Behind The Scenes of Your Creative Life

October 28, 2021

In our most recent Opus Virtual Gallery, #OpusCreativeLife, we invited you to show us your creative process. We loved seeing everyone’s art work come to life, and are excited to share a few of the highlights. Settle in and get inspired by artists who are getting through the ugly stage and creating something beautiful!

André Vaillant, Canadian photorealistic ink & watercolor artist, painting landscapes from his adventures

“Solitude” – work in progress
20×14 inches, ink and watercolor

I’ve finally completed the boulder along with some additional detailing of the water! I’m feeling extremely happy with where it’s at, and with the hardest parts of the painting complete hopefully the rest will be finished soon. It’s hard to imagine that I’ve been working on this painting for the last 6 months, a weird little constant during some pretty uncertain times.

As all the little details start to get filled in, I’ve been thinking a lot on why I originally decided to do this piece. Though I wanted to create something beautiful, I also wanted to create a metaphor for the isolation that I think we’ve all felt of the last couple years, alone at the whim of the forces that we can’t control. Like the tides slowly wearing down stone as it’s battered day after day. It’s also been something for myself to focus on and something I could control while it seemed the world was falling apart around us. Hopefully it reminds you that despite everything that’s going on out there, there’s still beauty in the world, even if at times it is hard to see.

Instagram: @andremvaillant


Darlene Tully, Striving to capture simple moments of beauty and fragility.

What goes into the making of a miniature painting?

For me, it involves lots and lots of thinking. I’m certain it would count as over-thinking and might even appear as indecision, though deliberation and reflection would also be appropriate descriptors of the process. And I sit with my imagination, pulling together bits of things that I have learned, treasures of themes not yet realized in my completed works of art, changing course mid-way for one reason or another. Thankfully I enjoy the process and aim to come out on the other side with some new learning and more art-in-waiting! How can something so small consume so much energy!?

Time Traveller was inspired by ancient Sumerian relief sculptures, Edwardian Era fashion, the vastness of the universe and human consciousness, and Celtic lore of the wolf. This piece is a reflection on time, on the Self, wholeness, and the ongoing cycle of transformation that we participate in as living beings. Ever changing, while always returning to its origin. In the mind one can escape the confines of time and space.

The longest journey is the one that leads us inward.

A part of the challenge in the #excellentframeworks Miniature Masterpiece Show is to create an artwork that is miniature in scale (this one is a 2 1/4″ circle), technically proficient in one’s chosen media, and will be complementary to the frame selected some months ago. Here are a few of the #sketches leading up to the piece. The first image is about to become a watercolour painting. The third #drawing is from long ago and it will become a painting yet! The themes ever circle back around…



Cameron B Steele, AFCA. Mixed media illustration. Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Stawamus Chief No7….. WIP. 20X20 inch.

Congratulations to me! I can officially say I’m kind of, sort of halfway!! 😬 Still a ton of work to do but even the bottom half is forming in my head! 😬 Hope you like it so far.

It has been a long and tedious 2 weeks with my “day job”😕 but I’ve managed some studio time this long weekend. Almost halfway and I must say that despite the trepidation I am enjoying the “free flow “ process. I have no idea what the bottom half will look like!

Instagram:  @cbsteele 


Li Boesen, Watercolour Artist.

Negative is positive, this watercolour work in progress is an exercise in negative painting of the beautiful sunflowers I pass on my daily walks. Steps: 1. I compiled flowers from different photos into one drawing. 2. Preserved whites of flowers with @pebeo drawing gum 3. Underpainting applied in primary colours, blending on the paper. Still in progress: 4. The fun part – adding leaves and background flowers by creating depth negatively, using darker and darker blue/red combinations 5. Removed the masking, underpainted the petals in yellow and started applying orange and brown tones

Instagram: @li_boesen_art

Michelle deSouza Dermott, B.C. Watercolour Artist.

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus 22 x 30. I’ve been keeping this under wraps for awhile so it would be a surprise for the new owners (commission piece). I started sketching this about mid Sept and I basically just finished. (I do have a full time job though 🤣😉). Anyways I took photos of the progress along the way. I really let each layer dry before I added the next as I couldn’t afford for colours blending around the building; the building was the lightest part. If you’re interested you can scroll through but they are loaded in with the final shots first. This is the first of a series of landscape paintings. ❤️


Instagram: @rubyandsmoochdesigns


Cher McKittrick, Mixed media artist from Vancouver Island

I’m kinda hooked on this scraping technique right now. Basically, load some watercolor on a palette knife or old credit card. Drag it onto either wet or dry paper; spray with water, and blot where necessary. I’ll need to iron the entire piece to get it flat. This is inexpensive 140 lb paper and can’t handle the excessive amount of water I used for this technique.  This style is REALLY easy to overwork, as evidenced in my finished piece.


Instagram: @chermckittrick

Michael Niculeac,Kelowna based abstract artist living with muscular dystrophy.

“Fearless 3”

This is me in my relatively new element. I’ve been abstract painting for about a year and a half and I’m loving it.
This is currently a work in progress. It is the third piece in this series so far. The majority of the work I do is commission based but this was one of my own creations that caught the eye of numerous people.
At the time when I painted the first one it was a different and new style for me. I gave it this name because you have to be fearless and try new things. You never know where they may go.


Instagram: @abstract_michael


No matter what your level of skill or artistic ambition, we hope our investigation into the creative cycle has been fruitful. As Blythe Scott said in our visual podcast, ‘Living in a world where everyone was creatively fulfilled, would be a great thing’. So as a community, let’s continue to support and encourage each other in all our artistic endeavours, no matter how big or small, each step of the way. Keep making, stay inspired and keep sharing!