oil on canvas

48x 48 in




Discovery and Inspiration: An artist that provides just that!

As an artist, I am always on the look out for those artists that are inspirational for me. I feel that if one does find such a person, it is part of their creative duty to share the discovery with others. It is not everyday you find something/someone that sticks, that somehow whether quietly, loudly, quickly or slowly seemingly makes a difference in your approach to something.

Trust No One, artist Cagney-King

It can happen without you even recognizing it. But when you do recognize it  please, please share with the world because …everyone needs some discovery and inspiration!!!

I can not even recall how I happened to find Cagney-King, but I will honestly admit I am very happy I did. I love her work for an abundance of reasons; style, colour, flow, size, impact, content, feel, layers of thought,  the hidden and unhidden and the something else that truly can not be explained.

Thanks Cagney-King for taking the time to share with me and others your words, thoughts and stunning paintings.


“I work to draw people into my work, but then to also cause them to step back and take in the whole image and contemplate the meaning and intent. My work encompasses this push and pull with mediums and textures that take me on a journey of discovery with each painting.”– Cagney-King

1. When painting, do you as the artist go through a similar process with the piece? Or is this process by viewers only?

I very much go through and experience this push and pull with all of my work. From concept to the very start and throughout the entire process, the painting speaks to me; and yet is my voice.

There is a kind of communicative dance that goes on with each of my paintings. Just like in a sentence, each word has meaning, and together these become the building blocks of the sentence as a whole. Words put together in a certain way lead to an end result of a formed sentence. Thus it is in this line of thinking that each stroke, each layer, builds up to an end result. This coupled with thought processes and emotions along the way lead to the push and pull that happens for me, and in the end I hope for the viewer.

In this world of television, billboards, media, and internet…everything is cold, fast and instant. I truly believe that our society is becoming de-sensitized. So many times it seems we sit through the news full of devastating and painful images from somewhere in our world, but then after the weather or sports we turn off the tele and then go off to bed. Just like that it doesn’t exist anymore; it is ‘turned off.’

For as long as I can remember, I have been very much affected by all the painful stories from all over the world. I used to read four or five newspapers a day! Plus listen to NPR and watch the evening news. Eventually I just could not stand it anymore. I had to stop because I found I was obsessing over it, internalizing it, and it was just not healthy. It came to me one day that my art was the only way I could try and get people to really look and feel without changing the channel or quickly forgetting. It would be hard just to ‘turn it off.’ Just as music is a universally recognized language, so is art in my book. So I wanted to use it to create a thinking link between myself and the canvas as well as the viewer and the canvas no matter where in the world they stood.

I want the push to be the overall image, and the pull to be the desire to get closer and look at the details and the layers that come together to make the whole. I want people to feel an emotion. Doesn’t matter what it is…just feel it. Then I want them to have the desire to look deeper and wonder or think about what the story might be or how it might relate to their own experiences.

I used to use a lot of written words in my work, but eventually felt that even that was too literal, to instant. That is why now I convert the words to numerical values that don’t spoon feed people the meaning behind the image, but allows them to make it their own interpretation, or just to walk away thinking they just don’t get it at all…which is fine too, as long as they walked away thinking or feeling something.

Find your Place, 48x48, artist Cagney-King

2. You reference science, math and art in your artist statement, where does this science, math, right brain type of activity come from for you? Were you the kid in class that math came very easily?

