Saturday, December 4, 2010

Anonymous Art Show 2010

The opening for the Anonymous Art Show at the end of November was a great success. This was my first time participating in this event, both as an artist and as a volunteer 'reindeer' - Prancer. It was a very fun evening, meeting all kinds of people interested in purchasing art for gifts for the holidays. This included music, lots of great food and drink donated by sponsors, a whole crew of volunteers, and a big crowd of art lovers and community supporters.

305 artists contributed a total of 641 original pieces of art for sale as a fundraiser for the North Vancouver Community Arts Council. For me, this was extremely inspiring - seeing 641 unique approaches to an 8x8 canvas, all in one place. It certainly gave me many ideas for future art I'd like to create! And it also made me certain that I'd like to participate in this annual fundraiser on an annual basis. Below are some photos taken before the crowds arrived. I made sure to photograph the walls where my art is displayed.

Art will continue to be on sale until Dec 18th. Go check it out!

All the AAS volunteers. Can you spot me?

This is one of the walls with art by me displayed.

My second piece is displayed on the Cupid wall.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Anonymous Art Show

The “Anonymous Art Show” is a group exhibition and fundraising event for the North Vancouver Community Arts Council that will include both established and emerging two-dimensional artists working strictly on unframed 8” x 8” x 1 ½” back stapled canvas.

The paintings will be sold anonymously as the artist is asked to sign only the back of their painting. Each painting is priced at $100 each. Fifty percent will go back to the artist and the balance will remain with the Arts Council. This event helps the Arts Council fund many of our valuable programmes including free community events, art classes and youth programmes. It also enables the community to support emerging artists or an opportunity to purchase an established artist’s work at a reasonable price.

All artwork is sold right off the wall from the opening reception on Thursday, Nov 25, 7-9pm until Saturday, Dec 18, giving the community an opportunity to purchase original art in time for Christmas.

As an active member of the Arts Council, I will be submitting two pieces of my original artwork for display and sale at this event. For the sake of anonymity however, these new images will not make their way onto this blog until after the show! Come check out the event as there will be lots of excellent work from local artists to be seen.

“Anonymous Art Show”
CityScape Community Art Space
335 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver
November 26 – December 18, 2010
Sale and Opening Reception: Thursday, November 25, 7:00-9:00pm

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Fine Grind

A Fine Grind is another self portrait in pen and ink, scaling the steps of the Grouse Grind. This is part of my series of drawings depicting my favourite sports. I'm not making them self portraits to be narcissistic, but rather as a reminder to myself of how far I've come in turning my lifestyle around 180 degrees to that of a healthy and active woman.

Prior to this year, I had only ever done the Grind once, I believe when I was about 24. It had been a while, and I was challenged by a colleague and friend Maryse to do the Grind as a part of a group of colleagues (we called ourselves the G5) once a week. At first I thought the idea was insane but I decided I was up for the challenge. The first attempt was a torturous climb that took about 95 minutes. I managed to forget how awful climbing up was, as the feeling of reaching the top and the adrenaline rush that came with it, was unforgettable.

While every member of the group didn't go once a week, we more or less did over the course of the summer. When I couldn't go with colleagues, I challenged myself to go on my own, given that I live 10 minutes drive from the base of the mountain. Over the summer I went 7 times, and improved my time to a mere 68 minutes. I'm sure that next summer, I'll be able to finish well under an hour.

What I can't believe is how the idea of the Grind seemed so undesirable, and it's now turned into a bit of an addiction for the adrenaline junkie that resides in me. And the benefits were huge for both self esteem and training. Hiking the Grind regularly over the course of the summer improved both my running and swimming speed and endurance. Thanks Maryse for the initial push! Now I am sure I'll be a regular Grinder for many years to come, and once my legs heal up, I hope to hike it up at least one more time before the end of 2010.

Photo taken on my cell phone of my colleague AJ and me after a summer hike up Grouse Mountain.

Monday, October 25, 2010

3 Years

3 years ago, we said goodbye
How can that moment seem so recent
So raw at times, as I recall with absolute clarity
How deeply it cut when I received the news
While comforted by your son’s presence
Two children together unable to believe the loss
A young leaf falling from its tree

Yet it also seems so very far away
Life has continued and I wish everyday you were here to see
Do you know you have now two beautiful grandchildren?
Do you know that your daughters found love?
Do you know that even now, my actions are to make you proud?
A father’s legacy for his children’s success

They say that we live on
For as long as we are remembered
Perhaps that’s why I can imagine you
Sitting on the couch beside me
A pot of tea to share
Talking about all kinds of things
Two best friends

