Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Autumn Greetings!

Hello again!

It's been quite some time since I've dropped a line to many of you. I hope my message finds you all well and enjoying this amazing weather. I don't think I'm alone in my love of Autumn weather and the occasional fog bank. This season of reflection and harvest is always full of
activity for me. It is the deep breath before the plunge into the wild season of holiday shows just on the horizon.

Portobello West - Dec. 7 & 8, 2013
Where: Creekside Community Ctr., Olympic Village, Vancouver, BC
What: Fashion and Art Market
More info: www.portobellowest.com

Women's Winter Faire - Nov. 29 to Dec. 01, 2013
Where: Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver, BC
What: 20th Anniversary! Over 50 booths of creative, funky, beautiful, ecologically-sound and diverse gifts await a hoard of loyal shoppers each year who converge on this popular event to shop, for sure, but also because ...it's such a social event!
More info: www.soundsandfuries.com/faire.html

Christmas at Hycroft - November 21 to 24 , 2013
Where: Hycroft Mansion, 1489 McRae Avenue, Vancouver, BC
What: Sort of a Village, Sort of a Concert, Sort of a Museum, Sort of a Craft Show, Sort of a Shopping Trip, Sort of an Interior Design Show, Completely FUN for the Whole Family!
More info: www.christmasathycroft.com

Each Summer, I vow to be more organized and to have my paintings completed by October, and yet...

This September, however, we had quite a good excuse to keep me distracted from painting and sketching, as we were off in Ireland with a quick visit to Paris, which lit the creative fires like nothing else. After a wonderful adventure through Ireland's rural narrow twisting lanes, up and down winding stairwells of Celtic ruins and early Christian settlements, to the
top of the Eiffel Tower, and down to the bottom of a carafe of the richest French sipping chocolate one could ever wish for, we are home again and I am inspired beyond words.


Upon our arrival home, I hazily sketched away the hours of jetlag. The first painting to arrive on my watercolour paper was this Solstice gathering (note the fetching cardigan that the badger is sporting, none other than my own cardigan acquired in Co.Kerry, haha).

Fox and Badger Solstice

This polar bear has been wandering around in my subconscious for quite some time, but each time I sat down to sketch him before we had gone on our travels he never looked quite as I had envisioned him. However, as soon as we arrived home, he was ready to be drawn; there is something to that phrase about everything in its time.

Polar Bear

So, now as we all face the coming change of the season from Autumn to Winter, I hope that like my own good fortune, you have all harvested the rewards of the seeds of intention sewn in the Spring. As you reflect on the year that has flown by, may your memories be full of crisp Spring mornings, lazy Summer afternoons, and pumpkin orange Autumn sunsets.


Until our paths cross again, I'm sending you blessings of joy, laughter, and inspiration in abundance


Cocoa Nymph Gallery Show (August - September 2013)

Greetings friends!

Just a quick reminder to come Away With The Faeries this Friday evening at 7:30pm (August 9) for the opening wine reception of my gallery show at Cocoa Nymph.

 My paintings will be hanging from August 9th to September 29th.

Cocoa Nymph 

It is a rarity for me to hang my original paintings en masse and a great opportunity to see them all together… and maybe indulge in just a few (thousand) pieces of chocolatey Cocoa Nymph perfection. I do hope you'll join me, as that would indeed make this wine reception a truly perfect evening to share it with all the souls who inspire and encourage my illustrative adventures. 

Until then, sending you blessings in abundance for inspiration, joy & creativity.

Happy June 2013!

And what a start of June it's been. From a rainswept May to the early days of June bursting with sunshine, it's been a wild ride.

Well, I know I am a minority in the fact that I love the rain, I love storms, and find the  wilder the weather, the more relaxed I am. I didn't waste May's stormy weather, and managed to get two paintings completed in time for my first market of the year.

Hanami Celebration came with all the beautiful cherry blossoms blanketing Vancouver. I
wanted to create something that captured how cherry blossoms get this city all a dither, as they herald the coming of Spring and with it sunshine and longer days.

Hanami Celebration

Fey Bouquet's inspiration is much the same, as lilacs arrive on the heels of cherry blossoms and soften the rough edges of the city with their billowy bouquets and wafting delicate perfume. As the impish wee feller dreamily inhales his bouquet, lilacs have the same effect on me. I am not one for cut flowers, but love seeing my neighbourhood awash in varying shades of pinks and lilac, and inhaling the amazing floral scent that fills the air.

Fey Bouquet
Wishing you all a wonderful June and may these longer days be full of joy and abundant inspiration.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Meet "Lanterns to Read By"

Although the sketch for this painting evolved from thought to completed drawing very quickly, I had to scrap the first painting and redo the entire piece again... sigh.

Alas, it is my Achilles heel, that I have a tendency to overwork a piece when I should just let it be and come back to it refreshed. So, sometimes my critters end up with fraternal twins who live out their days in my portfolio of reminders that less is more, more often than not!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Hedgehog Holidaying and Ox Herding

Hello again!

Having just completed this painting and thinking its been a pretty lengthy gap since I dropped you all a line, I thought it high time I rectified such poor behaviour on my part.

In pondering whether the temperature would ever rise beyond the single digits and perhaps watching a few too many BBC period dramas on these cold winter evenings, a  prim little hedgehog wandered onto my sketch paper.

Her first big holiday abroad finds her in the Mediterranean being wooed by this rather rakish and cunning ferret. This is what comes from watching Poirot while sketching methinks...

As well as hibernating over the winter, I've also begun giving lessons to a wonderful and receptive student who I should be paying rather than the other way around, as I am feeling very inspired by our work together. We had been working away one afternoon at the foundations of drawing, specifically breaking down objects into their basic shapes, when the Oxherding Parable entered my mind. I came to know this story several years ago in the form of a commission for me to illustrate the parable for a yoga instructor who planned to use it in his teachings. It is a Zen Buddhist parable that dates back to the Sung Dynasty, 12th century. The story is traditionally illustrated in 10 panels, but I'll  share just a few of my own illustrations with you here.

The herder is searching for the ox. This represents the beginning of one's spiritual journey, a time for change and the letting go of bad habits. Sometimes the path is are to find.

The herder finds evidence of the ox. The path is difficult and success seems often faraway, but there are glimmers of achievement.

Suddenly the herder sees the ox. His path becomes apparent and he realizes this is indeed the right direction, although what lies ahead is still unclear.

He catches the ox. It is difficult to tame. The mind wanders.

He tames the ox. The mind is unruly, but with perseverance the ox(the mind) eventually follows by itself, without tether or leash.

The herder mounts the ox(the mind has submitted).

He transcends the ox and stands alone. The herder no longer pays attention to the ox.

The herder and the ox are transcended, neither matter any more. This is the moment of enlightenment.

The herder reaches the origin. Returning to the origin he recognizes what he knew before.

He returns to the world where he lives to teach others.

Although the parable's function is to illustrate one's journey to the integration of  Zen Buddhist philosophy and practice in order to attain enlightenment, I believe it captures any personal journey towards the integration of knowledge and growth, or in the case of the session with my client, demonstrates how one comes to understand the foundations of painting.

There appears to be many "oxen" upon life's paths. Some oxen yield to us far quicker than others, whereas others can seem forever out of one's grasp. No matter what stage you are at in taming your wily steer, I hope that this parable will come to mind as it has for me, in those times that tempt you to turn away from seeing the struggle for integration through to its conclusion.

Hoping you are well and enjoying the crocuses and snowdrops, who promise that Spring is indeed on the way.