A Record of Life Captured on Canvas.


…the experience
…the effort
…the time
…the growth
…the beauty
…the heart
…the love
all of these treasured elements and much more are the priceless attributes that form the finished piece of art.

I have been working on this 24″ x 24″ oil painting for several weeks, to be fair some of that time was inner work and not the actual applying paint to the canvas, some of the time was invested in recording and editing to create this video, some of the time (3 days) was spent creating and setting up the still life and of course time is also invested in developing this blog.

Someone asked me once “Why paint a still life?” The best explanation is this, when painting from a photograph the subject is no longer in a three dimensional space, the camera has done most of the work for you. When painting from life, one sharpens the creative skills needed in order to capture life onto a canvas, that is why I value painting from life. I love these challenges, in addition conquering the challenge of bringing life onto a two dimensional plain to be preserved forever, that is what I find so satisfying.

That is why my paintings are invaluable, they are an investment of my life, a part of me…what is that worth to me? It is priceless!

LINK: Painting and a Teacup

Click on the ‘Painting and a Teacup’ BLUE link.

Painting and a Teacup


The Drawing


There is not any present moment that is unconnected with some future one. The life of every man is a continued chain of incidents, each link of which hangs upon the former.  (Joseph Addison)


Marks on canvas

Shadows and light

Connected together

Creating the drawing

The foundation

A base for the painting.

Just as the present moment is connected to the future moments,

so are the edges,

the lines,

the smudges

all in relationship to each other

which brings life to the form which ones eye has seen…

a time past,

a moment gone by,

captured for the future

in a relentless gaze of the innocent asking

what is waiting for me?


~Heather Dawn


2 birdsjpg

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2 Sparrows

16 x 20

Oil on panel



I came from a family of nine children, I think it was common back then for couples to have larger families. I love my siblings very much yet I often found myself playing alone. I thoroughly enjoyed being by myself playing quietly; digging in the dirt was one of my favorite pastimes. Not just digging, I would be creating roads, whole communities where my imaginary citizens would live in perfect harmony, it was my creative outlet at the time, that is probably why that I chose Ceramics as my major at the Alberta College of Art and Design… I love dirt ūüėČ

Growing up in a small village it was always rather quiet and so hearing the whisper in the breeze was ever present, in my heart I knew where the still small voice came from and it was ever-present, speaking to me. Another familiar sound that is so endearing to me are the sparrows songs. The sparrow has such ¬†beautiful songs that hearing them makes me feel so at peace, so at home….it always brings a smile to my face. I know that sparrows are viewed as pests, but for me they bring comfort. Here is a link to some of the songs. ¬†http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Song_Sparrow/sounds

I recall dreaming and earnestly desiring to be a bird, I didn’t know what kind of bird, but I just wanted to fly, free in the air…they seem so carefree, so happy, so free…that is what I wanted.

It’s no wonder that I have chosen sparrows as my subject because the symbology (art of expression by symbols) ¬†of sparrows is very telling and I feel it is no surprise as to the accuracy of this symbolism that has been attributed to them, this is how I see sparrows and because they are a small bird that seems to have no significance, I can relate. These symbols of the sparrow are very much the attributes of that still small voice in the breeze that I have been so familiar with for all those years.


    • Joy
    • Inclusion
    • Creativity
    • Simplicity
    • Protection
    • Community
    • Productivity
    • Friendliness

Still Small Voice of the Pure Breath that I heard in the breeze.

    • Love
    • Joy
    • Peace
    • Long-suffering
    • Kindness
    • Goodness
    • Faith
    • Meekness
    • Self-control

The Native American symbol of a sparrow is: Sparrow: Symbol of desire and fertility; manifests new love in someone’s life; understands the aspects of race; ability to use the power of song; understands all aspects of color.

It wouldn’t be too far fetched to say that sparrows are a symbol of love, not just manifest love, not just fertility, but LOVE.

Love is understanding, love is truth, love is compassion, love is forgiveness, love is kindness, love is empathy and much more.I know that I am being taken care of, just like the sparrows who have no worries. I know that HE has been watching over me all my life and continues to do so. I know that I am clay, He is the Potter and HE is the One who has kept me all these years. I am so thankful.

Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home

When Yasha is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me.

Civilla D. Martin

*Jesus or Joshua are English translations of the Hebrew name YASHA (Yahusha) here is the Hebrew number, meaning and name.

A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: – X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.


Rise Above

Rise Above

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16 x 20

oil on panel


My younger sister always used to say “water off a duck’s back” whenever anyone was faced with adversity. She would motion with her hand as if stroking the back of a duck…that movement looked like an airplane diving and then at the last second taking off up into the air…and it is a good saying and a good motion because both of them imply rising above the strife, rising above the toils, the troubles and pain of this life.

This painting ‘Rise Above’ is a little sparrow that has flown up high into the air and turns to look down at the place where s/he once was, to see that s/he is not trapped by the snares of this life, s/he sees that s/he has power, power to choose.

I am choosing to paint sparrows right now because they are considered to be a pest and are not given much significance. I have often felt that I was considered to be a pest, not very significant…a sad truth, but I repudiate that image that was placed on me.

I Rise Above the labels, the voices of the past, and even some voices of the present that do not agree with what I stand for. I Rise Above because I choose to live a life that is real, a life that is filled with truth and love and understanding. I choose to live a life that is aimed to do good, to help others, to love others freely in the best way that I know how. I Rise Above because I have decided to be the change that I want to see in this world…to love mercy, to do justly and to walk humbly with the Creator.

When one can Rise Above and overcome, then one can truly listen enabling others to be heard, to be free, to Rise Above.

