Thursday, December 31, 2009

Without Limits

I've often said that I don't understand why we do New Years Resolutions. If it's important enough to warrant change we should be capable of it any time of the year. I still stand by this, but I do believe in making reasonable goals to span the year.

I don't think I have any goals for myself for 2010. I had a lot for 2009 and I'm happy to say I achieved them.

I think my only hope for 2010 is to expand my Bodhi heart as I explore my work, the world and my own self.

May all beings everywhere see the world without limitations.

Happy New Year.

"Without Limits"

(Thanks to Julie Susanne for her inspiration.)

32X16 inches

Original: $500

Reproductions available for $50 each


For every moment there is a thought

For every thought there can be a dream

For every dream we might find an excuse

For every excuse there is a "good reason"

For every bit of reasoning we will reach a breaking point

At every breaking point is an opportunity

For every opportunity there is an idea

In every idea lies our potential

This is without limits

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One week!

It seems strange to think that, in one week, I will be leaving for London.

It all began when I suggested to my mum (following watching 'Love Actually' for the umpteenth time.) that we spend Christmas in London in 2010. Then I figured, if I'm going for Christmas, why not go four or six months prior and get a chance to explore the United Kingdom? I began researching Visa's and when I found SWAP it was an obvious choice and seemed a great idea to go for at least a year. I figured I'd have enough funds by Spring but my car accident changed all that. Certainly, it was an inconvenience to go through the physio and have to get a new car and all that, but the end result of a nice chunk of money to compensate for personal damages eliminated my debt and bumped by departure date to January.

I remember when I made the decision. It was in the summer and January seemed a very long way off. People would ask if I was leaving soon and I'd say, "Oh not really. Months yet."

Well it's one week away now.

But it's more than just a move to a new country that I'm looking forward to. I'm suddenly in a very different position as far as my art goes and where I see myself going in the next two years. My Visa will guarantee me a place in the UK, whilst I explore and learn and grow. My own sense of self and my personal motivation to be successful as an artist spur me on and millions of possibilities await me in a city eight times larger than the one I've lived in my whole life.

As I embark on this adventure I'm open to everything and anything.

Today I'm going to try and finish this painting.

Friday, December 25, 2009

What Christmas Means to me My Love

As a child I was hugely materialistic, but I think that's just the way it is to be a kid. You want a million toys and Christmas is about packages under the tree.

As I've gotten older Christmas has been about traditions. Things like, when you go get the tree and how you choose to decorate it. In my family we do themed trees and have ever since the first Christmas without my dear Grandma Doreen. That year was purple. This year is All That Glitters.

But now that I'm an adult, and now that my life is going in such a magical new direction, I don't hold onto anything too tightly. The one thing, though, which has remained (Besides delighting in the abundance of delicious food the season brings.) is my ability to find the Perfect Gift. I love when I've wrapped something chosen with great care, knowing it will be appreciated because it was given with love.

In light of my immanent departure and because I'm saving money, I didn't buy my gifts this year. I gave away things that meant something to me or I gave the gift of my art work.

Each year I will have certain gifts that I am looking forward to giving the most. Whilst this year was no different, every gift I've given was given with great care, thought and love.

Two of them, however, were extremely important.

To my best friend of eighteen years (Has it been so long?) I gave Temperance, my 9th Tarot card of the year.

To my mum I gave Strength, which I finished in early November and have had to keep utterly secret since.

I had two goals for myself in 2009. One was to pay off my debt so I could travel in 2010. I'm happy to say I'm $100 and a flight on January 6th away from that goal.

The other was to paint a Tarot Card a month. At the time I made the goal I don't think I really had any idea what it meant. I've since come to see that the cards I paint will be done in time, according to whatever influences are in my life. Nine out of twelve isn't too bad for a years worth of work. Each one has been a learning experience and some have been more tiresome than others. I'm happy to say that both Strength and Temperance, in being made with genuine love and appreciation for their recipients, were completed in ten or so hours over a period of two days each. When I knew I was going to do them it happened just like that. There was no choice on my part. It was more of just knowing I had to go buy a canvas and get to work so the image in my head could be shared.
To finally be able to give them today was brilliant. It was fully worth the wait and I'm happy to be able to unveil them now to all of you who follow my blog.
Whether you celebrate it or not, may you enjoy the holidays. May you be safe, may you be happy and may you have ease of mind.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And then there was Death

In the story of Tarot, Death signifies the end of something that once was and the birth of something new. As a Buddhist I practice letting go of attachment. In western culture I find this is misinterpreted. People take it to mean you shouldn't own anything or want for anything. This is not the case. A lack of attachment simply means you accept the inevitability of change and the impermanence of all things.