Every year it’s a little easier
Every year the day seems further away
The regrets lessen
The lessons deepen
The memories widen
And as I learn more about me
I see more and more of you
As you once said:
A ‘carbon copy’ of her dad

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The First Half

It's been an awesome two years of hard work that's certainly paid off. In the last 24 months, slowly but surely, I've lost 105 lbs due to my own motivation to be healthy and confident in myself. It's taken lots of will power, a new attitude for and knowledge about nutrition, the encouragement from loved ones, and my own personal drive to take on physical challenges. I've regained the body I once had as a 23 year old, and in so feel like I am indeed 7 years younger, wearing the clothes I did back then and saved hoping I'd fit into them again, and taking on the physical challenges I did back then too by regularly swimming, running, hiking, and rock climbing.

I've been off from work this last week, in recovery from surgery I had on Oct 1st to correct problematic circulation due to the years of being overweight and due to a scary blood clot I had earlier this year. While my "new legs" heal, I decided starting a new series of drawings that relates to my favourite sports was a good idea: sports that I take on personally and push myself to new limits. This way I'd maintain focused on the bigger picture while I've been mostly at home and slow-moving when I do venture outside. Every sunny day I look up at Grouse Mountain and wish I could be hiking to the top, rather than being at home with my feet up, an ice pack on my sutures and bruises, and having the few steps outside my building be my big daily physical challenge. But I do know full well that the pain in the legs is simply a temporary feeling while I recover from surgery. In a few weeks, I'll be out there again, running around like a machine as usual, and I'll be better at it with circulation running a bit more efficiently this time around.

The first of my drawing series you'll see below. It is a self-portrait, based on a photo that was taken of me when I was 23, running my very first Half Marathon, hence the title: The First Half. It's me running the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon toward the end of the race as I'm rounding the Stanley Park seawall toward the finish line at Lumbermans's Arch. Since this first big race, I've run two more halfs and my goal is to run my next one in 2011 (haven't decided which race yet). I'm positive that my 4th half will be just as or even more special than my first. Completing my first one does however, give me the confidence in knowing I'm capable. I have no doubt I'll succeed in completing one next year. Who knows, but a full marathon may be in my near future too. :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The 6th Annual Drift Weekend Art Tour

I've been a Drift Art on Main Street member and exhibiting artist for the last 3 years. Unfortunately this year, I am unable to participate in the exhibition event due to an upcoming surgery I have in a few days. Regardless I'm committed to promoting the event and highly recommend that art lovers in the Greater Vancouver area come out to the Main Street community in Vancouver this coming weekend. The 6th annual event takes place this coming Oct 2nd and 3rd. The event showcases local Vancouver artists working in all media. The event is free to the public and takes place in shops, cafes, galleries and open studios all along Vancouver’s go-to destination for art, design and great food: Main Street!

For more information, please visit

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Park Guell

This is a little drawing I did while hanging out one afternoon at Park Guell in Barcelona during my recent vacation there this August. Although the park is normally very crowded with tourists, especially in the summer, I enjoyed this site thoroughly and decided to revisit on another day in order to just relax and draw pictures, rather than explore it as most tourists would (or as I had done so previously). This park was my first introduction to Antoni Gaudi's work, thanks to my good friend Teresa who insisted this be one of the first places in Barcelona I should visit. Like all his work that I saw, it was designed for Barcelona's aristocracy to enjoy back in the day. Now the park is free for anyone to enjoy and it's an example of artistic and architectural genius, inspired by nature.

On my second visit, I sat near the famous dragon, listened to live musicians and the din of many passing tourists. Because I was in a high-traffic area, I myself got a lot of attention from people passing through, flattering me with compliments as they walked by. One woman from the UK asked if she could take photos of me while I was drawing as she was documenting the many ways people choose to enjoy the park. I find it amusing to think about how both myself and my drawing have been part of the stories she's telling her friends and family in the UK about her own visit to Barcelona.

I drew one of the buildings at the park that reminds me of a gingerbread house, like something out of a fairy tale, that's now been converted to a souvenir shop. Because of the level of detail I wanted and the limited size of my sketchbook, I had to distort the size of the building, notably it's tower, to get it to fit the page as I wanted it to. Here it is:

Tower Bridge

This is another recent drawing of mine, also with a perfect excuse to draw - for another wedding gift, this time for my dear friends, Jess and Nelson who got married just over a week ago. This couple lived together for about two years in London, UK. As London will always be my favourite big city to visit outside of Canada, regardless of how many amazing places I've traveled to, I made sure to visit them on two separate occasions. They opened their home there to me and together we explored parts of London I didn't previously know. One of these visits was prior to Jess and I visiting Greece together. Lots of great memories! Thank you.

