Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why it's important to go 'All In' when it comes to pursuing your Passion

Last time we talked about "7 qualities artists and entrepreneurs have in common", we've touched base on getting accredited to be professional status.

Today I wish to talk more about the #2 quality: "Passion".

"Passion (from the Greek verb πασχω meaning to suffer) is a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something.  ~ Wikipedia
"Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks. ~ Yo-Yo Ma

So, "passion" ties into "risks"

I recently read a book called "All In" by Arlene Dickinson - co-star of Dragons' Den.

In this book, she mentioned "get used to being misunderstood".  You may be stereotyped as a "risk taking" person such as quitting your full time giving up financial security. It is because "entrepreneurs care deeply - so deeply that we're willing to take risks others wouldn't take in order to build a better future ..." it takes great passion, dedication, devotion, and courage to do so.

"...To pursue a dream with everything you have and all that you are. There are no half-measures. You have to be all in."

She shared that she had risked money, relationships, possessions, reputation, even health and occasionally lost all of these things at various points in her career, and perpetually tied up in everything: failure. 

So, somehow, "risk" may tie up to "failure".

It's fear of failure that will limit your capacity and block your destiny towards success.

Actually, this reminds me of this quote:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ Thomas A. Edison
He then developed many devices that greatly influenced our life including the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb

So now "failure" leads to "success".

She continues, "...and when our calculated risks pay off, the rewards extend far beyond simply making us richer."

In the book, she gives a great example of the story of Charles Chang, who began his entrepreneur life at age of 7. When he was old enough to be able to ride the bus alone, he was creative enough to go to  the Vancouver coast to catch fish on Saturday using his net and bucket, then sell the fish to 3 city aquariums for $5 dollars a piece. It was his passion to sell and create mutual benefits.

Many artists started encountering art when they were kids. The passion was already somehow developed in them.

Sometimes this passion continued.
Sometimes this passion was suppressed.
Sometimes this passion got ignited again 10, 30, or maybe even 50 years later.

But it doesn't matter, it's never too late to pursue your passion.

Taking "no" for answer.

Artists are their own salespeople. In sales, getting a "no" answer is not uncommon .

It is critical to adjust the mind that "no" means it is not "yes"... yet.

She gave this following example: Tony Lacavera in his childhood thinking outside the box by digging a trench underneath the fence after his mother banned him from climbing over the fence.

I'm not encouraging disobedience here, yet this kind of mentality he had - not taking "no" as ignoring the "no" - makes him successful.

I will be sharing more about sales techniques soon, stay tuned.

Stoking the fire in your belly.

"You will feel daunted by the challenge. but you will also feel energized" said Arlene. You will never wake up and have that "oh God it's Monday morning" feeling. There is no "yeah TGI Friday" neither, because you just love working.

The is the how great it is if you're able to commit to being "all in". 

Special thanks to Arlene Dickinson. This book is strongly recommended!


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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ukama Gallery Visit - Close personal relationships that unify an extended family - Zimbabwe

I had a chance to visit Ukama Gallery recently and was flabbergasted by the astonishing stone sculpture selection they chose. I was lucky that day because Janine, the owner of the gallery,was there so we had a great chat. I wish to share with you my visit and their current collection and strongly suggest visiting their gallery to see these sculptures in person!

Janine Vertone:  
"In 2002 I moved to Zimbabwe, intent on devoting myself to development work in a country experiencing the crippling effects of hyperinflation and political turbulence. Over time, I fell in love with the country, its people and unique culture. Ukama Gallery is an effort to share that experience by shining a light on the contemporary art of modern Zimbabwe, and showcasing it alongside collections of work from talented Canadian artists. Ultimately, it is my hope that this will contribute to cultural connections between both countries through artistic expression.

Ukama is a Shona word that is used to describe the close personal relationships that unify an extended family. We chose the name Ukama for our gallery because we hope that these beautiful works of art will help to foster individual relationships with Africa, a sense of involvement rather than detached appreciation. "

The gallery's name was beautifully chosen Janine!

Ukama Gallery recently opened its doors on Granville Island in February 2015. The gallery features sculptures from both emerging and internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean artists including Joe Mutasa, Eddie Masaya and Sylvester Mubayi (check their website for the complete list of Artists). The gallery, along with its Zimbabwean partners, claims exclusive Canadian representation of world-renowned sculptor Dominic Benhura. 