The Death card represents this for me. Without change we become stagnant. Without an end there can be no beginnings. These endings are occurring all the time. Each moment that passes we are reborn as someone new and different because each moment we know more than we did the moment before.

I began painting this card ages ago but only finished it recently. Suitably, I finished it right before my ten day journey to London.

In the last year I found my own inner wisdom, faced an unknown path and have found a new beginning.

I have fifty 16X24 reproductions of the Death Tarot Card available for $50 each before January 6th.

Contact to order one today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I was once The Fool

The entire story of Tarot begins with The Fool. The number on The Fool card is zero, representing infinite possibilities, a clear plate, new beginnings and a sense of openness and potential. As Delirium was new in my life, she seemed the perfect subject for the central focus of The Fool card.

The card itself has many elements, much like the High Priestess. The Fool can be depicted carrying a satchel or pack of some sort. Occasionally there will be a dog, following along, the Fool's only companion. Because I wanted the card to be showing a sense of unknown I chose not to include these elements. I did bestow my Fool with a 'staff' in the form of a feather toy. I also put in the dice as a representation of the unknown future the Fool faces. Life is a roll of the dice and we cannot know where we might end up. The path extends into the horizon, past purple mountains, re-enforcing how undetermined the future is. The Fool stands alone on this path, full of delight at all the possibilities she might face. The four suits of cards represent new beginnings.

But the Fool is still foolish and whilst it may seem positive, it's also a card that represents a need to be aware. We stand alone, just as the Fool stands alone, but we must remember not be lost in a daydream or fantasy. Between The High Priestess and The Fool we can find balance. Be open to the future and all our potential, but have the wisdom of our experiences to guide us on our unknown journey.

The Fool is available in a 16X24 reproduction for $50 for a limited time. Order yours today through

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

One of my favourite novels is Breakfast of Champions (Or Goodbye Blue Monday.) by the incredibly brilliant Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007)

In it are a series of intertwining events following the lives of several different characters. One of the characters is an artist who has painted a piece called 'The Temptation of St. Anthony' (No, it's nothing like Dali's work.) which is nothing more than a canvas painted Day Glow green with a bright neon yellow stripe painted down one side. He is, at one point, being ridiculed by several other creative types, who argue that his painting required no real effort and therefore cannot constitute as being 'art'.

In a moment of brilliance he addresses the group, stating that the thing about his painting is, he did it whilst no one else had. It was art simply because it hadn't been done before. It may seem simple and it may seem obvious, but sometimes it is the obvious things that have never been done before that provoke us.

Of course the other important thing to remember is that just because one person sees it as art, doesn't mean we all have to. There are billions of people on the planet. To be a successful artist one must only find fifty or so people willing to pay you what your art is worth. So 'fire' the Nay-Sayer's, or those that would argue if your work has value. You are worth as much as you believe you are and when you find those who agree you won't have to justify or explain what you do or why you do it.

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

My latest piece, which shall be the last painting I do in 2009. I've finished the background. I'm hugely excited to start on the rest of it.

Why Tarot Cards?

I realise that I have a pretty expansive artist's pallet. I dabble in sculpting, painting and costume design. This might seem a bit much and I've been told time and again that I should 'specialize', which I balked at initially. I figured, if I can do it all, why not? But I keep an open mind and am always prepared for change and the lessons we learn as we explore our talents and abilities.

I've come to a very interesting realisation about my art and the things I'm truly passionate about versus the things that I can do well, but don't necessarily enjoy. I know I've got an eye for sculpting and perhaps in the right context, it might be something I'd pursue, but I don't really feel creative when I sculpt. I feel more technical about it. I think it's something I'd be better suited to teach people, than to use as a creative outlet.

When I paint, however, I feel like it's a true expression of myself and what I love to do. The exploration I did with painting has been ongoing and I've found myself really enjoying my Tarot card series. The initial one I did was years ago, as a gift for someone. It was the first time an idea I had for a painting actually looked how I'd imagined it would upon completion.

