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Two Canadian artists painting mountains on the Continental Divide.

How do two Canadian artists, in different provinces, come together to collaborate on paintings that separate their practices?

two canadian artists painting mountains

In early 2017, my “Canadianisms” began their solo exhibition tour across Alberta, and as part of promoting the tour and getting to know the arts community of Alberta, I attended the CARFAC
AGM in Edmonton at CARFAC Alberta. Previously, Visual Arts Alberta, it was where my first solo show of paintings inspired by Canadian culture and hockey were exhibited under the title, #ICONICCANUCK in 2014. At this AGM I met a painter by the name of Gisa Mayer, a landscape painter from Calgary, by way of the Bavarian Alps, where the painter spent her early years.

Over that year, Mayer and I began to develop a connection and friendship, inspired by our shared love of the outdoors, hiking and the iconic mountains of the Rocky Mountain range. By the end of 2017 we had decided that we would begin a collaborative project, inspired by our shared loves. Inspired by famous collaborations of art history past, such as Warhol and Basquiat, Johns and Rauschenberg, and Rivera & Kahlo – this was going to be interesting as in our case we live 1059KM apart, a 13 hour drive and a ferry boat.

We began with the idea of painting mountain peaks on the continental divide, the border between BC and Alberta. Painting on rolled canvas, for ease of shipping back an fourth between provinces. Mayer, in her sweeping textured strokes and soft palette would begin with sky and foreground, then shipping the canvas to me in BC where I would take on mountains and trees. Sometimes I would begin the canvas and start with sky and mountain, each time was a new experience and each time a new challenge. With my saturated and bold palettes and pop realism aesthetic, our styles couldn’t be more different but seemed to be perfect compliments to one another.

two canadian artists painting mountains

We began painting at the end of 2017 and have completed 6 canvasses to date, with a plan to begin exhibiting the work in 2020. Two female artists, one from Alberta and one BC, painting mountain forms on the great continental divide, the mountains on the Alberta/BC border. Each painting is shipped back and fourth across the border, until complete. Each painting rendered in brushstrokes from each artist. Each painting a collaborative effort and celebration of two styles, creating a new language, expressing a combined love of the Rockies. Beyond the borders of the paintings, and beyond the borders that divide two provinces that have been locked into a political battle over a pipeline. Moving us beyond the borders of our differences, and bringing us together, over art.

In honour of Group of Seven luminary, Lawren Harris, we selected a name under which to paint, now known as the Mountain Forms Collective.

UPDATE: March 2020 a virtual 3D exhibition was presented online with Kunstmatrix Berlin – Together/Divided featuring mountain paintings created by both artists as well as individual works from each artists; oeuvre. An online preview in the time of COVID-19.

mountain forms collective art show

Museum/Gallery? Curator inquiries?

Contact

 

Two Canadian Artists Painting Mountains – more about Mountain Forms Collective

Brandy Saturley is an award-winning painter, photographer, and writer born on Vancouver Island. Her “Canadianisms” series, with it’s ‘pop realism’ aesthetic, have garnered the Canadian artist notoriety as the Voice of Canadian Pop Art. Exhibitions in unique corporate venues include; Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, TELUS Convention Centre at Glenbow Museum, Canadian Tire, Canadian Olympic Committee headquarters and on LED billboards in Times Square, NYC. Saturley has contributed articles to ArtInCanada.com, ArtistsInCanada.com, Reader’s Digest Our Canada. Her work was shortlisted for the Olympic Trophy in Sport & Art in 2014. Solo public gallery exhibitions include Gallery @501 Strathcona County and Okotoks Art Gallery. Brandy is an active arts advocate serving as public art juror (City of Saanich), professional development speaker and member of CARFAC Alberta.

Gisa Mayer is a painter born in the Bavarian Alps, known for her fluid brushstrokes creating sweeping mountainscapes. Her post graduate experience includes training in Painting, Art History and a degree in Romance Languages. Her work experience includes the Carolino Augusteum Museum in Salzburg and the Neue Pinakothek in Munich.  After working and teaching for many years in Salzburg, she made Calgary her permanent home in 1997, after falling in love with the Rockies. Mayer is represented by Bugera Matheson in Edmonton and Ruberto Ostberg in Calgary. Gisa is an active arts advocate in the Alberta arts community and has served on the board of CARFAC Alberta and is a member of the Leighton Arts Centre. Collected by private and public clients internationally.

