Monday, 27 August 2012

Breathing Space: Galiano Island, British Columbia

Every summer my daugther Ruthie, now 9, and I go camping together. I've been making a point to go somwhere new each year so she can begin to see and explore the natural beauty we have around us here in beautiful British Columbia. 

This year for a week in July we chose to camp on Galiano Island in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia where the forest meets the ocean and a small piece of heaven exists. It's a 45 minute ferry ride from Vancouver straight to the island.

Lots of little beaches we found to play and look for marine life especially when the tide was down.

Oh Deer! On a group hike with Ruthie and another camping family we came across this beautifully  made drift wood deer. It's life size and made completely out of found wood on the beach!

The dock near the campground was one of the best places to look for fish, sea stars, sea urchins and all sorts of marine life. They even had a floating nature house with free events for kids on the weekends.

Ruthie outside the Galiano Soap Works Store where we found lots of treasure including nice smelling candles, body oils and -of course- beautiful hand made soaps!

The patio outside the Soapworks store. Just love patios with flowers.

Inside the main 'Market' the one store where you could get groceries on the island. It was so beautifully set up like an art gallery for fruits and vegetables. a joy to peruse.

Ruthie snuggled into the sandstone scupltures at Bell Park on the tip of the Island. So much fun climbing the rocks on the sea shore!

Our home for the week. Camp Deb & Ruthie. Snuggled in the trees with our campfire, clothelines, and tarp kitchen. Don't need much else.

Oddly enough this picture looks like a painting or as though it's been photshopped in some way. Truth is, I don't know how to use photoshop and it has not been altered at all. It was a really brilliant sunset that night and Ruthie and I were on our way to go enjoy it with some friends a Shell Beach - best place on Galiano Island to watch the sun set if you ask me. Anyways, we snapped this picture on our walk there and it had this etheral painterly feel at the time.

Tide up at Shell Beach. So many great memories of sun sets and wading around in the water. Looks tropical with the turquoise water!

Ruthie wading in the cool ocean water with her new little friend in the background.

Walking the peninsula near Montague Harbor campground on my birthday ( July 8th). This has, for the last many years, been my desired way to celebrate my birthday : on a hike in nature. Ruthie was off on a playdate with some new campground friends and I took an hour to just enjoy the trees, the path, the ocean and my own company.

Always have loved the sandstone strata geology in the Gulf Islands.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Creative How-To: Making the appearance of footprints in sand

 I recently received this question via Email and thought I'd share it with not just this artist, but anyone who may have the same query....

Here's the question :

"I happened to chat with an Opus friend of yours in the downtown store yesterday.  I only found this out when I mentioned how much I enjoyed your demos and wish I had remembered more from them. hehehehehe  I had called their store for information on what product to use on an acrylic painting to make it look like a sand/gravel texture.  Like at the beach!  And how to also make a raised effect.  She suggested I send you a quick email for your opinion.  I would like the overall painting to have a random sand texture and want to end up adding a raised design in it that would give the impression of a print (foot?) within the sand.  Hope that makes sense.  I am feeling that the print should be raised and I am not sure what to do to accomplish that."

Dear Adrien,

Thanks for writing.

There are two products I can think of off hand that would work for this project. 

The first is GOLDEN coarse pumice gel. This has already got a sandy texture and is thick so give you raised effects. You could then imprint or sculpt the effect of footprints into it. AFterwards you could give it some washes or paint over it to get the sandy colour your desire.
This is GOLDEN pumice gel all dry. See that you can shape it and then if you want to create a sandy effecd yoiu could wash over it with sandy colours such as trasnparent yellow iron oxide , titan buff, etc.

HEre's a video which will shed some light on the pumice gel:

Also, for your reference, here is a blog I wrote a while back on putting sand, salt, sugar and other things into your mixed media paintings:

The other option would be to use Light Modeling paste ( GOLDEN and Liquitex make it) and either mix sand in it and then make and shape it into your desired foot print look or sprinkle sand on it afterwards. This is one of my favourite products as it holds shape better than any other gel or medium that I've worked with.

Also, if you are going to collect sand from the beach, be sure to clean it and cook it in the oven to get all the little bacteriesa and other dirt and nasties from it. I'm pretty sure, if you don't feel like going through all that effort, you can go to the hardware store and buy pre-sterlized sand!

Light modeling paste holds textures, imprints and formations really well. GOLDEN and Liquitex make these products and they are comparable. Look for the best deal!

Good luck with your project and I hope this helps.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Creative How To - Starting a Creative Project

This blog is dedicated to Gabriella, who has a book inside her ready to be born. It’s about how to start a creative project – any project you choose - and creating a rhythm to keep it going and make some legitimate progress on the creative project.

I’m going to build this blog by offering you a few key cards from my creative card pack The 68 Secrets of an Illuminated Artist that are integral in supporting Gabriella in the beginning of her journey of starting to write a book, and hopefully you, in any project you want to start.

BEGIN. There must be a few good reasons why you want to *write this book. Start by writing these reasons out. Why do you want to do project x anyways? Put pen to paper and get clear on this. This is your purpose. The WHY. The reason you are even considering doing this project.

Then, I want you to take it to the next step and write out why you are excited or juiced about this project. I call this my E-list. In the case of this list, just make it relevant to this project.

*write this book = do this project, whatever creative project you are embarking on…

KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.  Before you go any further in getting started with your creative project I want to share this next concept with you here, as it’s very important. Did you know that talking about this project or telling your friends about it creates the same reactions in your brain as actually doing it? Therefore when you tell someone about it – instead of actually doing it – your brain doesn’t know the difference and you are less likely to do it. Read the card and follow this advice until you have so much momentum with your creative project that it will no longer matter if you talk about it because you have become an illuminated artist: creatively unstoppable. Until then button your lips.