Over the next few years I did more, but they became an assembly line sort of project. I did them on smaller canvases since I couldn't afford the size I wanted and because I felt, if I did them on smaller ones, I could complete more. I was also doing them for someone else, which became difficult as I found myself disconnecting and I found my creative energy blocked by depression and anxiety.

After a series of what could have been devastating events, I woke up. I took control and I found myself with a new blank canvas, in the size I preferred. My first choice of card was The High Priestess.

This card was my choice for several reasons. My cat of 21 years had died the summer before I painted it, and I'd wanted to immortalize her in a painting ever since she'd left this mortal coil.

I wanted to do a tarot painting that was just for me.

I actually do read tarot cards and I find them beautiful and fascinating. They don't tell you anything you don't already know and the art in them is intricate, interesting and fun to study.

When doing Tarot readings, I often get The High Priestess. She represents wisdom, instinctual knowledge that helps us to make decisions and reveal the truth behind any situation, thought or idea. Generally it is representative of the Tarot Reader her or himself, so I suppose it makes sense that I identify so strongly with this card.

In painting it I looked at several different designs done by many others. I always go to classic decks first as they generally have the most basic symbols and seem to be a good starting point. In my depiction of the card I included symbols I felt were most important. She is cloaked in the night, shown with a scroll and cauldron. This represents her mysterious nature as well as her ability to just 'know'. She represents balance and understanding and has strong connections with the Earth. Instead of the traditional pillars I chose to do twisted, tall trees climbing on either side of her.

This was the first card I painted in 2009. I have a very limited quantity of 16X24 inch prints available. I'm offering them at the special Holiday price of $50. To order contact me at

Monday, December 14, 2009

Limited Edition Reproductions Available!

E-mail to order a limited edition 16X24 inch reproduction of one of three of my Tarot Card paintings.

Reproductions cost $50 each (Holiday pricing! They go up to $70 each January 6th.) so order yours today through


High Priestess - 10 prints

The Fool - 10 prints

Death - 50 prints

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kait's Mix on-going Blog idea

This shall be the first of many posts about music.

I love music. It fuels my day, fills my life and gives my heart wings when I need it. My ipod is the equivalent of a bottomless Mix Tape. I've got play lists galore and almost every type of genre. I think my love of a broad spectrum of musical styles is due to the fact that I listen to lyrics. Whilst I'm incredibly talented creatively, none of that talent lies in song. I don't like most of my attempts at poetry, I'm tone deaf and the math behind notes boggles my mind. I leave it to others to fill the world with music, and I consume the words they write and melodious tones they provide ravenously and with great appreciation for their skills.

So it's lyrics I go after and the songs with words which inspire me most go onto a play list I call 'OCD Mix'. These are songs I can listen to on repeat and not tire of and it is this play list which is most often emitting from my computer as I paint. I've been painting more and more as of late, having discovered that this is, in fact, where my passion lies. One such painting was this pair of shoes, which I did in trade for services from a friend of mine who does videography. I'm really happy with the design, as I often am with my shoes. The true test will be his reaction upon seeing them, but I'm utterly confident that he will be pleased.

My musical recommendations:

'One Day Like This' - Elbow
First off, it's got stringed instruments in it. I tell people I love songs with strings and they immediately think I'm telling them I like classical. Don't get me wrong, I do like it, but there are plenty of songs with violin, cello and double bass in them that aren't written by Vivaldi, Bach or Beethoven.
Second, it's beautiful lyrically. Best line: 'Throw those curtains wide...'
'Breaking the Habit' - Linkin Park
Generally these guys are known for being angsty, which they totally are, but this song is less about wallowing and more about realising your potential and ability to master your own fate.
Best line:
'I don't know why I instigate and say what I don't mean. I don't know how I got this way, I know it's not alright, so I'm breaking the habit, I'm breaking the habit tonight.
For me this is all about changing how we define regret. Rather than longing to go back and change something, which we cannot do and waste far too much time wishing we could, it's about accepting responsibility for things we've done wrong and promising to surprise ourselves by doing them differently in the future.
'My Skin' - Natalie Merchant
Best line:
'I need the darkness, the sweetness, the sadness, the weakness'
I believe the song itself is about the demise of a relationship, but this line in particular means we need all the experiences life has to offer and to accept them as they are without feeling they are either 'good' or 'bad'. They just are what they are and if we hope to grow and change and learn we need it all: dark, sweet, sad and weak.
'I Got a Feelin' - Black Eyed Peas
Good to dance to and completely true.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Designer's Mind

Commissioned Dragon Ornament

One of the most common complaints or excuses I hear about doing art as a living is with regards to commissions. Art is fun and great until there are requests and deadlines and then suddenly it feels rushed or it simply can't be done right.

