New Evening Studio Classes January 2013

2013 Vancouver Studio Evening Classes

Illuminate the Artist Within  -- Creative Empowerment : Turn your Dream into Reality.

Stuck? Blocked? Procrastinate? Self-Sabotage?  Talk it away and never make it happen? Sound Familiar?
Learn the secrets of an illuminated artist, put them into practice for this 6 week course  and learn how to powerfully
create your life. Open to people in all walks' of life yearning to have the tools to make their dreams real.

January 15, 22, 29 - February 5, 12, 19 2013, Tuesdays 6:30 - 9 pm, 6 weeks
$495  Register by Friday December 21st  for discounted rate $395 

Get Painting - Abstract Painting for Total Beginners

Always wanted to paint but not sure where to start? Don't feel like investing in tons of art supplies? Want to try painting & receive support?
This course is for you! Fun, informational, experimental, process focussed. Learn about acrylics and the basics to get painting.

Course includes all painting materials and supplies.
January 17, 24, 31 - February 14, 21, 28 2013, Thursdays 6:30 - 9 pm, 6 weeks
$595  Register by Friday December 21st  for discounted rate $495 

Studio classes taught in a private studio setting at the ARC Live/Work studios in Vancouver, BC and are open to a limited group.  / 604 736-5111

Culture Crawl 2012 Photos from Deb's Studio

A  big thank you to all 3,660 people who came to the ARC Live/Work Studios for thsi year's Culture Crawl 2012. Here are some photos from my Studio.
Curious about what was different from last year?  

1. We had More people visit the ARC this year 3, 666 compared to around 3,000 last year. 

2. I experienced support and tribe on a level I have not yet previously felt. A Big HUGE Thank you to:  to Lindsay Clark Kiki Connelly Vanessa Violini Robyn Ziebell Carolyn Trotter Brittani Jensen Heather Frazer Terry Lyn Evans Paige Ketchum Liz Rad Bret Raglafart Brittani Jensen Kiona Hartl Esther and Marcel David & Gabriella for stopping by the studio to support and nourish me with  your gifts of love, support, soup, samosas, hugs, humor... Honestly I'm blown away by all of your support. THANK YOU.

3. Ruthie had a lemonade and ice cream stand. (see her set up/prep picture and her live in action below)

4. Bret Hernandez came in and DJ'd for us on Saturday. Go Michael Jackson -- and we had people dancing and groovin in the studio!!!! Thank you Bret!

and more... (keep reading)

 Ruthie setting up her lemonade stand prior to the cuture crawl.

 The treasure chest with the prizes for the treasure hunt.

 Full Moon Frog Pond and Raw Expression paintings on 300 pound paper. See them in detail, click each link separately.

 Lots of small items were made available including hand made note pads, cards and the Little Gems series paintings on loose canvas.

 Little Loves shown here are 5 " x 5" small paintings each with its own intention. They have not been documents and do not appear on the website nor anywhere else.

 This large maroon and pink cruciform abstract is 40 x 60" and as of Nov 30th available for sale. 604-736-5111. This painting is not posted on the website nor does it belong to a special series.

 Little Gems series paintings  both framed and unframed.

The larger 23 x 30" painings on the right hand side are part of a new series "Fragments of Life" which I have yet to post on my website. Check back in December at under "portfolio" and look for framgents of life to see the originals up close and in detail. Tx.

  Yoga Girl paintings shown opposide the Frog Pond paintings and the Raw Expression series.

 This is a small untitled abstract landsacpe that is about 14 x 20" and is currently (date of this b log) still available)

These 23 x 30" painings on the left hand side of the panel display are part of a new series "Fragments of Life" which I have yet to post on my website. Check back in December at under "portfolio" and look for framgents of life to see the originals up close and in detail. Tx.

Little Loves shown here are 5 " x 5" small paintings each with its own intention. They have not been documents and do not appear on the website nor anywhere else. 

Serenity. Pure Abstraction Series. 36 x 36" 

 Top: 16 x 20" Star Crossed Lovers. Bottom: 30 x 40" Breathing In.

 Inside the studio.

 Jelly Bean Hearts 36 x 36" on the table. The paintings in the background are in process.

 50 Shades of Purple Grey. 36 x 36"

 Red Salsa Dancer 40 x 60"

 Mystic Places 40 x 60".

 Ruthie and Bret at their lemonade stand. In the background on the left hand side is 'RED' abstract landscape.
 Up above the sliding glass doors are the framed hearts series. These are not shown on the website nor anywhere else. 

 Some of the beautiful friends that came and helped during the weekend.

 Looking down into the studio from above. 

  Looking down into the studio from above. 

  Looking down into the studio from above. 

 Looking down into the studio from above. 

  Looking down into the studio from above. 

  Looking down into the studio from above. 

Deb being photographed by a visitor with two of her paintings in progress.

 Little Margaret from Ruthie's gymnastics class came to visit with her mum!

 Margaret picking out a treat from the treasure chest!

A collector leaves with a print from the Patchwork Paper Series.

Breathing Space: Butchart Gardens

This past summer, my daughter Ruthie's grandfather Bill came out to visit from California and the three of us went to Victoria to be tourists and experience Butchard Gardens for the first time. The Gardens were beautiful and inspiring in many ways. Here are a few photos from our day there in August.

Little waterfalls.

Very relaxing just sitting here by the water wheel and listening to the sound of the trickling water.

lots of luck

This view point looked out on a valley with beautifully manicured gardens ( photo below)

You can imagine Monet painting here amoungst the ponds and lillies, beautiful!

These flower remind me of my mum. :-)

This tree was in the japanese garden. That was my favourite section of the gardens. And, of course, I'm awlays a sucker for trees!

Unlike Vandusen Gardens here in Vancouver, we were not allowed on the lawn. Bummer.

Ruthie just loving running through here. I think they do a lot of weddings in this garde, looks perfect for it!

What Is Self-Love...and How Can You Receive More

What Is Self-Love...and How Can You Receive More?
An Excerpt from Madly in Love with Me by Christine Arylo

Someday I will petition to change its definition of self-love. But I’m not willing to wait for that to happen before I set the record — and your mind — straight about what self-love really is. Especially not after all the work you just did to clear yourself of those big misunderstandings and ridiculous beliefs about self-love. However, I do admit I dream of millions of us, self-loving women and girls, mailing letter upon letter to the office where this council of definition-makers resides. But for right now, we need to evoke your individual love power to put your self-love mind-set in place for good, so that nothing holds you back from expressing love for yourself without apology.

First, I took it upon myself to write a new definition for self-love that we can all rally around and embrace. One that you can input into your memory banks. A definition that will make you think, “Choosing self-love is good! Do that! Often.” Here goes. Open your mind, heart, and spirit for the real definition of self-love.

Self-love is the unconditional love and respect
that you have for yourself
that is so deep,
so solid,
so unwavering
that you choose only situations and relationships —
including the one you have with yourself —
that reflect that same unconditional love and respect.

Okay, let’s pause here for a moment. You want this to sink in deep. Put your hand on your heart and read the definition out loud. Really get the vibration of love passing through your lips and seeping into your heart. Feel the love in your body as you speak this truth. Yum, huh?
Now, let’s make it personal. Reread the definition again, this time transforming it into a belief that you can hold and come back to again and again. Read the definition aloud, slowly, replacing the “you” and “yourself” with “I” and “myself,” making this about your love for you.

Self-love is the unconditional love and respect
that I have for myself
that is so deep,
so solid,
so unwavering
that I choose only situations and relationships —
including the one I have with myself —
that reflect that same unconditional love and respect.

Reread the entire definition out loud three times for maximum benefit. (Don’t ask why three times; this is one of those magic-inducing things that just is — vows, mantras, and anything you want to stick in your heart and mind need to be repeated out loud at least three times.) Read at a pace that allows you to feel the words sink into your body, as if they were penetrating your cells. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your eyes, and read, listening with your heart, as if your heart were soaking the words in. Keep your hand on your chest right over your heart for extra love power (this is the place on your body that you can always touch to activate your connection to your best-friend self). After you finish reading this self-love definition, pause for a few moments, eyes still closed, and let your heart consider this version of self-love to be a reality for you.

