December 01, 2015

Photo fun!

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Preparations for The Artist Project 2016 are in full swing! Yesterday I had a great photo session with fellow artists Jono Dorion and Louis-Bernard St-Jean. We got some great promo shots and some hilarious misses as well, it was great fun! Soon we will be sending out press releases so fingers crossed for some coverage!

Last week I worked on the compositions for those 17 paintings that I still have to finish before the show. As I type this, 12 lovely panels are awaiting their first layer of gesso, only 12 you say? What happened to the other 4? Well, if I want to be able to move around in my studio and get some other work done while these panels are drying, I'm going to have to leave some room on the floor. So after I finish prepping these 12, I will move onto the final 4. I can't wait to start painting! Like I said in my last post, no rest for the wicked! :D

November 24, 2015

No rest for the wicked!

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It's busy, busy, busy here in the studio! now that I know I am going to be part of the Artist Project 2016 there are So many things that need to be done! Big boring things like researching insurance, transportation, taxes and packaging materials. But also fun things, like planning new compositions and painting new paintings. I have decided that I have to finish at least 17 more painting before the show in February so no pressure! :) I've already started working on some new compositions, cities like Leiden, Haarlem, San Diego, LA and Rome are on the list but if they will all get a painting I don't know yet. We will see, we will see!

I am a very lucky girl though because I won't have to do all the preparation by myself. As always I have my wonderfully supportive husband to help me, and this time there are two artist friends of mine who will also be exhibiting at the show; Jono Dorion and Louis-Bernard St-Jean. This means we can pull our resources, yay! We had our first strategy meeting yesterday and I'm feeling a lot more confident about getting everything done :) I'm still a bit stressed but at least I feel like I have an idea of what needs to be done, that always helps, if I have my list I'm good :)

In other news, it's snowing in Montreal! We've has some wet flurries a couple of weeks ago but this is the first real snow, yay! the world outside is white and pretty again :) It's only the first snow so it'll probably melt again before the real winter starts but still :)

Time to get back to work, thanks for reading!
Denise Buisman Pilger - Artist Abroad

November 16, 2015

Back from a Beautiful Break!

Last week was AMAZING! On Saturday morning we got up really, really early to hop on a plane to San Diego for some time in the sun before we get covered in snow here in Montreal. We spent some time exploring the city of San Diego, which is awesome by the way! We walked through Balboa Park, visited down town, old town and Coronado island. Saw breathtaking sunsets, stood steps away from seals, pelicans and hummingbirds. Drove up the coast to LA where we had fun on the Santa Monica pier, visited Meltdown Comics and went to a taping of @Midnight which is hosted by our favourite comic; Chris Hardwick. We drove to Malibu and enjoyed art, architecture and stunning views at the Getty. I took over 1000 photographs! So there will definitely be its and pieces of this wonderful vacation that will show up in my future artwork. I can already see multiple mixed media cityscapes of Sn Diego and LA! But now I'm back and it is time to head back into the studio and get to work! Many things to do! So many things! But before I go I will leave you with a couple of shots from our beautiful trip! Enjoy! 

November 06, 2015

Big Art and Big News!

It has been a while since my last update, things have been busy, busy, busy in the studio. I'm a self employed artist so I make myself busy but still, busy :) Anyway...

I have some BIG news to share with you guys! I have been selected to be part of the Artist Project next year! I am SO excited! The Artist Project is a high end art fair that allows the public to browse and buy work directly from the artists. Visitors can explore and discover works of art from over 250 top contemporary artists from Canada and abroad. This is going to be the Artist Project's 9th year, the show will be held from February 18 to 21, 2016 at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto.

This means I will have to work like a mad woman in the next few months, no rest for the wicked ;-) I've been working on some BIG stuff, literally! I've two new pieces in the works that are both going to be 48"x72" in size, which is going to be quite challenging. Not only will I have to ask my sweet, sweet hubby for help getting the panels onto my easel (my new Best easel is going to come in handy here!) But I'm also going to have to find a way to clean gel skins that are as tall as I am, so yeah, that's a thing :D

Both mixed media cityscapes are going to be of Amsterdam, my city of birth! One painting is going to have a lot of trusty bicycles, you know how us Dutch people enjoy our bicycles! The other artwork is going to feature the world famous waterways of Amsterdam and some of the Canal boats that I remember so well from my childhood. 

