medium /// painting

“you can’t make art in the cracks”


Oh. Jessica Bell. She is one of the most lovely people you’ll ever meet, and someone that changed my outlook on my own artwork in one magical, caffeine/chocolate filled afternoon. She’s smart. And determined. And a self-taught artist who just finished her MFA. Yep, she has an undergrad in Art History, started making art on her own, got a teeny tiny studio space with a tarp instead of a roof {for real}, worked for years, applied for her MFA and then rocked it out. I was so excited to talk to her that, well, we just kept on talking! After we “hung up” I kept recording, so if you want to listen past the BEEP, please do. You can listen right underneath Jessica installing her thesis show, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, some of her mixed media work from a few years ago:


Ah. Paint, paper, tape, fabric, thread. And color. I absolutely love her sense of color. Now, as if finishing her MFA wasn’t momentous enough, she’s also just been nominated, for the second time, for the RBC Canadian Painting Prize {the winner gets $25,000 and their work in the RBC Collection… so yes, it’s a pretty big deal!} In 2013, as she was driving from Vancouver to Ottawa to start her MFA she had just been nominated, and two years later as she packed the moving truck to leave Ottawa and head back to Vancouver… you guessed it, she was nominated again! The two pieces are very different, yet you can absolutely see Jessica in both of them:


The winner {there are only 15 finalists} will be announced at the Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver on November 18, 2015. Good luck, Jessica… we’re cheering for you!

We talked a lot about her MFA experience. Turns out, quite a few of her final paintings were inflatable. Yes, I said inflatable:


I want to hug a painting! So, jumping back to the speed round, I purposely asked a question that would lead to this answer because I really wanted to show you the knitted wall hanging she made for me. I thought she was sending one of these smaller pieces {which would have been wonderful too}, but no, she sent me a huge, heavy, beautiful piece that gave her carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s hanging in my living room right now:


Love. So much. And with that, we finished things off. Jessica is exhausted after her MFA, so I suggested she take a nap for the winter. Look, she can do it on one of her inflatable paintings…


Shhhhhh. Thanks Jessica. And thanks to you… see you next week for another episode. xo


Other links mentioned: Sarah Gee Miller, Ben Skinner, Being Boss podcast, Heather Craig {Heather was the artist who told Jessica, “You can’t make art in the cracks.” That might be my new most favorite saying}, and Initial Gallery in Vancouver. ps. Conan… Jessica is waiting for your call.

sebastian blinde



Yep, you guessed it… I’ve been saving these creepy little gems for about two months just waiting for Halloween to roll around! These paintings are the work of Berlin based artist Sebastian Blinde. He has an on-going series, titled “Ghosts in Veils”, perfect for Halloween-eve, yes? Have a safe ‘n happy weekend everyone… but watch out for that bunny ghost. He looks like he means business.

carrie mae smith


Wayne Thiebaud painted the bakery, and American artist Carrie Mae Smith is taking care of the butcher block. Why all of the meat? Her father was a butcher. Yep, that makes sense. And, her love of food runs even deeper than that. Apparently, when she was in the third grade, she dressed up as Julia Child for Halloween! Amazing. Now, if you’re not a fan of meat {even beautifully painted meat}, don’t worry, Carrie has you covered:





sarah fagan


Oh, be still my organization-loving heart! Grids of perfectly painted bits ‘n pieces that are… wait for it… also color-coded. Yes. This is the work {acrylic on panel} of Portland based painter Sarah Fagan. Is it weird that these make me feel incredibly calm? They do.

{Thanks to @acrossaday for pointing me to Sarah’s Instagram feed}

emma williams


Sigh. These dreamy paintings by UK based artist Emma Williams make me want to travel the world. Now, who do I speak to about the fresh cut flowers and gorgeous ceramics present in each and every one of my stunning ocean view rooms? Love!

vee bee


GLASS. These are GLASS. And spray paint. And butterflies and guns. How?

“These original paintings are painted directly on the reverse side of the glass using hand cut stencils and spray paints.
Framed in a deep box, the [subjects] seem to be floating in the air.”

Yes, yes they do. Oh my goodness, I absolutely love these paintings on cut glass by a UK based artist that goes by the name of Vee Bee. That’s all I know. Well, I also know that I really, really want that polka-dot butterfly. And that blue china pattern covered gun. Love.

{via Saatchi Art}

anna collette hunt


Portraits and ceramics in one… I might be in love. This is the work of UK based artist Anna Collette Hunt, from a series titled Newstead Odditites. Here is the behind-the-curtain statement about this work:

“The Newstead Oddities is a collection that features marble statues as ‘characters’, who are found on research adventures to museums and galleries. Anna’s first characters came from Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. She often visits Natural Trust Houses and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London especially to meet new characters and find fresh faces. It might be particularly eccentric hair, or a mysterious sparkle in their eye that capture Anna’s attention and imagination. The artist likes to playfully assign heads to different bodies. Marie Antoinette’s clothing and body can often be spotted with a different head. What’s odder still is that sometimes the heads have a striking resemblance to the artists’ face- Anna likes to see if anyone will notice.”

Hilarious! There’s a photo of Anna on her contact page… see if you recognize her on any of these pieces!

lea maupetit


Ooh la la! I love these paintings by Paris based artist/illustrator Lea Maupetit… and that first one would have come in really handy when I was trying to meet my book deadline this summer. I was tempted to buy it, but the original is SOLD {wahn wahn}. Maybe that vase of yellow flowers would make me feel better.

kristin vestgard


Rosebud lips, pink cheeks and the occasional mouse hat… ah, the lovely work of UK based artist Kristin Vestgard. I have loved her oil paintings for years, and I’m sure you can see why. Dreamy.

lourdes sanchez


Ah, delicate, washy, floral perfection. This is the latest work from Brooklyn based painter Lourdes Sanchez. I wrote about her watercolor and ink pattern paintings a couple of years ago… in fact, there were a few new ones in that department too, so obviously I had to include them! Voila: