Rumi Guides the Journey, 2021


Rumi Guides the Journey, 2021
Ink, walnut ink, graphite & pigment tinted lake clay on sewn 30% recycled watercolour paper
Each accordion book 7”/18cm x 39”/100 cm
Full piece 42” x 78” / 106 x 198 cm

A work in twelve parts. 

Rumi Guides the Journey began simply as a way to produce a large piece within a small working area, with limited access to paper. This plan quickly turned from eight books to twelve in total, with a gap in between when I could not get the second batch of the same paper.

A story in twelve parts, this piece is meant to be seen separately, then divided out into the world in parts. My idea is for each accordion book piece to find a home, then be photographed with the caretaker and subsequently seen as a whole even as it is divided geographically. The documentation portraits with caretakers of each or several chapters being photoshopped together; the world falling apart and coming once again to a beautiful, evolved whole.
My captivation with Rumi began many years ago when I heard a translator of his writing speaking passionately and eloquently about his poetry. Coleman Barks stirred my interest, Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī sparked my soul.

Imagine words from another continent, another culture, being so pertinent here and now. Imagine words so potent that countless contemporary musicians have set them to melody. Imagine finding comfort and solace in reading these almost thousand year old phrases of love, longing, and directives of how to struggle and thrive in life. For me, now, these pieces, the colours made from raw pigment mixed with nearby lake clay, represent a long chapter of struggle to find a way through nomadic movements, through uncertainty and loss, through a time spent in four countries with small, temporary work areas but where my heart is really longing for more full expression of creativity, as always, for home. In that search, I am mirrored by my inner boundaries, and echoed without boarders of the sky. I am home in every moment, as long as I remember to breathe deeply and love completely.

The abstract marks came first, with Rumi in mind, and then I chose stanzas from four different Rumi poems. So as not to present as a single illustrated design book, I arranged the lines so they would flow when the twelve books were read in order. This many months time span is scattered with moments of struggle and frustration breathing in tandem with deep growth and cohesion; I wanted this piece to become a reflection of some of what I was feeling.

The selected lines are from the poems Special Plates, Enough Words, The Turn, and Quietness.

If any of these small accordion books or the words they present stir your soul, please reach out so we can discuss the terms of trade.


















The Shape of Afternoon & Evening, 2019


The Shape of Afternoon
Graphite, raw pigment on panel
92 x 122 cm

The Shape of Evening
Graphite, raw pigment on panel
136 X 122 cm


Thinking about Mirror Neuron Theory, about time passing, make believe and imagination. These two pieces were an attempt at mirror drawing: looking at found elements of nature in my studio, allowing lines and forms to develop instinctively then recreating similar lines and forms on the opposite side of the matrix. Drawing for a few minutes, then mimicking the opposite. Painting, then mimicking the opposite. They are not an attempt at perfection but a play on curtailing wildness, at allowing the imagination to build an unhinged narrative. Although I have hundreds of photographs (Exploring Totem series) that originally inspired these, there are only two pieces in this series.



The Shape of My Tears

I am in the habit of collecting. Collecting scraps, flower petals, bones, rubbish and left over building materials.

This set of sixteen paintings, each 16.5 cm in diametre, are the wood cut outs from the ceiling light panels above my studio area in the Marlborough College Art Department. I wood filled a hole in the middle, sanded the surface and edges, then gessoed them before mixing a dark navy blue reminiscent of blue prints to serve as the base. There are many layers of paint and gloss medium on which the white paint plays, dripped, painted, wiped and repeated.

I wanted to create images that appeared both underwater yet recognizably garden inspired; to portray motion and the sense of present and absence. To conjure moments of joy with mystery, mirroring the human experience of connecting with nature.


The Shape of My Tears
Raw pigment on wood
16.5cm each, 16 pieces
Installation size variable

Available as one piece

Onto Into Above 2015-2018

Onto Into Above | 2015 – 2017
Graphite acrylic on panel | Varying sizes (see below)

Onto Into Above #6
Onto Into Above #62017  Raw pigment, graphite on panel   36″ x 84″/91 x 213cm

Onto Into Above #5
Onto Into Above No.5    Raw pigment, graphite on panel    48″ x 84″/117 x 213 cm

Onto Into Above #1-4
Acrylic, graphite paint, graphite
117 cm square
In sit, Lamorva House (Woodlane Campus, Falmouth University)

Interview below excerpted from the Tender to the Sea catalogue. JM is PhD candidate Jo McCallum. 

JM ~ Onto Into Above, the paintings. Colour! The colours of the sea. When we started this conversation, I mentioned the colour palette being quite seasonal, quite dark, whereas these paintings, you have used some of those teals, those blues, greens, even the lime green of summer. What changed here?

SM ~ These paintings were made in January. They were made for two reasons: I needed colour and I needed to paint. I hadn’t painted in over six months and I was starving for it.  It’s part of who I am, like music, or reading, or walking. So they were made in the winter and were partly a result of trying to describe to people about where I was living. I kept saying that it is a land of impossible colours and unbelievable light, and that was how I was describing Cornwall to people. I hadn’t seen some of these colours anywhere else except here. That, in tandem with the light and the weather. I wanted to try to translate those aspects into painting. So they were mostly done in the winter, then I added the white corner curves in the summer to give an additional viewpoint, a counterpoint to the colour field.

JM ~ When I first saw them I thought the sea is a chameleon! You’ve captured so many of those seasonal changes. It’s interesting that from January to summer you’ve come out of hibernation and away from this darkness. And you have shadows here. Shadow boats. Again, they don’t look adrift…they almost look as though some of them are beached  but they are travelling into this light…

SH ~ They are. In some ways the paintings draw upon photography. The boats being quite realistic and the white area is showing light refraction. I had hoped to make the central white area an ambiguous place, asking where the boats are going, or coming from. They could be directed to more of the same, or to nothingness, or to everything. And the shadow is obviously the same shape as the boat but it is a void, a gap.

JM ~ These are far more evocative of life and death than the other work; perhaps an imagined world. This is an afterlife…and a soul. And moving backwards or forwards, or emerging from it. There is far more of that quality.

Adventures in Transportation & Meditation 2014

Adventures in Transportation & Meditation  | 2014  |
Acrylic, graphite paint & graphite on wood panel, self framed
#1-4 – 47″ x 48″ $4200   #6-9 – 20″ x 20″ $1100


The Adventures in Transportation & Meditation paintings are a collision of fascination with natural environment and man-made elements, represented here by vintage cars and architectural drawings. Raised as the only girl with three older brothers and thinking of road trips, dreamscapes, and environmental challenges, I love imagining new places for the viewer to enter into contemplation. Curiously devoid of a human component, the vehicle propels into or away from deliberately ambiguous and geographically anachronistic natural elements, raising the questions “Where are we going?” and “What are we leaving behind?”
These paintings represent the more surreal and adventurous aspects of our life full of journeys, challenges and creativity. You know yourself the dreams I mean . . .

Evolution Series 2013

   Evolution Series  | 2013
Acrylic, graphite and graphite paint on panel
48″ x 36″ , 20″ x 20″, 10″ x 10″, 24″ x 28″
Select pieces available through the artist


new work, install

gallery, evolution - foundation 1-3

gallery, evolution - home 2Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver Canada   November 2013 (sold)

Exploring Totem 2013

‘EXPLORING TOTEM’ is the continuation of a body or work started at an Artist in Residence program in New York. Her works on panel and large scale drawings on paper involve the use of abstracted aspects of nature now coupled with various man-made elements including cars, houses, tractors and so on. The use of the word ‘totem’ is the artist’s respectful reference to the vertically situated totem pole of First Nations people, and to the concept of gathering symbols and ideology of what one may see as vital and perhaps that may be of conflicting value in our current society. Ranger Station Art Gallery Residency, 2012/2013

‘Some of What Totem’ and ‘Floating Dragging Totem’ were exhibited for the Fraser Valley Biennale, Reach Gallery, Abbotsford, Canada 2012

south gallery 'exploring totem'

back corner, with mixed media dwgs 'exploring totem'

4-space betwee, some of what, totem photosExploring Totem | Artist in Residence exhibition, Ranger Station Art Gallery | 2013