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Showing posts from February, 2012


22" x 15", watercolour, 2002, private collection Here's Ashley again wearing that blue tube top that I've painted her in a few other times:  Tangle  (which also has a bit of an art nouveau theme),  AW-020  (which contains a detail of the velvety texture),  Coke Addiction 3 , and  Ashley Reading . This painting is a slightly different pose that I used in  AW-026 , but isn't the one used for the abandoned oil painting "companion" I mentioned in that post. The flowers to the left are stolen from a drawing by my favourite art nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha , to which I've added colour for this painting, but I made up the background circle borrowing heavily from his motifs.


  36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2002 Rather than using the background in the sketch below, I decided to just paint Ashley with the actual background of my studio. I did, however, play around with that background: on the left,  Tides  is actually a 22" x 22" watercolour; I adjusted the dimensions of the painting on the right to better frame Ashley; and the bookshelf on the bottom left was scaled down and slightly repositioned for balance. After painting in oils for about a year, this picture was the one in which things seem to come together for me and I was (and still am) very pleased with the results. I think this painting has great overall composition and there's nothing that I would adjust, and, for me, this one's all about her right arm. I painted a companion piece using a photo of Ashley in the same outfit but in a slightly different pose, but it was a disappointment and it'll never be seen again as I've reused that canvas for another pai

Two Year Anniversary Give-Away!

This week marks the two year anniversary of moving to our home at Small Pond Arts.   It really seems like I’ve done more things and accomplished more goals in the past two years than in the five years previous... • Moved from downtown Toronto to a farm in Prince Edward County • Bought our first home • Renovated and furnished this old house • Started a small business  • Learned to grow abundant glorious food in our garden • Buried a time capsule • Designed posters for all of our events • I'm learning how to ride a unicycle   • Learned some basic construction skills • Had a few art shows (in no particular order): Field to Canvas , Sommerfest , Art in the County 2010 and 2011 , Something About the Garden , Blizzmax 2011 Season Opener , Cousins , Terroir , Artevino , Arts on Main 2012 • Worked at a couple of PEC vineyards • Helped bring Stickfest to life • Actually got some people with this April Fool's joke   • Became a projectio

Passage to Silo

24" x 36", oil on canvas, private collection Although all of my Barnscapes are based on photos I took while driving around Prince Edward County  (this one is actually a combination of two completely different locations), the use of so much yellow ochre and all the lush vegetation kind of makes me feel like this is a painting of somewhere in Italy; there's so much warmth to it. We have our own silo here at Small Pond Arts , so it was natural that I'd be drawn to paint so many other silos within this series, my favourites being the ones with the red and white caps. This is the other painting (along with Blue, White, & Red ) I have in Arts on Main Gallery in Picton. The show opening is Saturday 25 February 2012 2PM to 4PM AoM Gallery hours (beginning in March): 11AM to 4PM Thursdays to Tuesdays (closed Wednesdays)

Blue, White, & Red

24" x 30", oil on canvas, private collection My Barnscapes series came about as a response to my now living in the rural setting of Prince Edward County , and having already painted Tractor and Barn as well as the twelve portraits of local farmers for my Field to Canvas series, these paintings were a natural and satisfying progression for me. So far, 14 oil paintings comprise this series, with a very large (36" x 48") painting (and a handful of much smaller ones) to be started very soon. All of the Barnscapes are based on my own photos of local PEC farms I shot while driving around the county the past couple of summers.

Manhattan 006

15" x 22", watercolour, 2000, private collection My hometown of Toronto has  some art deco architecture *, but nowhere near as much (or as gloriously) as New York City and I was suitably impressed when I saw some (but not enough!) of it in person during my first visit there in 1999. Prometheus and Atlas naturally turned up in my paintings for their obvious appeal, but this subway entrance really attracted me; simple, elegant, gorgeous, but still functional. If you were able to pan right in this image you'd see the entrance to Radio City Music Hall  and it's equally glorious marquee. *That's just a small sample, and not offered here as a comprehensive showcase of art deco in Toronto.

