medium /// drawing

“mythology and mounds of soil”

Oh boy… do you know what this means? Yes, my podcast – “Art For Your Ear” – is back! I’m kicking off season no.3 with the talented and hilarious Sara Khan. Born in England, raised in Pakistan and now based in Vancouver, Sara has all sorts of experiences and stories to draw from. We’re also covering important topics such as giving birth to kittens and / or dragons. Listen right up there under “Womens Games”, or subscribe on iTunes.

First up, images from Sara’s series “Ubiquitous Follies” which I fell madly in love with last year. These pieces are a great introduction to the magical watercolor worlds she’s been creating recently:

See? Her own worlds, filled with mythology and hidden meanings. LOVE.

Speaking of love, here’s a peek at the gigantic wall Sara did for the 2018 Vancouver Mural Festival:

Oh my word. Seriously. So gorgeous, but even more impressive … that she figured out a way to translate her smallish watercolors into a large-scale mural done with house paint. House. Paint.

I thought this would be really interesting for you to see. Sara talked a bit about her work from a few years ago – which of course ultimately led to what she’s doing now – that involved using mainly charcoal:

These are great too, but you can see that she was looking for her style. Well, she found it!  Here’s what is happening in 2018… I found these on her site and her Instagram feed:

Gasp! Those figures?! Stunning. And finally, I couldn’t wrap up this post without a little look into Sara’s home studio. Ahhh, sunshine streaming in… see, it doesn’t rain in Vancouver all the time:

When there’s stuff all over the floor, you know some major work is getting done! Thanks so much to Sara for being my very first guest of this new season … and congratulations on your big news, Sara xo. Thanks to Saatchi Art and Create Magazine for supporting the episode, and thank YOU for swinging back over for a whole new season! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Pennylane Shen, Art Advisor Extraordinaire 
  2. Vancouver Mural Festival
  3. Thrive 
  4. Video of Sara’s mural by Joe Bronson  {Joe Bronson’s IG}
  5. The Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art


christine kim

Now this is some mixed media… and all of it is exquisite! Drawing, painting, and that paper-cutting!? Oh my word. This is the gorgeous work of Toronto based artist Christine Kim. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say… I’m too busy staring at that paper lace.

{via Thrive’s Instagram feed}

langdon graves

Oh, I love this so much. I have loved the drawings of Brooklyn based artist Langdon Graves for years, but I had never seen her installation work… until now! These images are from her May 2016 installation, titled “Spooky Action at a Distance” {Victori+Mo, Brooklyn}. I am completely smitten by Langdon’s color choices, her elegant style, and … wait for it… THIS subject matter:

“The drawings and sculptures featured in Spooky Action at a Distance take as their starting point scenes from first-hand accounts of ghost stories told by the artist’s grandmother, as illustrated by her childhood imagination and memory of them.  They speak in a blend of domestic fragments from her grandmother’s home, and imagery borrowed from a variety of traditions and rituals involving death and the afterlife, including the spiritualist practices of séance and spirit communication; funereal objects; and ancient symbols of death and rebirth. Building on Graves’ formal tendency to insert negative space throughout her subject matter, these images and objects are incomplete and removed from their context, and so approximate the inevitable clouding of memory; they offer stand-ins of the familiar and impressions rather than distinct representations.”

Grandmothers, ghosts AND art? Loooooove.

“petrol. rent. snacks.”

THIS IS A DRAWING. Yes, “paint” drawn with colored pencils. For real. After listening to and loving – both of her TEDx talks (2014 / 2018), I am so thrilled to be chatting with Australian-born, New York based artist CJ Hendry. A few fun facts: CJ stands for Catherine Jenna, she sold her entire wardrobe to buy drawing supplies, her favorite color is white, and she swears like a sailor… obviously I loved her immediately. Listen to episode no.140, the final episode of Season No.2, right up there under that perfect pink “paint”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Big, beautiful objects of desire:

She doesn’t love the word “AMAZING”, so don’t tell her I said this … AMAZING! She’s got a lot of footwear in her portfolio, but I’m pretty sure those Aussie boots were the big first sale she mentioned.

Next … food! This is the first series of CJ’s I ever saw (2015). Clearly I had to write a post immediately when I saw these yummy morsels:

Um, yeah… my pen doesn’t do that.

Now, we didn’t talk about this next series, but I just found it (on her Instagram feed), and had to show you. An alphabet of metallic balloons, each letter drawn in a location that started with that particular letter:

… and of course, there are many more! I was quite proud of my self-control in only posting two of them.

