Artist Interview

31 August 2010

I was the first in the new series of Artist Interviews at Willowing & Artist Friends ( A great big thanks to Tam and everyone at W&AF *hugs and sparkles* for the love and support!

And now, onto the interview :

1. Who are you and how would you describe your work/ art?

I am Bonnie Rose Bryan, a woman and an artist, made of stardust.

Primarily, I’m a figurative artist; my specialties are the female figure and the “fantasy” genre (particularly faeries.) All of my work contains personal elements, and I often infuse spiritual currents and sacred archetypes into my work. Typically, my mediums of choice are watercolours, acrylics, coloured pencils, and ink pens; I have quite a variety of mediums under my belt, but those four seem to be the ones I reach for the most.

2. Who or what inspires you to create?

In a nutshell: colour, nature, aesthetics, music, spirituality, my moods, and my conversations with the Universe.

With my figurative works, I think the inspiration behind the work can be quite evident (for example, I like coffee and I like purple, so I paint a purple coffee cup.) However, there are some paintings which come to me from the outside-in. I often feel, especially with my faerie portraits, that the images come in a sort of intuitive messages and conversation with the faeries, and with other subjects, the inspiration comes from messages and conversations with the Universe… I don’t always know who’s sending the signal, only that I’m receiving it.

3. What is lying on your art desk today?

At the moment, I have one mixed media work in process, a large portrait of Green Tara, which has been lying on the shelf, untouched for quite sometime, and is next on my list of things to finish.

I don’t actually have an art desk, per se. My studio (more like art storage) space is shared with the office. Much to my dismay, my art-making space is very impermanent, and has to cooperate with meals, my husband, and a rather clingy fox terrier. For small drawings, I’ll often work on the tiny corner of free space next to my keyboard. For small paintings, I usually work on a little wooden folding table, either in the office, or while sitting on sofa in the living room. Larger works are done on the dining table, or I’ll set up the easel in the living room, in front of the windows. When I’m not painting, everything gets packed up and tucked away, where it sleeps, while I go about the non-painting parts of my day-to-day.

4. Out of everything you've ever painted, what is your favourite painting/ creation and why?

Ouch… this is a difficult question to answer!

If I had to choose a favourite from my recent works (within the last 10 years,) it’s a toss-up between “La Tristesse” (an acrylic) and “Sharing Secrets” (a watercolour).

I consider them to be two of my best works, and at the time of their creation, each was a technical accomplishment for me in both of their respective mediums. Both include deep esoteric and emotional undercurrents, which appeals to me. The depth, gossamer glow, and soft rendering in “La Tristesse” always surprises me (Did I really paint this?)

I love the jewel toned colours and all of the decorative details in ”Sharing Secrets”. That painting always makes me feel satisfied, accomplished, and glittery on the inside. (It also features a moth, a symbol that pops up in a few of my works, which has a special significance for me).

5. What is your favourite piece of art by another painter/artist?

Oh, this is equally as difficult as the last question! The works of Brian Froud, Alfonse Mucha, and Vincent Van Gogh have always touched me so deeply, and been such tremendous sources of inspiration throughout my life. Almost anything and everything from those three saints of paint would fall into my “I’m in love, it makes me swoon” category.

6. What is the worst bit of art advice anyone has ever given you?

“You have to make sketches first.” This was an anthem in my university art classes, and I spent countless hours forcing out sketches for pieces that were more than ready to be painted. Lots and lots of sketches… sketches until my eyes could blur shut and my hands could fall off… sketches until I had no will left to paint anything at all. What utter nonsense! When the baby’s coming, you breathe and you push, you don’t say “hang on a while, kid, I gotta make an itinerary and a blueprint first.”

“Have to…” this is art, there is no have to!

I tend to work on things in my head, and when it’s ready to come out, I make it. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m going to make, until I put the brush to the canvas!

From time to time I have done sketches to work out parts that aren’t finished baking in my head, or isn’t coming through clearly from the cosmic conversation, and sometimes I sketch to jot down ideas for artworks that I plan to work on later. But, I can’t make a painting wait, just because it hasn’t been planned and practiced down to the finest detail – to make it wait is counter productive and creatively stifling, and I certainly don’t consider the pre-planning of artwork to be a mandatory and necessary precursory step to the actual making of it.