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

Best Paintings of 2020 – My Top Nine in Art

Every year comes with review. In this year filled with quarantines, masks, and limited travel; my best paintings of 2020 reflect the times. In total, I made 26 new paintings this year, a pretty prolific year in visual art. A typical year finds me on the road every few months. My year usually comes with time to explore new landscapes, take in Art Fairs and Shows in North America, and an annual vacation to a relaxing destination to rejuvenate my perspective. This year was a very different year, and it came with much more time concentrating on studio work and work on my website. as well as cataloguing and photography of Art.

From portraits of Canadians to prairie landscapes, from self-portraits to figurative and symbolic works, here are my are my top nine paintings created in 2020. Acrylic paintings on canvas ranging from large scale works at 3×4 feet, right down to smaller works of 14 inches. My top nine artworks begin small in size, but not in detail.

9. Sunday Sailboats

top nine paintings 2020

8. Long and Winding Road

best paintings 2020

7. Stitched in Canada

top nine paintings 2020

6. Contemplating Romance

best paintings 2020

5. Please Stand By

bestart2020

4. Golden Souls of Salt & Wheat

3. The Barn

top paintings 2020

2. West Coast Solitudes

best in visual art 2020

1.  Spirit of Remembrance

best art from canada 2020

My top nine Canadian paintings in 2020, they are a mixture of all themes I have been creating for the past decade. Rendering my distinctive ICONOGRAPHY of Canada, on canvas. Distinctive Canadian pop art style paintings, with vivid and saturated palettes. The paintings sometimes vibrate with their complimentary and contrasting palettes. Using Kroma and Golden acrylics, and Rosemary handmade paintbrushes. You can see more of the paintings created in 2020 here.  Along with more paintings from the past decade.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

The Home Show – Final Art Show of 2020

On the eve of the 2020 Winter solstice, you will find me hanging my final art show of the year. With whiteout skies of cold wet snow and all of us tucking in at home, I have decided to call this last art sale of the year, ‘The Home Show’.

homeshowartshow2020

Every year, I end the year with a photo in my studio. Last year it was a large-scale landscape painting of Lake Louise on canvas. This year, I thought it would be fun to create a final, ‘art show’ for the year. Featuring small and large artworks for sale created during 2020, but also a few favourites from the past few years that are part of my art collection. From paintings of beer, snow, and hockey, to a portrait from the People of Canada Portrait Project, to people in Alberta landscape, and landscapes of Vancouver Island. A Hudson’s Bay point blanket or two, some snow, some prairie influences, and a maple leaf.

maple leaf painting on display art show

It’s in the details: a closer view of the ‘Home Show’ art installation.

home show art show 2020

You might find the ‘Red Boots’ by Dr. Martens worn on the #iconiccanuck art exhibition tour and even a hockey puck.

brandy saturley Canadian artist studio

Please enjoy this collection of Canadian pop art style paintings, acrylic on canvas, from my studio to you wherever you are in the world. Enjoy the Art, let the colour wash over you and warm you, from your eyes to your mind and filtering through to your heart. Below is an artwork image listing for this art show. Many of the paintings featured in this show are available for sale, click on links below to view details about each artwork, including additional photos and pricing.

art exhibition image listing

List of paintings in the Home Show Art Show 2020

  1. Feathers Over Blanket
  2. Canadian Karaoke
  3. Wreath of Irony
  4. The Weekend Goalie
  5. The Barn
  6. Spirit of Remembrance
  7. The Lucky Mitt
  8. The Ideal Arsenal
  9. HBC Toes
  10. West Coast Solitudes
  11. Stare Time at Lake Louise
  12. Golden Souls of Salt & Wheat
  13. Six Point Leaf
  14. Dr. Marten’s red boots worn at #ICONICCANUCK art shows
  15. crate lid from #ICONICCANUCK
  16. hockey puck
  17. GODOX studio lights
  18. KROMA acrylics paint wall

Contact Brandy Saturley to buy Art from The Home Show Art Sale.

 

Contact

The benefits of living with Art, equal that of taking a restful vacation.

Living with Art comes with many health benefits, a daily journey to any otherworldly destination, a reprieve from the current pressures of life and the world.

