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13 Years Making Art as a Professional Canadian Artist.

It is true that in some cultures, the number 13 is lucky. Last year I entered my 13th year of making Art and working as a professional Canadian Artist, full-time. July 1st every year, which coincidentally is Canada Day, always marks the anniversary of my Art business. Every year, I write a new blog post celebrating the day and reflecting on the year that was. Last year I gave each year a ‘period or theme’ to represent the year. From paintings of trees to Las Vegas and The Beatles to the Big C, there have been many thematic transitions in my work over the years. Year 5 marked the beginning of #ICONICCANUCK and shortly after my ‘Pop Canadianisms’ took over right up until year 13. Consistency found in the theme of ‘Canada’ and in year 13, I decided to ‘disrupt’ my practice to grow as an artist by jetting off to London for a month, a big gamble for an artist who has developed an identity as ‘the Voice of Canadian Pop Art’.

As we are now in the COVID-19 era, I am even more convinced that year 13 was indeed lucky, because if it happened this year, it would not have happened. Year 13 included an invitation to join the summer contemporary art intensive at the world’s number one postgraduate art school, the Royal College of Art in London, England – I spent a month making art, talking art and showing art in a school that includes alumnus such as David Hockney and Tracey Emin, two of the biggest artist names in the world, and one of the oldest art institutions. It was an EPIC experience and am so grateful to all the artists, educators and art lovers who helped make it one of the most enriching experiences of my career, so far. Wow, I am still basking in the warm glow of that experience. Rather than recap the past 13 years, this year I want to recap the past 12 months, because these last few have been LONGGGG, so here we go!

Here are, twelve images for 12 months of my 13th year as a full-time professional Canadian Artist.

July 2019 – The Pack and Tidy

Canadian artists studio Brandy Saturley

Tidying up studio before leaving for London.

August 2019 – The London Studio

Professional Canadian artist

professional Canadian artist

professional Canadian artist

Brandy Saturley in painting studios at RCA Battersea London, UK and final exhibition at the Dyson Gallery.

September 2019 – Blending New Concepts with Existing Projects

Brandy Saturley painting Canadian Landscapes

Brandy Saturley painting on large landscapes un-stretched cotton duck canvas in her Victoria BC Studio

October 2019: Documentary – The Iconic Canuck

Brandy Saturley talking with Winnipeg filmmaker Randy Frykas, in her North Saanich studio.

November 2019 – painting REALLY BIG Landscapes

December 2019 – Christmas Catalgoue

Canadian Art catalogue magazine

Annual Christmas catalogue mailed out to collectors.

January 2020 – People of Canada

Portraits of Canadians by Brandy Saturley

Portrait painting by Brandy Saturley for the People of Canada Portrait series.

February 2020 – Different Strokes

painting of Canadian flag 2020

New painting technique post London is developing in a new landscape painting.

March 2020 – Print Run

canadian artist editions

20 paintings offered as digital reproduction prints on paper for 2020.

April 2020 – First Virtual Exhibition

Landscape art exhibition

First exhibition of Mountain Forms Collective – collaborative mountain paintings by Brandy Saturley & Gisa Mayer.

May 2020 – Second Virtual Exhibition & Underwater

Canadian Art Project

First Exhibition of The People of Canada Portrait Project by Brandy Saturley – collaboration with everyday Canadians across the country.

Brandy Saturley studio flood

Pipe burst in my studio and the restoration crew had to be called in during a pandemic!

June 2020 – A Modern Romance 

paintings about romance

About Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley

With my studio temporarily moved to a small bedroom, my work began to focus on the romance of the small apartment studio as it brought back memories from my early days painting and living in my 600 SqFt condo. Always keep your old easel!

July 2020 – Third Virtual Exhibition – The BIG ONE

Brandy Saturley Gallery Canadian Paintings

With Canada Day in the air and a new painting inspired by the need for HUGS across the country, I opened my third virtual exhibition experience, this time featuring 51 paintings from the past decade of painting Pop Canadianisms.

It has been quite the year! ‘before times’ is a term that is quickly identifying a different time in or culture, as things start to open up here again in Canada I am excited to be going out on the road, haven’t left the island since the end of February and this time I will be driving through Saskatchewan, a prairie province I have never visited.

