December 17, 2013

The holiday spirit!

I love the holiday season! We’ve finally put up our tree over the weekend and we had a nice big snowstorm so everything looks pretty outside, all ready for Christmas! On Sunday we went to the Salon des métiers d’art de Montréal to buy our final Christmas presents. I like to give presents made by artists because that way I’m not only giving a beautiful, original gift but I’m supporting the artists at the same time! And contrary to many peoples believes, art doesn’t need to be expensive! Many artists create smaller pieces just for these occasions and if an original is out of your price range many artists sell limited edition prints. Even a framed greeting card can make a beautiful holiday gift! 

A good place for some last minute holiday shopping will be Viva Vida Art Gallery. This Saturday, December 21st,they are organizing a special holiday open house! Not only will you be able to enjoy the 5th annual small works exhibit: Small Art... BIG Deal, but there will also be holiday themed art workshops for kids and adults that you can participate in for only $5,-! I’m very much looking forward to the holiday themed direct transfers I’ll be doing and Heather Boyd will be there to teach you how to make your own holiday ornaments! Come out to see the art, buy some gifts or create your own! Enjoy an afternoon of art, creativity and holiday cheer at Viva Vida Art Gallery!

December 13, 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

What a great week this has been! It all started out wonderfully with a great vernissage for the fifth annual Small works exhibit at Viva Vida Art Gallery (pictures and video here). I always love this one because of the variety of work that is being shown, it’s truly a show that has something for everyone! There’s pottery sculpture, glass, jewellery, prints and original artwork to be enjoyed and because they’re all small pieces the prices are perfect for holiday shopping! If you haven’t had a chance to see the show you should definitely drop by the gallery, it will be up until January 25th 2014 so plenty of time to go see it during the upcoming holiday season. 

A perfect opportunity do do this will be on Saturday December 21st when the gallery will have a special holiday open house! Not only will there be amazing affordable last minute shopping opportunities but there will also be holiday themed art workshops for kids and adults that you can participate in for only $5,-! I’ll be doing holiday themed direct transfers and Heather Boyd will be there to teach you how to make your own holiday ornaments! What better way to spend the first weekend of the holiday vacation! 

On Wednesday I was part of the We2 Holiday Networking Extravaganza (pictures here). We2 (The Women’s Entrepreneurial Exchange) is an awesome networking group for women entrepreneurs in Montreal and this was their annual holiday event. There was shopping, hot breakfast, networking and more shopping, it was an absolute blast! I met some amazing people and there will be some very proud new art collectors over the holidays :)

And last, but definitely not least! I am very proud to announce that, as of this week, my book is available at the McCord museum boutique! I am super excited about this opportunity! The McCord museum celebrates past and present life in Montreal and they work hard to propel the city to the global stage. They are very involved in the community and offer an interactive and immersive experience. I think my book will be a very good fit in their boutique and I hope it will do well there. They will also be selling some of my greeting cards and fine art prints! Let’s hope this is the first of many new points of sale in the city! (photos by Wanda Malfara)

December 02, 2013

A vernissage and a fair...

I am very happy to announce that I will again be part of the annual Small Works exhibit at Viva Vida Art Gallery. This is the fifth time this event will be organized and we’re all very excited about it. Every year this show gets better and better! I very much enjoy the variety of works that are available each year. And the fact that they are all small works as well as the great variety of boutique items the gallery offers, means that this is the perfect venue to get some holiday shopping done! I’m very much looking forward to the opening vernissage on Saturday December 7th from 7-10pm!

On Wednesday December 11th I’ll be participating in the We2 Holiday Networking Extravaganza. We2 (The Women’s Entrepreneurial Exchange) is an awesome networking group for women entrepreneurs in Montreal. Normally only women are allowed to attend their events but for the holiday season they open their doors to everybody! On Wednesday December 11th from 7:30 – 11:30 am everyone is invited to join us for a hot breakfast, some awesome networking and a chance to browse the We2 Annual Fair to find that great gift for that special someone! I’ll be there selling my art book, cards and prints and maybe i’ll even bring some originals! The event will be held at the Beaconsfield Golf Club, there is a $25,- entry fee to pay for your breakfast. If you are interested in joining us please RSVP here

I hope to see you at one or both of these events!

November 04, 2013

A week off, sort off....

After all the hard work finishing my latest series, the book and the preparations for the show I’ve decided that a couple of days off would be amazing. A little time to recharge and rest are vey welcome after a crazy period of finishing and self publishing a book and organizing a show. Although somehow I can’t quite manage to absolutely nothing, I’m obviously writing this blog post and I had some minor updates for the site this morning. I still have a couple of Indiegogo perks to send out and I ‘m teaching a transfer class at Viva Vida Art Gallery at the moment so there are always some preparations for that as well. So I still get up early in the morning and do a little here and there but I’m taking some r&r time as well :) 

So this week we’re keeping this post nice an short. Below is a nice little overview of the show at Viva Vida Art Gallery, if you haven’t seen it yet there still a couple of days left, it runs until this Thursday, November 7th, books are also available for sale at the gallery. 

Successful Show!

I want to start off by thanking everyone who came out to the vernissage this past Friday, all of you being there made the event a big success! Also a big THANK YOU to Viva Vida Art Gallery for exhibiting Discoveries: Montreal’ and to musical guests Laur Fugère and Sylvain Poirier for making the vernissage extra special with their amazing performance. We had an amazing turnout and the work showed incredibly well, it was like the project was designed for this space!

