Erika Hastings

 “My paintings are visual reminders of the life I want to live.”

I am an artist – painting and photography are my passions and I love all the creative bits of life. I also homeschool my three young children.

Can I use your art work on my blog/poster/school project/pamphlet/etc.?

Yes! You are most welcome to use my art work for non-commercial purposes (you are not making money from it). Just credit my name, Erika Hastings, with a link to my blog, www.mudspice.com, and send me a quick email to let me know: erikahastings@gmail.com.

If you are business and would like to use my art work for commercial purposes email me at erikahastings@gmail.com for pricing.

Do you sell your art work? 

Yes! You can buy prints, posters, greeting cards, t-shirts or hoodies at my online store on Red Bubble. http://www.redbubble.com/people/erikahastings

I am not currently selling originals or doing commission work.

How do you make your paintings?

A picture will pop into my mind and then I will spend a lot of time sketching it and fleshing it out. I then trace the image onto high quality watercolor paper, outline it with waterproof ink and then paint it with watercolor paint.

Is all the photography yours? What kind of camera do you use?

Yes. I love photography! I particularly love bokeh – the Japanese word for “blur” but which often refers to the balls of light that come from slightly unfocusing your lens. I’m also in love with macro – close up – photos and try to go at least once a week for a photo walk in nature. I mostly use my Canon 5D with a 100mm macro lens. I also have a 50mm which I use at night and a 24-70mm lens which I use for wide angles.

Did you study art?

Yes. At the slightly snobby fine arts program at the University of Victoria. Everyone was pushing conceptual/postmodern art and I was not interested so I did part of my degree in Mexico instead. Wow, was that great.

I also grew up with the belief that I needed a job where someone would hire me so I became an art teacher and taught in Canada, Mexico, Honduras and Brazil. Now I teach my own kids and have finally accepted the idea that it’s OK for me to become a full-time artist. Wow, did that take a long time.

Along the way I did my masters because I have a crush on academia.

How do you do art with young children around? 

Strategy 1: Downsize

I do less. I make it smaller. I use watercolors that I can drop on a dime instead of acrylics that require careful clean up.

Strategy 2: Quiet Time and a Morning Off

We schedule downtime during the day where all the kids play quietly on their own, reading books, building Lego, resting, doing art or other creative activities on their own.

My husband and I also trade mornings off on the weekend. I usually go for photo walks or do painting during that time.

Strategy 3: Patience and Perspective

I know that one day, when my children get older, we will all be able to sit down and do our creative works together. This time is so brief in the span of my life.

Why do you homeschool your children?

We tried the school route for a few years. It didn’t work out and so I looked into other options. I spent a year intensely researching homeschooling, became thoroughly convinced by it and tried it out. So far so good.

What is art as prayer?

I think of my paintings as visual affirmations, prayers, mantras and reminders – like a post-it hanging on the wall. For me, creating art is an embodied, active prayer. It is not a prayer because of a particular imagery or symbolism, but rather a spiritual awareness moves me into the flow of life where hours feel like minutes, where there is a blur between my art and myself – as if the paintbrush moves itself, and where my artist studio becomes its own temple. Read more here.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in the United States and moved to Canada when I was seven. I moved to Vancouver when I was married and have been here ever since.

What is your favorite food?

I went to Israel shortly after I was married and have been in love with shawarmas ever since.

What is something unusual about yourself? 

For a year I lived in the jungle on the Mosquito Coast of Honduras. I once woke up to find enormous biting ants covering my walls and floor and creeping up my bed. I barely escaped out my window.

34 thoughts on “F.A.Q.s

  1. Erika!
    I love your paintings on our walls. They are vibrating with positive energy and color, so important for this world and us. I always learn from you…to take the opportunities as they come and to be happy with that…
    Thanks.. Alexandra.


  2. Erika!

    thanks for your great site-it’s inspiration comes at just the right moment for me.

    I too, am a mom (of 2 artistic teenagers) and also teach art in an alternative school. I find I am so burned out teaching and encouraging everyones else’s creativity that I’m drained of my own.

    I love your Art as Prayer suggestions about making your studio a sacred space and treating your time there as prayer-that is how it always felt to me anyway, but to have it articulated so clearly is just wonderful!

    My prayers will go out to your family who lost the little baby. I look forward to seeing more of your art and thoughts!


  3. Hey Erica,
    I’m a renown Garifuna artist from Dangriga, Belize now residing in Los Angeles, CA. However, when I saw your painting of the Garifuna woman I was drawn in. At first site, I thought it was a Pen Cayetano painting, a fellow Garifuna artist but as I did the research I was surprised. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful piece, I was only amaze at the similarity.
    After reading your bio, I really like your angle on art. I also believe it’s a special gift from God and our duty to spread the love. We have to paint a better future and give our children hope!. Keep up the good work and now that I’m aware of your creativity I’ll stay tuned. One Love!!!