7. What is the best bit of art advice anyone has ever given you?

Two things: “Paint it however you want.” and “So what if nobody else likes it or understand it.” Following those bits of wisdom has made an enormous impact on my work, and the personal satisfaction I get from the process of making it (as well as enjoying the finished results.) I cannot and will not please everyone, nor do I aim to, but I can strive to be true to myself and my art.

In my opinion, art-making shouldn’t be about rules. It’s not about making work to please other people and fulfil their expectations of how my art should be, either. If I wanted to paint with a set of rigid instructions and inflexible absolutes, and paint it to the specifications of someone else’s ideals, I’d simply and exclusively do paint-by-numbers.

I’m of the opinion that in art making, nothing is mandatory and no technique is absolute. If I want to scrub with my brush until the bristles fall out, or use a “watercolour” brush with acrylic paints, I will! If a faerie says to me, “I’m blue,” well then, she’s blue, and if she changes her mind half way through, she might turn out purple instead… If I want to have a yellow sky and an upside down tree, so be it! I just go with the flow.

Just like the infamous Bob Ross, I regard each piece as a little world, and in my world, I can make it any way I want to. My artistic process is highly intuitive and personal, where “normal” and “traditional” may or may not be invited.

8. Have you ever put your paintbrush in your cup of tea by mistake?

Haha! Oi vey, if only I had a coin for every time I’ve put a paint brush into a cup of tea or a glass of wine, I could buy myself a paint factory.

9. What is the strangest medium/material you've ever worked with?

The strangest mediums: blueberry juice, for painting… strips of textured plastic mesh from potato sacks (which I knit into gold fish, for an assemblage work.) … and a digital scanner, for making auto portraits.

10. What hopes and dreams do you have for your art & future?

I hope, firstly, for the time to continue making it on a daily basis, secondly, for the ability to improve and hone my skills, and thirdly, for the luck and prosperity to sell more of it.

11. If you couldn't be an artist in this life, what other job or hobby would you really want to give a go?

If I were not an artist, I would not be myself… Art is so interwoven into the fabric of me; I’d have to be someone else in order to stop making it.

Being a rock star would fun, of course! Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, stage-fright is the major culprit who holds me back from more seriously pursuing my musical interests, but I do enjoy playing in the privacy of my home. I suppose if I didn’t make art, I would spend more time rehearsing and improving musically, if only for a hobby, not necessarily for a career choice.

While in school, if I had been at all clever with maths, the slightest bit capable of suffering through chemistry lab, and had actually been more practical and studious, rather than spending hours getting dirty with art supplies, it’s likely that I would have pursued a career in either veterinarian medicine or forensic psychology, both of which hold great interest to me.

12. What are your favourite 5 art related websites or blogs?

Of course, I’m quite fond of ! I’m a frequent visitor to, where I can keep up to date on Froud goodies, and also discover new faerie artists via the webring. Although it’s not specifically an art site, I spend a lot of time reading and researching about artists and art history on I enjoy reading random blogs and discovering artwork on the 2 Ning groups I belong to: and (hugs and sparkles to all the Ning-a-ling artists!)

13. Give a shout out to a fellow artist whose work and/or person & energy you really love!

Without sounding like a total butt-kisser, Tamara Laporte has been one of the most motivating and inspiring artists I know… I always look forward to a new video, blog post, and artwork from Tam. Her energy is so positive and uplifting, and I always feel so at home on her Ning group, where the inspiration, support, and joie de vivre is so amazingly abundant. Thanks for sharing the energy, love, and art, Tam!

14. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artists, what would it be?

Make art. Make it as often as you can. If you don’t pick up that brush or that pencil and actually make a mark, you’ll never advance in your artistic journey. Take it one step at a time, but take the step!

I think a lot of people are overwhelmed by the fear of failure, succumbing to the whisperings of the gremlins who say, “you can’t… you won’t… you don’t know how to…” and so, ultimately they do fail, because they never allow themselves the chance to begin.

We all learn and grow by experience, by doing, by trying. Remember, we all begin at the beginning, even the greatest art masters started with scribbles and stick figures (and some of them kept on scribbling, too!) If you feel like you need some guidance in your techniques then take an art course, check out books about art, or watch tutorials online; whatever helps you feel confident, whatever helps to motivate and support you in actually making your art, is a good thing!

To be the artist you want to be, MAKE ART

. . . and make it the way you want to, no matter what anybody says!

Meatless Monday -- curry style!

23 August 2010

This week's Vegan Delight is Apricot Chutney!