What would it be like to love yourself so much that you, as your best friend, would be willing to take that kind of stand for yourself? To stand for yourself and your right to unconditional love and respect before anything or anyone else?

Unconditional love and respect is a powerful and purposeful choice of words. It means that, without exception, parameters, rules, or expectation, you commit to giving yourself love and respect. That the love and respect you have for yourself is just there, even when you screw up, make bad choices, or don’t show up as your best self. You are human, and to be human means that you will make mistakes, fail, and fall down. Your job as your very best friend is to always reach out your hand to help yourself up, just as you would an innocent child. If you witnessed a child fall down or stumble while learning to walk, you wouldn’t say, “Get up, you loser! What’s your problem? You can do better than that!” No, you would likely reach out your hand, help the child up, and say, “It’s okay, keep trying. You are doing great!” Your job is to do the same for yourself, to always choose to give yourself a hug and remind yourself that you’re still growing and learning. That’s what a best friend or a loving parent would do, and that’s what you will learn to do as choosing self-love becomes your natural go-to state.

We’ve all had relationships in which people didn’t love us unconditionally, but instead used love as a reward, a punishment, or a manipulation tactic. In my own experience, the times that a person I trusted and loved — whether a parent, friend, or lover — took love away were some of the most damaging and painful times I’ve ever known. Perhaps you too have experienced love being taken away or used against you — it hurts! So do yourself a favor and make the relationship with yourself different. Make it better. Make it so that love is always given and always present, no matter what.

Christine Arylo is the author of Madly in Love with Me and Choosing ME Before WE.  She is an  internationally recognized speaker and transformational teacher for women and girls, and the founder of the international day of self-love (Feb 13). Visit her online at and

Excerpted from the new book Madly in Love with ME ©2012 by Christine Arylo.  Published with permission of New World Library

Artist Interview: Tim Sullivan

(c) Tim Sullivan

This month, I'd like to introduce Vancouver Abstract Expressionist artist Tim Sullivan. Tim and I connected at one of my workshops in 2011, became immediate friends with a deep soulful recognition.

Looking at your portfolio online I can see that you do work in a number of styles - still life, abstracts, landscape, etc. Is there one particular style that you enjoy the most. Why?

I am most partial these days to expressionist abstract works. Who can say why.  I work very intuitively, letting what wants to come forth do so. Not always a smooth process, however. The mind tends to trick me sometimes, lets me think it knows what to paint. This usually results in less successful productions or less than enjoyable experiences. 

However, I have also been exploring figurative work, especially faces and nudes which I then “deconstruct” or situate into more abstract compositions. I feel the urge to explore this more in coming days, among other artistic ‘urges.’  

Looking at your most recent works I see a lot of textures and thick resinous layers. Would you share with us about your painting process.

These works you mention arise from a process of “addition and subtraction.” I’ll explain. After an opening ‘gesture’ which is the initial addition to the empty canvas there begins a process, partly intuitive play, partly aesthetic judgement, of removing parts or ‘subtraction’ then adding more layers...and so on, each more refined, sometimes even desperate, until completion, which is to say when something in me says, “OK, enough! It’s finished.” On more than one occasion, I have put aside a work for months not knowing what comes next, then take it up again with a new inspiration. Other works can be complete in hours.   

Tim, can you tell us how did you passion for painting began?

I believe the passion for painting, and artistic expression generally, was always in me, from an early age. However, through circumstance and other influences that passion was diverted, suppressed even. Other interests dominated, like science, reading literature and philosophy, or relationships, personal growth and spirituality, all these so-called diversions were other expressions of “passion” (it turns out) that worked on me, refined my personality, opened up my vistas and sensibility. Then, around age 48 the passion for painting re-emerged quite suddenly. Bam! I was into it. It was partly catalyzed by a romantic breakup which can also be a dramatic opening. For me it certainly was.  During this time, at the suggestion of a friend I began reading The Artists Way, and just followed the instructions.  

What's your favorite all time favorite art piece of yours and why? of another artist?

I don’t have an all time favorite piece. Sometimes I will return to view an older work and am surprised I still like it, or I see something there I hadn’t seen before that delights me, or inspires. More often though, older works bore me or worse. The favorite really is the one I’m working on that still excites me, still intrigues like a current lover. Yum yum. 

There are many contemporary artists I have discovered through Facebook who’s works are inspiring, intriguing and capture my imagination. I could mention Conny Niehoff  whose process, scale and works inspire me greatly. But there are many others. 

As for modern masters let me mention Klimpt, Egon Schiele, and Turner, not to forget Picasso of course. I could go on indefinitely, for every artist I turn to offers rich vistas. 

What are you working on currently, please tell us about it...

I have been lingering on a series of “dramatic orange-red and blue” abstracts, which I hope to finish up for the East Van Art Crawl. Maybe when its done I will understand consciously what that has been about. It’s a mystery at the moment. 

I have been contemplating putting together a compendium of past and present images of works into a presentation book.  I have quite a lot of work to choose from now. Partly to inform a wider public and of course for promotion of my work to potential collectors. 

I get many ideas, more than I can handle really. It’s about putting these ideas into action, that’s the real challenge. 

For you, What the best thing about being an artist?

When it’s all flowing smoothy, which isn’t always, then the best aspect aspect is the sense of freedom that surounds the whole endeavor. The freedom of being yourself immersed in a creative flow, which is in itself satisfying, and more so when something you create - a piece of art - impacts another, moves them to respond, to reflect. It’s a deep communion, certainly a spiritual one, though not always recognized as such. 

What 's the most challenging thing, for you, about being an artist?

The mundane challenge is being caught up in the fear I won’t be able to sustain my artistic situation. In other words, support myself through sales, to continue working in a studio and stay supplied with materials, paint, canvas. 

The more existential challenge is remaining true to the “artist within.” Resisting the tendency to rest on one’s laurels, or past achievements, resisting the temptation to become a mere image of an artist, the pretense of it. That’s a fine edge. 

How would you define success  for yourself as an artist? What are some success you have achieved thus far on your journey, and what has been a key factor in you achieving your success?

I measure success first in the satisfaction of creating something I and others genuinely respond to, or are deeply affected by. (Art as Personal Revolution, or as Transformation.) A second form of success, more material, I would say, is achieving financial sustainability through sales of works, prints or artifacts of the works I create. (Art as Business Enterprise) Third, would be a measure of public or peer recognition for one’s contribution to the domain of art, either as works, philosophy or process or technique. (Art as Cultural Legacy)

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to other artists -- specifically to other painters?

  1. Play.   (Imagine Yellow It is Curiosity). Practice playing to stay in the moment. Paint like a three year old. 

  1. Steal.   Think Blue. That’s not copying...its being influenced, inspired by others, everything. 

  1. Ground. Feel the Black & the White.  Sense your genitals, no really! It’s the connection to physicality and immediate sensation.  Rock/Paper/Scissors.  

I am, as you know, a big believer in self care - especially for artists! What do you do to nourish your self and soul? to re-charge your batteries so to speak?

Not enough. My Spiritual practice in Open Ended Inquiry into experience arising in the moment. This the most efficacious practice I know to nourish my Self, my true nature.  I have been doing it for more than 25 years now. The experience always returns me to my true being, widens my understanding, illuminates the interior, inspires me to live moment to moment, and loosens the grip of that relentless nagging mind.   

What recent or upcoming shows/and or gallery representation can we look out for or go and see of your work?

I am always exhibiting recent works at the Brushstrokes Gallery at the Quey in North Vancouver. Also preparing for the East Van Art Crawl in November when I will be exhibiting works at Studio 202, 1000 Parker Street. 


See more of Tim’s work:

Tim, Thank you for taking the time to partake in this interview! 