Luckily the book made it in time, it came in the day before the show and it looks awesome! I’m very happy with the look and feel of the book, all the hard work and patience has paid off! 
I spent Thursday evening signing all the copies for my IndieGoGo backers so for those of you who were unable to pick up their copies on Friday, your copies will be sent out soon.

On Friday morning we loaded everything in the car to get everything ready for the show. I had everything pretty well planned out so hanging everything took us only two and a half hours which was a good thing because I still had to drive to downtown to pick up the book marks I had printed for the occasion. 

The vernissage was very well attended and we made quite a few sales on the evening itself and the days following the event. For those of you who are interested in seeing the pieces in real life, buying the book or ordering giclee prints

of pieces of this series, the show will be up until November 7th 2013 at Viva Vida Art gallery (278-2 Lakeshore Road in Pointe Claire). More images of the event can be found here.

October 21, 2013

Come ‘Discover Montreal’ this Friday!

Two and a half years of hard work will finally come together this Friday at Viva Vida Art Gallery. At 7pm sharp we will open the doors to ‘Discoveries: Montreal’ my newest series of artworks that will be on display until November 7th. We will also be celebrating the launch of my book, which will hopefully make it here in time, I’m keeping my fingers crossed! It should have come back from the binders this past Friday, which means it will be shipped out today but I haven’t had a confirmation on that yet so... 

It’s been a long road and I’m very, very excited to see it all come together. It will be absolutely amazing to see all the pieces up on the walls of the gallery, so far I’ve only seen them up on the walls of my studio which is not quite the same as a gallery setting. I’ve figured out the layout last week so hanging the show should be easy. I have some minor preparations to finish and then I’m ready to start packing up my paintings.

Preparing for a show is always stressful, especially a solo show like this. For me it’s not so much all the preparations that need to be made, I’m pretty organized, but some things are just out of your hands. With the upcoming elections, it has been really tough getting any press coverage this time around. We’ve been working really hard on promoting the show but you never know if all that hard work is going to pay off. And then there’s the book that may or may not be here in time... So for now I’m still stressing out about all of it, which is good, a bit of stress keeps you focused. 

I hope to see all of you and all of your friends this Friday at 7pm at Viva Vida Art gallery (278-2 Lakeshore Road in Pointe Claire) to raise a glass to “Discoveries: Montreal.” You can find more information on the event on the news page and there is a Facebook event page that can be found here. Please share it with all of your friends!  See you Friday!

October 15, 2013

I am thankful!

This weekend Canada celebrated Thanksgiving. We had a couple of friends over for a big turkey dinner and some board-games, which was a perfect way to celebrate the holiday. I’m a big fan of this north American holiday, even though it’d not celebrated in my home country. I really like the idea of this day that makes you look at all the things that you are thankful for in life, this is something that is so often overlooked in our busy everyday lives. We tend to run around and complain about things and we forget to acknowledge the good things in our lives. 

I have so many things to be thankful for, I won’t name them all  here because that would make this a really long blog entry and I simply don’t have time for that ;) So I’ll just take this chance to say thank you to all my friends and family, you are all so supportive and amazing and you make my live awesome!

We also got to make a little trip to NYC to see ‘The Thrilling Adventure Hour’ live on stage in Brooklyn. My husband and I are both big fans of this new-time podcast in the style of old-time radio and the show was absolutely worth the drive! If you haven’t heard this show go find it on iTunes, start by listening to either ‘Sparks Nevada’ or ‘Beyond Belief’, the first one is serialized the second one are just single episodes but both make a great entry point into the show and are absolutely worth your time!

My solo show is only a week and a half away so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the book will make it here in time. In the mean time I’m keeping myself busy with the final preparations...

October 07, 2013

New Lamps!

Ok, so I’m still stressing but it looks like things are going to work out. The book has finally gone into production early last week and the printer has assured me that they are going to meet the deadline. It’s going to be close so I’m keeping my fingers crossed but it looks like things will work out as planned :)

The giclee prints have also finally come in so I’ve started distributing those all tough the people who have ordered a book as well will have to be a bit more patient because they will receive everything in one go. I’m really please with how the giclees turned out, the colours came out great! 

Tomorrow another one of my pieces will be featured on Artbomb, which is really exciting! Bidding will start at 6am EST and will remain open until 11pm EST.

Earlier this week I added 2 new wall lamps to my Etsy store. A New York and a Montreal design, on glass, to hang on your wall and give some ambient light at the same time!

Other then that most of the preparations for the show have been made. All paintings now have a wire, giclees for the exhibit have been framed and price lists have been made. Slowly but surely I’m getting some time to spend in the studio again which is great! I’m looking forward to some new experiments!

September 30, 2013

Stressful stuff...

As an artist people usually expect me to be messy and disorganized and I’m almost expected to miss my deadlines. Now I will be the first person to tell you I am messy, especially when I’m working, I regularly drive my husband crazy by leaving my stuff all around the house. But when it comes to my business as an artist I happen to be very organized and punctual. That’s why this whole book thing has been extremely stressful for me.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to do most of the work myself but unfortunately the production of a book is outside of my field of expertise, just a bit. This means that I have to work with a third party and that’s where the stress comes in. Because up until now I’ve had everything in hand, if something went wrong I would be able to do something about it right away. Now however, I have to wait for someone else to fix it for me. 