New Arrivals: (one of my favourites because it combines stone and painting in a very unique way!)

Check out this unique work from German-born artist Birgit Piskor, who now lives and works in Victoria, B.C. The process that Piskor uses to create her pieces is one that she has developed over time. Piskor uses a proprietary cementitious formula which in essence transforms fabric into concrete - creating strength while maintaining paper thin thicknesses. 

Other beautiful sculptures:

What's going on July 23 to August 23?

This event include the works of Yukon based artist Halin de Repentigny with the presentation of 'Luminous Complexions'. This collection of oil paintings will be featured July 23 to August 23.

What HOT now through summer? 

When we mention "stones", our first impression is "solid, rugged, hard, heavy weighted." However, by the Artists' imagination and skillful hands, they were transformed to a heart melting soft form.

Thank you Janine for introducing them to Canada, they are absolutely beautiful!

1802 Maritime Mews
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6H 3X2
gallery@ukama.ca   778-379-0666


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Still but Dynamic: Let's meet artist Claire Sower

Paris Getaway

Claire Sower's studio is on Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada. Her paintings are about still life, yet they are very dynamic and vibrant too, all were Influenced by Bernard Cathelin, Giorgio Morandi, Oskar Kollar and Ted Smith,

She is a professional juried member of the Canadian Federation of Artists and she had her first solo exhibition at the West Vancouver Municipal Hall, BC, Canada in 2013. In April 2014, her work appeared on the cover of a national arts and culture magazine, “The Bulletin,” and in 2014 we also saw her sign at the Agora Gallery New York, and many of other works online by Saatchi Art.

Claire, let's learn more about you...

1. When did you realize that being an Artist was going to be your path? 

I’ve always known I wanted to paint, but it wasn’t until 2009, when a friend asked me if I would join her in a Sunday morning painting class that I decided to take the leap. I had done illustration in the past but this was my chance and I just knew I had to take it. Everything snowballed from there. Within a year or so I had a studio and was painting, exhibiting and selling. My ‘career’ as an artist had gained its own momentum, and the more it grows the more I love it. 

2. What inspires you or stimulates your thoughts? 

Great music, flowers – obviously, light, shape. Often, I catch sight of something out of the corner of my eye and it hits me in a way that sparks my imagination and  an entire series of ideas starts to take shape. Inspiration for me is completely spontaneous and random.

3. What is your average day like?

I don’t really have an average day. I am constantly thinking about painting and creating –about what I’m currently working on and future pieces. I am fairly disciplined, however, and I think that’s critical. Studio days are for painting. On days I don’t go into the studio I work from home on marketing, or  I go to exhibitions.

Santa Barbara Moment

4. Why do you think it’s important to work as an artist? 

Human beings need art – we need the mirror art provides – to help us interpret and understand the countless facets of what it is to be human. Art also helps connect us. I also believe that human beings have an innate need to create, and art provides one means of fulfilling that need – both for the artist and the audience. 

Sherri: "This is so true, we also blogged about this belief in our previous post" Click here for Belle Fusion's vision on art."

5. How has your practice changed over time? 

My practice has changed in that I am less afraid of a blank canvas than I used to be,  so am less afraid to make mistakes. When I began painting I was very literal in my interpretation of my subject matter and the “sanctity of the work.” Today – I take a much freer approach to the subject matter and understand a little better that nothing is ever perfect. In working on a piece my goal is to convey that to the viewer – so they also have an interpretive, emotionally dynamic experience rather than a static one.

CJSP 02 8" x 10"

6. Who’s your favourite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you? 

There are so many artists that I love – but I think the person who has influenced my work the most to date is Bernard Cathelin. I find his use of geometric shapes, and most importantly colour and texture, completely inspiring. The first time I saw his work I fell in love – instantly. He passed on in 2004 but whenever I feel stuck I refer back to his work and the block is gone in no time.

7. Especially in today's climate, there are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearly have, what kind of advice would you give to those who are also looking for their direction and path?

I know this has been said countless times – but it’s so true – follow your heart, follow you intuition, paint what you want to paint – what really fires you up, and keep painting it. Continue to learn. And keep an open mind - opportunity often comes in the most unexpected ways.


