Caging The Forest Bird
How would you describe your studio practice?
Almost everything starts in my sketchbook, which I carry around with
me everywhere I go. I’m one of those ADD type of folks who can’t focus
on just one thing at a time, so I tend to sketch while I’m watching TV
or on the phone. I’m also constantly scribbling down ideas for
paintings on anything that’s handy. Sometimes the sketch is detailed
or redone a few times to play with the layout and sometimes it’s just
a loose idea that comes together on the canvas.
What inspires you to make the work that you make?
I’m inspired by people, characters. I’ve always been fascinated by
what motivates and interests other people. Before I became an artist,
I was convinced that I had to get a “real” job”; the dream of working
as a full time artist was reserved for an elite few living in New
York. I (thought) I wanted to become a psychologist and began
university with that career path in mind. And then the internet came
along and changed everything! For the first time it was actually
possible to be a self-representing artist and reach an audience around
Aside from being able to showcase my work, the internet has also been
a huge source of inspiration by connecting me with other artists. I’m
able to see and be inspired by work being shown in galleries I may
never set foot in. I feel incredibly grateful to be working at this
time in history.
How would you describe the physical nature of your artwork?
I primarily paint with acrylics on small canvases. I like to do a lot
of layers, playing with glazes and depth, which means I don’t have the
patience for oils. I find the smaller sizes easier to scan and ship,
though I recently completed a few larger paintings (16×20) for a solo
show at the Plaskett Gallery and really enjoyed the challenge. I got
to play with a lot more detail than usual which I really enjoyed.
The only downside is if I hadn’t had a deadline I would probably still
be working on those paintings! I constantly fight my desire to add
more and more detail, shadows, highlights etc. Some of my girls must
have 40 different layers of paint just in their eyes. I really love
looser, more painterly work and struggle with knowing when a painting
is “done”. My boyfriend pointed out that when I’m really focused and
working tightly I hold my breath. Not good! I’m definitely working on
painting more loosely, letting the work flow and yes, breathing!
Sophie and Her Pink Piggie
Do you have any friends in Vancouver who are artists that you talk to
about your ideas/work on a regular basis?
I joined an art collective that used to meet every other week and I
found that really helpful. It’s on hiatus now, but it had been great
for goal-setting and sharing exhibition opportunities and resources.
It was a very diverse group of artists and more business oriented, so
I didn’t use the group for critical feedback very much. I’d love to
start something up like that again with a smaller group of artists.
Currently my boyfriend is my sounding board for ideas and he is
definitely not afraid to be honest. He has his favorites (Murray being
one) which are the basis of comparison for all of my work. His most
memorable criticism: “Compared to Murray, I want to throw this
painting into a fire.” Ouch!
What recent work are you the most happy with?
I really enjoyed painting Margot and Richie from The Royal Tenenbaums.
I don’t paint men very often and I had a blast bringing Richie’s beard
and glasses to life on my canvas (through many many layers of glaze!).
One of my all time favorites is Caging the Forest Bird (otherwise
referred to as “the bird girl”). I make lockets and pendants with some
of my paintings and you can usually find me wearing my bird girl
Any upcoming shows?
I am co-hosting a group show featuring Alice in Wonderland and
fairytale-inspired art by more than 30 different artists. I’m really
excited to see what everyone else has come up with. It’s called Beyond
Wonderland and takes place Saturday, June 12th at Box Studios (1622
Franklin Street). You can find out more info here: