The last two paintings in this group are exactly what they look like, i.e. three images on one page. I did this mainly to highlight the stark flat landscape, and felt it would be best to include two closeup views to maximize space.
These are Albertan grain elevators based on my photos taken while on a road trip years ago with Krista and her sister, Caitlin. I don't think I'd seen these in real life before –and if I did, it was in Ontario when I was a young child. I love the way they stand proudly amid the flat landscape, and I tried to capture some of that contrast in a few paintings, while focusing on their fascinating and functional architectural design in others. The fact that they're very rare now, being replaced by less attractive structures, makes them all the more alluring to me.
16" x 20", oil on canvas, 2007, private collection
Here's some more colour experimentation, playing around with lots of red, trying for a sort of hot Albertan sunset look. Or something. It's interesting, anyway.
The buffalo in the picture are actually from a display at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump museum just west of Lethbridge, AB. The museum was built on the site of an actual buffalo jump and is beautiful architecturally, being built into the ground, minimizing its visual impact. I shot the trio from directly underneath as that was most interesting and dramatic angle.
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Thebuffalo jumpwas used for 5,500 years by theindigenous peoples of the plainsto killbuffaloby driving them off the 11m high cliff. Before the late introduction of horses, theBlackfootdrove the buffalo from a grazing area in thePorcupine Hillsabout 3 km west of the site to the "drive lanes", lined by hundreds ofcairns, by dressing up as coyotes and wolves. These specialized "buffalo runners" were young men trained in animal behavior to guide the buffalo into the drive lanes. Then, at full gallop, the buffalo would fall from the weight of the herd pressing behind them, breaking their legs and rendering them immobile. The cliff itself is about 300m long, and at its highest point drops 10m into the valley below.
The site was in use at least 6,000 years ago, and the bone deposits are 12m deep. After falling off the cliff, the buffalo carcasses were processed at a nearby camp. The camp at the foot of the cliffs provided the people with everything they needed to process a buffalo carcass, including fresh water. The majority of the buffalo carcass was used for a variety of purposes, from tools made from the bone, to the hide used to make dwellings and clothing. The importance of the site goes beyond just providing food and supplies. After a successful hunt, the wealth of food allowed the people to enjoy leisure time and pursue artistic and spiritual interests. This increased the cultural complexity of the society.
In Blackfoot, the name for the site is Estipah-skikikini-kots. According to legend, a young Blackfoot wanted to watch the buffalo plunge off the cliff from below, but was buried underneath the falling buffalo. He was later found dead under the pile of carcasses, where he had his head smashed in. (source: Wikipedia)
Following in line of fictional jabot-themed pin-up models, Pearl is actually the first only one to have her namesake (i.e. pearls) on her jabot (she's also the first only one that's nude).
As mentioned in my previous post, I had actually planned to create a lerger series of paintings based on a trio of jabot pin-up models: Lacy, the brunette; Pearl, the blonde; and Scarlett, of course, a redhead...but that hasn't yet come to pass.
Long ago, I worked for a few years as a costumer in the opera department at Malabar in Toronto. It was interesting, learning about all the bits and pieces that make up a whole costume. One part in particular tickled my fancy because it was fancy and had a fancy name: the jabot. These were worn by fancy men around their necks in the 17th and 18th Centuries. They look like fancy dinner napkins.
Now, as we compiled the costumes for operas in other cities in Canada and the US, we naturally made an inventory list. These jabots came in various styles, but, each time I typed out my list, the item that tickled my fancy most was the "lacy jabot" because to me that sounded like it could be the name of a burlesque performer. So I did a pin-up (or three) based on this "jabot" motif.
That's Betty Page serving as my Lacy Jabot. Technically, she's not wearing a jabot that's lacy in this painting –or even in the other painting I did of this character, but I planned to paint more pin-ups to correct that. I painted Lacy here on the side of a World War II bomber because it seemed most appropriate despite the fact Betty herself was famous as a model in the '50s.
This is another of my mother's brothers –although, my aunt Magda claims it's Alekso, not Jovan. Confusing? Don't even get me started on the explanation of why the brothers have different last names...). They both live in Australia.
This is my uncle (my mom's brother), Alekso, who lives in Australia. Since childhood, I've been fascinated by the black and white photos of my uncles (and my dad) in military uniform...something about mandatory service in the Yugoslav army (I still haven't inquired too deeply about it).
I met him and the rest of my Australian family when I visited there with my sister in 1993. It was quite amazing to see so many familiar faces that I'd gotten to know through photos only.
Like in the two paintings of my dad (here and here), the red is acrylic, the rest is ink.
The Holiday 2012 issue of Grapevine magazine is now out and has a nice article about me and my artwork, and mentions Krista and Small Pond Arts as well.
Marnie Woodrow visited Small Pond back in the summer to interview me as I toured her around the grounds and showed her my paintings and Krista's puppets. Some time later, Steven Elphick came by for a photo shoot which was just as fun, even though he was forced to take pictures of my big weird head.
The article and photos came out very well and I'm happy to be featured in such a publication.
These cows are the only ink-on-paper part of my otherwise-painted-in-oils-on-canvas Meat Matters series from last decade.
The cows here are seen wandering around Toronto's famous Kensington Market. I have fond childhood memories of going to the market with my parents and at least one time when my American cousins visited. Decades later (and now, nearly a decade ago), Krista and I would have our first kiss about a block away from the location above.