Happy Sketch

My Random Happy Sketches!

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Peripherals is Funded!

I’m pleased to announce that my project, Peripherals: Paintings of Visual Impairment, has been awarded a grant from the Ontario Arts Council! Funding from this grant will go toward supplies needed to complete a full body of work that I hope to complete by end of Summer 2018.

Peripherals will show case paintings of how I see the world through my legally blind eye as well as an artistic interpretation of visual impairment through videography.  For more information about this project please read here.

Thank you OAC for your help making this dream a reality!

Left Right Thank You

Pictured above is my first painting studies of how I see through my legally blind eye. I painted the same subject, this dead birch tree, so you can see the difference. The right is as I normally see it and the left is with my right eye closed forcing myself to look with only my legally blind eye. The red area is my blind spot. It is normally black but it glows red when my head is turned towards bright light. In this case that light would be the sun behind the cloudy sky.

This is only my first study, I will be doing many more throughout the year in preparation for final paintings. Stay tuned!


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Peripherals, a Brand New Art Project

I’ve started a new project that is very different from everything I’ve created before!  I filmed an announcement about the project that you can see here on my Facebook page or you can read along as I go into deeper detail about the specifics of what my project entails.

Peripherals is the name of the new body of work I am setting out to create! This body of work will be paintings of how I see through my legally blind eye. For those of you who have been following along with this blog off and on for the past 6 years (6 years?!) this is probably news to you. That’s because I can see perfectly fine with my one good eye, with a pair of glasses for its nearsightedness, so it didn’t seem necessary to mention it before.

If that’s the case then why am I suddenly deciding to do this project? Well, in the past few years I’ve been listening to the stories of a family member who is currently in the process of going completely blind. I’ve learned about their emotional and social challenges that they have been going through due to their significant loss of sight. Not only that but the harassment they face on a regular basis from the public simply because they cannot see well. The harassment seems to be worse when people find out that they are not completely blind. They told me they wished they could show people exactly what they were seeing so people could understand what they were going through and stop bothering them. (In another post I will go into detail about what exactly I mean by “bothering” and “harassment”). Because of their stories I realized I was in the right position to do exactly that, show people what visual impairment looks like. I cannot show you that family member’s legal blindness but I can you show mine.

This is how I’m going to do it!

I’m going to paint exactly what I’m seeing through my legally blind eye. To do that, I need to look at my subject with my good eye closed. I look with my bad eye and make a mental note of what I’m seeing. Then, I will paint what I saw with my good eye. If you were to watch me, the whole process would look ridiculous. I will closing my good eye over and over again, as if I am winking at my canvas.

Now to try to be as accurate as possible I need to paint from life and not from photographs. This means I won’t be taking old paintings and painting black spots on it to show an approximation of how it looks. There are so many approximations all over the internet and in text books with artists and scientists showing images of what tunnel vision or blind spots may look like. I’m going to show you exactly how I see!

Here’s the nitty gritty!

If I’m only going to be painting from life and not from photos that means I will be painting scenes of my apartment/studio, my friends, myself and of my city. As you’ve seen with my previous work I mostly paint from photographic reference. Although, I have painted from life many times before, but mostly of models during life drawing, or of still lifes in my studio. I haven’t done any En Plein Air (Painting outside) and unless I want my whole body of work to be just set in my apartment, I need to get comfortable painting outside. In public!

The break down is as follows.

Over the next few weeks I will be carting my supplies to various spots in the city and painting. I will not be painting my view from my bad eye, as of yet. First I want to get comfortable painting outside. What’s the difference between outside and inside? Time. Inside, I can control the light source. Outside, the sun is my light source and it moves, so I really only have an hour to get my composition and colours just right and then another hour or two to work on the details based on my initial composition. Or so I think, I haven’t really done this before :P

As I’m practicing I will also be “Scouting” out good spots and working on possible compositions. So there will end up being a lot of paintings of the same areas. From these studies I will decide what subjects I want to focus on.

