My first BIG painting


Painting found me, not the other way around. It's been an adventure in assessing my own skills, trying new things, and figuring out how to make things work. Luckily, I've got a lot of practice!

I took the original photo for this piece in May of 2016, while my then-hometown of Fort McMurray was under a mandatory evacuation order because of 'The Beast' a massive wildfire that destroyed thousands of homes and displaced all 88,000 of us for just shy of a month.

I found myself staying with family in Calgary and my fiance and I decided to make the most of it and day-trip to Banff. We stumbled across this bridge and I knew I needed a photo of it. It is important to find beauty in the midst of challenging times.

Painting has been a way for me to do that. I'm able to focus and clear my mind while I paint in a way that is not accessible to me at other times.

This painting of Cascade Mountain took a LOT of focus to finish. I started with the sky and worked downward, building on some things I learned while painting 'Three Sisters' and 'By the Bow'. I put white paint down as placeholders in the mountain and then filled in the grey around it. Then I did the river, focusing on smooth brushstrokes to mimic the icy, swift flow of the Bow River.

Adding the trees took two sessions, and I'm glad it did because I realized the trees on the left were too short. I fixed them up and then started the scary bit: adding the man-made elements. But each step went OK and I just kept going.

The big takeaway from my first big picture: take your time and think things through and everything will work out.