I will keep you all posted on the latest news and updates about the show and my preparations so keep an eye on this blog for more information! Oh and if you've found this blog and haven't seen my work before, check out my website, there's lots of new mixed media artwork being added all the time!

October 05, 2015

Short and sweet!


This Saturday we drove to Toronto for the opening of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche* Group Show at The Elaine Fleck Gallery. After a 7 hour drive (yeah, normally it's about 6 hrs but we ran into some traffic on the way... roadworks... sigh...), a quick dinner at a cool TexMex place and a coffee at the White Squirrel, we walked over to the gallery, which is located on 888 Queen West Street. 

The event started at 7pm and it was already getting dark. We approached the gallery from across the street and the first thing I saw through the windows was my painting 'Summer Stroll' which, because of the lighting and the high contrast, seemed to jump off the wall! So Cool! 

The Elaine Fleck Gallery has a very nice mix of brick and white walls. My piece was placed on a piece of the brick wall, which worked really, really well. Group shows like this can sometimes be a little crowded or all over the place but this show is really, really well curated, everything just flowed. 

I've attended quite a few opening nights (or vernissages as well call them here in Montréal), I have some experience, but The Elaine Fleck Gallery is one of the top galleries in Toronto so I was a little nervous. Totally unnecessary of course! Everyone was super nice! I was greeted warmly by the gallery owner and felt right at home! I met some amazing artists who I definitely hope to meet again and had an awesome time!

All too soon it was time to say goodbye and find our hotel, which was located near the airport because of insanely high rates in the downtown area. When we arrived at our hotel we got another nice surprise, a free upgrade to a suite with hot-tub! Score! That was a nice treat! Usually I'm not a soaker tub person but a little soak in the hot tub after a 7 hour drive is pretty awesome!

The Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Group Show will be up for another two weeks (until October 18, 2015) so if you're in the Toronto area you should definitely go check it out! The Elaine Fleck Gallery is located at 888 Queen West Street. The show includes works by Amy Shackleton, Kathy Kissik, Lloyd Arbour, Karen Colangelo, Kristyn Watterworth, Jaqueline Veltri, Corin Ford Forrester and many other talented artists who's work was featured in the Fleck Fine Art Fall/Winter 2015 Catalogue.

* Nuit Blanche is an annual all-night or night-time arts festival. A Nuit Blanche will typically have museums, private and public art galleries, and other cultural institutions open and free of charge, with the centre of the city itself being turned into a de facto art gallery, providing space for art installations, performances (music, film, dance, performance art), themed social gatherings, and other activities.

September 29, 2015

Fun with family!

Living as an Artist Abroad has many, many perks, I get to travel, a lot and I get to experience new cultures from the inside. But the are some down sides as well and one of those is being away from your friends and family. Luckily we get to travel back to Holland at least once a year and on top of that my family and friends come over to visit quite a bit too. My moms were here in the last week of August and just this past week my aunt and uncle visited from the Netherlands.

I always love these visits because it means I get to do all the fun stuff Montréal has to offer, like eat smoked meat at Schwartz and hang out at Jardin Nelson in the Old Port. My moms have been here quite a few times so they've seen all the major sights. That's why I took them for a drive through the Eastern Townships on their last visit.

For my aunt and uncle it was their first visit to Montréal so naturally we went to all the main sight. We were super lucky with the weather both for our trip to downtown as our trip to the Laurentides. It was so much fun to show them around the city! I've lived here long enough now that it is starting to feel a little bit like 'my city' and I like showing her off! 

One of the highlights of the week was our visit to the Jardin botanique where the yearly 'Gardens of Light' provide stunning scenes. Again the weather was amazing, warm, dry and almost no wind so the reflections in the water were flawless! If you haven't had a chance to see the 'Gardens of Light' for yourself you should definitely go seen them before November 1st. Oh and when you do, buy your tickets upfront on their website because the lined can get quite crazy and when you've already got your ticket you get to pass the line and enter right away! 

