04 August 2019

County Coyote: Explorers

County Coyote: Explorers
20" x 30", oil on wood panel, 2019

I always enjoy participating in the shows put on by Peter and Alice Mennacher at their Blizzmax Gallery in South Bay, here in Prince Edward County, and when I got the invitation for this year's County Coyote group show I quickly began brainstorming ideas.

The main concept is that participating artists take Peter's drawing of a coyote and do whatever we wish with it. I decided to take the plentiful coyotes out of PEC and sent them out into the final frontier, exploring strange new worlds.

The main background of mountains and a ringed gas giant in the sky was borrowed from a Robert McCall painting, the rocket is based on Hergé's design from his Tintin comics, and the hoodoos are based on photos I took in Alberta more than a decade ago (I was going for a sort of Roger Dean-inspired landscape, and the surreal (and unlikely) tripled hoodoos lend themselves to this notion). Naturally, these canines would build doghouse-shaped structures for their outposts. The simple, bubble-shaped space helmets further contribute to a 1950s retro sci-fi feel.

Coyote by Peter Mennacher

I wanted to keep as much of Peter's coyote as possible, so they remained white in my painting, perhaps as a sort of genetic modification to aid in space exploration. After all, they have space helmets but no space suits, so it could be a pressure-based technology, perhaps, like a hydrophobic coating that they're dunked in or is sprayed on. Or maybe it's like the original Star Trek and how the warp drive and the transporter work isn't important, but what happens because of them is what counts, story-wise.

Show Poster

A lot of great local artists participated in this show and it was great to see a few faces I hadn't seen in years at the opening. See the show if you're around. SEE IT!


03 August 2019

The Clarity of Empty Vessels, Phase 1

CEV Phase 1 A
14" x 11", oil on canvas, 2019

In the winter of 2017-18 I kept seeing the first painting in this "full-bodied" group of paintings I did in 2010 and, because I really liked how the glass was rendered, with all the distortions and reflections, I came up with an idea for a larger group of paintings that would feature clear glassware as the main subject.

CEV Phase 1 B
20" x 10", oil on canvas, 2019

I felt painting those distortions and reflections convincingly would be a fun challenge, so I collected a few interesting glass items and photographed them in various lighting conditions, emphasizing the fact that they were all empty (more on that later).

CEV Phase 1 C
20" x 10", oil on canvas, 2019

This group was shot at night with extreme lighting mainly coming from above, with additional light sources causing many of those highlights and interesting reflections. 

CEV Phase 1 D
20" x 10", oil on canvas, 2019

I also got to thinking philosophically about a specific area of human nature, and this series became, coincidentally, a literalization of that idea, which I will elaborate on in Part 2.