Right now the focus is to keep on making Art, making paintings, selling paintings, showing art, re-building my studio and maybe even finding an art advisor, dealer or salesperson that loves my Art and shares my values. For me it is important to keep on investing in myself. I have been doing it all for 13 years and I could use an art advisor on my side, the right gallery in my corner or perhaps simply a sales person to help push the work out further than I have already done on my own.

Be well out there and keep on pushing forward.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

2019 in Canadian Art, My Year in Painting.

In 2010 I set a goal for myself, to paint 25 to 35 new paintings every year and to do at least one thing every year in my art career, that I didn’t think I could achieve. For me goals are important motivators, and as a professional artist who lives a life open to all possibilities, a little structure helps to keep the business side of this career moving forward, and not in circles. Circles are important, they are like pauses to swim in the lake of life, soaking up new experiences, where the inception of new ideas begin. But, I cannot languish in the lake for too long, as I would never get beyond the lake, and I like the challenge that comes with riding the waves of the ocean.

2019 began with a bang, and it took me from my island home of Vancouver Island, across the country, to the USA and even the United Kingdom. When asked the question; “if you could be a famous artist, who would you be?” my answer is always, Brandy Saturley a year from now, as the only one I am chasing is me, and the only one I am competing with, is me.

Here is my 2019 in Art.

January – new work and new ideas

Three paintings into a new series of paintings inspired by my travels across North America, featuring ‘people in the landscape’. The gathering of friends, family and strangers to marvel at the landscape, it is something as familiar as breathing, moments shared contemplating nature.

2019 in Canadian Art

January also included a new initiative, as we began to work on what would become the first fine art offering of it’s kind, ‘The Box Sets’ original art collections.

2019 in Canadian Art

In February, we launched the first ‘Box Sets’ original art collection and I traveled to the Okanagan for some snowy mountain inspiration.

Canadian Art Collection for sale

2019 in Canadian Art

In March, I spent my studio days surrounded by snow with a good amount of the white stuff falling on Vancouver Island. The energy is high when it snows here, it is like a late Christmas present that brings brightness to gray winter days.

Canadian artist at work

in March a new painting inspired by sunrise on Salt Spring Island, in Ganges Harbour was completed. The painting not being quite enough to satisfy, I continued on with painting the crate that would house the painting, adding skateboard wheels for mobility.

salt spring island art painting Brandy Saturley

Then I hit the road again, this time headed to Edmonton for art business.

art business in Edmonton

Coming home through Calgary, with a stop at Fairmont Lake Louise…

Fairmont Lake Louise

an iconic beacon on the continental divide, Mount Robson.

Canadian artist Brandy Saturley at Mt. Robson

April showers bring, more art. New paintings completed for the Mountain Forms Collective, painting collaboration with Calgary artist, Gisa Mayer.

Canadian artist collaboration - painting rocky mountains

A new painting for the People of Canada Portrait Project.

May the force be with you! I don’t mean to be punny. A chance to explore with my camera, the work behind the art. One of my photos, now available to license on Getty images.

image licensing Getty Images Brandy Saturley

A new painting, this time a diptych (two canvasses) inspired by shared experiences in the landscape and the music of the Beatles.

Painting inspired by the Beatles - Because the world is round

The second round of ‘Box Sets’ art collections were launched to the public.

art shipping crate painted with text - Canadian artist Brandy Saturley

June! one month to London, you heard that right. Earlier in the year I was invited to join the Contemporary Art Summer Intensive at the Royal College of Art in London, England. in June I was packing and ordering supplies for my month in the UK.

I also completed a new painting for the People of Canada portrait project, this time a self portrait of the artist and her muses.

Brandy Saturley Canadian artist - self-portrait of the artist

July, I left on a Dreamliner to London, and set up my studio in the Painting wing of the Royal College of Art, Battersea campus. One month of making, talking, exploring art in the world’s financial centre.

Canadian artist Brandy Saturley - Royal College of Art London

Royal College of Art - Battersea

During my time in London I painted four large scale works on loose duck canvas, and a few smaller pieces on paper.