September 16, 2015

Muddy moats and 'draw bridges'

I think the weather is mocking me, we're back in Montréal and the sun is shining, perfect weather to wash off all that mud! Oh was it ever muddy out there in Toronto! When driving into Toronto on Friday everything was fine, the sun was shining, not a claud in the sky, well.... maybe a few clouds but nothing major, things were looking good.

One sleeps later, and it is pouring rain! Which, as you know, is awesome when you have to set up your tent and bring in your artwork. Oh well, we're in a park, there's grass and we came prepared, we brought tarps, and actual floor tiles! We're going to be fine... Errrr.... Riiiiight....

Turns out there's a lot of bikers in this particular park, and they have to go off the pathways to avoid the people walking there. So the first meter of what used to be grass next the pathway, is now sort of a secondary dirt path or at least that's what it was when we checked things out on Friday. This morning it's more like a muddy river, looks like my booth is going to have a moat!

Moats are fun and all, when you're in a castle, but when they prevent potential clients from entering your booth, not so much. In the mean time my neighbour has come in with a super fancy 'draw bridge'... really, it was super fancy, look...

All we had was a blue tarp, which by itself wasn't going to solve our moat problem. Luckily my amazing husband has strong Google foo, he found a hardware store only a couple of blocks away and, white knight that he is, he didn't mind a quick trip in the rain to find us our own fancy 'draw bridge'. 

Ok, it might not have been as fancy as my neighbour's bridge, this particular hardware store didn't sell wood (and we wouldn't have been able to carry it in the car back to Montréal anyway). But it worked! People were able to enter my booth without drowning and as a bonus it kept my booth relatively free of mud.  :)

On Sunday we only had rain in the morning, the rest of the day was nice and dry, until 6pm obviously, the weather was mocking me remember. Right when is was time to pack up the rain gods decided we could use a little sprinkle, just because it's nice to pack up a soaking wet tent, you know :)

Despite the rain the brave people of Toronto did come out to enjoy some art over the weekend! It was not as busy as it might have been had it been dry, but I was surprised, and pleased with the turnout we got. You never make a ton of money on the rainy ones but we did relatively well so I'm happy. 

Obviously it would have been nice to have had the clear blue skies that we had on Monday for our drive back to Montréal but then we wouldn't have had our amazing 'draw bridge' and that would be a shame ;-)

September 08, 2015

Being busy and colourful...

Things are busy, busy, busy, but... it's a good busy :D Basically, when you work as an artist full time, any busy is a good busy ;) The Queen West Art Crawl is only 4 days away! So preparations are in full  swing! Today I have to pick up a couple of new pillows that I ordered for the occasion, my pillows are produced by a company located in the Belgo building, so I'll have to make a 'quick' trip to downtown Montréal today :D

There are So many things to do before leaving for a show like this, there are paintings to pack, price tags to make, packaging supplies to find, oh so many things! And then there's the challenge of loading everything and the kitchen sink in one single car! Luckily we drive an SUV, but even then I'm not sure how we're going to fit everything! But that's a challenge for tomorrow, today I have to make sure I tag every single item off my list before packing it!

Before I do that though I Have to tell you about my weekend. On Saturday my husband and I participated in the Color Run night, this 5K (it was more 4.5K but oh well) was run on the Formula 1 circuit in downtown Montréal. You basically run the course while people throw coloured powder in your face, yes, this sounds insane and yes, you have to remember to keep you eyes and mouth closed when you're running, but it's really, really fun! We had a blast!

After the run there was a party with music and more coloured powder to throw, I felt like a living abstract painting afterwards! The trip back home in the metro was particularly entertaining. Leaving the track the metro was packed with fellow runners, all looking equally colourful, but the closer we got to home the more people were giving us very odd looks.

