Talking Art During COVID with Peninsula News Review

“I just feel the internal need to say something about the time that we are in. Sometimes I make paintings that are pretty paintings, but sometimes I make paintings that talk about events that are happening in the world, I think both are important.” Talking art in the time of COVID-19 with Nina Grossman for the Peninsula News Review, Sidney/North Saanich News.

2020 was a year, for all of us, and for this ‘ Iconic Canuck’ it was a year where I felt the need to let my heart lead my brush a little more than my brain. As an artist, who is continually and emotionally connected to the undercurrents of the world, I need to let the emotion flow onto the canvas. The gift of being born with the need to create Art on a daily basis, is the gift of therapeutic output, because Art is my therapy, my solace, my way of processing Life. In it’s purest form; Art is the conduit for realizing truths about the world, life, and oneself.

Peninsula News Review Feature

Peninsula News Review Feature

Over the past two decades paintings made by Victoria BC born, Canadian Pop Art painter, Brandy Saturley have been exhibited across Canada, in London, England and online with virtual galleries in Berlin, Germany as well as corporate venues such as Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

#ICONICCANUCK – is a hashtag that Saturley coined on Twitter in 2013 to describe her distinct style of Canadian Art. The hashtag became the title of the artists’ first public gallery exhibition, taking place in Edmonton at the end of 2013. Since then, #ICONICCANUCK not only references the paintings of Saturley that comment on pan-Canadian identity, it has become the painter’s persona, quickly becoming the alter ego of Saturley, as the artist develops her own iconography, as a contemporary visual artist in Canada.

More about Brandy Saturley.

“What I capture in spite of myself, interests me more than my own ideas.”

~ Pablo Picasso

I have been thinking a lot lately about intuition and art, and how I have become more aware of how much I access the subliminal mind to communicate, where words fail to flow freely from my mouth. While I am of the belief that “inspiration is for amateurs” (Chuck Close) and it is true that “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” (Pablo Picasso) and that you must show up, every day, be disciplined in your practice, and work even when you don’t feel like working. Every so often we need to birth an ugly baby, and “after a while the muse shows up.” (Isabelle Allande)

Over the past couple decades I have seen foreshadowing in my work, through painting places I had not yet traveled. It could be intuition or it could be attraction. Perhaps because I am meditating so much on the subject or place, the place becomes burned into my subliminal mind. I find myself travelling there, long after I have painted it. I believe that many painters who paint representational works do so because they are painting what surrounds them, they are painting their everyday and they are painting local. This may be why many artists paint local landscapes, urban scenes and still life found in their backyard. They are hyper focused on what surrounds them, and are perhaps looking for inspiration.

stag canada Canadian artist Brandy Saturley

When I was a teenager I used to tear out photos from magazines, I loved the images created by teams of people looking to sell products, enhance a story, and strike a chord. I had a subscription to the International newspaper and would read and collect stories from other countries. I was endlessly fascinated in all that was not in my backyard, in rural Vancouver Island. I wanted to learn anything and everything, didn’t matter what; I was open for learning, experimenting and exploring.

All the places I have painted, I came to explore after the first time painting them, as if I were painting the journey to come. The sentiment from Van Gogh captures the essence of this best; “I dream my painting and I paint my dream”.  I remember one of my first landscapes, painted with canvasses lying on the floor, I planned a diptych that would stretch across two canvasses. The landscape was of Painted Hills Oregon, a place I had never been, but had seen many stunning photos of over the years. Years after I painted and sold the piece, I did a road trip through central Washington and Oregon, ending up at this otherworldly location that takes you back in time, literally. The first time I painted Mexico, was a year before I would travel there, it was on my mind. The same happened with Maui, as I read books about American painter Georgia O’Keeffe and her time spent painting in Maui. Through the subliminal my brain was focusing on these places, my hand was painting them, and later on my body was moving me to these locations, to witness them long after I had painted them into narratives on canvas. There were never any plans, only focus, which lead to plans, which lead to packing bags, camera and sketchbooks; heading towards these destinations. I am painting these places that I have held in my dreams.

diptych painting painted hills Oregon

With my ‘Canadianisms’ series, which encompasses Canadian culture, symbolism and landscape; I too began with painting these stories before gaining first hand knowledge and experience with many of these things. Through reading, watching and seeing; I came to absorb the ideas of these places as presented by others before me, then filtering them through my mind adding my voice to the chorus of knowledge. I am painting these stories that I have lived in my dreams.

inside Canadian artist Brandy Saturley's art studio

Over the past few months, under the global pandemic haze of COVID-19, I have found myself land locked and focusing more on circles and human connection. Whether it is our Vancouver Island ‘bubble’ or our interest in keeping others out, Vancouver Islanders were born for this and in some ways happy for a renewed and concentrated interest in focusing on their own backyard, literally. My paintings of the last few months encompass relationships, romance, passion and isolation. The conversations I am having are more intense, and everyone seems to be dropping the mask, figuratively, and wanting to share the emotional experiences, fears, hopes and dreams for the future.

covid-19 painting modern art

As I continue on, I am going back to photos and writing from these trips of the past couple decades. I am examining them under a new lens, in a world where things are changing rapidly and there is a need for the comforts of the past. As I prepare to launch my third virtual exhibition, in the past three months, I am looking to celebrate a decade of telling stories of Canada on canvas, and produce a new piece which will touch on the current consciousness of my country.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

