Thursday, December 28, 2017

Making Christmas

Now that Christmas has come and gone I can finally share some of the gifts I made for my family with you. 

This painting of Anderson Paak just happens to be my favorite, for no other reason than I love painting portraits (and that smile was irresistible!). I painted it for my son Mason to hang in his new tiny home, so the painting itself is also tiny at 10"x10".

My oldest son, Raine, and I decided to collaborate on some book making projects for my parents. My dad, and Raine's Poppy, has spent our lives regaling us with delightfully grim stories. We love it! The three of us read, watch, and write tales of horror. Together, Raine and I created a custom made and painted box set of horror writing prompts for my dad. And they are pretty grim so I won't share the story starters with you (take my word for it) but I will show you the artwork.

Raine drew the tentacle design for our box and I painted it to match the booklets we made.

First, we had to make the book jacket covers. Here are two of the ones I drew and painted.

My final set of books and hand painted covers.

These are Raine's book covers 
(minus one that he was still working on).

Next, we continued our book binding efforts to make an art prompt book for my mom. We made and hand painted the front and back covers and then I created 10 signatures from hand batiked Japanese papers.

Here is my foxy front cover.

The covers and signatures are ready to assemble. I chose to bind them coptically with black waxed linen thread.

I loved making these two projects with my son Raine, as he is an incredible artist. He travels to and from art college everyday, spending 5 hours a day on public transit to do so. This is pretty miserable in the winter. I knit him an extra thick, squishy, long, art wool scarf to keep him warm. It's all about that fringe!

And let's not forget about keeping his art pens warm too, in the belly of a shark ( linen pencil case).

I even made my own cards this year, during a lino block printing class I took from a friend of mine. The octopus and manta ray card was hand painted for my brother and his wife.

Lastly, I teamed up with my dad to make two couch side tables for my husband and I. They are coming in pretty handy so far. Notice my stack of horror novels and comics I am currently reading?

I have one last thing to share with you. My favorite gifts are always the home made ones. This is the third Christmas in a row my son Raine has made me a comic book page. I treasure them! This is the one I received this year.

So MUCH love!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Messenger

"The Messenger"
18"x18" acrylic and grease pencil on paper mounted board

I was inspired to paint this portrait of my friend Eshu, after he wrote this beautiful piece of memoir from his childhood:

"The Monarch Butterfly has a special place in my heart. When I was a kid in Whitby, Ontario, after school I would often play in a small forest at the centre of a farmer's field. One year the field was fallow, growing among other things, Milkweed. One day I noticed that the farmer was out in the tractor mowing, and the plants were covered in the iconic striped caterpillars. I got a box and plucked probably hundreds of the caterpillars off the plants. I took them home and put the box in my garage. Every day I would go and find milkweed to bring to the box of caterpillars. My sisters thought I was crazy.
The caterpillars didn't stay in the box either. Oh no, they went all over the garage. By the time they became chrysalis, they were hanging everywhere! Off of shelves, even off of the side mirrors of the old VW Beetle my dad was trying to restore.
Then, one day I came home from school and opened the garage door and was greeted by the sensation of Butterflies fluttering past my face and hands. Even to this day I don't know if I can express this experience adequately. Utter freedom. This happened for several days in succession, as they emerged from the chrysalis.
It wasn't all beauty though. I learned some painful lessons. Non-interference, and controlling enthusiasm for example, simple patience. In my rush to "help" I even went so far as to use a blow dryer to "help" one of the poor creatures "dry" out it's wings quicker. It didn't make it. I was heart broken.
One thing I remember is that my parents didn't interfere. They let me do it all myself. I wonder what they thought.
When someone asks me what Zen is all about, for some reason, this is the story, and the feeling that I most want to share. It is the freedom of transforming, and finding the open air.
If I were ever to take an animal as a symbol, crest, or totem, it would be the Monarch Butterfly. A distinctly North American beauty." 

The concept sketch

The background, which is a layer of incised and embossed grease pencil sandwiched between two layers of acrylic. It's a painstaking and time consuming process that leaves me with blackened fingers for days!

Once I set the under painting skin tones in blue, I convert the image to black and white for a quick check on composition.

Starting on the orange and loving the balance of color.

An accidental giggle.

Monday, July 3, 2017


"She decided to free herself,
dance into the wind,
create a new language.
And the birds fluttered around her,
writing "Yes" in the sky.
Monique Duval

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Soul of An Octopus

I hope that someday
when I am gone,
picks my soul up
off of these pages 
and thinks,
"I would have loved her."

Nicole Lyons

Knit octopus brooches from kettle dyed merino wool. $45

I have found a myriad of ways to enjoy these diminutive five inch octopus brooches; from hair pins and sweater pins to hat pins and secretive guests.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Brave Little Rabbit Goes To The Beach

"Be brave, little rabbit.
Take a chance."
Cherise Sinclair

Have you ever heard the term, "madder than a March Hare"? Rabbits are known to go a little bonkers this time of year as Spring calls to them, stronger than it does to most animals. The normally shy and fearful rabbit becomes wild and excitable, reminding us to work through our fears with humility. I thought I might work through some shyness and fears of my own this past week, as I asked a dear friend to photograph me, wearing of course a rabbit printed dress I had recently sewn during the mad month of March.


Photo credits: Jenna Davis.

Trusty sidekick: Echo, rat terrier extraordinaire.

Fabric designer: Kobayashi, Rabbits and Mushrooms
Dress sewing pattern: McCalls 6696, sewn in cotton/linen canvas
Bloomers sewing pattern: Plinka Pants by Tina Givens, sewn in 100% linen.
Sweater knitting pattern: Linney Cardigan by Amy Christoffers, knit in cotton/linen.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


"She threw away all of her masks,
and put on her soul."
Francesca Silvanna

"Insight" Vulnerability III

About a year ago I began exploring the power and beauty of vulnerability through a series of paintings that involved the technique of excavating layers; from the skin down to the background. I wanted to show that encounters tinted with despair and powerlessness required the awesome courage of vulnerability to navigate with; that our experiences with being emotionally hurt will leave beautiful scars on our souls. Out of our vulnerabilities, will come our strength.

In "Tame" (Vulnerability I), we see an increased and tentative awareness to a state of anxiousness.

"Tame" Vulnerability I

By the time we view "Little Bird", we can see that anxiety is inhabiting the subject in an unsettling way, but that the subject is also experiencing a clarity of vision.

"Little Bird" Vulnerability II

The octopus is the ultimate symbol for adaptability, intelligence and insight. In "Insight" Vulnerability III, the subject is experiencing the very courageous act of self acceptance.

"Insight" Vulnerability III

Monday, February 6, 2017

"Perdu", a steampunk raven.

“Hey," said Shadow. "Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are." 

The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.

"Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow.

"Fuck you," said the raven.” 

 Neil Gaiman, American Gods

12" x 24" mixed media