New Old Watercolour Paints

Recently I had the pleasure of adopting a whole stash of art and framing supplies. I’m talking watercolour tubes, rulers, piles of paper and picture mats, frames, brushes, palette knives, easels, drawing boards, inks, pencils… you name it. It was a huge pile that filled the trunk of an SUV!


While to some it may look like a pile of old stuff, I knew there was gold hidden in amid all the bric a brac. One trip to the charity shop and one trip to the garbage room later, I’ve narrowed down my haul to a precious few items.

I haven’t tried everything yet but I finally tested all the tubes of paint. Considering the age of these paints (I mean, just look at some of the branding on those tubes!), quite a few of them were still usable. In fact, look how brilliant these colours are! Even the ones that had dried in the tube are beautiful (paynes grey, hansa yellow and pthalo green) and I think perhaps are my favourites.

I can’t wait to create new things with these paints! Stay tuned for another post in the future featuring new sketchbook paintings made with these “new” old watercolours.

A special thank you to Adrienne for entrusting me with your grandmother’s art materials. Rest assured that these are precious treasures and will be used with a lot of love in my studio!

Creative Compendium 19.02.17

Ça en vaut la peine. It’s worth it.” –French Words

I love that Instagram account. Happy Sunday and welcome to this week’s creative compendium. I’ve got a short selection of inspiring articles and favourites that I must share and keep track of here.

Sometimes, when you have so many interests and creative ideas, it can be hard to discern your life’s meaning. At least, I felt this way in the past and on this subject, I recently read this article from Better Humans, Bill Watterson: How to Find Your Life’s Meaning.

Everyone, every illustrator and artist, follows a different path to their definition of success. This Girlboss Found Success by Owning Her Feminine Style.

This may seem childish but I love picture books. I loved them as a kid and then I forgot all about them as I moved on to novels and longer, imaginary adventures. Picture books have made a comeback to my bookshelves, now for their beautiful artwork. Picturebook Makers is one of my favourite blogs that celebrates illustrators from around the world and their creative process.

I wrote about the sublime in yesterday’s post but I didn’t really elaborate too much on Caspar David Friedrich. Click if you are curious!

(Feature image: Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich)

Creative Compendium 12.02.17

Big things often have small beginnings.” -Freelance Wisdom

Welcome back to this week’s creative compendium! I’m planted firmly on the couch as I reflect and write about this past week. (I’m pretty much ready to grow roots here.) I’m going to keep this intro short, inspired as I am by that quote up there. Big things DO come from small beginnings.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Lisa Congdon? Her story is one that really inspires me. I love seeing her success in illustration even though she didn’t start straight out of high school. That is an encouraging thought. I just read her post On Burnout and the Slow Rebuilding. Although I can’t yet relate to that volume of work, I appreciate that she is real about the cons of being a creative professional. It’s good to know all sides of the dream.

In an effort to try something new, I decided to experiment with digital painting. While I missed holding a pencil and paintbrush, I’m actually pretty pleased with the result! Perhaps in time I’ll find the perfect blend between traditional and digital mediums.


Why Unfollowing Will Be the Best Thing You Do for Your Happiness. Another good article to have a read through considering our very digital era where social media can actually contribute to depression and some very real negative emotions.

One of my best friends sent me an article from Brain Pickings recently. Maria Popova reflects about things she’s learned over 10 years of blogging and she makes some excellent points.

Who doesn’t love to hear from great illustrators of our time? I’ve recently been enjoying listening to the live streams from One Fantastic Week. It’s a weekly web show run by self-employed fantasy artists, Pete Mohrbacher and Sam Flegal. I like to listen to their interviews with artist while I work.

Speaking of interviews, I also recommend checking out the blog, Freelance Wisdom. It’s full of inspiring interviews with creatives and their journeys. It’s nice to hear about people’s creative beginnings.

Paris 2016: Vlog + Time Lapse Painting

Last year I got to visit Paris for the fourth time in my life. Paris in the fall is brisk, bright and beautiful. It’s beautiful any time of the year but really, autumn holds its own special kind of magic. I fell in love with it so much that I took a job interview and nearly moved there. Of course every city has its cons but the slow service in cafe’s doesn’t bother me. It’s crazy expensive to live there but so is the city I live in now. I hear many of the buildings are walk ups – perhaps that’s what helps the Parisians stay in shape!

I can understand why so many artists made Paris home in the past. There is just something about the light and the architecture that inspire creativity. Continue reading “Paris 2016: Vlog + Time Lapse Painting”

Creative Compendium 05.02.17

As I sit next to the window in my castle in the sky (I live really high up and it’s way more fun to imagine living in a floating castle), I’m thinking: what is this Creative Compendium? I’m sure it will evolve and this format may change but for now, it’s a time to reflect back on the week and note moments and things that struck a chord…


I am loving the pattern and designs of William Morris right now. They have a beautiful medieval feel to them. I won’t say much more on that right now. Coming soon to the blog: a master study of him and his work.