My book has been at the printer for almost a month now, I was nice and early and had all my files ready and checked. The first proof came back soon and that’’s when things started to get stressful. I wasn’t quite happy with the colours and the choice of paper so after some back and forth we decided to change the format an go for a 9”x9” hardcover instead. They would do some colour tests and everything would be perfect. 

A different format however, makes for a longer production time and with the colours not being that great I still felt like I needed another hard-copy proof to ensure the quality was up to par. I am still waiting for that proof, time is ticking away and the show is coming closer and closer. Now I’m not saying anything bad about the printer, they are working very hard to make the book the best it can be and I greatly appreciate that. But I’m not used to working with a third party and the waiting makes me all kinds of crazy. The fact that it’s out of my hands and there’s nothing I can do to speed up the process is very frustrating to me. 

I’m working hard to make sure that everything is ready before the show and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the book is going to make it in time. And even though there’s nothing I can do bout it, I’ll be stressing about it the entire time because that’s just the kind of person I am :)

September 24, 2013

Fall is invigorating!

Fall has started, mother nature has started changing her palette from greens to yellows, ranges and browns and although the days are still beautiful the time for working barefoot in the studio in shorts has passed. I do love this time of year though, especially the early days of fall, when the leafs have just started to turn but the skies are still blue and the air is crisp and fresh. It’s invigorating!

This week is going to be filled with hard work and fun stuff. I’ve finished most of the preparations for the show and if things go according to plan the book should go into the final production phase soon, we’re still on schedule, albeit tight ;) This means that the focus of my activities has once again shifted to where most of my days are spent in the studio, a welcome change! I have some pieces that need varnishing and I’ve finally been able to start on some of those new experiments I’ve been talking about, I’m loving the outcome so far! :)

Tomorrow one of my pieces will once again be available for sale on Artbomb. This daily art auction, now also available in New York, brightens your day with new artwork and offers some great purchasing opportunities. They feature a couple of different artists each day of the week, even Sunday! 

The last weekend of September also brings us the Cultural Days (Journeés de la Culture), September 27, 28 and 29. Viva Vida Art Gallery will have a special exhibit for the occasion, with a festive vernissage this Friday (September 27) from 7-9 pm. On Saturday and Sunday the gallery will be filled with fun events and hands on demo’s. I’ll be there on Saturday doing some hands on direct transfers, so if you’d like to get your hands dirty please come by to give it a try! It’s a great opportunity to see artists at work and to try your hand at different creative techniques next to direct transfer there  will be things like, jewellery making, water colors, acrylic painting and sculpture. There will be a host of creative activities throughout Pointe Claire village on both Saturday and Sunday so mark you calendars for a weekend of art and creativity!

Plenty of prep work...

Preparations for my upcoming solo show (October 25 - November 7) at Viva Vida Art Gallery are in full swing. The press release is almost ready to be sent out, invitations have been printed and will be on their way soon. There are so many things to take care of before a show and for this one in particular since it will double as a book launch. 

I’ve been spending most of my days behind the computer taking care of the graphic design elements, things like invitations, posters but also the layout for the press release and accompanying letters. Little things like price lists and order forms all take time to put together. Luckily I had an early start so everything should be done before the show. 

On Thursday the inFOCUS Photography Exhibit will open at Moniker Gallery in Toronto, the opening reception will be from 7-11 pm two pieces of the ‘Journey’ series (a collaboration between Visual artist Denise Buisman Pilger and Photographer Pazit Perez) will be part of the show which will run until September 25.

Another thing coming up are the Cultural Days (Journeés de la Culture), September 27, 28 and 29. Viva Vida Art Gallery will have a special exhibit for the occasion, with a festive vernissage on the Friday (September 27) from 7-9 pm. On Saturday and Sunday the gallery will be filled with fun events and hands on demo’s. It’s a great opportunity to see artists at work and to try your hand at different creative techniques like direct transfer, jewellery making, acrylic painting and sculpture. There will be a host of creative activities throughout Pointe Claire village so mark you calendars for a weekend of art and creativity!

September 09, 2013

Group show, Solo Show and Book Launch

Lots of things have been happening here, the book has finally been sent to the printer, we’re now waiting for the digital and physical proofs before giving the go ahead for the final product. For the Giclee prints we’re still waiting on one more proof before they can go into production as well. Everything is coming together!

From September 20-25 two pieces of the ‘Journey’ series (a collaboration between Visual artist Denise Buisman Pilger and Photographer Pazit Perez) will be part of the inFOCUS Photography Exhibit at Moniker Gallery in Toronto. The Opening reception will be on September 19 form 7-11pm and will be open to the public. Moniker Gallery is located on 452 Richmond Street West in Toronto. Opening hours are Tuesday-Sunday 12-6pm

On October 25th, 2013 ‘Discoveries: Montreal’ will finally be show to the public, the vernissage for the show, which will be held at Viva Vida Art Gallery on October 25 from 7-10 pm, will also mark the launch of the book on the same series. The show will run from October 25 - November 7. Viva Vida Art Gallery is located on 278-2 Lakeshore Road, Pointe-Claire, Quebec. For more information please visit the news page.

September 03, 2013

Almost there...