In a report for The Telegraph newspaper, an article about an experiment conducted by a professor, in neuroaesthetics at University College London. In this experiment the researcher explains, “We wanted to see what happens in the brain when you look at beautiful paintings.” The experiment concluded when you look at art “whether it is a landscape, a still life, an abstract or a portrait – there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure.”

living with art benefitsThe blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel good sensation direct to the brain.

Professor in neuroaesthetics at UC London

I can attest, being surrounded by Art is the most wonderful feeling. I like to pause and look at the art around me when I take a break from my daily routine, and it does offer a moment of escape, it energizes me as much as a hike down the beach, walk in the trees, or bike tour. It transports me to another place and time. Art appreciation should be mandatory in all school programming in Canada.

art appreciation

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. – Twyla Tharp

But does original art hanging on your wall produce vibrational energies which heal? Does your brain process Art and create a feeling as if you had been on a two-week vacation?

Art accesses some of the most advanced processes of human intuitive analysis and expressivity and a key form of aesthetic appreciation is through embodied cognition, the ability to project oneself as an agent in the depicted scene,
 Christopher Tyler, director of the Smith-Kettlewell Brain Imaging Center

Like the Himalayan Salt lamps that have become increasingly popular, along with the practice of yoga and meditation; art does increase cognition, relaxation, and produces beneficial impulses from sensory neurons. As an artist who produces Art daily and in vast quantities, for myself Art is a continual process of healing and renewal, it is the deepest self discovery one can take, and in viewing an artists work, you are also taken on this journey and may even experience that which the artist experienced in creating the work.

healing properties of looking at Art

The pace of COVID life can grind you into dust, and our ever-growing isolation and reliance on digital devices granting us greater access, at the same time can leave us frazzled and confused, left in a barren wasteland without emotion. Access to original art that exposes us to alternate realities, that inspires and deepens our insight and engages our heart and brain in playful or deep exploration, can be a daily source of enrichment, inspiration, pause, and a potent dose of protection against the stresses of modern life.

art heals and inspires

As an Artist, Art continuously renews my life and has served as a healing modality for dealing with life’s hiccups. Producing Art during the toughest times in my life, has healed my wounds. Art heals ALL wounds. Music being the most universal and easily understood form of healing in the Arts; visual art whether it be a painting, sculpture, or photograph has the same ability to heal and inspire renewal and good health.

Cheers to Art, let the healing begin!

healing power of looking at art

Making a Canadian Christmas Painting That Sums Up 2020

Every December I set aside some time to create my interpretation of a Canadian Christmas Painting. While the world is shopping, organizing and hanging Christmas lights; I am enjoying the warmth and mood of my studio. Passionately painting, preparing mail outs, and reviewing the year that is; I am fully immersed in the work and the sounds of the Sonos speaker pumping out colourful tunes. Where this Christmas painting began and where it ended, I think may be interesting to you. It may be one of the most wild ride’s my mind has been on, before landing on the canvas. In late October I made my monthly run to Opus, a place in Victoria where I buy some of my supplies, and always my canvas. All year I have had circles on my mind, maybe brought on by the social bubbles Dr. Bonnie Henry has been speaking of since the pandemic took hold of our news, online and broadcast. With this in mind I walked into my art supplier with one mission, come home with a round canvas, of wooden panel. This beauty was waiting for me, and I swiftly scooped her up, and headed home.  It has been a while since I painted on wood panel, I think the last piece was this self-portrait with Lawren Harris Mountain Forms from 2017. The beautiful thing about painting on a smooth and mostly uniform surface of wood, details can be pin sharp or muted soft, depending on how much gesso (primer) you lay down, and how many times you sand each layer, or not at all. I don’t like too much gesso, I like the muted softness created by a surface that absorbs and is pretty flat.

Having just finished a self-portrait about Remembrance Day 2020, I felt it was important to continue with this theme of self. Carrying the weight of the times and processing my role as a leading Canadian Artist, who has carved my own path, independently.

Staring at this round canvas, and thinking of my Canadian upbringing I began with thinking about round things in Canada. When asking the question of others, ‘What is round and Canadian’ the answer time and time again was, ‘hockey puck’. I actually thought long and hard about making an epic realistic painting in various tones of black to grey, literally making the canvas into a giant dimensional black puck. An epic black hole, kind of fitting in this pandemic year. But I wasn’t willing to give this beautiful new wood canvas to the absence of colour.

