“m is for mysterious”

Magical forests, triangle mountains, Sasquatches, small towns, a question about beaver tails, AND a fellow Canadian … painter Meghan Hildebrand is my lovely guest today. This is a description of her work that sums it up perfectly: With a unique vocabulary of symbols, she translates her northern coastal landscape into electrifying dreamscape scenarios, each image often alluding to a larger narrative. Exactly. Listen right up there under “If The Flame Rises”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, Meghan’s visual vocabulary that she calls on in all of her work. There are dots, dashes, rainbow-esque lumps, upside down Vs, and lots of pointy Ms. Take a peek:

Sigh. Love.

These are a few pieces from her latest series, titled “Fire Season”. It was the body of work she mentioned that began with a coat of light pink gesso! Gorgeous, and a really smart way of getting around the whole ‘scary white canvas’ situation:

Oh, it’s all just so beautiful! For those of you in Toronto, this is the info for her solo show of this work opening at Mayberry Fine Art on May 6. GO!

Up next, “Giants”. This is my favorite series… Sasquatches staring back at the viewer, dreamy watercolor tree bark, tiny faces hiding in the trees, and oh, all of those patterns! Seriously, just so gorgeous:

Doesn’t that just make you want to make stuff? Beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful, Meghan lives in a lovely small town on Vancouver Island overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Not a bad place to spend your days:

Ahhhh, that view. I’m kind of waiting for a bear or a Sasquatch to pop up into frame though.

And finally, I’ve always thought Meghan’s work would be perfect for a mysterious, beautiful, fantastical kids’ book… especially her whimsical watercolors. I mean, just look at these:

Right!? Someone call her about this because seriously, these could become one of those books that children remember forever … much like the three books that Meghan and I were reminiscing about – links below. Oh, and btw, I am totally reaching out to galleries in LA and Portland because this woman should be showing up and down the coast, yes? YES. {Watch out Seattle and San Francisco, you’re on my list too.}

Alright, and with that I will say thank you so much to Meghan for doing this with me,  granted I wish we’d been eating ‘Beaver Tails’ during our conversation… next time! Thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and as always thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. “That Night In Toronto” – the show Meghan is doing with me!
  2. Mayberry Fine Art
  3. The Tragically Hip
  4. Madrona Gallery, Victoria BC
  5. Martha Rich, Episode 1
  6. Kootney School of the Arts, Nelson BC
  7. NSCAD
  8. “Norbert Nipkin” / “The Rainbow Goblins” / “Swimmy”
  9. Beaver Tails!


john honeywill

If eating oil paint wasn’t bad for you, well, you know. This is the delicious work of Australia painter John Honeywill. He paints “the quiet visual conversations between everyday objects; paintings that explore presence and stillness in the genre of the still life – a genre that links the intimate world with the public.” Yes, yes he does. His portfolio is full of lovely table top subjects like bowls filled with gooseberries, and old jugs overflowing with flowers – but it’s Friday, and honestly the only thing I could see were his beautifully reflected meringues, rocky road bars, and those pink blocks of Turkish delight … ah yes, let your weekend cravings begin. You’re welcome.

charlotte keates

London based artist Charlotte Keates spent the summer and fall of 2016 on an ‘inspiration trip’ around the USA and Canada. The result? “Sojourn”, a new solo show that opens May 4th at Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh. Now, you’d think I’d be posting all of the Canadian pieces, but weirdly my favorite pieces are the California-esque pieces… this Canadian girl wants to see palm trees!

yunhee lee

Gasp! This is the absolutely gorgeous ceramic work of Korean artist Yunhee Lee. The detail, the gold, and of course my weakness, portraits of women. Here is a description of her work, found on Gallery Huue’s {Singapore} website:

“Lee calls herself a collector: collector of common stories around her, regarding people’s insatiable desires, fears, anxieties and the cure they search and find to overcome them. She takes note of these ‘curing processes’ and bring them to life with her hands using clay as a medium. Layers of variously sized units and the splendid patterns and colors have created a beautifully delicate and refined artwork that has come to define Lee’s artistic style.”


annyen lam

PAPER. Each of these are just one piece of PAPER. My mind is officially blown. This is the elegant, meticulous, beautifully cut work of Toronto based artist Annyen Lam. Not only is she a paper-cutting artist, she’s also a printmaker. In fact, these pieces are a combination of those skills… “Lithograph, hand-cut paper, one sheet”. Mind blown. Again.

ps. so excited to say that Annyen is one of the Canadian artists who’s participating in “That Night In Toronto”, a show I curated to honor Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. The show opens on July 8th at Mayberry Fine Art in Toronto. Put it in your calendars!

mando marie

And for scale…

Oh, YES! Years ago, as in within the first month of launching ‘The Jealous Curator” I wrote about Mando Marie (aka Amanda Marie in 2009). To say I was obsessed with her work back then would be a massive understatement. Over the years I tried finding her again but her site was gone and I wasn’t sure if she’d stopped making art… thankfully that is not the case! I just discovered that she has a new solo show, titled “Can It Be?” that is currently showing at The Marcy Project, 275 South 2nd Street Brooklyn (co-curated by Darren Johnston of Marcy, and Hyland Mather of Andeken Gallery, Amsterdam). If you’re in New York, please go… these large scale mixed media pieces (acrylic, aerosol, and sewing pattern on canvas) still take my breath away, 8 years later.

ps. I’m trying to book her for the 100th episode of the podcast! … #fullcirclemoment 

“fire, failure and fatty snacks”

My email to Toronto based artist Brian Donnelly went something like this: “Do you want to come on and talk about hand sanitizer, turpentine and burning stuff?” He said, “yes”. Turns out we also covered axe throwing, chips ‘n dip, “Degrassi Jr. High” and oh so much more! You can listen right up there under his painting titled “Pineapple Express”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

As always, let’s kick things off with a few of my favorites:

Yep, this is where both the hand sanitizer and turpentine come in! These paintings are the result of years of experimentation, and a desire to explore the idea of “loss of visual information”. Nailed it.

