December 15, 2014

Happy Holidays!!!

I would like to wish you all a very happy Holiday season, let's make 2015 another awesome year filled with beauty, art and adventure! 

Denise Buisman Pilger

December 01, 2014

Buy some Art for the Holidays!

December is here! Where did 2014 go? it feels like it flew by and I missed most of it. Wasn't I preparing for the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition just a few weeks ago? Sure feels like it! But no, it's December, Christmas trees are popping up all over the place and holiday songs are playing wherever you go. 

I cannot deny that the holidays are almost here and the time for Christmas shopping is upon us. This is the perfect time to get that very awesome gift for that special someone and to show some support for your local artists at the same time! This upcoming Friday (December 5th) Viva Vida Art Gallery will be kicking off their 6th annual small works exhibition, showing small affordable artworks by local artists as well as a wide range of jewellery, fine art prints, pottery and sculpture. 

Come join us this Friday night from 7-10pm at Viva Vida Art Gallery (278-2 Lakeshore RoadPointe-Claire, Quebec H9S 4K9). There will be wine and snacks, loads of local artists to chat with, awesome artwork to see and maybe you'll find that perfect gift that you were looking for! What better way to celebrate the start of the holiday season? 

November 17, 2014

New works are online!

Earlier this week I finally took some time to photograph some of the works that I had recently finished. I hadn't really uploaded anything new to my website for a while now so it was definitely time!

Here's a little peek at some of the new stuff, if you like to see more you can check out the artwork gallery on my website.

Viewpoints 6

View from Afar

City Street


Fire Hydrant 6

Water Fountain

November 05, 2014

A perfectly timed workshop...

This past weekend I was finally able to participate in one of fellow artist Bev Wight's mixed media acrylic workshops! I absolutely love Bev's work, she has a great eye for composition and she created the most beautiful textures and lines in her work, I have wanted to do one of her workshops for long time but every time something got in the way, but this Sunday it finally worked out!

We worked with a lot of different textures which, with my current texture obsession, was the perfect fit! She also showed us a really neat trick with alcohol which gives some really awesome effects! I always love workshops like these, not only is it a great way to learn new things but it is a great way to meet new people as well. Most of the time I'm just working by myself in the studio so it's nice to work with a group of people every once in a while.

On November 4th one of my pieces was part of a photo article about urban art on the Artsyshark blog which was really exciting, you can read the article here.

I've been spending a LOT of time in my studio, which is one of the reasons I've not been updating this blog as regularly as usual. I had so many pieces that needed to be finished! I've had some very productive weeks. If you've followed my Facebook Page you will have seen pictures of some of the stuff I'm currently working on, above you can see a close up of one of the pieces that recently came off my easel.

I still have many pieces to finish so my updates might not be a regular as you are used to but I will keep you posted!

October 21, 2014

Tantalizing textures..

I have always been attracted to artwork with texture, I just love it when there's thick layers of paints or a rough surface. In my own work I've been playing around with textures on and off, in the beginning I used to create textured skies with paper mache and in past couple of months I have been doing a lot of experiments with a variety of textured mediums.

These past few weeks my love of textures has become somewhat of an obsession. I did a round of all the local hardware stores to beg them for old wall paper books. Unfortunately that search came up empty so I've been scouring the local art supply stores for cool textured paper. 

I'm adding these awesome textures to my painting surface before adding the gesso and I am loving the effects of that in my final works! So far I've done some black and white pieces that have a very graphic feel to them, but I'm also working on a couple of pieces in color. 

I've mostly been combining the textures with direct transfers, but soon I will be adding this to some of my gel skin photo montages. I'm even thinking of combing it with the pouring medium I've been working with. 

This year has been all about experimenting in the studio and the time invested in definitely paint off. I feel like everything I've been working on is coming together now. I have a whole bunch of paintings that are wanting to be finished, I've even switched gears in some of them so I could incorporate the lovely pieces of paper that I've found. 

I'm super excited to move forward with this and I can't wait to see what will come out of my studio in a couple of weeks. So many paintings to finish... so little time... got to get back to work now... textures are waiting!

October 06, 2014

Corporate art events.

It has been a busy week! Last minute Viva Vida Art Gallery was recruited to give a couple of art workshops for a big corporate event and they asked me to teach these workshops. We had three large groups of +20 people who came to try their hands at some direct transfers and create their own little Montréal souvenir to bring hom with them. It was an absolute blast to see how everyone created their own individual artwork despite all starting out with the same image. 

There's a lot of preparation that goes into events like this so we had our work cut out for us! But in the end we had everything under control and the workshops went smoothly, I think everyone had a great time! 

