The artist and her little sister Reyah were on my studio floor one afternoon with Aniyah doing some drawings of a few of my paintings. These young ladies are so bright and beautiful, with three year old Reyah right off the cuteness chart. The girls are two of Rose's five grand kids who together with their parents visited for a few days from Victoria this summer. The painting of them is a surprise for Grannie Rose's birthday (today).
I've been studying some DVDs by Quang Hothat I bought months ago, and am trying to incorporate as much as I can of what he teaches. He emphasizes the need for accuracy in the drawing to have any chance of creating a solid painting. His instruction is articulate and insightful as he finishes a couple of paintings in real time. I was able to take away some valuable information and ideas, and just watching him mix colour and apply paint is worth the price of admission. Check out his outstanding work.
I was watching TV one evening and a documentary dealing with city something is on, and I feel drawn to the images rushing by. So I hit pause on the PVR (best invention having to do with TV so far), run down grab my camera, hit rewind, then start, and begin snapping pics. After sifting through about twenty photos, which were somewhat blurry, I crop this and think bingo. It kind of forced me to be looser, nowhere near what I was hoping for, but a reasonably good start and a mindset to build on. Is it okay to paint from photos taken from movies/TV I wonder? I get so much inspiration from video and would like to do more.
Here is a portrait of my good friend Ken as he looks on one of those milestone birthdays. He is a much more jovial person than he appears here, but it is one of those smelly birthdays that nobody looks forward to. He can now visit the zoo very reasonably...same ticket price as the pre-schoolers. Happy Birthday son...hope you enjoy the painting.
This is from a photo I took late one afternoon in Rome. I loved the shadows and the interesting group waiting for the next bus to come along. The orange/red headed woman was not too impressed with me snapping a photo, but I'm glad I caught her with that beautiful coloured hair. I wasn't focusing on her at the time, but she definitely became the figure of interest as I cropped the image.
A portrait of my youngest (by 10 minutes) daughter Jessica done in ACEO size. I was inspired by some neat shadows on her face as she sat in front of a large window last weekend. Because of it's very small size, I tried painting entirely with a #2 round brush which I had only very recently used on another piece. I've only used flats in the past, and this seemed to work fine.
This was a welcome breather from a large canvas (72" x 48") that I've been working on for the last few weeks. Hopefully I'll finish and post it soon. Sometimes it is good to just step back and work on something else for awhile, so that fresh eyes can appraise and decide changes to help make a piece work. I finally finished Rose's painting...Free The Spirit, (and framed it), which features a flock of pelicans taking off. I've uploaded an updated photograph on that previous post.
Painted from a photo I took in Rome, this is one of those love/hate challenges in that there is SO much information, that initially you want to simplify, but get caught up in all the delicious little details. I really enjoyed fiddling with this, in spite of the fact that I had an entirely different vision at the start of the piece. I just felt it needed details to end up with something that I would be happy with. It definitely was a lot of work, with a couple of lessons learned.
I photographed this group just a few hundred feet away from the gelato stand in the previous painting.. Some of my best reference photos are of ordinary people just going about their day, especially when something like a beautiful park bench or brick wall is part of the composition. That is what I love about Europe, old world everything, with a relaxed pace in most parts of where we visited in Italy.
Gelato is a part of everyday life in Italy, and it is so good. This young couple were trying to decide on which of the many flavors that lay before them in this Venice plaza. Usually gelato is found in small street side stores where it is made on the premises. The green one on the left was most likely pistachio...now that totally worked for me.
Walking in the light rain is what we did a fair bit of while visiting Venice, but it didn't seem to matter much. The atmosphere and vitality of the area kept our spirits and sense of adventure very high. We had just come back from Murano where we had visited several glass blowing shops with their adjoining stores. Wow what incredible artisans they have there. One of my favorite pieces was a roughly two foot sculpture of the main figure in "The Scream". You can see all the Murano glass on display in the background.
I loved the opportunities to take candid photographs of people just going about their business. With thousands of tourists visiting Venice every day, there were no shortage of subjects.
