travel sketchbook – Oswald West State Park, Oregon


I’m just back from a great “camping” trip down on the Oregon Coast (not exactly camping, if it’s in a trailer, right?).

I spent a day down at Short Sand Beach, in Oswald West State Park, taking photos and painting little watercolour studies. After spending way too long on a larger, fussy painting the day before, I realised that if I just did littler versions, and focused on getting the general feeling of the place down, I might be able to loosen up a bit. The studies are 4 7/8″ x 3 3/8″.

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sketchbook – Bowen Island

I’ve just had a little mini vacation to Bowen Island – my favourite local getaway. When I’m there I’m virtually unreachable, and have no internet access, so it’s a proper rest from the usual everything-bombardment.

I spend the time working in the my grandma’s garden, or having long art-related conversations with her over lots of cups of tea, and I also take myself off to one of my many favourite painting locations and practice watercolours.

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Pigs + Society6 free shipping until Nov 17th

There is a free worldwide shipping offer on my prints on Society6 until Nov.17th 2013, through this link.


4-H pigs at the PNE

And, totally unrelated to prints, did you know there is a pig sanctuary in Mission, B.C. for unwanted ‘mini’ potbelly pigs.

I remember when there was the potbelly pig craze. And they were being touted as wonderful (small) house pets. And then people realised they weren’t so small, and actually required a lot of work, and unwanted pigs started showing up in shelters.

One day, when I was a kid growing up in a rural part of the Fraser Valley, an escapee potbelly pig wandered up our street and onto our driveway. Continue reading

sketchbook – 4-H animals


Live livestock drawing…

I took a detour through the PNE livestock barns on my way home from a friend’s birthday celebration at the track, and couldn’t resist stopping to draw some animals (and tickling some pig snouts) before heading home. Most of the animals (not the bison) in these sketches are 4-H projects, at their final fair.

Now all I want to do is go back and draw animals all day.


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sketchbook – monoprint experiments


On making mistakes, ugly things, and the terrifying thing that is an open-ended project

I’m still trying to figure things out, and still trying to get comfortable with messing up and just doing stuff to see what’ll happen; feeling all thumbs and trying very hard to be okay with that is what I find the hardest thing about creativity. By that admission, I think I’ve outed myself as not being truly creative.

I’ve been putting aside Fridays as play days – and the weekends too, if I can get one. That took a bit of getting used to. It took a while to get over the fear of actually starting something – I did a lot of reading & making notes for the first couple of weeks. Puttering in the garden. Napping. Generally practising exceptionally successful avoidance techniques. Now I’ve moved onto playing with messy things, so I think I’m safely over the first self-made obstacle. Still getting over the time allotment thing – it’s been a very long time since I’ve done something just for myself, and it feels more than somewhat invalid.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years, dreaming of a time when I can work on something for myself, mentally filing away project ideas, chafing under each job’s parameters, only to finally get the chance and feel my brain folding in on itself once faced with all the possibilities.


There are so many possibilities with printmaking, and I’m pretty interested in exploring different approaches to the same subject. I know it’ll help me get comfortable with the medium if I’m less concerned about what it is I’m drawing. At this point I’m just trying to see what different approaches look like, and getting an idea of how I can incorporate my own style into the process.

I’ve given myself some rules. And some goals – but not enough to freak myself. Expect a lot of very poorly executed crow pieces in the next few months. At this point, I (think) I’m totally fine with producing ugly stuff.


sketchbook – flowers for bees


Borage & lavender | watercolour and pencil

Bees are having a rough go of it these days, so I’ve tried to make our garden as bee-friendly as possible by increasing the number of blooming plants they prefer, as well as those that bloom throughout the season. A few years ago, we added a mason bee house to the garden. In return, we’ve been rewarded with a much higher rate of vegetable and berry pollination.

The variety of bees and pollinating insects we now have in the garden has exploded in the last couple of years. It’s been pretty fascinating to watch them. We’ve seen the mason bees hatch from their cocoons, and watched other solitary bees carry cut leaves into little nest holes they’ve dug in the dirt of the potted plants.

For the past couple of springs, there has been a chickadee pair trying to excavate a hole in a nearby telephone pole, without success. This year, we broke down and installed a nest box for them, but I guess they’d already found alternative accommodation because they ignored the box.

Last night we decided to have a peek inside the to make sure it wasn’t becoming a wasp colony (like the underside of the bbq lid) and were surprised to see it 1/3 full of moss and dryer lint. It didn’t resemble a bird’s nest, and there were no feathers or eggs visible, so I poked it with my finger and dislodged a very indignant queen bumblebee. We left her alone, and she went back into her nest where we’ll leave her to in peace to raise her larva.


It must have been quite a job for her to excavate and carry all that moss up into the box; bumblebees aren’t the most effortless fliers unencumbered.

Life Drawing – Dr Sketchy’s (1)

I tried out something different this time around and went to Dr Sketchy’s.

I found this evening super challenging – crowded room, close vantage point, small drawing pad, glass of wine, and corsets doing crazy things to the body shape – tons of fun! I’ll definitely give it another go. I really enjoyed drawing the bits of clothing, especially the hooped, tasselled skirt at the end.

-> photo gallery from the evening on the facebook event page.

1-15 minute poses, Derwent Drawing pencil on 9″x12″ Strathmore drawing pad.




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