Dirt to Divinity Presentation

I’ve been invited to give a public talk by the University of Toronto Art History Department about my work as an artist and iconographer on February 8th. I’m looking forward to sharing images of some of my latest icons, talking about the tradition that informs them, and why they’re made the way they are. I

Looking for Patrons

As I’ve already shared, the studio has had many changes over the past six months. There have been many different threads underneath the upheaval, but an important one for the studio has been the desire to work without contending with so many business considerations. Over the past five years, to keep the studio financially viable

New Studio Name

I’m excited to share a new name for the studio that has taken root here in Alberta: Red Earth Icons. When the studio moved, I knew it would be time to change its name. Conestoga refers to a particular place—one that has inspired me as an artist for the last 20 years. So much of what

A New Home and Studio

It’s been three months since our family pulled up with our two-car convoy setting off to our new home in central Alberta. Although the landscape we travelled was awe-inspiring, we arrived pretty exhausted after months of packing, saying our goodbyes, and dealing with twenty years of accumulated stuff in my barn and studio. It was

Wood Storage

One of the challenges the studio is always facing is where to put the wood I collect for making panels (from what I’ve read, it’s a common problem for woodworkers …). So, I was very pleased to receive this “animal shelter” from the local building supply store and outfit it for keeping my wood nice and dry.

Ready to Begin

Although there’s a lot to still unpack and sort, I’m happy to report that the new studio is now in a functional state. But, of course, each and every part of the process involved in painting will now require further planning or building of the space’s details.

To begin, I’ll need to make a panel, which will mean organizing the woodworking area into a usable space…

A Chapel in the Clutter

Although many boxes are yet to unpack here in the studio, the chapel has come far enough along that it can be used for daily prayer. As an artist, the clutter of things yet unplaced doesn’t bother me. More importantly, the presence afforded by the unpacked icons, which have been hung on the wall, is lovely for the space.

Ready to Make Colour

Creating pigment colours from the earth, either from local rocks and clay or semi-precious minerals from afar, is a part of the painting process that is a meditative joy to me. Having my grinding table set up (along with all the beautiful glass mullers I’ve collected over the years) gives me a sense of something familiar to put my hand to.

Like everything else in this small space, things must be carefully fitted together to create the best storage possible. The only other time I’ve had such an experience was visiting my grandfather’s dear friend, Marius, who spent his life building ship interiors. In such confined spaces, every inch is a creative opportunity to discover how to store something needful.

While hanging these little shelves, I had the distinct impression I was working on such a boat …

Beginning to Fill the Space

While everything still feels either lost or simply part of a big mess, it is a joy to begin to bring the studio’s working desks and pigments into the new studio space.

First Door

One of the exciting architectural bits I found in the local Restore was a set of 8-foot doors made of solid wood. Hanging such beasts took a lot of effort (and ordering special ball-bearing hinges to hold them!), but I like having them for this new space as they give me a sense of having moving walls.