Take a few handfuls of apricots, remove the pits, and chop them into pieces. Toss into a small sauce pan, add a generous amount of olive oil, a couple spoons of water, and simmer until it's soft and gooey. Mix in curry powder, salt, and a few pinches of sugar. If you want it smoother (less chunky) then pour it into a processor, and blend to your preferred consistency.

You can serve this chutney over rice, noodles, or taters. It's great with sweet veggies (like beets) on the side.

Food for Thought :

Eating 1 lb of meat produces the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving an SUV 40 miles.

A 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. (1)

Greenhouse gases cause global warming, which studies show will increasingly lead to catastrophic disasters—like droughts, floods, hurricanes, rising sea levels, and disease outbreaks—unless we drastically reduce the amounts emitted into the atmosphere.

Raising animals for their flesh, eggs, and milk is one of the world’s leading emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2). But global warming is caused by more than just CO2. Animal agriculture is the leading source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which—combined with carbon dioxide—causes the vast majority of global warming.

* Methane: The billions of farmed animals crammed into factory farms produce enormous amounts of methane, both during digestion and from the acres of cesspools filled with feces that they excrete. Methane is more than 20 times as powerful as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere.(2)

Statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency show that animal agriculture is the number one source of methane emissions in the U.S.(3)

* Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more potent as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide. According to the U.N., the meat, egg, and dairy industries account for a staggering 65 percent of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions. (4)

1 H. Steinfeld et al., Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, Livestock, Environment and Development (2006).
2 "Global Warming: Methane," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 8 Mar. 2006.
3 "Sources and Emissions: Methane," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2 Jun. 2006.
4 Steinfeld et al.

Eat. Think. Feel. Be well.


Burritos! Meatless Monday ... belated

10 August 2010

This week's Meatless Monday post is a day late, sorry... I was caught up with visiting family yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to post. However, my Tuesday is just as meatless as my Monday, so it's all good!

Food for Thought :

Vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters.

Elizabeth Somer, "Eating Meat: A Little Doesn't Hurt," WebMD, 1999.
Neal Barnard, M.D., The Power of Your Plate, Book Publishing Co.: Summertown, Tenn., 1990, p. 26. )

This week's Vegan Delight is: Burritos!

Made with soy proteins (you might know it as veggie crumble,) onions, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, herbs & spices, and some giant cherry tomatoes on the side.

I buy my soy proteins dry, rather than pre-cooked and frozen, so I boiled the granules in water (with some oil, salt, and cumin powder,) for about 25 min. to flavour and soften them.

While the proteins were cooking, I sautéed diced onion and yellow bell pepper in a hot skillet with olive oil, then added diced tomatoes, minced garlic, cumin powder, a few dashes of dried basil and sage, black pepper, salt, and a couple pinches of chili powder. Once the veggies were ready, I added the soy proteins, plain tomato sauce, a pinch of sugar, and gave it a good stir.

I spooned the mix (2 Tbs. each) into soft tortillas, and rolled them up, with a little drizzle of olive oil and some dried parsley as a garnish. Yum !

Here's an idea: If you don't have soy protein granules/veggie crumble, just break apart a veggie burger, crumble some tofu, or use beans, instead.

I hope your Meatless Monday was delicious!

Eat. Think. Feel. Be well <3


A beautiful day in Vichy

06 August 2010

Yesterday, I took a trip to Vichy with the family... had an all-day walk about and a picnic at Parc Naponléon, and a couple stops for coffee at some cute cafés.

Lucien gave me a birthday prezzie early: a kickass Kodax digital camera, with 10 megapixels! <3 (Love you, honey!) I was a picture snappin' fool dall day.

The light was perfect for taking sweet shots of plants in the park...

Lucien got some fun pics of me, too . . .

In the Parc Napoléon, by the "Source des Fées" (spring of the fairies,) one of the many water springs in Vichy.

Good times on the train, going home . . .

You know an outing without an autoportrait isn't possible from me . . .

A few shots of the passing countryside. Bales of hay, rivers, and sunflower fields.

Ola was totally zonked by the end of the trip.

So adorable, in her little travel bag (^_^) Cute, but heavy as hell! She's just a lttle over 10 kilos (22-ish lbs) now, which is significantly more than the 6 and ahalf kilos she weighed when I brought her home, in Feb. Although I'm glad she's a healthy weight now (my brain is glad, my back and shoulders however, are not...) she could use a little diet to shed off half a kilo. Time to cut back on bread nibbles!

Such a beautiful day. *sighs*
Tonight, I'm off to hide in the mountain pines for the weekend!

