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Frequently Asked Questions

GOT QUESTIONS?

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1 When did you realize you had the need to create and develop your skills?

I’ve had a strong passion for art since I can remember—basically my entire life. Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to become an artist. I had a strong urge to learn new ways of expressing my artistic visions, and never got discouraged by my lack of skills. I have always been very inquisitive and eager to learn. I realized that if I keep at it, no matter how bad and messy things might get in the beginning, I will eventually get better. And I did. I remember the first few times that I sat in front of a pottery wheel and tried so hard to centre a piece of clay on the wheel in order to throw a simple bowl, I did not succeed. And I did not succeed many times after that. But I kept at it, and finally learned how to do it. I’ve had the same mindset in developing all my other skills over the years, in several different areas of art and design. I always thought, if somebody else could do it, I can do it too. My professional life has been the continuation of my lifelong endeavours. Backed by many decades of experimenting, and 3 university degrees, I am still pursuing the same dreams, just a lot more elaborated.


2 How do you know when your art is complete?

Sometimes it’s a tough call, especially with my sculptures. When I am in doubt, I try to take a short break from my artwork, and work on something else. After a week or so, I come back to it with a set of fresh eyes, and inspect it from all the angles. If I’m not totally pleased with it, it doesn’t speak to me the way I had imagined, or I feel the need to change, add, or tweak something, that means I need to continue working on it. But if my artwork looks perfect to me, then it’s complete.


3 Where do you gather your inspiration from?

Even though I explore several different approaches to making art, and use a variety of materials and processes, one thing has always remained my true inspiration—nature, and its infinite array of shapes, colours and textures. The natural world’s fruitfulness and its tendency to continuously grow and effortlessly evolve from one thing to another continues to fascinate me and has been my source of inspiration for many years.


4 Where do you typically create art?

I have a couple of small spaces dedicated to creating my artworks at home. Depending on the piece that I am working on, I sometimes need to take over a few other places. But I do my best to contain the mess, and clean up as soon as I am done with that particular project. I can’t work in a messy workplace (or live in a messy home), and I always try to keep everything neat, super organized, and clean. I actually have an app that keeps track of all my art supplies (paints, tools, canvases, etc.) with hundreds of items listed on it over the years. It’s easier for me to keep track of my inventory in such a small space, monitor my expenses, and know exactly where to look for if I need a certain tube of colour or a jar of medium.


5 Right now, what is your medium of choice and what is your favourite subject matter?

My favourite medium is acrylic paints & mediums. The possibilities are endless, and I can always achieve the exact qualities that I am looking for—any texture, blend, effect, or finish. My go-to brand is Golden artist colours. Their range of products is absolutely amazing. I also use Tri-Art, Liquitex, and M. Graham acrylic paints. My favourite subject matter for making a sculpture is seed pods. My favourite subject matter to paint is animals.


6 All artists at all stages of their career want to try something new, what other medium or subject matter do you see yourself experimenting with?

Something that I have never tried, and would love to learn, is to create glass sculptures. I really enjoy watching “Blown Away,” a glassblowing competition television series on the Canadian channel Makeful. I think it’s on Netflix too. It is such an interesting process, and I would love to learn how to do it someday.


7 Continuing education, do you partake and if so what did you learn?

Yes. I am always on the lookout for courses that I can learn from, and I have taken a lot of courses over the years. The list is very long, but here are a few of them: Business and Marketing Writing from GALE University, Starving To Successful by Jason Horejs from Xanadu Gallery, a few webinars by Cory Huff and Donald Miller, and a lot of online courses on LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda), and several online courses offered by my local library. Sometimes I signup for artists’ lectures and product demos, in person or online. I also read a lot of books on various subjects related to art and design, and own an extensive library of books and references.


8 Have you ever taught a class or done an artist talk? If so, what did you talk about or teach? Can people sign up for your workshops and how?

I haven’t taught in a very long time. Right after I finished my Master’s degree I taught a course on how to make scale models for a few semesters. I did enjoy it very much, and I have been thinking about organizing a course on how to make mixed media sculptures. Most likely, an online course or a webinar.


9 Have you ever painted en plein air? What was the biggest hurdle for you? Environmental challenges, wildlife, people, weather?

Only a few times. I get a lot of inspirations for my paintings and sculptures when I’m outside, and take many pictures. I am always energized after I return from a long hike in the mountains, and I come up with a lot of new ideas for my artworks.


