23 June 2011

Kitchen Warfare Trilogy

This trilogy was intended to be only part of a much larger group of paintings dealing with the concept of a house party devolving (escalating?) into a battle in a kitchen.

I had taken a number of photos of a friend (Toronto-based actor Kimwun Perehinec, who also modeled for me as The Princess) and had intended to shoot a bunch of other folks and composit them in such a way as to illustrate the battle idea, but that never happened, and seeing as I had a ton of photos of Kimwun in various martial arts poses using kitchen implements as weapons, I used a few of those as the basis for this trilogy. I did some studies in acrylic called the Rolling Pin Variations as well.

Whisk, watercolour on Yupo, 20" x 26", 2009, private collection

Pan, watercolour on Yupo, 26" x 20", 2009

Tongs, watercolour on Yupo, 20" x 26", 2009

These three (and five other watercolour paintings I did on Yupo) are currently on exhibit at Blizzmax:

Blizzmax Gallery
3071 county Rd. 13
South Bay, near Milford

Show continues until
3 July 2011

16 June 2011

Tractor & Barn

24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2010, private collection

Tonight is the opening of Art in the County, but I have to miss out on the festivities as I'm also a projectionist at The Regent Theatre, and I'm showing the latest Broadway production of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."

This is my entry for this year's AitC based on a photo I took last summer driving around the county looking for beautiful scenes to paint (needless to say, there were plenty...and still more left unphotographed). This is the first thing I shot at Karlo Estates while visiting Richard Karlo and Sherry Martin. They're great folks and Richard makes the best (and PEC's only) port I've ever had. I seriously can't shut up about the stuff. Sherry's an accomplished artist herself and runs a life drawing class on Wednesday nights during the warmer months (they're held in a loft space in the barn depicted above, which isn't winterized). Unfortunately, summer is when we're very busy at Small Pond, and I rarely can get away, but this year I'm going to make a concerted effort to go more often (because I love figure drawing).

I wanted to make the sky especially beautiful, so I studied one of my books on John Singer Sargent, hoping to learn something through mere observation and then actually infuse the sky with some Singer-inspired flavour. I really do like how this sky turned out (I moved some clouds around, making minor compositional adjustments). Do you see Singer in my sky? It doesn't matter, because the point wasn't to paint like him, but to learn from him --and I sure did (and I think it shows, because it's a little more sophisticated than my previous oil skies (including this later piece)).

Late stages of development. 

I didn't shoot earlier stages showing the brown sky or red grass underpaintings, but you can see here the dark brown underpainting of the silo and roof. The point of this was to experiment with light final colours over a dark base and I think it worked out quite well.

UPDATE: This painting is now on the cover of the summer 2011 edition of County Magazine, which has a feature on me and Krista and Small Pond Arts. On stands now!

09 June 2011

Leaning Poles

16" x 20", oil on canvas, 2011, private collection

Last year I had a watercolour painting (which I have not blogged about yet) in the local Art in the County juried exhibit which won both Honourable Mention and People's Choice awards. As a consequence of the latter award, the organizers asked me to provide a piece for this year's silent auction, so I rummaged through my photo ref that I took while driving around Prince Edward County last summer and painted the picture above. In fact, I just finished it last night and it's still wet, so we'll see if the recent heat keeps up to help it dry before the show opens on 16 June...

Entirely coincidentally, I've submitted a larger painting (Tractor and Barn, which I finished last fall) for the AITC show proper --so if that one gets in, could it be considered...barn storming?

06 June 2011

Blizzmax 2011 Season Opener

M.C. Blizzity --to the max.

Stand by for action!

That's right: barely more than a week after my last art opening, there's another one. This one will feature a number of my watercolours on Yupo plastic and I'm joined by fellow artists Buffy Carruthers and Blizzmax co-owner Peter Mennacher. Peter and his wife, Alice, throw great openings (last year I was happy to be part of Sommerfest, which was great fun) and I'm looking forward to this one as much as I was the show at Angéline's last week.

