Heather Buchanan is a painter living and working in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

She wrote these first two sentences in third person, feels awkward about it, and is now going to switch to first person.


I graduated in 2012 from the University of Calgary with a degree in Fine Art Honours studio concentration. My thesis exhibition consisted of two elements - a series of 55 portraits of friends and strangers, and a series of five large scale self portraits. The 55 portraits were experiments in paint, personality, and perception. The self portraits were personal examinations, and all included a full-sized figure and one or more doll-sized figures interacting.


The written thesis that accompanied this exhibition was laboriously written in rhyming verse. Because why not? Why not write a 30 page academic poem about paint?

Getting inline quotations to rhyme was the most difficult. Like this little excerpt about using the grotesque to negate the male gaze:

In Ways of Seeing, “a woman’s presence...” says John Berger
“...defines what can and cannot be done to her”
the woman’s body, a visual cue communicating how she is to be treated
but the grotesque is just one way for this to be defeated

Actually, I'll just upload the whole thing and put it here. Read it if you like. The first section is a love poem to paint, but there's a bit of meat after that. And bear metaphors. Making it rhyme was so intense that I still can't read it without getting woozy.

Ok, just one more excerpt from it, because I like the rhyme in the last two lines:

Perhaps that’s why I’m so drawn to the human form
my natural technique and skin perfectly conform
just as hot boiling tea belongs in a thermos
my technique is suited with painting the epidermis

Protip: make your thesis rhyme, and your prof will look past moments of questionable academia.




I promise I will finish writing this bio soon!