I admit, when it comes to my writing, I don't like rules. I follow the rules of written English, of course, but limitations based on page length and deadlines for completion make me nervous and uncomfortable. I find my writing becomes stiff. It's not a route I like to take, which is why I will have to self-publish.

But my art is an entirely different matter. I have an advantage in that I prefer to create something for someone. Don't doubt that the work I do is of my own creation and imagination. I have done pieces just for me, but I really enjoy creating something with someone in mind. If they ask me for it, this means they like my style and even if I don't really know the person, I enjoy doing the research to make sure that their personality is captured in my work. It's fun for me, and easy, to create something with someone in mind. Of all my work, my favourite pieces are often those done for a friend or family member. One of my favourite accomplishments was a pair of custom shoes done for the brother of a friend. I'd never met him and only had his website (he makes guitars) to go on. The result was magnificent and I was told later that he was really happy with them.

I received a few commissions during my gallery showing and a few more following it. I found it amusing that those requesting them told me not to worry too much about getting them done quickly. They knew I was busy with my London plans and didn't want to add too much to my plate. Because I work so well with specifications and a narrowing of my ideas to a specific person, I am able to complete a commission in excellent time. I never feel the work is sloppy either, as my work is always done mindfully when it's created for someone. I can focus on what I'm doing in the moment and ultimately, the results are well received on both ends. I am proud of my work and happy that they are able to have a unique piece of mine that fits their personality and they are happy to have something created with them in mind, so they can say it was created with them in mind.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Painting with your hands

I know this might sound strange but I've never actually thought of myself as a painter. My natural talents lie in writing and sculpting and whilst I enjoyed painting, I never really thought of myself as talented enough to do it with any real seriousness. I really liked the idea of it, though, so I spent some time experimenting with different sizes of canvas and different surfaces. Of course my canvas shoes have always been a delight to do, but it took quite a bit of testing to determine exactly what sort of canvas I require. I work best on large pieces and generally I stick to the two by three foot canvases. All my Tarot cards have been completed on this size but before I chose that endeavor, I would play around a lot. I have two pieces done with my hands, in an attempt to get a better feel for acrylic and determine what I could do with it.

The first was "Bird Woman", a piece which now hangs in my parents library. My idea with this one was that it could be hung two ways: As a bird or as a flower. Generally it got a bit messy and I was put off by it, but my parents have always loved it. In fact, I recently learned that it's one of my dad's favourite pieces of art.

The second was "For Every Boy..." done on a split canvas. I began with the rainbow, wanting to get away from the smear of colours established in "Bird Woman". At the time I was just beginning work on the creation of the Miscellaneous Youth Network. Someone had given me a poster which was full of phrases like "For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she feels strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable." I myself was exploring the world of drag and breaking down my personal gender binary definitions. It seemed apt to fill the canvas with these phrases, as well as a few I came up with myself. In hot pink acrylic I painted the first phrase down the entire two canvases. With a silver art pen I wrote more over top, from the red to the yellow. I chose not to fill the entire canvas with the phrases simply because I didn't want to distract people too much from the underlying words written in pink.

Both pieces are of my very first workings with acrylic on canvas and though I feel I've definitely improved, I am actually quite pleased with what I accomplished then. They were the beginnings of me finding my abilities as a painter and I'm extremely happy to have done them.

"Bird Woman" is not for sale but prints are available upon request.

"For Every Boy..." is available for sale.

Please contact me for details on either of these pieces or any other work featured in this Blog.

All work photographed in this Blog is copyright.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 29th, 2009 - First Ever Gallery Showing

I want to thank everyone who showed their support by coming out, by assisting with the set-up, by purchasing or commissioning stuff and just by giving me encouragement every day. I especially want to thank my parents for their unwavering love and belief in everything I do. A huge thank you goes to my roommates, who kept the howse clean and the guests fed whilst I took orders and arranged future get-together's.