Tomorrow we will be starting another Acrylic Transfer class which will be a total of 6 Tuesday evening classes in which I am going to teach the acrylic gel skin process. If you are interested in taking part in this class please contact Viva Vida Art Gallery to apply.

A couple of weeks back I talked about the difficulties of crossing the US border to do an Art Fair. Well I can report a tiny bit of progress on this front. I just spent the entire morning filling out forms to apply for a US visa. I have an appointment at the US Consulate tomorrow morning so I should be getting a definite Yes or No very, very soon! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that thew outcome will be positive, especially since you have to pay a substantial non refundable fee upfront so let's keep our fingers crossed!

October 01, 2014

An interview and other things...

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with Professional Artist Magazine to talk about my work, you can read the resulting article here. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professional Artist Magazine and journalist Adam Rhodes in particular, for this amazing opportunity!

This past weekend were the Cultural Days in Montréal so that meant artsy celebrations at Viva Vida Art Gallery! We wee blessed with some beautiful fall weather which meant we could do our artist demonstrations outside! There was live music and loads of people came out to enjoy the activities.

Next week we will start a new 6 week Acrylic transfer course at the gallery. In this course, that will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7-9:30 pm, I am going to teach how to create a painting using the gel skin transfer technique. There are still a few spaces left so if you are interested in taking this class with me please contact Viva Vida Art Gallery to reserve you spot!

In the latest episode of Creative Ramblings, I show how to create an affordable Art carry bag. These are going to make it super easy to transport my artwork to the next show :)

September 22, 2014

Art makes the perfect wedding gift

For the second time this year my work was given as a wedding gift (read about the first time here). The girlfriends of the bride had decided they wanted to give the happy couple this very special gift as a group. Although the process of creating this piece was similar to doing a regular commissioned painting, this did feel more special. Because it was going to be a gift, I wasn't working with the people that would receive the painting so that always adds an extra level of difficulty.

I talked with the clients to get an idea about the subject and sent them some examples of previous works so they could give their preferences for a style, size and price range. Then I started creating a composition on the computer. I sent them a digital sketch and we communicated back an forth about some minor changes until everyone was happy.

One of the requests was that I add the details of a map that showed the place where they got engaged. I also added their names and wedding date in the painting to make it extra special.

Because art is very personal and each painting is unique I think it is an amazing gift for a special occasion like a wedding. I am honored that I was asked to create this painting, hopefully it will give this lovely couple lots of happy memories. 

Do you like the idea of giving art as a wedding gift? Do you have any questions about the process of commissioning an artwork? Don't hesitate to ask! I'm always available to answer your questions just leave a comment or send me an email!

September 15, 2014

The difficulties of crossing the US border as an international artist.

In last weeks blog post I announced I would be participating in the 2nd Arlington Festival of the Arts, unfortunately I had to cancel this event because I might get stopped and detained at the border because participating in the fair might not be legal. I say might because I'm still not quite sure, let me explain.

I know a lot of international artists that do fairs and festivals in the US so I initially thought that this was something that I could do without any problems. I had called the department of taxation and got a form that allowed me to pay my sales tax in the state of Virginia so I thought I was OK to go.

Turns out I thought wrong, because even though you can bring your artwork across the border for exhibition purposes, you are not allowed to sell said artwork, this blogpost by a fellow Canadian artists explains the risks and reasons. (

I emailed the art fair organizers, who have been organizing shows with international artists attending for 30 years but they didn't have any information about this at all. So I spent the week on the phone talking with multiple visa specialists, I exchanged emails with US customs and border patrol, the US business visa centre and US immigration services, I read multiple visa eligibility criteria on the homeland security website as well as part of the foreign affairs manual. After all this I still cannot say for sure that I would be able to sell my art on an art fair in the US legally, ever. Suffice it to say it has been a slightly frustrating and confusing week.

I have been advised to apply for a B1 visa, which apparently is different from ESTA which lets me enter the US with a B1/B2 visa status??? Yeah I'm confused too! Apparently the person that I would have my visa interview with would be able to give me a more definite yes or no, but even then it's apparently still up to the border patrol officer if I would be allowed entry each time! I don't mind applying for a visa if that is what it takes to do things legally but it is just very frustrating that nobody can tell me if this visa would definitely allow me to do sell my art in the US. But, since this seems to be my only option I'm going to go for it.

Obviously applying for a visa takes some time so I had to cancel the Arlington show :( I'm pretty bummed about that one! I thought I had done my research but since there are no clear rules about this it is very difficult to find information and I don't want to take the risk of being detained at the border like my fellow Canadian artist. Hopefully I will be able to figure all this out and do some US shows in the future.

