Sunday, December 20, 2015

You Love It. Then You Hate It. Then You Change It. Then You Love It.

Goddesses? What Goddesses?

I painted this painting a couple of years ago, and it was hanging on my studio wall minding it's own business last week, when I suddenly developed a serious grudge against it.  Here is the deal with this particular painting.  A couple of years ago I was so in love with colour and layers upon layers upon layers of marks and texture that it was very hard for me to cull.  "Ooh, that bit is so pretty!" I was like a kid decorating a Christmas tree that had to hang every ornament PLUS tinsel AND multi coloured lights.  (Note: Tree this year is minimalist - white twinkly lights and a dozen old fashioned wooden or knitted ornaments.)  As a result, my paintings were busy - full of action, like a carnival ride.

Midway through painting this one I saw two women, chin to chin, breast to breast, hair streaming back and hips a-sway.  I called the painting Embrace Your Inner Goddess.  The thing is, no one could see those women but me.  In over two years, not a single person saw my goddesses, no matter how many clues I gave.  "See? Both of them have an arm back, like THIS" I would say, demonstrating with my own arm.  Nope.  No one.

Aside from the hidden goddesses, the painting was starting to really bug me.  Too much color.  Too many marks.  It made me feel all jangly when I looked at it.  Get me off this carnival ride, already.

The absolute beauty of painting, the thing that I really want my students to Get with a capital G, is that you can paint, and stop, and start again, and change it, and leave it, and change it, and so on and so forth. Until you like it. (And then, maybe you won't again later.)  But it is signed already!   But I took photos of it and called it finished!

So what?

It is the PROCESS that is so delicious, not the end result. When I took that big bad goddessy girl down and started layering blues and whites over it I was in the zone. What to keep, what to get rid of? This process still thrills the heck out of me, maybe because I am so much better at it than I used to be.

The first thing I did was rotate the canvas, like this for a new view:

Once it was in this orientation, all sorts of new possibilities presented themselves. You can see what I mean more clearly if I show you half the canvas at a time. I saw some bits I wanted to keep... the hanging down pod thingie, the little blue leaves, the tiny etched flower, and one of the blue horizontal slashes. I changed the horizontal lines a bit, and added white and black liberally.

On this half you can see that another pod thingie from the top stayed, as well as some of the blue vertical streaks. I loved the marks in the big circle under the pod, but made it smaller and anchored it to the bottom of the canvas with a stem. The orange area at the lower right had so much pretty colour going on, so I kept a bit of it in the leaves and gave the rest the white treatment. Adding some black areas give a nice contrast.

The painting has been renamed Winter Drift. I like it. For now... ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY! You can win this painting (aka why I think we should show up and clap)

I was teaching a workshop this past weekend and was talking with my students about recurring themes and imagery.   Sometimes we are drawn to certain images, concepts or words, and they show up over and over again in our work.   Personally, I think it is important to allow them to continue to show up, rather than think (with our monkey mind) "Oh not another house - (or figure, or flower, or heart), - how cliche!   Why do I paint the same things over and over again?!!"

We do not need to consult Freud to understand why some imagery has personal significance for us, but knowing why our intuition or subconscious mind keeps bringing up certain concepts is not as important, to me, as being open to the idea that there is a reason why those concepts continue to do an encore performance, and just show up and clap enthusiastically when they do.

For me, houses show up over and over again in my work.   Honestly, I never begin a painting thinking "I'm going to scatter little houses along the bottom of this painting,"  - (I never begin a painting thinking anything but "Wheeee! A blank canvas, time to play!") - but there are those little houses, again, and again, and again.  I guess they will continue to show up until they don't anymore, and I am okay with that.

This 12 x 12 original acrylic on canvas painting entitled "Home is a Feeling" was a demo painting I did in one of my Personal Intentions workshops, and it can be yours (or someone you love's) - by participating in my contest.  You can either comment on my Lesley Fountain Studio facebook page (under the giveaway post) or email me at and tell me, in a brief paragraph or longer, what the word HOME means to you.   Contest ends November 30th. Please like and share, this contest is open to anyone anywhere!

Friday, November 6, 2015

CHRISTMAS WORKSHOP DECEMBER 5th and 19th - Mini Paintings!

Get in the Christmas spirit with this fun afternoon workshop. These little mini paintings make great gifts for friends and relatives. At 2" square they fit nicely in a stocking.

Using collage, stamping, stencils and paint to create these small treasures, each participant will go home with six original minis just in time for the holidays!

Saturday, December 5th, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday, December 19th, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
50.00 includes all materials, tea and a festive treat.
Friend discount - register with a friend and pay 45.00 each.

To register contact me at:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New Workshop for 2016 - Love Your Self (ie)


And so are you!

All too often we have no concept of how magnificent we each really are - what our individual strengths and accomplishments are, and how our history, no matter what it holds, has a powerful ability to influence us in a positive way.  We can reel off a list of our faults and failures, but what about our triumphs and achievements?  What is it about each one of us that makes our contributions valuable?  What is that special "something" that make us unique?