The book is almost done! All the texts have been edited, proofread and translated, the images have been colour corrected, the design is finished and arrangements with the printer have been made. At this point the only thing we are waiting for is the ISBN number, which will hopefully come in by the end of the week, then the files will be off to the printer!

The order for the giclee prints has been sent out as well, I’m waiting for the proofs which should come in this week. As soon as they are approved the production on those will start as well!

I’m currently in the process of finalizing the location for the show, which as of now, is still planned for the fall. The show will also function as the official launch of the book so the vernissage will be quite a party! :) The preparations will keep me nice and busy for the next few weeks but I’ll try to plan a couple of studio days just to get some things going. I would like to get started on some of the experiments I’ve been holding off on until the previous series was finished. I think it is about time to take some time to do something new. It will be scary but also a lot of fun! and I’m really looking forward to working in the studio without a set plan. 

Today is going to be one of those studio days, as soon as I’ve finished this post I’ll head into the studio and start throwing paint around, as a matter of fact, I think I’m going to do that right now, l8er!

Almost there...

The book is almost done! All the texts have been edited, proofread and translated, the images have been colour corrected, the design is finished and arrangements with the printer have been made. At this point the only thing we are waiting for is the ISBN number, which will hopefully come in by the end of the week, then the files will be off to the printer!

The order for the giclee prints has been sent out as well, I’m waiting for the proofs which should come in this week. As soon as they are approved the production on those will start as well!

I’m currently in the process of finalizing the location for the show, which as of now, is still planned for the fall. The show will also function as the official launch of the book so the vernissage will be quite a party! :) The preparations will keep me nice and busy for the next few weeks but I’ll try to plan a couple of studio days just to get some things going. I would like to get started on some of the experiments I’ve been holding off on until the previous series was finished. I think it is about time to take some time to do something new. It will be scary but also a lot of fun! and I’m really looking forward to working in the studio without a set plan. 

Today is going to be one of those studio days, as soon as I’ve finished this post I’ll head into the studio and start throwing paint around, as a matter of fact, I think I’m going to do that right now, l8er!

August 26, 2013

Long time no post...

It’s been a while since my last post, mostly because I’ve spent about a week playing games and having all kinds of fun at GenCon2013. My husband and I are avid board gamers and big fans of a large variety of geek culture, with more then 49.000 unique attendees this was another record breaking year for GenCon and we had an absolute blast! The people at this convention are absolutely amazing, not only is it very well organized but the general public is so nice, there’s no pushing or shoving and everyone is inviting and helpful, and even with a record breaking number of attendees they manage to keep the restrooms clean! 

So that was awesome! but now it’s back to real life and back to the studio, which is never a bad thing either. The final bits of text for the book will be send out for proofreading and translation today. I will have another meeting about the organization of the show later this week and I’m finishing up this commission piece I’ve been working on for months now. 

Yesterday was the deadline for the giclee print choices for my IndieGogo backers, so today I’ll be preparing all the images for printing and sending out the order. There will be a couple of extra prints made that will be available for sale at the vernissage later this year and all of them will, at that time, be available to order as well. 

The design for the book is coming along as well. Most of the pages are just awaiting the final bits of text and I have a bit more work that needs to be done on the cover but it is all taking shape. 

During my trip to GenCon I picked up a whole bunch of new art supplies as well so I’m ready to start my new project. I’m looking forward to a whole bunch of experimenting in the studio!

August 06, 2013

Working on those pictures...

All pieces have been photographed, I’m currently retouching them and making sure the colours are good and all that good stuff. Rewrites are done and ready for the final edit which is scheduled for August 23rd. I’ve received the first part of the text from the translator and started the actual creation of the book, it is all starting to take shape. 

in the meantime I’m working on finishing a commission piece and preparing to start a new series, can’t give you any details on that yet, because there’s a lot of experimenting that needs to be done first. Looking forward to that!

Have to keep moving on retouching these images, l8er!

July 29, 2013

It is done...

It is done... I have finished the final piece in the series this past Friday and all that is left now is varnishing them, putting some wires on and they’re all ready for the exhibit. This means that I can now fully focus on finishing the book. I’ve put them up on my studio wall for now and it is really nice to see them all together like this. I’ve been working on them for such a long time that it is kind of weird that they are all finished now. Luckily I still have another commission piece to finish and the book to work on so there is in no way a big deep hole of nothingness to deal with, which is a good thing after an extensive project like this. 

 I am expecting to receive the translation of the first part of the text back today, which means I can start work on the design. After the pieces have all been varnished I can photograph them so they can be added to the book, this also means that the giclee prints for the Indiegogo campaign can be set in motion. 

I’ve still not decided on a printer yet, I’ve sent out another quote request just now so I hope to be able to make some final decisions on that soon. 

This week I will be focusing on the final rewrites, if the weather stays nice I might even be able to work outside for a change, this is usually not really a possibility with the kind of artwork I do so that will be a nice treat!

July 22, 2013

Final Piece!!!

It is time to start painting the final piece! I’m so excited to finish this series and see it all come together! I’ll also be doing some varnishing this week so all pieces will be ready to photograph over the weekend, so next week I can start adding them to the book. 

The first part of the text for the book has been send in for proofreading and translation. The second part needs to go through one more rewrite, my editor and I have decided that it needs a bit more tweaking to make it as good as it can be. 

Slowly but surely everything is coming together. 

