Every fall I open my studio for an open studio event, and it’s been my fondest dream that eventually I would choose a day where it didn’t snow. This year I was rewarded for all the other frosty studio nights with perfect weather, a large turnout and a night to remember.

My friends Marilyn and Bev have joined me for the past three open studio nights, and I love showing off their beautiful handiwork. Marilyn’s pottery, River’s Edge Clayworks holds the spirit of the Peace River region in form and colour, and Bev’s Earth Colours Jewellery is candy for the wrist, ears and throat. I especially love her enameled pieces, full of watercolour-like magical moments.

Sharing their businesses on the deck in the shop were Buttery Bites Caramels, Drift Coffee Roasters, Iron Relics Motorcycle Shop and Bee Sweet Honey.

Each year I invite a different musician to perform during the evening, and this year friends and brother & sister duo Jaime & Christine White played guitar and violin through the evening. Their lively music had a few dancing and added to my “rural yet classy” theme for the evening!

While my studio is open by appointment through the year, this is the one time when I open the doors to the community and I wanted to show a little of what I do and why I paint the way I do, so I took time for a demonstration of my watercolour style. I found myself sharing insights into why I’m painting abstracts more and more often, and how often we view abstracts with confusion, because we are trying to figure out what the artist is saying through their work. My intention, when painting abstractly is not to “tell” people my thoughts, but to start a conversation, that in not spelling everything out as in more realistic work, I’m giving the viewer the chance to interact and engage with the painting and explore what they see and feel. I think there’s a rare freedom in being that open-ended, in welcoming conversation and differing perspectives.

My studio has been a busy place since the September 8th event (yes, it’s taken me almost a month to find the time to write about it), as it has hosted family and friends visiting during September, my live lessons have resumed on YouTube (join me Wednesday afternoons) and I’ve been painting and working on project ideas for my high school art class. It’s reverted to its pre-event untidiness as I follow creative fault lines to new ideas and explorations, and it’s always my happy place.

If you’re ever in the area of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada, I’d love to share it with you too!