Elected to the Society of Canadian Artists

In June this year, the Society of Canadian Artists will celebrate new Elected Members at their Annual General Meeting at the Arts & Letters Club in Toronto, Ontario. As a professional Canadian Artist with nearly twenty years in the Canadian Art business, Brandy Saturley is honoured to be elected to the SCA a talented and dedicated group of Canadian Arts professionals. The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto is a vibrant private members’ club that brings together creative and performing artists, writers, architects, musicians, painters, graphic artists, and more. Established in 1908, it champions the arts in English Canada. The  St George’s Hall at 14 Elm Street is a Toronto landmark — a building with a lively history of remarkable colour and vivacity in a convenient downtown location. It has been designated a building of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada. The focus of Club life and activity is the Great Hall, a splendid room with a cathedral ceiling, and wonderfully tongue-in-cheek banners by J.E.H. MacDonald celebrating the names of illustrious early Members. Celebrated club members include; A.Y. Jackson, Vincent Massey and J.E.H MacDonald.

Elected to the SCA

What is the SCA? (Society of Canadian Artists)

The Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) is a national, non-profit artists’ organization dedicated to expanding the visibility and stature of the visual arts in Canada. In a country so creatively diverse, art is an anthem.  Officially founded in 1972 (although germinating since 1957), the SCA is the young, national, non-profit artists’ organization born to foster and celebrate the visual arts and artists in Canada. They are a collection of some of the country’s most committed traditional and new media artists welcoming the new, the up-and-coming and the established.

the multiverse of art

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

Elected to the SCA: What Does it Mean to be an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists?

Being an Elected Member of the Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) is a prestigious recognition for professional artists who have undergone a rigorous adjudication process. Being an Elected Member of the SCA signifies recognition, commitment, and active participation in the vibrant world of Canadian visual arts. Carrying the SCA designation signifies recognition, commitment, and active participation in the world of Canadian Visual Arts.

Elected to the SCA

Brandy Saturley Studio, North Saanich, BC, Canada – 2020

Who are some notable current and past elected Canadian member artists of the SCA?

The Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) boasts a roster of talented artists who have made significant contributions to the Canadian art scene.

While we don’t have an exhaustive list, here are a few notable members:

  1. Ray Phelps: Served as President of the SCA.
  2. Tom Chatfield: Another past President who left his mark on the organization.
  3. Pat Fairhead: An accomplished artist associated with the SCA.
  4. D. Bellerby: Contributed to the SCA’s vibrant community.
  5. Ina Gilbert: Known for her artistic endeavors within the SCA.
  6. Ron Bolt: A respected member who has enriched the SCA’s legacy.
  7. Claire Kerwin: Her work has been influential in the Canadian art world.
  8. Tibor Kovalik: An artist whose creativity resonates with many.
  9. A. Meredith Barry: Contributed to the SCA’s growth and vibrancy.
  10. Kazuo Hamasaki: His artistic journey has left an indelible mark.
  11. Janet Newcome Basmadjian: An artist who embodies the spirit of the SCA.

Vibrant Newfoundland Paintings

Contributions to the Artistic Community

In nearly two decades as a professional full-time Canadian artist, 17 of those years self-representing, my contributions have been numerous and oftentimes undocumented I believe an important part of my responsibility as a professional Canadian Visual Artist is to be an educator.  As artists in this Canadian Art community I believe our role is to educate every person we encounter about Art and the Arts in Canada.

Paintings Gallery Canadian Artist

Brandy Saturley in her Vancouver Island Studio, 2022

In 2018, Saturley was honoured to be juried into the 50th Annual International Exhibition and her painting, Balance, appeared on the catalogue cover for the exhibition, held at Papermill Gallery in Toronto.

What Do Artists Do All Day? A Day in The Life of An Artist

I woke up, I stumbled out of bed, dragged my fingers across my head. Found my way across the floor, let the machine pour me a cup. I made my way upstairs, and noticed I was later than usual. I found my slippers and grabbed my blanket and laid back in my chair as I read the news on my iPhone. Found some emails waiting to be answered and some comments on my Facebook and Instagram that needed a response. Grabbed my mug walked downstairs to the shower, washed the night before off and got ready for a cup more. As the coffee machine churned loudly, I glanced outside through the kitchen window and my mind noticed the clouds drift by, in a different way than the day before. I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera, another distraction and another opportunity to capture life with distinction.

I am a full-time artist, a professional, though that always sounds a bit weird to say, as it’s not like being a Dr. or Lawyer. It’s not a 9-5, although I try to stick to a schedule, as it helps me to turn the brain down a notch and also remember to engage in life, outside my studio. Like being a hockey player, it is something that grew from love and play and a love of this thing called ‘making art’ more than anything else in the world. Turning a childhood dream into something that sustains me, still seems like a dream, one that comes true every day that I wake up and stumble out of bed.

My day begins just like yours, but what I do all day is a balancing act between right and left brain. Between what I want to do (make art) and what I need to do (sell art and communicate with people outside my studio). These are polar opposite things, one is creating something from the purest voice within and one is about commerce and structure and marketing. One is highly personal and one is a means to making more art and the career grow and art last generations. A dealer said to me the other day, I shouldn’t be thinking about the latter, but that it also should be the most important thing, this explains the art business in the most succinct way I am able, from the perspective of an artist navigating it. As a hyper-sensitive artist with a bulletproof set of armour, this could drive one to drink or go crazy, and sometimes it is quite hard to reconcile these two halves.

So while we endeavor to make art for arts sake, sometimes we need to make art for commerce sake, so we can continue to do the first, and magically sometimes the two converge and this is the sweet spot.

