Saturday, September 24, 2016

Autumn old friend.

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” 

Stephen King, Salem's Lot

I knit this sweater last Spring, just as the weather was turning and it was too hot to wear it. I wanted a thick and squishy, flannel lined, Celtic cabled sweater suited for an old man sipping scotch and smoking cigars. I have been waiting all this time to be able to wear it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


"If you tame me, then
we shall need each other."
Le Petite Prince

acrylic and grease pencil on paper mounted board
30" x 30"

Time Lapse Video:
created by Raine Menzies


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Vera's Dress

You know you are getting on in years when you start taking fashion advice from Vera Stanhope. Every week I watch Brenda Blethyn brilliantly portray DCI Vera Stanhope, a well upholstered Geordie woman of a certain age. As she trudges across the Northumberland countryside solving murders, I have come to notice one thing: her shirt dresses. Underneath her floppy fishing hat, shapeless green coat and mass of personality flaws, Vera wears beautiful shirt dresses. Ha! They probably thought no-one would notice. But once I saw her green linen floral dress, I couldn't unsee it. I became obsessed.

But as a 5 foot 3 inch curvy woman with an E Cup bust, I can't exactly buy off the rack. So now that frumpy Vera Stanhope had inspired this tomboy to start wearing dresses, what was I to do? I often sew tunics for myself, but once I sew something big enough to fit the bust, the rest of the garment is too large and sloppy. Enter the FBA, or the full bust adjustment. Had my prayers been answered?  Before I dove into my stash of expensive fabrics, I gave it a go with some muslin.

An FBA goes a little something like this:

Step: Select a pattern size based on the smallest measurements of your torso; your upper bust and waist. Draw the pattern out onto Swedish tracing paper.

Step 2: Cut your pattern piece apart and add in the extra room you will need. You can find many FBA tutorials online that will walk you through this process.

Step 3: Add extra paper and redraw your dart lines.

The size difference between the pattern size I needed and the FBA adjustment pattern was 3 whole sizes! Now add the fact that I needed a pattern size 4 sizes bigger than my waist measurement to fit my...ahem... va-va-va-voom arse, well, no wonder it sucked big time trying to buy ready to wear clothes off the rack.

After sewing a muslin and making several adjustments along the way I was ready to sew up this adorable sleeping fox fabric. And why not knit a little sweater to go with it? I mean, once I decided to walk the ledge of being girly, why not jump right off the Northumberland cliff so to speak.

So, girly fabric and yarn in hand, off I went to knit and sew my very own version of a "Vera" dress.

Fabric: Napping Fox by Tula Pink
Dress Pattern: McCall's 6696
Yarn: Noro Solo in Olive
Sweater Pattern: Miette, found here on Ravelry

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Little Bird

This painting is new. Not only is the paint still wet, but it is new to me in the sense of experimenting with new techniques. So new, in fact, that I'm not quite able to articulate yet what the painting, or even the techniques used to create it, mean to me. Over the weekend I had over 125 people in my studio, many of whom offered their observations to me: powerful, mesmerizing, revealing, phasing. My favorite though was ethereal. I like this one because more than any other painting I have done, this one is all about the muse; the girl, who is herself ethereal. She is delicate in a way that is too perfect for this world. And it took a delicate hand to translate this onto canvas.

"Little Bird"
30" x 30" acrylic and grease pencil on paper mounted board

If you would like to watch a time lapse of this painting being created, you can check it out here:


If you would like to watch a video of me attempting to articulate about the painting, you can check that one out too.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Estate Sale

Eleven years ago I won an ward at our prestigious Sooke Fine Art Show. It was my first big art award, which included a gift certificate to an art store. I treated myself to a large, thick canvas, on which I painted the first of many self portraits. I loved this painting, and had never intended to sell it. But alas, they don't call us starving artists for nothing. With small children to feed, I was forced to sell this painting. I was never sad because this painting went to the best home possible; an avid art collector and president of an arts council. Recently, this lovely woman has had to sell her estate, and my paintings have found their way home again. She has asked that I resell my paintings for her. Sadly, I still fit the bill for a starving artist and cannot afford to buy them for myself. So, my loss is your gain.

30" x 30" acrylic on canvas
$500 Estate Sale

14" x 26" Framed
$350 Estate Sale

"Fumblin' With the Blues"
16" x 16"
$300 Estate Sale

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Student Portfolios

Summer is just around the corner and soon I will be sending my art students home with bundles of their brilliant artwork. This is the perfect time of year to create artist portfolios. My studio students and I make these using brown shopping bags.

Four large shopping bags will make a portfolio with 6 large pockets and 4 half pockets.

You'll need: 4 brown bags, glue gun, card stock, acrylic paints and brushes and a pair of scissors. 

1. Open up the side gussets of each bag. Run a bead of glue about 2 cm in from the edge. Glue the gussets closed.

2. Do the same to the bottom flap. This creates a pocket.

3. You should have all four bags with their gussets glued and pocket flaps glued. Glue two bags together along the side and bottom edges. Glue the other two bags together in the same way. You will now have two halves of your portfolio created.

4. Create a center hinge for the portfolio using a piece of card stock. This will be glued to hold both sides of the portfolio together. Cut off the extra handles, leaving only two on the outside covers.

 5. Now comes the fun part. Paint the inside of your portfolio...

and the outside!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

In My Shadow

"Fit here, in my palm, in my shadow.
Don't be bigger than my idea
of you, don't be more beautiful
than I can accept, don't be more human than I am willing to allow
you to be and be quiet."

Warson Shire

"In My Shadow"
18" x 18"

Here's how it all started:

The under painting that has been incised and embossed with grease pencil.

Mock up sketches.

Contouring with base layers.

Excavating and revealing the layers underneath.