Brandy Saturley - Royal College of art - Painting studios Battersea

I also toured a number of museums and art galleries including; White Cube, Barbican, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Design Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Library, and White Chapel to name a handful.

white cube gallery London England

In August, we were preparing for a solo show at Dyson Gallery – 22 artists from around the world. It was the experience of a lifetime.

pop paintings by Canadian artist - Brandy Saturley - Royal College of Art

paintings by brandy saturley at dyson gallery london

Upon returning home from London, I immediately threw myself into new large landscape paintings, influenced by my time working at the Royal College of Art over the early summer.

In September, while I was painting this large landscape I also began a smaller work on stretched canvas. Two red muskoka chairs, by the light of the silvery full moon.

two muskoka chairs by the moonlight

By the time October rolled around I was working to finish the paintings above, and I was talking to a documentary film crew from Winnipeg and Victoria. The Passion Project Series is a docuseries being launched in 2020. I spent two days with the crew sharing my process, talking about my career, and showing a bit of the behind the scenes of my process. We talked about hockey, family, influences, challenges and success as a Canadian artist. I can’t wait to see the series and share my episode with you.

Randy Frykas interviews Brandy Saturley - The Passion Projects

Randy Frykas documentary film Brandy Saturley Canadian artist

November began with another large format landscape painting, seven feet wide and on un-stretched canvas duck. This time my focus was Lake Louise in Banff Alberta.

Production of my annual art magazine/catalogue was completed – you can get yours here.

Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley annual art catalogue 2019

I set up a private art lounge meeting area outside my studio – for collectors, curators and press visits.

Canadian Art Gallery in Victoria BC - The Art of Brandy Saturley

In December, after all the paintings were shipped, gifts wrapped and mail sent out, I jetted off to Las Vegas for a re-charge and to take in some of the best art exhibits in the world. Ate too much, drank too much, and celebrated too much. What happens in Vegas…

brandy saturley in las vegas container park

stardust sign neon boneyard las vegas

tim burton lost vegas neon boneyard

Tim Burton – Lost Vegas at the Neon Boneyard, 2019

The year included the production and sale of 21 new paintings, travel to Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, Las Vegas and London, England. One exhibition in London, the launch of the Box Sets, a documentary film crew and mountains of snow almost covering my studio windows. There was inventory, newsletters, website updates, and a move of my art vault to my home. I set up a lounge for private meetings and worked on the largest paintings of my career. There were a couple magazine features, but can’t even remember what those were now. I had the privilege of seeing many great art exhibitions, learning new things from talented people and teaching things to eager young artists. I think one of the reasons I write a year in review is so that I can recall what actually happened in a year, and so I can plan for the coming years. I am thankful to those who collaborated with me and to those who continue to collaborate, I am enjoying the journey, what a ride! There were challenging days, and big moves. There was rejection and the sweetest of rewards. What will 2020 hold? for one, there will be limited edition art prints.

Here we go!

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

The Discomfort Zone – Making Art at The RCA in London, England

I am continually trying to make choices that put me outside of my comfort zone, it is the only way I know how to grow. When I find myself ‘too comfortable’ in life and in my art practice, I get agitated and anxious, and I need to get out and test myself and push my boundaries. I call it the ‘discomfort zone’ and sometimes it comes with kicking and screaming, but it always delivers! At the beginning of the year I decided to accept an invitation to join the contemporary art summer intensive at the Royal College of Art in London, United Kingdom. Yes, this Vancouver Island artist, born in Victoria British Columbia, hit London this summer, during Queen Victoria’s 200th anniversary party, for some zone pushing of the contemporary art kind.

