Celebrating 15 years, 400 paintings – Making Art in Canada

Fifteen years ago I committed to my Art career full-time, and I have made over 400 paintings informed by my travels and obsession with my country, Canada. Reflecting the collective Canadian consciousness, filtered through my eyes and ears, and brush to canvas. July 1st marks a very important day in my life and the collective consciousness of Canadians. Celebrating 15 years, making Art in Canada.

In 2019, I spent the summer studying contemporary art practices at the Royal College of Art in London, UK. This year I joined the artist roster at Adele Campbell Fine Art in Whistler, Canada.

Recently I spoke with YAM Magazine Victoria about about my distinctive style of Canadian Pop Art and what original art adds to a home.

The Peninsula News Review Sidney and North Saanich, popped into my studio and I shared some of the paintings I made during 2020, and the initial COVID-19 shutdown.

In support of the annual Art Gallery of Greater Victoria fundraiser, the TD Canada Trust Paint-In, you will find my work in this year’s virtual guide.

For the 35th Anniversary of the Sooke Fine Arts – my hometown, I will be showing two paintings as part of this years’ virtual programming. This show has become a world-class annual exhibition of Vancouver Island and coastal artists of British Columbia.

More to come!

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley (a.k.a #iconiccanuck)

The Art of Brandy Saturley, now in Whistler.

Brandy Saturley is an internationally exhibited and collected contemporary painter, based in Victoria, Canada. Showing in public and private galleries, and in combination with unique corporate events; the Artist has carved out a niche with her distinctive brand of ‘Canadian Pop Art’. Now, you can also see The Art of Brandy Saturley at Adele Campbell Fine Art, in Whistler, BC, Canada. You can even view, virtually install, and purchase Saturley’s paintings through the gallery website.

adele campbell fine art

Art in the world-renowned resort town of Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America, and a hub town for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. I believe in ‘gut’ feelings, and serendipitous moments. I am excited to join the vibrant Artist roster at Adele Campbell Fine Art, and see where this new opportunity will take my work.”

The gallery is located in the beautiful Westin Resort & Spa, in Whistler village. Established in 1993, Adele Campbell Fine Art is dedicated to showcasing the best of contemporary Canadian art. Owner and Director Elizabeth Harris, and her team of experienced advisors, curates and manages a diverse collection of established and emerging Canadian artists; a comprehensive collection showcasing uniquely Canadian art.

View paintings by Brandy Saturley at Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery.

adele campbell fine art

The Whistler Art Gallery is a supporter of the Audain Art Museum and the upcoming Illuminate Gala & Auction fundraiser. Established in 2016, the Audain Art Museum is a leading arts organization founded upon the major philanthropic gift of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa. Located in Whistler, British Columbia and designed by the internationally-renowned firm Patkau Architects, the AAM boasts a comprehensive Permanent Collection of the province’s most celebrated artists.

Family of Artists: from grandmother, to mother, to daughter.

My grandmother had a hard life. Like many of her time, she immigrated to the Canadian prairies in the early 1900’s from the Ukraine and built a life in a one room home on the open prairie of Edmonton, Alberta. Winters were cold and harsh, and so was her job as wife, mother and business owner with her husband. My grandparents were the owners of a popular BBQ restaurant in South Edmonton, which quickly became popular for it’s crispy fried chicken and tender ribs. The business grew to include a nightclub and the family grew to three children, through two marriages. I did not know my grandmother, as she died while my mother was carrying me in her womb. From what I have been told, and the photos I have seen, she was a kind woman who loved to cook, laugh and take care of people. She was a true Ukrainian Baba and was creative in every area of daily living. She would spend the day cooking, sewing, weaving, and eventually found a way to add art into her life. She was always seeking new creative outlets, an escape from everyday life with an alcoholic husband, and demanding business and household on the cold barren prairie.

family of artists

Mom and Baba pre 1970.

When I was a child, my mother would tell me stories about my grandmother, how they shared a very close relationship and how they both enjoyed cooking and finding ways to escape through creative pursuits. I grew up painting, drawing, cooking and reading with my mother, though drawing quickly became my favourite thing. Watching my mom cook became a comforting spectator sport with great benefits of licking the spoon, and sampling the freshly baked loaves of French bread. My mother was endlessly making things with me and drawing everyday, I suppose it is how I came to love it. Early on I learned that my mother spent her school days perched on a corner stool drawing portraits, something I also did in school and it was often a way to make friends and meet new people. I remember finding a book of poetry tucked into a sock drawer and then questioning my mom about it, I grew to learn that she also enjoyed writing, and keeping a diary. My mom always talked about having her own business or going to art school but her father, as he did to my grandmother before her, never saw the point in such pursuits. Cooking remained the daily creative escape for my mother, much like her mother before. Feeding people always gave my grandmother and mother such joy, they wanted to take care of people, that was their job and culturally Ukrainian women are known for their great feasts and long welcoming tables. This was the world I grew up in; long tables, big feasts, gregarious people, and the odd lost soul wandering the street, invited in for dinner with the family.

Family of Artists

Mom and I on the front page of the Sooke News Mirror

My mother never groomed me to take over from her as homemaker, but she did instill in me the love of making art, and I took to it naturally. I wanted nothing to do with cooking, entertaining, or mothering, I wanted to nurture my own career aspirations, which ultimately led to a full-time career as a visual artist. Somehow these women passed down the ‘artist gene’ without any of the pressure to lead a traditional life. There have been societal pressures along the way, from women and men, and it did take me some time to find my way through the gauntlet of expectations, reflected on myself by the faces of society.

Fast-forward to present day. My mother has been working on downsizing and donating things and clearing the clutter of the family home. Earlier this year she gifted me two landscape paintings made by my grandmother. I had seen them floating around various family homes over the years and never really knew the story of the paintings, or how my grandmother managed to get away with painting without my grandfather noticing.

paintings of Victoria BC

While clearing the clutter she also found an old handwritten recipe book of my grandmother, and that in the back there were humorous writings about Hollywood stars beauty regimes. I said that I would love to have it and try to preserve it. Upon reading through the notebook I flipped to some random pages in the back of the book, one page in particular caught my eye. On this page there was a list with a title, “Painting” and underneath a list including painting supplies, frames and even lessons, with approximate costs. It is a budget of sorts and a list of expenditures for painting. What a find, I am so happy that I did not pass on this opportunity to own this piece of my grandmothers creative past. A treasure, bringing me a little closer to the woman who started the family artist ball rolling! With this gift also came some of my grandmothers weaving in traditional Russian/Ukrainian cultural patterns.

artist in the genes

I’m sure there is a lot out there written about the ‘creative gene’ all I know is those early days are important, and burn undeniable impressions onto our being. Those early days define us, and we carry them through life. Often spending our lives running away from them, only to return home, once we understand them more fully. Most recently I talked more about this special connection between my grandmother, mother and me in the short documentary film; The Iconic Canuck, by Randy Frykas.

Thank you Mom.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

Five Words and Final Thoughts For 2020 – From Fear to Release

As images of the year that was, fly across screens I am reminded that my screen time is down 42% over the previous week, this makes me smile. This year has been unlike any I have experienced in my time on Earth, but isn’t this true for any year we are alive? My biggest realization this year is that FEAR, is at an all time high and FEAR produces two reactions in most humans. It always makes me think of the novel Dune by Frank Herbert, though I never read the book, I did watch the film by David Lynch which has been re-made this year by Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Fear is not a bad thing, it is a motivator, until it is not, and we freeze, then fear is a very bad thing. Fear keeps us from getting killed in dangerous situations.  Cowards (like me) have a knack for survival.  But, like the hero from “Dune,’ sometimes we have to overcome our fear when there is something more important to worry about, like your health. Part of health for me is making Art, and talking with people that have positive outlooks on life. I suppose this is why I enjoy the perspective of those that have spent more time on Earth than I, the stoic ones.

final thoughts 2020

So how about a year in review post, here’s what I did, etc.? How about a poem that marks the year? a funny anecdote, a comedic commentary, not for this year, for this year I am focusing on how I made it through, using five words.

PAINT: it is both a privilege and an honour to make Art, every day. It is my work, but also my therapy. Painting gives me the ability to focus my thoughts and process them in a beautiful and lasting way, not unlike writing. My therapy is also my gift back to the world, that I hope touches another human, in some way.

final thoughts 2020

PHOTOGRAPHY: before and after creating a new work of art on canvas or wood, I take photographs. This year there were fewer opportunities for trips afar, so focused on my backyard and community that surrounds. This year I was moved by my hometown in ways I have not been in a very long time.

2020 in five words

WALK: long walks in nature, down rocky beaches, through rainforest trails, and up mountainsides give me more than I could ever return. It’s free therapy and a reminder that whatever it is the weighs on us, can be lifted greatly in a short conversation with that which does not speak words, only sounds and smells.

2020 in review

BIKE: this year like many I invested in a good bicycle, allowing for longer excursions exploring nature, investigating areas which feet and automobiles cannot take us.