Breathing Space: French Beach -- west coast of Vancouver Island British Columbia

Every summer Ruthie and I go camping for a week and have a wonderful time just being in nature and doing a few things such as:

rock collecting
sending out a message in a bottle
rock art
beach days
sand castles
writing in the sand
wave jumping
ocean swimming

Here are some photos of our Breathing Space week in nature at French Beach, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia last July 2012. 

 Ruthie took this photo looking up a Douglas Fir tree. Always love adding her photos into this 'Breathing Space' blog. :)
 The trail from out campside down to the beach.

 Wonderful contrast of a leaf floating in a dark stream.

 We could not just sit and be with these rocks. We had to stack them and make art with them!!!

 God always makes the best art and inspires me every time. 

 Huge sea  anenomies (sp?) and barnacles the size of a child's hand - huge! So much richness of sea life on the west coast to see in the tide pools. Hours of looking into these worlds!

 We decied to make a line of rocks from the top of the beach to the shore this day.

 Endless fun by the fire. Especially on the last night when we burned all the remaining fire wood! The park ranger stopped by to make sure "everything was OK". !!! Everything was fine. We just had a super big fire!!!!

My current fav picture of us! We took five pictures to get this. All of the first five, I held the camera and half of my face is cut out of all of them, then Ruthie told me she could do it better and took this one first try!!!
 Beach art, making inukshucks on logs. Little stone status. Can be challenging balancing them!

 Ruthie joined forces with another familiy and made the sand casttle of a a life time. Here she is with the little boy building a barrier to stop the ocean from coming in and destroying their wonderful creation!

 Sand Casttle extravaganza closer up!

 OK, we got a bit obsessed with the rock art! What can I say. I had to make some art that week!!!

 Just in love with how the west coast rainforest meets the beach. So much beauty in the details.

 I love how when yoiu are in nature and camping you don't have to do  anything.  Just be there and the earth, air, water, nature around  you supports you, embraces you, calms you, heals you, gives you exactly what you need just by being there.

 These last two pictures are  from a day trip we took a little further north up the west coast from French beach. It's called Mystic beach and for about a 40 minute hike we got there and enjoyed amazing weather, sand, a rope swing, picnic by the sea and...

this beautiful fresh water waterfall falling straight from above onto the beach and then flowing into the ocean. Yes we stood under it and had a shower! wonderful!

Yoga, Ayurveda, and Creativity

Yoga, Ayurveda, and Creativity

Based on the new book Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi ©2012 by Brian Leaf.  Published with permission of New World Library

I’m thinking of new ideas all the time. So much so that sometimes I can get spun out and exhausted. My wife, on the other hand, has a much easier time staying grounded and pacing her energy.  Though she’s not quite as quick with new ideas.

Ayurveda, the 5000-year-old medical system from India, often called the sister science of yoga, has a lot to say about my wife and me. According to Ayurveda, there are different types of people, and these different types have different strengths, challenges, and needs.

Ayurveda identifies three primary tendencies within people, called vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata is the energy of air; pitta is the energy of fire; and kapha is the energy of water and earth.

A person, like me, with a constitution dominant in vata will have airy qualities (creative, quick, possibly anxious). A person with a constitution dominant in pitta will have fiery qualities (intense, focused, possibly overly critical). A person, like my wife, with a constitution dominant in kapha will have earthy qualities (steadfast, grounded, possibly stuck).

A vata person will be well endowed in the creativity department. New ideas and creative solutions flow freely for such a person. Their challenge, like mine, is to stay grounded and not get spun-out and exhausted from too many creative ideas. We have to make sure to see our ideas through and not lose steam half way through a project. By calming our vata, we can be wildly creative but also focused and steadfast.

A pitta person will be incisive and intelligent, often set on a fixed course of action and less open to creativity and new ideas. Surgeons are usually pitta individuals. They are confident, focused, and intense. A pitta person can retain their great focus, but bring in more creativity and tolerance of new ideas by soothing their pitta.

A kapha person, like my wife, usually has terrific endurance and resolve. She easily stays grounded, but creativity does not flow as freely. She may sometimes feel stuck and blocked up. By soothing her kapha and increasing her vata, she can harness her tremendous strength and resolve, while also tapping her latent creativity.

So how can you effect this change in yourself? First you must identify your Ayurvedic constitution. To determine whether vata, pitta, or kapha predominates your constitution, take the following short quiz.

1. Under stress, I become __________.
A. scattered and anxious         B. focused and angry              C. stuck

2. When I’m hungry, I get __________.
A. scattered and anxious         B. angry                                  C. depressed

3. I hate to feel _________.
A. too cold                              B. too hot                                C. too wet

4. My biggest psychological struggles involve __________.
A. anxiety                   B. being judgmental, irritation, anger C. feeling stuck

5. When I have digestive problems, they involve ___________.
A. intestinal gas and bloating  B. heartburn
C. slow digestion, feeling stuck

6. When I get sick, I feel ___________.
A. Worried, fried, constipated.           B. Fevers, skin rashes, diarrhea.        
C. Congested, stagnant, blocked up.

Count the number of As, Bs, and C’s in your answers.
Mostly A’s indicate vata, mostly B’s pitta, and mostly C’s kapha.
Now to bring balance and increased creativity. For your particular predominance (vata, pitta, or kapha), choose three of the six items listed below and follow them for at least a week and see what happens. You’ll probably feel a whole new level of health, vitality, and creativity. Let us know how it goes at

If the six question survey shows a predominance of Vata:

1. Keep warm, and wear soft, comfortable clothing. Make your bed into a soft, comfy haven.

2. Eat mostly cooked foods and use a bit of spice. Eat at a table, in a relaxed setting, not on the go or at your desk.

3. Keep a regular routine, and look over your schedule at the beginning of each day, so your mind can relax and know what’s coming.

4. Practice gentle forms of exercise.

5. Spend quiet time in nature, ideally near a lake or gently flowing stream. Sit under a tree.

6. Avoid or cut back on caffeine, wheat, sugar, and processed foods.

 If the six question survey shows a predominance of Pitta:

1. Keep cool. Get lots of fresh air, but avoid too much direct sun. Take evening walks in the moonlight. The moon is very soothing to pitta.

2. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

3. Avoid very spicy, very salty, and very oily foods.

4. Watch your tendency toward perfectionism, competition, and intensity. Bring in softness and love.

5. Express your feelings in constructive ways. Be gentle on yourself and others.

6. Avoid or cut back on caffeine, wheat, sugar, and processed foods.

 If the six question survey shows a predominance of Kapha:

1. Get lots of vigorous exercise, everyday.

2. Avoid fatty and fried foods. Eat lots of veggies and cook with a bit of spice.

3. Eat less bread.

4. Avoid getting in a rut. Try new things, take challenges, travel.

5. Practice expressing your voice and your feelings and spend some time creating every day. Draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, play an instrument, imagine.

6. Avoid or dramatically cut back on wheat, sugar, and processed foods.

Printed with Permission ©2012 by Brian Leaf 

Brian Leaf, M.A. is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at

Turning your painting practice pieces into sellable art

This blog is dedicated to every single one of my students who  have taken my foundation workshop in abstract painting in acrylics and mixed media, particularly those of you who were with me this last month - thank you. Thank you for having the courage to show up. Thank you for having the courage to take risks and play. And most of all, thank you for trusting me and allowing yourself to make crap art. To allow yourself to practice, to play, to make shit art and be OK with is. Knowing that getting in the painting groove, into your own process, and re-igniting your creative fire - for this weekend experience at least - was  more important than coming out with  perfectly finished art pieces.

So, here's a few ideas of what you can do with some of those little paintings you might have done on canvas pads or thick water color paper or acrylic mixed media paper. The paintings that perhaps didn't turn out, the ones that you've lost interest in, the pieces whose composition fell short but who you do no feel like going back to and working and re-working. We all have them. Now it's time to turn them into something functional and have fun doing it!

Turning your painting practice pieces into sellable art, a few ideas, but really the only limit is YOUR creativity:

NOTE: For all the following craft projects use YES! Paste because it's made to dry flat. Put a layer of plastic over it once you've glued it down and then put a brick or a few heavy books to glue it down nice and flat.
  1. Art cards ( buy the blank ones at a craft store such as Michael's and then glue on covers from your practice piece. Ahhh yes, now you know why I had the paper cutter at the back of the workshop room! I was cutting up my practice pieces and making gift cards while you were painting yours!!!)
  2. Book marks ( cut the art piece in a long rectangle and get it laminited)
  3. Artist trading cards ( I wrote a blog about that last year or the year before, check it out for all the details)
  4. Blank notepads with your art on the cover ( Last year I took all the old programs from the Culture Crawl and had them bound at a printer into little blank recycled paper note pads and then used my old art canvas pieces make excellent covers - especially when you use Kroma Crackle Paste, it looks like leather!!! Use a view finder on the art piece you're done with and find the sweet spot for the art on the cover of your card.  People Love to buy these that want a piece of art but are not ready to commit to a big piece)
  5. Collage - cut up the old art and collage it into other new paintings (recycle!)
  6. Magnets (cut the canvas pad piece into any shape. Re-in force it with cardboard. Glue a magnet to the back of it. Optional: Pour resin over it to give it gloss and depth!! On  a personal note I was soooo wanting to do this and make a bunch of magnets for the upcoming culture crawl open studio show but at this point I just don't think I"ll have time :-( )
  7. Homemade journals (cut out the best picture from the practice art piece on loose canvas and glue it to a blank journal. I like to put a sticker or my biz card on the back to give it a signature feel.)

Hate reading? Yeah, I have those days...Wanna see me talk about this live and see some pictures of what I'm talking about? 

Here you go... YouTube video link:

Turning your painting practice pieces into sellable art

This is a short video from a workshop whereby I am showing my practice art pieces and the things I 
have made from them and sold at art shows and fairs:

Artist Interview with Dana Dion

This month I'd like to introduce you to award winning Australian artist Dana DionDana and I met via The Beaumont Studios here in Vancouver where I was giving a talk about the "3 WOW's" and the secrets behind what makes some abstract paintings sell while others sit in the studio collecting dust. Dana brought her ipad with her to share her portfolio and I became entranced with her work and wanted to know more about her and her process.... 

Dana, I have to admit I was intrigued by your accent when you spoke. Personally I grew up in Canada with a South African mother and Australian father so I've had my own small exposure to various accents, but the way you spoke I could not peg it! Could you share with us your childhood and how you came to live in so many places?

I was born in Israel. When I was two years old, my family moved back and forth between Kenya, Tanzania and Israel. We eventually settled in Vancouver when I was 14. My husband is Dutch, also with an accent. We have been living in Sydney Australia for the past 12 years, and before that, we spent three years in London. Maybe this is why Deb, you could not "peg it" I think it is a "mish mash" of accents. I call it: my own special brew. 

Generous Morning (c) Dana Dion
It also seems from reading your biography on your website that you were first more focussed on fitness - teaching pilates, yoga and personal training - before you came into the artistic portion of your life. How did art come into your life and please do tell us about this transition from tri-athlete and beauty pageant persona to working artist....

I see myself as a creative person. I always try and find a creative aspect in what I do, and believe that creativity can be executed in many ways: As an artist, as a creator and inventor, as a business owner, and as a Pilates yoga and Fitness teacher etc.... It is all creative to me. And with that comes a creative journey.  This journey is where you explore different ways to express. 

Unbounded (c) Dana Dion
Looking at your portfolio online I can see that you do work in a number of styles - still life, abstracts, landscape, etc. Is there one particular style that you enjoy the most. Why?

I work with passion and feeling. I am not precious about subject matter or technique.
It is the process and the act of creating that I am interested in.
I just want to express,and feed back into the image as it develops, allowing the result to dictate where I take it next.

Sometimes my work alludes to landscapes, sometimes to figurative, or abstracts.

The theme is of secondary importance to me, and I like to paint whatever comes to mind. Lately, I have made landscape paintings. I have a lot of fun with topics and styles, that sometimes do not matter at all, and sometimes they may be personal.

Dana, please tell us about your painting process. In particular I loved the process you shared with me when we spoke at the Beaumont about how sometimes you paint a surface and then stamp or lift another canvas onto that and then use this to inspire a painting... I've never heard of this before!  

My works are drawing and  paintings, as they represent both working methods. 
The canvas or paper serves as the basis of the work, I apply many layers of paint and build up paint quality. I then start introducing my mark makings, drawing lines and motifs I collect in my memory, developing my own language. I keep going until I am satisfied With what I see.

Other working methods include drawing using pastel, charcoal, ink, pen and pencil on paper. I also like the Intimacy of working on paper as it lends itself to  personal imagery.

Drawing allows for integration of my acquired language of mark making and vocabulary of semiotics, and for the freedom to let the paper play a large part in the finished work.

The process I mentioned previously, is a simple printmaking technique which gives exciting results. It is a method which produces a single print from a smooth sheet of metal, glass or acetate. which is used as the printing plate. 
I use a big sheet of perspex.
I apply paint (mixed with retarder) and ink and create shapes, or rub off some of the paint, and just have fun on the plate. Then I place un-stretched canvas or paper onto the plate, and use a roller to apply pressure and lift the image from the plate onto the support. I do this multiple times (allow to dry between layers) until I am happy with the image. I then stretch the canvas onto a frame, (don't need to do that with paper) and start to work on "resolving" the composition. 
That could be by adding more paint in areas, defining certain areas, push back some areas, etc....
I love working this way method. It is a great way to "start" a piece.

What's your favorite all time favorite art piece of yours and why? Your favourite art piece of another artist?

Usually when I paint family members, those works become my favourite. I get attached to them. They are created with lots of though, feelings and memories of moments with them. Reminding me of how important they are to me. Those pieces become important and I end up keeping them.

The Professor (c) Dana Dion
What are you working on currently ( a new series, a calendar,other) and please tell us about it...

my current work consists of landscapes examining different places. The landscapes aim to define or locate a place where I belong. I chase the feelings of belonging and look for a reaction to the feeling. The landscapes do not depict a specific place, but rather a memory or recording of the many places I have lived in: no borders, boundaries or identified area. 

For you, What the best thing about being and artist?

Being an artist makes me look and see. I am never bored. I am always searching for images and symbols to add to my visual language and I try to notice everything. I find it a great challenge to create an image on blank surface that can give people pleasure and ability to see whatever their minds want to see or needs to see.
its the greatest feeling to "Catch" someone looking, really looking, at your work. I think this is great. 

Fishing and Thinking (c) Dana Dion

For you, What 's the most challenging thing about being an artist? 

Resolving works is the challenge. Making it all come together. And making the time to do it.
Telling Stories (c) Dana Dion

How would you define success  for yourself as an artist? What are some success you have achieved thus far on your journey, and what has been a key factor in you achieving your success?

I guess what defines it for me is the validation of my efforts by being included in selective art shows and receiving awards. 
I know the awards are subjective and they do depend on the judges, but for my work to be noticed and singled out from hundreds of works, is a great feeling.
I started exhibiting my work in 2006, and since then have won over 25 awards, I guess that defines achieving success to me.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to other artists -- specifically to other painters, perhaps younger than yourselves looking for advice and inspiration?

The more you paint, the better you get. you need to spend lots of time in the studio. It does pay off.

Misty Voyage (c) Dana Dion

What recent or upcoming shows/and or gallery representation can we look out for or go and see of your work?

In August I had a solo show in Sydney Australia, where I live, showcasing my recent landscapes.  It was called Without Borders. It would be great to have a show in Vancouver. As my landscapes have Vancouver in them.

Dana, Thank you for taking the time to partake in this interview! 