It was a transformative experience, as I talk about the programme in detail in my previous blog post. During my month in London I created four new large format paintings on unstretched canvas, and two smaller works. These new works are visceral and come from deep down within. When looking at how and what I would paint during my time at the RCA, I began with looking at the current political state of affairs, with Brexit and Boris Johnson dominating the media coverage in the United Kingdom. As I have been commenting on Canadian popular culture for the past decade, I thought I might find some common themes in London. The first painting I created upon arrival in my studio at the Sackler building at the RCA, was a painting of the Union Jack flag. Much like Canada, the UK has a very strong ‘brand’ and identity based on their flag. The appeal of the flag to this Canadian artist is undeniable, and I had to have a go at creating a comment on the undercurrents felt upon my arrival. I decided to begin with raw canvas, no layer of gesso or primer, I began to pour the paint Jackson Pollock style on the raw canvas, while laid on the floor of my studio. After, rather than take my brush and spread the paint around, I chose to fold the canvas in half, then stomped with my feet and used my hands to spread the paint like peanut butter between two slices of bread. I was creating a mirror image, a Rorshack if you will, offering symmetry between the two sides and many opportunities to see things within the abstract application of paint.

union jack painting Brexit - Brandy Saturley

Once dry, I hung the painting on the wall. Many images were appearing to me and I decided to grab a brush and add some depth and dimension to the piece, as well as a contrast of Indian yellow, an orange-yellow to the composition. I wanted to comment on the ‘topsy turvy’ nature of the nation and the feeling of ‘which way is up’, as I felt this undercurrent throughout my time in London. I began to turn the canvas and settled on a vertical display, adding to the comment on the uncertainty of the times in London.

Union Jack painting by Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley - Brexit

As I moved through my work at the college I was looking to keep pushing the boundaries and go deeper, more visceral, and more personal. The next painting began after taking in the Queen Victoria exhibition at Kensington Palace. I found the show to be very moving as it touched on her difficulty with child birth and her responsibilities as Queen. Throughout the show paintings of the Queen are framed ornately in circular frames of carved wood gilded with gold, I began to create next, what would become mirrors on canvas. Perhaps influenced by my visit to Kensington Palace and into the archives of a Queen, whom my city is named after. Being born and living in the capital of British Columbia, Victoria is close to my heart.

Developing a body of work – an ode to Victoria – Brandy Saturley in Sackler studios at RCA Battersea campus.

 

Rorschach painting after Queen Victoria

Mirror of My Soul – poured painting with painterly brush details and paper collage, by Brandy Saturley 2019 – created in the Sackler studios at the RCA in London UK

As I came to complete my second painting, I found a new direction and the potential for a series of paintings based on the ‘mirror reflection’ theme. I also confirmed a consistent size for these pieces on unstretched canvas. At 73 inches long by 53 inches wide, they were lovely large draped pieces, almost like tapestries. I began to create the next two pieces side-by-side, in conversation with one another. This time I decided to paint the background of the canvasses in raw umber and red tones, reaching deeper into the soul.

Mirror Mirror – these two paintings were poured first, then painterly brush details were added after hanging. The palette of each piece includes gilded gold tones on the outer edges, reminiscent of the frames seen in both Kensington and Buckingham Palace. 2019 Brandy Saturley

During my time in London I also visited Buckingham Palace, which was showing another elaborate Queen Victoria exhibition. The lavish textures, deep jewel toned hues, gilded gold frames and trims were burnt into my brain, clearly influential in the creation of these new paintings.

Framed painting of Queen Victoria as seen at Kensington Palace in London UK. Exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria.

In the final group exhibition I chose to show the three works that were consistent with the ‘mirrors’ theme. With my signature vivid palette and rainbow hues, the three paintings became portals, and beings of their own. I also created two other works on paper which were not exhibited in the final show, but were nice compliments to the three larger works. I am very pleased with these new paintings and am looking forward to how this time in London, influences my future work.

paintings at Royal College of Art Dyson gallery

Final works created by Brandy Saturley at Royal College of Art Summer Contemporary Art intensive, July/August 2019. Shown here in the artists painting studios in the Sackler building at RCA Battersea.

Final exhibition: ‘What is an Image’ at Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art in Battersea London, United Kingdom.

For more information about these paintings please email us. See the full portfolio of paintings by Brandy Saturley here.

 

Making Art at the Royal College of Art in London

London is the capital of, and largest city, in England, and the United Kingdom. It is known as the financial centre of the world and one of the world’s Art & Culture centres. From the Fine Arts, to Literary Arts and Theatre to classical and popular music, London is a destination for Artists and art lovers alike.