2020 in review

RELEASE: survivor guilt occurs when people who lose families, friends, or neighbors in disasters themselves remain untouched or, at least, alive. My survivor guilt is figurative. First-generation college students, for example, often feel torn by conflicting emotions about their success in school. They want to do well (and their families want them to also), but the students themselves feel guilty that they are getting opportunities that their parents or siblings did not. To “protect” their family members, they may engage in self-destructive behaviors that ensure they won’t make it in school.  Logic would dictate that the family truly wants the student to succeed (and thus bring honor to the family), but this logic is lost on the student. The power comes in releasing yourself from the guilt, and I work hard to remind myself every single day that I deserve this career and all the things I have worked so hard on achieving, personally and professionally.

2020 final review

For most of the year I have remained silent in light of all the struggling that surrounds me, and I have experienced a range of emotions this year, just like everyone else. This year has been hard for ALL, but it really wasn’t that hard, in fact it ‘is what it is’ only the change came so rapidly that it upset us from our comfortable rhythms. What’s that quote, ‘Man plans and good laughs’ or in my mind, it is nature that is laughing at us.

Ultimately, when I look back at 2020 I feel immense gratitude. On the Art side I bobbed, weaved, and hustled and came out having a good productive, year. I painted the shit out of this year, loved hard, peeling back my vulnerability to it’s core. I laughed, cried, danced and fell off my bike (true story). I drank too much, ate too much, and gave more than I had in me to those that needed it more than me. And then the monoliths began appearing.

You have seen that film, ‘A Beautiful Life’ ? It’s pretty fucking grand, isn’t it? Imagine if everything was perfect, pretty, and fair all the time? Boring.

I love you all! Thanks for reading. Shine on.

Cheers to 2021 – another year playing the game of LIFE.

photo of Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

Celebrating 12 Years Painting Canada.

July 1, 2019 marked my 12th year as a full-time professional visual artist, painting Canada. This past week I received an email from an art dealer in the Silicon Valley, their first question to me, “how long have you been an artist?” This is always a very strange question to an artist, as artists’ we have all been making art since we were children, and as such we have always considered ourselves artists.

This means, I have been an artist for over 40 years. My professional career, where I began showing and selling my work, began about 30 years ago, while still in high school. Over the past two decades, I have spent a considerable amount of time setting myself up as an independent self-representing artist. For many years I worked a side job, while producing artwork, mostly drawing. I began painting, seriously, about 18 years ago.

The past 12 years have been all about painting, exhibiting, traveling, and selling my art. Over the past 8 years I have worked hard at immersing myself deeply into the Canadian art communities of Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Toronto. I have created two collaborative projects, written for numerous Canadian publications and artist websites and have contributed to the Canadian Arts community through advocacy groups and on public art committees. I’ve visited a few art fairs, won a few awards and been paid to show my work. I have been commissioned to make work for corporations and private clients, and have licensed my work to many unique brands in Canada and the USA. As I head into my 13th year, I am reflecting on some works of the past.

Twelve paintings for 12 years. It was hard for me to pick twelve, as I have painted near 400 now. It was also more challenging to pick favourites as the years increased. I am finding I now have more favourites than I did in the beginning. Maybe it highlights consistency as an artist as my years of experience grow, or as my passion for painting deepens. You would think after 12 years of painting daily my interest would wain, but it is quite the opposite, the intensity and passion grow. Rather than focus on my accomplishments of the past twelve years, I want to focus on the personal side of my journey as an Artist, and how life and art are intertwined and have become one in the same.

Here are 12 paintings for 12 years;

2007

The TREES Period: in 2007 I was fresh out of the gate with full days to concentrate on painting, naturally I began with nature. My live/work studio at the time was a 6th floor view of Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, BC – nothing but trees for miles. I guess I had trees on the brain, and still love finding the character in each tree I meet.

arbutus hug painting of arbutus trees

Arbutus Hug – 40×30, acrylic on canvas, 2007, Brandy Saturley

2008

The VEGAS Period: in 2006 I was married in Las Vegas, by Elvis of course! The sheer ‘overload’ and ‘overstimulation’ provided by this loud landscape was putting electric images in my head. The otherworldly shows of Montreal born, Cirque Du Soleil, helped push these ideas as my mind spun like a top.

