Friday, March 16, 2018

Echinacea Project

Getting back into my creative flow after a busy autumn and Christmas, and I have many projects still in progress but which I look forward to sharing soon. I take too much time to plan everything in my life and these first botanical projects were very important to me and although I didn't obsess with perfection, I did struggle with many decisions about my process and defining it, even though I know it will evolve. I also needed to become more familiar with Facebook and Instagram for business as well as learning more about managing an Etsy shop. These things take an enormous amount of time, at least for me, to understand and learn how to operate and I have only made baby steps but that's ok. I have learned to accept my slow pace with dignity. Having only one item in my Etsy shop isn't where I wanted to be at this time but I am moving forward with enthusiasm and my business Facebook page and Instagram page will soon be a reality as well.

The flowers for my echinacea project, inspired by my Montreal Echinacea Balcony print, will be in a flat, top view arrangement, with the petals rendered in colour pencils and the flower centres drawn with vector shapes and lines. I will go more into detail about why I love using this mixed technique in a future post. Because of the importance of this flower in nature for pollination and for it's uses in natural healing therapies it has become a more meaningful goal and experience for me to create these flowers. The echinacea's rounded head which appears to be simple in design, is quite complex and challenging to recreate in a drawing. The ray florets of the flower centre grow in a specific spiral pattern well known to biologists and botanists as the golden ratio or Fibonacci sequence. I laboured for many frustrating hours trying to achieve a proportional arrangement which wasn't working for me so I went back to my own photo reference (above) and after careful observation, I realized once again how perfectly imperfect nature is. I drew from my photo reference instead of geometric calculations and everything is coming together now. Check back for the reveal of the completed flower in my next post coming soon :)

Like many creatives, and from my experience as a technical illustrator, I like to do research and become familiar with the subjects I draw not only to benefit my artwork but also to gain knowledge about new things.  Botanical art inspires me to develop my drawing skills further in a new direction but also to gain new knowledge about plants and botany which I know very little about at this time except for some houseplant and basic flowerpot gardening. The diversity and benefits of plant life is infinite and ever-changing and I am truly excited about continuing on this new journey of creating botanical art to enrich my life and hopefully to also to give back by becoming more involved with conservation and biodiversity projects in my community.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Filario - My New ETSY Shop

I have new Etsy shop! It's called Filario ! Filario is a Greek word for "little leaf" and my recent interest in botanical life has led me to create art I love and art I would like to sell.

Filario will be open only a few days this week AUGUST 24 - 25 - 26 for a pre-opening sale featuring my first art print: Montreal Echinacea Balcony now 20% off at 24$ CA. This print will be available again later this fall (regular price - 30$) for the official opening.

I am working on other botanical art as well but since summer is still here, I wanted to offer this print while flowers are still around and people are still sitting on their balconies. Montreal Echinacea Balcony has been adapted from my Balconville Postcard design that was published by Uppercase Magazine Issue 34 (see previous post). That project has helped me go forward decisively with all the botanical art ideas that have been hovering in my brain which are now finally being developed into final art using digital and hand-drawn textures.

Click on the SHOP link to your right or visit my shop here: Filario

Saturday, July 8, 2017


My posts are few but my art projects are moving along slowly. Busy spring puts a halt to my creativity but I am patient. Taking photos helps my creative mind stay active but I still can't dedicate myself to a sketchbook yet. However, I was able to squeeze in this little postcard design I submitted to Uppercase Magazine for Issue 34.

Montreal is my hometown and is often referred to as balconville in the summertime by many Montrealers who spend their summer vacations at home, often on their balconies, relaxing with friends or cultivating their tiny flower gardens. I adore the vintage balconies in the Plateau area and I included in my design, the Montreal echinacea which was unveiled as Montreal's official flower last year, a hybrid created by a Quebec breeder to attract bees. These flowers will be planted all over the city for Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations.

I found out early spring that there was an open call for a "Greetings From" or "Wish You Were Here" postcard design for Uppercase Magazine's summer issue and I thought what better way to commemorate my beautiful home town on it's 375th birthday than with a illustration celebrating vintage architecture and the Montreal echinacea flower. This image will be available as a print in my new ETSY shop coming soon in August. Follow me for more news on this blog or on Instagram.

Reading on the Balcony
My Dad on the left 1959 - balcony of one of his first apartments in Plateau area
Me and my cousin on the right -1966, balcony of our apartment on Bloomfield ave. in Park Extension

I have very fond memories of spending time on balconies. As a child, windows and balconies were fascinating to me because I could observe (for hours) the changing sky, squirrels and birds, the rustling leaves or snow covered trees and neighbourhood life through the seasons. My favourite activity on my balcony was of course reading and it still is. We've lived in a few different homes and they all had balconies. Later on as an adult, my husband and I bought our first home in the west end of the city without any balconies. Although it was spacious, it just didn't feel right without a balcony. We sold it and moved back closer to the city and bought another house with a balcony front and back surrounded by giant trees. We've lived there ever since. Balconies are essential for our home especially to a native Montrealer like me!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Uppercase 33

Have I told you that my favourite art magazine is Uppercase? Well now you know! I discovered this gem in 2012 from an article in another art magazine, which I was never able to find again or remember what it was called. Probably threw it out?  But Uppercase is worth keeping and rereading again and again because the articles are timeless and always interesting. The artists and makers featured in these pages are not all well-known gallery artists but mostly self-employed and thriving creatives from all over the world and from many different disciplines & cultures. There is a historical and anthropological context to many of the stories which always illuminates the process of how things come into existence and that is what I find the most interesting of all. No ads, only peeps which are mini ads that creatives who are also subscribers can place on a dedicated page in each issue. There is a lot to discover with Uppercase and to contribute. Issue 33 is the latest issue, available soon and you can see more here

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

BAnQ Celebrates Montreal

Last night, Le Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec in Montreal (BAnQ) in collaboration with Le Centre québécois de ressources en littérature pour la jeunesse (CQRLJ) hosted an evening to introduce two wonderful initiatives to help the city's youth celebrate Montreal's 375th Anniversary. It was a free event and some well known Quebec authors and illustrators were present.

