Right, well, it's a bit long-winded but I'm going to leave it as is. 'Growing Up' is the background story. The why and no wonder part. It is not, as they say at university, required reading. After that is Art and Photography which is a little more succinct. Otherwise, if you like stories and want to know more about me...
My parents were a huge influence on me. They said from the start, we don't mind if you don't go to university, we do, however, want you to travel. So I traveled and found out I'm a little bit of an adrenaline junky. Not sure where that comes from, perhaps it was being allowed to stay up and watch James Bond movies when I was little. My most memorable adventures include: repelling down an 80ft shaft into a bat infested cave in Belize, wreck diving in Cuba and cage diving with Great White Sharks in Isla Guadalupe and swimming with Whale Sharks in the Baja. I've sailed the Mediterranean Sea for an afternoon and jumped off cliffs into aqua water. I've hiked the Cinque Terre in Italy and participated in a proper Tea Ceremony in the middle of a bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan. I've floated on a boat through a Thai river market and become all teary in a 12C Castle in northern Italy because the frescos were so beautiful. Not that those are all adrenaline fueled exploits but the experiences were powerful.
So it is in my blood and I traveled a lot which is why it took 10 years to graduate with a BA Double Major in Art History and Visual Arts. I had eventually decided I needed to stay put to finish my degree. I loved being at university and having a huge studio to paint in and I loved studying art history, the Renaissance in particular. I still have, and reference, my diabolically expensive student texts. And the references to Europe and all that gorgeous art was in Europe. I wanted to see the real thing.
I moved to the UK after I finished my degree (finally). I lived in Bristol for a year then to Bath where I bought a wee cottage in a tiny village and zipped around in a Mini called Phoebe. When I could, I went to London and Paris on weekends to visit galleries. Sounds exotic but it's so easy to travel once you are there. My parents had a canal boat in England and for 3 summers they would cruise and I would visit them in different points in the landscape. It was wonderful to get a call saying, we're in Stratford, can you make it for tea? I continued to travel from the UK throughout Europe and also went to Thailand and Mexico for family reunions. My family was scattered around the globe so it was great fun to meet up somewhere different. I remember traveling with my parents in Cambodia, I remember watching my parents swim around a rocky point every morning in Puerto Vallarta. Get togethers were always a lark with lots of laughing, photos and when it was over, we'd smile, say see you soon and go 'home' to our different countries.
I could talk here about working. Hard. I worked full time while I was at university to fund my way through two degrees without debt. To finance my tickets. To pay rent. To eat. When I moved to England, I worked at the University of Bristol, I worked at an estate agents, I worked at a graphic design company. My priority was experience so that is where my savings went.
After 6 years it was time to come back to Canada. Home is Victoria, BC and it's beautiful. I love the West Coast and I wanted to see more of my family. We were all migrating back here again. I wanted to stop and settle a bit, nest for awhile, and I desperately wanted to paint again. It had been years since I picked up a brush. So, I switched from living abroad to visiting abroad.
I started painting again. With intent. I strove towards having a body of work that felt strong, to be accepted into a gallery, to have a show. I succeeded in my goals but it went beyond that. It became a part of who I am. My art matured along with me and has brought me to this time and place where I paint and I love everything about it.
I still went on adventures and I became serious about photography. When I returned home from a trip to Italy, I submitted images to an art publisher and they accepted three and I was thrilled. They accepted four when I came back from Costa Rica.
I was hired as a product photographer's assistant. I worked hard and then became the product photographer and then became freelance so there was flexibility and room for everything. It took a long time to get to this point but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
My creative and adventurous life is the perfect storm of loves.
My paintings are quiet. I take all the threads of an experience and simplify, simplify, simplify. I champion the slow moments.
I started out as a painter of massive abstract work. I focused on texture by layering tissue and paper, or gauze and plaster, over canvas. I have always been a minimalist in my colour palette. I just like the calmness it brings. Simplicity can be powerfully evocative and since I like to paint atmosphere, it is critically important to me.
My current work is considered 'contemporary figurative' and 'contemporary landscape' but what I really paint is stillness; moments of acceptance or contentment or awareness. It's so hard to describe so I'll just let my paintings do that for me. My entire remit is to create a quietness so when I share a piece of work the calm is palpable. It is what I appreciate in my world.
I love to paint whimsy and humour and things a little out of wack. I love quirky illustration and sculpture. I love Renaissance portraits, the dark and detailed. I feel that as life is short and there is little time to spare so I'd rather laugh or be delighted or be awed or be quietly content with what I create and surround myself with.
My style is me. I live what I paint. I've been advised I dress that way too. I live on a hill so there is a feeling of space outside my windows and it's very quiet and open. When I have enough of the tranquility I go on a crazy adventure or take up something completely different like ceramics or guitar. Then I return to paint and canvas full of new experience and freshly inspired.
I was hired as a product photographer's assistant for a retail store over a decade ago. It was the best job I'd ever had and I loved it! I absorbed knowledge and accumulated experience in product photography, stylizing, graphic design, web management, art direction, creating and managing content online, print publishing... I eventually took over when the position became available and then went on to contract and freelance.
As a product photographer the work is varied and creative. I work entirely with natural light. I'm terribly organized (for an artist) and particular and instinctive about the details and small things. I've done product shoots and ad layouts for full page ads in magazines like Canadian House & Home. I've done huge projects such as shooting over 1500 fabrics for a store. I've done tiny projects which I love because they are contained and working one on one with a client is always rewarding.
In addition to product photography, I also manage images and content for websites and do graphic design work. It is all relevant, all connected, diverse and interesting. I find having multiple creative disciplines a wonderful way to be continually inspired.
I shoot just for myself too - I can't tell you the passion I have for capturing an artful gathering of bits and pieces. To me, it's about taking time, slowing down and telling a story. Probably a small story - like cutting lavender in the garden or berries in season or tea on a rainy day. I collect objects that are dented, worn, rusted, marked and patina'd. I collect fabric, old books, textures, paper, stones and small things. Always with the idea that it will work its way into a shoot. I also have family treasures handed down to me and what better way to remember these people than to do what I love and create portraits from elements of their life. My Dad's childhood cereal bowl, my Grandmother's scissors, my Mother's pearls, my Grandfather's suitcase... it's an ongoing personal project with great heart. If I'm being lazy, I shoot the cat.
SOCIAL MEDIA and BLOG
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