Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year-end thoughts

I love Christmas. It brings so much of that sense of wonder that I treasure, crave, and stockpile as healing for the inevitable rough patches. But this Christmas has been a rough one, mainly because of that dreaded social nicety called entertaining. Being a good hostess is fairly impossible for me, as entertaining requires much of that grace and ease of conversation that I so openly lack. I am awkward, confusing, temperamental, stubborn, and a great lover of solitude... all the things that I am told I shouldn't be. 

Twenty five continues to be a bittersweet and odd year... I seem to be teetering between states, pulling hard against the pressure to clothe myself in grownupness. With each year that passes, I begin to suspect with increasing conviction that holding on to childlikeness is the best thing one can do for one's soul.

Friends and relatives, God bless them, are far too close. There is little room for individuality and honesty where such relationships are concerned. That odd patina of familiarity prevents us from seeing each other's underlying selves. And it's incredibly sad. Being able to see my mother as a remarkable, resilient girl-woman underneath the layers of motherness and wifeness has been one of the greatest revelations of my life thus far. It has inspired many of my poems, and quite honestly, I am still getting over the shock of the nearness of it all. In many ways, we're all just grown-up children, fumbling about in our private worlds, convincing ourselves that we know some things to be true. 

How strange and startling it is that we aren't able to see each other beyond the titles we've been given. I want to reshape these titles in my mind. I've started to do it through my poetry and art, I think. These two lovely ladies came into being the past week, and I think a lot of my thoughtshapes ended up in there somehow. 

I am realizing that my girls, with their gazes, defiant, thoughtful, absorbed and intense, are all me. They are me, and all the women I've ever known. Each one utterly herself, each one beautiful. 

Happy end of 2011 to all of you. Wishing you only beautiful, true things in the New Year. 


Monday, December 26, 2011

Jolie Art:)

My siblings are some of the most creative people I've ever met. These pieces are by my fourteen year old sister Jolie. She does things that I've really  never seen anyone else do. These are made up of text, clippings, and all sorts of her interesting, Jolie-eque patterning. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

...and other endangered species

Here is the most recent addition to the Bird Lady images. It's the largest and most detailed, I think, to date. The bird is a Hyacinth macaw, and is the world's largest flying parrot. It's also endangered, due to habitat loss and capture for the pet trade. I am thinking here, through this image, of the ways such things come to bear upon the person. There are many things at play in here, but as always, it only matters to me how it echoes in someone else.  I am trying to say things without saying them, really.

People keep asking me what's up with all these bird thingies, but I suppose I'm getting it out of my system in the most productive way possible! I love this small collection, it's deeply personal, and very special. I'm fairly sure there will be more Bird Ladies in the new year, among mountains of other things. Give thanks for the good as the year draws to a close:)

Season's Greetings,

Monday, December 19, 2011

to be a small fish in a big pond...

As the year draws to a close, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the tremendous changes that have taken place, and just a bit proud of myself, that I found the courage somehow to make that huge leap back into doing what I love. 

It's scary, not knowing what's next. But I remind myself that we never do, even when we are in the most stable of positions. No one really does know what's next. And I've been surprised, so many times,by the unexpected and lovely opportunities that have come my way this year. 

I'm a stubborn believer in fate. 

This mermaid in the fishbowl is actually an unplanned drawing I did at my desk in work last year. I can't remember where the idea came from, or what made me decide to run out at lunch break to find a sketch pad and cheap colour pencils. 

But it's funny, because looking at this drawing, I realize that it's a pretty good representation of how I felt, last year. Like a very strange fish in a very small bowl. No room to breathe or move, no sense of who or what I was. 

How different it all is now. 
I am a tiny fish, and the pond is so wide, but God is good to me. 

Give thanks,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blackbird Sorrow, Blackbird Joy

Hey there,

These are two new pieces I've done... Blackbird Sorrow and Blackbird Joy. I love them both equally :) Blackbirds are incredibly interesting. A couple of weeks ago, one kept coming into the house and puzzling over the mirror, oscillating between singing and dancing for his/ her reflection and then violently lunging at it. I suppose that's where the idea first came from to do these two pieces. In my mind,  blackbird sorrow and joy are distinct, almost tangible emotions. The words conjure up something made out of memories, childhood rhymes, and then something far more glimmering and immaterial. I know I've felt both. Here they are:)

Blackbird Sorrow, Watercolour and Pen&Ink

Blackbird Joy, Watercolour and Pen& Ink


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bird Lady:)


I am so totally a bird lady at heart. And it has nothing to do with keeping birds, really. The older I get, the more I feel as though my heart is winged and birdlike, if that makes any sense to you. I've started my Bird Lady collection of small paintings, and oh how I love it. This is perhaps one of the most engaging and lovely experiences I've had while making something. This is a little bit of one of the first images. I've also included "Blu" in this post, after a bit of indecisive fidgeting. *Eep!* I'm both terribly eager and terribly afraid to post what I've completed so far! Anyway, I hope you love. There will be more, I promise!

