30 December 2012

news from the front

I just made a facebook page:
Steel Sky Woman

This is a sort of practice for a website.  It would seem that the time is nigh for me to have a website, so that all my things can be under one roof so to speak, and so that ownership of my "stuff" will be more firmly in my hands.  

This is where I will go to set up my future website:

Kim is pretty cool.  I met her briefly in person when she did a presentation at the ASA gallery at Lougheed House here in Calgary.  
Checking out artbiz online, it seems like this may be a good choice for me.  I know a few artists who have worked with Kim and they have glowing reports about setting up their websites with her help.

2013 is setting up to be a year of forward changes for me.  Nothing too big since I tend to move slowly through life, but some exciting progressions are in the works.  

Stay tuned!

14 December 2012

a sense of scale

Ink paintings coming along quite nicely.  
I just spent some time looking at photos of artist studios and was inspired to take another photo of my own studio, and why not put me in there too.

08 December 2012

Inking it in

Started some acrylic-ink paintings on canvas.  Used absorbent ground (a Golden product) to make the surface of the canvas more like paper.
I hope to be able to build up more brilliant colour with ink + water washes.  Acrylic mediums feel thick and a bit clunky to me, and I had been thinking about watercolour painting but not wanting to have a lot of work on paper that would need framing.  
Ink washes on canvas is a new process for me, and so far it seems to be working well.

the density of pearls

Pearls...  hmmm.  Just thought of my paintings as pearls without thinking too much about it, last night.  
Now this morning it seems interesting that I came up with that one.  I've been feeling really irritated lately and painting has seemed difficult, producing more pain than pleasure.  I am, it would seem, a studio oyster!

Worked all last night and into the wee hours of morning.  These paintings are not all finished, but most are very close I'd say:

3 "Pearls" - 16 x 16" each

"You Can Take It With You" and 2 "Densities" - 20 x 20" each

07 December 2012

3 pearls

beginning here:

 getting to this point:

These are the bones.  Over them will grow skins: sheer colour layers which allow the bones to show through.  

A simple idea of making 3 paintings using the same colours but in different proportions for each one.  This is going back to the basics.
Progression or regression?  At least it is something to try.  

Put away tired heart and mind, let the body take over for awhile.

04 December 2012

you can take it with you

This is like a memory from 15 years ago.  I really enjoyed painting this - may work on it a bit more or may just leave it as it is, at least for now.  Let it sit, let it simmer.  Something is simmering in me, eventually will emerge whole.  Until then I post these bits.

acrylic on canvas
20 x 20"

the trampoline

First time in a long time that I've painted on an unstitched canvas.

Maybe a little too much red in the end...

28 November 2012

engaged hands

Sometimes when my hands are engaged my mind is free to explore, peruse, think things through.  This has been the case today.  I can show you now the result of the hands' labour:

Christmas cards!

The mind's ponderings are mainly invisible, although there may be some visible effect on the actions of the hands further down the road.

26 November 2012

On foot I had to walk through the solar systems

On foot
I had to walk through the solar systems
until I found the first thread of my red dress.
Already, I sense myself.
Somewhere in space hangs my heart,
sparks fly from it, shaking the air,
to other reckless hearts.

poem written by Edith Sodergran and translated by Stina Katchadourian

painting by yours truly
acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches, framed

21 November 2012

a winter's tale

stepping outside after a long work day
to inhale the shock of cold pure night air
it's been snowing all day and the whole world is white 
reflective among evergreens
and in the low glow of sky
I stand in the yard until I'm shivering, thinking
this is the life

13 November 2012


Another plein air painting jaunt.  The weather turned nasty while we were out, with howling winds and blowing snow and plummeting temperatures.  But we persevered!  This may be the fastest plein air painting I've ever done, ha.

snow falling on my work

let there be light!

... but what you love are those who do work and feel thirst.
You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.

improved studio lighting underway
 Prep: protecting my stuff with vapour barrier stapled around the shelves.

Holes cut, lights installed, wiring connected

Stuff piled up at the other end of the studio

02 November 2012

east meets west

Another photo-stitched painting well under way.  Photo is of Toronto streets, and the background shape is meant to look/feel a bit like Vancouver.  Trying to get an effect of layered urban and natural landscape, not sure if this is it though... perhaps too many hard lines?  

where it began

where it went

under warm lights

This painting will be put aside for a little while, I will work on some other things and come back to it with fresh eyes.

