Welcome to Marginalia

marginalia: marginal notes or embellishments (as in a book) {Miriam Webster dictionary}

Welcome to Marginalia! The half-baked pondering and musings of an artist-in-training.

No longer a student, and not quite a fully fledged artist, I’m in the journeyman stage of my career: wandering the earth, and trying to figure out what it means to be an artist – particularly a realistic figurative artist – in the 21st century.

I found that I needed a space to write about and share my half-formed thoughts about art, inspiration, and building a life you love. My newsletter is a more formal place where I share coherent thoughts about finished works (you can sign up here). Silently pondering wasn’t cutting it. And so, Marginalia was born – a place for me to jot down notes in the margins of my life.

There are no guarantees about coherency, but there will always be tea, cookies and on special occasions, some of the finest cognac in town.

Ohmygosh! I was accepted into the Kingston Prize!

I got in! I got in! I’m still kind of pinching myself! I found out a few weeks ago that my painting, “Unlabelled”, was selected as one of the top 30 finalists out of 415 entries for the Kingston Prize, Canada’s nation wide portrait competition (similar to the BP Portrait Award in the UK). Crazy! […]

On making mistakes (or: why no kittens will die)

Autumn Squash #2, 8" x 10" oil on canvas, unframed

Sometimes when I’m working on a painting or drawing, I’ll jokingly say something like, “Hey, this doesn’t suck!” or some other tongue-in-cheek joke about the quality of the work. Or maybe I’ll bring up that something in the piece isn’t working – I’m frustrated with an aspect of it. And the person I’m talking to […]

Pushing Past the Edges

Autumn Squash #1, 5" x 7" oil on canvas board, $175 (email to inquire)

There is that point, in every painting, where it’s so tempting to give up. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been painting (10 years). It doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve spent in the studio, learning and practicing (thousands). There is inevitably that point where you think, “This is probably going to suck. Look! It’s […]

Courage and fragility

'Pink Dawn', 5.5" x 8.5", coloured pencil & white chalk on toned paper

I’m reworking both my bio and my artist statement this week. My bio is embarrassingly out of date and my artist statement feels disconnected from the work that I’m trying to make. I’ve been journaling like mad and writing answers to questions like “What do I believe?” It’s a difficult process, and painful in a […]

The “Hey guys! I’m moving!” art auction

Welsh Fields I (Rhuddlan Castle), 11"x14" oil on canvas, unframed, $395. © Sarah Marie Lacy 2012

I have an extra special announcement to make today. I’m moving to Ottawa next month to start a new adventure in the capital city! *confetti* There’s just one concern: I don’t think some of my paintings can survive another move. I’ve moved a lot over the last 5 years, and every time I pack those […]

Mistakes, cheap tricks and magic bullets.


Note: I originally sent this to my newsletter list and it got a very strong response. Several people requested that I post it to the blog so that they could share it, so here it is! If you’d like to sign up to my newsletter list, you can do so by clicking here. During my […]

Secrets of the Sea: A new drawing


It was Canada Day here on Tuesday, and also the beginning of the second half of the year. That felt significant to me – like a fresh start, a half-way-New-Years, if you will. The first half of the year was all-wedding-madness-all-the-time. There was also a lot of settling into life as a non-nomad (still getting […]

2013: The year of lightness

The view from my kitchen window in rural France

Every year, I pick a word or theme for the coming months. I’m not into goals and resolutions because those are generally forgotten before the first week of February. But I love the idea of a theme for the year, something to put in the back of your mind and mull over gently for the […]