Gift Ideas, Inspiration, Painting Process

Unique gift for teacher

Teacher appreciation gift on your mind?

It is that time of the year again. Close to the end of the school year. The time when we begin to brainstorm ideas for teacher’s gifts. Finding that unique gift for teacher, one that encapsulates our deepest appreciation for all that they do, is never an easy task.

urban art abstract

Neutral bases painted to look like a weathered wall, before the kids’ individual brushstrokes were painted.

Give a custom painting as an end-of-year teacher gift!

This year, why not commission a piece of art as a special gift for your child’s teacher? In my son’s first school year, the parents commissioned me to do three special pieces for our kids’ end-of-year teacher’s gifts. It was a greatly fulfilling project. I engaged the help of all of the kids to make each piece a meaningful, lasting piece of art that the teacher would treasure for years to come.

teacher's gift abstract art

The completed canvases with the kid’s expressive brushstrokes and their names beside it for posterity!

In keeping with my non-objective painting style, I created a super-textured graffiti wall base on canvas, and had each child paint an expressive brushstroke in a different colour. I wrote the child’s name beside each brushstroke. I then finished each piece off professionally. The teachers were touched and awed by such a special and customized gift. The kids were particularly proud to have been a part of it too!

abstract art gift for teachers

Close up of the individual brushtrokes by the mini Picassos of Mrs Paterson’s class at Kingsway Montessori!

So, please do put this idea into your top ten gift ideas for teachers and others, and contact me to create your next unique gift idea! Browse my galleries for more ideas, including gifts for baby showers and kid’s rooms.

And of course, thank you to my son’s very first school teachers: Ms.Paterson, Ms. Sarah and Mrs. Dee!

Art and Discipline

In the great artist you see daring bound by discipline and discipline stretched by daring. (Robert Brault)

All too often, when people consider how art is created, dreamy images come to mind…images of the enlightened artist, enslaved by true and impassioned creativity, armed with loaded and perfectly-hued brushes gliding effortlessly over a blank canvas, and finishing with a decisive final flourish!

Well, sometimes it does feel like that. But, not from start to finish. Just before I begin a new painting, I am most excited. Brimming with raw and spontaneous creativity, I feel empowered by the strong sense of unconstrained natural ability that comes with inspiration. Then, at this point, I have to pause and take a few cautious and disciplined steps back to consider my plan.

Make a Plan!

Yes, a PLAN. Starting and completing a painting without a proper plan is a surefire way to end up with a scrambled and meaningless mess. Those of you who are guilty of the same know exactly what this looks and feels like. You often end up with a painting awash in confused colour, flawed composition and poor concept!

Proper planning and controlled discipline is truly essential to the success of a painting. This is truer still when doing a commission piece. Broadly stated, listed below are the main phases I go through in order to end up with what I consider to be a successful commission/painting.

Toward Successful Completion:


The first phase: The most important step, for me, when I begin a painting is what I call my conceptualization stage. I usually spend two full weeks on conceptualization. During this time, I research carefully all the concepts I will likely use to design the painting. I work closely with my clients during this stage. I ask the right questions, and obtain a lot of answers. Images and ideas spark and form. I thread it all together and produce a thumbnail which the client approves, and which I then proceed to work from to complete the painting.


The next phase is paint, paint, paint! With the plan pretty much laid out, I proceed to paint fervently. Because painting begets painting. It also helps at this stage to constantly visualize the image as I see it at the end. This is really important for me to keep on the straight and narrow and not get swept away in all the excitement… but, where is all that blind creativity you ask?

Creative Infusion:

Well, herein lays the challenge. In every phase of my painting process, from beginning to end, I must guide my eager-to-be-free creative energy to take its persuasive hold wherever necessary…allowing it to weave itself gently into the painting, lending an inspired hand at just the right moments, helping me to get to the acclaimed finish.

Practice and Patience

With practice and patience, I’ve learned to harness my wild creative energy and apply it sparingly throughout the painting process, culminating in a piece that is perfectly peppered with good measures of pure inspiration and thoughtful, disciplined design.

And last, but not least, a shout-out…my endless respect and gratitude goes out to the many teachers and mentors in my life who have taught me about the absolute virtues of being patient and having an excellent plan.


Passion Renewed

My lovely baby boy, a rambunctious toddler in every sense, leaves me awash with equal parts of fatigue and fascination daily. But he also fills me with an electrifying creative energy. And when he is sound asleep, I race away hungrily to dip my brushes into my bright, buttery paint and connect soundly with my canvas.

My son has had everything to do with my renewed passion for creating art for babies and their environments. The nursery room art that I have painted since his arrival has been gratifying on a whole new level.

baby jaydenSophisticated Art for Baby!

My art for babies and their rooms is fashioned from my core work as an abstract artist. The paintings emerge as sophisticated pieces of art sprinkled with whimsical elements and motifs, including, if desired, baby’s name or any other written calligraphy. The room, the furniture, the baby and the parents all feed in to the artwork… resulting in a timeless, one-of-a-kind piece of original art.

So, a big thank you goes to my own baby, Zayd, for illuminating my internal and external world. His arrival brought new and fruitful revelations for me as an artist. All is different, sweeter, softer, more compelling. Ah! The sweet perspective of motherhood… I had heard so much about it, and now I know what all the fuss is about.