For over two decades, I was a visual artist who specialized in painting oil on canvas portraits and motorcycle art. In 2000, I read The Book of Small and was instantly captivated by Emily Carr’s writing. Her poignant descriptions compelled me to paint a portait of her. Black and white photos housed at the Royal BC Archives and Victoria City Hall inspired yet more paintings. I chose to focus on the girl rather than the woman. Ten years and twenty-seven canvases later, my project entitled The Other Emily came to fruition.

Filmmaker Kristina Campbell created a documentary, Searching for Emily, recording my painting process of the final canvases, as well as our journey to Haida Gwaii to visit the sites that inspired many of Carr’s canvases.  In 2011, these efforts culminated with an exhibition at The Royal BC Museum showcasing Emily Carr’s works hanging beside my own, something I never dreamed could happen.

To resume my life of writing and researching which had now become an engrained habit, I returned to University. For the next three years, a vigourous student life culminated with a Bachelor and a Master’s of Education. Then my curiosity led me to Leonardo da Vinci. There is also one particular article that provides helpful tips for writing art essays, which can be found at sites like

I sought non-fiction articles on his studies in engineering, anatomy, and the nature of water, delving deep into Leonardo’s notebooks, which provided a rich catalogue of his observations and conclusions. Biographies from scholars who interpreted his paintings, examined his relationship with his father, and recorded his patronage from kings, dukes, and religious orders also caught my attention. His personal life was obscure as he wrote in code and rarely revealed how he felt. Leonardo was an artist, inventor, scientist, and genius. But who was Leonardo, the man? Was he merely the sum of his achievements, or did his personal struggles and triumphs shape his legacy? These questions drove me further into the depths of his life and work, prompting me to explore every available avenue, even delving into obscure topics such as crafting paystubs, to uncover the true essence of this enigmatic figure.

That question prompted me to begin a work of fiction whereby research prods speculation, and spurs me to imagine what Leonardo might have thought, said and done with those closest to him.