Category Archives: Daily Gratitude

How My Dad Influenced My Art Practice

I lost my Dad Jan 6 2013 and today would have been his 84th  birthday.  I have been thinking a lot about how growing up on the farm and being around my Dad has influenced life and my art practice.

Dad with fish

Dad with fish

He taught me a work ethic that lead to self employment at the age of 23.  He taught me how to creative problem solve and how to make the most of what you have. He taught me the spirit of entrepreneurship and how to be resourceful. He taught me about nature and the great outdoors. He taught me to have a sense of humour and not take life too seriously.  This is how my Dad influenced my art practice.

Dad did not see himself as an artist but he was in his own right.  He was called ” Mr. Fix-it” in our community. The saying went if “Lee can’t fix it -it can’t be fixed”. People from miles around would bring equipment to be repaired. Trained as a machinist my Dad ran his shop on the farm “Lee’s Machine and Welding”.  It was always a hub of activity.

If Dad wasn’t fixing something he was designing and  building something.  One thing I have fond memories of was the motor driven pea sheller.  Now that made shelling peas fun! It was a big drum with paddles inside and a shoot. you put the whole peas in and with a switch of the button they would start rolling out the shoot. The leftover macerated shells made great compost! It wasn’t long before all the neighbours where bringing over buckets of peas to be shelled in exchange for a few coins and some cream or eggs.

Another memory is of the dune buggy Dad made out of an old Volkswagen van chassis.  Then there was the to scale “Eiffel Tower” with a weather vane on top. The restored John Deer tractor, the metal signs and railings, the motor stands and gear pullers, the rototiller and harrows, the plant stands,  and the list goes on!

Aside from that Dad was an award winning wine maker and a great fisherman.

Did I mention he taught me how to fillet fish!

To this day I have a real fondness for metal, rusted metal and metal sculpture. My Dad  was an inventor. He always asked “what if”?  He was creative in how he fixed things often with limited supplies. He was organized and methodical.  He had strong math skills.

I try to bring these attributes to my art practice and to my life.

“Dad you are a hard act to follow!”

Thanks for all you taught me.




I Love My Commute

It is snowing again today!  These pictures are taken from the snow we had last week.

Footprints in snowI love my commute to my studio. It is a separate building in my back yard,  a few steps from my house. I love the separation as it limits my distractions. I do not have a phone or computer in my studio.

I live on Vancouver Island in Western Canada and we don’t often see the white stuff!  But when we do it is wet and heavy – not the kind of stuff you want to drive in or shovel. We had one of those days last week. The first one this winter and hopefully the last as the first signs of spring are showing in the new buds and bulbs pushing through.

Here are some pictures from my studio.

Announcing the Winner of the New Year Facebook Painting Give Away

First of all I would like to thank everyone who shared my posts and to all the new fans who helped me achieve my goal.

The winner is Elizabeth Wald from Stones in Harmony Jewellery from Greenwich, Connecticut.  Congratulations Elizabeth!Stones in Harmony Elizabeth has been a long time fan and has been very generous in sharing my art and providing me with positive feedback. I encourage you to take a look at her beautiful work on her Facebook page or her website.

Stay tuned for another contest that will be coming up soon!

Once again thank you to everyone for your support in helping me grow my art business, I wish I could give everyone of you a painting.

Christmas Blessings


Christmas morning is perhaps a little different at my house than yours. There is no tree with heaps of gifts, no family around other than my partner. There will be a festive dinner though! My gifts have been spread out through the year and I feel blessed. My heart is full of gratitude for all that I have received. I am so grateful that I am able to make a living doing what I love. I am grateful to everyone who supported me through out the year- students taking workshops, collectors buying art and friends providing emotional support to keep me going. I value all the friendships on social media – although I have not met many of you in person I feel so connected and enjoy all of your comments.

In 2013 I was blessed with two very special gifts – one was a trip to Wells, BC to attend the International Harp School. This is a memory that will live in my heart forever. The other gift was a Clipper Canoe that will provide many hours of enjoyment discovering all the beauty of the islands and beyond.

As many of you know my partner and I run a business called Inspired Interiors providing painting and decorating services. You also know the story of the shoemaker – well that holds true in our house too. We never get to our own projects. This year Rick finished his painting project a week before Christmas and decided it would be a great opportunity to do some work on our house. This past week he has repainted the ceiling in the main area and hallway and painted the baseboards (as well as cleaning up all those pesky spider webs that hang out in corners and under furniture!) He installed the new handle on the front door and has even requested my colour choices for the bedroom!  You see why no one else would want him in their house over Christmas!