Earlier this month I was honoured to with a Special Recognition Award in the ‘CityScapes 2013’ exhibit at the Light Space & Time Online Gallery for my piece Rome I. There were almost 500 entries into this competition so I am very pleased with the result. 

Now it’s time to head into the studio to start working on that final piece! :D

July 15, 2013

Painting, painting and more painting...

Last week I managed to finish one of the four final borough pieces, mainly because I messed up one of the gel skins for the commission piece I was working on. I had to redo the skin which meant that I had some time to do a bit of painting :) I finished the piece on ‘Ville Marie’ and got about half way with the ‘Villeray - Saint-Michel -  Parc Extension’ piece. I will finish that one first before moving on to that commission piece. This week is going to be totally focused on painting, except for Wednesday when I’m meeting with my editor to finish the text for the book. I hope to be able to finish at least one more borough as well as the commission piece. It will be nice to be working in the studio during this heat wave, my studio is in the basement so it’s nice and cool :)

I’ve added a nice addition to my studio space over the weekend in the form of a large table. It was left behind by the builders in our street and the surface was a bit worse for ware but we gave it some TLC over the weekend and now it looks absolutely awesome! and it gives me a nice large surface to work on :D

So now that you are all up to date on my plans for this week it’s time to head into the studio and set them in motion because those paintings are not going to finish themselves ;-)

July 09, 2013

Final Pieces..

Yesterday I finished the transfer for the final piece in the series. At this point I have 4 pieces that are waiting to be painted and then it’s done, finished, finito! It is nice to be able to see the finish line, I’ve had this pile of empty panels in my studio for such a long time and now that pile is finally gone, no more empty panels. Actually that’s not quite true because there’s always empty panels lying around in my studio but you know what I mean.

This week I have some commissions to finish so there’s probably not going to be too much time to start painting these final pieces but next week I should be able to have a nice long painting sprint and finish at least 2 of them. I can’t wait, it’s exciting!

I’m excited to finish the series, it will be good to see all of the pieces together and I also like to be able to start finishing the book. I still enjoy working on the pieces very much but it is also going to be nice to have some time to experiment and start something new, I’ve so many ideas bouncing around in my head! 

This week I’ll be dropping off some new pieces at Viva Vida Art Gallery and I’m having a meeting to talk about an opportunity for a show of ‘Discoveries: Montreal’. As soon as I have more information on that I will of course let you know :)

July 03, 2013

Successful Campaign!

My Indiegogo campaign was a success! I am so grateful to all the people who have contributed and to everyone who has shared and promoted the campaign, thank you all! I’m truly blown away by your generosity and support! I’ve already started sending out the first ‘Perks’. 

Work on the boo is in full swing, texts are being edited and layouts are being designed. The book is expected to come out in the fall of 2013. There will be an official book launch which will coincide with the vernissage for the show. 

I am currently working on the final four pieces in the series, all composition work has been completed and this week is going to be dedicated to doing most of the transfers for these final pieces. There are a couple of commission pieces I am working on as well so I’ll have to divide my time but a bit of diversity is never a bad thing :)

June 25, 2013

Time is running out!

As I type this there are 42 hours left on my  Indiegogo campaign. We’re very close to meeting our goal so if you’ve thought about helping out now would be the time! Please consider making a donation, your support would be much appreciated! 

I really don't like asking for money and I understand that you must be getting sick of me promoting this thing by now but this project is really important to me and since I'm not allowed to apply for any grants this is the only way for me to raise the funds to undertake a project like this. 

Making a donation is easy, If you would like to contribute you can follow this link ( and click on the ‘contribute now’ button on the right. Contributions start as low as $5,- and donators can receive awesome thank you gifts ranging from personalized cards and hight quality prints to acknowledgements in the book and signed copies. There are set donation amounts for each 'Perk' (thank you gift) but you can enter any amount you wish to donate and don't forget to select your 'Perk' after you've entered the amount! For shipping we ask that you add the appropriate amount (as stated with each reward) to your donation manually when you enter the amount you wish to donate. If I see you often or you live close by you don’t have to add the shipping because we can probably figure out a way for you to receive your gift directly :) Payments can be made through credit card or PayPal and amounts will be automatically converted to your own currency.

I hope you will consider helping out and making a donation. This is the final count down, let’s make this happen together! 

Thank you!

May 20, 2013

Spread the word, Indiegogo campaign is live!

As of last Friday my Indiegogo campaign to raise money for my art book is finally live. For those of you who don’t know what all this is about I will explain. 

For the past two years I have been working on my ‘Boroughs project’ officially titles ‘Discoveries: Montreal’. For this project I have visited and photographed each of Montreal’s 34 boroughs, driving, -biking and walking, to capture the iconic and quirky details that give each borough its distinct character in a tapestry of villages that make up the island’s rich landscape. With all these picture i have created 34 art works representing each borough on the island. 

To keep the series together I want to create a 96 page art book that will include high quality images of all the pieces as well as information about the artist and some insights in the creation process. In order to be able to publish the book Ii’m going to need some help that’s why I started the Indiegogo campaign.

Indiegogo is a crowd funding site that helps artists raise money to realize their dreams. With contributions starting as low as $5.- there are some great rewards, ranging from personalized cards and high quality prints to acknowledgements in the book and signed copies. 