Earlier this year, I was looking for an opportunity to challenge myself and disrupt my studio work of the past couple decades. As I enter mid-career as an artist, I am feeling myself moving into a new chapter with my art and the way I make paintings. I feel the best way to access new ways of making art, experiment, and freshen up my practice, is to make art in one of the worlds art centres. Far away from my western Canadian home, on Vancouver Island. I was looking for a professional experience, where I could access the best minds in the business and find out how my artwork would fare, in an International setting. My work has become nationally recognized in Canada over the past decade, I was now looking at moving beyond Canada, and London came calling.

photo of Tower bridge London

Tower Bridge London, UK – photo Brandy Saturley

In February this year, I was invited to join the Contemporary Art Summer Intensive Program at the Royal College of Art in London, England. The Royal College of Art (RCA) is rated the number one postgraduate college for art and design in the world. Delivering numerous Masters and PHD level programs in art, design and humanities; the college attracts the best of the best on the International art scene. Beginning in July, this intensive course ran over three weeks during the busiest and hottest summer the city has ever seen. A peek inside my time at the Royal College of Art…

Royal College of Art Dyson Building - Battersea campus

Royal College of Art Dyson Building – Battersea campus

Week 1: my week began with setting up in the painting studios in the Sackler building on the Battersea campus, followed by an afternoon of presentations from faculty, alumni, staff and the 22 artists in this year’s summer program. Originating from Italy, Spain, NYC, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, China, Macao, and London; we all presented our work in the Gorvy Lecture Theatre over the course of the afternoon.

Brandy Saturley presenting Gorvy Lecture Theatre RCA

Brandy Saturley presenting Gorvy Lecture Theatre RCA

With our studios open and available 7 days a week, most nights until 8pm, we began independent study and creating new work under the influence of our course leader, Despina Zacharopoulou.  (Born in Greece, Zacharopoulou is a performance artist who holds a Master in Fine Arts, a Master in Visual Arts (Costume Design – Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts), and an Msc in Architecture. Apart from her artistic practice, she has been involved in academic teaching. She has participated in various exhibitions in Greece, Belgium, Russia and the UK and has received scholarships and awards for her academic achievements. Her biggest large-scale performance project so far was a seven week (324hrs) long durational performance entitled “Corner Time” commissioned by the Marina Abramovic Institute.)

Course leader Despina Zacharopoulou and Dean of RCA

Course leader Despina Zacharopoulou and Dean of RCA

Our first week included the hottest day on record for London at 40 degrees Celsius, this made for added challenges as we began creating new work and adjusting to our new routine in a very busy city. My week included art gallery visits to South London art gallery, WhiteChapel Gallery and the endlessly fascinating, Flat Time House. (Flat Time House was the studio home of British conceptual artist John Latham and is now open as a contemporary art gallery, centre for alternative learning and artist residency space, housing the John Latham archive.)

Flat Time House in Peckham, London

Flat Time House in Peckham, London

From first week tutorials with leading artists and alumni from around the world, to a film screening and discussion, we were well on our way to quickly integrating into this new art community. We were already finding ourselves experimenting with new ways of communicating, through the use of our chosen mediums.

RCA Sackler Studios - Brandy Saturley work in progress

RCA Sackler Studios – Union Jack painting by Brandy Saturley work in progress

Week 2: the weekend played an important role in offering concentrated studio time, preparing for our first critique sessions (crits) over the second week. The course continued with film screenings, and a writing workshop with Dr. Chantal Faust. (Dr Chantal Faust is an artist, writer and Senior Tutor at the RCA. Her photographic, painting, video and installation works have been exhibited in the UK, Australia and North America. Faust has contributed book chapters to contemporary art publications, and regularly writes for academic journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogues.)

Dr. Chantal Faust and Brandy Saturley

Dr. Chantal Faust and Brandy Saturley discussing work week 1

We found new ways of accessing our internal, visceral voice as artists, as we worked through movement and performance workshops led by Despina Zacharopoulou. This second week ended with more concentrated time in the studio.