cirque du soleil painting

Cirque Reflections – 48×24, acrylic on canvas, 2008, Brandy Saturley

2009

The BEATLES Period: this marks the year that I FULLY connected with the Beatles and their entire catalogue of music. I was born years after they broke-up, but once I fully embraced their music, they have played consistently in the background of my studio. The Beatles channel on Sirius satellite radio is a revelation, and the narratives of their music, as well as their album covers continue to inspire my brush. The Beatles Period has never really ended and continues to creep into my work.

beatles inspired painting

Passion Gnu Solo (Glass Onion Soup) – 48×48, acrylic on canvas, 2009, Brandy Saturley

2010

The TRANSITIONAL Period: as I continued to move forward with mastering figurative techniques in my paintings, my romance with the landscapes of Canada remained. This year I moved my home and studio into a space more than double my previous. My view turns to lagoon, ocean and estuary, with birdsong and nature at the helm. The greenness of BC and the trees brought inspiration for my largest painting to date, at 48” wide by 60” wide, this piece is a showstopper of soothing green and abstract forms.

whistler large format painting

Aerial Landscape: Crossroads – 48×60, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley, 2010

2011

The #ICONICCANUCK Period

2010 brought the Olympic games to Vancouver BC – Canadian stereotype and pride was at an all-time high on the west coast of Canada, a place where we usually escape the stereotypical mounties, beer, moose and hockey. It made me think. What does it mean to be a Canadian? I began with hockey; the rest is history.

12 years painting canada

Goalie’s Mask: red, white & Dryden – 36×48, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley, 2010

2012

As I continue with my ‘Canadian’ comment I incorporate the Canadian flag for composition purposes, on the landscape. Travels through the Rocky Mountains imprint on my mind. Emboldening my comment on Canada.

poppies Canada Lake Louise painting

Poppies For Louise – 48×36, acrylic on canvas, 2012, Brandy Saturley

2013

With a Goalie Mask on the Canadian flag, my initial representation of Canada, my focus turns to nature and a black bear skull on the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company stripes. A good representation of Canadian symbolism in art.

Painting Canada

HBC Skull – 36×48, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley, 2013

2014

The CANCER Period: the end of 2014 marked a bit of exhaustion and a diagnosis of cervical cancer, with a radical hysterectomy and lymph node removal, the remedy. In December, I had major surgery. It was another transitional time, and reminder that art does not happen without health. This year changed my outlook on life, and as an artist.

Canucks Vancouver Poppies painting

Dreaming in the Colours of Eh – 48×36, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley, 2014

2015

The CANADIANISMS Period: the beginning of 2015 marked my comeback from surgery and aftereffects. It took me a while to get my core muscles back, as I began the year with some very small works. By the Summer I was back at it with this large format piece, at 48×48 inches. I was thinking beyond the stereotypes of Canada and turning back to the landscapes, nature and our connection to the land.

stag canada painting

Canadian Subconscious – 48×48, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley, 2015

2016

The REBIRTH Period: a new body, a new mindset and a renewed interest in the landscape, this time interjecting myself into the famous landscapes of Lawren Harris and the Group of Seven. My commentary as a female Canadian painter was deepening, as my fearlessness in art and life had grown to new heights. I felt fully prepared to take on the greats and claim my spot in Canadian art history.

inspired by Lawren Harris

Let Your Backbone Rise – 36×36, acrylic on canvas, Brandy Saturley, 2016

2017

The CANADA150 Period: with the past 5 years painting themes of Canadiana, the public galleries came calling for content. With a traveling solo retrospective, numbering more than 30 paintings, my year was filled with celebration, art talks, conversations, and stories that would fill my next bodies of work. As the past paintings connected with audiences in other parts of Canada, I continued to paint myself into the landscape. Marveling at it’s grandeur, examining it’s importance in Canadian art, honouring the land and holding it safely for future generations.

lawren harris homage painting

A Landscape to Go – acrylic on wood panel, 36×36, Brandy Saturley, 2017

2018

The LANDSCAPE AS PORTRAIT Period: with 2018 came another change in life, a move into a new home and studio, my largest studio to date. With this change a need to move my comment on Canada forward. I began looking more to my feelings, expressing these feelings through use of colour and form, while continuing to keep a figure in the landscape. My new, visionary paintings collage different, unexpected elements of Canadiana rendered in my characteristic pop aesthetic. These landscapes oscillate between a graphic realism used for Canada’s famous mountain peaks or views of forest lakes, and the abstractness of the colorful, even psychedelic backgrounds. These new paintings are otherworldly, transportive and playful.

figurative landscapes painting Canada

Raised in The Sky – acrylic on canvas, 36×48, Brandy Saturley, 2018

Onto lucky number 13.

