Archive for February, 2010


Thursday, February 25th, 2010

For optimal happytime listening, try these babies:

Fidelity ~ Regina Spektor
Here in Your Arms ~ Hellogoodbye 
Feeling Good ~ Nina Simone
Just Breathe ~ Pearl Jam
Navy Taxi ~ Kate Nash
Cloudbusting ~ Kate Bush
Take My Hand ~ Dido 
Fistful of Love ~ Anthony & the Johnsons
Shine ~ Cyndi Lauper 
Marry Me ~ Dolly Parton
One More Time ~ Daft Punk

She’s an eclectic mix, for sure, but funfunfun!



Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Some sketches from my New York sketchbooks 2005. Just for fun.







Lovely Apartment

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

This is the apartment of a friend who lives in Vancouver’s West End. I’ve always enjoyed how she inserts her sense of humour into her home. It’s a daily reminder to look on the lighter side of things, and have a laugh at yourself. I find inspiration everywhere I look, and there’s something about her place that gets me every time.

This is a woman who knows her way around a thrift shop, and fills her home with a well-edited collection of fun things that are bright, cheerful and cheeky—just like her.



A print of one of my favourite Rembrandt paintings gets a makeover courtesy of a silver Sharpie and a bottle of wine!



A wayward roadside torso shares an Ikea pot with a large aloe vera.


That’s one of my sepia paintings in the background, based on a birthday card she once sent me.




One of her prized possessions passed down from her Mum, this flamingo mirror reflects the gorgeous view across English Bay.

The Hairdryer Book Club

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

My friend Kate and I were talking about that girlie time of day when we blow-dry our hair, and how much we enjoy having that set amount of time every morning to read whatever we want. I have very curly hair, which takes forever to dry, so I get a good 20 minutes of reading done in the first part of my day. I’ve been aware lately of the affects what I read have upon the hours that follow this ritual. Daily motivation is common challenge for the self-employed. It’s easy to get off track and faff about for the whole day doing nothing. But it’s not very rewarding. 


Decorating magazines make me want to refinish furniture
Fashion magazines make me want to go shopping
Novels make me want to curl up and keep reading

So, those are all out. We don’t get the newspaper (which would flap about anyway). So I have set up a stack of artist books and magazines by my hairdryer. Border Crossings, Artist’s Markets, Artist Survival Skills (a new favourite) and monographs from the likes of Elizabeth Peyton, Jenny Saville and Degas are strewn across the place. I find that they take me to that place of “I want to make something” faster than anything else. Funny how the slightest adjustment makes a big difference. I highly recommend this! And a cup of tea, of course.


Small Pleasures

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

I bought a new sketchbook the other day. It was such fun to choose the right one, and to come back to the studio and open up the packaging and flip through all the perfect white pages that are for me alone to wreck. I was giddy all day. It really is the simple joys in life, and I think we tend to forget to revisit the things we loved as children.






I used to work at an art supply shop. The other staff members were the best comrades for geeking out over art supplies. When this travel-sized watercolour set came in, two of us snapped them up. I’m not a watercolourist, so I wondered if I’d just gotten jazzed about the packaging. It’s become one of my absolute treasures, and has been with me to New York, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.


Here’s a tip for customising your watercolour set. Pull out the pans of colours you don’t use and squeeze in another colour from Daniel Smith, Holbein or Winsor Newton and let it dry. This also works for cheap & cheerful sets. Customising it gives you higher quality paint.




A note on pigments.  If you’re working with a budget (who isn’t these days?), I recommend skimping on the earthy colours like:

Burnt/Raw Umber
Vert de Terre, Sap Green
Burnt/Raw Sienna

And splurging on one of each of the primaries:

Magenta/Rose Madder
Cobalt Blue
Lemon Yellow

Teach yourself to mix these colours to make almost any other colour. There are many books on the subject of colour mixing, but what it comes down to is a whole lot of trial and error. And that’s half the fun, no?

~ By the way…~
Rose Madder is made from actual roses and smells wonderful. Next time you’re in an art shop, open a tube and have a sniff! You won’t regret it.