My brain kept going and then I received email from Alanis Morissette, well her fan club, telling me about the anniversary of Jagged Little Pill and her new album, “such pretty forks in the road”

alanis-morissette-jagged-little-pill

Then music, the medium in general and the message, and how vinyl has made a huge re-appearance. Yes, that’s it a giant turntable with Jagged Little Pill playing on it, I will paint that, it’s perfect.

turntable

The brain kept going, for weeks I kept staring at this beautiful round canvas of wood, with my painting of Remembrance, and thought where do I want to go from here…what makes sense in this body of work and this year, what am I trying to convey through the work. I grabbed a Hudson’s Bay point blanket throw I had sitting on my studio couch. I threw the wood tondo (round) onto the floor and I wrapped the blanket round the edge and started taking photos. I began to see a wreath, a Christmas wreath.

bay blanket wrapped around tondo

Ok, so the outside of this wreath painting will be an HBC point blanket, what will the inside be, what’s the story? What am I trying to convey? What if I were in the center of the wreath, but you couldn’t see my face, like I am looking at you through the wreath, and my nose and mouth are covered, like they are masked? What if I was wearing a really pointy red toque, like the toque Alanis is wearing in the ‘Ironic’ video?

brandysaturley_1

Now we are talking, here we go….and the rest happened on the canvas, without premeditations.

Beginning with a sketch on the wood tondo I picked up from my local art supply, OPUS.

sketch on canvas

Then some neon gouache colour blocking.

colour blocking gouache

Then some more colour blocking and underpainting. The blueprint of this painting is well underway.

making a Canadian Christmas painting

painting in progress

Over the course of two weeks and daily painting, this painting is realized and the tondo becomes more than a round panel of primed wood. What once was a panel of wood, is now a work of art. Marking history, telling a story, and asking the viewer to SEE. To look at the world through another set of eyes, the eyes of the artist, who makes their full-time business watching and seeing. The things you have not time for, the artist sees and puts into their work. That is my job, for lack of a better word. I know it is my duty, my solace, and my purpose. It has been as long as I can remember.

Brandy Saturley with her art in her studio

Please enjoy this ‘Canadian Christmas 2020’ painting. This is ‘Wreath of Irony‘. Isn’t it a wee bit Ironic?

Canadian Christmas Painting

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley (#ironiccanuck)

What is Canadian Pop Art? art made by a Canadian Artist that includes imagery from popular culture.

In order to explain what ‘Canadian Pop Art’ is, we must first look at what Pop Art is and when it began as a movement within the historical context of Art. The ‘Pop Art’ movement began in the United Kingdom and the United States (primarily NYC) during the mid to late 1950’s. The movement challenged the tradition’s of fine art by including imagery from popular or mass culture. This style of art often removed or isolated objects and material by placing them in new contexts and new environments. Most famously, the icon of the Pop Art movement in the US was NYC art star, Andy Warhol. Along with artists Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Robert Indiana and Jasper Johns, the movement exploded the art world and status quo.

famous Canadian pop art painting - Brandy Saturley

With Hearts On Our Sleeves – painting by Brandy Saturley 2017

What is Canadian Pop Art? well, take the pop art movements begun in the UK and the USA and add a maple leaf in front. Canadian Pop Art is artwork that is inspired by the Pop Art movement, that has taken on it’s own distinctive maple syrup flare and sassy commentary on stereotypical hockey loving Canada. Not to confuse this with ‘Canadian Pop Artists’ which are those of the musician kind, like Justin Bieber. Canada’s Pop Art is made up of visual artists who are painters, sculptors, printmakers and graphic artists.

Canadian Pop Art comes with biting humour and commentary about being Canadian, it blurs the boundaries between ‘high art’ and themes of mythology and classical history. Pop Art as painted by Canada’s pop artists elevates commonplace objects or everyday Canadian life, like Tim Horton’s Coffee or a toque, to the level of high art. Pop Art attracts the viewer with it’s commonplace objects and vivid palettes and asks the viewer to look more intently at everyday life in Canada.

examples of Canadian Pop Art paintings

Four paintings about Canada: snow, beer, hockey, and Tim Hortons

I met with another famous Canadian pop art painter, the ‘King of Canadian Pop Art’ when I flew out to for the Art Toronto annual art fair. Charles Pachter (now in his late 70’s) is undoubtedly Canada’s Andy Warhol and his legacy in and outside of the studio is no doubt ‘iconic’ in every sense of the word. Pachter graciously toured me around his home and shared his studio where I peeked into the inner workings of another famous self-representing Canadian artist.

Famous Canadian Pop Art painters

Famous Canadian Pop Art painters: Brandy Saturley and Charles Pachter at the Moose Factory in Toronto

Developing my commentary on all things Canadian and adding my voice to the Pop Art landscapes of Canadian Art. Whitehot Magazine published this piece written by Andrea Bell,  “In her most recent work, Saturley has turned once again to the landscape, never really having left. Her new, visionary paintings collage different, unexpected elements of Canadiana rendered in her characteristic pop aesthetic. They 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. The sincerity of their celebration keeps them from tripping over into kitsch. Instead they are otherworldly and transportive, playful and humorous.”

In the bigger sense, on some level, I am engaging everyone in the discussion and appreciation of Art in Canada, and the best way I know how is to poke a little fun at Canada, using our iconography and in turn creating my own brand of Pop Art made in Canada.

Sincerely Yours

Brandy Saturley (a.k.a #ICONICCANUCK)

What is a self representing Artist? one with an entrepreneur attitude.

In the world of art, there are essentially two kinds of Artists; self-representing and gallery or dealer represented. So what is a self-representing artist? Quite simply, self-representing artist means time spent on the art making is equal to time spent “on the business”.  A challenging juggling act for many artists, moving between artist brain and salesperson brain. I’m constantly thinking about where I can take my business and how I will get there. I am also continuously thinking about what I want to paint next, often times with a series of already painted works sitting in my frontal lobe waiting for excavation. Shifting between Artist brain and art sales brain, requires rigorous dedication and a tireless focus. That’s not to say I don’t get tired, or take a pause from my work, it means I am fully consumed by my work.

what is a self representing artist

Inside the studio of Canadian artist Brandy Saturley

In every Art there are purists, those that hold fast to tradition and structure. When I began moving forward with my art, in a professional sense, I sought out the experienced, the Icons and the elders in the field of Canadian Art. Mentorship, connection and validation is what I was seeking, and I found it and learned much from these relationships. I met a lot of Artists and Gallery Owners who had established rules and guidelines for how Artists should be and what they needed to do to be successful. I found so many rigid structures within the Art business and amongst artists here in Canada, I moved from group to group learning about what made their way ‘better’. In the end what I discovered is I did not fit into any group or way of being, I was building my own path based on the knowledge I was gaining along the way. For me, rigid structures go against everything that Art represents, which is the freedom to paint the world the way I see it. There are many misconceptions out there about what makes an artist or art good or even valuable, more so in Canada.

So, lets tackle a few of these misconceptions about self-representing artists;

Self-representing artists aren’t good enough to be in a gallery.

WRONG: being represented by a commercial gallery in Canada does not mean the artist is any more skilled at making Art, it does mean that the artist follows and falls within a structure set by an association of dealers across Canada.

Artists should focus on making Art and not on business, they should focus on their expertise.

BOTH RIGHT AND WRONG: some artists are good at both, it comes down to experience, alternate skill-sets and enjoyment – I enjoy learning about both sides of the business and am driven by both aspects, the convergence of artist/entrepreneur, this is what invigorates my work.

Self-representing artists charge less, because their work is less valuable.

WRONG: as a starting point, artists should look at their market and price their art within the market. As the artist develops and expands their market, their prices are determined by market demand and a variety of others variables including press coverage, artist reach, recognition, cost of living, and fame.

Self-representing artists should concentrate on selling Art in their local market.

RIGHT and WRONG: for me, the focus from day one has always been to sell my art nationally and internationally. Since day one I have always been looking towards my end goal. I also focus on selling my art where it is loved and where people most respond to the work. I have established a fair bit of latitude with my Art, in that I don’t just focus on painting one thing. While I have branded myself as the ‘Voice of Canadian Pop Art’ and the ‘Iconic Canuck’ and am known for paintings influenced by the iconography of Canada, I am not hyper-focused on any one subject. For example, while I have painted ‘hockey goal tender masks’ that is not all I paint. This is my approach. Another approach may only be focusing on local and painting local scenes, which quickly establishes a local market for an artist. I think the biggest key in deciding what you can manage as a self-representing artist, is important. I have big audacious thoughts and dreams, I like to go big, which means if the idea doesn’t work, I fall hard. But I like the challenge. I remember going to an artist talk in Vancouver by Takashi Murakami, prior to the launch of his solo exhibition tour for ‘The Octopus Eats His Own Leg‘. He gave a masterclass of epic proportions of the challenges and pitfalls of self-representation and artist as entrepreneur. It helped me figure out where I wanted to land within the Art market.

One of the greatest challenges for a self-representing artist is finding buyers.

RIGHT: Unlike a gallery, where the buyers come to find art, a self-representing artist typically has to go to the buyers. No two sales are the same, and every sale must be approached differently. I have had collectors come to me from a myriad of ways, on and offline. Roughly 2% of my sales come from social media, the rest come from a combination of finding buyers, working with my suppliers, connecting with artists in other fields and with different skill-sets, and working my network of collectors. This year I am putting more focused time into developing my website and online sales than I have in the past 13 years. Certainly spurred on by COVID, but also because I am not on the road as much and therefore the focus on the business side has become even more concentrated. Thankfully all the travel and in person connecting of years past, is paying dividends in this time of isolation.

a self representing artist at work

Brandy Saturley at opening of ‘Canadianisms’ in 2017 – Okotoks Art Gallery

So, this is what a self-representing artist is, one who works full-time at the career of Artist. While Art comes from a purely creative, abstract and fluid part of the brain, it’s wiring is similar in many ways to that of an entrepreneur, and it is a PROFESSION. I have always enjoyed this quote from a favorite portrait artist from NYC by the name of Chuck Close, “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

Back to work!

 

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

Making a Remembrance Day Painting in The Pandemic Year

Talking about making a Remembrance Day Painting, and looking at the artist process behind making a painting in 2020.

In Canada, red poppies seem to conjure thoughts and feelings about Remembrance Day and family that has served, or is currently serving in our Canadian Forces. I have painted red poppies a number of times over the years, but none seemed to touch Canadians as much as this piece created in 2014, inspired by the women of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps.

Perhaps it is because many of us had grandmothers, mothers and even great-grandmothers serve. Many people have sent me the most lovely notes about this piece over the years, it seems to connect with Canadians widely and on a deep level, with many seeing their own mothers in the piece. I have been interviewed about the piece, shown it in public and private galleries and will be offering a print of it in the coming weeks.

remembrance day painting sitting on art shipping crate

A New Painting with Poppies: with this new painting my focus is Remembrance Day, as it is approaching and it has been 6 years since I have referenced the day in my artwork. I am mindful of how this day will look in this pandemic year. As this year is quickly coming to a close, I am looking at the paintings which I have made this year. I feel that this piece here, right behind my bowler hat and white gloves, is my very best of the year.

This piece brings together my pop aesthetic, realistic details, and symbolism – it is striking and simple in my design. I begin painting by sketching an outline of my idea on stretched cotton canvas. Then I outline again and add shading in a complementary colour, to the final colour I will be painting on top. In this case I am using variations of green for the outline and shading details, as the final colours in the piece will be variations of red.

Next, I begin to colour block and lay down big swathes of reds and oranges, using vigorous brushstrokes.

I continue adding layers of colour from background to foreground, repeating the process with more care each time. This part of the process adds depth, fine textures and various tones and shades. I am creating dimension as the piece begins to come to life and pop off the canvas. I also add the flesh tones to the face so that I can assess the overall tonal balance of my palette and within the piece.

I continue to repaint the entire painting, until the desired tonality is reached and definition is achieved. Then I go into the painting with a finer brush and lighter touch and work on the details, linework, and highlights. In this case metallic and interference paints have been added to bring reflective elements to the piece, adding to the overall ‘glow’.

Remembrance Day Painting detail Brandy Saturley

Time for the final review: which has become known as my ‘chair of contemplation’ moments. The time when I stare for a long period of time as my eyes roll back and forth across the canvas and in differing lights, until I am satisfied that the piece is complete.

It has been said that Picasso created 50,000 works in his lifetime, and is known for about 100 of these. Not every painting is a masterpiece, and you must put in the time and make a lot of bad paintings to reach the masterpieces.

I am very happy with how this piece has evolved, and I hope you will enjoy it as well.

