New Works

Finally! I’ve done a ton of experimenting this year, mainly because I didn’t have many deadlines. After several months work, I’ve completed some new paintings that I’m really excited about. As my sometimes curmudgeony photographer commented to me today, “I think you’re getting the hand of this.”

green city, 36″ x 72″.

 This painting had very grid-like, urban feel as I was completing it. So of course, I added a map of Vancouver. So far everyone who sees it has tried to find their street. I love the motion of the big colour blocks in this painting.

bikini, 48″ x 36″

After I finished this painting, I went home feeling completely satisfied and said, “I did a good day’s work today.” However my cats were more interested in when I was going to do some cat feeding. I love the detail that shows through the many circles, and the beautiful purple created when the blue and pink resin meet. The yellow flower balances out the composition, in fact there’s a lovely balance of many elements here. Sigh.

sunset trip, 36″ x 48″

This painting was the most challenging for me. For a long time, it sat on the wall, looking beautiful but incomplete. I hardly ever use black resin, but in this case it added that touch of darkness that so many of my paintings need. In addition, the black is not a deep black, but more like a squid ink black. When wiring it today, I noticed that it worked better on the horizontal, creating a hazy sunset scene. 

tipsy, 36″ x 24″

Inspired recycling brought this painting to life. I intend to take a few paintings I’m not happy with and rework them with more layers of resin. This painting was a rather plain one with a little colour and a lot of line, and I added the big black stencil form and then went crazy with the coloured resin. Fun, fun, fun!

upon the shore, 36″ x 108″

This painting was the first one to be completed, which means it came together really beautifully (with no agonizing on my part.) It was a direct result of the experimentation I did early in the year, playing with a lot of graffiti elements. I was looking back on my portfolio, and I realized that although I love bright colour, I hadn’t ever done anything  neon bright. Now I have, and this painting is so amazing. I can hardly wait to see it hanging in a home, it’s the biggest piece I’ve ever done and a real statement.

vibrant, 24″ x 72″
This painting is actually part of a series of three that I worked on a year ago. One sold at the Crawl last year to the loveliest couple. And the third one isn’t done yet. This painting has a vibrant, modern look and is also an attempt by me to get as machine-like as possible with three coats of supersmooth resin. It’s not perfectly smooth though, I don’t think my resin work will ever be. And that’s good, since the human touch is what distinguishes original art.

Colour is my boyfriend

I love colour! But for me, colour is like that boyfriend with whom you keep breaking up and then getting back together. Why do we break up? Sometimes, because other people say we should, “M.A., you could sell more work, if it was more…subtle…” or “Do you really need to use every colour, every time?” Sometimes, because the light or season changes, and bright colour seems too harsh. Sometimes, because I want to do something different, just for the sake of change. Pretty much all the various reasons you break up with anyone, but luckily colour is that steady kind of boyfriend who sticks around.

Right now, I’m back together with bright colour, and I’m playing with coloured resin. I love its transparency, its vibrant colour and the fact I can’t predict how it will turn out. It’s tough to manipulate resin, I pour out a lovely swirling pattern and next thing I know, it’s a blotchy puddle. Or I try to mix my tints and come up with a strange snot-coloured green instead of the bright lime I was aiming for. And when I’m in this colour mood, I do want to use ALL the colours ALL the time. These smaller paintings were all done in the past two weeks, but I am in the final stages of completing seven new large paintings. They are just getting to the exciting phase, where I have completed a lot of layers and I’m getting ready to rip them back and see what’s beneath. And since I’m in a colourful phase right now, that will definitely influence the final product.

I’m really excited, and right now it looks like my boyfriend, Colour, will be sticking around for a while…

What’s new in the July studio

This year has been all about experimentation for me, and I especially like to experiment in the summer. Here are three paintings I did for a Japanese-Canadian art show, so I used my favourite pop colour along with with maps on Japan. I played with abstract shape, floating areas of paint, and photo transfers. Instead of resin, I sealed them with acrylic medium, so they are subtly shiny, if anything I paint can ever be called subtle.

pink map of Japan, 16″ x 16″

Pokemap of Japan, 16″ x 16″

souvenir map of Japan, 16″ x 16″

These three paintings have just gone to Toronto, where they will be in the Artsu Matsuri show. Here are all the details:

Artsu Masturi
July 12 – 28, 2012
Opening: Thursday July 12, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
with music by Bruce Tatemichi and wieners by Chef Shoji, cash bar, and Artsu Matsuri artists
Pechu Kucha Thursday July 19, 7:30 p.m.

