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Failure is a Good Thing


It might not seem like it a the time but just think about it for a moment!  If it wasn’t for failure we would not be so fortunate today. The light bulb and the airplane being good examples. 

Today I am talking about failure as an artist. I don’t mean giving up and quitting kind of failure. I am speaking of failing to grow. 

You see without failure there is no growth. If you aren’t failing you are not taking enough risks. Let me say that again – If you are not failing you are not taking enough risks!

Take a risk is forging ahead to see what is on the other side. There might be lots of failures along the way. From every failure we learn and grow and our art becomes more authentic. We find our voice. 

When we play it safe is it because of fear? Fear of messing up, fear of failing. What if we changed our mindset and didn’t think of it as failure but of research or practice or play. 

I try to stay brave and not worry about the outcome. It is not always easy. I like to have a play corner where I can take abandoned risks working on paper. 

It is all too easy to become stagnant or get too good at our craft. To keep the fires alive we need to shake it up – try something new, make a bold move on a painting that isn’t working, take a deep breath and take the plunge! 

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Finding Time to Paint

It is something I hear over and over from students and professional artists alike – I don’t have time to paint!

Why is it we don’t make time to do what we love? Is it lack of motivation, fear, guilt, laziness or not allowing ourselves the luxury?

I think of art as nurturing my soul and self-care. Without it, I am cranky, depressed and just generally not in a good space. 

People have the misconception that artists get to paint all day. If it was that easy and believe you me somedays I wish I could just escape into that space. Kind of like going off and reading a novel! 

With my busy schedule that would be a luxury!

I wear many hats to make a living as an artist. A good portion of my time is consumed on computer related tasks. Whether it is marketing, blogging, social media, photo editing, applying for submissions, correspondence, bookwork, video editing, website updates, product development – the list goes on! 

Aside from that I also play harp gigs and teach lessons. Right now I am preparing music for a celebration of life and am putting many hours of practice in to learn 3 difficult pieces. I still do some design work and do the estimates and billing and coordinate the schedule for my husband’s clients. 

Making art is my therapy – the only way I can stay sane! 

So if I can fit it in so can you! I know it is hard – we all have a life! 

Here are some things that may help.

  • Change your mindset – Quit saying you don’t have time! Even in 10 or 15 minutes, you can accomplish something.
  • Schedule – find the best time in your day and schedule it! Whether this is morning noon or night. Whatever tool you use- block the time off! Treat it as an appointment with yourself
  • Have a plan! What are you going to work on when you do show up. If it is a large project -chunk it down. As an example, you might prep the canvas one day, paint the background the next, sketch in your subject, paint it in grayscale, add the colour and so on.  Take your process and break it down. Don’t wait for a large block of time – it may never come. 
  • STOP BROWSING! – You heard me – browsing is a time sucker and a form of procrastination! 
  • Join a group that meets on a weekly basis to paint so you stay motivated
  • Take a class/workshop
  • Set some goals around your art so you have something to aspire to. This could be to make a painting a day, or a week, or create a consistent body of work, or do a series. Whatever gets you excited to get painting! 
  • Show up and do quick studies to keep your self in practice! (I borrowed this from music practice)

That is what I have been doing – small quick studies. Spending about an hour a day to free my brain from all of the knots from computer land! 

I did set some confines for the studies –  to paint in colours or colour combinations I don’t normally use and to work quickly in a theme, developing a small series. 

I have been using a 6×6″ Strathmore Acrylic Pad which I love!

Image result for strathmore square pad


I will take the keepers and mount them on cradled panels. 


If you are in the mood for painting flowers sign up for my NEW ONLINE workshop. The classroom is open and you can find out all the details here

If you need help setting goals and coming up with an action plan to get your most important work done I offer my coaching service.

I look forward to helping you! 

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Today I am celebrating the fifth year anniversary of the death of my Dad. Time heals and memories last forever.