Not at all! I held my own, but generally did what I had to do to get by. The truth of the matter is I am a bit dyslexic and horrible at math…but absolutely love the art of mathematics. It wasn’t until much later that I dove back into the beauty behind mathematics and science. It was actually a kind of personal quest to read about and understand the concepts behind some of the most celebrated mathematicians and their theorems. Now I can’t get enough. I pick up old copies of algebra, geometry and science textbooks at used book stores and spend hours pouring over them. Once at a library book sale I came across a stack of books on structural engineering. I began thumbing through and immediately was taken aback by how the physical descriptions of engineering could be taken out of context and take on a completely whole new meaning. For example when you read about the formulas discussing the physical strain and stress energy of a particular metal, and then you take it out of context – the metal then can become the physicality of anything! Suddenly you can find yourself applying the same principals to human conditions or even the human physique. Plus, the formulas themselves are beautiful, a kind of hieroglyphic language. I was completely enamored. The more I learned the more questions I had! Since then I have read mathematic books on everything from the History of Zero to the History of Pi and on to books about some of the most unsolved mathematical theories of our time. My favourite mathematician is from the 12th Century – Fibonacci. His recurring theories found in nature, art and life just blow my mind. What I find fascinating is that when you begin to understand and read about one concept it begins to overlap with others. For instance how Fibonacci crosses over with Pascal (triangle), divisible Pi, and so on. I also love how mathematics crosses over into art. The perfect ratio, the division of space, the third and fourth dimension, scales…etc. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the obvious nature of numbers occurring and re-occurring in my current work. Perhaps it is an extension of my interest in mathematics, or perhaps it is another layer of common language that I want to work into my paintings. I also have meditated on the concept – continuing with the idea of how de-sensitized society can be – that it seems to me that each and every one of us can actually be broken down into a sequence of numbers. Our house address, our birth date, our driver’s license number, our passport number, our social security identity number, our phone number, our IP address and so on. Charles Eames once said – “Never delegate understanding.” I love that quote, and use it in my everyday quest for learning something…even if I will never understand it all…I still want to know and try and will continue to enjoy the journey.

First Law of Thermodynamics , artist Cagney-King

3. How do you know a piece is completed? How often are you just right in knowing this?

I’m not sure I’ve been right yet!

You know the old joke that in every studio there should be two people? One – the artist; and two – the person with the sledge hammer to make the artist stop working on a painting. I don’t have a person with a sledge hammer…and if I advertised for one I would get too many volunteers I’m sure! But, that said…I’m not sure a painting is ever really finished…only rendered to a stopping point. It seems that I always start out with an idea or sketch to get the journey started. The journey continues with various sessions of communication between me, the idea and the painting. The paintings desire to exist in a certain light often times dictates the will for me to stop and step back. I almost imagine the painting physically pushing me away from it screaming ‘leave me alone already!’

I tend to also stop working when I begin to get frustrated and disgusted with myself…then I know I should either stop or put it away and go onto something else. Problem is, when I go onto something else…I never really go back to the other paintings. I will however quite often, be sitting in my studio and looking around and land on a painting that has sat aside for awhile and suddenly I will notice something that just needs a little fix or a little something added, kind of an ‘Ah ha!’ moment. So I’ll jump up, get over to the paints and then slap a dab of paint on, or re-work something very quickly…spontaneously.

Then try to never think of it again.

4. What are you currently working on in the studio?  Will you tell us a bit more about it or do you prefer not to share ideas and works in progress?

Currently I am working in a contemporary figurative mode. I am constantly journaling or clipping various images and sketching off of the emotion I feel or the power of the global image. I began the journey of working with figures at a rather wide glance, and as I have developed out the concepts I find myself zooming in more and concentrating on the close-up of the head or the source of emotion. A hand gesture, an exaggerated facial expression and so forth…I don’t want to be too literal and work to abstract the image enough to capture the emotion and the painting process along the way. What I am enjoying about this phase of my painting, is that emotions are universal – global. I like to think that no matter whom, or where a person is in time and space, they will be able to feel or take away a feeling from the painting…no matter their lat and long.

I consider myself a mixed media painter. I like to work on substrates that are at least 36” and larger. Currently I am in a 48×48” square mode. I just love the visual presentation of the square as a living space for the painted image. It just seems to settle in nicely.