I’ll Carry That Weight (Spirit of Remembrance) Original acrylic painting on canvas honouring Remembrance Day 2020 – by Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley. The painting measures 36×36 inches, and is made with acrylic paints on the finest cotton canvas.

painting of woman with red poppies on a wall

You can see more paintings celebrating Canada on my website.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

Top 10 Paintings, by Brandy Saturley

When you are in love with the artwork of a specific artist, it can be hard to choose. This is something I hear all the time from collectors and art buyers looking to collect my original paintings. My role as the Artist and creator of the artwork, is to make it. I can suggest pieces based on loves, colour, size, and theme; beyond that it is about what you LOVE and what you CONNECT with in my work. What you connect with could be influenced by your tastes, memories, places or subjects. It really comes down to you loving the piece so much, that you absolutely must have it. Now there are some collectors who buy based on price or value, some collectors want the most expensive painting, and that is as good a reason as any. I am not here to ‘push’ something on you, I am here to facilitate your need to own an original and unique piece of art, created from the soul.

For me, these are the Top 10 paintings from my oeuvre of the past decade, along with reasons why these Canadian paintings by Brandy Saturley, are icons of Canadian Art.

Painting #1

Title: Saint Kanata – 48×36 inches acrylic painting on canvas $15,750.00

Why is this painting iconic? this was the second painting created under my ‘Pop Canadianisms’ series of work, it came right after the most famous painting in the series (the goalie’s mask painting) I have always loved this piece as it is painted in a style that would become my signature, pop realism esthetic. The piece contains many fine details from the Canadian Geese in the sky, to the mother polar bear reaching down to lift her cub. The shapes in the mountains create an underlying story, like clouds in the sky, you can see something different in this piece every time you look at it. I have been touring this piece, and looking at it for 9 years now. I never tire of this view and the enthusiasm radiating from the piece, it makes me feel good about being Canadian every time it reaches my gaze.

Top 10 Paintings by Brandy Saturley

Painting #2

Title: Poppies for Louise – 36×48 inches acrylic painting on canvas $7000.00

Why is this painting iconic? this painting is based on the composition of the Canadian flag, and features a maple leaf centre on the glacier at Lake Louise. The red canoe in the distance carries the number 9, the most star worn number by hockey players in the NHL. The red poppies in the foreground, symbolic of this area in spring. It is a stunning and vivid piece with a modern art vibe, the blues radiate against the bold red in the foreground, you can’t help but feel warm all over and proud to be Canadian when you see this painting on the wall. The piece has appeared in numerous shows and venues over the years as well as being licensed by many groups including Music in the Morning concert series Vancouver and ThinOptics Inc in California.

painting of Lake Louise Canadian flag with red poppies by Brandy Saturley

Number 3

Let Your Backbone Rise – 36×36 inches acrylic painting on canvas – SOLD

Why is this painting iconic? this painting is an homage to Group of Seven founder and luminary, Lawren Harris. Set against details of one of his iconic paintings, the piece shows a woman in a military style red coat, wearing white gloves, with exposed backbone painted on the exterior of the coat. This piece features a female Canadian artist contemplating the landscapes created by famous male painters, injecting herself into the conversation about art in Canada. This piece was purchased shortly after it was painted, joining a private art collection in Mont-Royal, Quebec. 

Top 10 Paintings, by Brandy Saturley

Number 4

In My Splendorous Kingdom – 36×36 inches acrylic and collage on canvas $5500.00

Why is this painting iconic? this painting is unusual, quirky and symbolic and includes some collage elements affixed to the painted canvas surface. Upon returning for my solo exhibition in Edmonton, Alberta in 2013, I tossed my signature red wool sweater into the laundry and it became mixed in with the wrong load. Subsequently the sweater I retrieved from the washing machine, had shrunk to a size fit for the child version of me, I have never been good at laundry. I decided to use the sweater in a piece about returning home to BC, my home province known as ‘Beautiful British Columbia’. I painted the sweater with rubberized paint and marked it with my hand prints over the breast area. On the sweater tag is printed, ‘Splendour Sine Ocassu’ the motto for BC which literally means the sun never setting. The sweater off my back, worn at my art opening, forever part of a unique original painting, celebrating British Columbia. 

painting with collage of British Columbia flag with red sweater and crown by Brandy Saturley