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered! Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

Andree in the Light.

Andree in the Light

Click image to view larger.

Andree in the Light
16 x 20
oil on panel

‚ÄúWhen I first started painting I just thought it was something I‚Äôd like to do ‚ÄĒ and if I could make some money at it, then I didn’t have to get a job! As I went further into it, I needed confirmation that the things I was discovering in paint were true. I found that if it was true in painting, it was also true in life. Painting is like an interlocking set of relationships ‚ÄĒ color, edges, values, thick and thin, etc. Life is the same. Everything is interrelated. All of life is like one big, interlocking relationship. Everything you do has a consequence to everything else.‚ÄĚ David Leffel
I absolutely love the light, this girl played Andree (the model who married Renoir’s son) in the film Renoir.

The images in the film are so beautiful. I don’t always have the luxury of having a model so I seek sources that are challenging yet beautiful.


Like a Tree planted by the waters.
Like a Tree Planted by the Waters.

Peace, peace, beautiful peace.

I don’t need to tell anyone how trying life is these days. Everyone on earth is aware that things are not ‚Ķso peaceful.

One of the most glaring of trials is that of war; the atrocities of taking another human, life for whatever reason, doesn’t sit well with many of us yet‚Ķ it is happening. We see evidence of the toll it is taking in the weary eyes all around us and we feel helpless, it is upsetting to say the least, emotions are high and trust is low.

Disease is also very high on this list as we see so many who are suffering, hospitals are jammed‚Ķ if one can afford to go to a hospital. Children are suffering with so many more illnesses than the world has ever seen and the blaming‚Ķ doesn’t stop. ‚ÄúWho is at fault?‚ÄĚ is the question on many minds; we simply want to find answers so that we can save the children and comfort those in agony.

Our food is another extreme concern, simply because the very substance that was created to heal us, is making us sick; oh yes…tampering with the seeds plays a enormous role in this dilemma. Pollution, water contamination and soil depletion are a few of the concerns we, our children and grandchildren are encountering.

Economy, here is an enormous giant that has been overstuffed and yet is never satisfied and while sitting on the structure made from splinters it’s foundation is about to collapse¬†threatening to cause the monstrous giant to come tumbling down on top of the nations‚Ķyou and me.

So far I have only given you a brief sketch of some of the issues this world is facing, and I am sure we all know that there is so much more going on; we cannot even imagine.

Knowledge is increasing at an incredible rate as a result of the internet, you can have your wildest dreams brought right in front of you in your own home; it will fill your mind with so much to buy, so much to know, so much to do, so much to hear and it keeps everyone very hectic. So busy that there is no time for family, no time for friends no time for love…no time for… peace and quiet.

This painting is filled with symbolism.

The tree is a symbol for one who is living a good life, like a tree planted by the rivers of water. This tree is bearing fruit in its season, it is spreading out the branches to give shade on a hot day. This tree is strong to withstand any storm and it is beautiful. The tree has many meanings, in this painting the tree represents a human being who is living a life in harmony with the Creator he is planted firmly by the water where he will never be thirsty, he is strong to withstand any storm and gives shelter to those who abide near him.

The water in this painting is a symbol for Living Waters, water that satiate the dry and thirst land …you will never thirst again because it is the water of life, it is the Life Giver dwelling us and continually flows through us quickening us and pouring out His life giving truth to others that we touch.

The horse is a symbol of the Pure Spirit in us Who gently shows us the way to walk, who quietly waits to answer us whenever we call on Him, He is watching, listening and interceding on our behalf with words that cannot be uttered.

The light is a symbol of being illuminated, it comes from the One who made light, HE illuminates the mind by opening the eyes and causing the blind to see.

Ah peace, yes beautiful peace… there is one source where we can find true peace for our souls, a peace that is there even in the most difficult trials, it fills with assurance that our Creator is Sovereign over all, we trust Him and He never lets us down.





Over the past years I have come to the realization that a painting is not just something captured on a board or canvas to look at. It is the experience that the artist has encountered, it is time¬†which the artist has captured and held still onto the surface in order to be revisited over and over again. A painting to¬†inspire, or stir up one’s emotions or speak out against tyranny…or simply is beautiful to behold are all meaningful and historical pieces ensuring¬†perpetual¬†discourse to as many souls as possible.

A painting or any other art work is antiquity, fleeting moments that are stilled and preserved for years to come.

This is a piece of the artist, drawing snippets and morsels from their life experiences that has brought them (me) to that particular point in time. What value can we place on that?

This is a session that I had with a beautiful young lady named Leah. She is a nurse who works for Pure North S’ynergy Foundation http://www.purenorth.ca/ she works so hard, most often at the homeless shelter http://www.theseed.ca/ starting in the wee hours of the morning in order to help the vulnerable¬†before they head out the door for the day.

Leah is also co-founder of an orphanage called  Darja Foundation here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/darajafoundationinc?pnref=story  http://www.daraja.ca/

Daraja means bridge in Swahili, isn’t that lovely? Isn’t that what life is all about bridging relationships between fellow, flesh and blood human beings? ¬†ūüôā

I met Leah at Pure North (which is another story for another time but please read about them, the founder of this program is a very generous and caring man Allan Markin) and have had the pleasure of spending time with her creating our artwork.

Leah lost all of her art supplies (among other things) in the Calgary flood that happened in 2013 and that is why she comes to paint with me at my studio. She paints her artwork while I paint her. We spend our time working and listening to music while we get to connect and share our experiences in life.

This thing called art has brought me in touch with a lovely young lady who has blessed my life.

Thank you Leah and thank you to all of you who stop by and take the precious time to read and comment.