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The Seed Gatherers

  The Seed Gatherers 28" x 18", oil on canvas, 2020 This painting was a commission by a woman who'd bought one of my bird paintings years ago and wanted a "companion piece" of sorts for her husband's birthday in early January. We discussed something bird-themed but not necessarily similar, since it wouldn't be hanging in the same room as the other. She told me he was fascinated by a blue jay that comes by their house so I mentioned that I had been photographing and recording video of the blue jays that gather to feed on the sunflower seeds in our flower bed each fall and that I had some really good footage this year. She liked that idea and I started sifting through my images, finding a moment in a video when four blue jays were on the flowers at the same time. I took a screen grab and moved a couple of birds so they would fit a composition in this vertical orientation and canvas size (made to order!). The treatment of the sunflowers was heavily inspired
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The Red Balloon

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 definitive

The Last Bridge

The Last Bridge 28" x 18", oil on canvas, 2020 While rummaging through some of my old photo reference, I was very drawn to this model 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 her 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 (roughly) and had the stalk g

Margaret Meehan

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

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 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

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