Brandy Saturley performance art

performance workshop at RCA

The transformation begins: At this point I began to experience a transformative moment in my artwork, spurred on by the writing and performance workshops earlier in the week. Like many of the artists in the program, we began to move beyond our initial ideas and plans for art making. Ideas we had brought with us from our respective homes, and began making new work based on our experiences in the program, and influenced by our time in London. We were becoming like a ‘hive-mind’ of sorts, where our studio mates and our shared experiences were helping to form deep connections to our inner artist voices. Many of our interactions and workshops were quite intimate, which can often be foreign to the modern-day artist as we are sequestered in our studios alone, a great deal of the time. I also found that the use of technology, computer communication, and social media fell to the wayside in favour of personal connections.

Taking on #Brexit - The Art of Brandy Saturley

Taking on #Brexit – The Art of Brandy Saturley

Week 3: our last week began with working through our final details and preparing our works for the group exhibition on Friday. Our final tutorial sessions came on the Tuesday and I was pleased to be paired with Professor Jo Stockham for my final tutorial session. Jo has a wealth of knowledge and experience that I found valuable to my work as a painter.

photo of Brandy Saturley in studio by Hattie Allen

photo of Brandy Saturley in studio by Hattie Allen

(Jo Stockham professor and Head of the Printmaking programme since 2008. She began working at the Royal College of Art in 1993 as a Visiting Lecturer in Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking. After studying painting at Falmouth School of Art, Jo worked at Chisenhale Studios for two years before undertaking an MA in Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Returning to Chisenhale, she initiated an education programme with local schools and helped build Chisenhale Gallery, an experience which was formative in her desire to work in and create public spaces alongside studio work. Over the next 20 years, her studio practice was supported by running workshops for the Whitechapel Gallery, Tate, Camden Arts Centre and part-time teaching. Her first full-time teaching position commenced in 2008 when she became head of Printmaking at the RCA.)

A final film screening and a day of installing the show rounded out the week.

installing the show at RCA Dyson Gallery

installing the show at RCA Dyson Gallery

FINAL DAY AND SHOW: on our final day at the college we spent the day participating in final crits under the bold leadership of Professor Johnny Golding. (Johnny Golding is Professor of Philosophy & Fine Art, and Senior Tutor at the RCA. Born in NYC, Golding lived in Toronto carrying out PHD studies at the Universities of Toronto and Cambridge.)

talking about contemporary art - work by Brandy Saturley

talking about contemporary art – work by Brandy Saturley

Golding was joined by Habda Rashid, curator of WhiteChapel Gallery (Habda Rashid is Assistant Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, working on a variety of exhibitions including; commissions solo and survey shows. As part of her role she also coordinates, edits and writes in exhibition catalogues. Habda is also a visiting tutor on the MFA programme at, Goldsmith University and has sat on the selection panel for Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin.)

Habda Rashid - painting by Brandy Saturley

Habda Rashid curator WhiteChapel – painting Brandy Saturley

A spirited day of crits followed by an evening opening of our final art exhibition at the RCA Dyson Gallery; for alumni, staff, patrons and public.

It was an intense three weeks, with a fourth spent on my own exploring all London has to offer. I am still processing all the information and thinking about how my experiences in London will push my work forward as a professional artist. Unlike many of the artists and instructors I met, I rely solely on the sales of my work and commissions to support my full-time art career and not on income from teaching or a job on the side. It will be interesting to see where my work ends up from here and look forward to developing my relationships abroad, as I work towards my goal of exhibiting and selling work internationally.

Final exhibition Dyson Gallery

Your question may be, why does a successful mid-career painter from Canada upset her studio practice and take off to London to go to school and make new artwork. The answer is a continuous need to push beyond the boundaries of the work, the comfort zones. In order to keep me invested, I need to keep growing and risking things as an artist. The need to risk things and push myself into areas where I am not comfortable, it is what has gotten me to the place I am as a professional Canadian artist. I’m a creator and a fighter, and I am here to make the most honest, best work, I can. For routine kills creative thought and we must shake up or perspective, our routine and challenge our point of view, every so often.

Onward and upward! ~ Brandy

About the new paintings: more about the paintings created during my time at the Royal College of Art, with detailed photos.

Brandy Saturley with her paintings at RCA Sackler Studios

Brandy Saturley with her paintings at RCA Sackler Studios

*photos on this page courtesy; RCA, Despina Zacharopoulou, Hattie Allen, Mei Kei Lai, Brandy Saturley