To show my appreciation for all my clients and friends I am giving away a painting.  For your chance to win please leave a comment  and like my Facebook page if you haven’t done so already and you will be entered in the draw to take place on January 1.

Don’t Give Up


Here you can see the process of my painting form the first layer through till the end.

This painting came into being while listening to Josh Groban’s Awake album and the song “Don’t Give Up” really started to resonate with me. I started writing the words on the canvas although they are faint now with all the layers built up.  When I reflect on the imagery in this painting it reminds me of relationships and happier times. Flowers and figures. The space in between the two figures on the left and the one on the right show a division, perhaps a difference in opinion.  Don’t give up can mean so many things. For me at that moment after doing the 30 Paintings in 30 Day challenge it meant don’t stop now – keep going!

I feel so loved and supported by my social media family. Here is an example of the little things that make a difference. Tracy took the time to message me with these words;  “You inspire me so much… I am a total novice… only ever had 6 painting classes… but your style of art is what makes me tick… thank you for beautifying the world”

This was so special to me. Even though I do not know Tracy personally and she lives on the other side of the globe I felt so connected to her at that moment. It really gave me a sense of purpose to know that not only am I feeding my own soul but also feeding someone else’s.

You can draw your own conclusions about the painting. I have put the lyrics to the song below.

Let me know your interpretation.


“You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)”

Josh Groban

Don’t give up
It’s just the weight of the world
When your heart’s heavy
I…I will lift it for you

Don’t give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I…I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up
Because you are loved

Don’t give up
It’s just the hurt that you hide
When you’re lost inside
I…I will be there to find you

Don’t give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you
I…I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up
Because you are loved

You are loved
Don’t give up
It’s just the weight of the world
Don’t give up
Every one needs to be heard
You are loved

Giving Back

The other day I was invited to play harp at a volunteer appreciation tea for a seniors’ home. What really struck me was that all the volunteers with the exception of one young man where seniors themselves. One couple was in their nineties! Two other ladies had been volunteering doing manicures for 25 years. I was really touched by the young man Justin (in his 20’s). When he was called up to get his certificate I heard one of the volunteers say “I thought you worked here, I see you so often.” Justin goes to the care home 3 times a week to read and visit the seniors. I hope one day if I am in a care home that some young person will come and visit me (especially as I don’t have children).

It was a lovely lunch with much laughter and of course music! It left me wishing I had more time in my schedule to volunteer. That is not going to happen any time soon so I have been thinking of other ways of giving back.

I am going to borrow an idea from Flora Bowley and tweak it.  I will give away one workshop registration  to a person of my choice based on your nominations.

The Prize; One seat in a workshop (recipients choice) in my studio in Parksville, BC

How to enter; Check out the workshop page and then leave a comment on this blog nominating a person who you think is deserving of winning a workshop and why.  Please nominate someone who lives in the area or is able to travel. I will draw for the winner on May 31

What do crows and Encaustic have in common?

5Daily Gratitude’s Feb 15: James Taylor, Creme Brulee, Chocolate, Crow’s, Beeswax

I never thought I would say I would be grateful for crows but I have started putting them into some artwork and have come to watch them with great fascination. I love how you can embed things into wax and transfer images onto it. Encaustic and crows are both fascinating to me!

Order and minimalism stimulate my creativity!

5 Daily Gratitude’s Feb 13: Sunshine, my abode, organized bookshelves, signs of spring, hugs.

Lately I have been feeling visually over stimulated by my environment. My red/orange pallet is becoming too intense, all clutter is getting on my nerves, I am craving order and minimalism.  That is hard to achieve in a mixed media studio making it even more important in my home. Today I sorted through my books and organized the shelves into groups, also went through stacks of paper on my desk and got it sorted into categories: action, filing, refer, shred and toss. I made great progress, I only wish that I had more in the refer folder. It is hard to refer when you are a one women show! I feel so much more focused and creative when things are in order and put away. My challenge is keeping it that way.  My goal is to make putting things away a habit so I don’t get in such a mess! I think I’ll put up some notes to remind myself!  I’ll update you on my progress.



Being an artist is the most challenging business I have ever had!

5 Daily Gratitude’s Feb 10: Acrylic ink, marimba music, electronic tuners, Exacto knifes,bubble wrap.

Today  I had to pack up art to ship and it seemed like it took longer to find and re-size a cardboard box than it took to make the art! There are so many things to do besides make the art. Being an artist is the most challenging business I have ever had and I have a had a few! I estimate that I spend about 20% of my time on producing the art, the rest is on administrative duties, marketing, social media, workshops etc. No regrets though – I just wish I had more time to make art! Having an assistant would be a dream come true. Any takers out there?