Focus on Faces and the Figure

I took some time to start sorting through my artistic ‘wants’ in order to start making work that is more streamlined in subject matter, style and outcomes. And so, it has been a very long while since I have been able to share any progress on my personal art journey. After reflecting on the art I most admire and the artists I most want to emulate, I have come to a deeper understanding of where I want my focus to lie: Faces and Figurative art.

My main medium of choice going forward will be watercolour, as if forces me to think ahead and put in the work and time to make a composition work. To help in my eventual mastery, I consulted a mastermind of watercolour, Mary Whyte, an artist I have long admired for her painterly, colourful, diverse and impactful works of art. I invested in her book, and I must say I feel as though it was written just for me.

Image result for Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor

She doesn’t waste a lot of time on the basics, nor does she wax on and on about what won’t work and how troublesome watercolour is as a medium. She gave a little tough love in some areas surrounding planning and testing, but it wasn’t half as annoying as some references are in this regard. I hope to put her advice into point form for reference later. Thank you, Mary. Maybe someday I will own an original Mary Whyte.

After reading this book, I was immediately inspired to start painting and portraying a familiar face. So I decided to take a weekend workshop class with Sarah Lacy of the Drawing Room Studio.



The class was brilliant!  And the teacher was young and enthusiastic. She studied in Paris with an atelier and she taught in a specific and straightforward manner. After 2 days of long poses and  a demo I learned a lot about comparative measurement, organic lines, following the planes of the face, finding the light and giving form to a portrait for realistic effects.



I took the concepts home with me and produced what I believe is a show of real promise in my ability to render the face and the figure… to capture a likeness.


That is where I am. Very happy with what is to come for me. I will try to come back more regularly to share my work. Thank you for stopping by.

make good art

I love the way that making good art is so restorative.

Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.


Make good art.


I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

Make it on the good days too.


Some of the things I am working on right now?

An aquarium adventure story with Author, Terri Chu


A promotional postcard to send to publishers and agents

star girlNovacolourtrial

And a top secret project with my new friends at Old Mate Media!

Old Mate Media
This image is called the Book of Imagination, and is by Deviantart user T1na

And as always, I am working on finding my heroes and looking for inspiration from every corner of the internet!  Just one of the new heroes I have come to adore and admire is Illustrator, Kelly Light, who does the art for the Louise series



I recently watched a great interview video featuring her work where two things she said really stuck with me…. Do the work (in that you can’t just expect that everything you draw is going to look right right away, you need to experiment and redraw every character, and all their physical attributes a half a million times before you can expect know their lines off by heart and be consistent with their character across all the pages of a full storybook.  The other thing she said was with reference to a question asked about working with publishers and getting to work on some AMAZING projects; whenever an art director asked if she could draw something, she would always say YUP, I CAN DRAW that, and even if she couldn’t at the time, she would put in the work to train herself to draw what was asked.

Upcoming I intend to join SCBWI and to send out a promotional postcard to agents and children’s book and magazine publishers! Wish me luck.


a bit of process… (DJ Teddy Bear)

I have started working on a better process for going from pencil and paper to the ipad pro. It involves a lot of picture taking – and I am going to have to start tracking versions.

This post is more for myself, a way of capturing my process so I can remember for next time.

It all started with some crappy sketches20170818_210125.jpg

Then I took the best part of the sketches and put together a full image using my lightbox and some photo reference.


After that I cleaned up the lines a bit before taking a picture with Adobe Capture which smooths everything out in stark black and white. IMG_0044.JPG

and then voila, bring it into Procreate to paint with the line art layer on multiply.


what makes for evocative illustration?

IMG_0023When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom…not doing bathroom specific activities…  especially when lunchtime or recess rolled around. It was the best way to avoid looking so alone. I am sharing the above illustration as my first attempt at an evocative illustration  — as prompted by an upcoming “class assignment” for Mark Mitchell’s Online Illustration Course which will be featuring the critique of 10 student works by noteworthy  publisher, Kristen Nobles, newly heading up the children’s division at Page Street Publishing.

Wish me luck on the 23rd of August when Kristen makes her choices for which student’s work to critique: pick me, pick me, pick me!! 🙂

This assignment was an awesome thought starter. It was a great way to get my thinking about what makes a powerful image, well…powerful!

