This is Keira, honoured and delighted to be your guide and fellow traveller.

You have registered for Art Basics One, a practical, playful course for anyone who wants to stretch a little past what they know about materials, practice and the amazing gift-to-self that is art-making. This AB One session will fun from January 7 to February 25, 2024.

(If you haven’t registered for AB One but you still found this page, it’s because something’s telling you to join the course. I plan to run it at least once per year, in the winter months. Here’s the link to register for winter 2024:

The impressionists were on to this idea, that light describes form in a space. I think light describes time, too, and sometimes thought. This piece was made during covid lockdowns in 2021. I was thinking about peace and chaos.

The empty cup is about the strange experience of being forbidden to gather and connect as social beings. This coffee cup was made during WWII in German-occupied Czechoslovakia.

THIS COURSE IS PLAYFUL. You go at your own pace, in your own time, and your own space. The words ‘mistake’ and ‘pressure’ do not exist anywhere in the modules, and the exploration is with the marks YOU make, and how valuable and informative they are.

This really is the course I built for myself to take, once a year. It’s designed to shake up my habits and stretch me past where I think I can go. I get sparked by the media and the mark making, to explore beyond what I know, to loosen up, play, and ask new questions –  about my own marks, my curiosities, about what I need, NOW (creatively and structurally), and how I choose to grow from here.

Charcoal, Conte, vine charcoal…

Wax, chalk, mineral, oil, or charred wood – you’ll find out what art materials are made from, and how they work, or don’t work together. You’ll find the things you think you can’t do, and go right ahead and do them. You’ll figure out how to build a regular creative practice into your routine, and how that makes everything better.


Below is a list of what we’ll be working with.

If you would like assistance with finding these things (it can be a rabbit hole, and you need to avoid cheap products that will just frustrate you), let me know at this address: BEFORE DECEMBER 15, 2023. I can’t guarantee that we can gather what you need after that date.

A NOTE: It would be great if you could source these supplies from an independent art store, i.e., not Michael’s, Amazon, Curry’s or anything like a big corporate box. Independents are community-based hubs of creativity and spark in the world that are run by people like you and me. In Canada – Wallack’s (Ottawa); Gwartzman’s (Toronto); Wyndham’s (Guelph); Opus (Vancouver). If anyone knows other independents on the east coast or middle provinces, please write in the comments.

  • good graphite pencils and sharpeners (blackwing are excellent, otherwise 2B, 4B, 8B)
  • conte – white, black (2B)
  • compressed charcoal (2 sticks, 2B or softer)
  • china markers – white, black, one colour
  • vine charcoal (4 sticks, soft)
  • Lyra or stockwell wax crayons (1-4 lighter colours)
  • water soluble sticks (NOT pencils! Derwent, Nupastel, Lyra, Caran D’Ache 2-6 colours)
  • Brushes – 1x fan, 1x 3”wide, 1x wedge 1/4”
  • oil pastels (2-4 colours, not black)
  • good blackboard chalk and/or chalk pastels (2-4 colours)
  • Alcohol-based markers (2-4 colours, fine/wedge tipped)
  • spray fixative (Degas)
  • 6 sheets Stonehenge paper, 22×30
  • I pad cartridge paper
  • 1 pad newsprint
  • 3 erasers – Staedler white, blue kneadable, gum

If you’re curious about me you can see some of my visual work on (this site). My writing and podcast is on (do consider a paid subscription for your pleasure and in support of my work).

For your information and enjoyment: I have a new series of pieces that will appear on both platforms between November 1 and December 15, and I’m working away on a book, illustrated by stories and artwork, that explores the idea of inheritance, and gifts that challenge.

Warm regards, and happy holidays to you. ‘Til we meet in January!

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