Painting with Russell

Over the last year, I have had several hundred people paint with me, first in our living room - we would push all the furniture out of the way, then out in Birdsong Studio.  I've also painted with different work groups and participants at Mindcamp, Canada's creativity conference.  I think I've benefited from the paint night wave that has seemingly swept in from out of nowhere, though what I do is a little different.

Essentially, I guide the participants through my process, getting them to the point where they are able to draw the subject onto the canvas and begin adding colour. While I do step in and help when asked, by and large, participants go on a very individual journey.  The resulting work has a profound effect on me as an artist and as a human being.

Last night, Maryse (left) and Kim (right) joined me in the studio.  Kim had popped in previously; for Maryse, it was her first time painting.

In her two excursions into colour, Kim has found both her voice and her palette.

Maryse accepted a few minutes of my help mid-project, then took it to an amazing finish.

I've become convinced that as human beings, we all have creative instincts.  All I do as the facilitator is create a space where the person is given a reasonably easy path to follow to get to the point where they can add colour to canvas in a way that is rather freeing and fun.  Sure, there are moments of stress and self-doubt, especially when they first put paint to canvas.  But, eventually they settle in and find themselves in somewhat of a meditative state.

If you've been following along, waiting for the right moment to try out this activity, perhaps the time has come.  I'll be setting up in the McMurray Experience at Jubilee Plaza on Saturday morning as part of the Empty Bowls Festival in support of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association.  For a minimum $50 donation to the Food Bank, you can get one of the spots and join me in painting for a few hours.

I'm setting up to begin at 11 am, but if you want to arrive any time in that first hour, I'll be happy to get you started.  We're supplying everything you need; all you have to do is arrive with your minimum $50 pledge for the Food Bank.

You can pre-register to save a spot by sending me an email at or a text at 780-881-3752.


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