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Spring Cleaning

Once again, I’m sitting here looking outside my window at a street full of magnolia blooms and a sunny blue sky. It’s already spring. The sun is out, and Vancouverites are already in their shorts and sandals. This quick turn of seasons was a good reminder to myself that I need to update my blog with all the goings on from the past few months. And it’s been a good busy time with different projects and a move!

Frank Stella at the Whitney

Late last fall, I made a quick trip to New York and was lucky enough to visit the new Whitney Museum and catch Frank Stella’s retrospective. I’ve only seen some of his paintings in group shows, but this was a retrospective of his work and I was awestruck by the scale of some of his sculptural works.

Frank Stella’s large sculptural works

Here was an artist that I never really gave too much thought to in relation to my own work, but at this show, it suddenly hit me that our paintings share visual and conceptual similarities. And while I liked seeing his paintings, it was the 3D works that really caught my imagination. It was just the creative boost I needed, and I rushed back into the studio to work out new ideas. Which was perfect timing, as I moved into a new studio in December. I am now in the Mount Pleasant area of East Vancouver working amongst a talented group of women artists including Sunshine Frere, Rebecca Chaperon, Biliana Velkova and Mira Song.

Bright & shiny new studio
Bright & shiny new studio

Meanwhile, over in Calgary, Mary Porter and my collaborative project, A Conversation, was getting its second showing of the year. Shown in a new format on two opposing monitors, A Conversation was displayed in TRUCK Gallery’s +15 Windows in December and January.

A Conversation, with Mary Porter, at TRUCK Gallery +15 Windows
A Conversation, with Mary Porter, at TRUCK Gallery +15 Windows
truck-setup1
Monitors in conversation

My limited edition screen print, The Drought, that was created for The New Gallery in Calgary also sold during their fundraiser. I have a limited number of prints available for sale, so if you are interested please contact me.

The Drought, Silkscreen on paper, 11×14 inches, Limited edition of 30, 2015
The Drought, Silkscreen on paper, 11×14 inches, Limited edition of 30, 2015

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I’ve been busy in the studio, quietly working away on new paintings. I thought it would be fun to show some work-in-progress shots alongside the final works. I often post photos of the painting process on Instagram but some of the rougher early stuff I like to keep to myself as a record of what I’ve done. I’ve mostly been in the studio working on new ideas, trying not to repeat myself in my painting and seeing where I can go with my art.

Little test studies in colour and textures
Little test studies in colour and textures
Close up of flowers in progress
Close up of flowers in progress in Beyond the Realm of Failure

Beyond the Realm of Failure was originally intended for a large scale mural in downtown Vancouver at the L’Occitane flagship store, but it didn’t work out and they ended up going a different route. I wrote about this on my blog a couple of years ago – you can read about it here.

My initial sketch for the mural project
My initial sketch for the mural project
Beyond the Realm of Failure, Oil & linen on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches, 2015
Beyond the Realm of Failure, Oil & linen on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches, 2015

I really liked my original sketch and idea and didn’t want to see it forgotten on my computer somewhere, so I reworked the image to incorporate more of my own ideas, textures and patterns. I also wanted to experiment with actual collage of shapes cut from linen. My paintings are often mistaken for collage, but it’s all hand painted.

Rhapsody, in the early stages
Rhapsody, in the early stages

Along with using different textures and materials, I’ve also been playing with looser inky areas of paint. I worked and re-worked this painting, on and off for about a year, and I finally reached the point where I believe it’s finished. I still feel a bit iffy about it sometimes. When I look at it for too long I feel like I can pick out problems with it. But then when I’ve put it away for a while and take it back out to look at it with refreshed eyes, I can also appreciate those same “problem” areas.

rhapsody
Rhapsody, Oil & ink on wood panel, 24 x 36 inches, 2016

February was also the start of the Chinese New Year. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, which also happens to be my zodiac sign. I’ve been working on ideas around horoscopes and zodiacs for a while now, but no big project has come of this yet. This idea came to me suddenly one day and I had to draw it out. I feverishly finished it in two days, just before my self-imposed deadline of Chinese New Year.

From princess to monkey...
From princess to monkey…
Salome (Year of the Monkey), Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 inches, 2016
Salome (Year of the Monkey), Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 inches, 2016

And lastly, I just finished a new painting that I feel brings together many of my past ideas and is also evolving in a new direction. I’ll have to let it sit on the wall and breathe a little before I look at it again and think about where to go next.

The underpainting and early stages
The underpainting and early stages
Painting the gnarled hands was a challenge

I’ll be taking part in ROVE, an art walk through Mount Pleasant, and my studio will be open to the public the evening of May 27th. I’ll post more details in the upcoming weeks. I haven’t had an open studio for a few years, since I took part in the Eastside Culture Crawl. This will be a good opportunity to come see my work space and my new drawings and paintings, and I will also have prints for sale. I’ll post when I have more information on that soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to receive news and updates from me in your inbox, you can sign up for my mailing list.

