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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 Artist and her Male Muse: the 13th Canadian Portrait

painting of brandy saturley

A muse’s job is to penetrate the male artist and bring forth a work from the womb of his mind, right? Historically speaking, the artists muse is a woman, who is a great source of artistic inspiration. In mythology, the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences. There have been many famous traditional artist/muse relationships over the years such as Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol’s poor little rich girl, or Dora Maar who inspired several of Picasso’s most famous paintings. For women throughout art history, the relationship between female artist and male muse has often been more subtle, hidden behind the canvas, rarely depicted.

Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol on the set of Ciao! Manhattan (1972)

In today’s world, a muse is a person who serves as an artist’s inspiration, and there are more female artists painting their male muses. Traditionally male artist’s, and men in many professions provided, and women raised the family and took care of the household. Gendered expectations of women as primary caretakers of others, would get in the way of women pursuing cultural production.

My grandmother was one of these women, as she was busy raising a family and helping run a business on the Canadian prairies. Recently I discovered my grandmothers hand written recipe book, with about twenty blank pages at the end. Thinking there was nothing more most would just close the book and toss to the side. I thought it was strange and flipped to the back of the book where I found lists. These lists were ideas, and information, perhaps read in newspapers or seen on TV and heard on radio. The lists included a budget for art supplies and painting lessons. It seemed in later years my grandmother found a way to save her pennies and put this money towards making art, mostly in secret. My grandmother owned and ran a gas station, ran a restaurant and nightclub, sewed and weaved traditional Ukrainian textiles. My mother was very close with my grandmother and she also began cooking, and enjoying creative pursuits such as drawing and painting. These women instilled a love for the arts in my life. I did not take to the domestic side of life, I dreamed of grander pursuits and envisioned a wildly creative life.

Ukrainianweaving

Fast-forward to 2014, I began creating a body of work that would rely on collaboration with everyday Canadians, and people not necessarily connected to the arts or near major art centers. I suppose looking back now, it is like I am reaching back in time and trying to bring art to those that did not have access or see the value of artistic pursuits, or perhaps it is that I am reaching out to everyone in hopes to touch their lives through art, to speak to them through painting. This project, the ‘People of Canada Portrait Project’ relies on Canadians to send me a photo of themselves, in their authentic clothing, central to their identities. Through the process of interview questions, I decide on a background for the painting and then paint the subjects into the background, in many cases.

Now five years in and 13 paintings, the project has grown organically and at a much slower pace than I had originally anticipated. As the project has been a side-bar to my core work as an artist, I give it what time I can as I work on several projects concurrently, including running my business as an independent artist. As such I have been able to watch my work grow as my technical abilities for portraiture mature.

As I am coming into my 13th year working as a full-time professional artist, it seemed appropriate to paint a self portrait and the person who is integral to my life. Not only is he my greatest muse, he is my greatest supporter and sometimes collaborator. He is my husband and as I write this I realize that we will also be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary this December. Seems like the number 13 is our lucky number.

In numerology the number 13 tends to accomplish most things without the need of others or relying on them to make the decisions. Most of the goals are about building the foundation for the future. 13’s are very determined and tend to go after their goals with persistence. The basic meaning of 13 is composed of the ideas of focus, pragmatism, secure foundation, independence, and creative self-expression.

Referenced as #ICONICCANUCK and the #KILTPIPER on the People of Canada Portrait Project website, we are a couple of gregarious and life loving Canadians who live for the moment, and road trips in our ruby red JEEP.

As with the previous portraits we will participate in answering questions about ourselves and our thoughts about being Canadian, through grilling one another. For now here is the portrait; The Artist and The Muse. More to follow…

Brandy Saturley Canadian artist

An entrepreneurial mother, and a meritorious Canadian son.

What does it feel like to receive a Meritorious Service Medal from the governor General of Canada, with your mother and family at your side? In creating the most recent portrait for the People of Canada Portrait Project, I had the privilege of expressing the answer to this question, on canvas.

This story began in Empress, Alberta where Alice Rinker was born in 1932. An only child, Alice was observant and curious, which is likely what drove her to explore her options and further her education. She later settled in Medicine Hat where she married, started a family business with her husband and raised seven children. She survived the loss of two husbands and the raising of seven children, no small feat for a woman of such petite stature.

So, put yourself in Alice’s shoes. You are a hard-working, homesteading, entrepreneurial, and proud prairie woman. One of your sons, Aaron Gyorkos, earns a degree in Biology/Oceanography from University of Victoria, joins the Armed Forces and becomes a career Naval Officer. He serves his country all over the world, from combat to commandment of school projects, to project management. You receive word that your son is going to receive a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General at Rideau Hall in our nations capital city, Ottawa, in Ontario Canada.

Imagine the emotions of this day, between mother and son and family. This photo was taken shortly after this momentous occasion, inside Rideau Hall, and those beaming smiles are undeniable. When I received this photo I was unaware of the occasion, as I reached out to the family for more information and additional photos I came to realize the full picture and weight of the day.

