digital painting

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. โค

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. ๐Ÿ™‚
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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Blippi’d

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My son Hudson is OBSESSED with Blippi. Can all the Mamas & Papas raise your hand if you have a toddler who is requesting to watch Blippi AD NAUSEAM?! (Send wine and headphones.)

My only appropriate response to this is to draw him in his glory wearing Blippi’s garb. Even when he asks for his children’s vitamin (which are Frozen-shaped because he has a very opinionated older sister), he pulls out ANY shape and yells, “BLIPPI ONE!”

Gosh, I love 2-year-olds.

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Side note…. I wonder if Blippi has any kids books out there and needs an illustrator…..

“Stranger Things” S3 art!

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Oh my word, who else loved the most current season of “Stranger Things”, in all of its’ 80s mall glory?! It was just so fun!

I was really inspired by the first season to do my own Golden Book concept – you can see that here. I also just really loved the characters, so I did some ink sketches of them all – you can see that here.

I was too busy to do stuff for season 2, but for season 3 I just had to do some art. I have plans to do at least an illustration from each episode, but so far I did these two from episode 1.

My version of Scoops Ahoy with Steve & Robin:

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A quick paint study of the cinematography – I loved this shot from episode 1!

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Robson-inspired sketches

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Since I have been home taking care of Robson the last few months, AND trying to keep up with my full-time gig – doing any additional sketching seems like a pipe dream! BUT… once in a while, I am able to carve out a precious hour or two to do some art for myself.

Here are a few I have done so far:

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Robson in the Woods admiring the trees as she does on our daily walks. ๐Ÿ™‚ [digital]

 

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Robson running around with multiple sweaters all day. Sometimes she wears 3 at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚ [digital]

 

park_trees

Robson and I go to the same park almost every day near our house. I love looking at this massive tree that reminds me of a mysterious cave. I finally drew it from memory. ๐Ÿ™‚ [digital]

“Downside Up” book is for sale NOW!

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This is exciting news for me! The book that my friend Peter Walker wrote, “Downside Up”, and I have illustrated for almost two years is for sale on Amazon NOW! It is also available in Barnes & Noble bookstores in the States! You can buy it Amazon.com or Amazon.ca ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you like it, please feel free to leave a review!

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This is the first project that I have worked on that I have fully been able to combine my art and my faith, and I am so excited it is available for purchase! It’s also the first published book I have illustrated ๐Ÿ™‚

Feel free to like the Facebook page for more updates! Here is a synopsis of the book: “A picture book for grown-ups! Satire and humor in rhyme and verse about Jesus, the church, and what’s gone wrong! Is there any reason for hope?”

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A couple teaser illustrations:

The front and back covers: