Yesterday, the first snowstorm of November raged all day, so today, the bus to my school got cancelled. We got eight inches of snow, and it got really cold, so the buses wouldn’t start! (Yay!) Now I can help my dad, take pictures, and post on the website.

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.


The white ghosting of the wall paint is where the studio’s furnace once was. As you can see, it was taking up some significant space. Now it’s in the garage and these new ducts are going to bring the heat to the studio when it gets cold here in Red Deer next month.


Ah, the joy of finding treasures in boxes and then finding a place for them …

Beginning the Chapel

Amid the crazy task of cleaning out the studio’s old barn in Conestoga, I had to deal with many beautiful architectural bits I’d collected over the decades. I found it an arduous task to perform, and by the end, I was feeling pretty confused about the significance of many of the pieces. Some were gifted, some were burned, and I kept very few in the end.

One of the few bits I did pack in our shipping crate was the old 1800s wainscoting from Goderich and a set of turn-of-the-century church pillars from Cambridge. However, when I first unpacked them here in Penhold, I thought I had made a mistake as they were both too worn and dark to frame my work’s bright colours and gold. However, before discarding them, I decided to try stripping them to see what was underneath. I’m happy I did. The tone given to its century-old oak wood is quite beautiful, and I believe in this restored form, they will be a wonderful frame for the studio’s new chapel.