8. In your opinion, what role is the Artist playing nowadays? 

I believe the role of an artist is determined to the greatest extent by the individual artist, and secondly by the community. An artist’s work is highly personal, and stems from that human need to create and express ourselves. Everything else grows from that, including how each artist chooses to be interpreted – and consequently what his or her role becomes. Ultimately, art is a language and artists are interactive story tellers.

9. What is your 5 year goal?

Today – my 5 year goal is to be painting, exhibiting and selling on a global scale, to have a creative studio where I can produce more than just paintings, where I can experiment to my heart’s content, hold workshops for and with other artists, and not have to clean up if I don’t want to! 


Leave a comment here to praise and support her!

Claire is very friendly and approachable, she would love to discuss with you further about her art. Just contact her to schedule a visit to her studio.


This is her new work! Fabs~

~ New Work ~


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Sunday, July 12, 2015

A See-thru type of art - Art on Glass and Plexiglass - Let's meet artist Aurélia Bizouard


Art shouldn't be limited to its form and medium, it is the innermost feelings expressed by the artist that matters. Today, we have a chance to post this interview with a very talented artist, Aurélia Bizouard, whom I met at a successful Art Vancouver Event in May 2015. Her cheerful personality and her colour sense interweaved strongly which made me feel really content while looking at her paintings.

Painting on a “transparent canvas” is a very different process and Aurélia paints backwards to realise her paintings: on one side of the glass, layers of paint are applied while the other side of the glass exposes the final painting.

“Using glass as a canvas enables you to play with the paint in so many different ways: scratching, crushing, dripping and more. It is an amazing experimentation for creating the type of art I love to make.” Adding colours to life is also a major part of her art: “it brings you energy and makes you feel good. That is the reason why I use a lot of vivid colours”. 
- Artist Aurélia Bizouard

1. When did you realize that being an artist was going to be your path?

I started being involved with art since I was a kid when I discovered drawing. I first did a lot of drawings with a pencil to copy my favourite Japanese Mangas which were very successful cartoons in France when I was a little girl. I was raised in a western suburb of Paris, which, along with Normandy, was the cradle of impressionism. It was here that Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and Morisot painted, some of my favourite painters who influenced me to start painting with oil. I became intrigued by art and fascinated with the beauty of the Seine river and its impressionist surroundings. 

In 2011, I was in Toronto and I discovered a new way of painting using a transparent canvas: glass. It was a revelation to me and obvious that I will follow this path. During this time of my life, I was mostly focused on creating and I was isolated for few months. Along the path, I discovered that I can bring energy with some colourful paintings, which I did. 

I was going back to my first love; we should all strive to get the opportunity to chase our childhood dreams and enjoy life as the fabulous journey it is, the way we want it. 

2. What inspires you or stimulate your thoughts? 

I get the inspiration with the contemplation of my surrounding, the colours we see around us  and what’s happening in the world. Painting is an exorcism, it makes you feel better when you create. Colours influence us a lot, I paint to exhibit the colours and to get some positive energy form it.

Also, visiting the world is the secret to unleashing creativity and I think we are at our best when we focus on the things we love doing. Passions are part of our life , it is important to know yourself first and know what are part of you. Ask yourself what could be your passions: these are the purposes of your life!

3. What is your average day like?

I always start my day with a good coffee, this could be the only "usual part" of my day, as each single day is different. I focus on my 2 main passions: art and travels. I have worked for years in the travel industry and I am involved in different associations. I do some art whenever I feel like it, it means most of my free time!

My art is like my life: very intuitive and free spirit. I do not follow a framework but I follow my heart. Maybe that is why I do not have an « average day ».

4. Why do you think it’s integral to work as an artist?

I do not know if it is integral to work as an artist, I just follow what my heart tells me to do and art has to be part of my everyday life.

5. What kinds of story do you like the most? Why?

I like the «  Little Prince »  from the french writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This story is different rather you read it as a kid or an adult. It also gives you a lot of explanations about life, humanity and society.

6. How has your practice changed over time?

The main change was to quit pencils, oil and canvas for acrylic on glass, which is now the area I am focusing on.

My practice evolved because I use lots of bright colours and I use different material to paint , such as pallette knife or my hands!

