The encaustic medium is magical, vibrant and translucent.  My creative muse guides, inspires and feeds my soul through this medium, mixed media and collage.  Blessing me with endless moments of creative joy and harmony...providing those ahhaa moments about life.  Join me on this creative journey, spend some time reading my musings about this life, the blessed other souls that come into contact with mine, however brief or often, that can leave everlasting imprints on our journey....perhaps our lives might share some similarities, bringing us closer and more connected...and less isolated.

"I suppose there is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul." ~ Edith Wharton

Here's to finding those expansive moments.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Capstone Final Piece completed….and Presentation done…..

So here is my final capstone piece that I completed for my MSW program, and which I presented to a panel yesterday.   The many layers of encaustic mixed media and collage represent the diverse layers of what health means to me, as well as, how the whole MSW program has fed this knowledge, the definition of health and how it will influence my practice and who I am in the world. 

It was a great experience to first journal and reflect on this past 365 day journey, and then to put it together in a creative piece that was an intriguing process on the whole.  Health is so much about the intersections of so many layers for me, physical, mental, social and spiritual.  Using a narrative approach I layered symbols that represented these elements of a holistic approach to health.  Critical to this process of health is the relationships we form and create, they sustain us, help us to find meaning and value in the world.  This is what the spiritual element of my grandmother does for me, she guides my creativity often and fills spaces I find hard to name, I didn't know her as a child, she died when my mother was eight years old in a horrific train bombing in India.  But her life is there in spirit and guides me.  The other relationships very present in the piece are represented by the pieces that were given to me, keys and watch parts, and rusty bits are all given by friends who are present today either far or near, but have valued the connection to think of me to pass on these mixed media treasures to feed my creative muse.  Thank you to these lovely friends, Jill Davey and Deborah Pryce.  
Health is so much about relationships and the sense of belonging and knowing without a doubt you are loved and matter.

Capstone Piece, 18 W x 40 H inches, 2015.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Part 2 - Capstone creation parts coming together

Spent the weekend pulling things together for the Capstone project -- and since my usual process is to begin with journaling some reflection, I did that and then decided to organize my thoughts and feelings into a mind map.  This mind map is a synthesis of what concepts resonated with my learning and how I view health from a social work & artist lens….

And here are the parts/elements that are being completed -- almost ready to put the parts together….

I love creating these gel skins, 8 layers of medium gel dried in-between and then paper soaked and rolled off, leaves this skin of translucency.    Still work in process, trying to decide on the layers and how they are to come together and the details.

Thanks for your thoughts or comments.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reflecting on the journey of the last 365 days……..

So it has been almost year, since I embarked on a new chapter, starting my MSW, Masters of Social Work with the University of Waterloo, Renison University College degree….It has been an incredibly powerful journey of 365 days ----  I am but one course away from obtaining this degree…. Can you hear my excitement ?

It has been a year long process, two week-long intensives on campus - the first was last August 2014 and the last one will begin on August 10th, 2015.  And in-between, there has been 6 online courses, all requiring intense participation, online conversations (hours of conversations), papers, assignments, involving research and critical thinking, group process papers (on line - and that was an interesting process), a practicum placement from September to May, requiring 10 mini papers, setting goals for practice work, counselling Renison university students and a great group process using art and altered books, I was so lucky enough to facilitate this program with 6 students.

…The end is near and one of the last projects we have to do is called the "Capstone"…What I love about this project, is that it requires we capture our MSW journey in a creative project.   So totally cool, challenging and a great way to synthesize all that has unfolded over the 12 months; which for me included being a FULL-TIME MSW student, while as the same time working part-time (22.5 hours/week), commuting 12-14 hours for that part-time job, being a mum to a teenager, single parenting when she is with me, and placement hours (15 hrs/week), life chores, still running my art business, teaching and painting when I had any extra time etc….it has been a whirlwind of intensity…but ALL GOOD, even the challenges really pushed my edges…..For which I am grateful.

So I thought I would document my CAPSTONE process a bit….via this blog…there will be several parts that I will post over the course of the next two weeks.

Here is the first part….As I am a mixed media artist, thought I would do something using mixed media as the elements to this project…

As I had to juggle all these various commitments, responsibilities, the many life bits over this year, …the only way I felt I could do it was to keep tonnes and tonnes of post-it notes, colour coding my calendar and writing many lists…..So I thought I would use these post-it lists incorporated into the CAPSTONE art piece.