2019

The LONDON Year: taking my art, International.

As I head into year thirteen, I am preparing for a new adventure and opportunity to push the boundaries of my painting. For one month I will be making new work at the Royal College of Art in London as part of their Contemporary Art Summer program. It will be an intense three weeks of art making in the largest city in the European Union, and one of the world’s major art centres. As I work on preparing materials for my trip, I am looking forward to connecting with my Cornish heritage. Bringing my ‘Canadianisms’ to London – I am excited about this new opportunity to examine my work, through a British lens.

Canadian art studio artist saturley

You can watch my progress in London on Instagram, my Facebook fan page or here on this blog.

From Victoria, BC to the Royal College of Art in London

Canadian artist Brandy Saturley in her studioShe was just a girl living in her own world, her bedroom walls covered in pink and purple rose wallpaper. The carpet was green like the Spring grass, and she would sit for hours on this grass dreaming up ideas and writing down thoughts. It was her English Garden. The tape cassette player clicking and pushing out tin can sounds of great, and not so great but popular, music. The Beatles Greatest Hits, Billie Holliday, the soundtrack for Miami Vice and AC/DC. It was the 1980’s and her world was mostly created, in this room. The walls were lined with stacks of magazines; Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Top Model, British Elle and the European Newspaper.

Fast forward to 2019, with nearly two decades working as a professional visual artist and a dozen years working full-time developing my artist voice as a painter, I am now looking forward to the next challenge and opportunity to ‘freshen-up’ my practice and perspective as a contemporary artist.  As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow.

It has been said that there is a number when it comes to mastery, related to time spent practicing an activity, that number is 10,000 hours. In recent years this popularized rule of numbers, was clarified. Within that study, there was no magic number for greatness. 10,000 hours was not actually a number of hours reached, but an average of the time elites spent practicing. Some practiced for much less than 10,000 hours. Others for over 25,000 hours. Where the rule has been challenged, is in the quality of time spent, versus the quantity. Meaning, someone who was not genetically pre-disposed or exposed to a practice, such as painting, might not attain expert level ability just be practicing daily. The research found that there’s much more to mastering a skill than just months, even years, of practice. Genetics may play some role, but science is also giving us glimpses into what else we can do to learn more efficiently.alanrickmanquote

There are many things that make a master; hard work, persistence, patience, and an early introduction in life to the activity, in my case art. (painting, drawing and photography)  Equally important skill acquisition, and particularly rapid skill acquisition. Exposure to mentors and learning that teaches advanced skills, short-cuts and new forms of creative problem-solving and reasoning. As long as I can remember I always sought out the elders in the room, because they were better at things than me, more experienced, and I wanted to learn.

My study in the arts began with my artist mother, with my eyes being opened with that first public school art teacher. This led to the study of fashion design, cinema, and time working in the motion picture arts. These experiences led to the fine arts with schooling in sculpture, graphic design, drawing, painting, and art history. These experiences found me obsessed with taking my drawing practice to the canvas and once I began painting, I never looked back, I was hooked. Photography came to play a role in my practice and complemented my time in the studio, while it also gave me an opportunity to break from my studio practice and explore the world, behind the lens.

ridleyscott_quoteI am a fan of shaking up my perspective, and challenging my practice of art and I am now preparing for a new opportunity for learning, in one of the world’s art centres.

In July and August his year I will be shaking up my practice and perspective while I make art at the Royal College of Art in London, United Kingdom as part of the Contemporary Art Summer School program. I will be making art where some of my favorite masters, walked before.

The Royal College of Art and its predecessor schools have numerous notable alumni in many fields. Alumni from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries include the sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Sir Peter Blake and Charles Tunnicliffe, artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tracey Emin and R. B. Kitaj, fashion designers Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes, industrial designers James Dyson and David Mellor, film directors Tony and Ridley Scott, designers Thomas Heatherwick and Sir David Adjaye, prominent member of the suffragette movement Sylvia Pankhurst, the musician Ian Dury and the actor Alan Rickman. traceyemin_quote

The world’s number one art and design university, the Royal College of Art. The only entirely postgraduate art and design university in the world. The RCA has three campuses, in South Kensington, Battersea and White City. The Darwin Building in Kensington Gore.

I will be making art, alongside a small group of  international artists, on the Battersea campus. Battersea is a district of south west London, England, within the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames.

Bringing my Canadian art voice to the country that is the birthplace of my paternal grandparents and ancestry. I will be making art and disrupting my perspective and art practice for the months of July and August. Looking forward to sharing this experience with you!

David Hockney quote