FInally, I also got influenced by other artists, we share ideas and yet new techniques arise! However some people said my art reminds them the expressionist Jackson Polock but when I started, I did not know about him!


7. Who’s your favourite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you?

I do not have a favourite artist: all of them were mentors at a different time in my life. Surrealism (I like the craziness of Salvador Dali), impressionism (I love Claude Monet and his study of the light), expressionism (Jackson Pollock and its dripping technique) or fauvism (Von Dongen was excellent at using contrasts with colours) : they all influence me.

8. There are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearly have. What kind of advice would you give to those who are looking for their direction and path?

It is very important to follow your dreams and try everything to realise them (they usually come back to you anyway). But there is also a secret: creativity. It is to say that you have to find your own way of painting and your own style. What is different in your art? What is unique?


9. In your opinion, what role is Artist playing nowadays?

Art is very important in anybody’s life: if you are a director of sales, a train driver, a painter or a politician, art should be part of your life because it gives you creativity and a new way of seeing things or thinking. It is also a great way for the artist to deliver a strong message in a peaceful way.

10. What is your 5 year goal?

My 5 year goal? …. hum…. do more paintings, spread some more colours and give more love around the world!


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Saturday, July 4, 2015

It's fun to treat your Face as a Canvas!

One day I wore a red blouse and my co-worker said to me, "you look great in red, Sherri, you should get a red lipstick for this summer too!"  I was hesitant at the beginning but in art world we should be open to new ideas, right?

So thanking her suggestion, then I saw this video and totally thought of embracing this new bold lip colour so I decided go to Shoppers Drug Mart the next day and looked for this kind of red lipstick. There are so many choices, brandwise... after browsing around and applying 50 testers on the back of my hand, I finally bought......

- One sexy red lip stick;
- One stick of concealer;
- One lip liner to outline the shape;
- One lip liner brush to blend in the color;
- One clear lip liner to prevent lip colour from feathering;

And I learnt this trick from Michelle to exfoliate the lip before applying the lipstick.

After exfoliating my lip, then I "prime" the lip by brushing foundation on. 

While doing the "priming", I also wonder who was this brilliant person invented "make up for women"? (I knew some gentlemen apply some makeup too to be more photo- and video-genic)... 

Did the makeup inventor get inspired by visual artists? Or they inspire each other? I know an visual artist who loves soft brushes and he bought a few makeup brushes to paint his work! 

Artists prime the canvas using gesso (sometimes many layers) on the canvas to create a good adherence base like we ladies put cream, sunscreen, and foundation on our face to protect our face. 

Oh a side note about foundation, by the way, a new form of foundation called BB Cream, which was first formulated in Germany, was revolutionary By putting a thin layer it will show your glow instantly as it had all-in-one combination of lotion, sunscreen protection, foundation, tint... and etc, all blended in already.

After gessoing, the artist will start applying colors on the desired area on the canvas; we lady then apply hues on eyes, cheeks, lips, using different brushes.

Then do the highlight.

One thing that is different, our pumped up beauty only lasts for a day and will need to be removed before bedtime and redo all over again next time.

I'm shy to show my before and after picture of my new lip venture here... but I will definitely wear it in different occasions like our next art event on July 17. :)

I'm a big believer in that if you focus on good skin care, you really won't need a lot of makeup.
Demi Moore

I always adore natural beauty. And on daily basis, I still like doing simple curl to my eye lashes because eyes are the window of the soul, and thin layer of BB Cream, that's it.

Before & After - Model Demo
Anyways,  the above model is already a cute girl, after putting on the makeup, she looks stunning!!

It's always fun to do something different once in a while!

Look, how happy these kids are after getting painted on their face! Art and painting definitely spread out our happiness!

Some more face painting for performing arts... pretty cool!

If you are an artist, thank you for showing your inspiration with people and please keep letting us know of your new great work. 

If you are an art lover, follow us because we also love art! We share anything related to art, for only one purpose and belief: "Everyone enjoys a better life influenced by art!"

If you don't know anything about art, time to learn some as it will tremendously change you life. follow us and you will feel the energy of art flowing into your bloodstream. Picasso said, "Every kid is an artist (we were genuine artists when we were kids), the problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up (we have so many wires and burdens in our lives which suppressed our inner artists). There are many art shows in town, check them out and chat with the artists; or join a class of painting; or social with other people by joining a paint night at a pub. 

