Sep 022015

I spent four days in July at Fort Rodd Hill as an artist in residence.  Coast Collective has a partnership programme during the summer months, and member artists cycle through the site in summer.  I’m fascinated by this beautiful National Historic Park that’s just a short drive from my studio.  It was a great opportunity to get to know it better.

Fort Rodd Hill Fisgard Lighthouse

Fisgard Lighthouse, the first on Canada’s west coast, is part of the site.  It was officially given a National Historic designation while I was there.

Fort Rodd Hill CC AIR set up

Jill Singleton was my compatriot on site for the four day residency.  Jill is a printmaker, landscape architect, and published author.  Our set up was beside the Warrant Officers brick house.  We met many visitors during our stay, which were probably the hottest days of the summer.

Fort Rod Hill blacksmith

The blacksmith workshop above the Warrant Officers house.

The site has an historic themed interpretive programme, as well as information on the Garry Oak meadow ecosystem.  It has great contrast between the natural and the built, and offers plenty of military history.  It’s all dramatically sited on the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour.

Fort Rod Hill blacksmith 1

Interior of the blacksmith shop behind the Warrant Officers house.

Fort Rod Hill Lower battery 3

Entering the lower battery.

Fort Rod Hill Lower Battery

Fort Rod Hill Field shot

It’s unusual on the west coast to find open landscapes like this.

Fort Rod Hill Gary Oaks

There are many large Garry Oaks.  I’m inspired by the sharp contrast these provide, and colours of the buildings in a particular light.

Fort Rod Hill Interior 3

Fort Rod Hill fire hose

Fort Rod Hill exterior door

Fort Rod Hill Interior 2

Fort Rod Hill Interior 5

Fort Rodd Hill Textures 1

Peeling paint surfaces are appealing and this one reminds me of geological striations.

Fort Rodd Hill Textures 2

Fort Rod Hill Interior Model

There’s some lovely odd scenes in the interpretive spaces.

Fort Rod Hill Interior Model 2

Fort Rodd Hill 5

Fort Rod Hill Tower

Fort Rod Hill orange doorway

Fort Rodd Hill 3

Fort Rodd Hill 4

Fort Rodd Hill Warrant Officers House

Another view toward the Warrant Officers house, with two interpreters in WW 2 costume.  They did a daily presentation of weapons fire!

Fort Rodd Hill Fisgard Light House 4

Fisgard Lighthouse was built by the British in 1860 when Vancouver Island was not yet part of Canada.  There hasn’t been a keeper at the lighthouse since 1929, when it was automated.

The Colony of Vancouver Island, along with the Colony of British Columbia, were united as a Crown Colony in 1866.  The Crown Colony of British Columbia was incorporated into the Canadian Federation in 1871.

Check out British Columbia Minesweepers and their Stories, one of Jill’s books.  Her visual arts work often reflects her interest in the nautical theme of signal flags.

Jill M. Singleton – The Sketchbook Project

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Park





Aug 212015

I love travelling in my home province, British Columbia.  Mid June, I set out on a road trip to the South Okanagan.  My intention was field study for a print edition of Khiluk – or Spotted Lake – near Osoyoos.  I traveled on the Crowsnest Highway, a drive I always enjoy.

Nk'Mip Cultural Centre rammed earth wall

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, just outside Osoyoos, is a housed in a modern building designed by HBBH Architects.  The exterior is an enormous, and exquisite, rammed earth wall.  The Cultural Centre and Resort are sited high with views of the lake and valley below.  Terra Firma Builders based on Salt Spring Island did the wall, and it’s a work of art.

In the interior behind the massive earth wall there’s a feeling of peace, and a powerfully subtle historic display. Talented interpreters demonstrate traditional crafts.  There’s a pathway outside, meandering through desert heritage dioramas.

I sat in on a fascinating talk about snakes of the area, with several live examples. I learned that a rattlesnake had crossed my path at the lake. It could have been a corn snake, but I’m sticking with rattlesnake….it was VERY long!

The Nk’mip people are keepers and protectors of Khiluk, a sacred site of the Okanagan First Nations people. I’d been discussing my print project idea by email with Derek Bryson at the Nk’Mip Cultural Centre, and eventually got permission to enter the lake site.

Spotted Lake offering portrait

My offering to Khiluk (Spotted Lake).  They call it the Grandfather of lakes.

I arrived in the morning, and Derek opened the gate.  With my offering of sage, tobacco, feather, and a bundle of bound twigs from a birch tree in my Victoria garden, I was ready to start my work.

Approach to Spotted Lake

Late afternoon light with subtle jade coloured spots.