A Day in The Life

My weeks and days are flexible but I also adhere to a routine. I get up early, have coffee work in the office until about 11am and then head down to the studio. I paint until noon, break for lunch and exercise and then back at the painting until dinner. Then more office work, reading, maybe a webinar, and build a list for the next day. I have a number of lists, weekly to do, daily to do, annual to do. I have lists for my office and for my studio work. These lists differ greatly, the studio list is mostly ideas for work, series of paintings and future shows. The office is all the rest, the submissions, emails, newsletters, website, social media, sales, shipping.

A Day in The Life

My studio has become a sacred space, a place where I make art, have my art books and all the things I have collected that relate to work I may make in the future. I moved my office out of my studio after a flood during the pandemic and it was the best decision I ever made, I feel it has changed my work completely. The studio is now a place I can really disappear into the flow of painting and creating. Listening to music and books, a place where I can read and reflect. My studio is by far my favourite place in the world. It is all I really need in the whole world, to make me happy.

A Day in The Life

Brandy Saturley Studio – Victoria, BC Canada

I have often said that artists are like athletes, I have written about it many times before. Athletes and Artists aren’t very fond of this comparison, perhaps because one relates to physical exertion and physical toughness and a competitive nature. I think if I were to take any athletic sport and contrast it with being an artist it would be golf. For with golf as with art, the competition is with yourself, and it is a lifelong sport and while there is a development of skills and discipline, so much of the game is in the head and with the elements. Athletes and artists have to find a way to fund their careers, they have to find patrons, sponsors, and supporters. They have to find a mental toughness and block out the world around them, but also be open to everything the world delivers.

The Heavy Lifting of Art Making – Brandy Saturley

A Day in The Life – The Artist Process

Every few months I find myself on the road, with living on an island on the extreme west coast of Canada, I find it is integral to keeping myself engaged in the conversation of Art, outside of my immediate world. These ‘art road trips’ offer the opportunity to break out my Nikon and work out my photographer’s eye. These trips also offer the opportunity to engage with the places I visit and these art communities. Visits to art museums and galleries, offer opportunities to keep myself sharp and engaged in the global conversation of art. These trips offer the time to breath, to experience a new place and new perspectives. Adventures that get me writing, photographing, sketching and thinking, deeply. This is my process as an Artist.

A Day in The Life

Brandy Saturley with her Nikon at Cape Spear Lighthouse, Newfoundland

This is what Artists’ do all day. We continuously fill the vessel, soak up the rhythms of the world and pour it out in many different ways. We are disciplined, but also need time for play and discovery. We are always seeking to go further with our art and challenge ourselves and our conversations with the world. We are diving rods planted deeply within the Earth, and it can be hard to disconnect from this, so we must keep schedules, this helps.

To see more of my journey and inside my studio, check this out.


Embracing the Journey: Celebrating Famous Self-Taught Artists

In the quiet moments of my childhood, amidst the rustle of leaves and the scent of creativity, I found solace in art alongside my mother. Each day brought forth a new creation, a testament to our shared passion for expression. From pressed maple leaves to wax crayon masterpieces, our bond grew stronger with every stroke. Though my mother wasn’t a renowned artist, her self-taught spirit ignited a flame within me, urging me to pursue the path of creation. Celebrating the path of famous self-taught artists.

Famous Self-Taught Artists

Pencil Portrait on paper, 1992, Brandy Saturley

My journey as an artist took an unconventional route, guided by intuition and fueled by exploration. While I dabbled in formal art education, it was the lessons learned outside the classroom that truly shaped my artistic identity. Through travels and encounters with seasoned painters, I gleaned insights that transcended traditional teachings. Two such mentors, a self-taught luminary from Winnipeg, and one in Toronto, imparted wisdom that resonated deeply, emphasizing the irreplaceable value of self-discovery in art.

Famous Self-Taught Artists

Brandy Saturley and Charles Pachter, 2016, MOFO Moose Factory Toronto

As a Canadian Artist who thrives on experimentation, I’ve come to cherish the freedom that self-teaching affords. While technique and history certainly hold their place, there’s a raw authenticity to self-taught art that speaks volumes. It’s a realm where emotion reigns supreme, untouched by the constraints of formal instruction. And while some may seek to replicate my style, my greatest desire is to inspire others to tread their own path, fearlessly embracing the unknown.

Famous self-taught artists

Andrew Valko, Brandy Saturley and Jennifer Luckay at Art Toronto, 2016

The history of self-taught artists is as rich and diverse as the art they create. From iconic figures like Frida Kahlo, The Beatles, and Vincent Van Gogh to modern-day trailblazers like Jack White, David Bowie and Kurt Cobain, their stories inspire us to defy convention and forge our own destiny. In a world where artistic prowess is often equated with formal training, they stand as living testaments to the boundless power of self-expression.

Gordon Milne and Brandy Saturley, 2017 Okotoks Art Gallery, photo courtesy Penny Rogers

A Modern Autodidact I AM – Famous Self-Taught Artists

Today, being self-taught is not merely a label, but a badge of honor worn proudly by those who dare to challenge the status quo. It’s a declaration of independence, a refusal to conform to the rigid confines of the art establishment. And as we celebrate the mavericks and innovators who have carved their own paths, let us raise a toast to the enduring spirit of self-discovery in art.

In the history of creativity, each thread tells a story of resilience, passion, and unwavering determination. So here’s to the self-taught artists who dare to dream, who dare to defy, and who dare to create against all odds. May their legacy inspire generations to come, reminding us that true art knows no boundaries, no limitations, only the boundless expanse of the human spirit.

Famous self-taught artists

Brandy Saturley in studio with Winnipeg Filmmaker Randy Frykas, 2019

Breaking the Myth: Mental Illness and Creativity Unraveled

The widely held belief that mental illness and creativity are inextricably linked has become a romanticized notion ingrained in our collective consciousness. However, it’s crucial to dispel this myth from the outset: mental illness is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for creativity. As we explore this intriguing topic, we uncover the nuances that challenge this prevailing belief and shed light on the complex relationship between mental health and creative expression.

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.”  —Salvador Dali

Creativity and Mental Health

Exploring the Connection:
While researchers emphasize that mental illness doesn’t guarantee creativity, recent findings reveal intriguing patterns. Siblings of individuals with autism and first-degree relatives of those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anorexia nervosa are disproportionately represented in creative professions. This raises questions about the potential inheritance of traits conducive to creativity while avoiding the debilitating aspects of mental illness.

Personal Reflection:
Growing up as the eldest child in a family where one parent navigated artistic pursuits and mental health challenges, I witnessed firsthand the impact of these dynamics. The global pandemic further brought to light the prevalence of less debilitating forms of mental illness, particularly affecting teenagers facing disruptions in their crucial stages of growth and learning.

Creativity and Mental Health

Dreaming Under Northern Lights, 36×36 acrylic on canvas, 2022 – Brandy Saturley

Silver Linings: Mental Health and Creativity

A big positive of this time was it brought to light many things, all at once, and got us all talking, sharing, and expressing ourselves. As we continue to share and learn about what makes us all tick, we continue to evolve as humans living together on this planet. I too learned that I’m not impervious to the effects of stress and anxiety, which ultimately landed me burned out in a hospital bed for a month during the pandemic, it was quite the experience and something that I will write about at some point, but for now I’ll just say, it was another reminder from the universe to ‘slow down’ and take care.

art quotes norval morisseau

Brandy Saturley in her studio at Royal College of Art, London, England, 2019

Today, I am looking back at a short documentary that was filmed just months before the pandemic broke out around the world. It is a cool trip back to a moment in time when I was just coming off a month in London, England at the Royal College of Art, my confidence was at an all-time high and I was ready to take on this next chapter of my career as a professional Artist.

Now having experienced what is one of the most prolific periods of my career, which has resulted in tremendous growth both personally and professionally. It is a period where ‘imposter syndrome’ has now largely disappeared and I am open to everything in a way I have never been before. I am also enjoying the ride much more, not putting the same pressures on myself, though my expectations will always be ‘A-type personality high’.

I want to share with you this short documentary film (about 25 minutes) by the very talented Canadian filmmaker, Randy Frykas. Although filmed at the end of 2019, this new version includes an epilogue updated for 2024.

In embracing the complexities of mental health and creativity, we challenge stereotypes and foster a deeper understanding of the human experience. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of our lives, let us approach challenges with resilience and, in the words of my chiropractor, “Just, Keep, Moving”.

With gratitude,
Brandy Saturley

Paradigm Shift – My 2023 in Art Review

Approaching the canvas of 2024, we stand at the threshold of a year brimming with vibrant hues and compelling narratives. It’s a blank canvas of possibilities, a fresh chapter waiting to unfold—a sentiment shared by many as they approach the new year. Personally, I find myself standing in my studio surrounded by endless opportunities to create something new, filled with eagerness to paint it with the kaleidoscope of colors that life has to offer. As I look back at 2023, I see the paradigm shift that has occurred and continues to drive me into this new year. This is my 2023 in Art Review, month by month.

2023 in Art Review

In my perspective, the allure isn’t confined to the strokes of art alone; it extends to the numbers that intricately weave a subtle story of meaning. Consider this beautiful 2024 – when its digits dance together, they harmonize into the number eight, a symbol of auspiciousness and completeness. Isn’t it remarkable? Numerology, with its enchanting twos, fours, and the timeless circle of zero, occupies a special place in my heart. These figures, to me, are not merely mathematical; they are promises of positivity and gateways to the potential that this year may unfold.

Lucky Number 8 in 2024

As I glance into the rear-view mirror, reflecting on the journey through the business of art during 2023, the mirror reveals nearly thirty new paintings. It tells a tale of exploration, as I travelled to Vancouver, Banff, and Newfoundland, not only to showcase and deliver my art but also to immerse myself in the diverse landscapes that inspire my paintings.

2023 in Art Review

Brandy Saturley working on an oil painting in her studio.

Being a professional artist in Canada is a perpetual adventure, marked by new connections forged and opportunities that materialize on the horizon. However, growth also entails leaving some relationships behind, a necessary step as I continue to surge forward in my career. Let me share with you the highlights of this transformative year, one I’ve come to name ‘Paradigm Shift,’ a testament to the profound changes that unfolded in every stroke, connection, exhibition, and journey undertaken. Welcome to the vivid canvas of my 2023 – a year that exceeded expectations and set the stage for the next chapter in my professional art career.

2023 in Art Review – a year of shifting and rolling with the times


The first two paintings created in any year (I like to paint two at a time) are celebratory and set the tone for the year ahead. In 2023 I began with paintings of skaters on outdoor ponds.

2023 in Review

Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley with her painting, Glide Away. January 2023



The month began with a group exhibition in Banff, Canada with my Alberta dealer, Willock & Sax. I rounded out the month with two very large paintings, one portrait depicting our future consciousness in Canada and one depicting a conversation with a polar bear underwater.

2023 in Review

The Conversation, 48×48 inches, acrylic, gouache and gold leaf on canvas, 2023 Brandy Saturley


On the verge of Spring weather here on the west coast I found support for the work I created during my Banff Centre residency with a featured article in Vancouver Island Arts Magazine. New paintings were flowing with an annual self-portrait about me and Lawren Harris in the works.


I launched a revolutionary 3D virtual exhibition of my work celebrating Northern scenes, Aurora Stories launched online, to a worldwide audience. The show was visited by cities in Canada, the USA, UK and art centres such as Basel, Switzerland, Berlin, the silicon valley. Grand Cayman and Dubai also came to see what was hanging in the virtual gallery. Thank you for visiting. There were new paintings honouring my Ukrainian Canadian heritage and a trip to walk the beautiful tulip fields of Chilliwack near Vancouver BC.

2023 in Art Review

Paintings inspired by Ukraine and Ukrainian Canadian roots. Brandy Saturley studio, Victoria BC.


In May Britain was crowning a new King Charles, and the world was churning. My trip to the tulip festival and my UK roots were flowing into my work as I created two still life paintings of tulips encircled by a variety of tartans.

Tulips and Tartans paintings by Brandy Saturley, 2023.

Invited by Canadian Art Today, I sat down for an interview by Zoom from my studio here in North Saanich on Vancouver Island. With over an hour of material the interview is available on YouTube as well as an Apple podcast.

Interview Canadian Art Today

Canadian Art Today interview with Brandy Saturley and host Paul Constable for Artists in Canada.


I found out through the grapevine that a school in New Brunswick and a very forward thinking art teacher, chose to recreate my paintings live as performance and installation art.

School Celebrates The Arts

New Brunswick school re-creates paintings by Canadian Artist, Brandy Saturley, 2023

This year I have been approached by arts educators across Canada, and it is wonderful to know that my work is being embraced by the next generation! Sending a big ‘Bravo!’ to these talented young artists. I painted a commissioned work for the Art in Nature Trail in Banff and also created a number of small polar bear paintings for my gallery in Banff.

Art in Nature Trail

Arctic Monarch – original acrylic and gouache painting on wood cookie, 2023, Brandy Saturley


It was a Canada Day road trip to Banff for the opening of the Art in Nature Trail, produced by Bridget Ryan of Carter-Ryan gallery. I also delivered 9 new small polar bear paintings to Willock & Sax gallery.

2023 in Review

The Polar Bear King in Banff, Canada. – Brandy Saturley


Two Toronto Magazines, the Toronto University produced Hart House Review and the visual and performing arts publication, smART Magazine published many of my works, painting and self-photography.

2023 in Art Review

Brandy Saturley featured in smART Magazine – Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity

With the rising gas prices and an aging JEEP we traded in our rugged ride for a quiet Tesla, complete with new decals! Now you may see me coming, but you certainly will not hear my approach.

2023 in review

The Art of Brandy Saturley Tesla Y in front of mural by Jeff King, Victoria BC Canada

I also supported my original hometown of Sooke BC with a painting for their annual Sooke Fine Arts show, now celebrating 38 years.

2023 in Review

Swinging into the Weekend at the Sooke Fine Arts show 2023. – Brandy Saturley


Heading into the glorious season of Autumn and all those beautiful colors, we were contending with a year of wildfires and hot temperatures and I couldn’t help but want to send good vibes to the people of Lahaina, Hawaii and Yellowknife, NWT. I sent the Polar Bear King to visit these communities and heal them, through two new paintings.

Healing Power of Art

Guardian of the Arctic Realm, 2023, Brandy Saturley

I was also in preparations for my month long residency with the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland. I made the decision to pull my work from my dealer in Whistler, Adele Campbell Fine Art, after 2.5 years with this dealer it was time for me to move on and continue to push my market across Canada and into the US and European markets. I painted a little ‘Peace, Love, Canada’ before packing and hopping on the plane. Looking forward to a month creating on the easternmost coast of North America.

Peace Love Canada

Peace, Love, Canada – 2023, Brandy Saturley


This month was all about an invitational artist residency in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland. One month to inhale all Newfoundland has to offer and spill it out onto three large canvasses, and capture it through my artist lens. A remarkable experience offering this west coast artist the opportunity to dip her toes in the Atlantic and Pacific. I produced new original paintings, writing, poetry, photographs and digital videos, which continue to come together in films posted to YouTube. A deeply holistic approach and record of my art making process from inception to presentation.


Returning home after a month away at year end means hitting the home-ground running! Production and printing of my annual art magazine, holiday mail out to clients and end of year shipments. I joined Mastrius as a Master Artist mentor and began promoting and preparing for a mentorship group I would be leading.

I stretched and finished my rolled paintings from Newfoundland and I shipped a painting back to James Baird Gallery. As a result of the residency you can now find my work available on ARTSY through James Baird Gallery.

Canadian Visual Artist Brandy Saturley

Follow Brandy Saturley on ARTSY


I was invited to join the jury panel for the Canada International Art Competition in Toronto, and as I worked to wrap up my year I finished my final two paintings for 2023.

2023 in review

Brandy Saturley studio, North Saanich, BC CANADA – December 2023

Thank you for being part of my year! It’s 2024, let’s go!

Sincerely Yours,


Engaging Faces: Celebrating 10 Years with The People of Canada Portrait Project

In 2014, I began a new body of work (series of paintings) The People of Canada Portrait Project, and fast-forward to 2020, we marked the culmination with a groundbreaking 3D virtual exhibition that made waves during the pandemic. As we hit the remarkable 10-year milestone in 2024, I can’t help but extend a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to the bold souls across Canada, engaging with me in this artistic journey.

Engaging Canada Portrait Project

The People of Canada Portrait Project. 2014-2020

Out of a myriad of submitted photos, I handpicked twenty, transforming them into figurative landscape paintings that encapsulate the essence of being Canadian. The subjects, captured in selfies with someone significant in their lives, underwent a brief interview process. Twenty questions unearthed the unique nuances of their relationships, thoughts on Canadian identity, and cultural traditions, which I then wove into the iconic Canadian landscapes that became the backdrop for their portraits.

Engaging Canada Portrait Project

Vimy Jam – painting by Brandy Saturley, 2018

Over six years, amidst the whirlwind of developing my career as a full-time visual artist, this became a passion project – fully funded by yours truly. While online support through blogs, notably from CBC, was abundant, I never sought or received a grant. Unexpectedly, the portraits began to find homes with the very people who inspired them. Some even received prints as a token of gratitude for promoting the project.

Engaging Portrait Project

Canadien’s Gothic – This painting was exhibited in Sherwood Park Alberta at Gallery @501 and won a People’s Choice award, Summer 2014.