This drawing of Tower Bridge is both because I adore London as a city, and also because one of my fondest memories of London was going for a long walk with Jess and Nelson which included crossing this beautiful bridge on foot - my first time doing that. The photo that was used to inspire this drawing was taken on this very walk with my friends. I have a print of this drawing hanging up by the front door of my home. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did drawing it:


This drawing was inspired by many walks along the dykes in Brackendale, BC - near Squamish where I spend a lot of my time. I always admired the beauty and grace of these creatures, in awe of their physical size and ability to soar at amazing heights to watch for prey. I walked the dykes of Brackendale a bit more earlier this year when I wasn't feeling well and was living in Squamish. I got a chance to read up a bit more on eagles and the challenges they face as a species. Here's a great site with more info: Brackendale Eagles.

This is a drawing I'd wanted to do for some time, but had the perfect excuse with a very good friend of mine, Negin, getting married to the man of her dreams at the end of July. I finished it just on time in order to be able to give it to them as a gift. This image is now hanging on their walls in their home, and it will likely find a home as well someday up on my own, as its a piece I'm quite proud of how it turned out. I had fun getting creative with their feathers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Classic Car

I'm not really sure what inspired Classic Car's creation. Perhaps a case of various things coming together.

I first thought up the idea of an old car being a good image to suggest to participants in a past pen and ink art workshop I taught last year. I guess because an image in black and white has the potential to bring with it a feeling of nostalgia. The use of abstract "textures" offers a neat contrast of a modern touch to the black and white colour scheme and classic car subject area.

Or perhaps drawing a car was some sort of tribute to my late dear father, who loved driving, and with whom we'd go on various road trips growing up. The license plate is a mix of numbers and letters from old cars we rode in as a family from the "Apple Victor Bob" blue Tercel from the early 80s to the most recent "Dad's Cruise Mobile".

Or perhaps a tribute somewhat to my sweetheart, Cam, who owns and operates a successful business all about driving cars safely: Sea to Sky Driver Training, based in Squamish, BC.

Either way, or all ways combined, it's a piece I'm quite happy with and am pleased to have the opportunity to donate it to an exciting cause: Pandora's Collective.

This piece will be displayed and auctioned at an event on August 20, 2010 that is part of the Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival, and event brought to you by Pandora's Collective. For more information, please visit this previous blog post or you can visit the news page on my web site. Perhaps you'd like to attend this great event and place a bid on this piece to have it for your own!

Classic Car
Pen and Ink Drawing
9x12 (11x14 with mat and frame).

The Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival

Vancouver's most anticipated summer literary event is back, and you're invited!

The Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival is an annual event established to raise public awareness regarding the on-going literary events, programs and resources available in the community. The event is brought to you by Pandora's Collective.

Pandora’s Collective, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is dedicated to promoting literacy and self-expression in the community.

Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival

August 13-21, 2010

On August 20, 2010, a selection of my art will be displayed and auctioned during an event at the Jacana Gallery, honouring the accomplished writer, Susan Musgrave. For more information, please click here.

If you are interested in viewing and/or bidding for a selection from my most recent ink drawings, please come to the event!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BESA Exhibition at SFU Teck Gallery

Just got back from hanging out with a good friend and fellow local artist who works at SFU. As we were downtown she took me to the SFU Harbour Centre campus to take a look at the current art exhibition titled BESA: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II. BESA is an ancient Albanian principle of offering protection to those who need it. I was quite taken by it indeed as it depicted stories of Albanian individuals and families of Muslim belief as they recall housing and protecting Jewish people in World War II. This is an incredible exhibition telling a little-known piece of history. Each individual story gives a recollection of the Jewish people that were housed and protected, what it meant to protect them and their reasons for doing it often tied back to principles from the Quran.

Click here for more information on the exhibition
. I highly recommend it.

The hands of Atlin Qeleshi holding a snapshot of Shalom Adixhes and her daughter Nina, a Jewish family rescued in Shkoder, Albania.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Roadtrippin' Wyoming

As a submission to an artists' call for an exhibition this fall called "Window Views" (no, I don't know if I'm going to be in the exhibition yet), I created this painting, inspired by a photograph taken by, Jennifer Puddicombe:

Roadtrippin’ Wyoming” is a view through the windshield of my best friend Jennifer’s car as we took a very memorable roadtrip across the United States two summers ago. This particular view was just outside of Shell, Wyoming as we were just about to enter Bighorn National Forest to search for our next campsite. This roadtrip is very special to me because it was with a friend I’ve known longer than I can remember, accompanying her and taking turns driving her car, as she moved herself and her belongings from Vancouver to Toronto to pursue a new career path. Our journey between big cities took us South of the border through several states. Wyoming was particularly memorable - a state of amazing beauty and diversity where we took our time enjoying the sights and colours throughout, including Yellowstone National Park.

