Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Peacock Named Padgett







I’ve been all wrapped up with a peacock named Padgett. He’s French and smokes cigars and swears with every other word. I think it’s love.

 3′ x 4′ mixed media collage on canvas



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Cuts&Pastes: New series

Glitter & Glue

Over the past little while I’ve sort of been working in three different styles. I have my digital illustration work, my pen and ink sketching style as well as my traditional collage work done using paper and fabric. Although all three have their similarities and tend to overlap in a finished piece, I’ve wanted to start focusing on one style in particular and drive toward a specific goal.

When I was in my last year of University at Sheridan College I did a piece for my Sketchbook Course and later, was commissioned by my sister to do two more as a series. I loved doing them and got a really great response. Ever since I’ve had the intention of doing more. It’s a style that comes very naturally to me and brings together everything I love about art.


So here it is: Cuts&Pastes The Series. A series of collages done entirely in paper, fabric, glitter and glue. I’ve put together a number of pieces already, with several more to come. The intent is to show these in some capacity within the next few months because they really are meant to be experienced in person. These images are an attempt to capture their essence as a preview of things to come and what you can expect from me over the next little while.

The Flowers




The Jellyfish


The Octopus


octopus-detailHere is a detail from the octopus piece so you can get an idea of how these pieces are done. As I said, they’re meant to be seen in person so I’ll keep you all posted once I know where/when these will be showing. I’m super into birds and sea creatures right now but if anyone else has suggestions on subject they’d like to see feel free to shout it out. I’m totally open!

Next up are some large scale pieces I’m really excited about.

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Subway Sketches 2

Faces of the Underground

I see their faces and I wonder who they are. Where are they going? Where have they been? Here is my second installment of subway sketches.









We pass by so many strangers everyday. We never know who these people are. Sometimes we catch a glimpse into their lives, other times we make them up ourselves. I weave a story around each person; who they are, what they do. I wonder what they think my story is.

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What an Artist Does When Her Heart Has Been Broken

The Broken Heart Series

Sometimes there are just no words to express how you feel. This is a series of hearts I put together as a therapeutic exercise to get through a hard time in my personal life. I can actually say it’s made me feel a lot better to focus my energy on something creative and expressive instead of dwelling on things that I cannot change.

Here’s to moving on and new beginnings.

– alyssa


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Raw Vegan Truffles

Fixing a Chocolate Craving

My sister and I made this recipe for Raw Cacao Truffles from the book “The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You’ve Always Wanted”.

This book is great and talks a lot about digestion and the way our bodies digest food. It gives suggestions on how to eat in order to ease the strain on our digestive systems and help the body get what it needs without getting all the things that it doesn’t. This way the body can focus on things like your skin, hair and nails instead of wasting all its energy on digesting.

The recipe is awesome and offers a way to satisfy those chocolate cravings that are bound to hit every now and again. My sister, Vanessa, and I took the basic recipe for chocolate truffles and added our own take on a couple for a variety of flavours.

Raw Cacao Truffles


2 cups Ground Almonds
3/4 cup Raw Cacao Powder
6 Dates, pitted
1/2 cup Raisins
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
3 tbsp – 1/4 cup Cold, Filtered Water
Pinch of Salt

How to Make:

In a food processor, ground the almonds and then add the cacao, dates, raisins, coconut oil and pinch of salt. Once blended add the water to moisten the mixture. Use your discretions as to how much water. You just want them to be able to form together. Take small amounts of the mixture and roll them into little balls placing them on a plate or baking tray to be placed in the fridge to harden. If you would like to make different varieties you can try rolling them in coconut or crushed nuts. Vanessa and I also tried adding crunchy peanut butter into the food processor itself and blended it in.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate Coconut

Chocolate Peanut Butter

You could also try cinammon or any other kind of nut butter. Hazelnut would be good, kind of like nutella! It would also be really cool to form the mixture around some kind of nut or perhaps dried fruit like raisins or cherries. The possibilities really are endless!

So with the holiday season almost upon us and a ton of temptation headed our way, this is a great recipe to whip up to help avoid the guilt but satisfy the chocolate craving!

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Being an Artist


I need to share this recent experience with you all not only to vent personal frustration but to open up a topic of conversation that I think is really important.

I recently responded to a post on LinkedIn by a publisher from India who was looking for Children’s Book Illustrators. It is one of my dreams to have my own children’s book published and I was really happy to get a response from this publisher, asking for a pdf portfolio and my expected income to do a project for him.

I quickly grabbed my GAG Handbook (Graphic Artists Guild) and found that a lot of illustrators charge a flat fee for Children’s book or otherwise quote based on a Royalty Contract in which the artist received a percentage of sales. I then emailed him back with my portfolio and explained that my rates were based on usage and I needed to know how many copies he intended to print and where they were to be distributed in order to quote a flat fee based on the briefs he had sent me.

In the end this publisher wanted full rights to my images while paying next to nothing per illustration. He wanted to pay me based on possible sales of the book without being tied down to the number of copies he would be printing but along with worldwide printing rights. He told me experienced illustrators in Europe are working for “very competitive rates” and that he had been offered “fantastic prices per illustration”. I was asking only  $200 a spread!

This is the email that I sent him:

What do you think? Was I too harsh? Was I unreasonable? How much would you expect to get paid to illustrate seven 16″x8″ illustrations? Would you do the work on the possibility of getting paid? How little?

I’m really interested to hear the feedback on this so please comment below, share your experiences and let me know your thoughts!


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Dictator Babies

The Power of the Mustache

I’ve been spending my spare time drawing mustaches on babies. Here’s some of my newest work inspired by some sketches I did a few years back while I was in first year university at Sheridan College.