25 October 2012

begin at the end and work your way forward

One Thing Becomes Another
mixed media on stitched canvas
33w x 32h inches

mixed media on stitched canvas
51w x 31h inches

Queen Pawn
mixed media on stitched canvas
25w x 52h inches

24 October 2012

stepping out

Just went to the FCA website and saw my work posted in the AIRS show.  First time I've ever shown a landscape painting.  Looking through the images, I'm quite impressed - there are some very fine paintings in this show!  Perhaps one day I may achieve the level of excellency that many of the exhibiting artists have reached.  Meanwhile, I'm very pleased to be included, and motivated to keep on improving my plein air skills.

click here to see my painting in the AIRS show

21 October 2012

we live in a beautiful world

view: south side of nose hill, oct 17 2012
painting: oil on canvas, 10x10"


Images above are works in progress.

Images below are finished paintings.

acrylic on stitched canvas
33w x 31h inches

We Move Through It
acrylic on stitched canvas
32w x 31h inches

13 October 2012


In a whirlwind of activity I am being very productive in the studio lately.  Finished stitching and stretched this one tonight:

My studio table with markings on it from measuring out 3 new stitched canvases.

12 October 2012

outside inside




When I first began to use acrylic in 2009, my thinking was that I didn't want to try to make the same type of paintings with acrylics as I had been doing with oils.  Not only would that be frustrating in terms of end result, but also it would limit my exploration of the acrylic medium's wide range of possibilities.  

To that end I chose a subject that seemed to be the polar opposite of the layered, semi-abstract cityscapes: flowers!  Here are some of the first acrylic paintings I made:

Well, they are still layered and semi-abstract, aren't they?  Haha.  

I used paper and sheer fabrics collaged onto the canvas. 
I splattered and splashed using various acrylic-to-water ratios and learned about how to avoid that cracking thing that happens when acrylic mediums are applied too thickly in single coats.
I drew with charcoal, conte, and china marker in between the acrylic paint layers.  
I also drew with oil pastels and then sealed them with more layers of acrylic - a definite no-no in the realm of archival concern.  But I thought, "it's not like I'm doing great swathes of oil with acrylic on top, they're just thin lines so it should be ok."
I really wanted to be as free as possible, and it was a lovely exercise.

A few of these painting sold, and I gave some to family and friends.  I also donated a few to the Calgary Children's Hospital.

Now I no longer have any desire to paint flowers, and for two years the remaining flower paintings have been just sitting in a cupboard - the very worst place for art to live!  Therefore I've decided to donate them to Art With A Heart for the residents of Slave Lake who lost their homes last year.

This is the artist statement for my "floral period":

Flowers have been portrayed in art since early history; they seem to have been drawn, painted and sculpted by every culture that has ever existed. The fascination of flowers is manifold - besides their visual appeal, many have practical uses in medicines and food, perfumes and dyes.

Contemplation of flowers can inspire an awareness of the divine, as well as a delight in earthly sensuality. Be they pedigreed hothouse beauties or a field of wildflowers blowing in the wind, flowers can lend a glimpse of something greater than human design. With their myriad colours, shapes, textures and scents, they seem to celebrate life itself.

As a contemporary visual artist I also want to celebrate a love of life. The flowers in these paintings, with their vibrant, riotous colours and curling tendrils, seem to be dancing for sheer joy. It is my hope that they will bring joy to the viewer as well.

All in all, it seems very appropriate that my little florals should bring joy to the residents of Slave Lake, instead of being shut away in a dark cupboard.

11 October 2012

heart smart

Today I am happy because three of my paintings have sold in the last week!  Wow, talk about feast or famine!  It's kind of a nice balance, too, because each of my galleries sold a piece.  Very fair of the universe, wouldn't you say?
These are the works that sold:

Re-enter And Re-enter
City For Trees
Stained Glass

Be patient.  Go with your heart and the rest will follow, eventually....

07 October 2012


This weekend we went to Edmonton for the opening of my solo show "Urban Seams" at the Front Gallery.  It was a great opening: the work was displayed really well, with a good flow throughout the room, I had a chance to talk with people who came in and had time for real conversations, and some had interesting things to say about the show.

One person said, "this painting really brings to mind interior as well as exterior spaces."  And another, "there is a kind of Asian feel to some of these pieces."  Several people mentioned that they saw the signature painting in the front window and "...we just had to stop and take a look inside."

I also met a couple who bought one of my pieces.  This is wonderful, since I rarely actually meet the people who buy my work.  It was great to be able to get to know them and their small daughter a bit, and to thank them personally for choosing my piece from the gallery's collection of amazing artwork made by some really great artists.  It really is an honour to have my work shown here!

A few photos from our trip:

shadow of our car looking very 3D

construction sites - always gorgeous but particularly so in this light

mysterious inner spaces

tinsel streamers in a car lot

 heading home in the evening glow

I also have a couple of lovely photos of the gallery owner and I, but will wait to post them until I have her ok.  Update: got the ok and here they are:

All in all it has been a great weekend so far, and tonight we will have Thanksgiving dinner with the family.  Could life be any better?  Right now I think not.