Reflecting on this journey, I invite you to explore the intimate interviews and portraits on our project website, peopleofcanada.ca. Throughout this period, I navigated a personal battle with cervical cancer, undergoing surgery and recovery. Although it posed a detour, it never derailed my commitment to both my career and this project.

Canadian Portrait Project

Futurebrights – by Brandy Saturley, 2014

In 2016, I embarked on a self-funded journey, crisscrossing the country from Yellowknife to Ottawa, with stops in Toronto and Montreal in between, leaving pieces of my story in every city. Some knew of my health challenges, while others didn’t, yet I pressed on, fueled by passion and determination. In 2017, I was contracted to exhibit my work in retrospective art exhibitions, and I took my art on the road, showcasing in solo gallery shows across Alberta. Most notably a 30 painting show in Sherwood Park, Alberta at Strathcona County Gallery @501 and a smaller 20 painting show with Okotoks Art Gallery, just outside Calgary.

Canadian Public Art Gallery

Canadianisms: A Half Decade Painting Canada, 2017 solo exhibition Gallery @501 Sherwood Park, Alberta

Last year brought a transformative residency with the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland, unveiling the mysteries of the easternmost coast of North America. As 2024 unfolds, I’m eager to commemorate this journey and discover the untold stories it holds. As we step into the New Year, I’m optimistic that choosing to focus on the positives and finding that silver lining will make this year truly great. Here’s to more art, more connections, and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. Happy New Year, everyone!

Brandy Saturley Canadian Artist

Brandy Saturley, Canadian Artist and People of Canada Portrait Project Creator

Top 5 Paintings for 2023 – Selecting Painting of the Year

Each year in November, we take a look back at the paintings I have made over the course of the year. This year 28 new paintings found their way from my hand, to canvas, which makes choosing a painting of the year challenging. It was a year where my Ukrainian roots, the changing and warming climate with our long hot summer (wildfire season) and the continuing journey of the Polar Bear King, were on my mind. My year began with a group exhibition in Banff at Willock & Sax Gallery, as my paintings and writing from my residency at the Banff Centre were still commanding my attention.

Painting of the Year

Brandy Saturley in Thom Studio at Banff Centre, November 2022.

The year began with paintings of people enjoying skating on outdoor ponds. The Polar Bear King on his continuing journey across Canada, came floating in and out of my view as I created a series of small and large paintings expressing what has now become a series, and a few stories for this blog about my adventures in the Canadian landscape. I came to find my way back to figurative paintings inspired by my deep connection to the Ukraine and family roots. A portrait of young Ukrainian Shumka dancers and a self-portrait to add to my growing series of annual examinations of self.

Canadian artist Brandy Saturley

I found myself blogging about top Canadian painters, Ukrainian Artists, and art school teachers who have reached out to me this year. It has been wonderful to connect with the next generation, hear and see what they are inspired to make in their art classes. I delved into the Lawren Harris and Rockwell Kent connection and how both painters have captured my attention over the years. In Banff, I had the pleasure of making work for an art gallery outdoors on the Bow River path in the centre of town, the Art in Nature Trail.

Painting of the Year

Brandy Saturley – Art in Nature Trail, summer 2023

You could find my paintings in print this year in two Toronto publications; the Hart House Review published by the University of Toronto and smART Magazine – both equally wonderful Arts publications made in Toronto, Canada. In August I finished my 21st Polar Bear King painting, in as series which continues to grow and evolve. Heading back to my writing room, I leaned into blogging about the importance of music in my art making and the healing power of Art.

Painting of the Year

There was also some talking this year, live on camera, something I don’t do very often. I spoke with Artists in Canada about my art practice, my goals, why a five year goal is a fluid thing as a professional artist and why I paint self-portraits. We touched on the privilege of not only living in Canada, but of being able to pursue a career you absolutely love. I also signed on with Mastrius as a Master Mentor and hope to assist emerging artists in their journeys. I delved into why Pop Art is Canada and how I am taking care of business as I work towards new opportunities for my Art.

Painting of the Year

Brandy Saturley talking with Artists in Canada YouTube channel.

In late 2023 I packed up my studio and took it with me to an artist residency in Newfoundland. The Pouch Cove Foundation, now 30 years in the residency business, invited me to join their group in October. For a month I had the opportunity to paint, photograph, and film many areas of Newfoundland, from a private studio with a loft attached to a building housing the remarkable James Baird Gallery. With my time in Newfoundland I created three new paintings, which then came home with me to Vancouver Island, dipping my feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, I am now a coast to coast to coast, Canadian artist. This opened a door to ARTSY and you will now find some of my paintings available through James Baird Gallery on this top website for art collectors and galleries worldwide.

As the Polar Bear King continues to roam, so do I. Out of 28, here are what I consider to be my five best paintings of 2023.

5. Peaking at Peyto

The Polar Bear King at Willock & Sax Gallery, Banff CANADA

4. Glide Away

Outdoor Ice Skating Paintings

Skaters on frozen ponds.

3. Spirit of Ukraine

A group of young Ukrainian Shumka dancers.

2. I Lost my Sou’Wester in Pouch Cove

A yellow Sou’Wester hat on the rocky beach in Newfoundland.

1. Monarch of the Artic Realms

Painting of the Year

The Polar Bear King in Nunavut.

Painting in Rural Newfoundland – Artist in Residence at the Pouch Cove Foundation

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I spent the month of October in Pouch Cove Newfoundland, as one of the artists in residence at this unique invitation only residency. I spent my month in the stellar company of Leah Frances, Iia Madsen, Yvonne DuBourdieu, Robyn Asquini, Julio Alan Lepez, Marianne Barcellona, Katie Morley & Steve York (Grey Swans). Hailing from Easton PA, Skogan Denmark, Edmonton, AB, Toronto ON, Buenos Aires Argentina, New York City and Victoria BC. All of this is made possible by the generosity of James Baird of the James Baird Gallery – An October Artist Residency in Pouch (POOCH) Cove.