Many more thanks go to everyone who has ever said they love my art and would buy it if I chose to sell.

Thank you to my psychologist, who helped me realize so much about myself.

Thank you to my very best friends who have shown their support in uncountable ways.

I once posted about when one can tell if they are successful. Today I feel truly, wholly successful but there is no way I could have done it on my own.

*Blows Kisses*

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Tomorrow is my gallery showing!

Someone said to me that they don't put the effort into making their dreams come true because they are so afraid of failure. Actually, a lot of someones have said this to me. In fact, I used to say it.

Inaction is, in itself, failure.

We are all capable of so very much when we accept that it is our responsibility to realize our own happiness.

I'm really excited about my showing and excited about my Facebook ad. I'm excited that I have business cards and that, when I go out into the world my job, what I do and who I am is an artist and a writer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Art and Psychology

I like to say there is a fine line between insanity and creativity. We get it in our head to do some brilliant thing and it might seem crazy and it might turn out to be just that, but we do it anyway.

Today I saw my psychologist, who I affectionately refer to as my 'most expensive friend'. I don't think she's paid to love me. As she herself said in an anecdote, I pay for the therapy. The love is free.

She recently told me I was her 'star-student', which took me by surprise. I take it as a compliment, just as I did when she told me I'm not neurotic. She confirmed that indeed, I was neurotic when I first came to her, but I'm not now.

If anything, she is my compass. As I've worked through the negativity, the neurosis, the kleshas and the shenpa, she has been there nudging me and forcing me to think. I have always been capable of creating the things I do, of running my own life and living it as I wish to, but the reminders were nice. It helped a lot and I think of her more as a coach and a Buddhist teacher than as a shrink. Our time together always fuels my inspiration and gives me fresh ideas and something new to ponder.
Whilst I painted two more dragons, I reflected on today's session. I know I've come a long way in the last year and I know I'm going in an amazing direction, but I also really like right where I am at any given moment.

*This entry is dedicated to the late, great Rev. Ron of CJSW 90.9fm. A great man who 'got it' and knew just how to live right...and was just about one the craziest people I knew.*

Friday, November 20, 2009

100 drawings and a plane ticket

I've had a fondness for Calgary which has been what has held me here for so many years. It's necessary for me to clarify that my fondness is not for Calgary in general, but for Inglewood. It's my home, more than any other place on the planet. The proximity of the zoo, bike path, bird sanctuary and wildlands has been a huge influence on my life and why I delight in nature. But the ninth avenue shopping strip is the only strip I really look forward to shopping along. The buildings are the oldest in the city because before downtown moved to where it is now, 9th Avenue was downtown. I accompanied my parents to Christmas in Inglewood, a yearly event held along 9th Avenue.

I'm as familiar with the store fronts as I am with my own front door. But that's not to say I've always gone inside. During the Christmas in Inglewood event most shops stay open until 9:00pm. My parents and I began at the intersection of 13th street. The first store we visited has a selection of fantastic furniture and statues from Africa and Asia. I've often admired the giant driftwood benches when driving by, but had never actually taken a close look until last night. There were other fabulous and extravagant items, like a giant concrete Buddha statue. I admit a part of me thought it would be really lovely to have my own meditation space, decorated with ivy and a little fountain with a giant Buddha to join me as I sit quietly.

Our next stop was a relatively new store to the 9th avenue strip. I found myself captivated by the art on the walls more than the knick-knacks and jewellery, which my mum was enthralled with. Most of the art was done by local artists, including one piece done by a man who lives two blocks from the store. I adore that close-knit community aspect of Inglewood, which was a reoccurring theme as the evening progressed. The fifth stop on the 'shopping' adventure was at Catherine Studio, where I met David, a local artist who works primarily with oils. The first thing to hit me upon entering his studio was the smell of paint. A row of fedora's hung from hooks right inside the door but the rest of the walls were hung with canvases in all sizes and shapes. My eyes were instantly drawn to the movement captured on a white canvas painted with a black figure. The style reminded me of a Bill Plympton cartoon and I was captivated by the bright shock of red and the stark contrast. David began talking to me about his work and our conversation followed all manner of routes. My dad joined me in the studio and the three of us talked for ages. I think, of all the stops on my journey that evening, meeting David was the highlight. We spoke about Hazel Dooney and the success of her career as she's gone forward doing what she loves, doing it well and doing it for herself. He also told me a story about a teacher he'd had who'd walked into the class and said their assignment was to submit 100 drawings by the next day. Then he walked out. Panic ensued! But a drawing can be anything. A scribble. A thought. A quick doodle or an elaborately detailed sketch.

