn of his mouth and shake of his head, wasn’t a ‘real life.’ The people, their parties, and negative energy. He needed to retreat, work with his hands again, be in nature. Be real.
“Art,… Dawn, …It’s truth.”
Invited to their cabin hideaway, he proudly presented home, cabinets and furniture all crafted by his hands. It was an incredible undertaking and I had a hard time comparing these hands with those that once gripped a leather steering wheel of a car going 350k an hour.
JC: I don’t know. Somebody did a survey on racing drivers, and what makes a racing driver, and he came up with (the fact that) some are big and fat, some are tiny, some are tall, some are short, but every one of them had special eyes. You got to have those eyes.
Me, I’ve got mean eyes (he squints and a twinkle takes over). So that’s maybe it. Good eyesight and, of course, a total lack of fear of the car. I’m afraid of everything else in the world, but I was never scared of driving 350 km/h in the car. That was just good fun.
I have the good fortune to have met incredible artists, artisans and craftsman. Their stories are a reminder we come from many unique backgrounds. We arrive with character built on experience, not without scars or fear. Often a return or journey to nature is a catalyst for positive transformation.
Most aren’t driven by a solo passion, their lives filled with diverse interests and backgrounds, contributing to the work, and what we become.
Creativity finds us, or we discover it.
Rather than art defining who we are, it is a place of home, a place of truth.
A walk in the woods walks the soul back home. ~ Mary Davis
Purple Flax ~ 8×10 oil on canvas $500.oo
Island Mist ~ 4ftx2ft oil on deep profile canvas( final stages) $3,960.oo
More than natural artistic sense, creatives tend to possess a state of open minded curiosity.
The key is to explore enthusiastically without judgement. Not to conquer, ( a subject etc) but to understand. To see diverse possibilities evolve and grow.
Imagine if we applied this thoughtful approach with humanity and world issues?
The need to conquer often comes from a place of fear. Fear of the unknown and failure. This prohibits growth, spurring desired finalities with expectations based on previous outcomes.
Specific expectations can blind us to pathways yet explored.
Creative knowledge teaches outcome isn’t singular, but multitude and fluid. We are in a constant state of learning.
I may paint the sky daily, because each sky is unique daily, I am a beginner each day. Forever a student.
Templates and formulas can cause stagnation, because we stop discovering.
Original art is unique, one of a kind, like a sunset, person, or snowflake.
This creative journey, timeless and transporting, is happening on the canvas right before you, emotional connection, problem solving, revelation. It’s like we can step into the canvas, be in that moment, a part of living history, whether it’s a painting created yesterday or hundreds of years ago. As if Van Gogh is standing beside us gazing upon vibrant olive gardens. Wow.
When creating, Artists wade uncertainty in a state of relaxed curiosity.
Instead of “what am I going to achieve and make?” The approach is more of a conduit state, “what will I witness, pick up on, sense, feel?”
They will purposefully linger in a state of unknown, witnessing and observing. It’s this suspended time that can be so challenging to many.
It requires patience, a surrendering and confidence.
In order to explore a subject the artist needs to extinguish all previous conceptions of it.
An approach for each other and innovative thinking?
Welcoming a creative state of mind is a joyful and transferable skill. Practice patience, observation, compassion, open mindedness, seeing the world and those around you anew with abundant curiosity.
It’s a bright new world every day. You are interwoven within its beauty and possibility.
Original artwork available ! ~ Please email me to purchase firstname.lastname@example.org
Its one of the highest compliments for an artist, inspiring relief, gratitude and thrill.
Commissions are one of the most challenging projects artists do. Many full out decline them. As Robert Genn would say, ‘ It may take me 10 years, by then I hope they have forgotten.’
To make the process as smooth as possible on the rare occasion I accept, I first refer clients to my commission terms, posted on my price page.
Communication and trust are key for both parties.
If the project and reference material is suitable, after reviewing at length, we discuss expectations, deliverables, artistic freedom, etc.
Emotion is always my focus, not necessarily site specific content.
It is this lovely family’s collective love of the outdoors, and northern subject matter that really excited me about the project.
They first provided me with a half dozen lovely photos.
I asked for more.