He was my go-to for advice on money matters and business issues. Not a man of many words but what he said was wise.

He was creative in a practical way – fixing machinery and things around the house and farm, building things, welding. He did influence me in many ways and he also influenced my art career – even if he wasn’t aware of it!

You can read about that here.

I settled on the word SIMPLIFY to guide me this year. We (my word and I) are off to a great start!

I thought I would start by seeing what the dictionary definition was.

If you simplify something, you make it easier to understand or you remove the things which make it complex.

To make less complicated, clearer, or easier -Collins Dictionary


Merriam -Webser had this to say:

 to make simple or simpler: such as
a to reduce to basic essentials

b to diminish in scope or complexity streamline 

  • was urged to simplify management procedures
c to make more intelligible clarify


Along with sorting and purging several items I have been reflecting on the meaning of the word beyond clearing physical clutter.

It is taking on a much deeper meaning.

I have always been aware that clutter holds you back.

I started journaling about my word.

I am hopeful that as a result of my clearing I will feel lighter, that my light will shine stronger, that I will feel renewed. With it will come a more peaceful feeling and clarity of the mind

I hope to let go of physical clutter, negative self-talk, negative talk in general, limiting beliefs, old mindsets, extra pounds, just to name a few things.

I hope to attract the things I really want in my life – like my Japanese garden outside my studio – a place for Zen moments, a renewed bathroom that offers peace and tranquility, a renewed kitchen that is more efficient and easier to organize. New friends that support my quest and are of a similar mindset.  A feeling of slowing down in a sped-up world. An overall feeling of calm. Feeling less overwhelmed and more in control. Feeling more energy. Using the clarity to work on bigger goals. More time to spend in nature.

Here is a journal page along with the one in the header.


Are you interested in learning how to make a visual journal?

Let me know by leaving a comment.


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Looking Back and Going Forward

Looking Back and Going Forward

I always find looking back over the past year helps me with my plans for the future. It is good to take a look at what we DID accomplish and not dwell on the things we didn't get to. 

We can then decide if the things that didn't get done are worthy of putting back on the list for the coming year.

Why didn't we get to them? 

Was it resources - financial or otherwise? Lack of time or expertise? Procrastination or discipline? Perhaps fear. 

Whatever the reason,  if we want to carry that goal forward and accomplish it the following year it is good to take a look at why it didn't get done. 

In 2017 I chose to focus on my teaching as my number one priority. FOCUS was my word of the year WOTY for short. 

I like to call it my guiding word and do a piece of art around it. 

I am still deciding on my Guiding Word for 2018. Several have come to mind but I am still pondering to choose the one that will guide me best. 

Reflecting on the past year helps me with that.  

Here are some things that I did accomplish: 

I coached and mentored a private student. 

I hosted 2 adult ART Birthday parties. 

I had a Mother and Daughter private workshop

I taught two workshops in Penticton

I taught two workshops at Gabriola Isle of the Arts Festival

I was a keynote speaker at Gabriola's Isle of the Arts Festival Professional Development Day

I kicked off my "ARTBITE" workshops - 3 hour classes for students to get a taste

I developed my first online course and will launch it in 2018

I had a solo Exhibition for the month of October at the MAC

I facilitated a show for  my Make Your Mark mentorship students at the PCCC

I had work in several juried shows including the Sooke Fine Art Show, and  the FCA Signature Member Show

I mentored 5 students in my Make Your Mark year-long program.

I did two commissions - one to commemorate Canada's 150 with a Saskatchewan theme for Pineview Terrace in Prince Albert, SK. , the other for a private collector in Courtenay

Along with my partner, we built a shed to move all the garden equipment out of my storage space. Yeah!

Set up a designated space for my encaustic studio. 

Had a washroom and water put in my studio. Another Yeah!!

Taught a workshop to special needs children

Taught a children's summer camp

Had 103 adult students come to my studio for workshops

Went in two markets (really cut back on that!!)