Eventually my mum called, trying to locate my dad and I. She had moved on to Suzie Q. Beads, another amazing success story. I bid Dave farewell, but not before grabbing his business card.

In Suzie Q. my mum was most exuberant as she showed my dad every bead she possibly could. As I said to David, Suzie Q. is a testament to the truth behind doing what you're good at, doing it well and being successful in it. From teaching people how to make jewellery out of her home, Suzie has now had to move twice to upgrade the size of her shop in order to accommodate the interest of so many people. When business is booming in a recession one must be doing something very right.

As is so often the case with events like this, eventually you run into someone you know. I found two friends I met through MYN, who greeted me with hugs and asked about my ten day adventure in London. One mentioned that she'd been reading about it on my Blog. I was chuffed about that since I have sometimes wondered if the only readers I have are the ten people Blogger allows me to e-mail upon posting.

They recommended we get drinking chocolate from Choklat, so we did. My mum declined but my dad and I each got a cup, unable to resist the delightfully thick drink topped with whipped cream.

Drinks in hand, we continued along, eventually crossing the street and finding another Art Gallery. This one was full of collected works of several artists across many mediums and the variety was enough to keep one browsing for ages. Whilst commenting on photographs of what was obviously Irish and Scottish countryside, one of the gallery staff approached and we began to talk. We had a lovely conversation about all the museums and art that await me when I go to London. I let her know about some of the opportunities I was looking into, including a residency. An interesting point of amusement was when I told her I had no formal schooling. With a skeptical tone in her voice she said, "And you got a residency?"

I let her know I was applying for it, but that they didn't ask about schooling in the application. One merely required a portfolio and an explanation as to why it would be beneficial. She accepted that, but I can't help thinking how interesting it is that there is an expectation one must go to school for everything and anything in order to achieve success. Again, school does have it's benefits, but going to school for art is not a guarantee one will become a successful artist. This has been a reason for several of my friends dropping out of school and making their own way.

By the time we left Arts on Atlantic it was pushing nine and most of the shops were closed. Not everyone was so eager to lock their doors and due to our mutual love of shiny things, my parents and I found ourselves in Circa, ogling chandeliers and vases. Glass is an art form I simply adore, though have no desire to do myself. I leave it to the likes of Chihuly.

Utterly tired, the very last stop we made was into Nectar, if only to look at the menu and delight over the fabulous flavours of ice cream and sorbet they carry. Not only do they have Green Tea Ice cream, but there's Chai and London Fog. I admit, I was tempted to spend money I don't have if only to have one small tub of the stuff.

So all in all it was an amazing art filled evening and has left me all the more excited for London and creating new and lovely things of my own. I'm going to venture into oils after the conversation with David, but more immediately, I will be doing 100 drawings. Today, as I go buy my plane ticket and visit with my High School art teacher, I'll have my journal in hand, ready for 100 drawings, as they come.

(photo courtesy of Flickr)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keeping busy

Seven weeks to go and I'll be back across the pond!

I've been applying for jobs like mad, mostly at bookshops and art supply stores, although I've looked into a few tattoo parlours and art galleries too. Knowing where I live and understanding the post code system of London is brilliant. I'm so chuffed I went for the ten day visit.

"Make a well-considered choice and don't look back. This is the wisest approach."

I've also been seeking out arts based opportunities. I cannot, with the Visa I have, be self employed, but that doesn't mean I can't dabble in what it will be like when I am. I've found a few fantastic sites based in the UK. One such site sent out their newsletter with an incredible residency opportunity. Unfourtunately they're conducting interview for it between January 5 - 8th. Even if I am there by the 6th, I'll be ridiculously jet lagged.

I but my plane ticket on Friday. Depending what day I pick, I may still apply for it. Imagine, a fortnight in Lincolnshire, working with gallery owners and fellow artists, exhibiting your work and creating more.

Why not, right?