Artist Residency in Pouch Cove

Pouch Cove Foundation Residence and James Baird Art Gallery, in Newfoundland, Canada.

Having spent November 2022 as an artist in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, this opportunity had me trading snowy Rocky Mountains for sharp cliffs, a vigorous Atlantic Ocean, sea salt laced air and some of the windiest hiking in North America. In my practice I find that it is important to leave your usual routine and studio behind and seek out new locations to create work in new environments and in new ways. Coming to Pouch Cove, it was my first time on the Atlantic coast of Canada, offering experiences that would fill gaps in my artworks about Canada, now a decade in the making.

Artist Residency in Pouch Cove

Pouch Cove Newfoundland, Canada

My goal for this residency was to paint three large pieces and make full use of the ceiling height, light and expanse of the wall in my studio. My way of making art begins with capturing the experience of a place through the mediums of photography, video, and writing. I then take all these things and lay out the blueprint for the paintings I will create while in residence. Aided by music, I find the mood of the piece and begin laying down paint on the canvas. All influenced by my time in a place and my journey of getting to the place. My paintings are about the journey and the things I see, hear, feel, taste and touch along the way and in the place where I am making the art. In this case I arrived on a beautiful sunny Autumn day, walking through a grassy field of gold, the sky cobalt and the wind swiftly lifting my strands of auburn hair. I could hear ocean waves crashing against cliffsides. Crow, Starling and Blue Jays outside the tall sliding glass doors of my loft studio. On the second day of my residency the light broke through and the skylights began to beam golden streams onto my studio walls.

Artist Residency in Pouch Cove

While my first week was spent exploring the massive island and some key locations, including Cape Spear and Cape Bonavista lighthouses, the second week began swiftly with loose and un-primed raw duck canvas being stapled to my studio walls. My medium of paint and specifically acrylic paint (fluid, heavy body and gouache), is the most versatile painting medium on the planet. Acrylic paint of today can be applied and reapplied, it can be layered and blended like oils and can be fluid, feathered and stain the canvas like watercolours. It can be laid out to dry on my glass palette and left to dry, and then peeled off like plastic wrap and then adhered to the canvas. I mix my acrylics with retarder if I am looking for it to dry more slowly like an oil, but I like that the medium dries more quickly than oil which allows me to move on at a pace that suits my personality. On this trip I planned to experiment with painting directly on the raw canvas and allowing the fluid acrylics to ‘stain’ the canvas, producing a  very soft and feathered effect much like watercolour, with the durability and workability of acrylic.

Artist Residency in Pouch Cove

My time in Pouch Cove and Newfoundland at large was, invigorating, challenging, isolating, uplifting and prolific. It was a regenerative experience that was welcomed after a vigorous year in and outside of the studio. I focused on creating in place, letting the experience direct the work. I like to challenge myself with every new painting, sometimes that means going in without a concrete plan, which is what I did in this case. It can be daunting to arrive in a new place, and create purely on site, but thankfully I am experienced and prepared and brought everything I would need to rely on my daily schedule and practice, so that I could put all my faith in the experience of the place. I focused on creating three large paintings on canvas. I also focused on gathering imagery and information to fuel an entire series of paintings based on my time in Newfoundland. I will also produce a timelapse video of the creation of the painting, as well as a video of the entire experience of my journey. Another goal of my time in Newfoundland was to access local art community and have work now presented by James Baird Gallery on ARTSY, because of my time at the Pouch Cove residency. Perhaps a future showing of the entire body of work and films with James Baird Gallery and The Rooms.

Artist Residency in Pouch Cove

What’s next for you on your artistic journey after this program? Continued development of a painting series informed by my time in Newfoundland, I am teaching an emerging artist mentorship group with Mastrius in November 2023, and I will be performing my duties as juror of the 2023 Canada International Art Competition.  My work is now available through James Baird Gallery on ARTSY, as a result of this residency in Pouch Cove. My work continues to be available through my website as well as my dealer in Banff, Canada – Willock & Sax. I have my eye on a residency at Landfall Trust (where Rockwell Kent lived and painted his famous landscapes and met Lawren Harris) in Brigus, Newfoundland and hope to be back in Newfoundland in Summer 2024. These are all opportunities on my mind right now.

Brandy Saturley on ARTSY

There will also be a continuation of my Polar Bear King paintings as the polar bear icon continues to permeate my visual stories of my travels in Canada. There may even be a collaboration with a revolutionary new clothing brand based in Vancouver, but that’s all I can tell you right now.

Right this very moment, my paintings made in Newfoundland are being stretched and I will be putting the finishing touches on them soon. Always more to come!

Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley

Brandy Saturley studio – North Saanich, BC Canada

Update: April 26, 2024

There are now 15 paintings in the Newfoundland Impressions series, have a look at see what my time in Newfoundland inspired!

newfoundland paintings art

Brandy Saturley in her studio on Vancouver Island, April 2024

Sincerely Yours,


Canada’s Hardest Working Visual Artist? Taking Care of Business

Taking care of business or TCB was coined by The King himself in 1969, Elvis Presley, who most certainly was the hardest working rock star of his generation. “Taking Care of Business” was a mantra and a point of pride for Presley and his entourage, known as the Memphis Mafia. In 1973, Canadian rock group Bachman–Turner Overdrive, made it a hit song, ‘Taking Care of Business‘, coming out just a year after I appeared on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Taking Care of Business

For me, my life as an artist began when I was very young, as I feel that true artists are born, they feel the pull to make Art from a very young age, to the point where there is nothing else that matters. I became a professional at it when I began exhibiting my work and selling it which was over twenty years ago now. I made it my full-time career about 18 years ago now. I am at that point in my career where personal life and art life are now one, there used to be a separation, like I was two people, but I am now one, The Artist. If you asked me what my priorities are in life they go as follows; Art(work), Spouse, Family and friends that are family. There is no ‘work/life balance for an Artist’ at least no one who is successful at it. I LOVE my work, so much so I would rather be working than doing anything else, and when I am not working, all I am thinking about is the next artwork or blog post or person I need to reach out to, or email I have to answer. I wish it was only email, I get requests and inquiries all over the place these days. Whether it be through InstagramFacebook messenger,  Twitter , What’s App (still not sure) or LinkedIn, by text or phone, I wish everyone communicated in the same way these days. It just used to be telephone, and now its everything, everywhere, all the time.