Breathing Space: Goldstream Park on Vancouver Island

These are some snap shots from a family hike we took in August at GoldStream Park located  just outside of Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC. 

Loving the lushness of this forest!

Ruthie leading the way.

Looking up at the trees - thanks for the reminder James! The day seems to always get better when you look up and enjoy the beauty of the trees!

Down the stairs to a surprise below!

A beautiful pool and waterfall awaited us. I went in the pool in the back and swam to the waterfall. I could not belive how wonderfully warm the water was!

Ruthie wading around the dam.

Enjoying the waterfall.

Ruthie on the otherside of the little lake, enjoying nature.

The water was so clear!

Back up the stairs. Good exersice!

Nothing like walking down a forest path.

Until next time Goldenstream. Bless, bless!

My secret weekly system that has helped make my dream come true!

This  blog is based on a request from Kim, a beautiful young woman I recently met at her book club. At the book club meeting, I spoke about some things I’ve done and steps I’ve taken to make my creative dreams reality. (Thank you so much for having me!)

Chances are you weren’t there, so I thought I’d briefly share with you what we covered at our talk and also Kim’s question of my weekly working schedule since we ran out of time at the end and didn’t fully get to that.

The first thing we talked about was getting clear on your goal or dream and writing it down. Then afterwards, writing down a single action you can take in the direction of your dream/goals. Use the litmus test of being able to do this one step/action in a minute or less.

For example. If your goal is to become a painter and have an exhibit, a small step could be to lay out your brushes, tools and paints in your painting spot. This would take under a minute.

It seems trivial to do such a small thing towards a big goal, however the logic is two fold. First  is that if the step is small enough it’ll by pass the amygdulah in your brain – the center of flight or fight and carry on to your cerebral cortex – the creative thinking brain. Hence, if you keep your steps small, you’ll be able to move forward without blocks.

The second reason is that when you take just a small step, under a minute, such as the example above, your subconscious starts working on it even when you are not physically doing anything. You may start day dreaming about what you are going to paint or what colours you are going to use. You are getting excited and putting energy towards your dream/goals, so this is a great things.

Thirdly, there is the law of attraction where if you are in an energetic mind set of, say, “being a painter”.. you’re thinking about your project, your painting place, your brushes, what you might paint, you will automatically attract things in these areas. Perhaps someone will give you an old paint set or invite you to share a studio space. Who knows. The law of attraction can work in wondrous ways that in the past you may have considered coincidence, and now you can take more personal power and realize you had a piece in creating this.

We also covered SMIGLS which I have discussed previously in this blog:  (Pls note I added the L later on and it stands for Learn, as in what did I learn today?)

And lastly Kim’s question about some tricks I use during the week to continue to grow and evolve and support my dream despite life happening, challenges being thrown in the mix, blocks, excuses and everything else that gets in our way to making those big dreams come true that may never be urgent.

My - up until now - Secret Weekly Schedule to Support my Creative Dream

Mondays  are my money management day. This doesn't mean I manage my money all day, no. It simply means that every Monday I have the intention to take care of myself financially in some way. It could mean paying my bills. It could be calling the bank about a charge I did not recognize. It could be writing a grant proposal to (hopefully) achieve some funding in the future. I think you get the idea.

The thing is, it could just be that I spend five minute on this focus and then that is a success for me. I created this system when I was single parenting full time, working part time at a day job and ramping up my business as a professional artist as it appears now on my website. Point being, it’s just a small thing you do in the area of focus that in the long term is a small step towards your bigger goal and dream.

Tuesday is “toot my horn” marketing day. I got this name from that book “how to toot your horn without blowing it” which was about self promotion. So on Tuesday I do, at least, one thing to promote myself as a contemporary abstract artist and workshop facilitator. It could be writing a blog and then posting this on linked in and Facebook and twitter. It could be putting up a postcard with regards to my upcoming art show.  Anything that puts me and my business out in the world qualifies. Again, it can be really small and simply, such as posting an image of a recent painting I have for sale on social media. The point is that I’m putting myself out there in the name of the dream.

Wednesday is my web day. This day I put aside for all things web related. This could be updating my cafepress store ( long overdue, I need to do this!!!), updating my website, writing my newsletter content, working on an in artist interview with another artist.  Basically it's the one day a week whereby if I[‘m on my computer all day, it’s totally OK.

Thursday is self care.  On Thursday I make a conscious effort to close my computer, leave the phone and unplug.  My favorite way to spend a Thursday is with a book by the ocean, a river or in a park. Maybe I’ll bring my journal along. Maybe I’ll stay in bed until 2 pm.  The focus is doing as little as possible and being and just resting and enjoying life. It could also be a day for an artist date. Or if you follow my blog you know that often once a month I post some images from a hike or outdoor experience I call breathing space. This really sums up Thursday for me – it’s a day to stop and breathe.

Fridays are follow up days. I keep a list in my contacts of people, companies, jobs, shows I’m applying to, etc. So, again its really simply. I go through the list and make emails or phone calls as needed. For example, someone called me earlier during the week about the September workshop running at the end of this month. Friday would be the day I would habitually get back to them if I had not already.

Saturday I always file my paperwork from the week and aim at doing a general tidy up/organize… If I was more diligent I could say that Saturday are cleaning days but I cant remember the last time I kept to that schedule.

When I created this system, ideally Sundays  were for planning the week and also going back to my vision boards, goals and seeing where I am and where I want to be. Again, I’ve been slacking on this one lately so I must say it was cool to meet with the book club because I pulled out my life vision goal book and dusted it off for the talk as I had not reviewed it for a while!!!

I hope  this helps you take action in small steps and with kindness and compassion with yourself. As always, it’s the process and journey that is the true gift, you’ll get there if you do the work, but let’s get there mindfully and make it fun along the way, then it’s a real success all the way around!


Artist Interview: Janet Sadel

Janet Sadel

This month, I'd like to introduce ARC artist in residence Janet Sadel, Photographer and Interdisciplinary Artist originally from Toronto and now living here in Vancouver. Janet will be opening her studio this upcoming November 2012 for the eastside culture crawl open studios event at the ARC here at 1701 Powell Street, East Vancouver @ Commercial Drive November 16, 17, & 18th, 2012.

Janet and I met when she became a neighbour (2011) living in the ARC (Artist Resource Centre). She’s been involved in many of the group events and exhibits. Over the year, we’ve bonded and become good friends. She is a fairly new arrival to the Vancouver art scene, having lived and worked as an artist in Toronto for many years.

Janet, please tell us tell us about your work.

I’m a Fine Art Photographer. My digital and analog images are of landscapes, scenic views, architectural, botanical, still life and sometimes abstracts. I’ve traveled in France, Mexico, New York City and all over Canada and the U.S.A. – so lots of original and unusual views of interesting places.

My larger prints are always on archival, fine quality papers. I do sell a variety of smaller prints and photo greeting cards as well. I will also shoot commissioned works – for example: Your lovely garden, in it’s best season; A portrait of your home or vacation property.

Currently, I’m working on a few photo series themes: 

1) “Doorways of Commercial Drive”  

2)“Rain Where” – abstracts, showing views of Vancouver and some other places through the filter of a rain-soaked windshield. 

3) Rainforests and Sea Views from BC and Washington State.

Would you share with us some thoughts about your creative process?

I’m a fairly spontaneous and impulsive photographer. I love traveling to and exploring new places to create images that offer a memorable and transportive moment for viewers.

It’s uncanny how I’ll often go in search of unique locations and find that invariably “The shots find me”!

So, the lesson I’ve learned is about how to be fully “open” to all my intuitive senses when I’m shooting in the field.

Can you tell us, how did your passion for this art form began?

I’ve always been a Visual Artist, having worked in every media (from sculpture to video).
My passion for photography came early – my engineer father was a gifted self-taught photographer, who encouraged me in my artistic practice.

For many years I was an Arts Educator (specializing in photography) and through the years of teaching, I always maintained my profile as an exhibiting artist and photographer.
I still teach photography and/or visual art to small classes, in my East Van. studio and in
other education venues.

