Tag Archives: Atlantic Canada

Illness, Art and an Interview

Autumn is here…..and with it, some cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, not entirely in my favour, as I sit here with ears floating underwater, and a small fire spitting flames in my throat. I guess my immune system got a little bored with all the good health.IMGP8275

Though it’s hard not to laugh-cough, when you catch yourself answering the “How are you?” question, with a cracking and squeaky “Good! You?”. Fun times.

So I apologize in advance if my words don’t make complete sense – my mind is a little distracted with, you know, not being able to hear, swallow, cough, breathe, move.

IMGP5760 But since all I’m doing is binge-watching Australian comedies resting the past few days, it’s a good time to catch up on the past month and a half:

…I finally got back into painting, after a bit of a hiatus. Lately, I’ve been leaning a lot towards landscapes, though I did squeeze in one portrait (note: not all of these are complete)

Painting | Saltwater Birch Studio Painting | Saltwater Birch Studio

Painting | Saltwater Birch Studio

Painting | Saltwater Birch Studio…I’ve been working on some new sketches, preparing for a small craft show next week.



Painting | Saltwater Birch Studio

…and I set up and took down an exhibit of landscape paintings in Market Square in Saint John (no pictures of this process, sorry. Horrible memory + easily distracted is not a great combination).

While there, I did get a chance to check out the market, where I discovered this amazing potter (almost looks like watercolor painted onto those wares), and checked out the Sculpture Saint John event, which involved sculptors from across the world.


Lastly, I had an interview which was featured in a local magazine – it turned out quite well! It’s been strange but encouraging to have random people come up to me and compliment the artwork they saw in that feature. It’s rewarding, and somehow reaffirming that maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something right.

Next time, I’ll share a few of the reference photos I’ve been collecting over the past few weeks.


Wood Panels And Small Towns

Dicembre. Dezember. I like December.  Holidays aside, it’s a nice month – possibly the only month where snowflakes are met with awe and happiness, and we’re not yet sick of shovelling and permanent goosebumps.

December Paintings | Saltwater Birch Studio

This week, I worked away on some oil paintings on wooden panels, made from birch trees (and made in Canada!). It’s a nice change to paint on a solid surface, with no give, and no worry about accidentally poking a hole through it (not that it’s ever happened…yet).

Winter Warmth by Vanessa Pesch | Saltwater Birch Studio

Winter Warmth, oil on 4″x4″ wood panel

Untitled by Vanessa Pesch | Saltwater Birch Studio

Untitled, oil on 5″x7″ wood panel

Pear by Vanessa Pesch | Saltwater Birch Studio

Pear I, oil on 6″x6″ wood panel

Reflections I by Vanessa Pesch | Saltwater Birch Studio

Blue, oil on 4″x6″ wood panel

I also took part in a local craft show over the weekend, and, despite the 6a.m. wake up call, it was an interesting experience. I do wish these venues for crafty folk were more frequent. So much talent and creativity, and how much of it is hidden away in basements and attics? 

December Craft Show | Saltwater Birch Studio

Excuse the blurriness – through my groggy, half-awake eyes, they looked in focus.

I did enjoy the occasion to people watch – such opportunities to passively observe are few and far between in small towns. Mainly because there aren’t that many people, and the few that remain, rarely congregate (I wonder if small towns attract crowd-averse people? Or if it’s the other way around..).

It’s also difficult to people watch, when small town inhabitants don’t give you the chance to be a silent witness. Instead, they greet passersby with a wave and a ‘how-are-you’ hello, and ask you which part of town you’re from, who you’re related to, and which of your neighbours they might know. And if all else fails, groan about impending weather. As repetitive as such conversations can be, it may be a good thing that small towns don’t let you float through unnoticed, where people recognize you by the car you drive, and the land you own. Where nosiness is intertwined with curiosity, and the grapevine is more accurate than the news.  There’s a level of accountability that comes with loss of anonymity. 

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