Bananaquit Love, Watercolour, Pen and Ink

Blu, Watercolour, pen and ink

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

shine hard

A quick drawing I did over the weekend. I love the girl's expression, though it's utterly unplanned <3 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Girl with the flowers

Sharing a new piece I did earlier this week. I haven't had the time draw in awhile. Commissions and projects are lovely, but every now and then you need to time to feel out the shapes and textures in your own heart. This one I enjoyed doing so much... and I am excited to share. Hope you like <3


Thursday, December 1, 2011

When the Fire Comes

excerpt from When the Fire Comes

Now my smile will not be washed pretty.
There is ash in my throat
from the last lie I lit.

Who shall I be now?
I’ve run out of clean faces to wear,
this skin hurts when I dream.
All my wings won’t fit in this room,
bones must be broken,
cries must be bundled in sheets,
a match will be struck in my sleep.

When the fire comes, who knows what will burn?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mother in the Morning

Was recently re-reading Mother in the Morning. The impact this little poem had always startles me, when I really think about it. It was my first piece accepted for publication (Bim, May '09) and was a contender for Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul. I love it so dearly because it reminds me of those early days of writing, the sense of discovery, that tremulous feeling of being just on the edge of something. Thought I'd share it here, along with a drawing.

Much love.

Mother in the Morning

Mother sips tea in her garden on mornings,
abandoning the kitchen that echoes with breakfast,
lunch kits, laces untied, and the dripping faucet.
She sits on a cracked footstool in complete silence
as the heat from the teacup rises up
whispering warm, comforting secrets
only she can understand.

There are sharp things in the ground
and her hands are soft
yet she never wears gloves.
She is not afraid of the damp, dark earth
with its shards of buried glass and crawling creatures.
She has planted hope with her own hands,
seen it grow tall, and bright with butterflies.

When my mother’s hands are in the dew- damp dirt
and she is fragile in the quiet morning light
I can see the shapes of sharp things buried in her.
I realize how the fluorescent kitchen light dims her,
hides that secret flower she is growing
That can only be seen in morning light,
and blooms only when she does.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shape and Blindness

This piece is currently for sale, already framed. If you're interested, give me a shout nah? Feel free to share this with others who may dig it too.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I dreamt we ran across the world
barefoot, belly full of joy
our feet like wings
bearing us on concrete clouds.

You showed me the vastness of space,
whispered in my ear

Then the same ground fell away
beneath our feet

and there was water, 
vast and dark
filled with one eyed creatures
leaping and wailing.

Still we ran,

our legs like cannons
shooting into the wet, deep earth
like violent stars

Till we reached its end.

We stood at the silent, trembling edge
every breath an explosion in the stillness

and I woke, shocked by air and space,
your whispered words still on my skin.


Detail, Watercolour Portrait of Kevin

We're still running, love.
Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Four Faces

Something bright for a rainy day:)

I started working on a series of small pieces, each one about the size of a paperback novel. I wanted these to be bright and eye-catching little pieces with interesting details. There are four so far... hoping to add a few more to the collection soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Little Detail...

The razor in hand is a small detail, and is easy to miss. And it does seem like a pretty, fairly simple piece. But there is the cutting of the hair, which can be read in so many different ways. I wanted to leave it wide open. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Playing With Thread, Part 2

So this is part two of my thread-playing series...( I really do need to find a more appropriate name than that! :P )

In this piece she is bound by thread in a way that might seem beautiful. Making this, the repetitive winding and layering of embroidery thread was particularly interesting. The tangling of the strung beads around her neck was added afterwards.

More to come...


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not-so-still life

Just a fun post: :D... Was doing some practice with watercolour in still life, and Gigi insisted on getting in on it. She even tried to climb up onto the paper. I think some water was spilled on the rug too. The end product is below, unfortunately I didn't paint the live model into it. But Gigi still gets her 15 mins of fame. :)

Dryad in Stages

 I like taking pics of my pieces while in progress. Mostly it's just an odd quirk, but it does give me perspective. I've been going through my files, and realize that there are a lot of progress shots in there. I think they're fun, and exciting. To see something becoming is always remarkable. I've added a few here.

1) Dryad. The pencil/ pen/ marker framework is already in place here. Starting to work on the shading of the face. Love this stage, when the faces come into themselves.

 2) Most of the face and body is done in the second image. The skin on this one involved a lot of different textures and strokes. I'd just started the hair as well. 

3) And the final thing:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alma and the Wind

This is my newest painting, done in acrylic. It was one of those things that just wasn't thought out at all. There was just the hunger for strong, sweeping, satisfying lines. The end result is Alma and the Wind, and it's one of my favourite pieces I've done.

30 x 12", acrylic

Friday, September 30, 2011

Playing with Thread, part one

I've been playing with thread lately... all of a sudden I find it incredibly fascinating. While working on this little piece, I found myself thinking of all the things we are bound by, the things we tie to ourselves. And thread...all the threads of each day that must be kept in the right order, woven just so. 

I cut notches into her neck and face, then slipped the thread through these spaces. I kept thinking of how painful such a thing would be, as I was wrapping the thread. But then, it is painful. There are moments when you pause at the sink, the taxi stand, your desk, and you acknowledge the ache where you've been cut, where you've been bound too tight by your own threads. The gaze, criscrossed with thread, affects me in a way that would be far easier to hammer into poetry than to explain here. 

