Tuesday, 23 June 2015

feet firmly planted

on a poured concrete sidewalk. 
Normally not a huge source of pleasure 
as it's a grey, plain, hard, artificial and unloving surface. 
That doesn't mean it isn't engaging. 
There are subtle lines, ridges, bumps and veins of sand 
as well as a lovely play of shadow and light among all of those. 
And then...one day... I came back and the same, predictable plane
 was shimmering with absolute magic. 
There was green, oh my goddess, was there green! 
Yellowy, yummy, slimy, alive, acidic and intoxicating. 
Nature often finds its way into man made monopolies. 
Hello, beautiful organic stuff. 
How utterly gorgeous you are! 
Look at you, standing your ground against that reddish cedar bit. 
How beautifully you oppose the rusted piece of something. 
And, perhaps most importantly, That Tiny Speck of Blue is simply luscious.

Friday, 19 June 2015

from that day she let her heart bloom

She woke up and felt
like there was a song
flowing through her heart.
Just like that, she decided
to bring a flower along
every journey
she took from then on.

Shimmering with joy,
she knew that
this lightness was forever
around her.

Nikol Haskova Studio

tea rose

This one makes me smile. A departure from my realism birds, I wanted this painting to have a floaty, dreamy, Asian influenced feel. I've long admired Japanese brush, stylized historical watercolours. My tubes are still on a shelf unopened, but I played with high flow acrylics in a similar fashion. Technically, my only challenge was composition. The crow being focal point, while surrounded by strong-ish blooms, was a balancing act. The happiest point of the experiment? Flecks of copper foil, gently and sparsely placed. The intention was the addition of light and shimmer, minus the look of bling and distraction. 

Finished, "tea rose" reminds me of a poem, read to a beloved on a summer morn. Ah, romance is in the air!

Thursday, 18 June 2015


I've been called the Crow Lady for a while. While I understand people's category boxes, I find it funny.   The thing is, I was in love with about-to-be-fallen trees before I started painting crows and yet, I didn't get labeled as the Tree Lady. I was simply "Oh, you're the one that makes those beautiful tree paintings". Interestingly, when I took on figurative work, no one called me the Nude Lady either.  Understandable, but I get a giggle out of it.

To be fair, the corvid affair has been long lasting and, perhaps more importantly, intense. I won't go into details as you can simply peep the pics and titles on my website - you'll get it. Here's a wrench. It's a good one in that's possibly a direct opposite to the black feathered babes in every way.  Here is to sweet, bright, cheery, delicate, precious, heart beating with joy and awe.

To think it all started with sketching with my son on my studio floor. Never underestimate the power of play.


Nikol Haskova Studio

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

sketchy characters hanging around

The Fort Gallery is such an incredible place. In their 10th year, they have many exploratory exhibitions under their belt. Founded by the amazing Suzanne Northcott, one of my mentors (and when timing works my teacher), this place has offered local artists something of a rarity in a contemporary gallery:
a space to challenge one's creative self with barely-there-rules shows. There have been kimonos constructed out of recycled take out boxes. There was the artist sleeping in residence exhibition with dreams written on the walls. I could go on.

When it became apparent that the next show would have to be thrown in super fast, the idea of sketches came up. No frames needed, we can hang the papers on pins, board, whatever. Because we all have hundreds of sketches ready to go, right? Well - not exactly. Not me. I paint. I don't sketch. If I wanted to contribute, I had to pull on my thinking hat and sip a glass of bravery. "They're not expecting your painting skills", I told myself. "Go for it, just jump in and see", played on repeat in my head.

Do I love the result? Not sure yet, but others seem to enjoy them. I'm happy that I did it and limited myself to finish within a half hour with each creation. A lot less time than I spent on my paintings, that's for sure. In the end, it was fun. I learned so much more about crow anatomy than I ever had from just working from my photos. I think I'll build on this sketching skill thing.

Friday, 12 June 2015

the untitled have been named

It was a fun contest with a huge pile of entries. There were visitors, students, friends - even their kids came by and chirped in. Names of my painting have always been important to me. What became unimportant, even if tickle-like challenging, was giving up my attachment to the works. Obviously I've let go hundreds of times - nearly 700 times, in fact. What I noticed is how I steered the names of the paintings toward my own emotions. Unavoidable, you say?

True, unless... someone else chose. So it began. Ideas written on papers, with stories, names, numbers, chit chat, happy faces and so on. 'They' were tucked under "Samsara", an original, Asian-feel piece with a golden koi fish and royal red, slicker than slick finish. That was the prize to be won. I didn't have to pick your titles. Just your name. Pure chance, grass roots, the winning entry was pulled by my son out of his pirate hat. Literally.

The winner is a university student, at least I suspect by his email. Perhaps the best person to win. I like the idea of an original painting hanging in his dorm room instead of a sports poster. Cool. Very likely, buying a piece of art wouldn't have been on his agenda for a long time, either. Extra cool.

I introduce "Cerna Kralovna" and "Vyvoleny". The names fit the paintings beautifully. The girl that chose them speaks Portugese and English. Go figure. She even had all the accents on properly. What a gal! Thank you, beautiful goddess. You're an incredible mind.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015


When you find a flicker of light
Bring it everywhere you go

When you see a pretty flower
Inhale with all your might

When you eat a lovely morsel
Give it time to melt in your mouth

When you hear Frederick, wherever
Please sit and listen with closed eyes

Most of all, please, always know
That you are the sweetest treasure


the collector

Make your own song
And go for a treasure hunt
You can wear your tiara
And I'll bring your opera gloves


bliss tucked under her wing

A challenge, a switch up, a limitation. All are good companions in the studio. I tried something new and it felt sooooo good. Miniatures. Well, miniatures for me. A lot of recent work has been large scale, and while that itself is always challenging, I wondered how it would feel to go in the opposite direction.
I made 8 panels, six by six inches each. I gave myself a time limit, but opened the fun box. Literally.

There is a box I put little bits into. Snippets of images, words, book pages, lace, interesting string, you get the idea. Mixed media collage. It was so much fun! The opposite of the biggies indeed, even in a mental sense. The large works leave me physically and emotionally spent. I often cry when I'm done. Not in a happy way, but not in a bad way. It's just a way to air out all the pent up thought and intensity that are necessary for this work, at least for me. These tiny ones were light, full of pleasure, smiling through the process, absolutely no friction. In fact, when I found myself getting serious, I walked away to make a cup of tea and forced a giggle.

I love them. My son requested one for his room and it made me grin.

I don't need a reason 
To smile from my heart
Because I have a flower
Tucked underwing 


listening with eyes closed

I went for a walk
But couldn't see much
A crown blocked my eyes

It didn't matter
For I could still hear
I didn't need to look up

A song wrapped me up
In a charming blanket
Of sweet, precious sound

And I walked along
With that lovely song
And saw it all with closed eyes


It didn't matter
Where she stood
She always felt at home

Dressed for occasion
And with her heart warm 
She always got along

nowhere else to be

Closed eyes
Breath in, breath out
Feeling a shimmer inside

Basking in the warmth
Of knowing deeply
There is absolutely nowhere else to be



A curious soul
He stepped off a path
To poke a wee hole

He heard a loud sound
And when he looked in
He made himself all bold

He couldn't resist
For he loved to explore
Now what do you think he found?