Artfully yours!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

"Buddha Quote: Love is a gift of one’s inner most soul to another so both can be whole" - Let's meet artist Jan Kasparec



“I moved to Paris, France when I was 19 to study. It was then, during my university studies when I bought my first set of oil paints and began to experiment painting on canvas. I was 24, and I recall having no idea painting would become such an essential part of my life.

I spent many years working as a corporate professional. Five years after I put an end to this career, I decided to take off to Brazil with the intention of traveling the world for one year. This of course was with a flexible itinerary, and an open mind to what would come. My trip extended to a full 17 months, spanning across 20 countries, on 4 continents. My experiences during these travels greatly changed my somewhat rigid view on life.

"Canada, my new wonderland!"

To my surprise my path had “accidentally” crossed with a friend who I used to study with years ago in Olomouc (Czech Rep.). He mentioned he had moved to Canada some time ago, and happened to be spending his holidays in Prague. Hany Bany Pub, in the center of Prague, was the place where we raised our glasses to celebrate our encounter. It was after hearing my friend's praise of Canada that I became intrigued of life in this country. So, that very night I decided to try my luck there.

Jan, we wanna know more about you...


1. When have you realized that being an Artist was going to be your path?

First of all I think that we're all artists. Forms of expressing it may vary but everyone is born as manifesto of joyful and creative power. We cannot really separate ourselves from it (besides by mentally created barriers) since it is and underlying quality our inner most source. Most forget under the heavy conditioning influence of society and family, some remember later on in adult lives and few lucky ones never let that reality slip away completely. I painted and drew and sculpted as far as I can remember, actually these are my most vivid childhood memories. Becoming a professional artist came organically along with circumstances that seemed “random” or “unlucky” at that time, such a loosing my job in finance. Now I only understand that Universe just gave me a gentle push to put me back on a path I was really supposed to walk.

Buddha The Lifegiver

2. What inspires you or stimulate your thought?

Thought is an obstacle to creativity. The more I think the harder it is to paint. Beautiful art springs from space of no mind. Mind is but a tiny aspect of the pool of universal creative intelligence yet for many think that's all there is. Idea of “not knowing, not being able to analyze” is terrifying to mind controlled humanity. I always strive to get connected to that place where the ceaseless mind chatter fades to blissful silence. Then I become a tool of something bigger than my thoughts. That's why I always emphasize that my paintings are not “mine”. I just sharpened my skills enough to deliver the message with my hands I get in more accurate way. People always ask me this same question all over again: What inspires you. They think that the fact that I traveled extensively makes me paint tropical or spiritual themes. But inspiration has nothing to do with geographical location or my globe trotting. Inspiration is an inner journey. Inspiration is omnipresent, in everything around. Question is: how do you get the obstacles to inspiration out of the way? Because when you do, you can be sitting in a dark cave whole life and be the most inspired person on this planet.

3. What is your average day like?

I work long hours every day of the week because I love what I do. I also think that it is the only way to success for an artist although I don't like the feeling of pressure that the idea of “success” con-notates in one's mind. My reason for painting is and always has to be Joy and Love. Living in a world where money determines what you eat and how you live, I have to remind myself constantly of my reason. Sometimes I fail, but I always come back to my truth. In summer I wake up earlier since my body gets more energy from the sun. I love the morning silence in my studio and glitter of light coming through my garden by the roof window. Unless I'm pushed by deadlines and administrative work, I improvise my day. That typically results in lots of painting until well past midnight. I go out during the day for few hours to move- yoga, bike, walk. I always close my day by meditation and by giving thanks for all I have, even if the day was sad or painful.

4. Why do you think it’s integral to work as an artist?

You might not agree with me, but art is one of the few material things which has real value. Although not quite the material part of it, but the feeling it evokes in people. The place where it makes you come back you- your home. This world would be a happier place without politicians, lawyers, bankers, judges and all that ego noise that actively depletes this planet, yet we're brainwashed to the point that we believe we need it. But it would be a very sad place without art. Art is a true reflection of our Selves. Hunger for money and power is a illusory reflection of ego.

5. What kinds of story do you like the most? Why?

Real life stories. Of people who went through hardships and woke up to their true potential while staying humble. Shantaram is a good example. Don't know him? Google!