For now I'm heading back into the studio, there's still a whole bunch of paintings that need finishing :)

September 08, 2014

The 2nd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts (Arlington, VA)

I need to work, work, work! In two weeks I am going to be part of the 2nd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts (Arlington, VA) so I am going to need some new works to bring with me! Today I'm focusing on creating the compositions for a series of new City Vignettes featuring Washington DC, I just picked up a bunch of panels for them so those are currently being prepped with GAC and Gesso.

I've also done a new pour this morning and will do another one tomorrow, for two more pieces that have been waiting to get finished. I have many, many new pieces waiting for me in the studio so this week I will lock myself in there until at least some of them are finished :)

Keep an eye on my Facebook Page for regular photo updates of my progress :)

Because of all these preparations there will not be a new episode of Creative Ramblings next week, but keep an eye on my YouTube Channel for an overview of the show in Arlington!

September 01, 2014

Creative Ramblings #16: How to varnish a painting with Golden and Liquitex products.

I know it's been a while but here it is! A brand spanking new episode of Creative Ramblings! In this episode I talk about varnish, why it is a good idea to varnish a painting, what you need to look for when buying a varnish and how to apply it. Enjoy!

August 25, 2014

Working on a commissioned painting...

As an artist you sometimes get requests to create a specific painting for a client, this is called a commission. I've been lucky enough to have received a couple of these commissions in the past and I am currently working on one for a client in the Netherlands.

For most of my commissions I get asked if I could do a painting of a particular city and sometimes the client has a wish to see a particular element represented in the painting, I've had requests to add (or remove) specific buildings, people and in one case even a city bus.

Now, I only work with my own photographic material so I can only do cities that I've actually visited and taken photos of, and the commission I'm currently working on is a little bit special that way. I'm currently working on a piece of Haarlem, a city in the Netherlands that I had visited often but had never actually taken pictures of. So during the my last trip across the pond, I spent a day walking through the city together with the client to take pictures and see all the places that he wanted me to incorporate into the painting. This was the first time I went out to take photographs together with the client and it was a wonderful way for me to get a better feel for the painting as well as the city. I hope to be able to do something like this again for future commissions.

Creating the composition is always the most difficult part of the creative process, but in this case it was a little bit easier because I had a better idea of which elements were the most important.

Working on a commissioned piece is always a bit more complicated and daunting because the client has certain expectations and you sometimes have to change the composition to live up to those expectations. But it is always a great honour that someone would choose to have you create something special for them and their reactions are always worth that bit of extra stress :)

The commission of Haarlem is now in the final stages, a couple of days of painting and some varnish and then it is done and I know my client is eagerly awaiting the result so I should head back into the studio and start painting! I will leave you with some images of the creative process for this piece so far, and yes..... there are duck involved! :D

August 04, 2014

How to clean your paintbrushes...

When I opened my mailbox last Friday there was a mysterious bubble envelope waiting for me and when I opened it out came this beautiful booklet from the Sociology and Anthropology department at Concordia University. A couple of months ago they had contacted me about using one of my images on the from of their publication and this is the result! I think it looks awesome! If you would like to know more about this publication you can check out the digital version here:

I'm planning on spending this upcoming week in the studio. I have a commission piece that need preparation and I have a whole stack of empty panels waiting for me. I'm very much looking forward to filling all of them with beautiful colours and textures. Keep an eye on my Facebook Page for regular updates.

And of course its time for a new episode of Creative Ramblings. This week I talk about cleaning your paint brushes so if you have issues with those pesky acrylics drying up in your brushes check out my video!

July 28, 2014

Viewpoints; starting a new series of artworks.

With all the experiments I've been doing in the studio I'm filled to the brim with new ideas and as usual, I dream big. My ideas are for several whole new series not just individual pieces which means I have my work cut out for me :)

My work has always been strongly influenced by my love for photography. When I create my photo montages I usually merge multiple photographs together to create one image. But while I'm working on this, I always run into photographs that would work best on their own. Until now those photographs have always been put to the side to be buried beneath heaps of images of buildings and streets and that has always made me sad.

But now I have found a way to show them some love and integrate them into my work. I've decided to create a series titled "Viewpoints" and in this series I will use images that are strong enough the be stand on their own.

Like most of my pieces these new paintings start on my computer. I pick out the image I want to use and manipulate the exposure, contrast, vibrance and saturation until I am satisfied with the result. Then I prepare my panel, first with sizing and Gesso and then with some layers of underpainting, giving it a base colour and texture.

I then use the direct transfer technique to transfer a large size print to my panel on top of the under painting, giving the piece a layered effect. This is a very physical and delicate process that requires patience, a delicate touch and quite some endurance, and that usually results in sore and sometimes bleeding fingers.

With the transfer done I will go in with acrylic paints and glazing mediums to add several layers of colour and texture until the piece is finished, at which point I decide on a glossy or matte finish. This finish comes in the form of 6 layers of high quality removable varnish applied with ample drying time between layers. 

For now "Viewpoints" consist out of multiple smaller pieces on different sized un-cradled wood panels as well as two 36"x24" full sized paintings. But I will be working on 10 more full sized paintings in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye on this page for updates!

July 21, 2014

How to prepare for an outdoor Art Exhibition or Art Fair?

After going through weeks of preparation for the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and doing the show successfully I thought I would share my experiences. In this newest episode of Creative Ramblings I talk about my preparations for the show, from transportation to little things like the type of hooks to your paintings on. I hope this episode will help you with the preparations for your future events.

July 14, 2014

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2014

On July 4, 5 and 6 2014 Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto transformed into a huge art gallery with over 350 artists of all disciplines showing and selling their works at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE). I was fortunate enough to be one of those artists! I spent the weekend in booth G32 showing my works to the lovely people of Toronto. 

The sun was shining, there was free ice-cream and so much amazing artwork to enjoy! Don't get me wrong, working an outdoor exhibition like this is exhausting but boy was it fun! The exhibition drew a big crowd on all three days, our booth was busy basically from start to finish each day and even while we were packing-up the artwork in the evenings, people would still come into our booth to ask questions and take business cards!

I was lucky to have my lovely husband work the booth with me the entire weekend, I don't think I could have done it without him! I was invaluable to have someone there to help with the loading, setting up and taking down and who will make sure you stay hydrated and well fed :)

The organization was absolutely amazing! They were super helpful, there were tons of volunteers walking the exhibition and even loading and unloading in, what was basically a huge construction zone, went as smoothly as possible. 

And most importantly, art was selling! We sold quite a few original paintings as well as a bunch of limited edition prints! and we weren't the only ones, all around people were walking around with artwork that they bought, it was amazing! 

It was my first time doing TOAE and I was thoroughly impressed by not only the organization but also the crowds that it drew. I would love to be part of the exhibition again next year and I hope to be able to do more similar events in the future. 

In my next Creative Ramblings video I will talk in a bit more detail about all the preparation that go into doing a show like TOAE. For now I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband, the TOAE organization and all my fellow exhibitors for making TOAE2014 an awesome experience! 

June 30, 2014

Full on preparation mode!

TOAE is less then a week away and I'm in full on preparation mode! Yesterday I picked up a bunch of paintings from the gallery so everything I want to bring is in my studio. I have one more piece that needs to be finished, it only needs one more layer of varnish and it needs to be photographed, wired and given a tag and a certificate on the back. Here's a little sneak peek at the piece while I was working on it.

I think I have almost everything else prepared. Tomorrow I will start packing my paintings, the box is already waiting in the garage :) And then I'll have to see how I'm going to fit everything else in the car :) I have a whole bunch of cloth to decorate my booth, two chairs, loads of hanging hardware, a whole bunch of framed and unframed prints, a field easel... so yeah, loads of stuff to bring :)

Yesterday I created a couple of T-Shirts for me and my husband to wear during the exhibition, they have an image of one of my artworks on the front and my logo and website on the back, I made a different T-Shirt for every day :) I'm super happy with how they came out, what do you think?

I'm super excited! For now the weather is looking promising, fingers crossed that it stays that way! I'll be taking loads of pictures and video over the weekend so keep an eye on this page and my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feed for updates on the event :) For the people who will be visiting TOAE next weekend, I'm going to be in booth G32! On Friday and Saturday the exhibition will be open from 10:30am to 7:30pm and on Sunday from 10:30am to 6:30pm. The information center will be located in the large tent right in front of the main doors to City Hall. There will also be packaging and framing services on site as well as a variety of food vendors. I hope to see you all there! Let's make it an awesome weekend!

June 23, 2014

Creative ramblings #12: How to build a crate to transport your paintings.

It's time for a new episode of Creative Ramblings! In this weeks episode my husband Sonny and I show you how to build a crate to easily transport your paintings to and from  a show. 

This is all part of my preparations for TOAE (the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition) which is coming up fast! (July 4, 5, 6). I'm very, very busy with the final preparations, I've finished my booth design, created some lovely sheets of fabric that will cover up the wire panels that will support my paintings in my booth and I've finished most of the paintings I want to bring. I still have one big one (24x36) and a couple of tiny ones to finish and I have a couple of paintings that still need some varnish, and a wire.

