An art-filled STUDIO VISIT: Painting all day at an art sale


What do the Personal Genome Project, Art and Fear and my process have in common you ask? Well, the answer lies in my great painting experience! On Sunday, I spent the day painting at the North Shore Artists’ Guild’s Annual Fine Art Sale and learned a lot about myself, and shared my experience of painting in a non-representational way with the artists, collectors and browsers at the all day event. 


photo courtesy of Diana Wong

A few months ago I was asked if I would be interested in being one of the demo artists at the Annual Fine Art Sale of my artists’ guild. This is an annual event in a large hall of a local community centre, where members can sell their works. This year there were more than 700 paintings by 200 artists, so the room was filled with landscapes, figuratives, still lives, and non-representational works of all sizes.  

As I have never done this sort of thing and my non-representational art is very personal, I was a bit hesitant about painting in front of so many people (this is where the Art and Fear comes in!) however I decided to risk it said yes!


As yet completed/untitled 36×36 ink and acrylic on canvas

And I am so happy I did because not only was I able to paint for the day and almost finish 2 paintings (above and below)…I was able to share my process, expose some of the mysteries of abstract art, meet potential collectors (!!), tempt representational artists with non-representation, and interact and connect with a wide audience of art lovers!


As yet completed/untitled 24×48 ink and acrylic on canvas

Some of the interesting questions I was asked

How do you start a painting? After gessoing the canvas, for this series, I mark up the canvas with ink, watering down some areas, creating a bit of a grid, as I like some structure to my paintings. This also helps to take away the “oh-no-what-to-do” feeling about a big white surface.

What are you thinking about when you paint…do you have an idea in mind? No, I try not to think too much actually and I never know where the painting will take me. I work intuitively. I love that feeling of not knowing, which frees up your mind to just be in the moment and explore what comes up.

How did you pick your colors? Well for this series, some of which I will be in an exhibition at the Ferry Building in West Vancouver January 22- Feb 10, I took inspiration from a summer trip to Bermuda, so teal blue, quinacridone azo gold, a bit of crimson, and white are all I use…it’s really amazing how many colors you can create with a limited palette. It also keeps the painting cohesive.


photo courtesy of Jane Appleby

I also had the genuine pleasure of hearing:

“You are my favorite artist in this whole sale/show!”

“I love your work!”

“I wish I could paint like you!”

“Do you teach?”

“Where did you learn how to do this, and in front of so many people, I’d never have the nerve!”


photo courtesy of Jane Appleby

My art is a piece of me, a slice of time in my life, a window into my soul. So this morning as I read that article about the Personal Genome Project which scientists are hoping to undertake to reveal some of the mysteries of what makes us tick and how the environment and our DNA interact, I realized that it is a bit like me painting in front of an audience. What is created has come from me, influenced by my genes, my experiences, my life and exposing that is a bit anxiety-producing. What I came to understand though is that for people to understand even a bit of my art, you need to get out there and be accessible.

Have you tried to get out there and paint in front of an audience?





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