A Shift in Perspective March 2021

It’s coming up on a year to the day when all of our lives changed in ways that we could not have
imagined. It has also been almost a year since I last shared any news with you beyond my
Instagram posts. I have moved from periods of drought and frustration into slow but steady

While 2020 was a time of ups and downs and struggles for me, it was also a time of discovery
and learning to work in new ways. I’d like to share how I have been working; how the pandemic
has been affecting my process and what some of the outcomes have been. 

Last March I had just completed eight new circular pieces that I worked on quite intensely for
almost a month (see 2020 under Portfolio Tab). These pieces were part of an application
submission for the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair that is held every summer in Nathan Phillips
Square. I was feeling really positive and productive. When I received the news that my
application had not been accepted I was admittedly feeling less optimistic. But I was
determined to continue developing the themes in this work. 

I made regular trips to the local thrift store to buy colour-themed packages of objects that had
been curated by the staff. I liked the idea of working with objects that someone else had
chosen and I decided to focus on colour themes and compositional arrangements. I constructed
a box to place the objects in, creating small dioramas or still life ‘scenes’ with a narrative

When pandemic restrictions forced me to temporarily leave my studio space at Akin Dupont, I
moved some of my supplies and the object box to a shared studio in my backyard where I
created a small space to continue my work. Many of the objects found in this new studio
environment were neutral or white. While I usually use bright colours and a varied palette, I
found myself completing a painting that was entirely white-themed. The experience of working
with these white objects was very calming and I felt in control, which is exactly what I needed at
that time.

After completing the white piece, I prepped three other circular panels with metal grounds
(silver, copper and gold) and began to work on the silver piece.

And then my art was put on hold. For the next few months, I worked feverishly alongside my
husband Gerard and my brother Vince (the founders of Animation Portfolio Workshop) to
reinvent the family business, which was adversely affected by the pandemic. 

At the end of July, exhausted and eager to get out of the city for some peace and a change of
atmosphere, Gerard and I headed north to our cottage near Tobermory, Ontario. We walked
and biked and swam until I started to feel my energy returning and I felt that I could attempt to
step back into my art practice. In our bright living space, I worked on a small still life in pastel
and some contour drawings from objects I found lying around the cottage. I tried some figure drawing, working from online sources on my laptop, but soon realized that I preferred to work
from observation, in real space and time. Everything I worked on felt like an exercise, so I
accepted the fact that I just needed to keep a steady momentum going for my peace of mind. 

It wasn’t until we returned to the city just before Christmas that I was finally able to finish the
silver panel that I started in the spring. I moved on to the copper panel (depicted above) and I
began to relax and enjoy the process. The work flowed easily, and I painted without feeling
pressured. I was back in the saddle so to speak, but still not moving full speed ahead. 

While I am not yet back to regular studio hours, I am making art on a fairly consistent basis. My
expectations around timelines have shifted. After a year where I felt a real loss of control,
where nothing was consistent, where I had to learn to make art in new spaces and new ways, I
have become kinder to myself. I have learned not to put pressure on myself to ‘produce’ but
rather to explore, slow down and allow things to reveal themselves in the quiet moments of

Making art through this pandemic has been a time of discovery for me.
It has been slow and at times plodding, but also necessary and fruitful.
And as I work on each new piece, I can feel my colours coming back – literally – moving from
white through silvers and greys, warm coppers, and all the colours of the rainbow.

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