I am very happy to announce that we’ve managed to get our first funds already! The campaign will run until June 23, 2013 so there’s plenty of time to get on board! Even if you can't give any money, there are plenty of other ways to help me achieve this goal. Please share this project with all of your friends, family members and acquaintances both on and off-line. Use Facebook and Twitter (or any other social media site), blog about it, talk about it with your colleagues or your hairdresser, tell as many people as you can! I truly appreciate all the help I can get!

May 15, 2013

A week in paradise...

I just came back from a trip to Tulum which is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. We had an amazing time! We slept in a cabana and dined on the beach, snorkelled in Cenotes, visited one of the new seven wonders of the world; Chitchen Itza, swam with sea turtles and sampled great Mexican cuisine. We took plenty of time to relax, do some reading and soak up the sun, all in all a perfect vacation!

After all that sunshine it’s now time to get back to work. This week I’ll be completing the work on my IndieGoGo campaign, which should go online early next week so keep an eye out for that. I’ve got two borough pieces that are awaiting me in the studio, ready to be painted and three more that still need to be transferred. I’ve got a couple of side projects to finish and there’s still some writing to be done for my book.

This Saturday one of my pieces will be featured on Art Bomb, a new online daily art auction. I’m very excite to be part of this! If you’re interested you can check out their site and subscribe to their daily newsletter.

Before I left for Mexico two of my pieces were part of the ‘Artium Profundae’ show at Viva Vida Art Gallery, starting off Mental Health week and benefitting West Island Community Shares. At this time some of my pieces are part of the ‘ARTiculations’ show which can be seen at Viva Vida Art Gallery until june 2. 

Only 6 to go...

As of today I only have 6 pieces to go on the ‘Discoveries: Montreal Project’, I have just finished my piece on Saint Leonard. The boroughs that are still waiting to get finished are: Senneville, Verdun, Ville-Marie, Villeray-Saint Michel-Parc Extension and Westmount and then I can start on the 36x36” compilation piece that will tie everything together. In that last piece I will combine 1 building from each borough into a collage that will truly represent the entire island of Montreal. I will be using a building that has been used in the other compositions of the project so you’ll be able to find it in the other pieces. This is going to be quite a challenge, something I haven’t really tried before but that’ll all be part of the fun. 

In this coming week I’m planning on completing the final two composition as well as a composition for a commission piece. This means that most of my time this week will be spent behind my computer. That does mean that most of next week I’ll be spending in my studio transferring all of these compositions to their panels. 

Later in the week I will also be working on the text for the art book, I have found someone who is willing to go over the text with me and help make it a bit more polished. I am looking forward to finishing that as well because then I can start working on the layout of the book. 

In other news... One of my pieces will be featured on ArtBomb in the near future. ArtBomb is a new daily online art auction. I’m very excited to be a part of this, it is going to be a great way to get some awesome exposure to a new market and hopefully sell some more work :) Please keep an eye out for the announcement on when my piece will be featured. 

Art Book Project

I am working on an art book for Discoveries; Montreal so that people can own the entire series. To help me with the costs of printing and developing the book I am going to start a crowd funding project. I had planned to do that in Kickstarter but since I live in Canada that is unfortunately not an option so I’ll start a project on IndieGoGo instead. I am currently working on the introduction video and thinking up some awesome rewards to give out to the backers of the project. I hope to have the project live within the next two weeks. I will keep you guys posted and I hope you will all spread the news and help me raise the funds for this book when the time comes. 

While these preparations are keeping me busy I’m spending time in my studio as well. I still have a couple of commissions that need to be finished and I want to keep working on the boroughs as well. I’ve finished 26 so far so only 8 pieces to go! 

April 08, 2013

Gallery relations

Self-promotion is all the rage these days, the Internet and social media seemingly being the ideal channels to get your art out into the world and galleries being frowned upon because of their high commission fees. If you asked me I would be the first to tell you that having your own website is an absolute must for every artist as is having a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and Twitter account. It is definitely worth it to be informed about sites like Reddit, Kickstarter and Etsy and to spend some time online doing research and promoting your stuff. Nowadays the Internet is the first place where people look for stuff so your art being out there to be found can never be a bad thing. 

But the Internet is a vast place where millions upon millions of items are vying for your attention and it is very, very hard to stand out. Online your art has to compete not just with the work of other artists but also with the world news, the latest viral YouTube video and that cute lol-cat meme that is going around. Besides the chances being slim that people will stumble upon your work online, and the chances are even slimmer that people will then stay on you site and actually purchase something, it is also very time consuming to maintain an active online presence. Keeping your website up to date, writing and posting regular blog posts and being active on all of the social media sites can be a full-time job leaving you no time to paint or create anything. 

So what is the alternative? Find yourself a couple of good brick and mortar galleries. They know the art world and will be able to market your art more effectively. A brick and mortar gallery will have an established clientele and specific collectors that they market to. The gallery system has been around for a while so they know what they’re doing. Granted finding a good gallery is not going to be easy and getting into one is going to be even harder, there are a lot of places out there that are in it only for their own benefit, you have to watch out for the vanity galleries that have you pay fees upfront. Do your research and try to find the good ones, the ones that actively promote their artists, organize multiple group and solo events without charging monthly fees and the ones that are pleasant to work with. The latter being the most important because you are going to have to build a good relationship with them. You have to invest time in building that relationship, go to their openings, help out at events and help promote the gallery. 

