Getting to Know – Sheila Howell

Sheila Howell

What is your favourite time of day to work – are you an early bird or a night hawk?

I work usually from 9:30 until 5:00 or until I get tired. I will often draw in the evenings, usually from my imagination.

What would your dream project be? If there were no restrictions with time or money, what would you create?

I LOVE working large. I would love to paint a 6 foot by 12 foot painting. It would be abstract or an incredibly large flower.

What is the one tool of your trade you would not be able to do without?

Cheap brushes. Sometimes I like to really smoosh the paint with the brush and rub it into the canvas. I would never do that with a “good brush”.

Tell us about that one special piece of work that you would never part with and why? 

It’s called Thirteen Fridays, an abstract I did a few years back. It’s only 9 x 12 inches and I love it.

How do you recharge your creative juices?

I walk. When I get frustrated or down on myself. I take off walking and I walk until I feel more in balance. Sometimes this can take an hour or more.

What would you do with a million dollars?
I’d go to Spain for a vacation and probably give most of it away.

What are you reading right now?

Nothing too interesting but I just finished “The Town That Drowned” by Riel Nason. I got it from the library but will be buying at least one copy. It’s just one of those books I need to own and keep.

What kind of music do you like to listen to when you are creating?
If I am in a funk, Leonard Cohen otherwise rock, jazz or classical. I often just enjoy the quiet.

Coffee or tea?
Usually coffee and sometimes tea or hot chocolate. I like to make a pot of tea.

Favourite snack?
When I am working, I like to have fresh fruit on hand as I often forget to eat lunch.

Getting to Know – Angela Belyea


What is your favorite time of day to work?

I like evenings because it is quiet and my day to day job is done.

What would your dream project be? 

To create an entire wardrobe using my skills.

What is the one tool you could not do without?

Some form of knitting needles. I knit in the dark, while a passenger in a car, while flying, relaxing……..

How do you recharge your creative juices?

Meditation and drum circles, walking in the woods, spending time with my animals.


What would you do with a million dollars?

Pay off my debts, help family, develop a creative healing centre

What are you reading right now?

Voices of the Earth by Clea Danaan

What kind of music do you like to listen to when you are creating?

Classical, instrumental music

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate, of course!

Introducing – Jill Higgins

When did you start painting?

I started painting when I was little, I used to steal my Mother’s tole painting paints. I would go around the house and paint on any wooden surface I could get my hands on, and not get in trouble. I have always enjoyed art and continued taking art classes in highschool. When I start studying architecture in Halifax at Dalhousie, I took a night “Intro to Oil Painting” class at NASCAD with Heather Sayeau. She was such a fantastic teacher, her methods and progression really spoke to me. It made me move from working with acrylic and watercolour paints to oils.

Jill Higgins

Why do you paint?

When I took the class with Heather Sayeau it was during a really busy semester in architecture, it was a great way to relax and be a little more free with my artistic expression. I continued through the years using it as a type of release.

Architecture and Painting what is the biggest difference you find between them?

Most of the time when working on architecture projects there are always restraints; budgetary, client, municipal, etc. Painting for me is such a great way to remove all the restraints and just focus on what I am feeling in that moment.

Irving Nature Park No.1-24x36

What are your favourite subjects to paint?

I really enjoy landscapes, I’m especially drawn to our maritime vernacular and aesthetics. I find landscapes so beautiful and inspirational, I love the colour the light and my feelings while I’m in those spaces and try to capture those in my paintings.

Where do you Like to paint?

I really like to paint in situ, but with have two you kids and a very busy schedule I rarely get to paint outside. I do enjoy my studio space. We moved over a year ago and I finally have a space to call my own. It’s so much easier now, before I would have to take out all my tools and paints and set up. Now it’s always set up which means if I have 5 minutes, 10 minutes or a couple of hours I can put paint down on my canvas and relax.

After the Storm-18x24

What was Art Battle Like?

It was a great experience, it really made me push the boundaries of my painting. Having to complete a painting within 20 minutes in front of a large crowd was very difficult and scary. I am very happy I was able to participate in these events. After I won the New Brunswick finals I competed in the Nationals in Ottawa, and wow what a fantastic experience. All the painters were extremely talented, I was able to meet some very amazing people. I came in the top 6 at that event which allowed me to participate in the International Art Battle Competition at the PanAm Games in Toronto. It was such a great experience that I didn’t even know was possible when I started the Art Battle competitions. I meet some amazing artists from all over the world and hope to stay in contact with them.

Getting to know…Helen Shideler




Who or what inspires you?

My inspiration comes from everywhere. I love bright colour, light and shadows.  Details and complexity. Interesting shadows. I love the energy of inspired &  positive people.  I love engaging in lively conversations and thinking out loud, brainstorming, what ifs etc.

I admire artists who can keep it simple.  I have tried.  It is not me.

IMG_7996_newHow would you describe your style or process?

Intricate, painterly, experimental, classic… BecasueI am drawn to complex subjects, I usually take time up front to map out in my mind how I am going to approach the work.  Some times it may be a matter of just starting it.  Sometimes I stew over it for days or weeks until the approach is clear to me.  And then I am off painting deliberately.

Where may people find more of your work?

At my home studio and gallery Blooming Colours by appointment, my web site and at the Citadel Gallery on Charlotte Street in Saint John


IMG_8432_newWhat are you currently working on?

Several poured paintings in play. There is another large series in my mind.  I am also trying to paint one small painting a week.  I

What is your idea of a dream trip?

Painting in Italy next year!  Attending plein air workshops in California, Africa and Alaska.  Maybe even teach on a cruise ship.  And  every chance to visit family in Vancouver!


What would you like to accomplish in the next three years?

It’s about time I book a solo show…

Book or Movie?

Depends on the weather – if is nice out, we are out

Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate and vanilla



Getting to know Kathy Thornhill

7363What time of day are you most productive?

In the morning I get up and have coffee with my husband and catch up with the current events – HLN – Robin Mead. During this time I work on crossword puzzles and the Sudoku in the paper. After this, I can hardly wait to pick up the hook to work on my current project. In the afternoons I open my Gallery and continue to work on my projects.

What are you currently working on?

I just finished a piece I call “Spirit Drums”. It was inspired by a photo I took in the Dene Community of Fort Good Hope, NWT. My current project is a fun piece based on a photo I took in a fishing community – coffee cups arranged in a row on the dock. When I took the photo, I wasn’t sure what I would do with it as a photo, but it lends itself perfectly to rug hooking.

What would you like people to know about you, your creative process or your work?

Over the years I have worked on fibre arts, creating pieces using stitches such as Hardanger, Florentine canvas work, Stumpwork and cross-stitch.   I discovered a passion for design and discovered rug hooking. I use my photography to create unique hooked mats.   Using Photoshop, I create a line drawing from my photograph and transfer it to linen backing. I use some artistic license to fill in details and add color.



In the next five years you would you like to accomplish. Dream big!

I would like to have an exhibit with my hooked mats.

Dream vacation? Where would you like to go and why.

Greenland. I have been to most of the northern country in the western hemisphere. I have been to Alaska, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut and Iceland. I would like to complete the picture with a visit to Greenland.


What music do you listen to when you are working?

I prefer silence actually. I am so totally focused on my work, that everything else doesn’t exist.

Favourite colour?

Blue! Always has been.

Web Site: The site includes several galleries of my photos, and one with my hooked mats.