6. How has your practice changed over time?

It changes all the time. Change in my work is the only thing I can promise you for future. As I change, my art changes. Themes, delivery, techniques, everything becomes more subtle as I become lighter. I don't know where I am going but I have faith that it is a beautiful place. I look back at my work 3 or 4 years ago and I don't see myself in it anymore. I would do it all different now, yet I know that I got here because I went through there first. That's why I rarely look back or ahead. Here and Now is the only place from which I can act and make a real difference.

7. Who’s your favorite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you?

I have lots of favorite artists. I love admiring other people's art. I don't have mentors but I surely do look up to many artists out there. I don't wanna be like them, but they inspire my to get better on my own path.

8. Specially in today's climate, there are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearing have, what kind of advice you will give to those who are also looking for the direction and path?

Find your own way, stay true to it, work hard, when you think that the whole world conspires against you, just work harder, never look back, be positive, grateful not only for good times and always polite, remain humble. Believe in yourself! Anything you have faith in will manifest if you give it all you have. Keeping your day job because you don't think you can make it otherwise is not usually your best.

9. In your opinion, what role is Artist playing nowadays?

For me the role is clear: to awaken. Awaken from the current system in place which is killing life on this beautiful planet. It will not take a new government or more money to heal it. All it will take is changing the mind patterns that create it and sustain it. Art plays a huge role in this. It possesses an incredible transformational power. Why did the ancient hunters draw on the walls of caves? Perhaps to get a better kill or invade the neighboring tribe? Or to express wonder of creation without second thought of getting anything in exchange for it? We need to do more art to heal the pain that our untamed minds produce! Create, liberate, be free.


Thank you Jan!  People see your insight about art and life. I also wish express here that through out conversation, people also deserve to learn of your inner glamour and beauty which have been accumulated through your thousands of miles of journey, as well as your good heart giving back to the community.

Please follow him through Facebook, Jan is very approachable and friendly!


Want to chat with him to learn more about his art? In fact, his next Solo Exhibition - Awakening is happening very soon on July 17 & 18, 2015 in Vancouver, BC. To attend, click the following link to confirm:


Event Sponsored by Belle Fusion Art Facilitation Group.
Interview conducted by Sherri C. - Founder of Belle Fusion Art Facilitation Group


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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

MIND, MATTER, UNITY - Let's meet artist Heidi Thompson!

Heid Thmponn

"If painting were indeed such a vehicle, which can transform gross matter into finer substance and then, into a subtle substance which resonates with the mind, then it may be that painting could ultimately evoke those elusive spiritual sensations, which seem the finest of all. This would be an achievement. For if we transcend the solidity and diversity of our existences, we would merge into a unified field - experienced as love. And in this love, we would feel something of our spirit-soul, God or the Absolute. And the mystery of who we are, as individuals and as an undivided unity, would unveil."
- Heidi Thompson

1. When have you realized that being an Artist was going to be your path?

As long as I can remember, I enjoyed painting. However, I never believed that I could be an artist. My dad, a car salesman, used to tell me that artists starve.  At the time, I didn’t like the idea of starving. Despite getting A’s in high school art and C’s in math and science, I didn’t see that as a clue to my calling. I was a somewhat clueless teenager. 
The day after graduation, I moved to Switzerland intending to learn a trade - pastry making. For certain, I wouldn’t starve at that job.  Lucky for me, the pastry shop decided against female apprentices. I had to find another trade. 

My father said I could do anything I want but first, should learn a trade. I borrowed a book from the library in the small village where I lived. It listed off 2000 Swiss trades and professions. I narrowed down the list to - hairdresser or psychologist. 

Blue Veil 2007
Acrylic/Canvas 72"x48"
While trying to decide, I was still working as an Aupair for a Swiss family and painted in my spare time. The village librarian saw my artwork and recommended that I submit a portfolio to the Kunstgewerbeschule (art/trade school) in Zurich. It was a small miracle, but out of four hundred applicants I was one of 120 to be accepted.  My excitement overrode my fear of starving. I was too far from my father to heed his advice. I started art school and never questioned this decision. I loved school and my professors, who fostered my passion for art.  The day I chose starving over a comfortable future, was the day I realized art was my path.  