I needed to get a full sense of how they experienced the landscape and participated it in. Even if they thought the photos were’t relevant, I assured them they would be.
I requested photos of the room where the painting would reside, from all angles, lighting, and the room’s purpose.
Timing process would affect creative process flow. Approximately start to finish was nearly 2 months to create. Half of this time was ‘creative thinking’ with weeks spent daily on composition, photo referrals, story element, etc . (Special thanks to my friend Julia who was my amazing sounding board thru this.)
When I unveiled the piece last Saturday, I included a narrative and a gift of brushes I used. Photos and narrative ( a few edits) shared with their permission:
“You requested I paint a northern Ontario landscape from your family canoe excursions, include shoreline, trees, sky, a canoe somewhere, Killarney, or French river main subject area.
My ambition was to create how the experience was for you, participating in landscape actively as a family. Sharing happy memories, vivid experience, and the vista beauty.
My intention is about manifesting the feeling of being in that landscape, emotion is the focus. I create this using colour, shape, feature elements combined with soft palettes and strong design.
All elements were considered, how you engaged in the landscape, your collective love of the outdoors and each other. The room where the painting will reside, its purpose, lighting, natural light, elements in the room, wood, stone, etc. Where you will view the painting from, and how that will change as you enter the room. Time of day when you experience the painting most was considered.
Your photos offered a wonderful glimpse how you engaged with each other and the landscape. I have the sense you gathered on the rocky shore together sharing meals, laughter, enjoying the land & water before you.
Overcast skies provided lovely light in your photos. Painting these soft lit palettes allows the vibrant rock colour and shapes to create the drama.
I wanted the painting to feel balanced, pop with colour & variation, like your personalities. You seem to collectively grasp life in abundance, and enjoy those quieter peaceful moments. This is prominent in the photos.
Because this painting will live in a room you sit & gather relax and entertain, surrounded by natural elements, it needed to feel cohesive.The composition is created to flow with your room, entering the room from the left.
You will feel anchored with the body of the composition being heavier on the left, it will actively draw you into the room with the flow of the landscape transitioning to lake on the right.
A higher shoreline in the distance and prominent rocky foreground offers the perspective and feeling of being in the landscape. This works well with the lower ceiling, considering you will be seeing the painting from mostly a seated position. You will feel ‘in’ the painting.
Instead of creating you actively paddling, the canoe is at rest on the rocks, psychologically giving you a feeling of being on a rest stop, camp out or portage when you experience the painting in your dwelling. ( remembering this is a room for relaxation.)
Many of your photos have two canoes, with the four of you, but I decided to depict a single canoe. One canoe, one family, expressing your single tight family unit.
Your lighting will make the lake feel 3D. The under layers of cerulean blue will make it glow like moonlight at night.
Your single source of natural light, the window on the right, will illuminate the painting from right to left, giving it a synchronized feel in your environment, the painting is infused with the natural lighting on the right to enhance this feel of time of day.
I have incorporated colours in the room, and kept it a statement piece all on its own.
Ultimately, it is created for a family, not a room, though all these elements are considered, they are not necessarily to be consciously noticed, its created cohesively to offer that emotional content and showcase the vista.
The main focus is to create a heirloom painting infused with family love engaged in beautiful northern landscape together.”
Thanks so much A&C for your trust and enthusiasm! So excited to see the photos of your painting in your beautiful home.
~ For those inquiring about collecting art, several about the new OCEAN, please email to purchase, so excited to hear from you!
“We also found that given certain key elements in the design of aesthetic encounters, growth in critical and creative thinking accompanied growth in aesthetic thought. In other words, in the process of looking at and talking about art, the viewer is developing skills not ordinarily associated with art. These findings were consistent over a wide range of cultural and socioeconomic contexts.”
Do you buy dishes to fill your cupboards? furniture to fill rooms?
We collect dishes that bring joy, fit hands perfectly, cradle nourishment, in shapes and colours that delight. Furnishings may be trendy, but ultimately, we hope to be held in comfort and in health.
Art is for humanity. The walls don’t care.
This creates a fresh perspective on building and budgeting your collection. What do you choose to engage with?
Think of those who live in, work in, visit your home, office, clinic, lobby? What environment do you create for inspiration, productivity, quality conversation, soothing relaxation?
Investments chosen with awareness become an investment in you, celebrating individuality, joy and intention to enrich your life.
Allow art’s influence to serve you. How will you choose to enrich your life?
~ Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. rachel carson
New OCEAN~ 4ft x 3ft oil $4,345.oo ( price due to increase).
98 % of the time I paint in natural daylight, something our beautiful Canadian winter may lack.
Rather than pine over lost working hours in the short days of winter, I have a little fun with it in the studio.
It’s an exercise I call, Racing the Light.
You can it adapt to other projects, not just creative ones. And.. its versatile in rules.
How like an artist to say that.
Thou it’s great to do often, ( if you’re really keen) I find it most fruitful in the midst of a painting project with an abundance of the 5 P’s.
1. Preparation ( information gathering etc)
2. Planning ( composition, etc)
3. Problem solving
4. Pressure ( self induced or other)
5. Physical labour.
For example, a commission or painting collection due in specific time frame for exhibition. It doesn’t have to be a large canvas, but most times it is.
Race the Light is not pre-planned. To get the most of the exercise it should be completely spontaneous. The thrill and challenge is arriving at appropriate the time of day and deciding to leap in.
Like canoeing into the middle of the lake and deciding to go for a swim without having brought a bathing suit, extra clothes, or a towel.
Either you dive in, or possibly miss a spectacular swim.
Rules are straightforward.
Preferably with 20-30 mins left of daylight , step away from the large project at hand. Turn it to the wall. Note: as you improve, try this exercise in 10 minutes.
Move all possible objects from the floor you may trip over in your artistic flurry.
A new smaller canvas from scratch
Brand new subject matter ( different from large project)
No squeezing out new paint, or breaking out new brushes, or even clean ones _ limited to what is on existing palette and sticky brushes that are in play with the big project.
~( old Masters did this with their palettes. Paint is expensive, Many artists today do an ‘end of paint session’ to use up the paint on their palette, if they aren’t saving it for next day.)
No fixing mistakes, re-working areas, or changing composition once in play.
Finish, or nearly finish the painting before daylight fades.
~( nearly finishing is just as good, as you now have your ‘ leave something undone’ at the end of day. Robert Genn was a fan of this.)
The benefits of Racing the Light are HUGE.
Thou super challenging, it can be playful at the end of a taxing paint day.
It improves instinctive creative skill.
May relieve neck/ shoulder/ leg kinks, by working on a smaller surface area. Because of the complexity of the big project, you may need to loosen up, and you are now doing so because you are working crazy fast to beat the light.
You aren’t just shaking off physical kinks, but psychological/ emotional ones too. Sneaky doubts, critic chatter, rejection letters, social media quicksand that bogs one down.
Practically, you discover unique ways to use a sticky brush you would have otherwise trashed.
It brings a sense of freshness to a palette you may have been working with for days./ weeks/ month.
It brings the present tense into focus, like a zoom lens.
Along with the fading daylight, worries and thoughts fade too, because an exercise like this takes so much focus.
You discover newfound confidence and energy.
In what was supposed to be an exercise .. may…. just may.. .. become magic.
~ Photos above ~ Manitou in Winter~ All Artwork in including new , possibly still in progress “Clouds” 11×24 oil available for purchase.
The video had songwriter Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails in tears. It has over 17 million views You tube. (link below)
“Dan Charnas, a music journalist’ .. ‘said, “He’s fantastic with sound and arrangements, and he’s tremendous with artists. They love him. He shows them how to make it better, and he gets more honest and exciting performances out of people than anyone.”Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks has praised his production methods, saying, “He has the ability and the patience to let music be discovered, not manufactured. Come to think of it, maybe he is a guru.”
Barefoot, clad in casual shirt and shorts, a long gray beard dominating his features, Rick looks like a yogi master.
He has been practicing TM since he was 14, encouraged by a doctor, saying his neck pain was due to stress and suggested meditation.
To get a sense of his creative process, tune into to Malcolm Gladwell’s wonderful podcast interview. I urge you to listen, his voice cadence exudes sincerity and enthusiasm.