The submission to the call was of the following image of my painting (Acrylic on canvas 16x20):

After some time of deliberation, having this canvas still sitting on my easel, I decided I wasn't quite done, even though I had already submitted the image to the call. Today, I made a few tweaks, and now I'm much happier with the result. As soon as the paint dries, it'll find a home on my walls here at home:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Beatles

You know that feeling of digging out an item of clothing from your chest of drawers that you haven't worn in a while - say a pair of jeans you haven't fit into for years but you pull out, ready with courage to try them on again, and then voila, a $20 bill is in the pocket to your surprise and delight? I think that'd be a good metaphor to describe my recent discovery.

After my two most recent moves, I never bothered with doing a good, thorough, and detailed re-organization of my art supplies. I just kinda fumbled around in my drawers whenever I needed to track down a tube of paint, and was never really 100% sure what supplies I actually had. I decided I finally had the courage to tackle the task of organizing it all. It literally took hours, but I found all kinds of goodies, from charcoal, to extra erasers and sharpeners, and even some aqua sticks I forgot I had. The best goody however was finding an old drawing I did in 1999. Yes, that's right, from when I was 19 years old. A goody indeed - an oldie, but a goody as 'they' say.

Back in that time I was fascinated with portrait drawings. I was drawing portraits for everyone. Those who wanted them and those who didn't too.... I laboured quite a bit on this one here, trying my hardest to capture 4 distinct and familiar faces - each of the Beatles. What made it particularly difficult was that I chose to do it with mixed media rather than the familiar and easier media for portraits, in my opinion - pencil. These other media I used can't be sharpened or erased quite as easily: charcoal, pastel, and conte crayon. What I didn't have back then was a fixitive spray, so in fear of my picture smearing beyond recognition, I tucked it away safely into a book, which promptly got mixed into a pile of papers and forgotten in the abyss of an art supply cabinet drawer. When I found it, I was so excited. I found a piece from my own artistic history, and a piece I was and still am rather proud of. Hope you enjoy this too!
Stay tuned shortly as I've neared completion on a few more current pieces (created in 2010!)....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Chief

Again, a big thank you to the staff of Galileo Coffee for a great 7-week exhibition at Britannia Beach, BC. It was a nice sunny day to drive up the Sea to Sky Hwy to go and collect my work this afternoon. As always, the drive was inspiring to the senses, but today it encouraged me to funnel that inspiration into a new piece. When I got home, I hung up my art work back on my walls. It felt great to be surrounded by my creations again in my home. Again the result - inspiration or artistic energy. So, I dug through my photos and found a Sea to Sky inspired image which then became the subject of my latest creation - started and completed in one lazy afternoon while watching 3 movies on TV (the followed by a walk to stretch out!).

The Chief is probably the most well-known landmark for Squamish, BC - my second home. It's one that no matter how often I see it, I am still taken by its presence.

This piece has a destiny I've already mapped out. My plan is to find time to frame this image to donate to Squamish General Hospital, in hopes they'll have a wall to give it a home. It was at SGH that I spent a few days this year and received the best care imaginable, and am very thankful for how the staff went the extra mile to make my stay a surprisingly pleasant one despite it being a hospital stay. I hope to make sure it gets delivered very soon!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Exhibition at Galileo Coffee - Britannia Beach

My art exhibition at my favourite coffee shop, Galileo Coffee at Britannia Beach, BC is now set up! Thank you to Cara and the rest of the staff for this opportunity. My art will be on display here for the next 6 weeks, until May 14th, 2010. For more information and a map of the location (on the Sea to Sky Highway), please visit the news /events page on my web site.

Here is a preview of the Galileo experience:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

An Artistic Take on Passion

Thank you so much to Tarini, for featuring me in an interview for The Passion Project. It was a great pleasure speaking with you, talking about myself (how vain!), and through that, I was able to remind myself of how important my art is to me. Since the interview, I've been quite inspired and thus productive in the art realm of my world. I have recently completed a lot of work in preparation for my April / May exhibition at Galileo Coffee, and finished two pieces including the very recent Autumn at Porteau Cove. Anyway, thank you for reminding me of what's important to me, and what helps me be ME. It's been a difficult year in the "feeling good" department, and re-fuelling my creative self has helped tremendously - I hope you know, T.

For everyone else out there, please take a read through my Passion Project interview, as I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Autumn at Porteau Cove

After a brief yet too long absence from art creation, I'm finally finished my most recent painting. At the very end of winter, I capture my autumn scene. As I begin to experience the feelings of amazement as tree blossoms come into bloom and we see signs of an early spring, I have a chance to capture another beautiful season of colour, a British Columbia autumn. Two autumns ago, on one of my many drives along the Sea to Sky Highway, I took many a photo along the way - hundreds in fact - all with the intention to do some autumn paintings to follow. Other projects got in the way along the way, and it wasn't until a year later, last autumn, 2009, when I finally sunk my teeth into this piece. This is a 3'x3' painting, my largest scale canvas since Vancouver By Night created with the intention of hanging it in my bedroom: the large room in my home that happens to also house my easel and all my art supplies, and where I harness my creative energy through my art. It's also meant to complement the large tree that stands outside my bedroom window that I'm eagerly awaiting to come into bloom for the spring.

This painting is one I feel captures the essence of some of the beauty I see every time I drive the Sea to Sky on my way to Squamish. It's abstract realism and use of complementary colour pairings is pretty typical of my style. I'm happy with how this turned out, and plan to exhibit it in April during my exhibition at Galileo Coffee at Britannia Beach (~April 3rd-May 14th), just a few minutes up the road from where the photo was taken that inspired the painting. I look forward to your comments (please, don't be shy).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My 2010 So Far

My 2010 has been fairly dry in terms of my art production. I'm feeling like a piece of me has been missing as a result, and hope that this weekend offers me some time and the needed space to finally reach completion on a project. It's been a fairly trying year so far, having an unexpected streak of medical issues. Things have finally normalized for me, more or less, although there is another procedure looming ahead. It's been hard to feel inspired and excited about creating art in light of this, although inevitably, it would help me greatly to start creating again and have my mind focussed on something positive, productive, creative, and that I'm passionate about. I'm going to give 'er a go this weekend, and I'm excited. Now that I can sit and concentrate for long periods of time, I want to direct my energy to something important - finishing the canvas I started in December.

January's events were discouraging, in that the day I was to deliver art to one exhibition was the day after I had surgery at a hospital about 60km away from home, where the art was being stored. Needless to say, travelling to deliver wasn't possible, and I missed out on the exhibition all together. But I want to extend a warm Thank You to Jo at the North Vancouver Community Arts Council for being understanding of my circumstances and re-working the second exhibition, so that both of my pieces could be displayed in the second exhibition called Winter Sports at the CityScape Community Arts Space.

My plans to be away during the Olympics were cancelled due to the above-mentioned medical issues. Although I missed out on an excellent opportunity, it was a blessing in a way as I got to enjoy the Olympics here in my hometown, Vancouver, and see my art displayed at CityScape. I made a brief appearance at the opening reception, although it was hard to stand, and paid another visit later on a day the gallery was a little quieter. It was an excellent exhibition displaying works from several local artists passionate about winter sports: from skiing, snowboarding, curling, hockey, figure skating, speed skating, skeleton, biathlon - you name it, it was represented. Some of the artists were local high school students. Local students also made about 400 paper snowflakes to decorate the entrance of the gallery. It was quite a sight:

Of course, I was particularly excited that my art, depictions of Canadian victories in men's and women's ice hockey, was particularly relevant this year, with Canada owning the gold podium at the Games in 2010. Go Canada Go!

My goal this month is to complete the canvas I started in December, and get my creative life back on schedule. In April, I have an exhibition coming up at Galileo Coffee at Britannia Beach, BC, which I'm very much looking forward to. This Fall, I'll be participating in the Drift again on Main Street, in Vancouver, for my third straight year. In between, I'm sure I'll find plenty more to get involved with. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Upcoming Exhibitions - Winter Sports / Winter of 2010

The North Vancouver Community Arts Council has put together an exhibition for artists in all mediums for a themed exhibition called "Winter Sports" in celebration of the 2010 Winter Olympics. This show will feature art depicting Winter Sports in all present forms and throughout Canadian history and how it has contributed to shaping us as a country.

This exhibition will feature artists’ expression of their sentiment and passion for their favourite Canadian Winter Sport and will take place at the CityScape Community Art Space. There will be a second exhibition, with a Winter of 2010 theme, in the foyer at North Vancouver District Hall as part of their Art in Public Spaces exhibition series.

I will have a selection of my work at both exhibitions which express my passion for ice hockey and celebrate achievements in both women’s and men’s hockey at recent Olympic Winter Games. I invite you to come to the exhibitions and to join me at the opening receptions in January 2010.

Click the image below for details on the exhibitions and opening receptions.