  4. Thank you for inspiring me to create art again. i have two small children and never make time to do art anymore. I miss it! I am an art therapist working part time and staying home the rest. Everything you said in your blog resonates with me and what I’m going through too. You sound like a wonderful mom.


  5. Thank you so much!

    I wouldn’t exactly call myself a wonderful mom, but perhaps more of a “mom-in-learning”. Everyday is a new challenge and something new to learn!

    I wish I had all of your knowledge with art therapy. It was something that I was always interested in, but have never studied. I tend to make my art as “visual affirmation/prayer/mantra/reminder” and I post it up to look at it often so that I remind myself about the way that I want to be.

    What an honor and an inspiration to me, that I have inspired you to do art! It’s so easy to forgot ourselves, and our needs, as mothers. But I have found that when I take the time to take care of myself (one of those things is by doing art), then I can take care of my little ones a lot easier.

    All the best!


  6. ooohhh! Now this is really giving me goosebumps!! I did a year of service at Hospital Bayan too, 1999-2000. And family in China?! My brother and his family live in Qingdao.


  7. hello Erika,
    My name is Nancy and I just found out about your blog. It’s just WOW!!!!
    Am a bahai, living in Mauritius for the moment and I have a daughter of 3 and a half years old.
    My husband too is a Bahai and is a Mauritian.
    Well, I just wanted to let u know that I have found your blog and it’s amazing.
    Hopefully one day we can meet as we are planning to immigrate to Canada in a few years … in Quebec …
    With bahai love


  8. Hi Erika,

    What a very small world… you don’t know me. My name is Anne. I was looking for a recipe for bread made with rice flour and found your link. As I started reading, I clicked on ‘read more…’ That’s when I read that you are Juliet’s sister. I am Shane’s aunt! Complete coincidence… I love stories like this.

    I will absolutely try your bread… can’t wait. Please say hi to Shane and the family🙂


  9. Dear Anne,

    Thank you so much for the great comment on my blog. I was so excited to read it and went down right away to tell Shane about it. And then, I’m so sorry, I got a huge back log of emails and didn’t get a chance to write back. Where you at Juliet and Shane’s wedding? I’m trying to think if I’ve met you before?

    Well, it was so nice to hear from you. Best wishes,


  10. Hello Erika

    Wow, I came across your blog🙂 SO very impressed! We are in Vancouver too! Me, hubby and our beautiful boy. Do you have a book we can read? Or classes you offer? We’d love to connect with you.
    Anyways totally love your positive energy – really shines through!!
    Best wishes to you and keep up what you do – A true inspiration🙂

    Thank you,


  11. That is so sweet, Ziba! I in simplicity (aka survival) mode these days with the three kids and trying to keep my head screwed on right so I don’t have a book or classes or anything. But I’m always up for morning playdates if you want to get together!


  12. Hello Erika,
    I just came upon your website while looking for an image for our Bahá’í community newsletter. My goodness, how your whole site just reached out and gave me such an amazing hug. I love your art, your photos.. your family. Thank you so so much for sharing so much of yourself and your family. We, out here, are truly blessed. It brings a tear of happiness to my eye. You have inspired my mommy bottom to get up and start creating again..

    Thank you!


  13. Hi Ula,

    I’m not currently taking commissions, but I might start in a year or two as my children get older and I have more time. I can add you to my contact list for when I start that if you’re interested.



  14. I absolutely agree with everything you have stated. In fact, I browsed through your several other blogposts and I think you are completely correct. Congrats with this website.


  15. Hey Erika! I was just wondering- you have quite a bit of education in the field of education and I see at some point you left teaching (in the traditional classroom sense). How did you come to that decision? I struggle with it sometimes and people always say “but you have amazing benefits! amazing pension! lots of people would kill to be in your place- it’s ideal for family”
    Thanks for this great blog! Im going to read some of the books you talk about! I got your link from your sis-in-law posting on facebook. I’m glad she did cuz it’s great!


  16. Hi Jenny, I know! It’s such a hard decision to let go of the financial control. It takes so much trust in your spouse to provide for your family and trust that you will be able to find work again when you want to.

    I was planning to do my PhD and pursue academic research and teaching, which I thought I would start when my oldest daughter was one. But as the time came closer to it I had read a lot more about the psychological needs of children (that their brains literally need their parents with them in order to develop and grow because they cannot grow when they shut down in protective defense mode from being separated from their primary caregiver.)

    The other key factor in my decision to stay home with my children was that I knew if I was trying to juggle too many things that I would be stressed and constantly distracted. I just wanted to enjoy being a mother. And frankly it is a much more than full time job.

    Good luck to you!


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