Buy art for Christmas!

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Whew, this year is gonna be a liiiiiittle different for Christmas shopping, amiright?? Or maybe you already did all your shopping online, so no change for you.

Either way, it’s my artist duty to remind you that art makes a nice gift! I have a bunch of my original illustrations and poster designs up for sale on my Etsy shop. I sign every print, and include a handwritten note with every purchase as well. Because I love seeing written notes on paper – it’s so rare these days!

I just added this sunflower illustration I did recently, but if you are looking for Christmas-related prints, I also added my “A Christmas Story” character designs as well.

My biggest seller so far is my minimalist poster design for the film “Carol” (2015). As far as LGBTQ films with amazing acting go – it’s pretty high on the list!

Rain on me.

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Covid-fatigue is hitting everyone. I feel it all around me. This has been hard, hasn’t it friends?

Lately I have tried to allow this discomfort and fear and anxiety dust off the buried treasures within myself. I think there are extremely important lessons about life, and ourselves, that we can only learn in these types of seasons. I’m learning to be grateful for small things, to slow down and listen to my own voice, and how to show up for my family.

On Sunday I took a quick break from working on the sketches for “Still Stace” (pant, pant, there are 89 sketches now!) to go on my bike.

When I left it was sunny. Halfway through my ride, it clouded over and absolutely down poured rain. I pulled over, looked up at the sky and let it soak me. It felt renewing. I maintain that it’s one of the privileges to being alive.

There are days when we need to run and seek shelter from the rain. And then there are days when we open our arms, and invite the rain to wash over us.

Sending love, friends.

A new day is coming.

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I know, I know – I’m Canadian… BUT that doesn’t mean I wasn’t dancing in my kitchen at the Biden/Harris victory announcement yesterday!! Us Canadians are used to constantly living America-adjacent, and while political decisions don’t DIRECTLY affect us, they definitely affect us down the line.

And even though I’m not American, I love a lot of Americans. And yes, I’m a self-appointed emotional-support-Canadian. It’s been scary as hell watching what has been happening with this (lack of) leadership, especially for our LGBTQ friends and friends of colour. Yesterday felt like SUCH an influx of hope for a change! FINALLY.

But let’s focus on something amazing about yesterday: KAMALA. It was a historical day for all women! We all stand on the shoulders of so many great women who brought us to this moment. (I see you, Stacey Abrams!) Kamala becoming VP has opened the door for so many more women in leadership in our future. It’s about damn time.

I had to draw this in celebration!

Get ready for a new day, friends. It is coming.

Bly Manor paint studies.

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I’m not one to gravitate towards “horror” TV/films, but I love creepy, suspense stuff. Especially during the month of October, bring it on! (Otherwise I just watch “Hocus Pocus” on repeat, guys.)

We discovered “The Haunting of Hill House”, and I enjoyed it with many screams and a pillow in front of my face. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is the follow-up series, and I really, really enjoyed it.

It was it filmed in Vancouver, so I recognized a bunch of locations right away, which is always fun! Gastown (where I worked for years) is always great to double as England. This series was less horror, more creepy, and – BONUS – there was a lovely lesbian relationship at the heart of it. Oof, Dani & Jamie got me in the yearning feels…..

ANYWAY anyway, the cinematography and colour palette they chose was incredible all the way through. My only appropriate response was to do speed painting studies of some of my fav scenes. I tried to keep these each to 20 minutes and not get caught up in detail, just mood, composition and lighting. I did five, but I might go back do more Dani/Jamie scenes cuz well, sigh. Feels.

Falling for the colours.

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Lately I’ve been working seven days a week on two shows Monday to Friday, and illustrations for “Still Stace” on the weekends. In between furious sketching and painting, I escape for mini hikes, walks and bike rides around our neighbourhood. It is for my literal mental health, and helps to reset my soul.

It’s Fall, and in this part of the Pacific Northwest, the fog sits heavier on the pines, and the leaves show off their brilliantly saturated colours. I breathe it in deeply. This is my absolutely favourite time of the year. Time for me to dig out my thicker hoodies and mustard-coloured toque, (if you aren’t Canadian, google that word) and admit that I do love to indulge in the occasional pumpkin spice latte.

The seasons changing reminds me that even in the middle of a world that feels upside down, there are some things I can count on.

A 20 minute speed painting I did after our hike through Gold Creek in Alouette Lake. (Tons of shows are filmed here including “Riverdale” and “The 100”.)
During a walk with my kids in our neighbourhood, we saw this super tall wheat-like grass (called madras, I think) and we were all enamoured with it! I couldn’t resist painting my fav Fall palette. 🙂

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians! Wow, 2020 has thrown me for so many loops, but damn. There’s still so much to be thankful for. So hug your bubble people, eat some stuffing, and let yourself be present in this moment of gratefulness. I’m gonna try to do just that. ❤

Editing Oct 20 to add a couple more Fall-esque pieces:

In this corner of the West Coast, we have leaves waaaaay bigger than your head! No, seriously. This drawing isn’t even an exaggeration. My kids love doing this every year!
A speed painting after a long day of painting for development, from a prompt word of “scarf”. I get really tight and nitpicky when doing development (for big clients), and doing a 20 minute speed painting is like a cleansing sorbet for my soul. 🙂
I just can’t seem to physically get through October without drawing some form of Halloween candy. I prefer to eat mini Snickers, but candy corn is MUCH more fun to paint 🙂
We were walking back to our car after a walk with the kids, and I loved the early evening Fall lighting and colours.