A saline endorheic alkali lake, it’s a unique place.  It’s healing properties are valued by the Okanagan people.  It certainly has a strong pull for me.  I saw a photo of it a few years ago in a Beautiful BC magazine, and did some research.

The lakes spots changed colour by the minute, mirrors of reflected cloud and sage hills.

Spotted Lake reflections 1

Cumulus clouds rolled through the valley and over the lake as I photographed, sketched, and explored through the day and early evening.

Toward Osoyoos

The approach into Osoyoos, Canada’s desert city.  It’s surrounded by bountiful vineyards and orchards that stretch along the lake.

Toward Osoyoos evening light

Osoyoos Lake is shallow, so mid June swimming was very comfortable in front of Sandy Beach resort where I stayed.  It was awash in red roses.

Osoyoos lakeside roses

I spent a few days in Osoyoos with the friendly folks.  And, savoring the first long hot summer days.  The Nk’Mip Resort, next to the Desert Cultural Centre, was my favorite spot to enjoy Nk’Mip wine and hospitality.

HBBH Architects

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

Wikipedia – Spotted Lake

Crowsnest Highway

May 252015

Ground Zero Printmakers at the Art Centre at Cedar Hill, Victoria, BC.

Check out Ground Zero Printmakers show at the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, May 21-June 3.

It showcases a diversity of approaches and printmaking techniques with a self-portrait theme.

I did a 16″ x 24″ serigraph.   It was a difficult project to start, but had a happy ending.

Blog MMI Self Portrait

1/5    Self Portrait 2015  

Several Ground Zero members gave short talks at the Opening on May 23rd.  It was fascinating to hear the different approaches.  My artist talk discussed my intention, and my journey through the self-portrait process.  Here it is.

A long time ago, about 150 years ago, I was a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design.  I say it was that long time ago because the tuition for a year at ACAD was 85 dollars.  I am not making that up!  Needless so say, I certainly got my 85 bucks worth.

One of the many excellent studio courses I took  was printmaking.  It covered all the printmaking basics of that era.  Well, I hated most of it….especially serigraph, or as it’s more commonly known, silk screen.

Way too much planning, technical stuff, process, and careful planning.  And lots of messy inks that you had to be VERY careful with.

So it’s kind of an ironic that I’m speaking today about my serigraph self-portrait.  Now, I truly love all the things I first hated about printmaking.  Age has given me patience and understanding.

Now I have a beautiful press, and a light filled studio where I print make, paint and draw.  My art practice is fairly broad.  I like to try new things in printmaking.

The trajectory of this particular print project started out with painful indecision.  Basically, I procrastinated til almost the eleventh hour.   As I said, printmaking usually involves planning so I knew I had to bite the bullet.

Originally I planned a small etching…. familiar printmaking territory for me.  My vision was a highly detailed image that involved my usual cast of quirky characters, a fantastic background, with me in there somewhere, a behind the scene etched plate puppet master.  But the more I imagined it, the more I couldn’t see it.

So I lay down that idea, put it aside, and spent time thinking about my first serious start in the studio, back in the high school art room.

I got thinking about a huge stenciled poster sized portrait my best friend in high school did of me.  We both loved art, and hung out a lot in the art room. That big portrait hung in my bedroom for years.  And that strong memory got me interested in doing the screen print.

So I took some photos.  I converted what I thought was the most compelling into an image that was interesting to me.  When I pulled the first print, I was shocked!  First of all, it was a perfect print.  And it actually looks a lot like my youngest daughter, or a younger me.  The image takes about 30 years off.  It’s great!  But it also gave the project a much greater resonance for me.

So my self-portrait is a kind of a memorial to the high school art room and a deep friendship from that time.  It’s my recognition of the impatience of youth,  the passage of time, and the transient nature of beauty and youth.

The image also has an enigmatic and peaceful daydreaming quality that transcends the singularity of a self portrait.  It’s the eyes closed that both hide, and reveal.

There are certainly other threads of meaning in this piece for me.  Serigraph was popularized as fine art by Andy Warhol.  When I was coming of age, Andy Warhol was producing a lot of huge serigraphs of celebrities and other well-known figures.  They were very popular at the time.  And they still are, fetching huge sums in the art market.

There was another serigraph artist working at the same time whose work I admire.  Sister Mary Corita Kent or, Sister Mary.  Her work has less to do about the future “…..where everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. She was of the moment in the ferment of the 60’s.  She was involved in the Peace Movement.  Her work celebrates peace, equality and has deep humanity.  It’s light and playful, with a direct simplicity.

Now, here’s the ending to this story.  I do not work alone. My printmaking projects are made both pleasurable and possible because of my technical guru and studio assistant,  Andrew Loen.   Or as he affectionately calls himself, Studio Slave.

