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A Visit to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA)

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA) re-opened in 2022, after over a decade of major restoration and renovation work. First opened in 1890, the KMSKA now houses both old masters and modern art. Having moved to Belgium in 2013, I hadn’t visited the museum before its recent reopening and was excited to see the building and the artwork inside. In what follows, I share my impressions of what will surely be the first of many visits to the KMSKA.   On a chilly December weekend, I set off with a small group to the KMSKA. The museum…

Negative Space: A Way of Seeing

Recently, I decided to pause work on a painting because I felt stuck. A garden scene with lots of shapes and colours, it had been going well but as I progressed, something felt off. It could have been the depth: not enough? Or the colours of the flowers: were there too many? I needed to slow down, focus, and think about what was going on in the painting. I thought back to essential drawing techniques…

A Visit to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

Before my latest trip, I had never been west of Michigan in the United States. I was thrilled when I got the chance to expand my travels to attend my best friend’s wedding—artist Siobhán Gallagher—in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a wedding weekend filled with activities and events and one free afternoon I visited The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In this post, I write about my museum visit, the joy of talking art with friends,…

Commissioned Paintings: How I Work

Recently, most of my studio practice has been devoted to commissioned paintings. In this earlier post, I wrote about the joys of working on commission. In this post, I share my updated process of working on commission, including how I communicate with collectors, and what I’ve learned after working on many such projects. The topic of commissioned paintings is relevant for me since this has been my main focus during the last few months. I was also recently asked about my process; specifically, how I decide what to paint and how I plan. When I’m not working on a commissioned…

What Drives Me to Paint Landscapes?

In my last blog post, I wrote about what drives me to paint. I explained that when I am working at the easel, the way I experience time changes. I feel connected to the present moment through my focused concentration. Painting is a way to “loose myself” and in so doing, I come back to feeling most like myself. In Part II of what drives me to paint, I focus on my main theme: landscapes. I reflect on how my travels and living abroad influenced this passion. I’m sure that my painting landscapes today has much to do with the…

Reflections: What Drives Me To Paint?

This week I’m answering a question I was asked recently: What drives me to paint? The short and simple answer is that it makes me happy. Though a satisfying answer, I think, I found myself delving into the why of it all in discussion, realizing I had more to say on the topic. In this blog post, I reflect on what it is about the practice of painting that keeps me returning to the easel. A recent post on social media by On Being—a podcast which I wrote about here—asked the following question, “What activity gives you the sense of…

A Visit to a French Garden

Last weekend in the small city of Coutances (Normandy, France), the yearly street fair – “braderie”- was in full swing. Stalls and tables were set up along the main city streets displaying clothing, books, antiques, art, and food. After weaving through crowds and enjoying the ambiance, we took a turn off the main square and found quiet in the Jardin des Plantes. In this blog post, I write about my visit to the gardens and the inspiration I found in the colourful and diverse plants and trees. I reflect on how a change of scenery can kick start future projects…

Loving Light in Painting and Literature

The first time I can remember being struck by an artwork it was an illustration of a Monet painting. Whether it was the haystacks, the waterlilies, or another of his famous works, I am not sure. What I am sure of is that it was the light that caught my attention. This was almost twenty years ago, before I would see Monets in real life. As a teenager, looking at the groundbreaking Impressionistic artwork, I felt a joyful shock: a combination of something new (excitement) and something already known (recognition). In this post, I reflect on how light in painting…

Landscape Discoveries: A Visit to the Island of Newfoundland

For a few years now, my husband and I have wanted to visit the beautiful Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador. He was surprised to learn that, born and raised in New Brunswick, I had not yet visited this Atlantic province. Distances are great in Canada, but this summer we prioritized a visit. With only one week, we focused on one area of the province: Gros Morne National Park. In what follows, I write about the trip highlights and how the landscape has sparked inspiration for my painting. During our six days in the park, we took advantage of the…

Inspiration: Ode to Magnolias

After about 9 months in Michigan, my husband and I are getting ready to pack up and return to Europe. This upcoming transition means a shift for my painting practice. I have finished my latest commissioned projects (which I must wait to share since many are gifts!) and am now packing up. I am categorizing – deciding which materials to take and which to donate here. A necessary pause in production means a refocusing on inspiration and spring in Ann Arbor offers an abundance of this! In this post, I write about my inspiration, a recent visit to a favourite…

The Tools We Use: Brushes

When considering what to write about this week, I instantly thought of the tools I use daily: my brushes. As the idea arose, I paused. Surely, I had already written about the essential tools that I use in my art practice? I looked through my catalogue of now nearly forty posts and found I had written about materials and mentioned brushes in passing yet had not delved into brushes as a topic. In this post, I write about the brushes I use for acrylic painting. I explain how I select my brushes, the brands I like, and how I care…

When To Move On: Series and Seasons

Since February of this year, I have been working on my Snowy Trees series. Thus far, I have made six paintings, each 30 x 40 cm / 12 x 16 inches, acrylic on canvas. The paintings are lined up along a wall so I can see the collection as whole. I’m pleased with the compositions, cohesion, variety of light and the colour palettes. But a question has arisen: is it time to move on? This is a question that comes up when working on an individual painting or when working on a series. The answer to both is primarily a…

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