Some of my paintings are now hanging in the beautiful Mille Fiori Spa on Meares Street in Victoria. Mille Fiori (meaning a Thousand Flowers) has a marvellously relaxed feel to it. The lovely owner, Christine Boutillier, contacted me and kindly asked me if I’d like to display some paintings in her space. Christine has a gorgeous blog that betrays her love of the arts and all things beautiful. When I arrived, I was so taken by her waiting area, which featured French tufted settees, a very luxurious book of portraits of her dog, Beatrice, and several über-charming paintings by Vancouver Island artist Leslie Weigund (seriously, check her out). Christine has over fifteen years experience in nail services, facials and now her spa has a massage therapist, too. Ahhhhhhhh
Loyal cats and kittens, I have returned here to let you know what I’m up to. I’ve spent a grand winter and spring squirreled away in my studio, and now I shall come outside and show you what I’ve made. I’ve been working on a whole new series, called Swimmers. To see the most finished ones, please visit my website. First up is the first ever Paint In the Square, a prelude to the Gallery Paint In on Moss Street. Then there’s the Sooke Fine Arts Show, in which I’m excited to be showing two big new pieces.
Paint In the Square ~ Tuesday, July 17 11am-4pm.
Centennial Square, Victoria, BC
Art Gallery Paint In ~ Saturday, July 21 11am-4:30pm.
Please check back for a map of where I’ll be along Moss Street
Sooke Fine Arts Show ~ July 28 - August 6.
SEAPARC Leisure Complex, 2168 Phillips Road, Sooke, BC.
I’ve been listening to a lot of books-on-CD in the studio lately. The most recent was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I loved her novels, and had read this book before, but there was something magical about listening to her soft, slow drawl. It suited the words themselves so well. The book reads like a memoir of a year in her young family’s life, where they try to eat locally for 12 months by growing their own food and buying food grown by their neighbours. Her two daughters, Camille (then 18) and Lily (six), helped by raising chickens and cooking. It was this passage that caused me to pause and listen again:
“Our holiday food splurge was a small crate of tangerines, which we found ridiculously thrilling after an eight month abstinence from citrus. No matter where I was in the house, that vividly resinous orangey scent woke up my nose whenever anyone peeled one in the kitchen. Lily hugged each one to her chest before undressing it gently as a doll. Watching her do that, as she sat cross-legged one morning in pink pajamas, with bliss lighting her cheeks, I thought Lucky is the world to receive this grateful child. Value is not made of money, but a tender balance of expectation and longing.”
I looked at Facebook this morning, which I must say I rarely do, and someone I don’t know had written “I woke up today smiling.” I like that. My late Grandpa’s cousin, Les, passed away last week. He was one of those people who seemed to always be smiling. I didn’t see him very often, but I will miss him. I think the world needs more people like him, the ones who seem to look at the sunny side of things.
I had to write a post today for dear Annemiek, who departed this world 12 years ago today. It’s the third actual anniversary. I decided not to dwell, and instead found myself singing Tori Amos’ Hello Mr Zebra. Gratitude.
Last spring I finished the largest painting I’ve ever done on canvas: 8.5 x 10 feet. The paintings were a commission for a lovely couple who have recently moved to a West Coast style home with a large, blank wall that needed some added “wow factor”. The field in the paintings almost looks as though you could walk right into it, the scale is so great. I hope they love living with it as much as I loved the challenge of painting it.
If you’re interested in commissioning a painting from me, (it doesn’t have to be huuuge), please feel free to email me for pricing and other information. Big thanks to Tara at Livtona Interior Design for the collaboration on this project!
It’s around this time of year every year I grow nostalgic for the perspective-changing trip I took to East and Southern Africa in 1997. To continue with my earlier posts, I opened my dogeared journal today to see where I was and what joy or angst my young self was feeling on that day. It seems like navel-gazing, but I think these experiences shape who we are as people and as makers of things. This is what I found:
I drew this at a large bench at Njaya House backpackers. When I was finished, the Australian across the table slid his journal over my way, asking if I could do a sketch for him. I ended up doing about half a dozen of them. It makes me happy to think that there are all these journals scattered around the world and that these people could be parents now, and tell their kids about their adventures in Africa.
I’m still blown away to think that when I went, I didn’t have an email address, I used film in my camera (and took too few photos), and my family and friends wrote letters to me and sent them to Poste Restante general mailboxes, hoping I’d come across them when I passed through.
Travel seems to have lost some mystique since the interweb. Now we can go on Skype and be shown around Sydney Harbour on someone’s phone! God, I sound old. It’s amazing though.
I was lucky enough to go back to New York this last December for a couple of weeks of wandering around, gawking at buildings, people, art galleries, everything. When in Rome…
I was so excited to see that the Met has acquired a piece by one of my favourite painters, Jenny Saville. I fell in love with her work in 2001, when I found a few paintings in a book while I was attending NSCAD. Though some of the pieces are a bit grisly in subject matter (my sister said “Ugh, I don’t like looking at that at all!”), it’s all that luscious paint and fleshiness that drew me in. I’d never seen one in person until the Met, though. The piece is titled Still, from 2003. It reminded me of Willem De Kooning saying “Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented.” Absolutely.
In Buenos Aires, we went to the Malba, Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires, a ten year old gallery filled with contemporary South American art.
I kind of fell for Senor Garabito’s work. They are strange paintings, to be sure, but the drawing is so gorgeous, and I love the awkwardness of them. Why this skiddy guy, repeated, with no pants on? Why not, I guess.
What a lovely little world he created here. I stood and looked at this one for a while.