Skip to main content

John Nyman

John Nyman's been farming all his life (over 31 years now), but six on his own (but that doesn't mean by himself). Visit John's website for tons of great information.

I visited John's farm in the dead of winter, and there he was, clearing snow, feeding the sheep and cows, tirelessly (and impressively, to me) just doing what needed to be done --and without complaint, I must add. That's another thing I found all my subjects had in common: although a few explained some of the frustrations and challenges facing farmers (versus the big agricultural corporations like Monasnto), they never complained to me about the actual work they needed to do (I've seen it; it's not easy work). These great folks are examples to everyone.

This portrait allowed me to incorporate elements of John's farm, giving me the chance to try out different techniques and subject matter. Like in my portrait of Lukas Lister-Stevens, I wanted to use a shallow depth-of-field to help make the foreground subjects pop. My approach to convey this effect was to render the background elements in an impressionistic and slightly abstract manner. The detail above --just a tiny part in the top left of the actual portrait-- could be a satisfying winter landscape on its own.

I'm really, really happy with these boots.

The now-obligatory close-up detail masquerading as an abstract painting. This time: a blander, boringer, lamer Rothko.

Talk about free-range! These pretty little chickies were wandering around here and there, contrasting sharply against the snowy ground, looking incredibly healthy and happy (and, therefore, incredibly tasty!). Also farmed by the Nymans but not featured in this painting: sheep, pigs, turkeys, and maple syrup from their own sugar shack.

My portrait of John Nyman is actually made up of five separate reference photos: John's head is a separate element from similar pic, turned more appealingly to the camera, because his head in the shot of him petting the cow was turned downward at an angle that didn't show his features very well. The chickens are from a completely separate photo of them by themselves, incorporated here for compositional balance. The boots had to be drawn from a separate, full-body shot where you can see the boots because in the ref I did use, the photos cut him off just above the knees. And the cow and his right petting arm are from a shot that better denotes their friendly relationship.

When I say "friendly relationship," I'm not exaggerating; these Jersey Cows were very friendly and curious. I don't know if it was the one in the final painting, but one cow did come up to me and began licking my coat's sleeve just like a dog might. It was a leather coat, though, so I don't know what that says about the cow...

See the full version of this painting  HERE.


Popular posts from this blog

Axel Foley's Chevy Nova (1/25 scale model)

Multiple tributes, here. I remember first seeing  Beverly Hills Cop  on video at my friend Chris K's house, 'cause his family had a VCR and we'd watch tons of movies (and record music videos) together. The summer of 1984 was a special time for us (having created a strong bond in school since Grade 6 a few years before), going on biking adventures around the 'burbs and into the city, etc., and home video played an important role from then until I moved to the opposite end of Scarborough just before we started high school. We liked the movie a lot, both of us fans of Eddie Murphy from his  Saturday Night Live  days. I don't think I'd seen the movie since then (it would have been 1985, probably summer, since the movie came out in late 1984) and I became curious to see if it still held up. It did. It does. I found Murphy as charming as ever and the comedy (and even the action) holds up very well and its very re-watchable and very entertaining.  Beverly Hi

Eye Contact

15" x 22", watercolour, 1994, private collection As I mentioned in yesterday's post , I tend to paint more of the co-workers I've had over the years than friends, family, or professional models. I guess there's some kind of connection there for me, something about work, itself, but I'm not sure what it is. In the mid-90s I painted a number of my crewmates during the years I worked at The Shopping Channel (making on-air graphics during the live broadcasts). This was my portrait of my crew's producer, Steve (one of the many Steves at TSC), and this scenario reflects both his and my sense of humour. The "angel" on the right is my friend, Trish, who's been in a few other paintings such as Corona Solis (mike) . I added that digital lens flare after I'd scanned a photo of the painting and now I'd prefer it weren't there, but I can't find the original photo.

YT-1300 Freighter w/Cargo Carriage (scale model), Part 1

For a couple of decades, now, I'd been curious about two things concerning the Millennium Falcon: what it looked like as a brand new, unmodified ship ...and how exactly did it work as a "freighter," anyway? That other build takes care of my curiosity about the ship, this one takes care of my curiosity about the freighter question... Hail, Bandai. Bandai Star Wars kits are amazing. Their larger models are super detailed, but even these tiny kits (the Falcon here is about 1/350 scale) are superior to many previous and current Star Wars kits by MPC, AMT, or Revell. Mini sprue tour. Interestingly, this version of the Falcon is the one from Star Wars , having only three landing gear boxes (two more were added to the front for Empire ), but the larger version I built as factory stock had five because it was the version from The Force Awakens . My only (very minor) complaint is that these smaller kits only have stickers instead of decals (the larger kits