Number 5

Tribe Called CAN – 60×48 inches acrylic on canvas – $12,250.00

Why is this painting iconic?  Underneath the surface of many an historical painting, both famous and mysterious, is another hidden painting.  More often, they are revealed by restoration processes, x-rays, and careful investigation by art historians and preservation specialists. This is one of those paintings, as the entire underpainting of the piece is another painting, from another time. This piece features an iconic goal tender’s mask known as the ‘target mask’, the background of the piece features symbolic lines and shapes hinting at a yellow maple leaf and a goal tenders net. The collar below the mask features graphically painted feathers, simply painted with bold colours. There are tribal influences here, this is a powerful and symbolic piece best suited for a darkly lit restaurant, or a big bright space requiring a statement piece, like the head offices of the Montreal Canadiens hockey organization.

painting of ken dryden target mask with feather trim against a goal tenders net by Brandy Saturley

Number 6

Death of A Rookie – 36×36 inches acrylic on canvas – collection of the artist

Why is this painting iconic?  This painting references two things; a famous classical painting that every artist learns about when attending first year art history and an infamous moment in Canadian hockey history. As I began using widely recognized Canadian figures, symbols and moments in my work, I wanted to find a way to interject historically important works, into Canadian moments. Based on the painting, Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David, this piece tells the tale of Edmonton Oilers rookie Steve Smith and an iconic game played against their rival, Calgary Flames. It is a humorous piece, most who know hockey will get a chuckle out of it, and those who know art will be intrigued. Those who know hockey and art history, will appreciate the underlying narratives of the piece.

the legend of Steve Smith Death of a Rookie painting by Brandy Saturley

Number 7

HBC Skull – 48×36 inches acrylic on canvas – $15750.00

Why is this painting iconic?  because it is a stunning realistic painting of a black bear skull on the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket stripes. The skull was gift to me from a local hunter, the bear was aging and unhealthy, the hunter legally hunted the bear bringing the skull and a claw to my studio for me to use in future work. The red maple leaf on the frontal lobe of the bear’s skull speaks to thoughts on culture, nature and respect. The piece has been exhibited widely and is one of my favorite pieces that I have painted in the last decade. It is a striking piece, realistic and modern, with pop art sensibilities. There is almost a Japanese feel to the minimalist design of the piece. 

Realistic painting of black bear skull on HBC point blanket with red maple leaf Brandy Saturley

Number 8

With Hearts on Our Sleeves – 40×30 inches acrylic on canvas – SOLD

Why is this painting iconic?  simply put, because it is a self-portrait of the artist wearing an HBC toque set against a cropped detail from an iconic Lawren Harris painting – putting myself into the landscape of Canadian Art. This piece was collected by a private client in Mississauga, Ontario.

self portrait of Canadian pop artist Brandy Saturley against Lawren Harris skies

Number 9

Balance – 48×36 inches acrylic on canvas – $7000.00

Why is this painting iconic?  a symbolic painting that comments on our responsibility and connection with nature, in this piece you see a human hand uplifting a silver platter on which an iceberg and a precariously perched polar bear are held preserved. The sky radiates with the colours of the Northern Lights and the whole piece brings a sense of calm and discussion to the room in which it hangs. ‘Balance’ made the cover of the show catalogue for the SCA. After 50 years of the show, this is the first year an exhibition catalogue was published. The SCA 50th International Open Juried Exhibition CatalogueLibrary and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication ISBN / ISMN 978-1-7750038-3-0 is published by the Society of Canadian Artists, designed by DEL ART and printed by Nova Printing

Top 10 paintings by Canadian Pop Art painter, Brandy Saturley

Number 10

Like a Phoenix  – 30×48 inches acrylic on canvas – $5500.00

Why is this painting iconic?  it is an emotional painting, it makes you feel and it was inspired by iconic Canadian rock legend, Gord Downie. A young girl wearing a purple hat and Jaws t-shirt rises like a phoenix from the wheat fields of the Canadian prairies. Painted in October 2020, during the COVID-19 year on Earth. 

painting of girl wearing jaws t-shirt and purple hat walking through wheat fields Brandy Saturley

There you have it, my Top 10 paintings, it was hard to chose 10. Some are available and some already collected. These 10 are important paintings in Canadian Art, whether you agree or not. These paintings are investment pieces, for those who love my work.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley