Showing posts from February, 2013

The Fiercest Calm

30" x 36", oil on canvas, 2013

The painting's title is lifted from a line in the song Concertina by Tori Amos:

A chill that bends*
I swear you're the fiercest calm I've been in

but the content is inspired by my own experience with fierce calmness and is probably my most metaphorical and personal painting.

Here is a somewhat relevant blog post by Krista dealing with The Dark Night of the Soul.

I'm using the same photo reference of Kim here that I used for Without List 2, but this time it's used better, and not just because it's bigger and I've now got a better likeness of Kim; all of the additional elements make this a stronger painting.

Interesting aside: while putting together a music playlist to play as lobby music before and after screening Apocalypse Now at The Regent Theatre as part of the monthly Classics series that I program, I discovered I quite liked The Rolling Stones (after many years of being casually indiffere…

The Volley 9 Series (part 2)

above painting: private collection

above painting: private collection
above painting: private collection
each: 11" x 15", watercolour, 1999-2000
The final group of my Volley 9 series (described in more detail in Part 1) based on photos taken by my friend Stephen Fenech.

My favourite one here is the first one of the mother and child, but I quite like the one with the boy holding the lamb.

The Volley 9 Series (part 1)

above painting: private collection

each: 11" x 15", watercolour, 1999
My friend Stephen Fenech is an enthusiastic traveller (as of October 2012 he's been to 159 countries) and an excellent photographer, so –many years ago– I asked him if I could make paintings based on some of his photos. He agreed and I chose nine* of them. I imagine if I asked to paint some more –even now– he'd be okay with that.

That last one of the Indian woman holding her baby is my favourite.

*I don't remember why I chose only nine photos as reference since he had hundreds of gorgeous images to choose from...but the title "Volley 9" refers to Steve's passion for playing volleyball.

Anvil Monument

22" x 22", watercolour, 1999, private collection

Some time in the late spring or early summer of 1999 I got a call from a man identifying himself as "Rob Reiner" saying he was interested in having me do some artwork for his band's upcoming CD. It turned out it wasn't the "Rob" Reiner I was familiar with, but, in fact, "Robb" Reiner from the Toronto-based heavy metal band Anvil and the upcoming CD was their greatest hits package Anthology of Anvil. Now, I'm into all kinds of music –especially rock and pop– and have a knowledge or awareness of many bands whose music I don't personally own, even some obscure ones...but I had no idea who these guys were.

I can't remember how he said he found me or why he thought my art would suit a metal band's CD (this was when I was still only painting in watercolours), but I agreed to do the project (having done Squirm's Cold CD the year before) and met with them in their nearby pract…

Between Maybe and Maybe Not

36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2013

Revisiting my photo reference that I'd shot years –in this case, a decade– ago, I selected a few of Aisha that I'd never painted before and felt would perfectly suitable for use in my ongoing Tournament of Shadows series.

I knew from the start I'd be putting her against some kind of graphic background rather than an actual location, so I sketched up a few variations...

Her tattoo is of the alchemical symbol for "crucible."
Skull detail.
Developmental stages: Darks + outlines.
I usually work from dark to light, I decided to change it up a bit by outlining Aisha with olive green and heading straight for the background colours.
Satisfied with the four blues I next blocked in the shadows on Aisha with olive green.
Detail of head.
Shadows mostly blocked in.
Colours need blending and fixing.
Her head here is a different colour than the rest of her, but I tried correcting that with successive blending and wiping off …

Embroidering the Truth

Embroidering the Truth 30" x 36", oil on canvas, 2013, private collection
Tight pencils before Distillery addition –note the dangling hair.

Developmental stages: Blocking in shadows with olive green.
Hair and bricks and brown clouds.
I used brown acrylic to block in the clouds so that the eventual lighter oil colours would have more depth and be a little more interesting.

Using an orange ground creates difficulty for me when gauging colours because of the bright afterimage weirdness when my eyes go from area to area while painting, and also while stepping back, the adjacent orange makes it hard to tell if the painted colours look right.
Hair and bricks and skin and browner clouds.
I added a second coating of brown to the clouds for a richer darkness. The skin is starting to come together here, but I had to wait until it was completely dry before adding white highlights.

All painted with that #4 brush.
That's right: I used this one tiny little brush (not to scale, of cou…