Top Eleven Reasons to Live in a Cabin in the Woods…

“Wherever I sat, there I might live, and the landscape radiated from me accordingly.”
~Henry David Thoreau, from the Where I Lived chapter of Walden

Eleven Reasons You Know You Are Well Suited to Living in a ‘Cabin’ on Your Own in the Woods on an Island

 You can’t remember what day it is. Every day.
 You are completely startled by the ring of the old rotary phone and think for a split second that you have been transported to another planet where these things probably happen on a regular basis.
3  You dance around in the studio like a fool when your favourite songs play on the mixed cassette tape that was made for you in 1988…without hesitation or fear of anyone catching a glimpse…
 You don’t mind the sounds of the barking of the dog, the baa-aahing of the sheep, the singing of the birds (at 4 AM), the croaking of what seems to be a thousand toads (and by croaking I mean a chorus that would make Metallica seem timid) or the heavy pattering of rain on the metal roof (all night, and most of the day).
5  You are over-the-moon excited just looking at the new/used telescope. One night, when it actually stops raining and you figure out how it works, you may even be able to see stars up close!
 When every single window looks out into a sea of verdant giants, you wonder if you could name and remember each tree. Then you decide that such grand beings as these require no name, and you wonder to yourself (because there is no one else to wonder it to) “How would we all cope with out names that perhaps pin us to an identity?”.
 You make space in your brain for thoughts like these.
The best conversation you have all day is the one with the wood stove when you discussed together the techniques of log cabin versus tipi style fire starting. That’s not mentioning the words spoken when chopping wood!
9  You miss a party at the community centre because you fell asleep on the couch. You do not think of admonishing yourself for being boring, lame or old. You look around and know that you are just about as lucky as a single person can be. And…you have your own tunes to dance to!
10  You realize “Oh shit, it’s earth hour and I’m not meant to have any lights on for the last hour!” Then: “Oh…I didn’t!”.
11 [because we know that all good things go up to eleven!] You look at the clock on the wall only because it happens to be beside the window.

If you happen to think this working holiday lifestyle sounds ideal, I highly recommend you give it a try. You may discover you are not the city person you thought you were all along…!

*What single thing can you do for yourself each day that transports you to a place of calm & well-being? Take whatever time you can to do just that…I dare you! 

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Upcoming exhibition

These last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of plan making and organizational bravado. I have to admit to being less than stellar at either but, onward I go, and in broad daylight, too! In and out of storage, sorting and sifting and finding works of art for my upcoming exhibition ‘draw the line’ at the University of Fraser Valley Gallery. I am happy to be able to show many works that have never shown outside of the studio due to their size and exhibition constraints ie: they are either large, small and/or on paper. They are unframed pieces: a sketchbook, a small series on photo paper, drawings on kraft paper with sewn layers, large drawings on 300 lb Italian watercolour paper, two pieces composed of photographs sewn together then painted and drawn onto. In other words, the show will offer a diverse look at my work from the last several years.

*Opening reception Thursday, March 6 at 4pm after the artist talk at 3pm*

And in other related news, I have been accepted to study at Falmouth University in Cornwall, UK for their Masters award Art & Environment! This course is new and unique and is an exciting combination of research and mixed media art. It is bound to be a game changer for me creatively and just getting there will be a challenge! To this end, I have set up a new page on this blog called ‘Get Smart Campaign’ in order to help with the financial aspects of becoming an international student. The tuition, for example, is $22,000, and in order to apply for a student visa, one must have this ‘in the bank’! I will also be applying for many grants and scholarships that are available through the university and am open to hearing about any grants you may know of. So far there is only one in Canada that I am eligible to apply for and that is through the BC Arts Council. Thank you in advance for checking out the page, ‘liking’ it, sharing it, participating in it. I will be adding new incentives each week so make sure to stop in again to see what’s cooking!

With great big gratitude & best wishes, Siobhán

UFV invite



In the City

It’s about time for an update. The kind of update that won’t confuse or confound you, but will make some kind of sense of the scattered events ending 2013 and beginning 2014. Making chronology of falling leaves and planted seeds.

So, I’m back in the city. Vancouver. The place that was home but has of late released me of its captivation. I voted myself off the island and am blessed to have amazing, lovely friends who graciously let me stay for a day or week at a time while I sort out my near and further future.

From here I’ll be heading back to Mayne Island, where I’m subletting an amazing, hand built home and studio for Spring and Summer, getting back to painting, sculpture and making plans to move to the UK to attend the Art & Environment Master’s program at Falmouth University. I will continue my daily posts on Instagram and my work can be seen and purchased through various galleries across Canada. Meanwhile, thank you for your continuing support. With great big love & gratitude!

From Here Totem

Extension Totem

Sun Yat Sen Totem

Special thanks go to Marta ( & Roy (, who made me feel at home however last minute, seemed to love everything I cooked, always had the kettle at a boil and engaged me in many hours of cathartic, philosophical conversation. To Sarah ( & Tim ( who trusted me with their gorgeous brood of kitties, offered me a heavenly bedroom lined from floor to ceiling with books, fed me streams of eatable goodness and kindness that cannot be hatched or cooked. To Rory ( who always opens his studio and ‘live’ room for me when I’m wandering, and offers the kind of moral support, fun and love not available to just any elephant. To Gisela, who let me stay in her church condo while she flew East and continues to offer support in the form of weekly BBC viewings and more. To David, who introduced me to his island (now my new favourite place) and taught me to trust my instincts; that sometimes hidden under a red flag lay the seeds of wonder and creativity. To Annette & Michael (Core Studio, Mayne Island) who opened their family to me and made everything alright when it sometimes just didn’t seem to be so. And, to Tony DaBoom, whose beautiful home I am currently ‘sitting’ whilst he graces the streets of Buenos Aires with his smile and open heart.  That was just the six weeks between December and February. I’d use a lot of letters to thank the other friends who have been so loving, helpful and amazing along the way. THANK YOU thank you thank you… xox

Full time artist, part time gypsy

Galiano Island

And so the journey continues…

With a grateful nod to the gods of fortune, the internet and a couple of good friends in particular, I end up here, on Mayne Island. While it wasn’t in the ‘what to do next’ plans, it feels so right that it certainly can’t be wrong. I landed four weeks ago (…already?!!) and I feel quite happily settled in. I know where (most of) the light switches are, I know which blinds to lower at what time of day depending on the sun; I watch with interest as the barn that I see from the kitchen windows changes stance and hue depending on the time of day and I have unpacked the essentials from my studio in order to continue the work that I started at the Ranger Station. A long sentence, a long breath, and an elongated state of being in motion. Of not quite settling down. I can hear my family laughing from all the way out here…like I ever had any intention of being in one place for too long…

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been shown the best swimming spot on the island

David's Cove

starfish stunner


the best hikes and walks

mayne island coast

and was escorted on water, through the straight to Galliano and Salt Spring Islands by friend and motorboat

southern gulf islands, british columbia, canada

and as good timing would have it, was invited on a stunning 58′ bullnose schooner built thirty five years ago to help unravel the rigging. I stayed on deck offering my quiet support , adept ability to get out of the way and to toss over a rope when required

bullnose schooner

and to finish a few paintings that were started in August and begin a few new ones for the Vancouver commercial gallery I will now be represented by (more on that soon)

'evolution : move'

and to take in the limitless sky of stars, soak in the quiet syncopated only by the sound of the ferry horn, loudly munching deer and a very occasional car whizzing by on the road a hundred feet away. The new experience of having to vacuum up a hoard of queenless wasps that were piling themselves into a corner of the skylight, making preparation to hibernate right there above the kitchen table, and escorting them in the vacuum bag up the street at dusk to the blackberry bushes with the hope that my relocation services would be both appreciated and effective was not a chore but a charm. Three times a charm, in fact.

The island fog rolls in and I roll on, new plans and goals unfolding. I feel particularly lucky to be right here in this most beautiful place, surrounded, if not geographically but certainly emotionally, by the some of the most wonderful people there are. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

back field barn

In looking backward & forward

sorting with tea

As my tenure as the Ranger Station Art Gallery Artist in Residence comes to a close, I am able to look back on almost a full year, a complete cycle of seasons, and the amazing breadth of experience it has provided, both geographically and creatively. It has been a dream year of sorts for which I know I will always feel appreciative and blessed to have lived.

My arrival here in September of 2012 was something of a whirlwind, after a summer in New York and Toronto area for another Artist Residency and the opening of a solo exhibition at Parts Gallery. The previous spring and winter provided large doses of both upheaval and opportunity and I feel that now, eighteen months after leaving my studio in East Vancouver, I am at a completely new and exciting place in life.

