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The Red Balloon

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The Red Balloon
28" x 18", oil on wood panel, 2020

This painting is the first of several paintings I have planned that features my friend, Kimberley, doing double duty, representing one's struggle with oneself (since we tend to be our own worst enemy). I shot a lot of reference of her in multiple poses, knowing I'd be able to composite them in Photoshop later.

While I had Kimberley wear a different top for each persona in this one, I didn't want to have three legs visible with the same-coloured pants so I painted jeans on the foreground figure. I think the red and blue is a great, rich combination that really pops, leaving the rear "twin" in ghostly pale colours.

My original idea for the background was a very dark, mysterious forest, but the more I looked at it while painting the figures against the roughed-in dark-ish background (over which I would have painted the suggestion of a forest), the more I liked the starkness of that, so I made it definitively …

The Last Bridge

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The Last Bridge
28" x 18", oil on canvas, 2020

While rummaging through some of my old photo reference, I was very drawn to an image of my friend, Heather, because her hair was just perfect and looked amazing, with all the curves and swerves.
I wanted to have fun just painting her hair, but she was holding a camera in the photo and was looking at it intently, suggesting deep contemplation, so I decided to replace the camera with something more mysterious...

The first thumbnail I drew had her holding some kind of plant, like a thick stalk...something organic and green and undulating. I was planning on keeping her top black  for the light green plant to contrast against (plus, everyone looks good in black), but I wasn't yet thinking of a background.

In the sketch above, I took Heather's hands and repositioned them slightly and rotated their orientation to allow for a more pleasing composition with the plant. Below is a sketch where I kept their original angle and position (…

Margaret Meehan

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Margaret Meehan
17" x 14", oil on Bristol board, 2020

Continuing my portrait series of my favourite SCTV characters, here's my rendition of the brilliant Catherine O'Hara as high/night school quiz show contestant Margaret Meehan, who has a frustrating tendency ro answer the questions (always incorrectly) before host Alex Trebel (played by the equally brilliant Eugene Levy) is finished asking them.


Here's the time lapse video of me painting this precocious contestant:




Adept at Adaptation

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Adept at Adaptation
28" x 18", oil on canvas, 2020

Like a number of recent paintings, this one's also based on decades-old photo reference, but one I hadn't looked at in years and never attempted to paint until now. I think it turned out better than I imagined when my friend, Janet, and I shot it back in the mid-'90s. Plus I feel the tiger companion really helps underscore the sense of strength and resilience I wanted to convey. 

Early concept sketch.
I had Janet in mind when I sketched this at work (at The Shopping Channel –on the back of a "flow sheet" for a dinnerware show) –that's why it's stapled in my sketchbook. I should have followed my sketch when I was posing her arms for the photo –they're more dynamic in the sketch.

I guess, realistically, her hair would be much longer if she was out in the wilderness, but I liked her short haircut in the source photo so I kept it here. Who knows...Maybe the tiger's a really good stylist.


Here'…

Toro

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Toro
24" x 18", oil on canvas, 2020

After more than 20 years and three paintings based on this model miming bull horns with her fingers (below), I've finally paired her with a bull. Who's mad now?

Abdicate
17" x 14", oil on Bristol board, 2020
Mad
22" x 15", watercolour, 1998
Easy as Pie 40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2007
private collection
The painting above is (obviously) an abstracted version of Mad.

Here's a time lapse video of me painting Toro:


Hot Rod Chevette Part 2: Elements

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For the build log of the Hot Rod Chevette itself, CLICK HERE.

This post will cover the development of that car's engine and the old neon radio station sign.

That folded blue paper thing is the "blueprint" of a subdivision that appears on the back of Rush's Signals record.

THE BIG, NOISY ENGINE

I explained the reasons for making a Chevette with a big, noisy engine in my Hot Rod post, so we'll just cut to the chase, here...

Twin-engine power house.
My first idea was to have two engines in the Chevette, so for inspiration I started looking around at actual hot rods to see how things are done at 1:1 scale. We have a couple of books on Big Daddy Roth and his amazing custom vehicles (he's a great pinstriper, too!), and I eventually came across his Mysterion which had two engines. Rather than scrapping my idea ('cause it's been done!) I studied the Mysterion to see how I could make my 1/25 scale model look plausible.

Big Daddy Roth's Mysterion.

The problem …

Hot Rod Chevette (1/25 scale), Part 1

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Hot Rod Chevette with Sign 1/25 scale model, mixed media, 2019
I talk about building the engine and the old JUNK neon sign in PART TWO.


My dear friend, Tony, is turning 50 this year and I wanted to commemorate the event with a personal gift, something that he (and maybe two or three other people in our lives) would understand and appreciate to its fullest. I know him well enough and have known him long enough that I knew I'd think of something from our shared past that I could build as a scale model.

Long story short: as teenagers, from the mid-to-late-'80s, a handful of my friends and I pretended to have a "radio show" and we would record ourselves playing a multitude of characters in ridiculous scenarios (and we improvised 98% of everything). One of those characters (Ed Jones, not played by Tony) had a Chevette that sounded like it had a jet engine...for some reason. The reason it was a Chevette, however, was because Tony had one in real life.

That's why this m…