Ciao, à bientot!

Shushing the Gremlins of Fear

04 August 2010

Art is a journey. Some roads are smoother than others.

I used to struggle with a powerful Fear of Failure... it stopped me from finishing things...

Sometimes I still feel the fear seize me, in mid paint, I think "this is awful, I ruined it, just stop now before it gets any worse!" I used to put enormous pressure on myself to make every single artwork "perfect" from start to finish, perfect the whole way through... and because of that, I finished very little.

But now, even though the Fear of Failure gremlin whispers unsettling things to me, I keep pushing on, and I try my best to see the painting through to the end. If I had listened to those gremlins, and stopped making the paintings, you'd see about half as many works in my gallery.

The best way I found to overcome this artistically debilitating fear is simple :
Finish it. Even if it comes out "ugly" and "wonky" and "all wrong." Finish it

The more you push through the fear barrier, the more things you actually do finish,
the more you'll start to see how your work evolves, how your processes look as you go through the stages of work, and over time you'll begin to trust yourself and your process more and more, because experience will have shown you that you CAN make lovely art.

Most artworks go through "wonky" phases, where they look unfinished and weird... but don't despair! It is unfinished, so it looks unfinished... nothing wrong about that. Some artworks are late bloomers, and it may take them a little longer to find there way to "finished," but in the end, most of them make it there.

And so what if you "mess it up" ?! Sometimes art making is about the process, about the journey, about practicing and perfecting your skills, rather than making a "perfect" picture every time and all the time.

This is one reason why we doodle... a doodle doesn't have the expectation of "perfection," it's just free and goes with the flow, and sometimes it comes out looking awesome and sometimes it's just a big loopy mess. But does it matter? Nopes. It's a doodle, and doodles will do, just as they are. Well, import a little of that doddle-spirit into your journal, your sketchbook, and your canvases : and let the images evolve, let them emerge, let them be free, without the fear of "ruining" the page.

And so what if it comes out blotched and askew, and all mucked up... it's not as if you don't have another page that follows, and another, and another... You always have more pages, and more paints, and more images to create. Some of them will be beautiful, and some will be special in an ugly-fugly-messed up sort of way.

And you know what?! It's totally ok.

Coming into focus

03 August 2010

Wow, my horoscope knows me oh so well!

From my FaceBook horoscope ap : "Life direction, long-range goals, or career aims come into focus now. You gain clarity or a stronger sense of purpose, which energizes your efforts to get ahead or move toward what you really want. Recognition or support from your superiors or others who are in a position to assist you is likely now, especially if you take some initiative."

This is particularly poignent, as just yesterday, I started editing the videos for my upcoming watercolour course.

Gives me chills! ... the good kind (^_^)

Meatless Monday : Vegan Delight of the Day & Food for Thought (2 August 2010)

02 August 2010

Meatless Monday

This is the first of what will be a weekly post about going meatless on Mondays (a wonderful campaign started by Paul and Stella McCartney.)

You don't have to become a vegetarian. You don't have to become a vegan. You don't have to radically change your life over night to make radical differences in your health, your spirit, and your planet, too...

You can, however, make the choice to not eat meat on Monday, and in doing so, you create a massive positive impact on your body, your planet, and the lives of others.

Now me, I'm a vegan, so everyday is Meatless Monday for me, but I'd like to share a picture of a delicious vegan meal (the Vegan Delight of the Day) and little Food for Thought about vegetarianism, about the impact that the meat industry has on our planet, on your health, my health, everyone's health, and about how it feels really good to eat delicious and compassionate food.

Think. Feel. Eat. Be well.

Vegan Delight of the Week :

Awesome salads!
Artichoke hearts, palm hearts, red cabbage, radishes, giant sweet-&-sour pickle, and gooseberries from the garden on a bed of basmati rice and lamb's lettuce. Drizzled with olive oil, dried herbs and Dijon mustard vinaigrette.


Food for Thought: Livestock in the USA produces approx. 30x more excrement than humans. Humans in the USA have sewage systems to collect & treat waste, there are no such systems on feedlots. Most of this waste leeches into water, which means large-scale, massive production & slaughter of animals is not only unethical, but it also causes serious environmental degradation.

Industrial livestock farming is the leading cause of water pollution in the USA.

Even if you don't live in America, you live on Planet Earth, so clearly, this effects you, too.

What can you do? Simple : Don't eat meat today.
One small ripple contributes to the greater wave.