Banff Centre artist residency

Recently, I was listening to a podcast called Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade, they were talking to ‘The Great One’ – Wayne Gretzky for the non-hockey fans reading this diatribe. Nicknamedthe Great One, he has been called the greatest ice hockey player ever by many sportswriters, players, The Hockey News, and by the NHL itself. It was so interesting to hear him talk about wanting to do nothing but skate as much as he could every day on the outdoor lakes and ponds in his hometown of Brantford, Ontario. He was obsessed and dedicated from an early age, it was his number one priority and life to him was on that ice. This type of obsession and focus is something I have spoken of many times, including in the documentary, ‘The Iconic Canuck’.

Taking Care of Business

This kind of focus does not come without challenging times, as you are absolutely going it alone and while friends are kicking back and partying on the weekend to escape their 9-5, you just want to work, you don’t need a break from doing something you love so much it commands your attention day and night. It becomes your life and there is no separation between work/life. Where art differs is, it is not something your retire from, it just keeps on going as long as you are able to make it, the making does not stop, like the Rolling Stones who just released a new album, Hackney Diamonds, in their 8th decade of life.

Taking Care of Business

‘Saturley is an artist who is committed to her practice in a most impressive way.’

This brings me back to, Canada’s Hardest Working Artist, which is something that has been said to me on numerous occasions by peers, collectors and friends. I know there are a few of us out there and we are the ones who you likely hear of the most. You don’t build a lifelong career without discipline and hard work, but it is something that many young artists never ‘get’ or ‘get’ far too late in life. That discipline that takes you places in the work itself, is also important outside of the creating, and the wonder and the dreaming of it all. The pop culture persona of the artist is oftentimes a high-maintenance, always shows up late, never answers emails or the phone, alcoholic mess that makes brilliant things when pushed. I myself will agree that we have a distinctive view of life and perhaps are at times a bit narcissistic (a little is good ask your shrink) But at the core of this creative persona known as ‘The Iconic Canuck’, I am fiercely dedicated to my work, on all sides and I have a hard time understanding why others aren’t as fiercely dedicated to this privileged career of Artist.

Taking Care of Business

I am about to take off on a new trip for Art, a residency in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, where I will be painting in a place dedicated to artists along with 8 other artists from around the globe. For outsiders looking in this life looks very exciting and filled with amazing opportunities around every corner, and it is, but a vacation it is not. I am not going to the other side of Canada to meet-up with friends, take tours 12 hours out of my location, or drop in on family in another province. I am going to have an experience, make work, and make connections with other artists and art lovers, based on the experience, and it’s the most fantastic thing in life. Then I will fly home, having worked without interruption, for a month, and through all hours of the day and night. I will return to my home studio on Vancouver Island filled with ideas for new work from the work I did while away. I will be fueled by memory, experience, and have a new collection of drawings, writings, photographs and video. I will return home wanting to immediately get to work, but I will have things to do on the business side before I can get back into the studio. There will be bills to pay and people to see, and it is a challenging thing to do when your head is so full.

Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity

So, while I will never call myself the hardest working artist in Canada, I do know that I work harder at it than most I meet, and it all comes from an inner drive and pull and need to make the work and move to the next level, within, that will exist on the outside.

Now, as Jerry Saltz would say, get to work you big babies (artists)

Sincerely Yours,

Iconic Canuck (a.k.a Brandy Saturley)

Painting with Lawren Harris – putting myself in the forefront

Lawren Harris is considered one of Canada’s most prominent painters of the 20th century, known for his distinctive style that captures the essence of the Canadian landscape. I am a contemporary Canadian painter, and one of the many artists who have been inspired by Harris’s work. I have created a number of paintings,  that pay homage to Harris’s artistic legacy and also make a statement about putting Canadian women artists in the forefront. These pieces are about representation, inclusion and achievement in the Canadian Art world. I am painting with Lawren Harris.

I want to talk about four paintings I have created that reference Harris’s ‘Baffin Island (1931), ‘North Shore, Lake Superior’ (1926), ‘Mountain Forms (1926) and ‘Sun and Earth’ (1945), respectively. In these works, Harris depicted the rugged and majestic Canadian landscape in a stylized, almost abstract way. Using bold colors and geometric shapes to create a sense of the landscape’s essence. My paintings similarly capture the essence of the Canadian landscape, but with their own unique style and perspective.

My use of bright, bold colors and geometric shapes is reminiscent of Harris’s style. I also add my own personal touch by including myself in the forefront of the painting, along with other elements and symbols that represent contemporary Canadian culture.  I have spoken about the influence of Harris on my work, his paintings have inspired me to explore and depict the Canadian landscape in my own way. I have also spoken about the importance of paying homage to Harris and other Canadian artists who have paved the way for contemporary painters in Canada.

I have taken inspiration from Harris’s distinctive style and used it to create my own unique vision of the Canadian landscape and culture, while also paying homage to Harris’s legacy. Through my work, I am adding to the rich and diverse tapestry of Canadian art, continuing the tradition of artistic exploration and innovation that Harris helped to establish.

Here I will discuss these four paintings by Lawren Harris, and how they influenced my comment on the current culture and conversations in Canada.