In other news, my clay dragons have all been fired and I've begun painting them. I painted the clay version of Spoonwinkle. I'm terribly pleased with him. He is so very adorable.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jet Lagged

London is seven hours ahead of Calgary.

London is the same area of Calgary with a population of six million.

The Underground is the primary mode of transport.

It's also known as the Tube or, to tourists who 'mis-pronounce' Tube, the Subway.

The different tube lines are distinguishable by the colour of the poles on the trains.

Space is limited so everything in London is small, including appliances, cars and cats.

London is really old and the pipes are still lead in a lot of areas so it's a good idea to let the water run from the tap for a bit before drinking it.

Mind the gap.

Jaywalking is compulsory.

The tube stations are closer to each other than they seem when taking the train. Get out and walk and you will realise how close everything is.

Spell realise with an 's', not a 'z'.

Pick up a London AtoZ as it will ensure you never get lost, as long as you can read a map.

I've got a handy check list of things to complete before I depart in January. As far as art goes, I want to complete one more tarot painting and finish my 'Dragon a Day' project. Whilst I was in London getting my foothold my mum fired all the clay dragons I've made in the past few months. I'll be glazing those shortly, very likely on Sunday. In the mean time I'm just going to work on re-setting my body clock so I don't crash at 6:00pm and wake up at 4:00am.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why London?

The most common question I get when I tell people I’m moving to London, besides clarifying that I mean London, England, not London, Ontario, is “Why?”

Generally I laugh and say, “Why not?”

But “Why not” is about the same as “Because” as far as answers go. There are so many cities to choose from, dozens on par with London. I could have chosen New York or Paris or returning to Melbourne. I didn’t though, and the reason isn’t just “Why not.”

I chose London because of the Thames, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Bishop’s Gate.
I chose London because of the London Taxi.
I chose London for sparkly lights.
I chose London for museums with no entry charge. For museums in huge, old buildings. For museums containing things I’ve always wanted to see.
I chose London for the art and the music.
I chose London because my grandma was English and I’ve wanted come since I was a little girl.
I chose London because I love the accents.

I chose London because it's been too long since I've looked after me.

I chose London because I want to see all of Europe and this seemed like a good start.
I chose London because I would rather say I shouldn't have done something than wonder what would have happened if I hadn't.

I chose London because it chose me. Because when the Universe whacks you over the head with oppourtunity you’d be foolish not to pay attention and take advantage of it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's 4:15 am in Calgary, 11:15 am in London

I love it here.

On my second day I hopped the tube and, without getting lost, made my way to Trafalgar Square. Stepping out from the Underground station I wandered up the block until I spotted signs directing me to the National Gallery. I passed a monument to Oscar Wilde and a large glass Gazebo type structure with 'Crypt' written on it. I've since found out that they throw incredible Christmas concerts inside, where the ceilings are vaulted and the acoustics are incredible.

As I rounded the corner, following the mad crowd of people (London observation: Jaywalking is obligatory.) across the street, the sun broke through the clouds and I was standing on the edge of Trafalgar Square. Looking to my left, down between the buildings, I could see Big Ben and the London Eye. It was as if I'd stepped into the pages of a book. My heart felt as though it would burst and there was no containing my grin.

I wandered into the square, soaking up the sun and the sights. I found the Canadian Embassy and snapped loads of photos, until my camera started flashing it's 'low-battery' sign at me. Tucking it away I went inside the National Gallery, where cameras aren't permitted anyway.

Entry is free, although they encourage donations. Seems entry is free to most of the museums in London, which is just about the neatest thing you can tell a nerd like me.

I put my ipod play list to my OCD mix, the most favourite songs I've got going at the moment, and began to explore. Painting after painting filled with intricate detail. Oil made to look like photographs. Pieces done by artists I've not heard of. Beyond the biblical scenes most of the subjects were unknown to me as well. I read the little cards though, soaking up what appealed to me, deciding living in London will be akin to attending Art School.

I went from room to room, targeting pictures that appealed to me and spending time gazing at the details and jotting notes about the artist or the style or influences. I entered my fourth room and gazed around at the walls, determining which painting to go to first.

And there is was...

It wasn't a poster or postcard or puzzle. It wasn't some duplicate of photocopy. It was the actual thing. It was more beautiful than I realised (London observation: stop using 'Z') it would be and as I gazed at it I found my eyes filling with tears.