Leaving a trail of coloured powder we made it home and after a shower and some laundry only my running shoes have traces of coloured powder left. So now it's time to head back into the studio and cover myself in some new colours, we can't be looking too normal now can we? ;)

August 31, 2015

Winter is coming...

Summer is winding down here in Montréal, although you wouldn't know it if you looked at the weather forecast, which is predicting 30C temperatures for the next 14 days. But we've had the first snow removal flyers in the mail and our neighbours got a whole pile of fire wood delivered yesterday, so yes, winter is coming.

It's weird because I feel like summer has just started, with everything that was going on earlier in the year I feel like I missed spring an the first month of summer completely and summers in Montréal are relatively short to begin with. Not the I'm complaining! I hate people who complain about their first world problems on the internet! There's already so much negativity in the world, I don't think we need to add more by complaining about insignificant things. I consider myself very, very lucky, I'm able to work as a full time artist, I have friends and family that love and support me and who are all in good health, I have a roof over my head, a spacious studio space, I could go on, I have many things to be grateful for! So no complaints from me! :D

In two weeks we'll be traveling to Toronto for the Queen West Art Crawl! So I'm in full on preparation mode! I'm also working on several new pieces in my studio and I'm gearing up for some exciting experiments which I will tell you more about in the near future!

I'm also super excited to announce that my work is part of the Fleck Fine Art Fall/Winter edition which is out now! This high end fine art catalogue is carefully curated by Elaine Fleck from the Elaine Fleck Gallery in Toronto and will be distributed to 10.000 homes in the Toronto area which is pretty exciting! You can view the full catalogue here my work is located on page 25.

August 17, 2015

Queen West Art Crawl 2015

On September 12-13 I will be in Toronto to participate in the Queen West Art Crawl, an art festival that celebrates the art, culture, and diversity of Toronto’s Queen West. This awesome art festival will be held at the Trinity Bellwoods park where you can find me in booth F12  from 11am-6pm on both days.

The art crawl includes a performance zone with five featured bands and artists such as Samba Elegua and the Spirit of Calypso. The works of 200 established artists and includes paintings, jewelry, pottery, and woodwork are on display for lovers of the arts. OCAD has an emerging artists exhibition and The Crawl along Queen St. West portion of the celebration includes 10 participating venues such as CAMH, The Drake Hotel, and The Toronto Blues Society. The Craft Beer Garden has six locally produced beers and one cider. For food there are food trucks with foods including everything from Mexican-inspired to hot dogs.

On Sunday August 16th the Queen West Art Crawl posted an article about my art on their blog. This is a little snippet:
What and who has inspired your art work?
My art work is inspired by my frequent travels, living abroad drastically changes your view on the world. When you move to another country you take away everything that is familiar and little everyday details that are different really jump out at you. I’ve now been away from my home country long enough that I’m almost able to experience it in that way as well, which is going to make for an interesting project in the future.
I’m particularly interested in the urban landscape, my art is a way to explore and make sense of my environment. I’m a horrible person to travel with, because I’m always lagging behind taking pictures of seemingly everyday items. I love little urban icons like fire hydrants, I mean, have you ever really looked at them? They come in such a wide variety of shapes and colors, there must be somebody out there who designs these things and makes them look cool, I don’t know who it is but he’s my hero!
To read the full article click here
You can also vote for my work to become best in show by clicking here

July 21, 2015

I love Summer!

I love Summer! Summer means Art festivals which means I get to emerge from my studio and interact with actual humans! This year I already traveled to Ottawa and Kingston with my work and in September I get to go all the way to Toronto for the Queen West Art Crawl, more information on that will follow at a later date! 

Summertime in Montréal is truly an amazing experience! There are festivals and events all over the city! My personal favourite is the Just for Laughs festival, which is going on right now! For two whole weeks famous comedians can be spotted all over the city and you can go see comedy almost 24 hour a day! Tonight the amazing Weird Al Yankovic is giving a free concert and on Saturday we have tickets to see Chris Hardwick perform his 'Funcomfortable tour' at the Olympia theatre! I always listen to the Nerdist podcast in my studio so I'm pretty excited for that one!