I agree, commission fees are steep and it may seem harsh that you have to give up half of your work to someone who does nothing more then put it up on their wall and sell it but look it this way. The gallery has to invest a lot of time promoting the artwork, time that you can spend in your studio to create new work. The gallery has to pay rent, usually a pretty steep one because they are often located in high-end locations, which benefits you as an artist as well, they also have to keep the lights on and pay their employees. They spent time organizing events that introduce your work to new people and they deal with shipping and handling as well as with all the difficult clients. Running a gallery is a full time job; there is so much work you don’t have to do if you are being represented by a good gallery. 

If you feel that you’re not making any money selling through a gallery because of the commission fee you have to pay, talk to them, be honest, explain why you’re not happy and try to find a solution. Your gallery is there to help you, you need them but they need you as well. A good gallery relationship is a two way street, they have to actively promote you and do anything in their power to sell your work, that’s why you pay them the big bucks. But in return you’re going to have to promote them too! If people inquire about your work don’t go behind the gallery’s back and sell something for cheaper, your prices should be the same across the board whether you sell online or through a gallery. If you sell something yourself you just made more money, but in return you also had to invest time to deal with the client, package your art and arrange shipping and insurance or pickup. 

In the end you’re going to have to find a balance, be active and aware of the online environment and make sure that people can find your work if they go looking for it. But find some of those great galleries as well and most importantly, invest some time to build that relationship with them. Time spent working with your gallery will pay off. A couple of hours updating you site or writing a great blog post might give you a couple of extra hits but time invested in a great gallery relations may give you years of active, targeted promotion which will lead to more sales. 

So go out there and invest some time in building that relationship, you’ll be glad that you did!

Quick update

Things are very busy at the moment so I only have a few minutes to spare to type this before I have to head back into the studio. I have two commission pieces to finish before Wednesday as well as several smaller pieces that are awaiting some varnish. Next to that ‘Discoveries; Montreal’ requires my attention. I’ve 4 compositions left to create and five more pieces that are about halfway done. I’ve also started work on the book which requires me to do some writing. Things are starting to come together for the project and I hope to be able to launch my Kickstarter for the book very soon. For now however, it’s time to head back into the studio and paint like a crazy lady!

March 25, 2013

Creating a composition is all about ‘killing your babies’.

I listen to a lot of podcasts about the process of writing, which might be considered an odd subject for a visual artist, but I have discovered that the creative thought process is fairly similar in many ways. In this blog I would like to touch on one of those similarities. 

I hear a lot of writers talk about the necessity of ‘killing their babies’, which basically means that they often have to cut the parts that they’re most fond of in order to improve their work. Recently I have notice that the same is true in creating a composition for a photo collage. 

When I create my collages I work solely with my own photographic material. I usually have somewhere between 100 and 300 photographs to work with, depending on the subject. I start by sorting through my photographs and picking out the ones that I love the most, the ones that I think I definitely want to use. Then from that selection I pick the one image that would make a good starting point. The reasons for picking a particular starting image vary from it having a great angle or awesome colors that I can use or maybe it is the most important building in the batch and it just has to be part of the piece. 

Often times, when going through my photographs, I’ll have pictures that I absolutely love and when I start I will usually add these to the mix fairly early. However, most of the time, when the composition progresses and grows, these pictures will end up being cut because they don’t fit the piece as a whole. This usually is a bit of a hurdle because I don’t want to cut them. I’ll try to incorporate them in every which way and will usually end up being very frustrated with the composition. Right up until the point where I just give up and ‘kill my babies’ as they say. As soon as they’re gone the whole composition just flows together and everything usually falls into place. 

You’d think I would learn from this experience and cut them sooner, or even better, don’t add them in the first place, but it doesn’t work like that because they do serve a purpose. They help me get into the composition when I start it, they help me find the initial vision for that particular piece and they get my creative juices flowing. If I wouldn’t add them they’ll just keep buzzing in the back of my head, begging to be used. Adding them will silence the buzzing and allow me to concentrate on the composition as a whole. Even the process of getting frustrated and eventually cutting them keeps me on my toes, it keeps me evaluating the piece every step of the way so it will be the best it can be. And every once in a while, I have a composition where everything just falls into pace and at times like that my babies are allowed to stay

The need to start something new

The last couple of months have really been devoted to finishing ‘Discoveries; Montreal’.  I have been able to do some unrelated pieces in between but almost all of those have been part of existing series, there hasn’t been much time for experimentation. When I finish this current project though, I feel that it is time to start something completely new, something unrelated to ‘Traveling the World’ or ‘Discoveries; Montreal’. Maybe using new techniques or at least moving away form the type of cityscapes I have been doing. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be making any of those anymore, I still love creating them and I have tons of cities that I still want to do but I also feel that it’s time to move beyond that and stretch my creative muscles a bit. 

Even though I feel like it’s time for a change and I’m excited about experimenting and creating something new, it also scares the crap out of me! I have been getting very comfortable with my cityscapes but for an artist that’s actually not a very good place to be. You need to keep pushing yourself to develop and grow otherwise you’ll risk becoming a one trick pony. But change is scary, especially if the work you do currently sells well. All the more reason to go ahead and do it anyway!

In my experience change has always brought along positive things and personal growth. It’s never easy and usually it requires some hard work and perseverance but in the end you’ll always end up in a better place. So when I finish this project I am going to embrace the fear and jump head forward into something new, I have no idea what that is going to be yet, but I am going to have a great time figuring that out! 