SCHEDULE TIME. Next, you know this inherently. If you don’t make – and more powerfully -  schedule time to work  this project, it won’t happen. So if you really want to succeed long term, it’s been proven again and again that small steps are the best way to create lasting long term chance. Choose a time each day when you can do 10 minutes on this project. If that brings up anxiety or other less than desirable feelings, lower the number. Start with 5 minutes or event 1 minute. Just make sure you do this every day.

  As you start doing your daily 10 minutes you want to incorporate ways to make it fun – then you’ll be more likely to keep at it.  Light a candle. Play music. Have cookies waiting next to your pen and paper/tools/computer/work session.  When I was working on my first book The Little Inspiration Book   I used to put hot water and Epsom salts and lavender aromatherapy into a large bowl and soak my feet while I wrote.  Maybe what’ll make it fun for you is working in different locations like a coffee shop or at the beach. Have a little list available with a few ideas so they are ready to support you.

CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS. Bottom line is if you are working on a project on your own, and especially if you've followed the first guideline to keep it to yourself, there will be no cheering squad waiting  on the other side of hte door once you've written the first page, or first chapter, or for establishing your writing/working schedule. In this case I ask you be your own cheering squad. Time some time and do something to celebrate your forward progress. Anchor it in yourself that you're doing great and that you can keep going. Pat yourself on the back. say YES!! outloud real loud. Take yourself out for dinner. Get a mani pedi. Whatever it is that works for you. But, please, do something. If you want to create some accountability, sign it to blogger and post your celebratory act here in the Comments section. I'm sure other readers would be pleased to get ideas from you.

Need more support? These are only a few cards from the 68 card pack  The 68 Secrets of an Illuminated Artist you can order the whole pack (all 68 cards) for $25 plus shipping/handling from me 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Meet the Yoga Girls.. new paintings!

The Original Yoga Girl
acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012 SOLD
This week I thought I'd share my latest little painting series; "Yoga Girl" that all got started while teaching a and demonstrating techiques using thick acrylics and mixed medias at my last Thick, Layered & Encaustic-like Abstract Paintings: How to Build Transparent, Translucent and Opaque layers with Acrylic Mediums

I've been placing these artwork images on facebook over the last few months but I thought it would be nice to showcase them all in one place, here also on my blog. They are also on my website in the Portfolio section entitled Yoga Girl Series:  

So, a bit behind this series and what it means to me... 

After dreaming of it for 10 years I finally signed up and committed to an eight month yoga instructor course. It's with Rizze Yoga Studio here in East Vancouver and led by Lana Marie. Lana teaches quite a number of classes at Open Door Yoga and if you are in the neighbourhood, I highly suggest you experience one of her classes. They are truly the embodiment of somatic style yoga.

Tree Pose Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

So far this yoga teacher training has been quite a roller coaster and inward journey. Often, when you get into your body somatically a lot of emotions and old stored memories re-surface. It can be quite unfortable and/or even painful to start to feel things we've pushed away for so long so that we did not have to feel them. 

On the upside, the thing about getting moving and sweaty through yoga is that in this process we get the  opportuniy to then process and release a lot of this old stuff and so de-toxificaiton and transformation can occur. Processing emotions is definitly the more challenging part of the journey. However, afterwards you get all the benefits of yoga - which could be a whole blog, if not a book, in itself. To name a few; you feel more joyful, happier, lighter, more flexible, fitter, sleep better, breathe easier, stand up taller, and look better. 
Dancer, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012

The fun part and wonderful benefit of this training is connecting with the other beautiful and amazing participants during our intensive weekend sessions. At some point I need to get some pictures of us and some fun and crazy things we've been doing as a group!

Namaste, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

 So, to be truly honest, this series of paintings shown here were all created before the yoga teacher training class began. Painting these pieces was my way of  dedicating and getting into to my yoga practice beacause truthfully at the very start of all this ( four months ago now) it was so much easier for me to paint then to make it to a yoga class. So I painted instead of doing yoga. 

Reverse Warrior, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

There will be more paintings I'm sure, as there are 6 more in my studio still waiting to be completed. But things have shifted for me and now that I am actually  doing yoga more frequently and embodying the practice much more than at the start, it'll also be interesting to see how the work evolves! Perhaps when the next handful of paintings are completed I'll do another follow up post like this and  we'll see if we can spot any differences!

Dancer in the Snow, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available

It's funny how people around us see things about us that we don't see because we're in ourselves busy living our lives doing our thing and can't see our own blindspots. This is natural and why it's great to have a few people around that we trust that can point out things we may not have seen. My friend Jeanne Krabbendam, was visiting for tea a few months ago and we were talking about this series of paintings and she commented on there was a separation between the abstract painting and the yoga girls themselves. I realized that at this point in time, my painting and my yoga were two different separate entities. 

My hope and dream with yoga and abstract painting are slowly but surely brought together, unified synergistically within me so I can share these two practices with you in the Illuminate the Artist Within(TM) retreats that are now being offered internationally. 

By the way, if you fall in love with one or more of these Yoga Girl Paintings and aren't able to purchase an original, they are all available as small gift cards ( blank inside), small prints, posters and fridge magnets at To purchase an original you can contact me at or come to my next Open Studio Event during the East End Culture Crawl this November 16, 17 & 18th 2012 at the ARC Live/Work STudios 1701 Powell Street, East Vancouver, BC. If you'd like a reminder for this event, pls subscribe to my free monthly newsletter

Namaste, Deb

One legged Stretch, Yoga Girl Series
16  x 20" Acrylics & mixed media on panel
(c) Deb Chaney 2012
Original Available