We are not in the habit of celebrating ourselves, and we should be!

In Love Your Self(ie) we will explore the concept of SELF LOVE using photographs (from your past and present), collage materials, and a variety of mixed media techniques, to create a piece of art that celebrates the magnificent, remarkable, extraordinary, captivating, exceptional, incomparable you!

Saturday, January 9th, 10 am - 4:00 pm
Wednesdays (three consecutive) January 13th, 20th, and 27th,  6-8 pm

Cost: 135.00 includes all materials, tea and chocolate

To register contact me at:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lesley Fountain Studio Gift Certificates

Give the gift that keeps on giving - creativity!

If you have a special someone in mind who would enjoy some creative time - either at a drop in open studio session or a workshop - or a piece of original art, consider a gift certificate.  

Lesley Fountain Studio gift certificates can be for any denomination starting at 20.00. They can be applied to workshops, paintings, prints, or laptop skins. These gift certificates can be mailed or sent electronically to the recipient.   Contact me for details!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Celestial Series

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” - Carl Sagan

 I painted this series of nine paintings over a period of 8 weeks this summer.   At the end of July, I received the news from a very dear friend of mine that her business partner and close friend had been in a boating accident and was lost at sea.   That night I went into my studio in a state of shock.   The painting "I'm Here" was the result of that painting session.   As with all paintings borne from the intuitive process, this one seem to paint itself.   I had no plan or sketch that I was working from - in fact my mind just shut off and my hand took over while I observed.   I have never painted anything like "I'm Here", or the subsequent eight paintings that came afterward.   They are not painted in my usual style.   I don't really know where they came from.

"I'm Here"  SOLD
“There are very few friends that will lie down with you on empty streets in the middle of the night, without a word. No questions, no asking why, just quietly lay there with you, observing the stars, until you're ready to get back up on your feet again and walk the last bit home, softly holding your hand as a quiet way of saying “I'm here.” It was a beautiful night.” - Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps

I find this fascinating and worthy of sharing, because I think the connection between the subconscious mind and creativity is huge, and that if we can "tap into" that connection by letting go of expectation and seeing what shows up we will continue to be surprised and amazed over and over again.

While the beginning of the painting "I'm Here" was prompted by feelings of loss and grief, as I continued to paint it was the feelings of calm and acceptance of the vast unknowability of life, and the beauty of that mystery, that came through to me.   I thought of friends of mine who are no longer here.   I thought of how small we are in this vast universe.   I thought of how incredibly beautiful the night sky is, and the lovely names of the constellations - Cassiopeia, Delphinus, Lyra, Orion, Corona Borealis, Carina, Andromeda.   I thought of all the people who have studied and mapped the stars, and those trail blazers and dreamers who created rocket ships, and the brave men and women who traveled in them.

"Little Nova"  SOLD

"We are loved, and we are known. We are one, and we're not alone." Quixotic - Every Kid in the House Tonight

Every time I went to my studio another "celestial" painting would present itself.   The paintings are heavily textured and finished with a gloss varnish, and each one seems to have an otherworldly glow from within.   I have never painted paintings that look like this!

"Metaphor for the Night Sky"  SOLD
"Metaphor for the night sky - a trillion asterisks and no explanations." - Robert Brault

 "It's Written In The Starlight"  SOLD
"It's written in the starlight, and every line in your palm" 
- Dire Straits

"Eight Hundred Light Years Away From Earth"

“If an object - a star, for instance, like our own sun - is eight hundred light years away from the Earth, it would take light leaving that object eight hundred years until it reached our eyes. So when you look at that object, you are seeing it as it appeared eight hundred light years ago, not as it looks today. It might not even exist anymore. Every time you look up at the stars, you are looking into the past.” - Wendy Mass, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

The last four paintings in the series celebrate the annual August Perseid meteor shower.   The shower, radiating from the constellation Perseus, contains particles ejected by the Swift-Tuttle comet as it travels on its 133 year orbit.   Most of the particles in the Perseid cloud are 1000 years old.

 "The Sea Maid's Music"  SOLD

"The rude sea grew civil at her song, and certain stars shot madly from their spheres to hear the sea maid's music"  
- William Shakespeare.

"100 Meteors"  SOLD

"100 meteors flew thither in the morning" - documented in Chinese annals in 36 AD

 "Make a Wish and Think of Me"  SOLD

"Please, don't worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you're ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day... make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular." - Robin Williams in Jack

 "Fireflies Tangled in a Silver Braid."
"Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade, Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid. - Alfred Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall.
Thinking about the orbit of the comet - longer than any human lifetime - and those ancient particles above us, makes me feel that the truth of our existence is this - we are all tiny specks of humanity in a vast and unknowable universe, but we are also each magnificent and powerful, resilient and brave. And we are all, I believe, here for a reason.   To shine. 

Why in the world are we here?  
Surely not to live in pain and fear  
Well, we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah, we all shine on
On and on and on, on and on
C'mon and on and on, on, on
John Lennon - Instant Karma

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Altered Clothing - Time for a New Workshop!

