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Showing posts from January, 2013

The 400 Blows

The Rolling Pin Variations acrylic on Bristol board, 17" x 14", 2008 all paintings are in various private collections The title of this blog post refers to Truffaut's classic film of the same name, ties in nicely with the content of this series, and is also a sly reference to the fact that this is my 400th post . In fact, these paintings were done in the summer of 2008, a few months after I started this blog. I wanted to try some "action-oriented" paintings and had my friend  Kimwun Perehinec come over for a photo shoot to swing around a rolling pin and other kitchen implements. These experimental works are part of my (sort of open-ended and ongoing) Kitchen Warfare series, of which these three watercolours are my favourites. I'd like to try these again one day using watercolour on Yupo (like the ones linked above) since I seem to better capture a sense of action and movement in that medium. This was also the fir

Cows (study)

10" x 16" (diptych), oil on canvas, 2006 This diptych was actually part of a four-painting panorama of five cows grazing. When I finished this and looked at it again after a few months I realized the two paintings on the ends weren't up to may standards, so I recycled them (but I don't remember which new paintings they became). I shot the reference for this years before I moved to Prince Edward County where I would photograph even more cows at John Nyman 's farm for my (much better)  Winter Cow 1 and Winter Cow 2 paintings and at Blaine Way 's farm for Winter Cows 3 .

Three Headlights

22" x 30", watercolour, 2006 This a (much) larger version of the bottom painting in an earlier post about my ink paintings of  Vespas . I like the room a larger painting area provides for really getting in there and working on details, especially enjoyable when working on intricate mechanical parts as in the front wheels and the headlights. It's also a lot of fun to paint reflections on shiny surfaces.  I photographed these Vespas in front of the scooter dealership on College Street in Little Italy near my old neighbourhood in Toronto. Older vehicles are more aesthetically pleasing to me compared to contemporary ones; hell, most modern technology just doesn't have the same kind of beautiful flair of mid-20th Century stuff.

Seized of the Matter

36" x 30", oil on canvas, 2013 This painting is part of my current series, Tournament of Shadows,  begun with  The Lady and the Lions  –and I'm about halfway done the next painting in the group,  Embroidering the Truth  (which makes three in a row that feature Ashley Winning). While I sometimes will post photos of my works in progress elsewhere and show images of a painting's progression on my blog here, they don't usually get their own post, but I did post an image of this painting at a stage where everything else was complete except for Carmen's (Ashley's) skin. The reason that WIP got its own post is because when I was playing around with it in Photoshop to post a sneaky preview on Facebook, the resulting juxtaposition of bull and dress re-contextualized my intent for the painting...and I really, really liked it.

Ashtray and Chair

30" x 36", oil on canvas, 2001 One day, years after I'd painted this, I thought I messed up the legs of the chair by somehow misaligning the front legs and even forgetting one of them. What I had forgotten in that moment was that the leg that you can see to the left of my name actually belongs to the table behind the chair; the chair itself is supported on a central metal post (visible to the right of my name) on a circular base (just outside the frame). Even after realizing this, it's a weird illusion and still looks like a mistake. My favourite part of this is the extreme highlight caused by sunlight coming in through the window and blowing out the couch and much of the furniture on the top half of the painting. The contrast of that and the deep black of the chair is kind of exciting. Here's a close up painting of that ashtray .


18" x 28" (diptych), oil on canvas, 2001, private collection I love the mirror-like reflections and distortions in polished stainless steel, chrome, whatever, and they're really fun to paint, whether in oils here or in watercolours in some of my paintings of classic cars . Of course, combining several objects with reflective surfaces and adding transparent glass to the mix makes it kind of tricky for me to keep track of everything while I'm painting, but the end result is worth the extra concentration required.

Two from the Staircase

Steps 40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2001, private collection The Top of the Stairs 40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2001, private collection My portable lamp couldn't light the stairs as well as the hallway, so I used a number of tea lights on the steps. Obviously, that's the same door in both paintings, and the bottom painting is the reverse angle of cinq photos . The wood grain turned out quite well, I think.

Two Doorways

30" x 40", oil on canvas, 2001 Another from my early Interiors series. Here, the lighting was provided by a small portable lamp and the photo taken with a long exposure; I wanted to get a nice hot spots and interesting shadows when shooting this house, so all my lighting was minimal. This painting shows the tops of the doorways seen in Stairway , is a slight leftward pan of the camera from cinq photos , and the left doorway leads into the bathroom seen in bougies et serviettes .

Seized of the Matter (WIP)

The oil on canvas painting's dimensions are 36" x 30, but this is a Photoshop composite of two separate areas of my current work in progress. This re-composition/re-juxtaposition inplies a different narrative from the actual painting –and I kind of like what it suggests; the rose in the bull's mouth is a peace offering to the toreador* (who is represented by the red fabric). The red fabric is actually part of Carmen's dress. For previous paintings I've done of Ashley Winning modelling for me as Carmen from Bizet's opera, click here , here , and here . *who, in this operatic context, would be Escamillo.

Two Corners

Doorway , 14" x 18", oil on canvas, 2001 Gong and Window , 14" x 18", oil on canvas, 2001 These two are from my Interiors series from 2001 when I took up painting in oils. These are based on photos I took of the house a couple of friends were living in at the time on Donlands Street in Toronto. For more in this series, stay tuned for the next few posts or click on the "interiors"  label at the bottom of this post.

Les oiseaux en plastique

20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009 It was this painting where I realized the active potential of painting on Yupo. What I initially feared would be a dark, jumbled mess turned out to breathe and vibrate in a way that has come to be one of my favourite ways to paint even though I rarely do so these days (the most recent being Tim's Home Run ). Photo reference from the internet.

Combine (x3)

above painting: private collection each 14" x 17", ink on paper, 2005 Later additions to go with two earlier paintings of combines (see them near the end of the post about my  Field to Canvas  reception), they feature my uncle, Alekso Murtanovski working the family farm in 2002 (the middle one is based on the same photo used for the watercolour in that link).