After the first year of Foundational art, I specialized in photography. Not that I wanted to be a photographer, but my sensible mind said it would be a great compromise.  After four years of training, I earned a Swiss Photography Diploma. Now that I had a trade, I earned the right (in my mind) to pursue fine art.  I moved to Germany and apprenticed with painter Oskar Koller.  Oskar taught me about composition, drawing and commitment.  He encouraged me to attend the art academy in Nurnberg.  I went for a year before moving to Budapest where I attended the Hungarian State University for Art. After another year of traditional painting classes, I felt confident with my formal education and returned to Canada. I set up a photography and painting studio in Vernon.  

I worked as a commercial photographer and painted in my spare time. I exhibited work in various galleries, but still felt that I wasn’t truly committed to art. I couldn’t stop thinking about what Oskar Koller’s said: “Heidi, you will never be a painter if you don’t paint. You will always find a hundred excuses not to paint. You have to make a decision then commit to the path. The beginning will be tough; there will be sacrifice and sorrow. But, there is no other way. If you keep taking photographs or earning a living with different jobs, you’ll never be a painter.” 

My struggle became easier when I married Ted, a guitar maker. We were two creative people who supported each other’s struggle. How could you ask for more?  I was very happy. We shared a common goal – to make the necessary sacrifices, save the necessary funds to remain independent, self-employed and creative.  Without this supportive partnership, I may have never been able to commit fully to painting later on. When I shut down my photography studio and started painting full time, was also when I became a mother. Staying home, living in a rustic house in the country, painting and caring for a child was ideal. Raising a daughter in a creative environment was a beautiful experience for all of us.

In summary – when it comes to committing to a path, I believe what Deepak Chopra says in Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, “Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment…intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality have infinite organizing power. And when we introduce an intention in fertile ground of pure potentiality, we put this infinite organizing power to work for us.”

2. What inspires you or stimulates your thought? 

Beauty. Whether in art, life, people, or experiences. Beauty stimulates my thoughts; inspires my emotions and makes me want to be alive. When I see or hear something beautiful, knowing how much ugliness and discord exists in the world, I can’t help but think, wonder, and ponder. What is beauty? How can I create beauty? Why does it inspire? Beauty happens when I am in a heightened state of calmness and connected to my inner world. Beauty comes by chance and is fleeting. It is the greatest challenge to capture beauty in a painting. 

3. What is your average day like?

Blue Violet 2008
I love average days. I’ve experienced serious drama in the past and prefer average. I love to wake early. Enjoy coffee and discussion with my husband. Take a walk up the hills. Return to my studio, prepare a canvas and even paint something. Then have lunch. I may return to the studio or check emails, update my website, drive to town and do practical things like shopping. Later I may work on a speech for Toastmasters, which is my favorite hobby. In the evening, I cook a vegetarian dinner and enjoy further discussions with my husband. We may get a visit from our grown children or grandchildren. We often watch a movie. Then before bed, I may meditate. That’s what I call a good average day.

4. Why do you think it’s important to work as an artist? 

Painting makes me complete.  Painting helps me to make sense of life. Creating abstract images, organizing color and shapes on a surface, striving to create something I feel is harmonious or beautiful seems like a good use of my time. When I’m not painting, I start feeling dissatisfied and unproductive. These unpleasant feelings compel me to go back to the studio, confront the empty canvas and try again. German painter, Gerhard Richter wrote: “Painting things, taking a view, is what makes us human; art is making sense and giving shape to that sense…“ I agree with Gerhard’s insights.   

For me, painting makes life seem worthwhile. But it is not the only thing that gives me this feeling. Being a mother and having a husband and family to love and care for also give me great fulfillment and sense of purpose. 

5. What kinds of story do you like the most? Why?

I love true life stories about people and their everyday struggles to overcome obstacles. Since joining Toastmasters I’ve had opportunity to hear many stories. I have grown to appreciate personal stories of everyday life.  I especially like humor.  

6. How has your practice changed over time? 

Over the years, my paintings have changed from dark to light; from sad to elated, from reactions to external environments to expressions of internal states. What hasn’t changed is relationship to painting. I have always stayed true to my vision and emotions.  Always painted what my feelings. While studying art in Europe, I was most interested in people, their suffering and their psychology. I did portraits and scenes. In Germany and Hungary I saw glimpses of a darker side of life which affected my work. I heard stories people’s long and difficult history. I heard about the war, political repression and people’s hardships. My work reflected the sadness I encountered and my sadness within.

