Opening Doors…so to speak

Sometimes, ideas just pop into my head, seemingly from out of the blue. I have the privilege of working with high school students and they continue to be a source of inspiration for me. One of my projects has been running school art battles. Individual artists will compete, creating works within a specified time frame, using specific materials and themes…for our year closing, or in this case, year opening battles, we’ve put together team battles. This year’s inaugural battle saw 11 teams of over 70 staff and student combos battling it out and it was magnificent!

So, this idea, you say…well, it was to use doors as the canvas. The theme was “gateways”. Each team was provided with an actual door and they had to produce a finished piece in 30 minutes. Luckily, we are blessed with some amazing local businesses who are more than willing to help out. In this case, Artefacts in St Jacob’s (an architectural salvage business) donated a number of doors to this project, thereby allowing us to accommodate all the people who wanted to participate.

In the case of my “team”, we decided to blend the inside with the out, and used actual stones, both painted colours and natural to create our gateways. A play on gateways/pathways, actual paths…well, you get it. Although we did not finish our door within the time frame (a bit challenging with two team members out of four running the gauntlet of technical difficulties keeping things progressing smoothly for the battle), we did make considerable progress and plan on completing the door in the upcoming weeks. I will post pics of the finished door. I guess my point is-think outside the box. Let nature and unusual things be your canvas and palette. Don’t be afraid to try new things and most of all…have FUN!


Setting up our "colours"

Setting up our “colours”


The canvas

The canvas


Phase 1 Design

Phase 1 Design


Phase 2

Phase 2


Phase 2 another view

Phase 2 another view


Studio Downsizing Sale!

Right now, I am in the midst of reorganizing my studio. I am in the midst or putting together some inspiring outdoor venue painting workshops for this summer where everyone can be inspired and play without boundaries. Since I’ve decided to bring in some huge canvases to play with new ideas and techniques, that means making some room. For a limited time, any piece not currently associated with a gallery will be offered at a “downsizing” price. Shipping and handling fees are extra. Scroll through your favourites, and send me an email when you’ve chosen the ones you would like. First come-first served. No holds please. Have fun! Annie

Therapeutic Creativity (Creative Process)

It’s funny the number of conversations I’ve had with people recently about stress, health, finding a balance in life and all the ways we try to offset the potential negative effects, the coping mechanisms we put in place to try and make our lives rich and livable.

Some friends and colleagues find their zone in running or exercising, for others it’s yoga or Pilates. In speaking with my sis, meditation came up. She’s gotten to the point where she can zone out and meditate in public places, even on a plane. And I thought “How cool is that! I should try that!” Now for anyone who knows me (and can stop laughing at me long enough to keep reading), there are still waters in me somewhere, however they tend to conflict with my Tigger like bouncing. Combine that with two very energetic, rambunctious, boys under age 8, a full time teaching career, which I love, my dogs, my art, my….fitting in time to just sit and train my mind to slow down and relax, well, hmm. Sure, you can lecture me all you want on the whole “You have to make the time” and so on, but there’s the reality that rears its time consuming, “Would you like a shower or meditate today?” ugly head.

For me, it came to a point where two different doctors told me that I had two different masses growing, which in essence would kill me in one of two ways, neither of which was going to be pretty, or treatable. And breathe. And breathe again. And panic. And cry. And oh shit (add more expletives-very creative ones). And breathe. How does one go through testing, still be a parent, try to keep a household running and a career going, all the while there is a gigantic very ugly elephant (not the cute pink candy box kind) hovering over you in the corner? Then, came the conversations about meditation. Then, came the epiphany.

While I may seem to be organized chaos in motion, bouncing all over the place, there are very deep, very still waters inside me. In my own way, I do mediate. I do zone out and lose focus on everything else, allowing a sense of calm connectivity and peace wash over me, letting the “noise” from without go.  For me, my therapy, my healing, my rescue comes when I paint.

