Thoughts and images creatively fuelled by insomnia #4


“Adrift towards morning”

16”x 20” acrylic on canvas

I’ve always loved laying out on a warm summer night and just
staring up at the night sky. Imagination roams freely with only the naked eye.
A poet’s perspective.
I sometimes wish I knew more of the scientific end, but then again maybe not.
This is just simple, unabridged awe and wonder that I can never get enough of.

Thoughts and images creatively fuelled by insomnia #3

Bears and spiders
16″x 20″
acrylic on canvas

Another reoccurring dream I’ve had over the years is the bear dream. Usually I’m walking in the woods when I see a black bear in the distance. He always sees me at exactly the same time and runs towards me. It always ends the same; the two of us, eye to eye just staring at each other. I threw the spiders in because they show up regularly in hordes and are always creepy…

Thoughts and images creatively fuelled by insomnia

Pocket babyBetween the hours of night and day, when sleep won’t come, my brain sometimes feels like it empties all of its contents at once into one giant, common pool. Ideas, images, and even reoccurring dreams are dumped together and revealed in a random, senseless parade of memories and thoughts, sifted for hours by me and my insomnia.

This first painting is based on the pondering of a reoccurring dream I’ve had since having my first child many years ago. It seems to surface every few years.
“Pocket baby” begins with me holding a normal baby (not sure why or who it belongs to) Suddenly it’s mine to protect from imminent danger and I have to run with it. Eventually the baby shrinks to a size that can fit in my pocket making it much easier to carry and protect.

Fairy Tales

Hansel and Gretel – 30″x 30″
The first in a series dedicated to my grandchildren.
The first books I remember reading as a child were illustrated collections of fairy tales. These worn out copies that had been passed down from child to child were my favorite things to read at the time, and still something that I return to every few years to feed my imagination.


Lazy Artists

When I was a teenager I remember hearing talk of “lazy artists”. These were people seen wandering around this small town without regular jobs, perceived as doing nothing because they weren’t producing what was considered “art”. Fast forward to today and I find that it’s me wandering around without a “real” job, looking for inspiration in this changing town… just one of the misconceptions about being an artist :  that you work only when you’re behind the easel.

People often ask me; when did I know I wanted to be an artist? or how long have I been one? I remember telling people when I was 8 years old that I wanted to be a painter. At the time I was was enrolled in an adult painting class because in this small town there just weren’t any classes for children.
I’m always on the fence about whether I think people are born artists or whether it’s a learned thing. Maybe it’s a mix of both..with desire and obsession being the thing we’re born with.

I always thought of myself as the average kid in grade school until I realized quite early  that most of my piers weren’t concerned about how light fell on things, or how everything could be broken down to lines and shapes, or what colours could I mix to make “that” colour? Anyone who can identify with these things will probably agree that it is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the incredible joy and satisfaction you get from some of the work you produce, the curse is that your eyes never stop tracing lines, mixing colours and the brain never stops thinking of images to produce. The only rest? keep working, keep producing. The better I think I’m getting, the happier I am 🙂


Recipe of a painting

I don’t know how other artists work, but when I sit down at my easel I have only a slight idea, and a lot of desire.
I like taking landscape photos, but I wouldn’t want my paintings to be dependant on or even look like what the camera sees.
I usually draw a rough outline with a big brush and some dark paint, and then I put the music on…
I love all kinds of music. In fact, as soon as I put it on I’m basically on automatic pilot with brush and paint.
I mostly work at night and go to bed when I’m too tired to paint anymore. It’s only in the morning when I go downstairs and have a look that I realize what I’ve done the night before.
So I guess when people ask me how long it takes me to do a painting, I should really say –
at least 2000 songs!

Emily and company

I’m a chronic reader and usually have at least one book on the go at all times. But I also have a few of my own classics “wells” that I’ve read many times and still go back to for inspiration. One such book is Emily Carr’s ” Hundreds and Thousands”. It’s really a collection of her journal entries over her lifetime as an artist and gives an intimate insight into who she was and why she painted the way she did.

I came across this entry the other day and thought I’d post it. In it she records her reaction to seeing the work of the Group of Seven for the first time in 1927.

“Oh God, what have I seen? Where have I been? Something has spoken to the very soul of me, wonderful, mighty, not of this world. Chords way down in my being have been touched. Dumb notes have struck chords of wonderful tone. Something has called out of somewhere. Something in me is trying to answer.”

How amazing is it that we can be so moved by paint marks on canvas, or noises made by instruments or human voice, or words written on paper…

Simple stuff

pencil sketches

thumbnail sketches

I love electronics and high tech gadgets, and always have. I’m continuously amazed by what can be done by computers and smartphones-  but it seems like the more you use them the harder it is to get away from them.

I get overwhelmed if I’ve been working a lot on my computer doing art cards and calendars and other business related stuff and like to grab a sketchbook and head to the beach.

I find that the pure simplicity of putting pencil marks on paper gives my mind a rest. I don’t do anything too complicated, mostly what are called “thumbnail sketches”. Quick, loose landscape drawings not much bigger than postage stamps. Later on when I’m working on a large painting, I can refer to them.

Sometimes these lines or shapes will show up in a brush stroke that I find so intriguing that I’ll build my whole painting around it.