This is where my emotions kick-in and my mind begins to drift from the photos, to the locations expressed in my written interview with the family and the process behind this portrait project. With this project I have been taking the background from the submitted photos and replacing it with a Canadian landscape or location that I feel suits the personalities and emotions of the people in the portrait. I want the portrait to tell a complete story, without words. I’m not just creating portraits of Canadians, I am creating portraits of Canada. Figurative landscapes that will communicate stories for generations to come. I’m not sure if I am always ‘hitting the mark’, but I am working hard to honor the people and their stories, combined with my signature style of expression as a visual artist. I work from intuition mostly and rely on what I ‘feel’ about my subjects.

As with all the portraits in the series I am documenting the creative process behind painting the piece and sourcing unique music, that fits the tone of the piece as the soundtrack. As such I am searching for original music from young or historical Canadian artists.

Watch the creation of, ‘Golden Day’s here:

This story will continue to unfold on the People of Canada Portrait Project website in the months to come, for now you can enjoy the finished portrait here.

Golden Days – Original acrylic painting on canvas by Brandy Saturley, 2018

PAINTING CANADA: Featured in Reader’s Digest OUR CANADA Magazine June/July 2016

Originally published May 17, 2016

Art Inspired by Canada – Brandy Saturley featured in Our Canada Magazine July 2016

It has been quite the journey these past five years, exploring Canada. From the most rural to the grandest; cultivating a visual language that is distinctly Canadian. I have toured local museums in the most rural of villages, to our greatest architectural wonders housing our Canadian histories of art, sport and culture. I have hiked back-roads, neighborhoods, mountains, wilderness and through city streets. I have been a passenger on buses, cars, ferries, planes, boats, skytrains, streetcars and subways. You see, I don’t drive, never really wanted to, and am truly happy I do not. I am sure that most everyone else out there is thankful I don’t! I figure I am saving a few lives everyday. Curious is something I have always been, and not driving has served this curiosity in ways I never could have imagined as a teen growing up in a rural community of Canada. I recall reading something about Paul McCartney still taking the subway in New York when he has the chance, and I totally get why. The only true way to understand the beat on the ground and in the people, from all walks and all cultures, is to walk among them, every chance you get. From the finest dram of Scotch to cheap beer and the finest tenderloin to the squeakiest cheese curds on poutine; I am fortunate for all of these experiences. I think it was Queen Victoria, the namesake of my hometown, that said; “Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous.” I don’t know about dangerous, but certainly curious enough to warrant no boundaries. This brings me to a little feature that was recently published in Reader’s Digest Our Canada Magazine. This year’s Canada Day issue, now on shelves in Chapters and in subscribers mailboxes across the country, features four lovely pages filled with my words and paintings. I talk about this journey of the past five years and the resulting art inspired by these adventures. The June/July 2016 issue is available on newsstands and here. Keep on exploring and creating; vive le Canada! ~ Brandy Saturley

People of Canada Portrait Project – Our Canada Magazine 2016

Talking about ‘Canadianisms’ and ‘The People of Canada Portrait Project’ with SHAW TV

Originally published June 29, 2017

On this Canada Day 2017, the 150th anniversary of confederation and the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal, I am mindful of all those peoples who have come before us. All those who have shaped and fought for the country we call home, and all those that cared for the land before our forefathers arrived. I am proud to be a Canadian and my hopes for Canada are high as we continue to learn about, and love one another. I am thankful for all of you reading this Blog, and all of you who have supported my work over the years.

I am also thankful to all those who have submitted photos to the ‘People of Canada Portrait Project’ – the project is in full swing and I have many more paintings to create and stories to share. Last week I spoke with SHAW Community Producer, Kathleen Burton, about the project and the inspiration behind the project. Here is the interview, currently airing on SHAW Community Producers segments on SHAW TV. Enjoy and Happy Canada Day!

People of Canada Portrait Project – an interview by Christa Couture for the CBC #Canada2017

In 2011, a journey began. It started with an experience during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, that caused me to reflect on what it means to be a Canadian. From this a series of paintings emerged, the project became known as #ICONICCANUCK. These paintings extended my connections with people, I found myself painting athletes for Canadian Tire Jumpstart in Toronto and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary. These events allowed me to interact with more people, from all corners of Canada and continue the discussion. My journey then led to a solo showing of these paintings in Edmonton in December 2013. In 2014, I launched a parallel project inspired by the conversations I was having with Canadians, the project became known as ‘The People of Canada Portrait Project’ , in which Canadians submit their best Canadian ‘selfie’ and I paint their portrait. Fast forward to 2016; the photos keep coming in and my journey across the Canadian landscape continues. This year I connected with people on the ground in Yellowknife, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Torono, Montreal and Ottawa. Through these experiences I had even more discussion and it is the people I met, in person and on-line, who set me on a deeper journey questioning, who are the People of Canada? Whether born, immigrated to, or ex-patriot, I want to know you, the People of Canada.

In November I received an email from singer, songwriter, and storyteller, Christa Couture, (Associate Producer for CBC Canada 2017) and the result is this lovely article, shining a light on the project.

“Enticed by the power of portraiture, Saturley wants to explore and showcase the rich diversity of Canadians through focusing on the relationships we have. When choosing which photo submissions to turn into paintings, she asks the subjects a series of questions.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Brandy Saturley CBC

Brandy Saturley talks with Christa Couture for the CBC.