Location: Parksville

Painter Ann Holtby-Jones Shows Us Anything Goes in the Kitchen

Painter Ann Holtby-Jones Shows Us Anything Goes in the Kitchen

November 2011, we found ourselves on the door step of Ann Holtby-Jones from Parksville, B.C. “What is that smell?!”, I said to Gary as we stood there. As far as we could tell it was coming from Ann’s kitchen. The sweet aroma of fresh baked goodies! I never want to be presumptuous so I said, “Perhaps she is expecting company later”.


Ann and her welcoming pooch, Daisy, opened the door with a warm smile and a wag of the tail. We stepped inside following close behind our noses. Ann is a lovely lady who had many adventures to share with us about her years as a painter. Since the last time we met, she has been painting but perhaps not as much as she would like. Her attention has been elsewhere with a new awesome man in her life and some travel. The good news is her new beau is very supportive and encourages Ann to get in her studio or out in the fresh air and paint. Sounds like a wonderful guy! She is looking forward to a studio tour coming up this October on Vancouver Island.


I have included five of Ann’s post ArtsQuest interview works but for the full scoop and to see more of her paintings be sure to check out her interview by clicking here.


Besides Ann’s creative talents she also has a wonderful sense of humour. When I asked her if she would mind if I shared her cookie recipe for the Culinary ArtsQuest series her quip was, “Yes, make my cookies famous! Who knows, people may get to know my art as, oh you know, the lady who makes the cookies.”

As you probably already guessed the cookies were for us to enjoy with a cup of tea after the interview. Ann didn’t have a name for her recipe but I decided to call them the Anything Goes Cookies. I love this recipe because I can pretty much toss in anything I have available, they are delicious and they are…(me whispering) healthy.


Anything Goes Cookies

1 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar (I use organic cane sugar or coconut sugar is nice as well. You can also use honey, maple syrup, agave, pretty much anything goes.)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp each of baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon if you want
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup of ground flax
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
Throw in some ground almonds or other nuts if you like.

Mix together the first 4 ingredients with a hand blender.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together and then add to the wet.
Roll into balls and press with a fork to flatten slightly on a cookie sheet.
In a standard size oven preheat to 350 degrees and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
In a toaster oven preheat to 300 degrees and bake for 9 minutes.
Makes approximately 4+ dozen depending on how big you like them.

Note: I would say stick to the first 7 ingredients but after that Anything Goes so experiment and have fun being creative in the kitchen!

If you want a copy of this recipe, instead of writing it all out, copy and paste it into a Word document.

Ann Holtby-Jones: The Stories Behind Her Paintings

Ann Holtby-Jones: The Stories Behind Her Paintings

Ann Holtby-Jones was the first artist Gary and I visited when we arrived on Vancouver Island. Ann lives just west of Parksville in a darling community watched over by a stand of proud evergreen trees. With a little help from our GPS we arrived at her home where we were greeted by Ann, Daisy, her adorable pooch, and the aroma of fresh baked cookies. I was secretly hoping, and I’m sure Gary was too, that Ann would find us pleasant enough to offer us a cookie. It turns out they tasted even better than they smelled and were so wonderful and healthy that I had to ask if she would share her recipe, and since then I have made two batches of my own.

Some artists we have met prefer not to be interviewed with video and this was the case with Ann. Instead we sat comfortably in her living room surrounded by 30 years of devotion hanging on the walls and talked about Ann’s insight into her own world of art.

Ann Holtby-Jones

Ann was first introduced to painting through the medium of oil and that was the match that ignited her creative fire. Later on, after moving to Vancouver Island, she went to purchase some oils and came home with a set of water colour paints instead. She was in love with painting but fell madly in love with water colour which sealed the life long commitment between her and her art. Her other enchantment belongs to the natural world. She finds it to be spiritual nourishment when she can combine her active hiking life with her painting. In her words, “I will not paint a place I have never visited. I have to feel my surroundings so that I can give honest meaning to my painting”.

Heading For a Wreck

For as long as the opposable thumb has been part of the homosapien hand, images have been transcribed throughout history to relay a message or tell a story to share with others and Ann’s paintings are a part of that history and culture. She once had the opportunity to stand on earth in a place that is one of the last remaining, pristine and untouched wild lands, the Muskwa-Kechika. Wayne Sawchuk is a steward of this part of Northern British Columbia and it is his personal mission to make sure it remains an untouched ecosystem. He feels people will protect what they are aware of, what they understand and what they love, and so he has been gathering artists of all mediums to come and visit this wild space and record it through their art. Ann was one of those artists. She finds fulfillment in using her ability to help others understand the vital importance of nature and this, she says, is part of her purpose.

Please visit Ann’s blog page to see more of her work.

"Weathered By Time" from Muskwa-Kechika