Evocativeness by definition requires powerful feelings, being moved to remember or relate… and I hope that I have accomplished that here. At the very least, it has brought about a bit of acceptance for some of my own childhood trials.  I feel sad for her at the same time as really happy that her life is going to turn out great! – She grows up to be creative… independent, loveable/compassionate and comfortable in her own company. But I wonder what feelings this image sparks for people who weren’t misfit kids?

It has been a little while since I last posted a blog entry, I have been busy! – moving from a fine art focus to a concentrated effort on developing an illustration portfolio  – check out the illustration page of my website and leave a comment if you have time!

Illustration has been a satisfying venture so far, because I feel like with each and every drawing I am getting a bit better and more confident in making line choices and colour choices and value choices — or “marks and splashes” so to speak. I believe Illustration more readily suites my “flights of fancy” approach to art to begin with (I am surely not done with fine art, but I like the speed of churning out ideas for illustration, it is kind of exhilarating!).

Some things I would like to work on:

  • developing consistent style
  • being able to draw the same character across a full story
  • making more cohesive colour choices — planning my colour and value ahead of diving in.
  • erasing less and more patient/premeditated execution
  • must save up some pennies so I can join my local SCWBI

Look out for more illustration blog entries from me in the near future. Thank you for reading, and if you are in need of an illustrator for a project, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Ever closer to the c*veted artist statement…

If I were forced at gunpoint to choose just 3 works of art to call my favourites from a list of all work done throughout the course of human history… I would have a hard time, as I am sure any art lover would! But thinking very seriously about some of the notable artworks out there, and what I might like to call my favourites, brings to mind for me three particular pieces:

Christina’s Word – by Andrew Wyeth


Bar at Folies Bergere – by Edouard Manet


Refuge – by Mary Whyte


Besides the obvious commonality being notably that all these paintings feature women, they all harmoniously combine scenery with figurative or portrait art, and they all have a dreamy quality with what could be read as mixed emotional tension (expressional/situational) for the featured character — in my opinion anyway.

Thinking about the similarities between these, my favourite works of art, got me started at pondering the direction I would like to –cross my fingers — go with my work one day. I want to tell stories with my work… I want them to provide a bit of escapism to my audience, I want to mix my penchant for landscape art with the ever evolving, development and betterment of my attempts at capturing human likeness.

I feel like asking myself what I like about my favourite works of art is bringing me ever closer to that c*veted artist statement I am too cautious to make at this stage.



Who is this blog for, anyway?

This blog isn’t just for me anymore.

As much as I like reflecting and talking to myself about myself … I have been doing a lot of thinking about the ‘point’ of this blog.

Who do I want reading this (besides my first and most loyal subscriber… hi mom!)?

Who am I helping?

Who will get the most value from what I am posting?


Emerging Artists: Are you just getting serious about developing your body of work, your vision, your personal style?

I share a lot about my thought process: my ideas, my intentions and my attempts so that other artists can see what ‘becoming’ an artist looks like. I love books like the Artist’s Way, Steal Like and Artist and plenty of Art Magazines dedicated to revealing the behind the scenes work that goes into cultivating and evolving the fragments which make up your creative or artistic soul. If you like these kind of books and guides, I think you will appreciate the content on this blog.

Seekers: Are you constantly seeking to find the REASON behind being creative?

I am constantly having to reinvent new ways to keep my overactive mind engaged in developing art. I finds focus and grit hard won. If you have been there, and are looking for ways to develop a stick-to-it-iveness in yourself that does NOT come naturally, you will especially enjoy this blog because you can read about how I keep having to win myself over with new ways to stay on task!

Hobbyists: Are you looking for easy, quick, fun, relaxing ways to get creative ‘on the side’?

Every once in a while, I look for and share creative pick me ups for people who aren’t really looking to get serious about being an artist, and who just want to eat a small slice of the artist life pie.

To summarize, my blog content will be helpful for artists who are just getting started on getting serious about developing their voice and vision,  hobbyists who are exploring ideas on how to get creative quickly and easily and for all those people out there who run into problems with creative blocks and output, people who feel lost or in need of support, creative pick me ups, redirection, motivation, inspiration, and oodles of empathy for the trials and tribulations of a truly creative lifestyle !