Gaspé visit inspires new mixed media series

©Gwen Hayes Rock Flower Feather_9412-15I had been ‘mulling’ for quite some time. Mulling often feels like a creative drought, but the optimist in me recognizes it as ideas not yet come to the surface.

The pebbles on Rock, Flower, Feather came from a beach we visited in the Gaspé in the summer. I gathered the pebbles on an unseasonably chilly day, transported them back home in a plastic Perrier bottle, put the lot on a shelf and forgot about them for a couple of months.

But one day, I pulled out a canvas painted in 2012, threw the pebbles on it and thought OMG!! this is it… I have something here… add my own photos (I took hundreds at Jardins de Metis in the Gaspé but these photos were flowers in my aunt’s garden in Bancroft)… add a dried to a crisp stem with berries – found… the feathers (perfect match to the paint) and sent to me from my sister…

Inspiration found me and now that I’d started making things, I couldn’t stop. I was so excited… I wanted to hop in the car and head straight back to the Gaspé to pick up more pebbles (luckily I’ve found different places to pick up pebbles).

Work in Progress 9243One after the other (see the other pieces here) I laid down the basis for each piece, and then proceeded to work on them all at once (seven to start), moving back and forth between them over the next three weeks or so, until I got them just so… more are in the works as I continue to refine my ideas.

You just never know when new inspiration will hit and I do feel as a friend said, that this series is “honouring the earth” and also that there is a sense of renewal in terms of how the materials I’ve collected over the years are being used and even in the fun I’ve been having creating these pieces.

The impact of seemingly secure

Someone sent me this quote today and it just seems so fitting that I had to share. This applies not just to things that are no longer meaningful, but also to situations where things are simply no longer an option for us and no longer available to us. For those in transition it certainly asks us to consider how important ‘security’ is to us and the impact of that need (or fear) in how we are (or are not) choosing to move forward in our lives. Here’s to movement!



Process Painting at Kripalu

Recently spent a wonderful week process painting with Stewart Cubley, Caroline McCartie and over 20 painters at Kripalu in Stockbridge Massachusetts. I’m looking forward to offering a process painting program possibly augmented with expressive arts here in Toronto – GTA. Call me if you’re interested in participating!




I picked up my pencils again

Facilitating Learn to Draw classes for beginning artists reminded me that I had been longing to draw more often, myself! And in a world where everything’s gone digital, having a portrait of your  loved one could be quite a gift, don’t you think? This one is a 18 x 26″ drawing… the recipient said “it’s perfect”… which made me glow a little. There’s one more to check out  in the gallery.

Portrait of HWH by Gwen Hayes, Toronto artist











You know things are getting interesting when …

IMG_7362 (480x360)July 8, 2014. The clouds get all dark and the storm is beyond brewing – it’s pelting us with half-inch hailstones, we’re steering through 90 degree wind shifts, and adjusting for gusts, whitecaps and waves…  We look back and I’m thinking maybe those nasty clouds are a tornado brewing! Not. Yay. Phew.

We are well prepared, with foul weather gear and life vests; close (enough?) to shore and a safe harbour, both of which, within minutes, we can’t see anymore. And funny, as in strange, how I can become so anxious when my husband goes forward on flat waters to do the usual stuff on deck, but we can sail through a storm like this, and I find it… exhilarating. I take pictures… dozens of them, when just maybe I should be trimming the sails.

Sailing provides so many metaphors for so many other aspects of our lives. Focus. Preparation. Distractions. Jumping to conclusions. Making adjustments. Relief. Fun. Fear of loss. Being safe. Taking risks.

You can’t outrun a storm. May as well enjoy it.



Solo Exhibition

Over 25 of my watercolours and acrylic paintings are on display at Gold Picture Frames and Gallery Wall here in Toronto – well, Scarborough, along with many more matted/unframed originals. It feels good to show my work in my community and I’m grateful for family, friends and supporters who came to the opening. Since then three pieces have sold. Feels a bit like sending ‘my babies’ out into the world… they’re leaving the nest. The show is on until July 31st, then it’s a question of what’s next!