Blizzmax Gallery
3071 county Rd. 13
South Bay, near Milford

UPDATE: photos from the opening can be seen HERE.

05 June 2011

Field to Canvas: Reception

Reception: June 2, 5-9pm
Exhibition runs through 2011
433 Main St., Bloomfield,
Prince Edward County, ON

Top photo: agent provocateur.
Bottom photo: "I hope there's no math tonight!"

Me and Krista in front of George Emlaw's portrait.
(this photo by Pat Hyduk (the rest are by Krista).
More of Pat's photos from the reception can be found on Facebook HERE)

George Emlaw and George Emlaw and me. 

I heard he was so pleased with his portrait that he hovered near it the whole time he was there, almost...protectively? Everyone was saying how significant the addition of his farm at the bottom is; the farm is going by the wayside, and George is kind of sad about that. There's still another month or so until we hear if this painting gets in the Kingston Prize for Canadian Portraiture exhibition.

Small sampling of large crowd.

The turnout Thursday evening was simply amazing. The restaurant estimated about a hundred people turned up for the event, making this my largest art opening. But numbers aren't everything; being surrounded by many of our friends made it my happiest art opening, and I give immense thanks to everyone who came out last week.

Extra big thanks to Alex, Melanie, Monika, and the rest of Angéline's staff for hosting; Chef Michael Potters and his team for the great food; the seven (7!) wineries for their tasty tastings; Tammy Love for literal Field to Canvas artwork in the front bar area; and, of course, my lovely wife, Krista, who supported this endeavour by putting up with many late nights of painting, painting, painting.

This photo contains five farmers, and includes (from left to right), Nina-Marie Lister (Lukas's mom), Vicki Emlaw (featured in the painting on the left), Sandra Emlaw (George's wife), Ed Taylor, Tim Noxon (also featured in the painting on the left), George Emlaw standing in front of Ted Maczka's portrait, and, on the far right in the background is Lukas Lister-Stevens.

Here I am with Erika Mohssen-Beyk, who seemed quite amazed that her portrait was so much larger than life.

Here's Ed and Sandi Taylor, stripped of their winter clothes. Sandi reminded me the name of the dog in the painting is Socks (I had forgotten his name since the photo shoot, but I've  since edited the blog post to fix this omission).

Me and Cody Vader. We look comfortable, but we're actually squatting so as to fit into this composition.

Partly making fun of the need to squat in the previous pic, and partly bored of "straight" posing for the paparazzi, Vicki, Tim, and I ham it up a bit.

Chef Potters came out of the kitchen briefly to say a few kind words about my paintings and the farmers in them. His team served up some delicious hors d'oeuvres all night long. Vicki, Michael, and I didn't plan it, but here we are all in co-ordinating white tops.

Stojan Fixing Combine
14" x 17", ink on paper, 2003, private collection

To fill out the space in the front entrance of the inn portion of Angéline's, Alex asked me to bring some other, thematically-related paintings. As well as a few cow paintings in ink, I brought these two pictures, and their inclusion makes me very proud, since, not only does this show celebrate local farming in Prince Edward County (some of it going back many generations), but it now includes my own family's farming heritage in Macedonia which also goes back several generations.

The painting above is based on a family photo of my father fixing a wheel on their combine harvester in Macedonia, probably in the 1960s (certainly before he emigrated to Canada in 1969). It's a fine illustration of my dad's formidable skills as a mechanic and, interestingly, is incredibly reminiscent of my very first blog post.

15" x 22", watercolour, 2003

This painting (of the same combine as in the ink painting) is based on another family photo, but this time one taken about 40 years later when my father and his brother (pictured, shirtless on the machine) visited Macedonia in 2002. I was trying for a very loose technique with this one, to the point where the combine looks almost abstract. I really like the sky in this one.