I usually begin with what I refer to as acrylic slop and slap coats, working really loose and physical, and then moving to a charcoal sketch. Then I begin to work in more detail with charcoal and ‘turpy’ layers before switching over to tube oils and spray enamels. Along the way some oil sticks, liquid graphite, graphite and more charcoal will work their way in. I am a textural freak and love the tactile feel of a textural piece. However; I have learned along the way that texture has a time and place and can easily distract from a finished painting if over-used or forced. So lately I have been depending on the paints and materials to work the textures in, rather than the physicality of gesso, marble dust, concrete, carpet glue, sand and whatever else I could think of. I use a mix of traditional and non-traditional tools – brushes, palette knives, scrapers, kitchen utensils, sand paper, pattern stencils, and metal grids…whatever feels right for the job at the moment.

I am feeling rather drawn to go back and start incorporating more physical texture along with the build up of paint layers…we will see what happens!

I prefer to work in studio, alone and secluded with my music blaring so that I can enjoy the communicative dance with the canvas and just get lost.

I have tried painting in groups, or en plein aire…it just doesn’t work for me. It is usually a determined disaster…I am definitely a studio painter.

5. If you were not an Artist, what would Cagney-King be? What profession?

Well let’s see…when I tie a paper towel horn to my Chihuahua’s head and make her my little unicorn for the day, I would say that I have just always dreamed of being a full-time artist.

If that just wasn’t in the unicorn cards, I would say that I would want to work in a studio or as an artist assistant. (I would want the artist to be really demanding and challenging too!) Or perhaps as a gallery assistant that got to work directly with promoting artists, or maybe even a museum docent or curator.

As it is, in order to afford my paint, materials, and studio rent, I currently work at a very small ad agency…that is my rock pile for now…until my break comes along to take me away and allow me to transition into a full-time artist. That day seems to be getting closer…so I’ll keep the Chihuahua Unicorn around just in case!

42 and Change, artist Cagney-King

See more of Cagney’s work on her website:

Looking to start an original art collection?

There is nothing more personalized than your own art collection.

It is a reflection of your tastes, moods, feelings and a homage to your artistic style.

One of my favourite pieces (clearly beyond my budget) is Pollocks #31, hanging at the MOMA in NYC.

PS: this is  a pic of me taking a pic of this beautiful artwork.

I began my own personal collection a few years back. I have collected art pieces that I immediately fell in love with, as well as a few pieces that just stuck in my mind for a period of  time.

Here are some tips you might find helpful… the bottom line is purchase what you love, it will bring you years of enjoyment.

How do I start an art collection?

The joy of building an art collection is no longer reserved for those with the time and resources to scour art galleries across the globe. With today’s technology, anyone with a computer can access thousands of artists’ works across the full spectrum of mediums., While there is no set formula for building an art collection, here are  few tips to make your collection the best it can be, regardless of your budget.

1. Trust Your Instincts

 Fill your collection with pieces you love – not pieces that feel like a good investment opportunity or a “good deal”. Your collection should be a reflection of you. If you’re not sure what you like, spend time browsing . Choose color palettes or styles that capture your interest.

2. Stick with Original Art

 Much of the magic of an art collection is in the subtle nuance and energy of the artwork itself – how the work makes you feel when you look at it, what it says to each individual. Original art is unique, one-of-a-kind piece and allows you to make an exclusive statement about who you are and what you like.

3. Choose the Right Mix

 You may wish to build your collection around a common element (style, color, theme), but selecting works of different size, shapes and mediums will help diversify the overall collection.

Ensure you take care of art that you purchase. Ask the artist if there are any particular suggestions for care and follow his/her directions.

Enjoy and keep collecting!

Play in your Workspace = fun + laughter!

A  great friend of mine Angela ,who is an incredible Life Coach, and owner of Focused Energy asked if she could spend a few hours in my studio with me. Angela wanted to work on a personal art project and I was excited to have her spend some time with me.

We set her up in the main area of the studio, allowing full access to paints, scapers, water bottles, and the funky tools one would wish to have at their fingertips.