One day years ago I decided to jazz up a jacket I had by painting a panel on the back of it:

Then I decided my other jacket looked a bit boring too, so I painted it:

I made one for my sister:

Then my friends saw them and wanted their jackets jazzed up too with some of their favorite images:


Recently while rummaging through my closet I found a jacket that looked kind of bland, and I felt the urge to embellish rising up in me once again:

I like the way it turned out, and thought it might be a fun workshop idea! So, bring your favorite panel backed jacket (you can use a panel skirt as well) to transform into personal, wearable work of art. Clothing made from denim, cotton or twill fabric is fine. I will provide all of the necessary paints, brushes, tools and other supplies. 

Saturday, September 12th
 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
85.00 includes all materials except clothing 
Chocolate and tea provided

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Altered Books - step by step

Altered books are a very fun and satisfying creative project. I look for baby board books with about ten pages at the thrift store. Too many more pages will make your finished book pretty bulky. This one has pages that measure 8 x 8, but you can find them in all sizes.

Step #1 - Gather up some magazines, old calendars, books you are willing to recycle (again the thrift sore is a good source of material) - gift wrap, downloadable and printable art images, photocopies, pages of old letters, greeting cards, tissue paper, basically anything made of paper that you can stick down onto the page. Now this is the important bit - DON'T THINK. This process works best when you let go of any plan or idea you have for a finished page and instead let your intuition take over. This intuitive approach to art making is incredibly relaxing - it gets you into that wonderful state known as FLOW. Any time you see an image, colour, bit of text etc that you are drawn to for whatever reason, put it in your pile. Don't question WHY. More is good.
Lots of choices = dynamic pages!

Using an acrylic medium or a Mod Podge type product, brush the back of each piece with the medium and stick it down. Don't worry about where each piece goes - again, NO THINKING! Just grab and stick down, grab and stick down. This is surprisingly relaxing! With pieces of text I like to make sure there are a few that are not covered up by other images. Once you have covered pretty much all of the pages, sit back and admire your work for a bit.

Once you are satisfied with the overall effect of your glued down paper bits, get out your paint and mark  making tools. I use stencils, foam stamps, bubble wrap, scratching tools, metallic and other acrylic paints. Items like corks, combs, dental tools, caps from bottles are easy to find around the house and can make some cool marks. I like to dribble paint on and then spray it with water to get neat and unpredictable effect. (This is not a project for control freaks - I guess you have figured that out by now.) On these pages I used metallic gold for the drips, and used a hand made star stencil that I made back when my sister and I were going to be rich and famous selling our unique hand painted and stenciled beach wear in our funky beachfront shop in Jamaica. (That one was Plan H.) I made dozens and dozens of stencils and painted and stenciled reams of yardage, that my sister then sewed into sarongs, capri pants and tank tops. Plan H never got off the ground, because I got married instead of moving to Jamaica and opening a seaside clothing boutique, but I did find a use for all of those stencils 20 years later. ANYHOW! I also used a little foam circle stamp and several other stencils for repeat patterns. The one on the top of the right hand page had the stencil repositioned with gold over the black for a neat dimensional look. When you are happy with the results you can put 1 or 2 coats of acrylic medium or Mod Podge over top, in either a matte or gloss finish. 

Altered books are just one of the mixed media projects you can work on at my weekly
"Express Yourself" Drop In Art Studio sessions - Wednesdays 6-8 pm and Friday 1-3 pm.
Creating with others is FUN! So is eating chocolate and talking.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Hello all - I am taking some time off from teaching workshops for the next little while, as I have some health issues I currently need to focus my attentions on.  I am working on finishing up my book, as well as an accompanying downloadable art workshop.

Fun AND therapeutic! 

 I will still be in the studio twice a week for the Express Yourself Open Studio Drop In Sessions:

Wednesday evenings 6-8 pm and Friday afternoons 1-3 pm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Can You Heal Through Creating Art?

How can making art help you heal?  Can the act of creating art be therapeutic in and of itself?

I am not a therapist, nor am I a psychologist, but I do I know that for me personally, the act of creating art (aside from the dopamine rush I get from doing something I love and am fully engaged in) has a tremendous healing effect on me.  After three or four hours in my studio painting I often feel reborn.  My brain switches into flow mode (like an unbiased observer, relieved from decision making and continuously processing information) and lets my fingers do their tango with the paint, leaving me feeling calm, energized and replenished afterward, not depleted.  It feels very similar to the sensation I used to have swimming laps, when about 20 minutes into my workout I would slip into flow mode.  I felt like I was hypnotized, my brain was resting, and my body felt like it could swim forever. Yay for dopamine!

I have also discovered that I can work through powerful feelings and emotions using paint and canvas almost as therapeutic tools.  This piece is from a new series that I am currently working on called Don't F@#k With Me.

I am very interested to hear how others have experienced this phenomenon of using the process of art making to work through feelings toward healing.  If you would like to share your story with me please contact me at

(The inspirational words on the above painting belong to writer Augusten Burroughs.)