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Showing posts from 2011

Self Portrait (Shoulders)

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28" x 22", oil on canvas, 2011

After spending a few months at the beginning of 2011 painting 12 portraits of 16 local Prince Edward County farmers for my Field to Canvas series, I thought it'd be fun to close out the year with a portrait of myself --also since I reached a milestone of sorts in October (that is, turning 40).

I sketched a bunch of different ideas of how to portray myself at this stage in my life and in my artistic career, but I decided to dispense with all the cutesy symbolism and iconography and bullshit and went for the most honest, unadorned portrayal possible.

I had Krista take a picture of me just a couple of weeks after my birthday, shirtless and without my glasses, using the available light of our dining room window (with a big, blank canvas for some bounce on my opposite side). I played with the levels a bit in Photoshop to provide some more contrast, but pretty much painted what was there in the photo: wrinkles, squinty light-sensitive eye and al…

Geri and John Della Bosca : : FULL

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24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about Geri and John, as well as details of this painting, click here.

George Emlaw : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about George, as well as details of this painting, click here.

Lukas Lister-Stevens : : FULL

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24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about Lukas, Back 40 Veg, as well as details of this painting, click here.

Ted Maczka : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011, collection of the County of Prince Edward Public Library and Archives*

For more information about Ted, as well as details of this painting, click here.


*Brief story here at CountyLive.

Lino Micheli : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about Lino, Bethel Organics, as well as details of this painting, click here.

Erika Mohssen-Beyk : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011

For more information about Erika, as well as details of this painting, click here.



Tim Noxon and Vicki Emlaw : : FULL

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24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about Tim & Vicki, Vickis Veggies, as well as details of this painting, click here.



John Nyman : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011

For more information about John and his farm, as well as details of this painting, click here.


Ed & Sandi Taylor : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about the Taylors, Honey Wagon Farms, as well as details of this painting, click here.


Cody Vader : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about Cody, as well as details of this painting, click here.


Blaine Way : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

For more information about Blaine, as well as details of this painting, click here.



Bay Woodyard and Gavin North : : FULL

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36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2011

Now that my Field to Canvas show at Angéline's is over, I'll be posting full views of my farmer portraits –but this time in reverse alphabetical order.

For more information about Bay and Gavin, Honey Pie Hives and Herbals, as well as details of this painting, click here.


Small Pond Arts Logo Design

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Many desperate acts of design (including gradients, drop shadows, and the gratuitous use of transparency) are perpetuated in the absence of a good concept. A good idea provides the framework for design decisions, guiding the work.

– Noreen Morioka

(updated 2015 version)
Names are very important to Krista and me and we brainstormed dozens of them and deliberated for weeks until we were absolutely happy with "Small Pond Arts" (during the logo design process, we dropped the "Ranch" to simplify the name). The next step, of course, was to create a visual identity, mainly a logo, for this new venture, so I set about doodling some concepts that had to do with the overall theme of "a big fish in a small pond."
With the sketching underway, the typeface had to be carefully chosen; it had to convey a friendly, artistic playfulness while walking the very fine line between professionalism and whimsy (it couldn't be staid and boring, nor could it be silly and goofy)…

Steamy

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15" x 22", watercolour, 2002, collection of Steam Whistle Brewing
I had a show at the Steam Whistle Brewing HQ in 2002 and did this painting for that –and then for them to add to their collection afterwards. I set up the still life of fresh beer on my parents' back patio one summer evening and I added the watermelon because it's a refreshing seasonal symbol to me and it adds visual interest since the colour of the rind matches the bottles and the red flesh is (obviously) complementary.

There's a second pilsner glass behind the front one, but it's hard to spot unless you look closely. I did a number of shots and arrangement variations and this one was my favourite, but I should have moved the second glass a little to the right so it's in view (especially since there are two bottles visible).

 The invitation I created for the event: (look at that URL! ha-ha.)
Click here to see a similar painting to the one in the invite.

Australian Landscapes (part 2)

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each: 11" x 15", watercolour, 1998, private collections

These are the last two of my five Australian landscapes I painted back in the 1990s. I shot the photo ref for the top painting myself at Wilson's Prom and the bottom painting of The Twelve Apostles was shot by my cousin, Liz.
Bonus Australian painting: 14" x 18", oil on canvas, 2002, private collection

I also did a number of small oil paintings of the Sydney Opera House from various interesting angles, but this one is the best of the lot. It was undergoing a bit of a restoration but I managed to take a lot of nice pictures. Maybe I'll do some larger oils of this beautiful structure one day...