How do you make time for your art  when it's never urgent nor a priority to take time for your creativity? Where does the dispipline come from to practice. Do you have a ritual? How do you get motivated?

Because I’m a photographer…. “my artistic vision is always with me.” Meaning that, I never “turn it off.” As long as my eyes are open – I’m seeing potential shots. It’s both a blessing and a huge distraction. I could be walking to a dentist appointment, spot a great local garden and loose myself to the moment with any small camera that fits into my bag… then have to make a lame excuse to the dental receptionist about loosing my house keys and having to find them…

I could not live any other way. I’m a confirmed and committed daydreamer! Watching fabulous clouds drift above me is my idea of tuning into all my inner senses and creative energies.

My secret to happiness – is to live fully in the moment and always be prepared to give yourself up to visual beauty… wherever and whenever you find it.

What's your favorite all time favorite art piece?

There is a painting by Rosseau (in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC) – “The Sleeping Gypsy”… I played hookey from high school many Fridays and went straight to  MOMA for the day, just to be able to sit and look for an hour at that image, mesmerized… then look at all the art (Henri Matisse was a favorite) and especially MOMA’S fabulous photo collection. I’d wrap up the day by viewing one of their vintage films from the cinema archives too. What better Fine Art education could I have had?

What are you working on currently?

I’m thinking about showing some of my photos as ART INSTALLATION pieces. That will involve some sculptural presentation that incorporates my photos. Can’t explain why… but the word “miniatures” keeps tempting me. We’ll see where this leads….  My ideas are still “percolating”.

For you, what is the best thing about being and artist?

It’s all about the freedom to think boldly and creatively, to get completely “obsessed” with an original idea and “run with it”.

It’s also about the community of other artists that you affiliate with.

The feeling of isolation that many associate with being an artist, is something very foreign to me. I’m a social person and I often work in creative collaboration with other artists.

For you, What 's the most challenging thing about being an artist?

Of course, one is always challenged to balance creative life and regular every-day existence.
Basic survival issues put the “wolf” squarely at the door.

There is no easy path to becoming an artist.

It’s a life-style choice and a hard one. It takes a special kind of commitment…

How would you define success  for yourself as an artist? What are some successes you have enjoyed thus far on your journey, and what has been a key factor in you achieving your success?

Success is simply a matter of waking up each morning, knowing that I’m able to stay on my path to show and share my art with others. The joy is in reflecting on all the good moments that have accumulated to confirm my commitment – there were many, but most of all, I can say that the many artistic talents I have encouraged were the best reward!

Deb, this idea of success is purely relative to one’s inner nature… To be honest, being adaptable to situations/opportunities and to see “outside of the box” have been features of my “success”.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to other artists ?

For Photographers especially:

1)       Concentrate on COMPOSITION, CONTRAST and COMMUNICATION in every shot.

2)      Allow yourself to PLAY  - in any way you wish to define it. It’s important to preserve your sense of play and connect with the child in you.

3)      Never, ever let NEGATIVE CRITICISM affect you. Of course,CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM is useful and you can always take it or leave it. DO STAY TRUE TO YOUR CREATIVE PATH.

I am, as you know, a big believer in self care - especially for artists! What do you do to nourish yourself and soul… to re-charge your batteries so to speak?

Probably preserve my right to daydream… and look at the world with wonder.

A little yoga in the morning keeps me focused.  Hiking and walking into great landscapes
are always restorative.

I read and write quite a bit too. Certainly, looking at the works of other artists fills me with inspiration.

What recent or upcoming shows/and or gallery representation can we look out for or go and see of your work?

Please take a moment to share with us your experience living in a work/live studio.

Being privileged to live in the ARC (work/live studio) has been the best choice I ever could have made when moving from Toronto in 2011 to Vancouver. It immediately immersed me into an artistic environment – where sharing and collaboration are an everyday experience. 

The friendships and social times are always a great crucible for more learning, planning or just great networking. 

How amazing is that!!?

What can we look forward to this upcoming November at the Culture Crawl. Please share your studio number and any special demos/events you'll be offering.


I will be showing photographic art works, photo-based artworks and perhaps some installation art.

There will be demonstrations and some hands-on activities in doing Hand Tinting of Black and White Photos.
Be sure to sign my guest list and also sign up for my WINTER WORKSHOP SERIES.


Janet, I just loved your answers! Thankyou so much for sharing this with us here! Deb xoxoox

Corporate Painting Party

This blog is for the brilliant, fun and enthusiastic employees at NewCorp in Burnaby, BC where I had the honor to join them for a staff painting party and facilitate some acrylic painting! My intention was for them to have fun and get a bit messy. What can I say I'm a fan of  splattering paint around! Mission was definitly accomplished!

I figured they could 'pull' any photos off of themselves that they liked and that it would be a great memory to come back to. I mean, have you ever heard of a corporation letting their employees take time off, buying them a bunch of canvases and cool acrylic paint colours, and letting them get creative for a few hours with pizza and tunes for a few hours? Man, this company seems very progressive. thanks so much for having me - special thanks for Traci for organizing.

Starting out with clean white canvases, things changed pretty quickly.

Looking down on the beginnings of a few masterpieces!

The group started off by each choosing one colour and adding some white (tinting) and some black (sahding) to their colour to create different hues, do some mixing, and begin to get into their painting groove.

All different paintings began to emerge quite quickly!

I was surprised by how much many of the men got super into the painting! It was awesome to witness. :-)
Keep noticing that little landscape painting!

Watch for this landscape painting in further pictures. I swear thsi guy must have watched a ton of Bob Ross Videos! He had finished a beautiful landscape piece by the end of our session!

Keep noticing the little landscape painting in the corner.

Happy colours painting!

What great memories. Beautiful people in their creative groove!

Our fabulous man in black, Darren!

Mr. "School of hard knocks" dripping his painting over the garbage can!!!

Every one worked on 1-2 little 10 x 10" canvases.

Scroll down to see these flowers evolve later. The Artist did a beautiful job!

Garbage bags made excellent painting aprons!

My goal is achieved, things are getting messy now!!!

Couldn't resist taking a photo of this gentleman painting at his desk next to his keyboard and computer!

First set of paintings were put under the table to dry as they started their second canvas.

A Jackson Pollock drip painting emerged!

This was my favourite part of the afternoon.. the group began working on a joint/group painting! Scroll down and see the progression of the painting!

The group painting kept evolving! It was the star of the painting show. So much fun watching everyone get so involved!

Thank you so much for having me out for the afternoon NewCorp Burnaby!!!

Breathing Space: Galiano Island, British Columbia

Every summer my daugther Ruthie, now 9, and I go camping together. I've been making a point to go somwhere new each year so she can begin to see and explore the natural beauty we have around us here in beautiful British Columbia. 

This year for a week in July we chose to camp on Galiano Island in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia where the forest meets the ocean and a small piece of heaven exists. It's a 45 minute ferry ride from Vancouver straight to the island.

Lots of little beaches we found to play and look for marine life especially when the tide was down.

Oh Deer! On a group hike with Ruthie and another camping family we came across this beautifully  made drift wood deer. It's life size and made completely out of found wood on the beach!

The dock near the campground was one of the best places to look for fish, sea stars, sea urchins and all sorts of marine life. They even had a floating nature house with free events for kids on the weekends.

Ruthie outside the Galiano Soap Works Store where we found lots of treasure including nice smelling candles, body oils and -of course- beautiful hand made soaps!

The patio outside the Soapworks store. Just love patios with flowers.

Inside the main 'Market' the one store where you could get groceries on the island. It was so beautifully set up like an art gallery for fruits and vegetables. a joy to peruse.

Ruthie snuggled into the sandstone scupltures at Bell Park on the tip of the Island. So much fun climbing the rocks on the sea shore!

Our home for the week. Camp Deb & Ruthie. Snuggled in the trees with our campfire, clothelines, and tarp kitchen. Don't need much else.