Don’t believe everything you think.” Exactly. I’m looking at you inner critic!

Reading + Listening

Currently in my audiobook universe, I’m listening to a childhood favourite by Diana Wynne Jones, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle.’

I also decided to tackle another classic in the old fashioned way. Currently on the nightstand is ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’ I have this thing that if I start a book, no matter how difficult or tedious, I have to finish it! Very rarely do I give up because I refuse to let a book defeat me. It may take weeks (or months if I’m really procrastinating) to finish it, but finish it I will.

Home + Health

I have a very thoughtful mom. She ordered a Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp for my room. It’s wonderful! It gives off a beautiful soft glow and is so beneficial to allergy prone people like me! This article explains why it’s so good to have one in your home.

On another note, I successfully made madeleines! And then I successfully ate over a dozen in a short few days!

People + Life

Reconnecting with people is always an incredible feeling, especially when you realize that even after so many years, you still have so much fun! I got to see an uncle of mine that I would see all the time as a kid. It’s been years and the reunion was filled with laughter and revelations (we had the same theatre professors at university).


Down below the streets are grey with icy packed snow and everything around it is white. The trees, the sidewalks, the parks, the cars are all covered with at least a foot of snow, maybe more. One car is struggling to get out of its parking space and is currently stuck half in, half out. Snow days are wonderful and spectacular. It’s the mess afterwards that’s a little less charming. But Boeing loves the snow!

Time to bundle up and brave the cold!

(Art in feature image by William Morris; Public Domain)

Looking Back at 2016

Thoughts on Change…

It’s a new year and somehow it’s nearly February! As I sit here with my computer on my lap, trying to think of something clever or useful to share about illustration and the freelance life, I find myself suddenly reflecting on the past year. This is an exercise I should have done on the turn of the new year but life happens – and you can’t force these things really.

It was nearly one year ago, to the day, that I tore my knee. Painful and inconvenient, this was just the tip of the iceberg that was a series of painful and inconvenient changes that followed. Each change carried its own level of gravity, although in their moments, even the little ones felt huge. It’s the nature of the beast, especially when you are fighting it. Change that is.

It was only by fall of last year that I began to embrace change. As my knee slowly healed, I slowly accepted and adjusted (half-heartedly and with much reservation in some cases) to the changes 2016 decided to throw at me. But this acceptance was enough; enough to grow and to become a stronger version of myself with a lot more drive to follow dreams. It was enough to start working towards goals, rather than stare at them longingly as if they were stars in the sky, completely out of reach.

It wasn’t easy and it’s not meant to be. I believe that change (is that word losing all meaning to you too?) and the challenges we face are meant to become our tools to succeed. This was perhaps the biggest discovery I made. I labelled 2016 the Year of Discovery and it certainly lived up to that epithet:

I moved house and my family moved to a new country. I began to discover my main purpose for this website and began working with a creative coach. I travelled to Manila, Madrid, Paris, Beaune and New York. I went on a creative retreat and met new, wonderful people. I learned to make madeleines and viewed original art created by Disney legends. I fell in love with a city that is not my own. I learned what it meant to close chapters and start new ones. Through the incredible highs and the lowest of lows, I discovered more than I can recount here.

Now it’s time to look forward. This is the year to THRIVE, pursue new goals, face new challenges and power through the occasional moments of self doubt.

2016: Year of Discovery

I can’t even believe it. It’s January 11: when did that happen?! Incredulity aside, I’ve decided that this is the year of discovery.

Looking back on 2015, it was a year of change, not just for myself, but for my whole family. I think my personal phrase of 2015 was, “I’m confused.” Between myself and my family we experienced: losing jobs, gaining new jobs, new puppies, new directions and moving out of country. It’s the start of 2016 and I find myself looking for new focus in my career, living solo while my family has moved out of country (heck, out of continent!), and raising an adorable new puppy. It doesn’t sound like much but in reality, the changes and decisions of 2015 have carried over and have definitely dictated the tone of this new year: discovery.

Instead of making resolutions I won’t keep, I am setting goals that will align with my keyword for 2016. Although the difference between goals and resolutions may seem fuzzy, to me it’s clear. For example, if you are wanting to lose weight (it seems like everyone wants to do that after holiday indulgence), instead of resolving to just lose weight, set a goal and aim always to take the stairs.

It’s the year of discovery for me. It’s scary, bittersweet, and exciting all at the same time. What’s your keyword for 2016?