Australian Landscapes (part 1)





Australian Landscapes (part 1)

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each: 15" x 11", watercolour, 1998, all paintings in private collections

My previous post (and the fact that I'm currently in the midst of painting ten new local barnscapes) put me in the mood to post these old landscapes inspired by my trip to Australia in 1993 (the first and third paintings are based on photos my cousin, Elizabeth, took, the middle one's mine).

I don't remember where Liz said she took the photo for the top painting; the middle one is at Wilson's Promontory in south Victoria, if I remember correctly; and the bottom one is a close-up of Uluru (the formation formerly known as Ayer's Rock).


Australian Landscapes (part 2)



Kangaroo

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30" x 40", oil and acrylic on canvas, 2008, private collection
Detail.
This is a commission I did a few years ago where the client wanted a painting that combined my realistic yet painterly style with the traditional patterns of Australian Aboriginal art. I did some research and found a style of patterns that suited my photo reference of the kangaroo and adapted the geometry and layout to fit around the marsupial.

Relatively speaking, the kangaroo was easier to paint than the painstaking lines and dots behind it. I used acrylic for the pattern (because it was made up of flat colours) and oils for the kangaroo (because I'm more comfortable blending colours in that medium).



Lisa (Green Chair)

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40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2008
Detail.
This one's colours are more vibrant than the first of this series, and, being the most recent, you can see a progression towards more chroma over the four paintings (here is the painting done just before Lisa's). In retrospect, I prefer the subtleties of the first one, but the lively saturated colours of the last two are still pretty neat.





Krista (Green Chairs)

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30" x 40", oil on canvas, 2008


Detail.

Here's my beautiful wife, Krista, sitting across two green chairs. I wanted to mix things up a bit, so I made her portrait horizontal and added a second chair for composition's sake. That's also why her left leg is bent like that; it creates a nice rhythm as well as continuing a downward angular flow from her head to the top of the chair on the right. 



Chris (Green Chair)

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40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2008, private collection

Detail.
This painting of my old friend Chris Patheiger is the one described in this post as being the first of this Green Chairs series. I was trying out something new as far as skin colouration here, choosing to go with non-realistic colours, the chair being the only thing colored "properly." I then superimposed a matrix background but carried it into the figures, rendering them ghostly* using lighter tones where the figures overlap the background.

I only did four of these before moving on, but I have a great reference image of Kimwun on a green chair for a fifth portrait (perhaps this winter?) from our photo shoot the Kitchen Warfare Trilogy was based on.



*Or "hollow" –in fact, the working title for this series (still in use as the folder name on my computer) was "Hollow Oils."

Cottage Canoe

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30" x 24", oil on canvas, 2009, private collection

This was painted as a gift for Kathryn Winning (that's her at the back of the canoe during a trip she, Krista, and I took to her cottage up north). I became good friends with Kathryn soon after meeting –and subsequently painting many pictures of– her daughter, Ashley. Separately, Krista had become friends with Kathryn as well, and it was when Kathryn was directing one of Krista's plays in Toronto (Love in Swift Current) that the chain of events began that would lead to Krista and I getting together (and getting married and starting Small Pond Arts!). Kathryn really pushed for us to get together and has been a great and supportive friend of ours, so, in appreciation of all of that, I painted the three of us in a canoe on a very happy trip and planned to give her the painting upon our move to Prince Edward County in 2010, but she now lives on a boat and there's no place for a painting there. Until she has a wall t…

Self Portrait of the Artist as a Young Fool

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20" x 16", oil on canvas, 2007

Yep, that's me and, although I chose to wear Rigoletto's fool's cap for this self portrait, I'm not sure where the fiery background came from (I honestly don't think I intented flames or "Hell" when I was painting that –just warm colours), but it does sort of comment on my state of mind at that time. Also, since 2007 wasn't a significant year anniversary-wise (the following year would be my 20th anniversary of painting in watercolours, and to celebrate, I painted this piece), I don't remember what prompted my painting of this.