Beauty in barns.

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I love being an artist.

If I wasn’t an artist, I’d be a musician, a horse trainer, or a backup dancer for P!nk. (I’ll settle for kitchen dance parties with my kids for now.)

Being an artist allows me to observe the world differently. It encourages me to see beauty in all things, to learn as much as I can, and to keep growing. I hope I always stay curious, because this world is overwhelmingly fascinating.

I bike past this old barn almost every day, and I smile as I pass, admiring the weathered paint and rich textures it displays. I love thinking about the history of it. But it’s not enough to admire it, I had to finally spend some time painting it. It’s my way of truly appreciating something.

A day after posting this to social media, I was contacted by the woman who grew up at this farm. She recognized her barn right away, and she asked to purchase a copy of the print to put in her house. She said it made her incredibly happy.

As I said, I love being an artist. 🙂

My Octopus Teacher.

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Wow.

Have you seen this stunning film?

Wow.

I have always been enraptured by the beauty and mystery of everything under water. The impossibly saturated colours of all that swims, the astounding design of the creatures. I have always felt more connected to my own life, somehow, when I’m under water. Which is why I love swimming so much. Time seems to slow, things become clearer. Watching this film, it made me catch my breath. And yes, I cried (a lot) over an octopus.

What a profound reminder that life is precious, breathtaking and utterly fascinating. (Like COME ON, that pile of shells it made as a disguise?!) We are all truly connected – human and creature. After many months of feeling heavy and sad with *everything* going on, this film provided a fresh breath of curiosity and hope.

I had to put some of my inspiration into a quick sketch.

If you want to learn more, watch the film and visit Sea Change Project. We have to work hard to protect all of this beauty, like all our lives depend on it. (They do.)

Popsicles.

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Last week the heat was surprisingly tenacious here in BC. My kids and I gathered on a beach towel in our backyard after they had jumped in their kiddie pool for the 76th time. I brought out popsicles for them and smiled as they dripped gleefully all over themselves, reminded that even though 2020 has been so strange and hard – they’ve had a pretty great summer. (Granted, life is easier at 2 and 4 years old.)

I drew this, trying to capture that moment. It took some tries and erasing of many layers and perseverance to get this out of my head properly. It’s not exactly what I envisioned, but it will do. 🙂 ❤

Getting unstuck.

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The manuscript for my YA memoir, “Still Stace” is DONE. I can’t believe the metamorphosis this story has undergone since my very first pitch (and I am so grateful for my editor!)

The version I originally pitched in Feb 2019 (which got me my agent) was about 1200 words. I envisioned it as a picture book. Now, as a YA illustrated memoir, it’s over 43,000 words! I never planned to write so much, or so honestly, about reconciling my sexuality and my faith – but I am so grateful for this opportunity.

Now that the writing is done, the hard part begins. THE. DRAWING. It’s one thing to write about tough and vulnerable experiences – now I gotta draw them. This weekend I sat down to start my roughs for the first chapters, and felt the familiar spiral of doubt hit me. How can I do this? Am I good enough to do this? …I can’t do this.

I got stuck. This happens to me when I am working on something I feel a lot of importance behind. The only recipe that works to get unstuck, is:

1 – get outside, preferably on my bike, stare at the mountains, sweat, lip sync some amazing music

2 – come home and create a piece of art with no expectations or judgement

Here’s what I created to get unstuck. And it worked – I drew most of yesterday and got the first section of roughs done! (Sometimes it’s a combination of letting go, and just being kinder with ourselves.)

This is my fav street in Maple Ridge to bike down, and I loved how the late summer evening light was hitting these trees. I had to draw it. 🙂

This series of images came from listening to the lyrics of  “Be Alright” by @dantebowe and @amandalindseycook. I have found great encouragement from it, I hope you connect with it too!

Queer colouring pages!

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I did something fun with OutChristian – an awesome organization that works to connect LGBTQ people of faith!

They asked me if I would want to design & draw some queer-themed colouring pages, to remind us all that we will once again be able to gather with friends in our communities. Of course, I never say no to drawing for a queer Christian cause!

They’ve done a great job of making the pages downloadable on their website, but I will post them below as well. ALSO. Even if you’re straight (or of a different or no faith), I think you could still have fun colouring these! 😀

Hang in there, friends. Sending love to all!

QueerColour06QueerColour05QueerColour04bQueerColour03QueerColour02