Oh my word, and now her paint series. This might be my fave (simply because I personally have a thing for big juicy strokes of paint in my own work). Brace yourself:

Pick jaw up off floor. Continue reading:

And finally… “Monochrome”:

I absolutely will not say AMAZING (but I might be thinking it). I wish I’d been in New York when this show was open… I would have jumped in that bin of pink teddy bears for sure.

And lastly, I thought this photo was a perfect way to wrap things up … CJ in New York, drawing, while wearing all white:

Livin’ the dream. I’m quite sure she can afford all of the petrol, rent and snacks her heart desires at this point! Thank you so much to CJ for doing this with me – I had such a great time, and I feel like this conversation was a great way to finish season two! Thanks to Saatchi Art and Create Magazine for supporting the episode (and don’t forget to check out The Other Art Fair … London, Chicago, Los Angeles and Brooklyn are this fall, so deadlines are coming up). And finally, high fives to you for always showing up to listen – I appreciate it more than I can explain in words. I’m going to spend the summer recharging, getting ready for my fall book tour, and recording a whole bunch of new episodes for SEASON THREE … see you in September! ps. In the meantime, feel free to pop over to iTunes to give Art For Your Ear a little love ♥

Other links:

  1. CJ on Instagram
  2. TEDx 2014
  3. TEDx 2018
  4. Monochrome
  5. The Other Art Fair via Saatchi Art


andy mister

Brace yourself… these are DRAWINGS. DRAWINGS. Carbon pencil, charcoal, and acrylic on paper on panel. What?! This is the insane work of New York based artist Andy Mister. And, if that’s not amazing enough, they’re big… some of them up to almost 4′ high. Now, just in case you still don’t believe me when I tell you that these are DRAWINGS, here’s a little #wip proof from Andy’s Instagram feed:


toni hamel

Dreamlike drawings by Italian-born, Toronto-based artist Toni Hamel. Her description of this series is lovely, so I’ll hand it over to Toni:

The land of Id (2015-2016) : In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the Id refers to the component of our psyche responsible for our most primitive impulses and drives. It is an egocentric, all-consuming urge to satisfy our immediate needs and desires  without any consideration for possible consequences or repercussions.

Such theory perfectly describes our contemporary attitude toward our surroundings.  Continuing my discourse on human behaviour, The land of Id focuses on humanity’s relationship with the natural environment offering two alternative yet equally interesting points of view. If on one hand it confronts us with the disastrous results of our ill-conceived rapport with nature, on the other it offers some levity and  food for thought. The land of Id becomes a topsy-turvy world filled with tension and instability, where everything appears possible yet nothing is what it seems. Through symbolism and satire, The Land of Id eventually alerts us about the dangerous effects of our exploitative behaviours.


“finding wildness”

From being the daughter of a pastor in a rural town of 700 people, to a full-time abstract painter in downtown Toronto. Yes, Janna Watson is my guest today… I’ve been trying to get her on for months and months and months, so I’m thrilled that this finally happened. Listen right up there under “I woke up in a dry fountain and ice light”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, a few of Janna’s red paintings! I don’t know what it is about her red pieces, but they grab me every single time:

Ok. I see a tree in that last one. Maybe it’s the essence of the tree her grandfather pointed out. I tried to include a few shots to show scale, because 2D jpgs just don’t do Janna’s work justice.

Here are a few more… lots of gradient backgrounds, insanely beautiful color combinations, and lovely lines made with pastels:

Oh my word. I love all of them so, so much.

Next… Watson Soule. This is what happens when you bring art into your home, but instead of hanging it on the wall, you put it on the floor:

So cool. That’s Janna on the left (Watson), and Nico on the right (Soule).

Ok, and this just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t include a few behind the scenes shots. I was lucky enough to pop into her Toronto studio earlier today, and first things first, I could not believe how big her brushes are:

Giant brushstrokes, a lovely studio space, and an up-close shot of a ‘work in progress’.

Now, I forgot to get exact examples of the red + grey + white combo that Janna mentioned, but I’m guessing a few of these pieces use that magical recipe:

Maybe? Either way… so beautiful!!!