I also benefit from the expert guidance and encouragement of Alain Costaz and Victoria Edgarr at Ground Zero, and the print artists there who inspire my practice.  And finally, I thank our courageous and hardworking curator, Agnes Ananichuk.  

Community Arts Council at Cedar Hill Art Centre

Ground Zero Printmakers

Sister Mary

Warhol Museum

May 032015

Here’s a look at some of my activities outside the studio over the next few months, with lovely teal coloured links to more information:

Art Victoria Now May 7-10

Still Harbour, one of my small paintings. was selected for Art Victoria Now.  The exhibit takes place over four days in The Atrium, 800 Yates Street.

Opening reception Thursday May 7 at 6:30 pm.  The show runs to May 10.

Victoria News article on Art Victoria Now 

Me, Myself and I May 21-June 2

Me, Myself and I is an exhibit of print based self-portraits by Ground Zero Printmakers in the main gallery at the Cedar Hill Art Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Road.  I’ll be showing a large serigraph self portrait and giving an artist talk.

Opening and mini artist talks are May 23, 2 – 4 pm.  Show runs May 21-June 2.

Community Art Council Victoria

My Summer Art Residencies

Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts – June 20-July 2

MISSA Studio Residency Programme 2015

Fort Rodd Hill & Parks Canada  – July 15-19

AIR Programme at Fort Rodd Hill National Park 2015

Coast Collective at Fort Rodd Hill

Off Mac Point

Off Macaulay Point  2006                                                                                      

acrylic, graphite and pumice on canvas 29″ x 33″

The first time I attended MISSA, about ten years ago, I took a week long painting class with artist and instructor, Xane St Phillip.  One fine day, we went on a field trip to Fort Rodd Hill.  Xane is an excellent instructor, with a command of both colour and composition.

I took a lot of polaroids that day, made colour notes, and did some field sketches.  Off Macaulay Point is based on that field trip.


If you’re in Victoria, check out Art Victoria Now at the Atrium, and Me, Myself and I  at Cedar Hill Art Centre.

Fort Rodd Hill and MISSA at Pearson College in Metchosin are also beautiful places for a visit!






Apr 242015


Sewing Lessons is my recently completed print project that addresses fabrication, mass production, craft, and economics.

Many of the garments we choose to wear are produced in large factories far from home.  The hands that work the cloth are unknown to us.  In a generation, this shift has had a profound impact on the global economy.  And, it has shifted individual priorities.

The installation, at first glance, reads as nostalgia.  The old Singer cabinet sewing machine evokes domestic memories.  The middle print, Sewing Lesson #2, is an etched embossed print of 12 little girls dresses.  It has a childlike simplicity, and echoes the pattern manufacturers name, Simplicity.

This Simplicity text is seen in Sewing Lesson #1, a photo etched copper plate of the dresses pattern pieces.  

Sewing Lessons #3 is my homage to the Canadian artist and printmaker, Betty Goodwin. This piece speaks about the printmaking process.  It looks like an x-ray, and suggests a memorial.

I sewed the small dress that is held under the foot of the the sewing machine.  The pieces of the cotton dress are individual serigraph/silkscreen Simplicity pattern pieces.

In our global economy, women, men, and children find work sewing in clothing factories far away from my home.  Many of them comment they are happy to have the work.  The conditions in many of these  factories is less than ideal measured by Canadian standards.

There is still interest in sewing in my community, more for pleasure than economic necessity.  The price of a toddlers dress at Walmart is about 6 dollars.

Printmaking is like sewing in that adherence to process and a certain degree of skill is required.  Using the variety of printmaking techniques for the installation was challenging, and brought a high degree of satisfaction.

This way of working was on my mind when I conceived and executed Sewing Lessons.

 Sewiing Lessons Istallation 2

Sewing Lessons Installation

Laurie Mackie 3 - Sewings Lessons 1

 Sewing Lessons #1     1/5     22″ x 22″   photo etched on copper  German Etch paper

Laurie Mackie 4 - Sewings Lessons 2

Sewing Lesson #2        1/5     22″ x 22″ intaglio emboss chine colle German Etch paper

Laurie Mackie 5 - Sewings Lessons 3

Sewing Lesson #3         1/5     22″ x 22″  monoprint emboss German Etch paper

Laurie Mackie 7 - Sewing Lessons detail 2

Detail of of serigraph cotton pattern pieces sewn to make a dress.

Laurie Mackie 8 - Sewing Lessons detail 3

Detail of photo etch copper plate of Simplicity pattern pieces.  The 22″ x 22″ copper plate has been embedded in the sewing machine table top.



Betty Goodwin – National Gallery of Canada

Betty Goodwin – CBC


Bloomberg Media

Human Rights Watch