March 11, 2013

Update: Discoveries; Montreal.

For the past year and a half I have been working on my ‘Boroughs Project’. This project had me exploring the boroughs on the island of Montreal, photographing them in turn and creating a separate piece for each borough. ‘Boroughs Project’ has been a working title, the official title of the series is Discoveries; Montreal. The project consists of 33 18x18” pieces each representing a borough on the island of Montreal. Recently I have decided to add one additional piece to the series, a 36x36”, in which I will combine at least one building from each borough into one image that represents the entire island of Montreal. 

I addition to this series of works I will be creating an art book of this series. I will be starting a kickstarter campaign soon to help with printing costs. I am currently in the process of researching and making an estimate of the costs for the entire project and the possible rewards so that I can build a well-rounded kickstarter campaign. 

As of this moment I have 7 pieces that still need to be started, 4 pieces that are halfway there, 9 pieces that are waiting for varnish and 14 pieces that are completely finished. If I have an undisturbed week in the studio I can finish two and a half pieces and if I have an awesome week behind the computer I can get 4 compositions done but obviously that doesn’t always happen so I try to finish at least one piece per week. I know I can have this project finished this summer. I have presented my project to the city of Montreal through several channels so I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be some interest from that direction. If that doesn’t happen that’s fine too, I’ll be aiming for a solo in the fall regardless :)

How to prepare your canvas or wood panel.

Last week I talked about the importance of the proper preparation of painting surfaces and I promised to talk about the actual preparation of surfaces and the products I use in this weeks post. Again I would like to state upfront that I am not an expert on this subject, I am not a classically trained painter, but I would still like to share what knowledge I have because I think this is an important subject that adds to the value of your artwork.

I work mostly with acrylic paints on wood panels but the surface preparation I use can also be applied to canvas and oil paints. There are other methods and materials out there but this is what I do.

Preparing a painting surface (a canvas or wood panel) is usually done in two stages. The first step is to apply “sizing”, which seals your surface to make it less absorbent so your colours will be more vibrant. It also prevents support-induced discolouration, which can happen over time when the oils in the wood come through your paints. 

Traditionally “sizing” is done with rabbit-skin glue but there are other products out there that serve the same purpose. I use GAC100, an acrylic polymer made by Golden which seals the surface and is more flexible then rabbit-skin glue so there is less chance of cracking paint in the future. When I prepare my wood panels I always lightly sand the edges and surface and clean the entire panel with a damp cloth to remove any dust before applying my “sizing”. I apply two layers of GAC100, letting each layer dry before. 

When I apply multiple layers I will always apply them at right angles so I end up with a nice even surface. 

The second stage of preparing your painting surface is to apply Gesso. Gesso provides a great surface for both oils and acrylics and is available in white, black and transparent, though the last one might be a bit more difficult to find. For my work I use either white or transparent Gesso. The transparent gesso I use right out of the bottle but the white Gesso is a bit thicker so I mix it with some water until it is about the consistency of yoghurt. When preparing my panels I use at least 3 layers of Gesso, again making sure a layer is completely dry before applying the next one. If you like you panel to be whiter you can always add more layers until you are satisfied. Gesso is meant to serve as a ground so it will never be as white as your paints. If you want to have a nice white background in your painting you’ll have to add paints to brighten it. 

I am aware that there are multiple ways of preparing a painting surface, this is just the way I approach it. I hope this has been helpful. I plan to talk a bit more in detail about some of the other techniques I use in future blog posts. Next week I will give you an update on my ‘Boroughs Project’ which is getting closer to finishing each week. 

The importance of a good surface preparation

This week I wanted to take some time to talk about the importance of the proper preparation of  painting surfaces. Oddly enough this is not something that I learned in art school but that is probably because I studies illustration instead of fine art. In illustration speed is more important then longevity and the work is created for reproduction rather then display. I was very fortunate to encounter a very knowledgeable teacher along the way who taught me about the importance of surface preparation and the proper ways of doing it. I would like to state upfront that I am not an expert on this subject, I am not a classically trained painter, but I would still like to share what knowledge I have because I think this is an important subject that adds to the value of your artwork.

Good surface preparation is not only important to get the best results out of your paints but also to prevent the deterioration of you work over time. When you paint on an unprepared surface part of your paints will be absorbed into the surface which will cause the colours to be less intense and in some cases the paints can damage the surface and make it rot or crack. Things like support induces discolouration are very likely to happen over time if you don’t prepare your surface properly, especially when you work on wood panels. The oils of the wood will seep through your paints over time and create visible staining. Oil paints tend to get more transparent over the years which will cause imperfections in the surface underneath to show through, this might also be the case with acrylic paints but because these paints and mediums are relatively new it is hard to say how they will look in 200 years. 

When you buy a pre-made canvas at the store it will often state that it has been prepared for the use of acrylic and oil paints. Most of the time it is impossible to tell which materials have been use to do this preparation so it is always advisable to add some products of your own before you start painting. Wood panels are often not prepared at all when you buy them so preparation is an absolute must. 

I hope this information has provided a little bit of insight on the importance of surface preparation. Next week I would like to take some more time on this subject and talk about the actual preparation and the products I use. For now it’s time to leave this blog and get ready for some much needed composition making!