Oddly enough this picture looks like a painting or as though it's been photshopped in some way. Truth is, I don't know how to use photoshop and it has not been altered at all. It was a really brilliant sunset that night and Ruthie and I were on our way to go enjoy it with some friends a Shell Beach - best place on Galiano Island to watch the sun set if you ask me. Anyways, we snapped this picture on our walk there and it had this etheral painterly feel at the time.

Tide up at Shell Beach. So many great memories of sun sets and wading around in the water. Looks tropical with the turquoise water!

Ruthie wading in the cool ocean water with her new little friend in the background.

Walking the peninsula near Montague Harbor campground on my birthday ( July 8th). This has, for the last many years, been my desired way to celebrate my birthday : on a hike in nature. Ruthie was off on a playdate with some new campground friends and I took an hour to just enjoy the trees, the path, the ocean and my own company.

Always have loved the sandstone strata geology in the Gulf Islands.

Creative How-To: Making the appearance of footprints in sand

 I recently received this question via Email and thought I'd share it with not just this artist, but anyone who may have the same query....

Here's the question :

"I happened to chat with an Opus friend of yours in the downtown store yesterday.  I only found this out when I mentioned how much I enjoyed your demos and wish I had remembered more from them. hehehehehe  I had called their store for information on what product to use on an acrylic painting to make it look like a sand/gravel texture.  Like at the beach!  And how to also make a raised effect.  She suggested I send you a quick email for your opinion.  I would like the overall painting to have a random sand texture and want to end up adding a raised design in it that would give the impression of a print (foot?) within the sand.  Hope that makes sense.  I am feeling that the print should be raised and I am not sure what to do to accomplish that."

Dear Adrien,

Thanks for writing.

There are two products I can think of off hand that would work for this project. 

The first is GOLDEN coarse pumice gel. This has already got a sandy texture and is thick so give you raised effects. You could then imprint or sculpt the effect of footprints into it. AFterwards you could give it some washes or paint over it to get the sandy colour your desire.
This is GOLDEN pumice gel all dry. See that you can shape it and then if you want to create a sandy effecd yoiu could wash over it with sandy colours such as trasnparent yellow iron oxide , titan buff, etc.

HEre's a video which will shed some light on the pumice gel:

Also, for your reference, here is a blog I wrote a while back on putting sand, salt, sugar and other things into your mixed media paintings:

The other option would be to use Light Modeling paste ( GOLDEN and Liquitex make it) and either mix sand in it and then make and shape it into your desired foot print look or sprinkle sand on it afterwards. This is one of my favourite products as it holds shape better than any other gel or medium that I've worked with.

Also, if you are going to collect sand from the beach, be sure to clean it and cook it in the oven to get all the little bacteriesa and other dirt and nasties from it. I'm pretty sure, if you don't feel like going through all that effort, you can go to the hardware store and buy pre-sterlized sand!

Light modeling paste holds textures, imprints and formations really well. GOLDEN and Liquitex make these products and they are comparable. Look for the best deal!

Good luck with your project and I hope this helps.

Creative How To - Starting a Creative Project

This blog is dedicated to Gabriella, who has a book inside her ready to be born. It’s about how to start a creative project – any project you choose - and creating a rhythm to keep it going and make some legitimate progress on the creative project.

I’m going to build this blog by offering you a few key cards from my creative card pack The 68 Secrets of an Illuminated Artist that are integral in supporting Gabriella in the beginning of her journey of starting to write a book, and hopefully you, in any project you want to start.

BEGIN. There must be a few good reasons why you want to *write this book. Start by writing these reasons out. Why do you want to do project x anyways? Put pen to paper and get clear on this. This is your purpose. The WHY. The reason you are even considering doing this project.

Then, I want you to take it to the next step and write out why you are excited or juiced about this project. I call this my E-list. In the case of this list, just make it relevant to this project.

*write this book = do this project, whatever creative project you are embarking on…

KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.  Before you go any further in getting started with your creative project I want to share this next concept with you here, as it’s very important. Did you know that talking about this project or telling your friends about it creates the same reactions in your brain as actually doing it? Therefore when you tell someone about it – instead of actually doing it – your brain doesn’t know the difference and you are less likely to do it. Read the card and follow this advice until you have so much momentum with your creative project that it will no longer matter if you talk about it because you have become an illuminated artist: creatively unstoppable. Until then button your lips.


SCHEDULE TIME. Next, you know this inherently. If you don’t make – and more powerfully -  schedule time to work  this project, it won’t happen. So if you really want to succeed long term, it’s been proven again and again that small steps are the best way to create lasting long term chance. Choose a time each day when you can do 10 minutes on this project. If that brings up anxiety or other less than desirable feelings, lower the number. Start with 5 minutes or event 1 minute. Just make sure you do this every day.

  As you start doing your daily 10 minutes you want to incorporate ways to make it fun – then you’ll be more likely to keep at it.  Light a candle. Play music. Have cookies waiting next to your pen and paper/tools/computer/work session.  When I was working on my first book The Little Inspiration Book   I used to put hot water and Epsom salts and lavender aromatherapy into a large bowl and soak my feet while I wrote.  Maybe what’ll make it fun for you is working in different locations like a coffee shop or at the beach. Have a little list available with a few ideas so they are ready to support you.

CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS. Bottom line is if you are working on a project on your own, and especially if you've followed the first guideline to keep it to yourself, there will be no cheering squad waiting  on the other side of hte door once you've written the first page, or first chapter, or for establishing your writing/working schedule. In this case I ask you be your own cheering squad. Time some time and do something to celebrate your forward progress. Anchor it in yourself that you're doing great and that you can keep going. Pat yourself on the back. say YES!! outloud real loud. Take yourself out for dinner. Get a mani pedi. Whatever it is that works for you. But, please, do something. If you want to create some accountability, sign it to blogger and post your celebratory act here in the Comments section. I'm sure other readers would be pleased to get ideas from you.

Need more support? These are only a few cards from the 68 card pack  The 68 Secrets of an Illuminated Artist you can order the whole pack (all 68 cards) for $25 plus shipping/handling from me 

Meet the Yoga Girls.. new paintings!

The Original Yoga Girl
acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012 SOLD
This week I thought I'd share my latest little painting series; "Yoga Girl" that all got started while teaching a and demonstrating techiques using thick acrylics and mixed medias at my last Thick, Layered & Encaustic-like Abstract Paintings: How to Build Transparent, Translucent and Opaque layers with Acrylic Mediums

I've been placing these artwork images on facebook over the last few months but I thought it would be nice to showcase them all in one place, here also on my blog. They are also on my website in the Portfolio section entitled Yoga Girl Series:  

So, a bit behind this series and what it means to me... 

After dreaming of it for 10 years I finally signed up and committed to an eight month yoga instructor course. It's with Rizze Yoga Studio here in East Vancouver and led by Lana Marie. Lana teaches quite a number of classes at Open Door Yoga and if you are in the neighbourhood, I highly suggest you experience one of her classes. They are truly the embodiment of somatic style yoga.

Tree Pose Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

So far this yoga teacher training has been quite a roller coaster and inward journey. Often, when you get into your body somatically a lot of emotions and old stored memories re-surface. It can be quite unfortable and/or even painful to start to feel things we've pushed away for so long so that we did not have to feel them. 

On the upside, the thing about getting moving and sweaty through yoga is that in this process we get the  opportuniy to then process and release a lot of this old stuff and so de-toxificaiton and transformation can occur. Processing emotions is definitly the more challenging part of the journey. However, afterwards you get all the benefits of yoga - which could be a whole blog, if not a book, in itself. To name a few; you feel more joyful, happier, lighter, more flexible, fitter, sleep better, breathe easier, stand up taller, and look better. 
Dancer, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012

The fun part and wonderful benefit of this training is connecting with the other beautiful and amazing participants during our intensive weekend sessions. At some point I need to get some pictures of us and some fun and crazy things we've been doing as a group!