Art is therapy. The creative process is therapeutic. It calms, it heals, it allows you to channel emotions, frustrations, fears, anger, all those things that we can’t look at face on. It’s interesting because since I have started painting, I have tried to explain to people that a good painting session is when I get into the “zone”, where I don’t think, I just do, I just am and it all flows. People have asked multiple times, “What were you thinking when you painted this? What was your plan? Your process?” The explanation that I wasn’t thinking anything, that it just came, seemed somehow insufficient and I have had a hard time trying to put to words the channelling process that just spontaneously occurs on occasion. When the spirit moves me, for lack of a better phrasing, the directions this takes me are sometimes never where I intended to go but somehow my spirit or soul knows what I need more than I do in that moment and we just go there.

Using art as therapy isn’t a new thing, but I do belive that it is something that should be promoted more. Instinctively, I have encouraged and nudged some of my students in this direction. When they’ve been angry or troubled, I’ve actually given them the canvas and paint and said go put it all on there. Use your brushed, your fingers, scratch, slash, blend, smooth and most of all PLAY. The results have been phenomenal as you can actually see someone else’s soul on the canvas-their moment in time where it all came to being, right there, in front of you. It is breathtaking.

Does it have to be paint? Nope. I know people who lose themselves in clay, in the movement of the wheel-in wood, the grains, the stains, the textures-in dough, the kneading, shaping, rising. It’s all the rhythm, the movement, the passion, the emotion and the soul. The moment where you can let go of everything and allow the immediate to immerse you and take over. The end result isn’t as important as the process. Whether you like it or hate it when you are done, it is what it is.

So go forth, let you inner child out and the calm peaceful vibes in. It’s therapeutic and good for the soul, yes, but more importantly it can be just plain fun.

Some examples of “Hmm…and where di this come from?”. Enjoy.


Fire DancerOil on canvas SOLD

Fire Dancer Oil on canvas SOLD


"Indomitable" 36 by 48 Oil on gallery canvas

36 by 48
Oil on gallery canvas


Torn-SOLD Chicago

Torn-SOLD Chicago





Live Your Life in Colour 2014 Sale

New ideas, new colours, new works and it’s time to refresh. For a limited time, selected works will be offered at a reduced price. Gallery credited works are not included in the promotion. Please send a message to inquire about your favourite work and starting living your life in colour this year. Regards and best wishes in the new year! Annie

Happy New Year SALE

” Treasures” at Patrick International Fine Art, Yorkville

Opening next week, “Treasures” at Patrick International Fine Art in the Yorkville district of Toronto promises to be a pre-Christmas delight.

Just in time to place some beautiful pieces of art on your Christmas wish list, or snag something phenomenal and one of a kind for that special person, the show opens next week with the vernissage on Thursday, December 5th from 7-9 pm. Meet the artists behind the creations (including this one), and spend the evening in an exciting, dynamic atmosphere soaking in the beautiful results of some very talented minds. Click on the link below to view the full list of artists, directions and gallery hours.

Come see “Narrative of the Universe” and others live and in person! See you next week.




Coastal Fault Line

Coastal Fault Line

Another exploration with oils and palette knives. 24 by 24 oil on canvas.

The latest and greatest…and experimental fun stuff

Things have been crazy busy around here lately, and unfortunately that means less time to hop on the computer and update everyone. Yes, yes, I heard the complaints about not enough pics of the news works, so, because I always listen and try to please, here they are. I hope you enjoy some of the new series! A few are on a Christmas House tour as the guest of honor and others may be slated for upcoming shows. If you are interested, please let me know as this series is going as quick as I can paint them as often as not. Enjoy! Annie.

Oil On Canvas 24 by 36

Oil On Canvas
24 by 36

Oil on Canvas 12 by 12

Just More Words
Oil on Canvas
12 by 12

Oil on Canvas 24 by 48

Deeper-almost complete
Oil on Canvas
24 by 48

Mixed Media on Board

From The Heavens
Mixed Media on Board

Oil on Canvas 24 by 36

Narrative with the Universe
Oil on Canvas
24 by 36