And finally, a few shots from our visit this morning (note the super cute little painting shoes she wears while working):

And there we are… we did the selfie! Also, the couch. It was the first amazing thing I saw as I walked in, and yes, her grandfather designed it! Love. Thank you so much to Janna for doing this with me (and letting me into her studio today!); thanks to Saatchi Art and Create Magazine for supporting the episode; and huge thanks to you for listening! There will be more Art For Your Ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto/Vancouver
  2. Kenise Barnes Fine Art, New York
  3. Watson Soule
  4. OCADU


“stuff like that and quilts, ya know”

On fire, indeed! That’s a detail of a quilt… a  QUILT, by Minneapolis based artist {and hilarious story teller} Terrence Payne. I had him on the podcast almost 70 episodes ago, but when I discovered that he’d put his oil pastels down for a moment, and traded them in for a sewing machine, well, I had to have him back on. AND, I had dinner with him when I was in Wisconsin last fall, and I laughed so hard I almost broke something. He has some stories, let’s just say that. Quick warning though, there is swearing in this episode, so if you have kids around you may want to pop in some headphones instead. Seriously. I was going to bleep him, but it took away from the insanity of his stories. You’ll see what I mean. Anyway, back to ART! You can listen right up there under the close-up of one of Terrence’s fire quilts, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, a refresher from episode no.71 … a few of my favorites! I love his large-scale oil pastel drawings, especially the text pieces:


Ok, that of course leads into why we’re here today. This pentagram drawing is one that Terrence is known for, and then look what I caught a glimpse of while scrolling through Instagram:

What!? A quilt version of the drawing!? I thought someone had paid an homage to him… nope, TERRENCE MADE A QUILT.

Well, he got hooked and is currently working on 12 quilts for an opening at his gallery, Rosalux, at the beginning of May. Here’s where he is so far:

His drawings in textile form! I thought this was his first foray into the world of fabric stores etc, but no. Here is a 2008 installation that he did with fellow Minneapolis-based artist Amy Rice. It was titled, “Nest : An Exhibition of Living” and took place in a very cool lookin’ house:

Ahhh, I wish this was still around so I could live in it. Beautiful.

Also beautiful, Terrence’s “knots”… both the original pastel drawing AND the wallpaper version by Hygge & West:

So pretty. {I have a chunk of this framed in my studio}.

Ok, and another interior collaboration… Terrence Payne + Target:

Again, gorgeous! Quite amazing how he can blend his work about “dystopian societies” so beautifully with commercial projects!

Oh, and I just had to throw this in, because at the end of the day, I was super proud of this show! This is a little peek into “Open Door 13” that I was invited to curate at Rosalux Gallery in December 2017:

Seriously, that dog. But wait, there’s one more dog you need to meet:

Oh, Dottie! So sweet. And Terrence, hard at work… someone should make him a quilt to lie on too. Thanks so much to Terrence for doing this with me {again}, and for telling me all of the stuff and things! Huge thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and thank YOU for listening. There will be more Art For Your Ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Rosalux Gallery, Minneapolis
  2. Terrence on Instagram
  3. Amy Rice, Artist
  4. Ben Venom, Artist
  5. Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis
  6. Tonya Corkey, Episode no.75
  7. Hygge & West (Wallpaper Co.)


lily padula

Imagine having such elaborate, fantastical daydreams that you’d rather spend your life lost in your imagination than living in reality. Enter “maladaptive daydreaming”, a psychiatric condition, and the topic of this lovely animation created by Brooklyn based artist/illustrator Lily Padula for an episode of NPR’s Invisibilia {Invisibilia is one of my favorite podcasts, so when I saw this piece from Lily in my submissions inbox, well, I jumped at the chance to write about it!} The episode/piece is titled, “When Daydreaming Gets In The Way Of Real Life”, and voila, here it is. Enjoy…

Beautiful and sad and wonderful.

cj hendry : “monochrome”

Ok, yes, I just wrote about New York based / Australian artist CJ Hendry, and her hand-drawn, large-scale blobs of paint. Well, clearly, those drawings were just the tip of the hyperreal, colorful iceberg! First of all, yes, those are DRAWINGS of crumpled up Pantone chips. DRAWINGS. Secondly, they are obviously not hanging in a white-walled gallery. CJ has a special installation that opens tomorrow in Brooklyn – an installation that takes “buying art to match your couch” to an entirely new, and refreshing, level:

MONOCHROME is born into a 22,000 sq. ft industrial space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Hendry has designed a seven-room home around the art hanging on the walls. You will walk through seven distinct rooms, each room consisting of only one monochromatic color. Seven rooms, seven colors… this will be a visual feast for the senses.

“People generally buy art as the last item, they find art to match their home. I have become close with my collectors over the years and have noticed how differently they live their lives. Art is the first thing they add to a space and they design their entire home around their collection. I have taken this concept to an extreme level. Each room has been designed to emulate the art on the wall. The art is the focus, everything matches the art.”

MONOCHROME opens tomorrow – Thursday, April 5th through Sunday, April 8th, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 276 Greenpoint Ave in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Go… and Instagram the hell out of it for those of us who can’t be there!