First step, I tea stained and then stredded them….   As I looked over these post-it notes, I reflected on what was most meaningful to me and journalled key themes, concepts and what it all meant to me… a mind map was helpful in this process too.

On my studio table, my post it notes, all tea stained and ready to be shredded…  Rumi poetry that has provided me endless peace and comfort over the years and was inspiring again in reflecting on this year long journey…the poem the Guest House provided inspiration to this project.

I will post my next steps in a day or so…. it is lovely to be in the studio again, unfolding the stories that came from this year long process. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

A wonderful week spent with a lovely group of students - week long encaustic intensive

Thoroughly enjoyed a week long with students in the studio working with all things encaustic, from beginner's level to advanced level 5 techniques.  The shellac burns were so much fun, mica bits and mono printing with the hot box was spontaneous and liberating.  After 5 days together, the flow was magical.

Here are some examples of the lovely work produced by those who came out for the five days, and it was inspiring.  Thank you for venturing into this creative space.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A new encaustic mixed media week long program July 13-17th, in Elora, Ontario

Title: A Great Story Unfolding, Encaustic Mixed Media, 6 x 12 

I am so excited about teaching this year at the Wellington County Museum, in Elora, Ontario an encaustic and mixed media intensive week long class from Monday July 13- Friday July 17th, each day there will be demonstrations and plenty of opportunity for you to play on your own creative projects.  

This is a great way to spend a week in the summer, learning and playing with diverse encaustic techniques, from beginner's to advanced levels. 
Day One:  Beginner's - Layering and fusing encaustic, three fusing tools, collage with papers, found and bought, organics, ephemera, 3-d found objects for embellishments etc. 
Day Two: Beyond Collage - Image Transfers, gouging, metal leaf, using pigment sticks
Day Three: Texture Galore - Acretion, Masking off, 3-D Found objects to build texture, Drywall compound
Day Four: Pushing the Boundaries - Pearl Ex powders, shellac, alcohol and indian inks, pastels (oil and wax), charcoal, 
Day Five:  An introduction to mono printing with encaustics

It is a great way to delve into a week long creativity retreat.
Elora is a beautiful destination to spend time in as well.

For more information visit:

There are a few spots are left, so register soon to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions about the format, or what will be taught, or any other thoughts, comments please do not hesitate to email me at:

Title: Breathing in HeART, Encaustic Mixed Media, 6 x 12

Title:  Letting Go is Liberating, Encaustic Mixed Media, 30 x 26

Title: Minutia, Encaustic Mixed Media, 30 x 30 

Title: Birthing a new journey, encaustic mixed media, 6 x 12

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What is "magic"?

Thoughts inspired by this poster ---

Magic is the way we greet each other

Looking intently into each other's eyes.

Magic is the way we HUG - Heart to Heart
The way we send love & loving thoughts to another even from a far.

Magic is the way we speak to each other, how we share of ourselves authentically

Magic is holding each other with positive intent and love.

Magic is you and I
Compassion and Loving Kindness.

Magic is you --- those I have met, those I share my life with now and
even those I have yet to meet.

YES Magic is YOU!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blog Hop

I was invited by Veronica Funk to join a blog hop project.   Thank you Veronica.  The project consists of answering some questions regarding art and my art process; as well as to to highlight three artists I admire.   Due to the summer holidays, many of the artists I contacted were busy and away.  So I am highlighting two artists here today.  First here are the answers to the questions that were asked of me for the blog hop project:

1) What am I working on/writing? 
Currently I am working on a series for a new show opening in September called Seasons, this is a two person exhibit with Sandy Middleton, at the MJG Gallery, in Leslieville, Toronto, Ontario.

The interpretation I am taking for this theme, "Seasons" is to explore the concept of patterns in our lives, like seasons, which have natural rhythms.   Seeking meaning from those patterns that come into our lives like seasons that repeat.  There is something very beautiful about the seasons changing, the predicability of them.  The predictability can bring comfort, especially when a particular season might be a hard one, knowing that it WILL CHANGE…as it always does …can provide HOPE.

For that matter those unexpected turn of events, like anomalies in our seasons we experience, such as the severe winter we just had, with the ice storm etc. how does that impact our lives, our understanding of these rhythms on our beings, our souls?   The connection to our world, the seasons in our lives are definitely present…It is undeniable that we are unequivocally connected to the rhythms of the earth's energy, changing seasons, the birthing of life and the decay of it as well.  I am hoping to delve into the contemplation of patterns in our lives occur to tell us something, to make sense of our lives if we are paying attention to those patterns.  So I do my very best to pay attention.