JCCC Gallery
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, ON M3C 1Z5 
416-441-2345 email: 

I wish I could be there, Chef Shoji’s weiners sound especially intriguing.

A great week in the studio

I’m currently working on seven panels at once, which is a lot even for someone like me, who hails from Short Attention Span, Ontario. At the early stages, I often work similar motifs on all the paintings, they evolve gradually into something more unique.
Anyway, the painting is going really well, and here’s a sampling of my past week at the studio. 

I can’t get enough ombre, my resin work and
now my paintings have that dip-dye look.
The cats better watch out…

Did some collaged stripes with a 60’s feel.

I started striping it, but I stopped since it looked great already.

The stripes led to patchwork patterns.

More crazy quilts, I think it’s the combination of order and wild pattern I like.

 These lovely layers are already gone, and now I’m working on some florals inspired by spring.  Stay tuned…

How much do your paintings sell for?

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On Saturday, I had a little open studio since a few people were interested in stopping by and seeing the seven paintings I had just finished.  It was pretty low key, but one fun part was that Marta Robertson-Smyth, who teaches classes to kids in my building, asked if she could drop by with two of her classes. She was teaching a class on abstraction and composition, so she thought that my work would compliment that lesson. I love a chance to turn the studio into a gallery.

The teens were shyly appreciative and the younger kids were enthusiastic and wanted to explore every corner of the studio.  The number one question kids ask me is: How much do your paintings sell for? And when I tell them, the response is always a big gasp. I’m not sure whether this is because the number is so large in comparison to the average allowance or that they can’t believe anyone would pay that price. Marta was kind enough to point out that my prices are very reasonable. Yet I do wonder why the finances of art are so fascinating to kids. Is it because they love to make art but have been told that there’s no money in the profession? As a former fast-tracking MBA, I know that there is no accounting system in the world that could make my art practice look like a big success, yet I know I make more money than many artists and enough to continue my work without undue worry. But getting the chance to do work that is creative, absorbing and soul-satisfying is priceless.

So here’s the new work that the kids loved.  How to put a value on art?  If you fall in love with a painting, it will give you pleasure for ever.  Seems like a good investment.

 Beautiful Wall

Sometimes, I complete a painting and I fall completely in love with it. This painting is currently hanging in my hall, where I can see it when I walk into the house.  When I tore back the layers, they miraculously created a perfect palette with the painting on top, a lovely palette of vibrating pastels which reminded me of the wallpaper of an old cottage, torn back to reveal each owner’s redecoration.

Test Patterns

I use tissue paper in my paintings and some of it is tissue I recycle from purchases, since it has an interesting pattern on it. I was very excited to get this striped paper from Club Monaco, since stripes add a certain stability to my random composition. But once I resined this work, the stripes seem almost to vibrate and the painting is now full of movement.  I love the high contrast of the black and colour here.

Cat’s Eye
This painting has evolved a lot in the resining process, I added red, yellow and orange resin which created warmth and energy.  And the leopard print pattern definitely adds an animal element that contrasts to the line and circle composition.

Spiral Joy
Another painting which is making me smile. I found the expensive spiral handmade paper in Toronto and now I want to go back and get more. The spiral is the perfect pattern to add contrast to the open spaces in the artwork. Love it, this the kind of painting I’d like to redecorate my house around.  Oh wait, was that the sound of my husband panicking?  Really darling, who wouldn’t want to live in a neon pink and lime green paradise?

 Squid Propulsion
My art practice is dividing into two parts these days:  the Excavation series where I paint multi-layered works, like the first three in this blog post; and the Transparency series where I use the complicated remnants from the Excavation series to create open, transparent works like these ones. The use of coloured resins lets me achieve some lovely intense yet see-through colour.
 Spiral Jet
Sometimes I agonize over titles. Other times I shamelessly plunder my art history knowledge to dredge up something appropriate.  Marta, who was extremely interested in brushstrokes, complimented the loose strokes and compositional movement in this work. I was highly flattered to hear my work discussed as if it were in a museum.

Patrick’s Favourite
I like asking people which painting is their favourite and why.  My husband always gets a panicked look on his face, the same look that accompanies the question, “Do you notice anything new about me?”  But this time, he pointed out this painting and said, “I just like it.”
Really what more needs to be said?