artist process

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.

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. 🙂

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!

Painting a Norma

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In doing my own sketch series for “Orange is the New Black”, I thought I would do Norma in a bit of a different media – watercolour. I need to get back into the real paints!! Here is how she turned out, step-by-step:

1 – Rough sketch:

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2 – Blocking in the skin colour:

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3 – Adding hair and shirt colour

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4 – Final details with brush pen and pigma liner

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