Monthly Archives: November 2013

Festive Creatures and Raking Revelations

I’ve been drawing away lately, preparing for a craft show next week.

November Drawings by Saltwater Birch Studio

Doing sketches on birch bark, and watercolor paper (using my lovely Microns), while I contemplate what to paint on these new wooden panels (I’ll post the results later this week!).

Drawings by Saltwater Birch Studio

I tend to sketch in hundreds of little lines, slowly building up the layers. It’s not as time-consuming as it sounds (at least when you’ve had tons of practice),  It’s a process that works really well for capturing fur (though not human faces, unless they’re very hairy).

I also did a lot of raking over the past several weeks (recall the jack-of-all-trades aspect of most art occupations), and I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs.

Saltwater Birch Studio

There’s something to be said for working with your hands. Of coming home physically exhausted, too tired to speak, yet happy. Gazing about contentedly, I imagine myself looking like a wise, all-knowing Buddhist, smiling slowly at others’ quips; in reality I probably looked more like a mental patient released into the wild.

Saltwater Birch Studio

Though I did realize that zen gardening and farming have a few things in common: repetitive hard labor, repeated rhythmically, cyclically, while clearing the mind and misplacing trivial worries. Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, every muscle in my body is still screaming reproachfully.


The Crickets Have Left

The only sounds are distant engines and lapping waves. The chickadees will reappear soon. It gets eerily quiet in the wilderness in winter, and autumn, its epilogue. You can hear individual leaves falling, and cars 4km away. Though some find its stillness disconcerting (reminiscent of life’s somber finale), I find it calming and strangely exciting – with no chirps and chatter, the world is gasping like an excited child, waiting for the big reveal. And I gasp with it – smiling at the imagery.

Vanessa Pesch

The Look, oil on 12″x16″ canvas

On that note, here a few paintings that have been hanging around my easels this month.

The Hike by Saltwater Birch StudioThe Hike, oil on 12″x24″ canvas

Silvester by Saltwater Birch Studio

Silvester, oil on 12″x16″ canvas

“How far did you get with your painting?

“Well, it’s almost done. There’s paint everywhere.”

“The mark of a good painting.”

Why Am I Here by Saltwater Birch Studio

Why Am I Here, oil on 24″x36″ canvas

In The Round Group Exhibit

If you’re looking for some affordable art by Canadian artists, check out Graven Feather Studio’s In The Round exhibit this month. The Toronto gallery is hosting a group show of more than 100 Canadian artists, who each submitted 6 pieces on round coaster boards. The awesome part? Every piece in this show is $35 – well, awesome for budding collectors or fellow artists who occasionally collect when they can afford it – they’re all original pieces, so it’s kind of like Black Friday, except for art. And for a whole month. Only in Toronto. Okay, so it’s nothing like Black Friday, but you get my point.

Here are the pieces that I submitted:


“Ambivalence”, oil on board


“In Thought”, oil on board

“Summer’s Pastures”, oil on board


“A Forest’s Light”, oil on board


“Fox”, archival ink on boardBear

“Bear”, archival ink on board

The exhibit runs until November 30th, and the gallery is located at 906 Queen Street West.

So if you’re in Toronto this month, go check it out! If, like me, you’re very, very far away, you can click here to see it virtually.