Sold 33 paintings in spite of my attendance at markets

Purchased the Ipad Pro and started to learn how to make digital art. ( I also use it for my music scores and to rehearse and perform with - double duty! )

Finished 100 paintings give or take! 

Had one open studio combined with my Affordable Art Sale

Took several workshops

Continued teaching harp

Played a few harp gigs

Worked with a few clients to beautify their interiors

Went to two jazz festivals - one in Saskatoon and the other in Ladysmith

Attended many concerts

What I didn't do that I had hoped to:

 Didn't learn much new harp music

Bought a keyboard to learn jazz piano but hardly made a start

Didn't spend as much time as I would have liked on learning digital art

Didn't paint as much as I would like to

The garden didn't get planted

The TAb trailer never left the yard - many implications due to a new vehicle not being equipped

Canoe never saw water - blame it on the unequipped vehicle

The deck didn't get rebuilt - not for lack of trying to hire someone!

The clutter continued to get stuffed in closets and drawers! 

Our landscape plans for the backyard fell by the wayside

Moving Forward

I am hoping to do a better job getting out into nature in 2018 and taking more time to relax. 

I am planning on being more proactive with my schedule and really focus on the important to me things. 

I am going to work on simplifying things - clearing clutter, both in my mind, house and studio. 

I am going to develop my Japanese themed garden beside my studio

I am going to hire more help to free up my time for the bigger picture! 

I am going to designate some "play days " for myself. 

My guiding word is becoming clearer - I should have it sorted out by the end of the year!

If you want help with yours give me a shout. 

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Studio Reno

The stars have aligned and my studio renovation is underway.  Although I am losing some working space I am gaining some great convenience! With the addition of water and a washroom, I may never leave my studio! 

All of this has been happening as I have been painting up a storm for my upcoming show. 

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Paint from Your Heart

 I recently held my "Paint from Your Heart" intuitive painting workshop in my studio.  I had 7 ladies in total. Only three had ever painted before.  I was blown away by the results. We started by making doodles in black. Then added a layer of warm tones using a variety of mark making tools. Then a layer of cool colours was added. The result is creative chaos.  From this, as a group project, we looked for imagery in the mark making. Everyone sees something different but it is up to the individual artist to make the final decision to take the work to completion.   The painting is developed by using transparent and opaque layers. 6 out of 7 of these paintings were created without the use of any photo reference other than the imagination.    Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.     If you are interested in taking the workshop it is running again on may 11th.  To register click here.     
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When Dreams Change



Dreams Change

It was always a dream of mine to become a full time practicing artist.

I made that dream a reality in 2009. At first, I loved it and spent many hours creating. I was going in the right direction to achieve my dream and having some success doing it. That felt right for awhile but I started getting more and more disenchanted with my dream!  

I started to have dis-ease in my heart. 

I was feeling empty. Don't get me wrong - creating is a very important part of who I am. But somehow this dream wasn't totally fulfilling like I thought it would be. 

There was something missing. Being a full-time artist felt selfish and indulgent. The only connection I had was to my art and creativity. I did not have any real human connection. I wasn't serving anyone! 

I am a very introverted person and at the same time, I need deep meaningful conversations. 

I felt empty. I had always been in a career where I served people and this was the missing component. Creativity alone was not filling my heart. 

I needed more!  

I started teaching workshops and helping others learn to paint and access their inner child. This has been very fulfilling for me and I am passionate about it. 

My mentorship program brings me great joy as I work with the participants on a deeper level to help them grow. 

There are still days that I feel like I am riding the wrong horse on the carousel.

These days I am checking in with myself often, going deeper in my thoughts to really get in touch. 

Everything comes back to purpose and values. 

Living a rich meaningful life is my ultimate goal. 

What are the next steps on my journey? 

Time will tell. 

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The Aftermath of a Workshop

TThe Aftermath of a Workshop

Leftover Paint!

