This summer I had the opportunity to create a custom painting for the beautiful Mila + Paige fashion boutique in New West. It's 48" x 48" and was a lot of fun to bring to life. I started with sketches based on our talks of what the owner loves, and lots of browsing Pinterest for faces and flower inspiration. I used prints of my own surface pattern designs to collage the face, and built on many layers from there using paint, ink, ribbon and jewelry embellishments. I thought you might be interested to see inside my process so I'm sharing a few pictures. Thank you Anita at Mila + Paige for loving my style and commissioning me to do this special piece for your shop. It was a real pleasure. Visit Mila + Paige at 45 Sixth Street in New Westminster, BC.
It’s been quiet over here on the blog this spring. A lot has been brewing and I’ll be sharing on that soon. For now I’m talking about identity. I have always been fascinated with humans and identity. As a young pre-teen I had my nose in a book always, living and relating to the characters, and in the process building my own identity by reflection. In university I focused on identity in my communication studies, in my modern dance choreography pieces, in my fine art class projects, in my literature and poetry classes, even in my resource and environmental management classes. This wasn’t a conscious intent—I was drawn and led by something intangible. I nearly did a Master’s degree exploring identity but instead went on to build a design career helping clients find their authentic visual voice and identity. And my fascination continues today. I read and watch shows and films to fall deeply in love with the characters and I feel sorrow when the end of the book or season comes. I read books about identity, truth and knowing ourselves. I explore human identity themes in my work. I’ve been drawing and painting women’s faces steadfast since I was less than ten years old. And every illustration, painting and surface design comes from a learning about the nature of humans and the individual characteristics that make us, well, us.
To use a common metaphor, discovering identity is truly akin to peeling back the layers of an onion, never knowing how many more layers there are to come. First we reject what we know in order to identify ourselves by what we aren’t. Then we seek, we find, and we begin to collect pieces of what we are. Then we grow to the edges and need more room. And this repeats, and we continue to evolve and shape our identity. One neat thing for me recently has been watching the big shifts in myself. A few years ago I embraced my feminine side, inviting and delighting in everything girly. Now that is morphing into a curiosity about the wild woman in me – the yearning and draw to let her out. It’s neat to see my art shift in conjunction with this - to see the movement from pretty and feminine to powerful wild woman starting to emerge. That’s what I love, the uncertainty and magic in letting our identities unfold. I wonder what’s next?
After 10+ years of living and loving my boutique design business and my wonderful clients, I’m on a new path. Today marks the launch of my art business, under my own name, where I am pursuing licensing partnerships in art, illustration and surface design. On this blog, I will share my journey as it unfolds.
I’m choosing a word to guide me for the beginning of this year—simple. Simplify; do less; choose carefully. I want this year to be about keeping things real; saying no more often than I say yes; and if I can't remember it without keeping detailed lists I'm probably doing too much. I want to observe and ask rather than making assumptions; and try drawing the simple conclusion rather the complicated one. It's touching on the personal, the family, and it's coming into the studio with me too as I find ways to practice my craft in small simple ways with minimal supplies. Simple.
Happy holidays friends and colleagues! The season is upon us! I love this time of year. The lights, the carols, the excitement in the air, the delight in our six year old son:) My favourite things to do during the holidays are to curl up with a good book, get into the studio for some soul-feeding creative time, cook slowly, go for solo walks, and spend quality time with everyone I love. I'm so looking forward to doing these things for the next two weeks and I hope you are doing things equally joyful and inspiring for yourself.
As I wrap up the year I'm looking back and thinking, yes it's been a really good one. I've been focused on changing habits—doing less and choosing carefully. Homeschooling our son has been a challenging and exhausting but truly wonderful adventure and I'm glad we chose to do it.
I wish for each of you a restful and inspired holiday season with many moments of joy, connection and love, and vibrant wellness now and always. It's the real stuff, the stuff that truly matters, yeah?