With canvas on easel, Angela quickly found her stride and comfort zone in the  studio space. I moved about the studio working on this and that, not fully committed to any one thing. I am a “one person” in the studio artist. I get distracted by others, even the quiet ones. I think it has more to do with emotional space than physical space. This afternoon however was not about me, it was Angela’s time .

As Angela drew near completion of her project , we decided to have a glass of wine and a few nibbles. We finished up in the studio,  cleaned up and sat back and talked about our day together, the art,  the laughter, the wine… and had the second glass of wine!! Don’t waste an open bottle attitude.

My other half, Jon Blacker, professional photographer, had finished a portrait shoot earlier in the day, and equipment was still set up. Angela and I asked if he would take a few shots of us. He obliged and with camera lens on us we posed in our ” so 40″s age  and young at heart ”  style. We had a great time and thanks to Jon got some great pictures to remind us forever.

Spending a few hours of the day in my  studio space with someone else was a great reminder to have fun, laugh, be in the moment and importantly really  “play” with art and creativity.

Here we are posing…..Thanks Angela for a playful fun afternoon. ( we are so cool )  lol

photo credit: jon blacker

Angela Kontgen

A Voyeuristic peek at… your workspace.

I have  never really given my studio space much thought before. I work in it, it’s is functional, has great lighting, a comfortable air flow, and a get messy I dare you attitude.

However, after  the third person this week asked me specific questions about my “workspace studio”. I decided to take some pictures of my studio/tools and other  things in the space. I don’t think each picture requires a story in text, rather they tend to speak for themselves. Have a peek… and  Welcome to my Studio Workspace

I also  discovered  an interesting project on  an art  website.The project is called  workspace -project and I found myself peeking around other artists work  spaces.  The pictures were good, umm I liked the light in this studio, oh interesting use of  materials in this studio. This was interesting stuff. I was a little bit hooked … taking a voyeuristic look see at other artistic  workspaces.

The artist workspace seems to  holds some element of mystery, the space of creativity … the den of  diligent, difficult, determined, dutiful, dirty, deranged  minds … You pick  the words, as  artists  have been labelled them all.;)

We see the end result of the creative project… not the beginning,middle or middle.

Through my own clicking and and taking invited trips through other artists spaces I picked up a real sense of why individuals like to look around  these spaces… I think I may ask a few of my artist friends to send me pictures of their “where the art ” happens workspaces.

And maybe I will also  discover some of the little surprises in their workspaces as well.

Ossie, our 3 year cat,  tends to stay with me most of the time when I am alone  in my  studio space.

Sitting , watching, often lying on the floor. Only once  did  she has decided to walk across a not so dry canvas,leaving small  coloured paw prints along the adjacent  floor. She then unwillingly spent the next 20 minutes in the tub being scrubbed clean.

In case you are interested, here is the link to the Proxart Workspace Project.

Colour in art … what does it mean? what am I drawn to?

Colour and tone are the essence of a painting .

Color is highly subjective, but has observable psychological effects, although these can differ from one culture to the next.. Here are a few examples of colour and the psychological effects often associated with it .

Red: powerful, vitality, ambition, associated with sexuality If too much red can make you feel irritable, impatient, and uncomfortable

Orange: joyous, releases emotions, stimulates the mind

Green: decreases stress, soothes emotions, provides balance

Blue: cool, calming, inspires mental control, clarity and creativity

Yellow: uplifting, intellectual expressive,

Black: protective, silence, passive, mourning in Western culture

White: purity, protection, reflective ,too much can be cold and isolating , mourning in some Eastern cultures

Brown: stability, alleviates insecurity

Pink: emotionally soothing, calming, warmth, associated with unselfish love

Indigo Violet, Purple: artistic, musical imaginative, calming, balance of the mind, sensitivity

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.

-Paul Cezzane

Ask yourself , what colours capture you? What colours do you surround yourself with?

the colour red