Several things in my experience have evolved. Due to the incredible beauty and close proximity of the Ranger Station to nature, I have taken thousands of photographs, sharing them daily on Instagram and Flickr as well as occasionally on Facebook. This has garnered interest in this area, the gallery and the residency program from a diverse audience reaching as far as Australia, Europe, Central America and throughout the US. Some of these photographs have been re-posted by Canadian Geographic Magazine and Tourism BC and Canada. This photographic journey also allowed me to explore the idea of digitally manipulating the images and from this blossomed the plan to explore the juxtaposing stories of nature and man-made elements within the construct of the First Nations Totem, both in vertical reference to the Totem Pole as well as ideologically as visual symbols for what I believe modern society holds as important or relevant.

21. strength totem

I so enjoyed the historical aspect of living and working in the Ranger Station building, feeling every day to be a unique gift, for me creatively to explore my work and ideas but also emotionally to dig deeper than perhaps what a ‘normal’ lifestyle of studio practice, meetings and social life could possibly afford. While the theme of my autumn was a daily routine of swimming, walking, riding and observing (basically, totally falling in love with the unbelievable beauty of the Harrison Lake area) and dipping in to work on the studio, winter turned inward with outer quiet and far less sunlight. And rain. And then snow. I ventured further out spending more time driving and hiking than when I first arrived. I loved bringing my mandolin and blankets with thermoses of tea and soup and finding a new place to sit and enjoy. Kilby, Harrison Mills, Morris Valley, Greenpoint, Hicks Lake and other places inspired my days. In my Station home I had a special chair placed at the back window looking directly out to the lake. I loved sitting there in the mid to late afternoon with tea, a book or a sketchbook and inevitably, Catty Mac.

Spring and now summer brought with them the building of a new momentum, engaging a rigorous routine of working in the studio. Most days I would spend between seven and thirteen hours painting, drawing, sewing, building, planning or on the computer with Photoshop.  I was able to finish and create sixty-seven new pieces for the exhibition. When I unpack and move into my next studio I look forward to continuing with many of the ideas and forms that have just began to percolate while in the Ranger Station studio.


Two large drawings from my ‘Exploring Totem’ exhibition are currently in the 2nd Fraser Valley Biennale at The Reach Gallery in Abbotsford (until September 8) and ten of the paintings on wood panel are up in the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Rental and Sales Showroom where I am the feature artist for August, September and October (Artist talk on Tuesday, October 8th, 7pm.) There are a few other things in the works that I am stoked to be a part of and if you’d like to keep in touch or follow the thread of this experience into the next, feel free to follow this blog or Flickr (humstonstudio), Instagram (humstonstudios) or Facebook.

Thank you to all those who conspired to place me here and helped and hindered along the way. To all of you I am grateful.

New work at the Vancouver Art Gallery

From August 1 until the end of October some of my new work will be displayed in the Art Rental and Sales Showroom as their Feature Artist quarterly show. There will be an artist talk on October 8th at 7pm. Special thanks to Donna & Isabela for helping bring this all together!

'Spare Parts Totem', 2013

       ‘Spare Parts Totem’, 2013




Totem Postcards

Here’s a couple snaps of the current ‘Exploring Totem’ exhibition at the Ranger Station Art Gallery. I’ll be posting better photos of the whole space in the next couple days along with a little video tour.

The group of photographs, seven inch square, are available for sale at $40 each or 3 for $100. They are printed on Mi-Tientes cotton paper, giving them the slight look of a watercolour painting. I chose nine images to reproduce as postcards that are available as a group for $12 plus $1.50 for shipping. Contact me at to order or purchase or go straight to Paypal with the same email. Make sure you give me your mailing address (with postal code).

And as always, with great big gratitude to you for your ongoing support!

'Some of What Totem'


'all growth totem'  - 4" x 6" postcard

‘all growth totem’

'from winter totem'

‘from winter totem’

'from whence we grow totem'

‘from whence we grow totem’

'full growth totem'

‘full growth totem’

'glowing totem'

‘glowing totem’

'going into totem'

‘going into totem’

'old growth totem'

‘old growth totem’

'swing on beauty'

‘swing on beauty’

'through the view totem'

‘through the view totem’