Then, In the next month or so when I’ve become somewhat more comfortable with painting outside, I will start painting my favourite locations as I see them with my bad eye. On days that it’s raining I will work on compositions from inside my apartment/studio.

Don’t worry, because it’s been raining a lot up here in London, Ontario, I suspect you’ll see some “blind eye” paintings from my apartment really soon.

After I’ve collected enough En Plein Air studies that I am happy with, I will take them into the studio and repaint them on larger canvases. The paintings inside my apartment can probably start right away on large canvases once I’ve decided on subject and composition.

There is also the option of taking a larger canvas to a location on multiple days until it is completed. I just need to go to that location at the same time each day I go, so the lighting is correct. We will see as I go along which option will work best. I have a lot to learn!

I’m trying to paint as much as I can right now because there are only a couple of months before summer is over, then a couple of months before the weather gets really bad and I’m forced to stay inside. So, for the first little while, expect a lot of En Plein Air paintings!

During the month of August I will also be spending a week doing research on what it’s like living as a legally blind person. I will talk more about that as we get closer to that time.

Phew, I haven’t written a post this long in a while! I’ve already done a couple of days of En Plein Air painting so here are some pics of how they turned out! Please comment with any questions you may have or just comments on what you think of my project. Thanks!



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“Unframed”…A New Painting

In continuation of my “Identity” series I started back in 2014, I recently finished this small piece with plans to create more. This painting will be 1 of a set of 4. I’m really excited to finally be able to get back to work on this. Over the past couple of years working on “The Gift” and portrait commissions has left “Identity” sizzling on the back burner. While working on those other projects I thought of different ways I could expand on that idea. I hope you enjoy the work I produce in the next while. Anyway…


Unframed #1 – Oil on Canvas and Wood Frame 9.5″ by 9.5″


I painted all of it.




I threw it up on my wall and it looks great beside the Tornado by Brian Harvey and prints by Bryce Huffman. The white oval frame at the bottom will be my next canvas. (The two figures and flowers are my paintings…obviously?)


Sketchbook and Water Damage

How was my sketchbook damaged? It got caught in the rain of course as is the fate of most of my sketchbooks.

Lately I’ve been working on a large drawing (which also had a one on one with H20 recently) instead of painting. My studio and world in general has been a little chaotic due to moving so once my new place is settled and I’m finished this drawing I’m sure I’ll be back at the easel.


I had plans for this sketch, but I gave up, because water damage.


A thumb for an idea for a possible painting plus water damage.


This was going to be so epic! But water damage!


“Some dude’s shirt on the streetcar”


Restless people at the passport office.


100 Portrait Project is Back from the Dead!

Last week I sat at the easel and took 10 mins to sign “The Gift” at the bottom right hand corner. I sat back and stared and realized I was done, there was absolutely nothing more I could do to it. I guess some people might take an extended vacation from such a long project but I excitedly set another canvas up and immediately started working on a portrait. It has been too long!

I don’t want to take these portraits too seriously, I want them to be more of exercises in observational skills and exploration. Plus I really need to shake out the nitty gritty from my previous painting and loosen up again. It’s like having a cramp in my artists skills… or something.

Anyway, Say hello to “D. Dentice” Or Portrait #10.


Underpainting, in blue this time, le gasp!


I started adding colour but I really wanted to hi-light the eyes. At this point I had wiped over the painting and started back into the eyes a second time.


I was liking how the painting was turning out but it didn’t feel right so I loosely painted over it again. I had done this about 3-4 times during the whole painting process, partially to redo areas and mostly to obtain a certain look and to keep myself from getting caught up in the details.


Finished! It’s kind of “milky” but I like it.

“D. Dentice” 9″ by 12″ Oil on Canvas Board




The Great Unveiling and the End of an Era!

This is probably the most important moment in my artistic career. I finally finished this wedding present.

This painting has so much more meaning then simply a present that represents the love that my two dearest friends have for each other (Not that that is simple at all). It also represents the beginning of my career as a fine artist and the end of an era in my fine art career.