I did these sketches after we had a discussion in class about how one feature can change one’s entire perception of someone. Something like a mustache can speak volumes when it comes to an illustration. This got me thinking about juxtaposition and how I could use this idea in my own illustration. Then I thought about how a lot of dictators have very distinctive facial hair and it came to me; Dictator Babies!!

I’ve had the sketch for years and always had a fondness for it so I decided to redo it digitally in my current style. I’m getting into doing more portraiture and am going to be focused on that more in the near future. Eventually I want to have a separate Portraits section on my website but in the meantime the site has just been updated with new work including these little babies so if you get chance drop by, have a look and let me know what you think!

Until next time.

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Subway Sketches

Taking the Long Way to Work

I’ve been working a lot lately and the time I have had to pursue artistic endeavors has been limited but I’ve really taken to sketching people on the subway, on my way to and from work at the Royal York Hotel.

I thought I’d share with you some of my drawings from the past week as a quick post before I put up a bunch of new pieces early next week for you all to see!












I hadn’t sketched in pen in a long time and I’m really enjoying it. I used to do a lot of pen and ink before I started to do a lot of digital collage and I actually went out and bought a new pen today so you’ll probably be seeing lots more sketched in the near future (and maybe they won’t be on lined paper!!)

It’s always funny sketching people in public because, even though I try to be discrete most people figure out  that they’re being sketched and it can make them feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, some people love it and try to talk to me or ask me to draw them so there are the two extremes.

So even though I have been working full time graveyard shifts at the hotel and sleeping during the day, I’m still keeping busy and keeping at it and expect to see some new work and an updated website in the near future. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my little sketches and I hope everyone has a gorgeous weekend!

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Who’s Hungry? Faces of Hunger

Over the summer I worked on three illustrations for the Daily Bread Food Bank annual report. I just received my copy of the report in the mail today and wanted to share the final outcome with you!

The report turned out beautifully, with a combination of photography, infographics and illustration in it. It is full of information and statistics about the food bank and the people who use it. The numbers are overwhelming, with over 1 million people having visited the food bank between April 2011 and March 2012 in the GTA alone.

I was really happy to be a part of putting this project together. The Daily Bread is an incredible operation and the people there work hard everyday in their fight to end hunger.

For more information and to download a pdf of the report go to


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A Vegetarian High Protein Feast

Getting Protein Without Eating Meat

I apologize that it has been a while since my last post. Between the craziness of summer and starting a new job at the Fairmont Royal York I have not had a minute to write to you but I assure you I will be back at it now that summer is over, I’m settled into my job and can get back into a routine.

My latest post is all about how to get protein from your diet without resorting to meat. While I am not vegetarian, I try to stay away from meat as much as possible, especially red meat.

I don’t think I need to explain to you too much about why that is. Between the moral reasons, the environmental reasons and the health reasons it seems pretty obvious. So here are a few tried and true recipes that are easy to whip up, high in protein and just might become some of your go to dishes on a daily basis.

Indian Style Lentils (serves 4)

The first dish I want to share is a straight forward lentil dish that is easy to put your own spin on.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups green lentils
1 13/4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 medium white onion, cut julienne
1 tbsp garam marsala
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

How To Make: Make sure to rinse your lentils thoroughly and scan for any small stones or pebbles that might be hiding within them. In a large saucepan over medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once oil is hot toss in your chopped onion and let cook until soft and golden, about 3 minutes. Once onions are cooked add in your lentils and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down heat to a low simmer, stir in 1 tbsp of garam marsala and cover for about 20 mins, until lentils are soft and tender. Lentils are great over quinoa or brown rice as well as with tofu and tzatziki sauce. Sometimes I even crack an egg over top of my lentils, cover them with tin foil and bake it until the egg is cooked but the yolk is still runny. Delicious!!

Chickpea and Quinoa Latkes (makes about 6 latkes)

My next dish is a go to of mine because I always seem to have the ingredients on hand at any given time.

Ingredients: 1 cup cooked quinoa
1 can (540mL) chickpeas
1 egg
1 tbsp pesto
1 handful of spinach, finely chopped
Oil for frying

How To Make: Rinse your chickpeas and put them into a big bowl. With a potato masher (or in a food processor, if you prefer) mash the beans until soft. Add your quinoa, egg, pesto and spinach and combine well. You should have a nice gooey dough. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add a couple tablespoons of oil; we’re going to fry these babies! With a large spoon, ladle small portions of your dough and place in the hot oil (should be sizzling). I find it easiest to shape the dough once it’s in the pan using my flipper. I do two latkes at a time, giving them a couple minutes to get golden brown on each side.

This recipe is also open to interpretation. I’ve added jalapeno, tomato, onion etc. and they’re always great. Just remember not to add too many extra ingredients because the dough will not bind. I also serve these with tzatziki and serve them with black olives. It’s honestly one of my favourite meals!

Asian Crunch Salad

This recipe is a take on one I found in a Martha Stewart cook book. Feel free to add any other vegetables you have kicking around!

Ingredients: 1 cup corn (frozen)
1 cup edamame beans
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 can (540mL) canellini beans
1 large carrot, grated

Dressing: 2 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce if you prefer)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp chili flakes

How To Make: I don’t think I have to explain much with this one. Make sure to rinse the beans thoroughly before placing in a large bowl. Add in the rest of the vegetables and in a separate small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Toss the vegetables with the dressing and serve. It’s even better after a few hours, once the vegetables have had a chance to marinate in the bowl.

So there you have it! Three ways to make a meal that is high in protein but completely free of any meat whatsoever. So while I’m not promising I’ll be able to say no to bacon double cheeseburgers every time, I can say that I have no trouble finding ways on a daily basis to get what I need out of my meals while not resorting to eating animals and that I feel great!

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