There's some paperwork to finish and I have to pick up a whole bunch of paintings from the gallery and.... Oh there are so many things to do! But I'm getting there, I have my lists and my plan so it's all going to be fine I'm sure :)

But.... this does mean that I really need to get back to my studio to paint, those paintings aren't going to finish themselves ;) I'm regularly posting updates and pictures from the studio to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so if you want to stay up to date you can also follow me there :)

June 16, 2014

RAWtastic night at the Rialto Theatre!

We had an absolutely amazing time at Panorama this past Friday! A BIG thank you to the organization, my fellow participating artists and all the people that came out, you all made this an unforgettable night! 

Before I get into details I would first like to announce the winner of the limited edition giclee print of Montréal. And the winner is........

Wanda Malfara!!!

Congratulations Wanda! I will contact you to discuss delivery of your print :)

Despite the pouring rain and the world-cup the turn-out was great! We had a full house almost from the start and more people arrived throughout the evening. I managed to talk to a lot of people who had never seen my work before and got a lot of nice comments and lovely compliments :)

The Rialto theatre is an amazing venue for an event like this! The beautiful decor made for such a lovely background for all the amazing artwork, it really gave the whole event a very classy feel! With the help of my amazingly supportive husband I created a nice little overview video of the event as well as some nice pictures which you can see below. Professional photographic and video material will follow at a later date. 

I really had a blast and I hope to be able to be a part of more RAW showcases in the near future. But for now I have to start working on the preparations for the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition which is coming up in three weeks. More on that in my next post :)

June 09, 2014

Creative Ramblings #11: Panorama Part 2

After weeks of anticipation this Friday it's finally time for Panorama!!! I'm super excited for this night of art and entertainment at the Rialto Theatre in Montréal! I have only a few $15,- tickets left so if you would like to be part of this amazing event you should buy them now! (For more information about this event check out this previous blog post.)

Everyone who buys tickets using this link will have a chance to win this awesome limited edition signed giclee print of 'Montréal'.

In this weeks episode of Creative Ramblings you can check out some of the artists and acts that will be performing at this amazing art event.

Panorama will be held at the Rialto Theatre in Montréal on June 13th 2014 from 7-11:30 pm. Tickets are only $15,- if you buy them through this link (they will be $20 at the door). I'm looking forward to seeing all of you there!

June 02, 2014

Looking at my home country with new eyes...

It's funny how your perspective changes... I've been living abroad for almost 10 years now, first Texas, currently Canada and in the future... who knows. Once or twice a year we travel back to Holland to visit family and friends and after living abroad for a prolonged period of time, I'm looking at my home country through the eyes of a visitor. All of a sudden I notice little details I've never noticed before. Now I look at the shape of the houses, the placements of traffic and street signs and the cool texture that is created by the little cobble stones that pave the streets.

Now, whenever I visit Holland I'm armed with my camera and I shoot as many pictures as possible, there's so much to see and so much to photograph, I can't help myself! I love the fact that living abroad has given me a completely new way to view my home!

May 26, 2014

Panorama, at the Rialto Theatre on June 13th 2014. Buy tickets and win a signed giclee print!

selection of my artworks will be part of ‘Panorama’ an upcoming RAW Showcase that will be held at the Rialto Theater in Montreal on June 13th 2014 from 7-11:30 PM. 'Panorama' is basically going to be an evening filled with artsy entertainment, there will be film, live performances of dance and music exhibitions of fine art and photography, you'll get a little taste of everything. Combine all this creativity with drinks, fun, and good company!  It's going to be a night to remember!

Tickets for this Awesome Art Event are only $15! ($20 if you buy them at the door) You can order them by following this link. If you buy your tickets online using this link, your name will automatically be entered for a chance to win this 6"x6" signed and numbered giclee print of 'Montéal'!

To give you an idea of what you can expect to see when you join us at the Rialto Theatre on June 13th you can check out the latest episode of Creative Ramblings. In this video you can get a little sneak peek at some of the Art and entertainment that will be presented. There's a huge list of amazing artists that are going to be performing at this event, this video shows only a small part. In two weeks there will be another episode of Creative Ramblings that will show you some more! So if you don't want to miss it, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube Channel!

RAW:natural born artists is an independent arts organization, for artists, by artists. They're an international community made up of creative individuals across the globe. Their mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity. They welcome all genres of art including independent film, fashion, music, visual art, performing art, hairstylists, makeup artists and more. They encourage the creative success of the many visionaries and storytellers of our generation. RAW currently operates in nearly 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada and, now London!