Dramatically, part way thru the interview, Rick and family had to flee his home with just ‘a few t-shirts’ from the raging California wildfires. He has no idea if his home has burned.. yet he seems peacefully focused during the interview. Besides the admirable way he handles sudden life crisis, its a glimpse of how brilliant creatives can be, accepting, fluid with circumstance beyond their control.
A link to the interview here
Gladwell asks him about the possibility of losing everything, and how would that be for him? Rick responds.. perhaps its a good time for the refresh button.
Besides an admirable perspective, Rick’s adaptability, and this seemingly non attachment to that beyond his control, may allow his creative process to flourish.
It’s that genuine love of the work, and an understanding true excellence is discovered in encouragement to reach beyond. Growth requires vulnerability and fearlessness. It requires curiosity. To begin anew, we need to be brave.
Many of you are choosing to hit the refresh button with a New Year upon us. To start anew and purge that what no longer serves you.
Even happy beginnings can be daunting.Writing your first book, staring at the blank page wondering what comes next. Retiring, relocating, leaving relationships or career, learning a new trade or craft. Building a home or an art collection. Starting a fitness regime.
Artists understand scary beginnings. We begin something new every day. We shed what wasn’t working, and explore what might.
Thou starting out can be fearful, following directly after is wonder, possibility, power and newfound confidence.
There is so much strength in movement. In active choice.
Taking the leap, picking up the brush, closing the door. Purge what doesn’t serve you.
Open a new door, hold your face to the warmth of the sun, breathe in the light, sleep well the night, let dreams unfold.
Turn the corner, turn the page. Open the paint box. Squeeze out life’s vibrant colour. Begin.
Begin Begin Begin.
All original paintings are available, including NEW “ Moon” 18×24 oil on canvas. Email me to purchase.
I am working on a private 4 foot commission these days ( shown in studio photos). So exciting to be working in paint after weeks of working on the composition. I may not be post while I focus on this piece, but please feel free to email for purchases. As you can see from studio photos, lots of new inventory hoping to find homes. Cheers and Happy New Year friends!
“The Force is not a power you have. It’s not about lifting rocks. It’s the energy between all things, a tension, a balance, that binds the universe together.That Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies, is vanity.” Luke Skywalker to Rey~ Star Wars, the Last Jedi.
The energy between all things.
Meditation is a little like this. Attempting to find the space between thoughts, quiet the mind, focus on breathing with life giving energy.
It can be fleeting, that space, that place, and oh so elusive, but when it’s graces you, it’s pure, real and amazing.
Mediation may be one of the easiest and hardest activities to do, because quietening the mind, seeking peace, and surrendering to it, can be challenging. Like learning to swim.
Beginning swimmers learn to float on their backs first. Usually a parent or instructor stands in the water, arms outstretched beneath the beginner, encouraging them to relax, breathe, and trust.
Its another form of surrendering. Because its so powerful and challenging, you likely remember the first time you did this. It feels unnatural and scary. We want control, and yet in fear, we clench up, and .. sink.. or flail about. In trusting, relaxing and surrendering, it can be peaceful and freeing.
In art, we apply skill, knowledge, problem solving, and observation to create. It is a dance of all of these elements, and at some point, there is a surrendering, recognizing we cannot control every element. We need to trust and seek the energy. That elusive space in-between.
Working in art daily ( amid life chaos & stress), One needs to often refresh creative, mental, physical, and spiritual energy.
A few of my tips to achieve energy balance are:
Nourishment ( wellness, food, exercise, sleep)
Meditation ( and guided heart coherence meditation)
Walking in Nature ( any healthy activity in nature is great, but walking is grounding & can calm heart rate)
Setting boundaries with commitments
and , for an easy renewing energy cleansing routine to start your day, try this short exercise, its one of my fav’s:
He describes the movements and their purpose very well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOIr88AWXWg
… and Friends, May the Force be with You.
Sunset Pine ~ 18×24 oil on canvas $1,210.oo
Winter Wonderland 9×12 oil on canvas $530.oo
Autumn Woods 18×24 oil on canvas $1,210.oo
Studio will be closed Dec 20-Jan 2. (I will be periodically checking email. ) Price increase in Jan.