New Paintings and 3D artworks made during COVID-19

Since March, my brain has been overflowing with imagery, the best way to describe it is, my brain is on fire. Not on fire in a bad way, on fire in the way you want your brain to be as an artist. This is not a time for choosing one idea over the other, this is a time to let ‘the flow’ take hold. I have finished six new paintings since March 15, 2020. Vancouver Island began shutting down around mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I began ramping up. I released 10 more fine art prints from the ‘Canadianisms’ series, I launched an on-line 3D virtual reality exhibition of collaborative landscapes that Calgary artist Gisa Mayer , and I have painted 4 new large scale pieces on canvas as well as two smaller pieces. Typically my schedule is a month in the studio and a week on the road, but because of Coronavirus lock-downs across North America, I haven’t ventured much further than my studio for over two months. My last trip was to Vancouver in February this year.

Today, I photographed the new paintings and also took some time to put the images into ‘living spaces’ to give you an idea of how beautifully these pieces work in different interiors. Here are my new artworks made under COVID-19.

Time In A Bubble – completed March 2020

modern art painting bubble

Please Stand By – completed March 2020

COVID-19 stay at home painting

To The See – completed March 2020

For the past couple months I have been painting circles in my mind, and on my canvas. I am not sure why, they just seem to resonate with me right now under the current COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps it is the circles I am seeing from the microscopic images of the virus itself, it could be molecules, something molecular. It could be the shape of the earth, or the ‘circles’ that are our homes and families. The circles that Dr. Bonnie Henry keeps talking about. It could be the circles of life, or what goes around comes around. In any light my brain is seeing circles.

modern art painting Canadian art

Eye See U – painting on carved wooden frame – completed April 2020

pop art painting eyeball

Eye See Bowl – painted on hand turned maple wood bowl – completed April 2020

hand painted art bowl maple turned Canadian art

Here Comes The Sun – completed in April 2020

When I painted this I was thinking about all the couples who are isolating and the ideal place to isolate. My mind drifted to infinity pools, favourite snowbird getaways, and sunshine. I was thinking about the Coachella Valley; Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert and La Quinta.

palm springs art painting infinity pool

These Canadian artworks were painted using the finest acrylic paint from my local supplier KROMA – in a time when it can be challenging to get some things, I am so happy I can rely on KROMA to get my paints to me overnight from Vancouver. Living on Vancouver Island has it’s challenges at times, but so far I have been lucky to have great Canadian suppliers, and mostly local.

It’s a good start, I am on to the next painting, and two more virtual exhibitions coming by July. Excited to see where the vibes of the times take my work.

For now, grab a cocktail and enjoy the art.

Sincerely Yours,


How the Coronavirus epidemic is influencing the art I am making.

In my last post dated March 19, 2020 we were about one week into a state of emergency here in British Columbia. As we began to ready ourselves for social distancing, isolation, and quarantine measures here on Vancouver Island, the ‘Stay Home’ advertising began to explode on all media platforms.

At that time all the ‘noise’ was beginning to bleed into my brain and the energy of the world around me had shifted from Spring flowers, to toilet paper hoarding and hour long lines at local grocers. I was seeing lots of art pop up in my Instagram feed; paintings, advertising art, and musicians entertaining us from their homes. We have seen celebrities in their homes, without make-up and spending time with their families. Health care workers are posting coordinated dance videos and the Prime Minister addressing us daily from the front steps of his home at Rideau Cottage. We are in ‘unprecedented’ times, likened to World War Two. We are separated from family and friends, and afraid to sneeze in public.

As an Artist my work requires prolonged periods of isolation, allowing me to dive deep into the flow of my work. Part of who I am as a person and as a professional Artist, is to know myself in the deepest darkest sense. My personality and my work requires me to question everything; investigate, draw my own conclusions, and create community with my distinct vision of the world. My job is to inspire the audience, and provide pause. We are ALL being forced to slow down, and being forced to do anything and make changes in such a short period of time, is extremely difficult. I am encouraged by this ‘Great Pause’ and looking for the silver linings. The Earth and all it’s species are taking a deep breath right now, and we all REALLY need this long pause.

I hope those that were initially feeling trapped and anxious are now focusing on the silver linings of this epidemic. Appreciation, gratitude, and a deeper understanding of the people and world around us; the world is big and we are being asked to tighten our gaze. Focus on the RIGHT NOW and how we can make it the BEST NOW possible.

This brings me to the paintings I have created over the past few weeks. One is quite narrative and figurative, a classic #PopCanadianism to add to my series of the past decade. The other two focus more on landscape, feeling, colour and concept.

All are painted in my signature Pop Realism aesthetic; these paintings all tell stories in the landscape.

Here are three paintings created so far, during COVID-19;

Party on The Bottom (Please Stand By), 2020

COVID-19 Art - Brandy Saturley

Time in A Bubble, 2020

covid-19 painting modern art

To The See (2017/2020)

modern art Canadian landscape painting

As I tighten my gaze and dive deep into my work, this is a time to clarify and focus on what is most important. “A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” and I am feeling the call. You will see little to no social media updates from me for a while as I close my door and work offline, in my analogue world of paint on canvas and words on paper. My business is always open and original paintings, prints, commissioned artwork and image licensing is available 24/7/365. You can always contact me through my website. 

Access early news about new paintings and offerings by joining my newsletter here.

Be well everyone and stay safe!

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley