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Showing posts from March, 2012

The Big Lean

36" x 48", oil on canvas, private collection This is the same barn that's in The Clouds with this Barn , but from the opposite side. This is the largest of the Barnscapes and, at this size, I was able to play with the weathering textures quite a bit on the front face of that big guy; lots of fun.

Daytime Version

24" x 48", oil on canvas, private collection This is the full-on large version, based on the same photo, of the painting I did during  Paint the County  last year. Can you spot the differences? smaller Paint the County version I made the barn red in the Barnscapes version to keep it in line with all the other red barns in that series; other colour changes and enhanced details are a result of having more time (days instead of hours) and twice the surface area to work with.

T-Barn Horizon Clouds

24" x 36", oil on canvas I liked that the clouds on the horizon in this scene almost looked like mountains, so I left out everything above that "range" to keep much of the sky clear blue. The bright sunlight cast some great shadows to dramatically define the forms of the barn; sometimes you get lucky with the lighting...

The House on the Right

30" x 36", oil on canvas Named for the building on the far right which is kind of just barely inside the frame, but I liked how it turned out and, rather than worry about it upstaging the bright red barn and two silos, I thought I'd draw attention to it...which gives it its own narrative, in a way. This may be one of the most visible, or easy to spot, barns if you're driving around Prince Edward County looking for the barns that I've featured in my paintings as it's on the south side of Highway 33 just west of Picton's roundabout (can't miss it).

Surrounding Silo

24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2012, private collection The structure on the right is very appealing because, even when driving by it very quickly, you can tell that it's very old, despite its great condition and new roof. The roof on the left, however, looks like it'll collapse soon if nothing is done about it –I also find that condition quite appealing.

Open Fields, Open Sky

30" x 40", oil on canvas Just as Hillside Silos is based on a photo taken further down the road from Double Silos , this painting is based on a photo taken further down the road from Red All Over . Again, my interest here was setting the scene of the barn in its surroundings, showing the rolling hillside and fields. Aside from the wispy horizon, I kept the sky largely empty here again to emphasize the landscape.

The Clouds with This Barn

30" x 36", oil on canvas. private collection As much as I liked the wonderful barn in this scene (I even painted a larger picture of it from the other side called The Big Lean , to close out the Barnscapes series), I was quite taken with the weird but interesting clouds above it, so half the painting was reserved for them. They remind me of the blobs in a lava lamp ("Lava Lamp" was the working title of this, by the way).

Hillside Silos

30" x 40", oil on canvas This is the same farm that's in Double Silos , and as I drove further down the road I saw the view above and knew I had to take more photographs to capture the super green sloping hill. There were some clouds in this shot (seen in the other painting) but I decided to depict a clear blue sky to provide relief from the foreground which is so dense with detail.

Red All Over

24" x 30", oil on canvas This was the first barn that I'd seen that had a red roof as well as red walls, and I thought it'd be hard to paint well because of this, but I think giving so much space for the clear blue sky helps ground it without it looking odd. I really like the way the silo has that notch which is only visible here because of the cast shadow.

Fence Perspective

24" x 48" , oil on canvas Much of the appeal of this scene for me was the stunning sky with those crazy, puffy clouds floating freely, reminding me of the wide open spaces we have here in PEC , so I used an extra wide canvas to emphasize this. Again present are the silos with the red and white striped caps (my favourite look) and, although the barn's green roof is uncommon, it's great that it matches the one on the building on the left (drive shed, perhaps?)

Double Silos

24" x 36", oil on canvas After moving to this beautiful rural area of Southern Ontario, I would be remiss if I didn't respond to my new surroundings in some way, and driving around Prince Edward County I would regularly see these beautiful old barns –often with interesting silos like these– and, since I usually have a camera with me (except, it seems, for those times when I really need one), I've been photographing them for the past two years because, I knew, eventually, I'd be painting pictures of them. This was the first official painting completed for my Barnscapes series (I had done Tractor and Barn , Leaning Poles , and Daytime Version of Sleeve  before this series was conceived) and the series itself is a natural progression from and complement to Field to Canvas , my portraits of local farmers. The 15-painting Barscapes group is now complete, but I'm sure there will be further such expressions of local scenery.

Matthew Osborne "Blues Compilation" CD

36" x 36", oil on canvas, private collection Matt recorded a lot of material and the 19 songs on this CD were, according to the liner notes, "discovered from a vast array of sources including old cassette tapes in Matt's collection, videos of live shows, live recordings and radio programs." Pretty much the same group that put together Matthew Osborne in 2004 worked on this, and I was also asked to join in again, providing the cover painting (based on a photo by Selene MacLeod) and layout & design work. Entitled Blues Compilation 1990 – 2004 I added that info digitally (in the negative space to the left of his head) using the same typeface as Matt's name (which I painted directly onto the canvas). Here I present the cover unadorned with additional text. My idea for this one was "the blues: in winter" which meant using a subtle, almost monochromatic palette of colours and painting Matt as sort of a ghost, this being another posthumous

Contest Winners

Krista has posted some info on our Small Pond blog about the winners of our Two Year Anniversary Giveaway contest. I have no idea what he looks like just yet, but I'm excited to paint Clinton's portrait (or that of someone he knows). Congratulations, winners!

Matt Osborne T-shirt Design

The front. To coincide with the release of Matt's self-titled (and, sadly, posthumous) CD, we wanted to make some t-shirts to commemorate his music. If you look closely, you'll notice a little paper airplane here (and inside among the liner notes). This was a holdover from my earlier ideas for that CD when it was called All the Rest , tying in to the childhood theme of a red wagon containing as many items mentioned in Matt's songs as would be appropriate. I don't know how many shirts were made, but mine is still in great shape and I wear it occasionally in the summer. The back. This is a compilation of all of Matt's song titles grouped by CD (clockwise from top left: Doggie Blues , Underwater , Man Versus Concrete , and Matt Osborne ). Sketches for All the Rest CD cover. T-shirt sketches. Yes, those are two little sketches inside the bigger one.

The Matt Osborne Band "Man Versus Concrete" CD

Cover. The theme of "man versus concrete" is embodied by track 8, "Reduced to Clear", specifically in the opening verse: I'm working in a big grey concrete box. gotta squint to see the ceiling. and Albert Speer is somewhere laughing. what used to be a couple country blocks...beneath a fake flourescent ceiling. and how I'm here is somewhat baffling I showed Matt a bunch of very rough sketches for the CD cover illustration, but he was really taken by one that was a literal depiction of "a man versus concrete," so I did a better version of it and that was that. Then we talked about that silly hospital chase scene in Star Trek 4 (Matt said it was too much like the Keytone Cops , and I agreed, but I said that was probably because of the light, non-threatening music that completely undermines any sense of real suspense that scene could have had). Matt wanted a minimalist design, dominated by black and using white for text (and then we chose

Matthew Osborne, CD, 2004

Cover. I first met Matt in the mid-90s at one of his gigs where some musician friends of mine were also playing (I don't remember anything more specific than that) and I was impressed by his voice and guitar playing, but even moreso that one guy with an acoustic guitar could produce such a full sound. Matt liked my own work, too, and I was extremely happy to have him play at a bunch of my art openings around Toronto in the following years, and I provided the layout & design and cover illustration for his " Man Versus Concrete " CD in 2001. He died in his sleep in April 2004, but he had finished recording this CD. I don't know what title Matt had intended for it, but his supportive and generous friends and family, who were determined to make sure it was completed and made available to the public, decided to simply name it "Matthew Osborne" (initially "All the Rest"). Everyone rallied and worked hard to complete this CD as it was our way

Squirm "Cold" CD, 1998

The cover. Wanting to evoke an impression of "coldness," the colour scheme had to be cool, so blues and white ruled. That interesting typeface was specifically chosen by Tim the guitarist. I shot the trees near my home (in early spring, unfortunately, since completely bare trees would have been better...but that's still a cold blue sky). I shot the singer Elaine in my studio and I went through three, maybe four rolls of film since I didn't have a clear design plan at the time of the shoot (see sketches at bottom). Some of those photos of Elaine provided me with reference for subsequent paintings (just click on the Elaine Secord "label" at the bottom of this post to see them). Opened cover with credits. Inside: band photos. I shot the band during one of their many performances around Toronto. I wasn't sure how Baron would respond to the blurry shot of him drumming, but it turned out he loved it, so into the design it went. I had Elaine

Uncle Seth "Lame Suburban Poetry" CD

The cover. I remember Uncle Seth 's singer being insistent that the cover depict a basset hound wearing a beret on stage, apparently reading poetry (as implied by the CD's title) from a music stand (and I think he's smoking; he's smoking in some of my sketches). So off I went to sketch like crazy and finally produced the oil painting above (seen fully below). That stage is actually in the Free Times Café in Toronto, where the band have played many times. "Lame Suburban Poetry" 24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2002,  private collection I can't remember if it was my idea or the band's to include people reacting sort of mockingly toward the dog, but I thought revealing that "punchline" when you open up the insert would be fun. The band is represented on the left with their initials. My favourite is Jeff at the top, shot in a phone booth, evoking the look of a detective on a case. Easter eggs: on the shelf just to the right of