It’s been a busy month. It’s exciting as I feel like my art life is integrating in my day to day life again, but starting anything has a bit of anxiety and stress tied to it. Maybe the excitement and the anxiety are opposite sides of the same coin and need to co-exist.

The last while I’ve been working on portraits – kids in particular. Their face structure is different and allows me a whole new area of growth. If you’re interested in getting a portrait painted – now is the time as I’m just doubling down and having fun right now. If you’d like one done and we can settle on an image I will paint it – you get an image you can share via media or make prints of and I will get promo material for my portrait classes. If you really like it, you’re welcome to purchase it, but absolutely no commitment to that for the next couple months as I immerse myself in portraiture. Message me if you’re interested and I will let you know what I’m looking for in an image.

I’ve got a portrait class coming up that I am just super stoked to be starting again. It took years to build up classes and build a foundation of students that were keen, capable and really developing their skills – I was highly engaged in their growth, but Covid took that away overnight. Re-starting has been heartbreaking. Back-end work like organizing who takes what class and actually collecting the cost of classes wasn’t a strength of mine in the past, but I had built up a system. I had a great studio to teach out of, I had built a great curriculum that was working. The connections I built with students felt more real than most. It’s funny how when Covid came I felt like I had no purpose in their life and it made me sad. After having students still connect with me years after Covid started I’m staring to feel the strength of the personal connections art can build. It’s filled me with a resolution and calm belief in people and their capacity for love, forgiveness and care. Thank you friends, art students and… Art.

In 10 minutes I’m off to go hang a show in honour of a very dear and strong art supporter, Gary Benson. I met him when I served on the Board of Directors at the Kelowna Art Gallery. I didn’t know him well, but there was something so self-assured, yet humble about this man. I am filled with this great sadness that I didn’t get to know him better. Before he died (he didn’t know he was going to die), he wanted to have a show at his house to help fundraise for the Kelowna Art Gallery, help artists show their work and create a connection point between art lovers and creators. The generosity he was showing was immense. Sadly, he died before the show. The other artists who knew him better had met with him two days prior to his death and he was so excited. They knew him well and knew he would want the show to go on. So, it’s a bit of a different pre-tense for a show, but heartfelt. What Gary is leaving for me is bigger than a one night show – it’s opening himself up to help – in real ways. He fully understood what art can do for people and fundamentally found this to be a truly beneficial way to help his community.

So, here I am paintings packed in the car, nervous as heck, drinking coffee in a Starbucks. I have severe anxiety about introducing people – it’s not social anxiety (though there are tiny bits of that), it’s a fear of forgetting names, not introducing people properly, not highlighting their strengths or connection points with others. Shows are often very anxiety inducing for artists – for very different reasons, but this is mine. All of this with the added weight of wanting to honour Gary, the other amazing artists I’m sharing the show and the Kelowna Art Gallery. It’s very different than shows at an art gallery – it’s a new journey, but I need to flip that anxiety coin to the other side.

I’m looking forward to reporting back on the experience. Let the excitement begin!

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