The Nested Babushka, Oil on wood panel, 16 x 20 inches, 2016
The Nested Babushka, Oil on wood panel, 16 x 20 inches, 2016

Around the World in 21 Days: Part One

A brief quiet moment in New York City
A brief quiet moment in New York City

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2015. You may have noticed it got a little quiet toward the end of last year on my blog. I ended the year on a big whirlwind trip around the world…in 21 days. Earlier last spring, an amazing (unbelievable!) flight deal came up that my fiancé and I couldn’t turn down. So late November, we embarked on a once in a life time trip that saw us fly from Vancouver to New York and then on to Milan. From there, we trained to Vienna and Prague. And then flew to Tokyo, took a bullet train to Kyoto and then flew home to Vancouver. We did this all in 3 weeks!

aroundworldtrip
Click to see a larger map of my travels

We spent about 3 days in each city and because we had so little time in each place, we tended to focus on certain aspects of the cities each day. Because there was really so much to do and I could talk forever about everything we saw and did, I think it’s better to do another one of my photo diaries with a random collection of images. So here is a sampling of my trip…

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Part 1 – New York

This was my first time to New York during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. I also got to experience the madness of Black Friday first hand. While a lot of museums and galleries were closed, we did get to catch a few shows in Chelsea. Making the most of being in the city during Thanksgiving, we went to see the Macy’s parade and walked by all the fancy Christmas windows at the department stores. I felt like the entire city was glittering.

Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Gallery
Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Gallery
Hello Kitty balloon - Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
Hello Kitty balloon – Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
My favourite Christmas displays were of fairytales
My favourite Christmas displays were of fairytales
One of the Christmas displays of the 7 Muses
One of the Christmas displays of the Arts personified
Dazzling Christmas displays
Dazzling Christmas displays

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Part 2 – Milan, Italy

We spent most of our time in Milan wandering the streets, popping into different churches and shops, and just enjoying the city. One of the highlights was seeing Da Vinci’s The Last Supper…no photos of that allowed, but I was amazed by the sheer size of it. Much larger than I expected, at about 25 feet high by 29 feet across.

The impressive Duomo that we walked by every day
The impressive Duomo that we walked by every day
And night...
And night…
Some new friends I made along the way.
Some new friends I made along the way.
Sneaking peeks at Villa Necchi Campiglio
Sneaking peeks at Villa Necchi Campiglio
Painted ceilings at San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
Painted ceilings at San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
Castello Sforzesco at dusk
Castello Sforzesco at dusk

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Part 3 – Vienna, Austria

I was really looking forward to this part of the trip because I wanted to see all the different Klimt and Schiele paintings. My favourite was the Beethoven Frieze by Klimt at the Secession Building. We spent every day museum hopping and kinderpunsch drinking at Christmas markets. An excellent way to spend chilly days.

Non-alcoholic kinderpunsch to keep us warm
Kinderpunsch to keep us warm
Inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
A man riding a little gold turtle!
A man riding a little gold turtle!
We caught a ballet...with dizzyingly high seats in the nosebleed section.
We caught a ballet…with dizzyingly high seats in the nosebleed section.
Opulence at the Schönbrunn Palace
Opulence at the Schönbrunn Palace

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Part 4 – Prague, Czech Republic

We took the train from Vienna and after the last week and a half of rushing around, we decided to take it easy in Prague. We had four days to wander the streets and take a bit of a breather. The city was packed with tourists, so we spend a lot of time winding down side streets and along the river in this picturesque city.

We stayed up on the hill by Prague Castle, with a view of the city below
We stayed up on the hill by Prague Castle, with a view of the city below
The rooftops of Prague...aka the view out our window
The rooftops of Prague…aka the view out our window
A sampling of the local monastery's award winning beer
A sampling of the local monastery’s award winning beer
Beautiful views crossing the Vltava River everyday into the city centre
Beautiful views crossing the Vltava River everyday into the city centre
More gorgeous views
More gorgeous views
The famous Christmas market
The famous Christmas market
Crossing the Charles Bridge at night
Crossing the Charles Bridge at night
As the fog rolled in
As the fog rolled in
Prague is one of the most romantic and picturesque cities I've ever been to
Prague is one of the most romantic and picturesque cities I’ve ever been to
The city shining through the fog
The city shining through the fog

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With the European leg of our trip wrapped up, we flew via Paris to Tokyo. This post is getting a bit image heavy, so I’m going to leave our Japanese adventure for the next blog post, which I’ll put up in the couple of days.

Gawker Artists & Elle.com

Mash Up Girl 2

Gawker Artists partnered with Jezebel and selected two of my paintings, Mash Up Girl 1 & Mash Up Girl 2, as part of the Jezebel Art Collection, a special online exhibition running prominently in advertising space on ELLE.com

I will soon be offering 18″x24″ giclee prints of these two paintings on my website under the Editions section, as they were very popular during the Eastside Culture Crawl.  Check back later this week for details.

Photo Diary – New York Pt. 2

New York photo diary continued…

MAY 12, 2010

Lights inside Grand Central Station
Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wandering in the Met
Who doesn't love a good pcychic?

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MAY 13, 2010

At the Chelsea Markets

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MAY 15, 2010

Looking for galleries in Chelsea
A shy sun

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MAY 16, 2010

Walking down Broadway in Soho
A graffiti mural by Shepard Fairey in Soho

Passing by Silvercup Studios on the way to JFK
Leaving New York City

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Goodbye, New York!  See you next time!

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