Come to think of it, I did this self portrait in 2001 which also had no temporal significance except for the fact that I was almost exactly 29 1/2 years old when I painted it. There's also this cheeky self portrait to consider, which was my last deliberate (but, again, cheeky) self portrait. I turn 40 in a few days and I've been gathering self-shot reference photos for anothe…

Scarecrow Festival 2011 Poster

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11" x 8.5", ink and digital, 2011

Small Pond Arts will be hosting the famous Scarecrow Festival in lovely Prince Edward County for the first time this year and this is my poster design for it. For the illustration, I shot reference photos of our own scarecrow, Socrates, who resides in our garden. I added a primitive box guitar hanging onto him because a couple of folks from ArtsCan Circle will be attending to the event and will be playing some live music. I drew Socrates in pencil, inked him using a brush (I used a pen for the lines on his shirt), then scanned the drawing and coloured him in Photoshop. I used flat colours because I wanted to keep the design as simple as possible. Afterwards, the text was all laid out in CorelDraw.

Krista will be blogging about the event soon after the festival next weekend, but, in the meantime, you can read about previous Sacrecrow Festivals at Galloping Goat Gallery, the initial hosts who've since handed the event over to us.



Stickfest 2011 Poster

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11" x 8.5", photography & digital, 2011

Stickfest is once again upon us and my poster for this year's event features an installation (in progress) by Mary MacDonald created initially for Cornography a few months ago. I took most of the photos before she started joining the ends (as seen in the bottom right) since the long branches (branches...sticks...c'mon, close enough) looked beautiful against the blue summer sky and I knew these would somehow form the basis of my poster this year. I did a bit of post-processing in Photoshop, then the design and layout was done in CorelDraw.


2011 Studio Tour

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What an interesting three-day extravaganza the 2011 Prince Edward County Studio Tour was. There were lots of people walking in and out of my gallery here at Small Pond Arts, and I chatted amiably with interested folks, all while I worked on the underpainting of my next Prince Edward County barnscape. My large body of work (spanning just over two decades) seemed very well-liked by my visitors –including the six new paintings I did especially for the Tour using three local wines (Malbec, Cab Franc, and Baco Noir).

However.

This whole time –from the initial application process last winter, until I took down my Studio Tour sign at the end of the Tour today– something was nagging at the back of my mind. Something about the whole Studio Tour's visual identity seemed oddly, and inappropriately, familiar...something about...my home town? Something about...an old TV show?

Something...


...


...something...


...


...


...something...


...


...


...

holy crap 



Equally bizarre:
this is Post #…

Follow-through (Malbec)

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Here are the last two of my six recent paintings created with wine (about 90%) and watercolour (about 10%). Some wines are hybrids, so why not my paintings?
When I asked Sherry Martin of Karlo Estates (in beautiful Prince Edward County) what their signature wine was and she replied "Malbec," I was surprised, expecting her to say their Van Alstine Port because it is absolutely amazing (but, then again, I would prefer to drink that Port rather than paint with it...). The vintage of the Malbec I used is 2008.

Still Life in Malbec (a) 15" x 22", red wine and watercolour, 2011
Both of these paintings (as well as two made with Cabernet Franc and two made with Baco Noir...and, of course, many of my other paintings) will be available for sale at the Small Pond Arts Gallery during the 2011 Prince Edward County Studio Tour.


Still Life in Malbec (b) 15" x 22", red wine and watercolour, 2011




Follow-through (Cabernet Franc)

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These are the next pair –of six– wine-themed paintings actually painted with wine which will be available for purchase at the Small Pond Arts Gallery during the 2011 Prince Edward County Studio Tour. This time the wine is a 2008 Cabernet Franc from Casa Dea Estates Winery in Prince Edward County, where I now live and work.

As I mentioned earlier, red wine alone cannot provide a tone dark enough for my tastes (I like having great contrast), so I had to supplement these wine paintings with a bit of watercolour (at a wine-to-watercolour ratio of about 9:1).
Still Life in Cab Franc 22" x 15", red wine and watercolour, 2011
Toast in Cab Franc 15" x 22", red wine and watercolour, 2011

These wine paintings are based on my own photographs and, not having a model on hand at the time, the one above is based on two separate shots of my own hands which I combined in Photoshop for reference.