Summer does not only bring fun stuff to my local city it's also convention season! Something you might not know about me is that I am a bit of a geek. I read fantasy novels, watch Doctor Who with a passion and I'm a gamer so convention season is a big deal in our house! We keep up with the latest news from San Diego Comiccon, E3 and Origins and every year we drive almost 3000 kilometres to Indianapolis and back to attend the biggest board gaming convention in the world, GenCon!

So, although I'm still working on stuff in my studio, I'm also enjoying all the awesomeness summer has to bring! What are your summer highlights?

July 14, 2015

Time to catch my breath!

After a crazy start of the year things are finally settling down here! I've has such a crazy couple of months! So many things have happened but now, finally, things are a little more quiet, not too quiet, we wouldn't want that! But just a little, just enough for me to catch my breath.

I feel like the year has just started and all of a sudden it's summer, it's hot and humid but my new basement studio is nice and cool and we have a pool now! After my work day I can take a nice relaxing swim and float around on my airbed with a good book, I feel very spoiled! 

So what else has been happening these past couple of weeks? well on June 20-21 we were in Ottawa for the New Art Festival, with a little rain and tons of other festivals going on in the city it wasn't too too busy but we still had a good turnout. It was a great weekend filled with awesome people and amazing art! I was very happy with my new booth and n particular my new vignette display! (see pics, it's on the left side of my booth).

From July 1-4 I was in City Park in lovely Kingston for Artfest Kingston. This was the first time I did a festival by myself and I have to say it's hard work! You make long, long days, coming in at 7am to set up, then work the fair until it closes at 6pm and then you still have to take the stuff that you don't want to leave overnight and take it to your car again. Yes, those were long, long days but I had so much fun! I met some amazing people and I got to spend some time in lovely Kingston, which is stunning! 

Again I was very happy with my booth, this was the first time I had brought my pillows and scarves to an event like this and they were a huge hit! The pillows are so soft and cuddly, I kept enticing people to touch them! 

My next fair is not until September so I'm going to have a little time to relax and get ready for the Queen West Art Crawl! I'm super excited to be taking my work to Toronto again! But before that time  I'm going to have to finish a commission piece and start planning some new compositions. I want to get back to the studio and paint! Oh I have so, so many plans! 

Now that things have quieted down I'm sure I'll have more time to write regular posts again so keep an eye on this page for the latest updates! 

June 26, 2015

Come celebrate Canada Day with us in Kingston this year!

It's almost Canada day and we'll be at Arfest Kingston to celebrate! Come joint us in City Park on July 1-4 from 10am - 6pm! There's tons of stuff to see and do! I'm going to be in boot O58 (Orange) where I'll be showing off my new pillow cases, scarves and cellphone cases for the first time!

Located in the beautiful City Park, Kingston. 150 Artists and Artisans from across Ontario and Quebec are in Kingston for FOUR days from Canada Day~ Wednesday July 1st to Saturday July 4th. Walk the shady paths throughout the park. Enjoy outstanding pottery, glass, wood, jewellery, gourmet food, live music, art workshops and live outdoor theatre. New this year: The Easel Invasion, Family Picnic Table Project and Picnic Day, the Sculpture Forest, ParticiPAiNT, Poets @ Artfest and more!

Hope to see you there!

June 08, 2015

The New Art Festival in Ottawa, June 20 - 21, 2015!

I am super excited to announce that I am going to be exhibiting at The New Art Festival in Ottawa this year! The festival will be held on June 20 and 21 at Central Park, The Glebe in Ottawa from 10am until 5pm, I am going to be in booth #32 (see map), I hope to see you there!

About The New Art Festival

The New Art Festival (TNAF) is Ottawa's largest non-commercial outdoor art festival. Featuring nearly 200 visual artists working in a wide range of styles and media, this annual event draws thousands of visitors and participants from across Canada and around the world. TNAF is a non-commercial event. They do not include any mass-produced goods, nor do they have any representation from large chains or corporations. They are a low carbon footprint event and feature food providers from the community. All of the artwork and food at TNAF are the direct result of the artists and artisans who are featured at our festival. The organizers do not take any percentage of the artists’ sales.Originally conceived by Bhat Boy as an event to provide opportunities for up and coming artists, this important festival is truly unique. To honour our art community and all its hard-working artists and craftspeople, the event is juried. The Art in the Park Festival Community is a registered Ontario not-for-profit corporation, run for artists by artists.