Let’s take this back to 2010. I was just finishing my third year at Sheridan College of Art and Design. I decided to use my summer co-op as an experiment of sorts to see what I should be doing after school. Instead of getting a design or Illustration co-op I opted to do an artist shadowing with one of my painting teachers. We worked in her studio and went to her summer portrait classes she taught and I painted for the first time for over 40 hours a week. I told myself if at the end of a 320 hour co-op if I never wanted to pick up a paint brush again I would be an illustrator. It was the best summer of my life and came out of it with such a high. In that high I found out my best friend was engaged and was going to get married the following summer. I told her I didn’t have any money and asked if I could paint her something instead. At the time I was only comfortable painting traditional still life so that is what I did. I asked her and her fiancé for objects that had special meaning to them and to their relationship. I set the whole thing up on my drafting table and I even had their wedding rings in my possession (Which made me loose sleep). I thought I would of had it done by the end of our final year of college no problem.

There was a problem. I bit off way more than I could chew. I had no idea what I was doing and every time I sat down to the easel I was struggling. Plus fourth year ended up taking up all my time and I had barely finished the under painting by the time I graduated. The struggles continued after that, I just wasn’t as good a painter as I thought I was. I was new to oil paint and I found it difficult to keep the technique the same every time I used it. My observational skills weren’t as fine tuned as I thought they were and I grew frustrated with my inability to create exact representations of what I was seeing. I took long breaks in between sittings and I worked on other projects and the occasional simple commission. With each piece my ability grew but I also grew more distracted with shows and endless projects. This painting continued to loom in the background of my life. It moved to three different apartments and has been seen by multiple roommates and parents and ex-boyfriends. As my abilities as an artist grew the more mistakes I found in my original painting and I found myself repainting parts over and over again, constantly shifting and reworking. Even now I look at it and see spots I could tweak but I won’t. This is the part of me that I only find when I work on this painting, the perfectionist, and you may be surprised to know that painting this way comes very natural to me. This was the painting that started it all and now that it is finally done I can move on and loosen up! You will never see me paint like this again, I can promise you that.

Let’s take a little visual journey…


After about 2 years of having my friend’s stuff still set up on my drafting table (sans wedding rings of course) they called me up one day and told me they was taking all their stuff back in two days and that was that. So I took a bunch of horrible reference photos and taped them up.


About a half a year later, I had moved in with my folks in Toronto for the summer while I figured out a new living situation. My father is a photographer and this is his editing station of sorts so we had to share studio space. It was a little cramped but we made it work. (Notice the wedding present is not on the easel)


Finally in my current place and it is almost done at this point and yet it still took another 2 years to finish. Notice all the other paintings littered about, no wonder it took so long. At this point I stopped sending the couple progress pictures and just posted on social media little close up detail shots once in a blue moon so they would know that I was working on it without revealing what the painting actually looked like.

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In this past year I decided I wasn’t going to work on any other paintings until I finished this. I did paint a few floral studies because I cannot resist a good bouquet. But overall I didn’t work on any new stuff. It was difficult and frustrating but I persevered! I thought a professional picture of the finished painting was a good idea.

Original Starrets Painting

This is what it looked like 4 years ago after I had just finished the underpainting.


Finally, the finished piece. “The Gift” 24″ by 32″ Not for Sale :)


Details – The Cups


Details – Her addition to his bug collection


Details – The Rings


Details – Their trinkets. Also, the die is significant as well. Their anniversary is June 11th.


Details – String of pearls

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Remember the Man in the Dress?

Warning, promotional rant below!

Do you guys remember when I painted “The Blue Rose” for World Pride Toronto? Well his name is Damiano Dentice and he’s also “Next Level Hipster” ANNNND he’s making a killer movie called Fatal Attraktion. My suggestion, go over to kick starter and throw like 5 AU at it cause I actually really want to watch it and I can’t watch it if he doesn’t get the funds. So help out a friend in need? Thank you, I love you, buh bye!

My promotional is rant done, you can all go home.