Next, nudes from an earlier series {which ultimately evolved into the work above}:

Stunning work, but after awhile he didn’t feel like they were telling the story he wanted to tell. Time to push further, and take more risks… a constant theme for Brian.

Ok, his hair! Well, not his hair, but the hair on some of his paintings… LOVE. Now, just to be totally clear, he also paints men in this series but because I’m slightly obsessed with portraits of women those are the pieces I’ve chosen to show. Also, pink top knots are my jam. The first piece below {titled “Fountain of Youth”} is from 2014, the year Brian got really into painting detailed tresses:

Gorgeous! I threw in the bald guy so you could see what Brian was talking about re: the challenge of painting stubble.

Alright, well that was hand sanitizer and turpentine… now it’s time to talk about burning stuff. Enter “La Pucelle”:

The original painting burned completely, with only 19 prints left behind… each signed and numbered with the ashes of the original. Yeah. Add to that his story about Joan of Arc, aka “La Pucelle”, being burned alive at age 19 {hence the 19 prints} AND his ideas around making duplicates of work and voila, you end up with this show/series titled, “ORIGINAL COPY”. Brilliant! If you happen to be in Toronto you can see this show at Unloveable Gallery until the end of April. You can also hear Brian’s artist talk there on April 22. Grab a free ticket right here! {maybe he’ll bring sour cream n onion chips!}

Up next – “Reliquaries”:

Yes, they’re pins! I’m so curious to see where this goes. Somewhere? Nowhere? That’s the exciting part!

Ooh, and while we’re getting excited, who’s up for a little axe throwing?

Work in progress

A post shared by Brian Donnelly (@bbbriandonnelly) on

YES! All hail the University of Windsor and their artist residency because I’m pretty sure nobody else would say, “Sure you can throw axes on campus – where would you like to start?” This is a self portrait of Brian that wound up slightly, well, axed.

I had to bring this up in the Not-So-Speedy Speed Round. Degrassi Junior High… ok, it’s a Canadian thing. It also happens to be a fun/weird exercise in “being right” that Brian has made into a, um, hobby? This was a teen TV show in the late 80s/early 90s set in Toronto. When Brian isn’t painting, burning things, or throwing axes he likes to ride his bike around the city proving that he knows exactly where certain scenes were shot. All of his “proof” lives on his site, DegrassiPanthers.com. Here are a few of the THEN and NOW photos:

This makes me so happy. I haven’t heard the name “Joey Jeremiah” in decades!

And finally, a shot of Brian in his home studio:

Ah, yes… safety first. Thanks so much to Brian for sharing all of his funny stories, his process, and a new chips ‘n dip combo for me to try! Thank you as always to Saatchi Art for supporting another episode, and of course thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Sheridan College
  2. OCAD University
  3. Robert Bateman
  4. “Origin of the World” article
  5. Unloveable Gallery, Toronto
  6. Marni White {artist, and Brian’s partner}
  7. Stephanie Chefas Projects, Portland
  8. Venison Magazine 
  9. University of Windsor
  10. Brian’s Instagram
  11. “Pretty / Peculiar”, Alison Milne Gallery
  12. “That Night In Toronto”, Mayberry Fine Art


nathalie lété

If this doesn’t put you in the mood for chocolate bunnies, well, I don’t know what will. Paris based artist Nathalie Lété does so many absolutely gorgeous, odd, whimsical, beautiful things… but since it’s all Easter all the time at my house this weekend, I thought I’d say ‘Happy Friday’ with a handful of her gorgeous, odd, whimsical, beautiful rabbits. Ok, off I go to eat my weight in chocolate!

sigrid calon

Be still my design loving heart! The portfolio of Netherlands based artist Sigrid Calon is absolutely FULL of beautiful, creative, interesting work, but it was this series of limited edition Risograph prints that jumped out and grabbed me {it may or may not have been that neon pink ink. Ok, that was it.} Dizzying compositions, her electric color palette, and the final grouping of oh so many Risographs on one big white wall! LOVE.

{Some of this work is available in her shop … ps. thanks to Melinda from LA’s Good Eye Gallery for pointing me to Sigrid’s work.}

nomi stricker

Oh my. Paintings that live right on the border of landscape and abstract. This is the dreamy work of Canadian artist Nomi Stricker. Lively brushstrokes and lovely colors have me dreaming of the ocean… right? Well, that’s what I see anyway. Here’s Nomi’s description of her recent work:

“My recent paintings depict curious and improbable spaces. Places and sites I have visited on my travels, in my daily experiences, and in my subconscious dreams contribute to these fictions. Memories, imaginings, and source photographs are fused, morphing into fantastical abstract landscapes.”

Cotton-candy waves crashing on the rocks… if you ask me.