So as I said, I'm playing with thread these days. It feels, somehow, like a very indirect way of testing everyday tensions. At the very least, it's interesting, and that in itself is enough.

Will post progress as I work on the other pieces.

Blessings :)

Monday, September 26, 2011


I named her "Fern"... I imagine her occupying the damp, mossy corners of the garden, the places where small things grow unnoticed. (Now that I think of it, she's just waiting to be written into a short story!)

Fern, graphite pencil

Friday, September 23, 2011


Thunder and the Bird Lady~

So much thunder. I am afraid to walk about the house, in case my movement may somehow crack the earth. It is one of those fragile, easily broken mornings, and the world is so filled with wild things I do not understand. I don't pretend to. There is too much. The more I read, the more I sit in on talks of theories and ideas, the more I chatter, is the more I feel as though I am floundering some how, being suffocated in words and words and nothing. It is dense and unsatisfying, and I am still so often thirsty. And then there is all this thunder. Ah to be half-wild, to be as beautiful and as unexplainable and as real as the Bird Lady, with her storm-tossed eyes...

This is only her first incarnation. She's far too interesting for just one piece.

Go be half-wild,

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This is first in a series of paintings I've started. While painting her, I thought of her vaguely as the little known patroness of too-late things. I'm very excited about the progress of this collection. I'll be posting the pieces one by one as they are ready. 

In the meantime, this is Michaela:)

Michaela, acrylic

closer look at Michaela, acrylic 

Old Portraits

An old self-portrait, done in 2002.

Flawed and imperfect, but I suppose all things are in one way or another.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Half-Light Gaze...

I am fiercely fond of this piece. I am all too familiar with all these half-lovely, half-fearsome (half-broken) things... Hope you whole like it! :p

Half Light Gaze. Pencil 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pen Tuh Paper


Check out the newish poem Untame Things, on "Pen tuh Paper" a very cool poetry blog:) And submit, why don't you?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On Portraits

Portraits frighten me a little, if that makes any sense. There is something uncanny and unsettling about seeing a face, particularly a loved one's face, emerging from the seemingly random splotches of colour on the page. It is eerily intense to sit and stare at the contours of someone's mouth, someone's eyes. And to render truthfully is devastating... but it is even more difficult to render while imparting some of one's own energy. Difficult, and a bit frightening, yes. And when it fails... agonizing. But, as I've rediscovered, it can also be sensuous and quieting and therapeutic.

I started with my own face, I suppose, because it's mine to ruin and make an unflattering mess of, if it came to that. But I feel as though I ended up somehow capturing the slightly lost and half-wild energy that is masked so easily in photos. 


Staring at my own rendition of myself is doubly strange. I experienced this remarkable sense of confrontation. I am not sure whether to run from it or be thrilled by it.

The funny thing is, I continue my 'portraiting' with images of my boyfriend and others near to me, and each one possesses such a strikingly different energy to it.

I intend to keep working on portraits throughout the following weeks, it is actually all practice for a commissioned project in watercolours that's coming up. There is spilled paintwater everywhere, and I couldn't be happier. 

Be well,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wondering, and the Water Woman

There is an immense quiet about this that I swear I did not put there myself.

I was browsing through an album of recent pieces, and this one really stopped me up short, got me thinking about so many things. What control do we have of these things in the first place, these things of our own hands that startle us and bring us face to face with our most secret of selves?  What are we doing, what drives us when we feel the need to create? And if we knew just what we were doing, would it still be such a thing of mystery and depth?

I don't mind the unknowing though. It's beautiful. :)

Surprise yourself.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

all our crossings...

I was just revisiting the catalogue for the In The Spirit Exhibition held in June (link to catalogue above) which one of my poems was featured at. This is far too interesting not to share.

The poem itself is below:


Tell me, what do you keep
in your green glass heart?

What salvaged ice from forgotten moons,
what rusted joints thrown up
from the wrecked night
of your wanting?

And when the tides of your sleep ebb,
what masks permit you
to cross the continent of waking?

Whose arboreal arms will bear you
beyond these highways of stolen sand
and purpling death?

Ours is a dwelling you have found
too broken for words.

You must plant this poem
when you find home.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rediscovering Pieces...

I've been sorting through some old pieces lately. It's interesting... feels almost like rediscovering something missed and treasured, like bouncing up dear old friends:).

It strikes me now that I had a bit of an obsession with strong, fierce female characters, like those in the pieces below. The idea is definitely something I've been playing with all along, but now approach in a subtler way. I think of myself in my secondary school days, scribbling away absently in some corner, and wonder if perhaps that type of strength and determination wasn't something I was trying to create for myself through these characters. Or perhaps each one of these characters is really one of my inside selves:)... I think I like that possibility. 

In any case, they are interesting pieces. Even now, almost ten years later, they still resonate with me quite strongly.
Hope they speak to you too!!


This last piece in charcoal now belongs to Tisha Marajh... hope she will bring quiet strength and a fighting spirit....