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Showing posts from October, 2008

Coffee Break (b)

15" x 22", watercolour, 2002, private collection The second in the three-part Coffee Break series. Let's see...cinnamon raisin bagel (split in two for sharing), krinkly napkin, diner-style sugar dispenser, a magazine about watercolour painting, and, of course, two cups of hot coffee. A nice break! My favourite part of this painting is the reflection of the window in both the stainless steel part of the sugar dispenser and the plate in the foreground.

Coffee Break (a)

15" x 22", watercolour, 2002 As a teenager, some of my greatest inspirations were the works of comic book artist Jon J. Muth . Although he also worked in the traditional (for comics) medium of ink, he also did some incredible work using paint. Specifically, it was Muth's watercolour work on a series called Moonshadow and also the even more stunning Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown that fired me up and made want to paint with watercolours. The way the model's red hair is blown out by the light from the window is my tribute to the way Muth (much more interestingly) paints fiery redheads.

Knight vs Dinosaur

 22" x 15", watercolour & crayon, 2002, private collection This was the first painting that sparked off the series of children and their imaginations. I used crayons for the middle part to indicate what Peter was actually drawing and then back to watercolours for what he was imagining. For that transition and the excecution, I think this is the most successful of the lot. The concept and the photo I based the boy on were mine, but I stole the dinosaur from a Jurassic Park book and the knight from an Arthur Rackham illustration.

Daniel Makes a Save

15" x 22", watercolour, 2002, sold I used white ink for the highlights on the ball and some of the foliage. Otherwise, there's not much else to say.

Kids Reading

15" x 22", watercolour, 2002, private collection Yes, banal title, but this, too, was made as an illustration sample and I was naming them descriptively for my various submissions and this one, like the rest of the kid paintings suffers that fate. Again, that's Alex on the left and Peter on the right.


15" x 22", watercolour, 2002, not available Part of the series of young kids using their imagination and fantasizing about adventure. An important aspect of this series was having the images of the kids and their fantasies breaking out of the borders. This is Alex reading about the American Revolutionary War. Why not a Canadian historical subject? Beats me. I'll get to it eventually. Again, I think I used black ink for the outline around the boy. I think Alex turned out well and I like the nice and delicate variation of sunlight (on the book, especially), but I know I could now do a better job on the soldiers; I wanted chaotic warring action, but I think I just got a bit of a chaotic mess.


22" x 15", watercolour, 2002,  private collection This is another painting in a similar vein to Space Man in which there's a kid fantasizing bout adventure. I really like the expression on his face: so serious and a little Bond-like. In fact, he was sick when I took the photo and was probably hoping I'd go away quickly. The particular Bond in this painting is Pierce Brosnan because the reference for him was readily available and that was exactly the pose I wanted, but I still tried to keep him a little Bond-like, and not specifically Brosnan. There may be an ink outline around the boy like in Space Man, and the "007" was written in crayon.

Peter & Alex

 22" x 15", watercolour, 2002, private collection These guys are the older brother's of Daniel, who is in Space Man . Peter's actually on the right; I think I titled it this way just because he's older. I tried to create a shallow depth of field effect by blurring the background; the high contrast of the boys' heads versus the background helps. It's fairly successful, as is the sun-dappled look.

Space Man

 22" x 15", watercolour, 2002 This painting closes out "Sci-fi Week" here on the blog and, as you can see, it's barely even in that category. The young lad in this one is my cousin Bob's youngest son Daniel. The robot and spaceship are toys from one of those awesome mini Taschen books. I used ink for the outline on Daniel and the yellow stars were made using regular wax crayons.


15" x 22", watercolour, 1998, private collection For this I had a Supergirl costume custom-made for my friend, Kim, and then suspended her in mid-air to simulate flying in front of a giant projection of a jumbo jet. A complicated process for a painting? Worth it!* This painting was in a show I had later that year (on a horribly snowy day) and I invited the late Matt Osborne to be the live entertainment, and he was, as always, truly excellent. When I told him about listening to his CD, Underwater, throughout the painting of this picture, he dedicated a song to it, although I don't remember which. *Not really; she's lying on the floor, I added the costume in the drawing phase, and the jet's from a magazine ad.


22" x 22", watercolour, 1999, private collection I thought it would be fun to paint the lead captains of all the Star Trek series having a drink on Kirk's bridge (he being the first, and my favourite, captain, with Sisko right behind –literally, here). I scoured my reference to look for the captains drinking and I ended up with these images to work from. I was hoping for something more celebratorial, but I found it kinda funny that it looks like Picard is either drinking way too much or is showing off (or something) as the other captains look on...a little displeased or unimpressed (especially Sisko, my second favourite captain). I do like Picard and it's too bad you can't see his face, but the composition works well this way --better than a cheesy "family portrait" type of arrangement. From left to right: Benjamin Sisko, James T. Kirk, Kathryn Janeway, and Jean-Luc Picard. I wanted to add Christopher Pike but couldn't find good reference (or


15" x 22", watercolour, 1999, private collection The idea for this one comes from a trading card for The Empire Strikes Back (one of my favourite movies) where Chewbacca is holding C-3PO 's head while in his cell on Cloud City . The caption for the card read, " Alas, poor Threepio ." I think that even as a child of about eight or nine I somehow knew this was a Shakespeare reference (but not necessarily which play). That card struck me as actually being pretty clever and the grave digger scene concept stuck with me in the back of my mind for decades until The Phantom Menace came out in 1999 and showed us a C-3PO without his golden coverings. I love the design of the stripped-down droid and thought I'd reference Hamlet like the trading card while foreshadowing Chewie holding the head in Empire AND make it seem like Threepio's looking at the golden head with longing. Sympathy for the droid. Of course, I had to add his trusty counterpart R2-D2 to