Flow and Focus

Forest Light
Forest Light, studio oil, 12″ x 25″

Two full days in the studio this weekend and it was wonderful. I first attempted a little farm painting and as Andrew said this morning “It’s just not  you, Faye”. I keep trying, but I’m not a pretty-little-painting painter.

So after that failed attempt, it was important to get back on the horse. I put up another 6″ x 12″ panel onto the easel and Andrew says “Go big, baby, go big.”

Great advice.

I replaced the little panel with the largest painting surface in the studio, a 12″ x 24″ raw panel. I love the feel and smell of raw wood, and the way it grabs the paint into itself, like it’s a part of the process. (I do wonder if I am sabotaging the longevity of the piece by not using Gesso. Anyone have any advice?)

I’ve had time in the past 6 months to gather a lot of reference material so on hand was a lovely tall forest scene with beautiful light dappling the leaves. That’s what I’m looking for now; powerful and interesting light.

I’m very happy with the finished piece and having that much focused time allowed me to feel the flow of creating, which is like meditating, yoga, watching a good movie and enjoying a favourite meal all at once. Exhilarating, comforting, exciting and familiar.

I do recognize that I can be a lazy painter. This time when I heard that little voice in my head say “whatever”, when it came to value, colour and pace, I told it to go away and refocused my energy and effort. I was also observing that process (hence the meditation aspect).

I can’t wait for next weekend!

Being Grateful

A new year, a new studio, a new excitement for the work to come. After a long 5 or 6 month hiatus of house selling, purchasing, renovating, celebrating and setting up, now is the time to settle back into my work – life – paint pattern. The time away from painting has been extremely stressful (which, for someone with an immune system disease is not such a good choice), and yet we come out of it with a stunning new life and art space. The studio is at least double the size of our old one in just the work space. It also has supplies and fresh work storage space and the house also has space to hide away all that old work we can’t seem to part with. In addition, the house acts as a gallery space to showcase work as it comes off the easel and to cherish our small collection of work of other artists.


We are lucky. We are incredibly grateful. Yet there is a tiny, persistent line of tenuous running through life. We need to stay steady to maintain the home, our jobs and to start working on our art again.

The Boardwalk, 6″ x 12″, studio oil

And so it begins. This weekend will be the return to plein air painting even if the weather is somewhat chilly. This past weekend was the return to studio painting. Turns out I’ve been gestating knowledge and inspiration as evidenced in 3 wide but small landscapes. The way that my husband, Andrew Bartley works with darks and lights has rubbed off as I try to capture the light in the forest. I’ve been watching plein air videos and gathering my favourite paintings of marvelous artists on Pinterest. That wealth of skill layers up inside of me to be inspired by, eventually.

Into the Forest, 6″ x 12″, studio oil

We also challenged each other by painting the same creek scene (below). Oh no, we’re not competitive at all!

The Stream, 6″ x 12″, studio oil

This year my goal is to stay away from major life changes and focus on appreciating and maintaining our new home and studio and to paint landscapes. To exhibit the best of those (or maybe to hold them back for a 2-person show… maybe). Here we go.

It’s on, baby.

The summer of art has begun. Along with the heat comes some extreme art events. I hope to see you there!

Currently in progress is the grand opening exhibit of the Windrush Gallery in Metchosin.Windrush

Both my husband, Andrew Bartley and I have pieces in the opening show, which features Vancouver island artists exhibiting their work in a mental health themed show with partial proceeds going to YouthSpace.ca.  

Windrush Gallery  10-5, Weds to Sunday  |  4357 Metchosin Rd

Coming up in July is the TD Art Gallery Paint-In on Saturday, July 18. Again, both Andrew and I will be exhibiting (and plein air painting!) at this wonderful event. Seriously, if you’ve never been, you are missing out on a most unique community event with over 150 local artists demonstrating, displaying and discussing their art throughout the day. Moss St. closes down to traffic and the pavement fills up with thousands of happy art goers and their canine companions. I almost enjoy dog and people watching more than talking about art all day long! Please go. You won’t be disappointed.


TD Art Gallery Paint-In

Saturday, July 18, 2015 | 11am-9pm

Moss Street (all of it!)

Last but not least is the annual Sooke Fine Arts Show.

A must see every year, this regional exhibition showcases 375 works of original, west coast art by artists on Vancouver Island and the surrounding BC coastal islands. Andrew and I both have work in the show this year and the gift shop is a wonderful place to find original art at small sizes and small prices. I believe art should be accessible to all so look for a few of my miniature landscape oil paintings in the gift shop this year.

SookeSooke Fine Arts

  • July 24 – August 3
  • 2168 Phillips Road, Sooke
  • $8 – One Day Pass* (13+)
    $7 – Senior (65+) Day Pass
    $15 – Show Pass
    $30 – Purchaser’s Preview Evening (July 23)
    $15 – Taste of Sooke Evening (July 30)
    Kids under 12: Free at all times