January marks 13 years since I quit my corporate job at a Vancouver law firm to create art full-time. It was one of the scariest and most necessary decisions I have ever made.
It's been a rich, fascinating journey, ripe with opportunities to learn, and stretch into areas of myself I never thought possible. Painting continues to be my companion, my mirror, my teacher and my friend.
I am so thankful for my family, friends, clients and students who have supported my journey. I am grateful for you & I celebrate you!
Damn, is this really my first post of 2021? Yes, it is!
There is a time to bite your tongue and be quiet. But there is also a time to speak. Quite honestly, I have an extremely hard time distinguishing between the two. It's gotten me into a lot of trouble in past relationships, when I felt something wasn't right, but did not say anything for fear of hurting others. I am reminded of a quote by one of the world's greatest teachers, Mahatma Gandhi: “Be gentle, truthful and fearless.” So here it is:
"The Trouble with Self-Taught Artist":
Every painting I make is evidence that fear can be conquered.
Sometimes I paint things that "don't make any sense". Meaning: they aren't representative of my usual style, and they look like they don't belong in any of my previous collections. I remind myself that to "indulge my creative urges" and "paint my feelings" is a good thing. Even if my painting looks like it might have been made by someone else.
This is exactly how I feel today: Eager to jump "Into The Waves". To be enveloped, carried and cleansed. These are difficult, challenging times. How do we channel our fears and anxieties of an uncertain future in a way that is positive vs negative? Painting is a tool that helps me transmute my emotions. It's an anchor of sorts.
In the United States, Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year (Boxing Day in Canada). Many people will spend hours searching for discounted prices on their favorite products.
Although I am not immune to the desire to make my life more comfortable by acquiring things, today in particular makes me think about what I am ordering from the Universe.
I shot these photos just moments before I received news of my father's passing, and my life changed. Even in death he held the well-being of his family in his highest regard. To hear this news whilst immersed in the spectacular landscape of Yellowstone National Park was an immense gift. I am in his deepest gratitude.
As I witnessed the sun set behind the horizon, the steaming geysers evaporate and begin their climb towards the heavens, I felt like I was witnessing my father's spirit. Death is not a morbid thought. Death is a great teacher. Life is precious. Life is brief.
Getting a picture of my dad is extremely rare. Getting a picture of my dad inside my art studio is even more rare. This is one of the last photos I took of him.
I liken my dad to a Snow Leopard: an extremely private, elusive creature, who's stories and adventures border on myth. He was one of the most fascinating creatures I have ever known.
My father taught me many things. And although my mother taught me how to paint, my father taught me how to dream.
“How was your workshop this weekend?” She asked in earnest.
“Awesome!” I answered. “It felt so good to be teaching again. But at the same time, a part of me felt like a bit of an impostor.”
“What do you mean?” She said with raised eyebrows.
“At times I feel so inadequate. How can I stand in front of a class and teach fearlessness when I have so much fear?”
The New York Times called it “the most famous work of American art that almost nobody has ever seen in the flesh.” The artist who designed it said it was “the edge of the sun, a boiling curve, an explosion rising into a fiery prominence.”
Painting on the earth, with the earth, reminds me where we came from and where we will eventually return. We owe so much reverence and thanks to this sacred land we tread upon. My paintings are snapshots of my earthly journey. They capture the essence of a place, a feeling, a moment in time.
Titanium white, yellow ochre, neutral grey, payne's grey, burt sienna, burnt umber, green clay, white sand, pebbles, feathers, bones, brine flies, charcoal, and salt water from the Great Salt Lake where all used to create this work.
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.