Let Your Backbone Rise, 2016 – Brandy Saturley

Painting with Lawren Harris

This was the first painting where I used a painting by Lawren Harris as reference for the background of the painting. The background shows a segment of the painting, Baffin Island, painted by Harris in 1931. My career at this time was rising as I had just booked two public gallery solo exhibitions in the province of Alberta, the shows were retrospective shows of my paintings about Canadian culture and landscapes over a period of five years. I have painted myself into the painting wearing my red military style coat and wearing my the white gloves usually associated with handling artwork. My hair gathered into a formal french twist, facing the landscape boldly with arms raised. Running down the outside of the back of my coat a backbone is visible with vertebrae running outside the coat and over the spinal area of my back. I am definitely making a statement about the time in Canada, and my time as a rising woman on the Canadian art scene.

Baffin Island, 1931 – Lawren Harris

“I paint myself into these paintings because I suppose I am looking for myself in the world.”

With Hearts on Our Sleeves, 2017 – Brandy Saturley

Painting with Lawren Harris

The second painting I created with a Lawren Harris reference features a self portrait facing the viewer. The background of the piece features an abstract snippet from the Harris painting, ‘North Shore, Lake Superior’ from 1926. In this painting the ‘God’s rays’ of light through the clouds put the focus on the figure in the foreground. The year is 2017 and I made this painting while my public gallery retrospectives were moving from a gallery in Edmonton to a gallery in Calgary. In the self-portrait I am wearing a Hudson’s Bay toque and a plaid shirt (the symbol of the blue collar Canadian worker) The shirt features a heart sewn on the sleeve, with sleeves unrolled and folded backwards I am making a fist. Here I am channeling ‘Rosie the Riveter’ in my pose and gaze, though I am holding my fist tightly with head tilted down like a prize fighter.

North Shore Lake Superior, 1926 – Lawren Harris

“What Harris did in painting this mountain and it subsequently selling for millions is make it possible for someone to acquire and carry this landscape wherever they roam.”

A Landscape To Go, 2017 – Brandy Saturley

lawren harris homage painting

The third painting with Lawren Harris is a little different. Rather than placing myself in the foreground and Harris in the background, I have placed myself in the background and I have extracated the most famous Harris landscape in the foreground. ‘Mountain Forms’ painted in 1926 became the most expensive Canadian artwork ever to sell at auction in 2016 for a whopping $11.21 million. Mountain Forms, is a renowned painting of Alberta’s Mount Ishbel in the Sawback Range of the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park. In the painting I am holding the painting in cupped hands as I examine it closely, again dressed in my military style red coat. The lake below the mountain runs off my hand. I am examining the landscape, holding it in my hands. When you are in the Rocky Mountains of Canada you are dwarfed by the gargantuan size of these mountains. What Harris did in painting this mountain and it subsequently selling for millions is make it possible for someone to acquire and carry this landscape wherever they roam. I was also thinking about how many hands this painting has moved from during it’s time on Earth. An examination of the Canadian art market, and injecting myself into the conversation.

Mountain Forms, 1926 – Lawren Harris

“As I begin inheriting pieces from my Ukrainian grandmother I am finding that I too have culture, woven with arts, crafts, symbols and stories.”

Dochka Rising, 2023 – Brandy Saturley 

Painting with Lawren Harris

With this fourth and most recent painting the Lawren Harris painting and period I chose to reference is from his abstract period. ‘Sun and Earth’ painted in 1945 features simplified forms of sunrise and mountains. Again I have put myself in the foreground, only this time I am looking up casting my gaze upwards. My face is dressed in shadows casting stripes across my face and hair. On the lower portion of hair you see symbols and pattern from weaving my Ukrainian grandmother made, passed down to me by my mother. At this time in my life my parents are aging fast and things are changing daily. My mother who was my earliest mentor in art and life, is now requiring our care. I am feeling the need to take time and connect more deeply to my cultural roots, which includes Ukrainian, British and Canadian. Growing up in Sooke on Vancouver Island I spent time with Indigenous friends and family members. I always felt that those with Indigenous heritage were lucky, they seemed to have a real connection to their culture and cultural stories, that I did not feel to my cultural heritage. Growing up in Canada I felt like I had no culture, and now as an adult I realize I do, and this realization has come from watching and learning from our Indigenous cousins. As I begin inheriting pieces from my Ukrainian grandmother I am finding that I too have culture, woven with arts, crafts, symbols and stories. I am also affected by war in Ukraine and moved by the stories of the people and the immigrants to Canada. As my career and work as a Canadian Artist continues to ascend, the depth of my work grows with renewed excitement and explorations across Canada.

Sun and Earth, 1945 – Lawren Harris

“in a way I feel like I am having a conversation with Harris even though he passed before I was born.”

Lawren S. Harris Self-Portrait, 1932

Lawren Harris and Brandy Saturley are contemporaries painting in different times, in a way I feel like I am having a conversation with Harris even though he passed before I was born.  Harris is known for his landscapes that showcase his love for the Canadian wilderness, while my paintings are more focused on the exploration of identity and culture. While we both use painting as a means of expression, our works are vastly different in terms of style, theme, and technique.

Harris’ works are characterized by sharp, clean lines, bold colors, and a geometric approach to composition. His paintings are heavily influenced by his interest in theosophy, a spiritual movement that sought to find universal truth through intuition and mysticism. His work is often described as “spiritual,” with the landscapes he painted appearing otherworldly, with a sense of transcendence.

On the other hand, my paintings are more fluid and organic, with a focus on the human form and its relationship to culture and identity. My work is often marked by vivid colors and layered brushwork, giving my paintings a dynamic and almost tactile quality. I often explore themes of gender, ethnicity, and national identity, with a focus on the social and cultural dynamics that shape our understanding of ourselves and others.

While both artists are celebrated for their distinct styles and contributions to Canadian art, their work represents very different approaches to the medium of painting. Harris’ landscapes are an exploration of the natural world, while my paintings are a celebration of colour, human culture and diversity. However, despite their differences, I believe both of us share a deep love of our country and its people, and our work continues to inspire and engage audiences around the world.