June 05, 2015

A move, a tv interview and a solo exhibition.

So many things have happened these past couple of weeks! We were moving to a new home and therefore I was moving to a new studio space, I had to make a very quick trip to Holland for personal reasons and last but certainly not least, my solo show was opening at Viva Vida Art Gallery last week!

Our move went very smoothly, we're almost completely settled in our new home and my studio space is ready for me to start working again!

My new studio space!

My solo exhibition 'Viewfinder' opened at the Viva Vida Art gallery on May 29th. We had a great turnout for the vernissage and a steady stream of people coming in to see the exhibition. Much of this has been because of the amazing coverage we've had from the local media! Not only did we get show announcements and articles in multiple online and printed publications we also got mentioned on two different radio stations and, thanks to CTV's Christine Long, we got mentioned on CTV Montréal twice!

Nedia El Khouri, Denise Buisman Pilger and Christine Long

CTV Montréal came to the gallery on Wednesday May 27th, when we were hanging the show, to do a little interview. They talked to both gallery owner and exhibition curator Nedia El Khouri and myself about my current body of work and my previous exhibition, Discoveries: Montreal. 

On Friday May 29th they made a quick show announcement during the 'What's On' segment of the News at Noon which you can watch here:

On Wednesday June 3rd they broadcasted a longer feature that included the interviews during the 'What's On' segment of the 6pm News, you can watch it here:

I am extremely grateful to Christine Long and CTV Montréal for their amazing support! 

If you are curious about my solo exhibition 'Viewfinder', or any of the other artworks featured in the interview, you can visit the Viva Vida Art Gallery in Point Claire village (278-2 Lakeshore Road, Pointe-Claire, Quebec, H9S 4K9, Telephone: (514) 694-1110). The exhibition will be up until June 11. You can also find a little video and some photographs of the exhibition on my website.

May 04, 2015

Announcement! Viewfinder - Solo Exhibition

Finally, it is time to make this announcement! I've been working very hard these past couple of months to get everything ready for this and now it's only four weeks away! On May 29th we will be celebrating the opening of 'Viewfinder', my upcoming solo exhibition at Viva Vida Art Gallery.

The exhibition will run from May 29 until June 11 at Viva Vida Art Gallery in Pointe Claire village and you are all invited to the vernissage which will be held on May 29th from 7-10pm.

This exhibition will feature a series of new works including a Big 48"x108" triptych of New York! You will be able to do a bit of traveling to exotic destinations as Paris and Italy, and experience the beauty of everyday urban treasures!

So market your calendars for a chance to look through my 'Viewfinder' on May 29th from 7-10pm at Viva Vida Art Gallery in Pointe Claire.

For more information click here.

April 27, 2015

Loving Art in Toronto!

Love Art Toronto was amazing! We were only there on Friday evening for the 'Art After Dark' event so for us it was short and sweet. The fair looked absolutely stunning! Viva Vida Gallery was located in booth A4 this year, which was almost all the way in the front which was awesome!

Walking around the fair there was a huge variety of artwork to enjoy, sculpture, mixed media, oils and photography, there was truly something for everyone! Although I was a little disappointed that a couple of galleries had chosen to bring the same artwork as last year.

 Viva Vida Gallery brought six of their artists to Toronto this year, this gave their booth an eclectic feel which attracted a lot of attention. I was super happy with the way my work looked and apparently so were the other visitors because we made some awesome sales!

All in all it was a great event and I definitely hope we will be back next year! Now it's time to work towards my next event which I will be announcing right here later this week, so keep an eye on this page! Loads of cool things are lined up for the next couple of months and it is almost time to tell you all about them! Oh and if you would like to see more of Love Art Toronto 2015 you can check out my website for more pictures or watch my video of the event!