I can't see it go to waste so I grab a canvas and start playing. This is how I start my work but with a bit more thought about my palette. 

My focus now is to just use up the leftovers. Every colour imaginable!  Here is what started to emerge. I started to see flowers so I added some white lines. Scroll down to see the finished painting. 

Some negative painting-

to further define the shapes and calm down the painting. Some additional paint to unify the shapes and voila! "Spring Flowers"  have arrived!

I think it is time! I don;t often paint flowers or with pink but I am ready! Change is good too! 

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Is Clutter Holding You back?

Is Clutter Holding You Back? 

My word this year is FOCUS. As I have been trying hard to stay focused I have become increasingly more aware of how clutter affects me. 

Visual clutter seems to lead to mind clutter! Even if the clutter is not apparent on the outside - it is there when I open the drawer.  

When I grew up spring and fall cleaning was a ritual. Clearing through closets, washing walls and windows, putting everything in order. 

Doing this changes the energy. Somehow I have not adopted this practice, I blame it on my day to day busyness. I always do the filing cabinet at year end- cleaning out the previous year's files and putting them into storage. It seems general purging gets left behind. 

In the last couple of weeks, I have had several conversations around energy. I started rereading my books on Feng Shui, I met a Fung Shui practitioner, an energy healer and was introduced to energy work through my harp teacher. 

The universe has an amazing way of showing us what we need to hear if we are ready to listen! 

Decluttering helps to remove blockages that stop the flow of energy and creativity. 

Creating art is all about flow- you can see that there is a direct correlation between your creativity, your productivity and your energy. If things are a mess it is easy to procrastinate and makes it harder to get started. 

 Do you have clutter in your studio? 

It can be overwhelming  - chunk it down into small size bites. Here is a list to get you started. 

       1. Clean one drawer or bin at a time.

       2. Donate seldom used items to less fortunate.

       3. Throw away dried up paint and pens

        4. Recycle damaged matts and papers

 I have to go tackle


drawer now.

     Will you be joining me?


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Paint From Your Heart

Paint from your Heart

What does paint from your heart mean? 

For me it means painting my truth. Painting what stirs us, what we are passionate about. We need to have a connection with what we paint to give the painting energy. We need to be true to our own artistic voice. 

So how do we do this? 

Ask yourself - what takes your breath away -to see, to touch, to hear, to smell? What story do you want to tell? What causes a deep stir within you? What do you love? What is important to you? 

I paint intuitively - never knowing where my painting will end up. 

I start by being playful on my canvas - messing around with colour and texture, Using different tools including fingers and scrapers to apply paint. Anything that will make a mark is fair game. 

I create visual texture with many different items most of which are from the recycle bin - bubble wrap, Styrofoam deli trays, corrugated cardboard, mesh citrus bags and the list goes on! 

I use many mediums - acrylic paint, pastes and gels, crayons, pastels, graphite sticks - anything is fair game. 

I draw, scribble, write, make marks, finger paint, create drips and dribbles by spraying water

After all the fun I step back and meditate on the painting - I listen to what it is telling me, how it makes me feel. 

I look for shapes, messages, and imagery in the chaos. 

Once it becomes clear what the painting is about I start to develop it using the technique of negative painting. 

I respond to the canvas by listening. 

This is how I get my inner truth paintings. They are always a surprise! 

Some take a long time to develop others fall out of my brush. 

If you do work from a photo make sure you are passionate about it and that you give yourself some creative license. I see too many artists getting hung up on trying to make their painting look like the photo. Is this really your truth or did you just copy a photo? 

I encourage you to dig deeper, to listen to your inner voice and paint what is your passion.

"When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. To love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s innermost secret. All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.”

Kahlil Gibran

        Be Passionate            


      what you paint!

If you are curious about painting intuitively and would like to have some guidance to get started you may be interested in my workshop "Paint from Your HeART".