Namaste, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

 So, to be truly honest, this series of paintings shown here were all created before the yoga teacher training class began. Painting these pieces was my way of  dedicating and getting into to my yoga practice beacause truthfully at the very start of all this ( four months ago now) it was so much easier for me to paint then to make it to a yoga class. So I painted instead of doing yoga. 

Reverse Warrior, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

There will be more paintings I'm sure, as there are 6 more in my studio still waiting to be completed. But things have shifted for me and now that I am actually  doing yoga more frequently and embodying the practice much more than at the start, it'll also be interesting to see how the work evolves! Perhaps when the next handful of paintings are completed I'll do another follow up post like this and  we'll see if we can spot any differences!

Dancer in the Snow, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

It's funny how people around us see things about us that we don't see because we're in ourselves busy living our lives doing our thing and can't see our own blindspots. This is natural and why it's great to have a few people around that we trust that can point out things we may not have seen. My friend Jeanne Krabbendam, was visiting for tea a few months ago and we were talking about this series of paintings and she commented on there was a separation between the abstract painting and the yoga girls themselves. I realized that at this point in time, my painting and my yoga were two different separate entities. 

My hope and dream with yoga and abstract painting are slowly but surely brought together, unified synergistically within me so I can share these two practices with you in the Illuminate the Artist Within(TM) retreats that are now being offered internationally. 

By the way, if you fall in love with one or more of these Yoga Girl Paintings and aren't able to purchase an original, they are all available as small gift cards ( blank inside), small prints, posters and fridge magnets at To purchase an original you can contact me at or come to my next Open Studio Event during the East End Culture Crawl this November 16, 17 & 18th 2012 at the ARC Live/Work STudios 1701 Powell Street, East Vancouver, BC. If you'd like a reminder for this event, pls subscribe to my free monthly newsletter

Namaste, Deb

One legged Stretch, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

Breathing Space: Deep Cove

In early June this year it was still raining and cold here in Vancouver but I decided to get out of hte studio and be a tourist in my own town and head over to Deep Cove.

 If any of the scenery looks familiar you may note that this is where Charlie St. Cloud ( a fairly newly released movie) with Zach Efron was filmed when he was sailing in the start of the movie.

 It's very quiet and quaint and sleepy. And I had a nice relaxing walk around the cove.

Foxglove upclose.
In the park at the front and center of the harbor.

Motorbors all lined up (with no place to go?) :)

 I'm always a sucker for a waterfall.

and a forest path...

Always make time to smell the roses. Seriously you gotta do it! 

 I threw a few pennies in the wishing pool and since it came true I'm going to tell you my wish!
 It was for sunshine!!!

 Finished up my walk wtih a cup of tea at the local bakery.

The Audacity of Self Love

This month I'm excited to share with you a new book that has just emerged entitled 'The Audacity of Self Love - Voyage of the Self Made Woman".  To anyone that's ever taken one of my workshops or read The Little Inspiration Book or the seen the newly published card pack the 68 Secrets of an Illuminated Artist, they will know how dear this topic - loving oneself - is to my heart is and how important it is for all people, and artists in particular, to specialize in self love and self care. 

When I saw Christina Fior's Post on my Facebook newsfeed, I emailed her immediately and  shared that I would love to mention her book her on this blog and  how much it meant to be that she wrote it on this topic.

Without further ado,  this book is about the  guts it takes to be a Self-Made Woman. It takes audacity to bring our feminine genius forward in a world that has been set up for us to be ‘long suffering’ rather than self empowered.
The Audacity of Self Love --Voyage of the Self Made Woman speaks to the universal woman’s ‘heroic journey’ as she cuts through the layers of ‘love deprivation’ and deepens her sources of Self-Love.
This book provide a roadmap for unleashing our feminine genius and recapturing the original brilliance encoded within our souls. This time in history calls us to become feminine ‘change agents’ as we champion a bigger ‘idea’ for our lives, and co-create a new world of enlightened living.
It’s time to literally ‘liberate the genie from the bottle’ within us, and grant our deepest desires.

You can also read the introduction and first chapter online here:

Christina Fior has accompanied her innate intuitive abilities with 35 years of practice in metaphysics, quantum healing and the integrative health sciences. She has counseled hundreds of women, blending her skills as a Wellness Coach, Esthetician, Theta Healer, Holodynamics Practitioner, and a Palm and Handwriting Analyst. Through the insightful and compassionate nature of her work, she is affectionately known by her clients as The Love Whisperer.

Christina Fior

New Music I'm playing in my Studio

There is nothing like having great tunes to play in the studio while working. Music gives me energy, inspires me, and often makes sometimes a difficult process way more fun.

Here's 5 new musician/bands/artists I'm playing lately that are new -for me anyways!:

John Mayer. Oh wow, he is just so unbelievably amazing.  I first heard of John Mayer through Taylor Swift's song "dear john". Yeah, I understand she got burned after they split up. Well, i couldn't help but be curious about this musician she was with and after listening to his Battle Studies album and then Continuum, well, I"m so hooked on this sexy voiced guitarist. Fav song? Hmmmm, I Love ' Stop this Train', 'Gravity' and 'Perfectly Lonely'.

Here's John playing Gravity at the Grammy's. Oh man! I am eating my heart out!

Paramore. I found this group via Twilight soundtrack. Yup, I'm a super big Twighlight fan. Just love the movies, especially the most recent when Bella has a baby and become a vampire ( oh dear hope i didn't spoil it for you but it's been out for a while). The first song of theirs I fell in love with was 'i caught myself'. Then I went out and got these albums: Brand New Eyes and Riot! I'm still listening and exploring them so I can't say I have a favourite song but they have my attention.

Here's a Paramore song on youtube to give you a feel of them called 'that's what you get'

Paul Cantelon. My daughter (she just turned 9) was teasing me the other day about the number of boyfriends I have had over the last couple of years. It's true. I've dated a lot of men. The one benefit is when you get to know someone new you often get to learn new music. I love this part about making new friends or having new relationships. So, yes, one of my ex's (too many to count at this point in time) told me about this pianist/composer Paul Catelon. You'll hear his melodic and somewhat sad piano music in the background of tons of movies. I went to a yoga class the other day and noticed the teacher was playing it. I smiled smugly to myself and thought to myself 'hey, i know this music!!". it's the kind of music you put on when it's pouring rain outside and you're working on a book or  a painting, or if you should be so lucky, doing other things with someone special. It's basically relaxing background music with emotion. I have his Point no Point album.

Here's a piece of his music called 'Theme From The Diving Bell And The Butterfly'

Buddha Bar.  Super cool mix. I think there are more than 6 CD's under this title with a whole lot of artists and various genres. I first heard of buddha bar from my ex-husband Matt. He was working in Los Vegas for several of the major hotels in  the MGM group as a consultant he was at a restaurant bar one evening and really liked the music they were playing. He asked the bar tender and what 'd you know, it was Buddha Bar.
There are tons of Buddha Bar CD's available. Ahh the beauty of living in an artist work/live community. We share music amoung other things, so lucky  me I have 6 of these records!
Honestly I don't think I've listened to it all yet but it also makes a great background to put on if you're having a party or a social event! ( Open studio perhaps? :)) 

To get a quick taste of this music just click on their main website and they play the music:

Chilled. I found this album by accident at the library and got hooked. I kept re-newing it again and again until the library system woudn't let me have it anymore!It it just such a cool album. Up beat and fun and music I had not heard before. I'm seriously considering putting some of these songs into my yoga classes!

My Fav song from this album?  Fun for Me by Moloko You gotta listen to it!!!! Here's the link on youtube:
I would say of the 5 albums/artsits I've listed in this blog, this collection of 3 CD's is my fav!!!!

Now it's your turn....

If you read this and enjoy it, pls do share what you're playing in your studio an share with with other artists all over the world! It's so fun to learn about new music! Thank you!!! ( links to youtube are great so we can listen to it)