Eventually I pried myself free and resumed my self-directed tour. I found several paintings with a dark twist to them, unlike the classic, bright work filled with Saints.
In one room I came across another heart stopping piece. My parents have this book about dragons which I would spend hours reading and researching in. Towards the back were some photos of classic art depicting dragons. One in particular always frightened me for how graphic it was. The picture I looked at in that book was about two inches by two inches. I stepped into another room and there it was:

It was life size and grotesque and stunning.

I had somewhere to be though and my back was growing sore from the weight of my bag. I finally tucked my journal away and walked quickly towards the exit, reluctant to leave but thrilled to know I could come back as often as I like. I will return with the intention of learning everything I can about the art and the history here. I will soak it up and revel in the art at my fingertips for a whole year...or two...or seven. Who can tell how long this city will capture my attention when there is so much to see and do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Barefoot on Bishop's Gate

There are things in the world which can be given freely because they belong to no one. Something like a sunset or the colour of leaves.

Or there is the view of a billion little lights of a city, a constellation of orange and the moment when it stops being just any city because suddenly the eye of London, Big Ben and the Thames can be defined in those lights.

There is walking along Bishop's Gate and realizing where you are shortly before walking down a street in an area known for Jack The Ripper.

There's stopping for Curry on Brick Lane and watching the world go by.

And then there's sitting on the Tube...the London Tube, an unstoppable grin upon your face.

I'm in London, baby. *smiles the widest smile of them all*

Thursday, October 29, 2009


In Tarot the Death Card represents change.

In three days I will be boarding a plane to London. I'll be spending ten days there, getting job interviews and finding a foothold for my January departure.

Two months ago I got fed up with working for someone else and began working for myself. I launched my Etsy site and began dedicating my personal time to my artwork and writing. I shifted my way of thinking to seeing my art as my job, as a potential source of income and as a path I could choose to walk.

Two months from now I will have a new home in a different country. I will have a new source of income to sustain me and I will be meeting new people.

A year ago my life was a blank slate. It was unknown entities and it was pure potential.

A year from now I have no way of determining what I'll be doing or who I am.

In this moment, all I know is that change is inevitable, beautiful, terrifying, perfect, to be expected and what makes life worth living.

The thirteenth card in a Tarot deck...the eighth card I've completed painting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Animorph fun on a Sunday

I found a photo of a friend that immediately made me want to draw him as his animal self. I saved it to my computer and have been telling myself I'll get around to it for almost two months now.

Today I finally pulled out my sketchbook and did it.

I'm pleased with the result.

'Kinkajou Jasper'

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

But if it's your job, won't you hate it?

Food for thought:

Does doing something for a living ultimately mean it will make you unhappy?

When I first graduated from High School I was given what I have often called A Dream Job. It was presented to me after years of volunteering and activism. I began working for a youth network that assisted youth in care or leaving care of formerly from care with things like advocacy, life skills and social networking.

I got paid to do things like make birthday cards, or play board games, or go to a theme park for the day.

Don't get me wrong, this job was no walk in the park. I also had to do a lot of tedious paperwork and I had to deal with a lot of emotional turmoil. When you work with youth in care, you hear some stories and it can be emotionally draining. Eventually it was so much so that I needed to move on, but for about two years I could hardly believe I was getting paid to do what I did.

Now, was it because it was ultimately a 'job' that I burned out?

See, life is change and even the things we love and the things that make us happy are inconsistent, which is why so many people are miserable. They decide something makes them happy and if it stops doing that they don't always see it and they hold on too tight instead of accepting the impermanence of everything.

So yeah, there is a chance that doing what I'm doing right now, int his moment as an artist, won't always satisfy me the way it does. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing art. It's vast and the opportunities are vast. The ways in which I can grow and express myself are endless so I will only get bored if I let my work and passion become stagnant. The difference between this job, however, and any other, is that it belongs to me.

When I'm working for a retailer I'm filling their job. I'm doing something for someone because they pay me to.

When I work for me, I'm doing my own job and that means I make my own hours, my own goals, my own tasks...

ultimately I make it what I want it to be.

So I'm happy, because I've no reason not to be.

And two more dragons! No longer a dragon a day since I'm terribly busy preparing for my ten day trip, but I'm still going to complete 31 dragons by the end of November.