The first initiative, in collaboration with Les Editions de l'Isatis is a collection of poetry called Montréal j'ai quelque chose à te dire, by a selected group of Montreal authors from different backgrounds and faculties accompanied by magnificent illustrations by Philippe Beha, to be released in March 2017. We were treated to an expo of Philippe Beha's original paintings and a recital by some of the contributing authors.

Gilles Tibo reciting Trois enfants

The other initiative is colourful installation being exhibited at the library: De A à Z, 26 Clin D'oeil sur ta ville. Little cubicles lined up in the Espace Jeunes area, display different interactive perspectives of the city of Montreal from past to present in a joyful and modern abecedary with lyrical prose by Jeanne Painchaud. A guided tour of the installation was offered to all participants at the presentation.

For more information about the exhibition and other events at the library, please visit the BAnQ here and about the poetry book you can visit Les Editions de l'Isatis here

Monday, January 23, 2017


While nature sleeps I am still observing and taking photos when I go outside but mostly, I watch the changing landscape from indoors. It doesn't matter if the weather is stormy or sunny, I always appreciate the beauty of every season. Even when rough Canadian winters have interfered with my daily routines throughout the years, I have always stopped to notice little things like the quietness, the softness of the snow-covered branches of trees merging with the muted sky in the distance or their grey-blue shadows on the snow illuminated by the sun.

In that quietness, I relax and know, that nature endures despite the harshness of winter and remains beautiful while it patiently waits for the next season to arrive in its eternal cycle of of life, always changing always being renewed. As I continue on my creative journey cultivating the ideas which have been sleeping for a while, I am developing the first sketches of my leaf studies and I appreciate and acknowledge that every step in the creative process is important, like the changing seasons. Winter's quietness, especially after the holidays is always the most introspective time of year for me when I can really clear my thoughts and focus on new ideas.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


The book I illustrated a few years ago, The Apple in the Orchard written by Sonia Di Maulo has been awarded the 2017 Award of Excellence for Outstanding Human Performance Communication by The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). The award will be officially announced at the conference which will be held in Montreal in April 2017. You can now get an e-Version of the book until December 16, 2016 for free here !

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Little Leaf

In October 2015, I submitted a little leaf drawing to be printed in a colouring calendar that was later included in the winter issue of Uppercase Magazine. I simply drew the outline of the leaf design in my blog header which I had created in coloured pencil when I first launched my blog. It was a big thrill for me to participate in an Uppercase publication because this magazine brings me so much joy and comfort when I am not able to make personal art due to other responsibilities. It was even more special because my drawing was placed on my mother's birthday in the calendar layout. Sometimes little things made with love become even more meaningful when they are shared. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this lovely little calendar project with all these other wonderful artists and Uppercase subscribers around the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Found my Dreidel - A Children's Book

I am very pleased to announce that the children's book I illustrated, I Found my Dreidel,
written and self-published by Joel Abelson is now available on and
It is a story about Josh and Sarah who are getting ready to celebrate Hannukah and includes illustrations that show step by step instructions for learning how to play the dreidel game.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ephemeral Art Experiments

Creating custom illustration work for technical and educational publishing has been both challenging and rewarding and my career as an illustrator/graphic designer has spanned from a pre-computer era of working with mechanical pens and pencils on a drawing table to the cloud technology software of today. Like many creative people today who are overwhelmed with working long hours in front of the computer screen, I miss my pencils and my paints and working on paper. I long to create personal artwork with hand-made techniques and have more freedom for self-expression. I have felt the need, for a long time, to explore and create this finer kind of art which can be exhibited, gifted, displayed, donated and sold for others to enjoy as well. My inspiration for this work came about when I started drawing the leaves for the trees in The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia Di Maulo. As my experience (and motivation) grew with new skills and techniques, and discovering the resources which are now available to exhibit and sell art prints in todays online markets, I began dreaming of the possibilities. Gradually I began to pay closer attention to the natural world around me and was reminded of the infinite and diverse specimens it provides as reference and inspiration and so I began planning my ideas for a new direction of personal work, botanical art. This is the meaningful work I have wanted to do and I am now finally ready to start.

To add to the motivation, I recently discovered through Uppercase Magazine and Instagram, several ephemeral artists who create somewhat abstract compositions with found specimens in nature: leaves, stones, twigs, seed pods, shells and one artist creates work from man made found objects as well.  When assembled, these artists take photographs of their work and/or glue them to surfaces and exhibit their creations. I was truly intrigued by the beauty and simplicity of this medium and I decided to give it a try. With my smartphone camera in hand, I started at first just taking photos of various trees, plants and flowers as I tried to discover what my preferences were and then I started my own Instagram account to share my joy. Eventually during our recent visit to Greece, I created my first ephemeral compositions from natural flowers, leaves and olives. This experience has been a lot of fun and it has opened up a whole new perspective on how to approach creating botanical art. It is a meditative activity which forces you to focus on spontaneous playful creativity. It is very different from traditional observation drawing and painting which focuses on botanical forms as they exist in nature. Ephemeral art gives you the freedom to make your own unique arrangements much like zen botanists who create Ikebana and I believe it will be very useful for developing my own botanical illustration art. There is much to learn and much to do!
Please visit me on Instagram in the meantime or follow my blog for more news