Collaborating with Nature. Talking about the Process.


Homework Post #1

Talking about the process.

I have chosen this specific piece to talk about because it is one of my favourite examples of what I like doing best:

Working with Mother Nature. 

At the moment- this piece remains nameless, as it was hard to give a “label” to something that speaks of so many wonderful experiences and moments outdoors in my beautiful home town of Fort St. James, British Columbia. 

Starting with raw canvas stretched onto a wooden frame, I began simply just by staring at the blank canvas. Occasionally raising an eyebrow, I allow my ideas to float around like ice-cubes in a nice glass of Sun Tea. This is a very important part of the process- as I like to create art in a very meditative state. Also- I am sure I look like a complete weirdo- so this is why I prefer working solo, away from prying eyes. 

I then resort to squirrel like tendencies, and begin gathering resources that spark the idea I have spun in the back of my mind. 

In this case. 




I then, like a smart squirrel, document my findings. 







A little bit about my model:

Well. He’s dead. 

Before kicking the can, this old guy was a good looking bull moose,

gallivanting through the boreal forests,

wooing all the moose ladies. (Cows)

One day, he decided to die of natural causes. 

I would like to think he simply just decided to hunker down for a nap and slipped into moose heaven. 

But I honestly don’t know. 

All I really know is that he was pretty old.

He probably looked like this:



What a Studmuffin.


Soon- graphite, turning into layered fluid acrylic “sketches” are done. 







Work in cramped bedroom.


Soon, I move into my summer studio (Canvas Wall Tent)Image


Keep working. 


Always coming back to study and examine the moose skull and antlers, skull books, trapper manuals, anything I can get my hands on. Now including books on Wild Flowers, Local Trees, etc. When representing nature in my works, I want to get it correct. If I am doing a local painting, then there better be native species included, am I right? EH?

I begin harvesting grasses, yarrow, dandelions, and other wild flowers and plants and begin experimenting with printmaking.

I am now going back and forth to working on driveway and in Studio. 



Mother Nature decided to help by adding some summer rain to my freshly painted canvas. Giving a “washed” look.





I keep going back and forth, inside and outside, choosing different times of day, weather, as well as how I apply the fluid acrylic paint to achieve a piece of work that I am happy with.


Mother Nature keeps an eye on me with her trusty informers:



Photo courtesy of Dexter Hodder. (Neighbour)

As you can see- I have plenty of live models to study and sketch from (both animal and plants/trees)


Once I am happy, I stand back and take a long look at the work. Usually making a touch up here, a touch up there, until I am satisfied. 



This piece was part of a solo show hosted by a local cafe called Soup Wallah. 

The other paintings created alongside this one were all done with nature in mind. When I choose to create a piece of art that represents, interprets, or conveys nature- I pay attention to the details, and take knowledge from all my interests (biology, history, osteology, gardening, etc.) and incorporate it into my art-making. Working immersed in my outdoor surroundings had a very positive effect on the creation of this painting, as well as the other works that were also shown in the show. I often feel constricted within a “conventional” studio, and can’t wait to get outside and carry on working and learning from Mother Nature. Lots of research, meetings with the biologist down the street, and simple observation was done to achieve what I can now call a successful art show, and a very enjoyable summer. 





Mother Nature’s Umbrella

It’s February, probably raining outside, and so not what I’m used too.
Even though I have lived in North Vancouver since late July – I still find myself mumbling “…should have bought rubber boots”
I have been telling myself that since my first rain In Vancouver…


Little green shoots are peeking through the damp mulched flower beds, the grass is green (as always) and grocery stores have put out daffodils, iris, and Easter coloured flowers in little charming pots – making my fingers tingle a bit, as my mind buries itself in deep memories of planting flowers with mom, vegetables with Neil, the smell of rich soil, seeing the robins with red breasts thrust out, vibrant and confident, prance joyously on the front lawn playing peek a boo with the worms.
Watching mother nature slowly take off her winter coat, is a treat in itself, sitting still amongst the tall swaying trees as your eyes catch glimpses of the strong masculine sunshine caressing mother nature, holding her in a gentle embrace, watching the intertwined elements between the two of them weave together, creating a shawl of new beginnings that wraps mother nature and sunshine together, blending them, creating such awe inspiring sight that unannounced; you find yourself surrounded in lush green leaves that almost seem to reach out towards you as you pass by, soft grasses slip against your heels blessing your pathway while young woodland creatures slowly open their eyes, adopting the look of curiosity as you go on with your day.
For a northerner at heart- I am accustomed to having a six month winter- so this “early” peek at spring is rather exciting. Mother Nature is still masked by her coat, umbrella, wool socks and gum boots down here, but every once in a while if you’re patient; Mother Nature tips her umbrella up, allowing you to indulge in her beauty as her silky emerald green eyes search the skies for her lover; Sunshine.
I am excited for the blossoming of the trees, for I have been told the cherry tree outside my bedroom blossoms graciously. Like a child waiting for her birthday, Christmas, or mother’s special dessert, I wait in angst- peeking out everyday at the cherry tree watching the little birds play tag amongst the branches chirping, tweeting, singing sweet melodies as if they themselves are celebrating each ray of sunshine. Knowing that soon Mother Nature and Sunshine will be together once again.


An Unacceptable Risk