10 Do you do commissions? If so, what is your process?

Yes, I do. I am currently accepting custom orders of pet portraits. The paintings are based on the clients’ own photographs of their pets. They can choose from a variety of canvas sizes, and have the option to add a frame to their painting. Once we come to a mutual agreement, I ask for a 50% non-refundable deposit. I start working on the painting and keep the client updated on the progress. After the painting is completed and the remainder of the balance is paid, I will ship the painting, or have it ready for them to pick up if they live locally. You can learn more and start your order here: Custom Pet Portraits


11 What is your favourite art related quote?

Everything you can imagine is real.
– Pablo Picasso


12 Do you have a favourite artist and what do you like about their art? Have you ever met them?

My all time favourite artist is Vincent Van Gogh. I love the way he saw the world, his vivid brushstrokes, and his bold use of colours. I have read several books about him over the years. Some of my other favourite artists are Pablo Picasso, Gustav Klimt, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Some of my favourite sculpture artists are Barbara Hepworth, Louise Bourgeois, Jean Arp, Henry Moore, Jennifer Mccurdy, Alice Ballard, and Lisa Lichtenfels.
I enjoy reading about different artists and learning about their lives, artworks, struggles, breakthroughs, processes and techniques. I’ve also come to know many incredibly talented artists through social media, and created meaningful connections with them.


13 Did they inspire you to pursue a career as a professional artist?

Yes, absolutely. I started my first private drawing course at the age of 13 by a young local artist who patiently taught me all the basics. I had been creating art long before that, but that was my first real lesson. He really inspired me to become an artist. I learned about different mediums, shadows and light, composition, etc. That was when I studied the artworks of great masters, like Leonardo DaVinci, Salvador Dali, Maurits Escher, and many others. About a year or so before that, when I was 12, I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, and my head was blown away by all the incredible artworks in that museum. That experience had a huge impact on my creative life. All through my academic studies, I was inspired by my professors who encouraged me to continue further in achieving my goals. I don’t think I can put my finger on one particular moment or one single person that inspired me to become a professional artist. I was fortunate to be inspired by many; and on some level, I think I always knew that was what I wanted to be.


14 What is most challenging to you when starting a new project?

There is a lot of decisions to be made when I am starting out a new artwork, especially a sculpture. I usually start with an idea, and a few drawings. The early stages are always challenging because there is always a lot to consider when I am coming up with a process on how to execute my idea, and what materials and techniques to use. I enjoy the challenge through, I learn something new with every artwork that I make.


15 What advice would you give to an artist starting out?

The artist’s journey is a very personal one, and your journey is just as unique as you are. Follow your passion and don’t give up.


16 What keeps you going forward with your art in this very competitive industry?

Every artist has their own unique voice, and creates authentic artworks that have their own unique place in this industry, and attracts their own specific audience. My artworks come from a place deep inside of my soul, and create a connection with the viewer in a very personal level. I don’t feel like I am in a competition when I am creating a piece or presenting it to the world. My artworks will attract those who feel a connection with me through my creations, and that’s an honour.


17 In your studio, right now, what is your most important tool that you would be lost without?

I gave this questions a lot of thought, and came to the conclusion that I could easily be lost without many tools that I regularly use. But if I have to pick just one, I would have to say it’s my Sta-Wet palette that keeps my acrylic paints workable for several days so I can keep working on an artwork with all the paints that I have mixed for that specific project. I actually have several Sta-Wet palettes, so I can easily switch between projects if I am working on multiple artworks at the same time.
I would also be lost without my computer, and all my my techie gadgets!


18 What is your favourite piece of work you have created, thus far?

Belle âme. It means “a beautiful soul.” It is a mixed media sculpture that I have completed recently. It’s a figurative sculpture of a woman’s upper body with her hair blown in the wind, looking at the viewer with kind eyes and a soft smile, and has beautiful flowers growing from her chest and shoulders. This sculpture is available on my website: Belle âme


19 What is the most well received piece of art you have created?

Inner beauty. It was a mixed media sculpture that I did many years ago when I was living in Florida. It was an organic shaped sculpture, resembling something growing out of the ground, with a rough texture and dark colours on the outside surface of it, and covered in young colourful leaves on the inside. I won an award for that piece.


20 Do you have a favourite gallery or museum that you visit?

I love visiting Glenbow Museum in Calgary, which is very close to me. There are several art galleries in my city that I used to visit often, and I hope to be able to visit again soon.
I have visited many art museums and art galleries in different parts of the world. Some of them include Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, Louvre Museum in Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Denver Art Museum, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida, National Museum of Iran in Tehran; and many art galleries in every place that I have visited or lived over the years, including Banff, Canmore and Calgary in Alberta, Chicago, New York, Traverse City and Mackinac Island in Michigan, New Bern and Morehead City in North Carolina, Eureka Springs in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, and many others.


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