Green Veil 2011
When I returned to Canada, my external world changed. I was surrounded by nature, beauty, and freedom. Darkness gradually vanished from my paintings. I stopped doing figurative work and focused on non-objective paintings filled with color, light, and joy. Since returning to Canada, I attended Vipassana meditation retreats and the more I meditated, the more my paintings changed. As I became healthier, calmer and more peaceful, so did my paintings. I am not saying this is how it should be – I value art about chaos, destruction and human suffering. I just didn’t have it in me to paint anymore. As I became increasingly connected with my inner world, my work grew less influenced by external environments. It was less reactionary and more actionary. As my inner world calmed down, so did my art.

7. Who’s your favourite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you? 

I was inspired by many artists. Turner’s abstract sunsets. Van Gogh’s celebration of nature and his psychological expression of colour. Pollack’s liberated application of house paint on large canvases. I appreciated the chaotic abstractions of the American expressionists. I fell in love with Rothko’s warm floating color fields. But ultimately, my favorite artist is Mark Tobey. The Pacific Northwest mystic was the forerunner of Pollack. What I like most about Tobey’s work is how it emanates a sense of calmness, order, intimacy and mystery. His delicate lines appear irrational, yet somehow transcend the logical mind and bring order to chaos. Perhaps I feel closest to his paintings, because he too practiced meditation.  Both his work and his writings reflect his inner journey and experience.

8. Specially in today's climate, there are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearly have, what kind of advice you will give to those who are also looking for the direction and path?

Today’s art climate needs to be examined, before accepting it or becoming part of it. There is a strange art bubble happening and I don’t buy into it.  My advice to aspiring artists is to learn as much as you can about yourself and art and never stop learning. Go to art school to learn about history and traditional drawing and painting. Seek out teachers who you admire – dead or alive. Read books written by other artists. Ask questions about why and how they did what they did. Master various techniques until you develop your own voice. Draw nature and develop a love connection and respect for her. In the end we are all part of nature. Most importantly, look inwardly, deeply and keep focused.  Find your truth – in a world of superficial distractions. Meditate and transcend your intellectual brain. The intellect brain will continue to interfere, confuse, mislead and prevent you from creating meaningful art. 

Another tip…stop wanting so much. Wanting for the wrong reasons –validation, fame, fortune, will prevent the universe from giving you what you really need to be happy, conscious and liberated. Unfortunately, as much as the Internet gives us opportunity to connect with the world, advertise our product and aggrandize our image, it can hinder our progress. It helps to maintain a certain anonymity and humility. 

Of course, internet will work for getting connected. I have some websites and Youtubes, but remember you are an artist and have a great vision to share. Why share prematurely? As well, it helps to restrain from comparing yourself with other artists – especially those perceived as “successful”. No one can be you – this is your advantage. Use it. Be you! Focus on improving your craft and honing your message. Visit other artists, galleries, fairs to learn about what others are doing. Then retreat into your world and do what is good.  Success is relative. I believe you are successful when you find your style, your vision, and your passion. Success is when your work and your path towards liberation and awareness is one and the same. If creating art helps you on this path – you have achieved success!

(great advice Heidi! Coincidently, we wrote a blog few days ago about getting involved with the Federation of Canadian Artists, through them, you will learn and improve so much. Reading from different books written by other artists is a great tip. It's the best way to download knowledge to your brain and even get inspired. 

Heidi, can you please help those emerging artists further by recommending a book or two in the comment section below.)

9. In your opinion, what role is the Artist playing nowadays? 

I can’t speak about other artists and what roles they are playing. I have no idea. Every artist is unique and on their individual path. I can only speak for myself and I don’t think that I am playing a role.

Painting is to hard to have time to play a role. I just carry on pursuing an activity that gives me pleasure and purpose.

10. What is your 5 year goal? 

Go deeper into myself, experience Truth and try to paint beautiful paintings. This is today’s goal, tomorrow’s, next year’s, five years from now and unless I change, it will be my goal for the rest of my life. Now I better get on with it!


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