Manhattan 007

22" x 15", watercolour, 2000 Here is what h2g2 has to say about Fifth Avenue: " New York City intersections with names get all the attention. Herald Square, Times Square, Columbus Circle, even Union Square – everyone knows to visit them for shopping and noisy excitement. But there’s another intersection without a name that has just as much happening, and can easily keep an entire family entertained all day. That intersection is Central Park South and Fifth Avenue." This is not that intersection, but it's interesting all the same.

Manhattan 003

11" x 15", watercolour, 2000, private collection When I'm painting, I tend to have one of two things on to keep me company and/or inspire me during the process: music or movies (I include TV shows on DVD), and, more often than not, they don't have any direct connection to what I'm painting. Most of the time I can't remember what I was listening to or watching while painting, but sometimes a memory will become so ingrained that, even a dozen years later, I can still remember that I was watching my DVDs of The X-Files while painting this picture. I can't remember the specific episodes, but it would have been shows during season 1 or 2, and looking at the green of the roof trim brings it all back. Here are but a few well-remembered accompaniments: I watched all of the movies I own concerning time travel while painting Brollies ; I watched the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live  while painting much of my Field to Canvas series (the few I did

Manhattan 002

11" x 15", watercolour, 2000, private collection When I visited New York City for the first time in 1999 I knew I'd be taking a lot of photos (with my trusty Minolta ) and that those photos would eventually end up as reference for some of my paintings. However, I decided to concentrate on the interesting architecture of the city rather than the typical and obvious well-known landmarks. So, while my friend drove us around the city, I aimed my camera high and got as many shots like the one above that I could, shooting what I considered to be little-seen and/or under appreciated scenes of NYC. Sure, I took a lot of pictures of Rockefeller Center and its wonderful art deco buildings and details (seen in my subsequent paintings here and here ), but I enjoyed shots like this one just as much. Maybe I'll do larger versions of them in oil someday...

Manhattan 005

22" x 22", watercolour, 2000 Having watched a lot of television in my childhood in the 70s, my impression of New York City was shaped by the images on the screen. TV shows too many to recall or mention depicted a metropolis of towering skyscrapers...and some of them had weird structures on them. What were they? I never saw any in Toronto, so I just didn't understand them. Later on, in books, or again on TV, I realized they were water towers . Now, we did have a water tower near my suburban Scarborough home, but it looked like this ; interesting, but not the same. So when I finally visited NYC in 1999, I was mesmerised by these things. Painting them was a no-brainer. The model's arm at the top returns (along with the rest of her) in Flying , about a year later. Sketch.

Manhattan 004

22" x 22", watercolour, 2000 This is the fourth in my Manhattan Project series (started, logically, with  001 ) but it has a compositional relationship to Rush and Tea , which features the traffic of a different, yet equally urban American city: Chicago. Here, Aisha is close up in the inset, while the background features the golden statue of Prometheus in the heart of New York City's  Rockefeller Center , which I photographed during my first trip there in 1999. Mocking Atlas , featuring another Greek god, also takes place at Rockefeller Center. Much can be –and has been– made of the juxtaposition of these two images but (unlike Rush and Tea, where a pun is illustrated) I've left the meaning here up to the viewer, because I'm not telling.

Corona Solis (zulu)

22" x 15", watercolour, 2001 This is the last (26th) painting in my Sunflowers series, and I decided I wanted to end with some kind of finality, so I found an image of the ancient Egyptian sun god, Ra, for the background. The model here is the same Kim I used in CS (hotel) and Without List 2 .

Corona Solis (quebec)

22" x 15", watercolour, 2000, private collection This is the same model-from-a-magazine I used in CS (lima) . The ladder was already part of that photo and I wanted to keep it so she didn't look weird just standing there. The dark green background helps to highlight the highlights on her right side and contrasts nicely with the red in her shirt.

Corona Solis (echo)

15" x 22", watercolour, 2000 Elaine Secord makes her fourth and final appearance in the Sunflowers series here, and it's the first one of the series to feature a more naturalistic background, rather than one full of art nouveau graphic design.

Corona Solis (india)

15" x 22", watercolour, 2000 During one of our several photo shoots (all of which have resulted in dozens of usable reference pics), I took a picture of Ashley in the same pose as the one I took of my model from Awake ...and here it is in my Sunflowers series. That's the same dress that's in CS (november) , but here it's in its actual black and white appearance. Also, you can see the front of the necklace that is visible from behind in CS (golf) and CS (papa) .