2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre? 
This question is an interesting one…is anything different really, or are we all elements of what we see, and absorb…not sure how my work is different.  I feel my work is similar in fact to other artists who explore their lives through their artwork.  The way in which my work manifests is from life unfolding, the outcome can be the heavy use of symbols, iconic imagery and bold colour.  This in fact has been done across many cultures and over many decades.   So for that reason, I see it as being deeply rooted in something more than myself and intensely intuitive.  Hence it doesn't work if I am too busy to listen to be paying close attention to the imagery around me in life.

3) Why do I do what I do? 
I do the work to get grounded find balance and to be in touch with the things that really matter in life.  Connection to the source of joy, happiness, to play, to find peace.  With long periods of not painting I know I would feel like a big part of me is missing.  It is integral to my life being WHOLE.

4) How does my writing/working process work?
My art making involves the conscious process of first slowing down.  I do this by either puttering first in the studio, to get grounded, this might include sorting, absorbing the found objects I've been give, collected or found randomly.  A part of this grounding involves journalling.  Once feeling ready the painting begins, which is some layering of encaustic medium -- several layers actually, of one colour, usually my fave…Indigo.  This sets the next step to being ready for the imagery and colour to flow into a narrative, and sometimes a surreal piece.  

And now let me introduce the wonderful artist, Veronica Funk, who asked me to join this blog hop.

Veronica Funk was raised in Northern Manitoba, studied art & design in Alberta, apprenticed with potters, stone sculptors and painters and spent a year painting on a farm in Saskatchewan.  She is inspired by the changing colours of the Rocky Mountains and prairies which surround her foothills home.  She has been painting professionally since 1999 and is currently continuing her education towards completion of her Bachelor of Fine Arts designation.  Despite forays into mixed media, altered books and pottery, she has always returned to the medium that got her career started: painting.  Over the years she has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles and her work and writing have been published in a number of art books and magazines.  Her goal is to create a visual story.  She combines symbols, imagery and vibrant colour through the use of opaque and transparent acrylic glazes, stamping, utilizing her hands as tools and drawing with her brush.  Her images are an endeavour to capture the essence of Canada.

The two artists I have asked permission to highlight are:  
Leslie Sobel,  and Bridgette Guerzon Mills, both artists, I admire.  They will be publishing there blog hop posts next Saturday August 2nd, 2014.

Leslie Sobel’s work is motivated by her relationship with nature.  She is particularly interested in the impact of climate change on habitat - both developed and wilderness. In the past three years she has hiked at Death Valley, Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument, Zion, Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park and many weekends in local state parks in Michigan.  She spent September 2013 at a wilderness based residency sponsored by Colorado Art Ranch and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Southwest Colorado.
Her process is studio intensive but starts outdoors with experience, photography and drawing providing the visual and emotive references that come back into the studio to be realized in mixed media artwork.
Sobel was born in New York City and grew up in Chicago.  She grew up in a family of scientist as the only artist and that mix of outlooks has profoundly shaped who she is and how she views the world.  She spent much of her childhood camping –growing up with a profound appreciation of the outdoors. The result of that upbringing is a deep interest in different ways of understanding and connecting to the world. She received her BFA from the  University of Michigan School of Art in 1983.  After working in computer graphics for many years and doing Master’s degree work in Interdisciplinary Technology at Eastern Michigan University she went back to being a full time artist in 1999.
Sobel is active in her community as a member of the Arts Alliance board and former chair of the Milan Art Center. She co-founded the art alchemists, an artists‘ collective revolving  around the use of digital tools in art-making and was a partner in the artist owned Washington Street Gallery for a number of years.   Sobel is married and has three young adult children. She has lived in southeast Michigan for more than 30 years.

photo by Robin Samiljan at Provincetown Inn, Encaustic conference

The second artist is:  Bridgette Guerzon Mills


Bridgette writes: "My mixed media paintings incorporate moments captured by my photographs with the richness of paint, creating a bridge between two worlds – the real and the reconstructed. I lay down layers of paint and pieces of photo transfers, papers or fibers to create depth in both form and meaning. The canvas becomes a multilayered surface that speaks to both the visual and tactile senses. This integration of diverse layers creates an intimate connection that invites exploration."