This is my first of hopefully many paintings from a trip we recently took to Italy. What a beautiful country with so many inspiring places. I now recognize some of the subject matter for a number of artists whose work I admire. When traveling there, bring your best camera with plenty of memory cards and fill your boots. Sadly I only took about 900 photos. Sounds like a lot, but I wish I'd taken 2000 or more. Just didn't always have the opportunity with all the tours we took etc. Nonetheless, it was a great time and we will go back sometime.
I've always loved pelicans, especially when they are air born, and decided to do this piece for Rose. (It's her birthday). This is a painting she plans to hang in her office at work, where "Free the spirit" is their motto. What could be more uplifting than these majestic birds taking flight in unison.
Finally finished a painting... a commission piece which was a real challenge in that the reference photo was an old black and white with limited background information. All in all I enjoyed the whole process in spite of the numerous changes and redos. I know struggling can sometimes be a blessing in disguise, in that you are forced to think, and experiment more than what lies in the old comfort zone. When I originally saw the photo of this well dressed young man striding confidently down the avenue, I was inspired. His look just made me think style and GQ.
oil on board 12" x 18"
This painting is for my daughter's June social, and will hopefully raise a few dollars for their upcoming wedding in October. Tickets are sold at these events for various prizes, and the night itself is usually a lot of fun. I love paintings of fish, and they're a lot of fun to do, especially Koi with their vibrant colours and interesting shapes. Melissa and Tom got engaged last August on an island while camping and fishing, so there is a little bit of a connection with the subject matter here.
I was very interested to see that Terry Miura had created a challenge, and very motivated to participate upon seeing the reference photo. Terry is a wonderful artist who generously provides extremely helpful tips on his Studio Notes blog. He asked that we simplify as much as possible, which we all know is easier said than done. He makes it look so effortless.
Nathan is my friend Bubba Tays' nephew. We went to watch him play in the 17 and under tourney last year where as a 15 year old, he was definitely one of Atlantic Canada's best players as they got slaughtered by the powerful US team. Here he is trying to evade one their players (Seth Jones). I took about a hundred photos and found about two that were paintable. This is pretty loose for me, and I really enjoyed the way it went down. If you are a hockey fan, watch for this kid. He will make it to the NHL, and with any luck, we may see him playing with the Jets.
oil on board 10" x 8"
I finally tried one ofLee Brown's wonderful challenge photos thanks to a prompt from Dana Cooper. This was a fellow reading in front of Grand Central Station in NYC. One of these days I'd love to visit New York. oil on canvas board 10' X 8"
On a rainy afternoon at the Helper, Utah workshop, under Doug Braithwaite's suggestion, we all set up in the studio area to create and paint our own still lifes. There were all sorts of props and stimulating articles to choose from, and I decided on this longhorn skull which I attached to a dressmaker's mannequin. Don't ask me why. The dramatic lighting was very interesting and we all soon got busy on our own projects. Of course the time flew by, and I never did finish the piece until last night. I've looked at this painting for several months and really couldn't decide what to do with it. Sometimes you just have to wait, or talk to someone like Dominique Eichi to get the ideas flowing again. Thanks Dominique. Because I didn't photograph the setup at the time, it was from memory that I completed this piece. I must admit, that I was struck by some of the colour/shadow nuances that we don't pick up on when painting from photos. Even the photo I took of the finished painting does not reflect these.
Note to self...DO MORE PAINTINGS FROM LIFE!!! Another note to self...DO MORE PAINTINGS!!!
"Ninety percent of life is just showing up." Woody Allen"
Finally finished this commission piece after starting it sometime in November, (feels like June...ha). The reference photo taken by the soon to be recipient, was shot during the afternoon on a cloudy day. I cropped the photo, and then found the low light somewhat uninspiring, so in the interest of driving myself crazy, the lighting was changed to evening. Not the easiest task to invent light and shadows, at least for me, but what the heck, whatever it takes to try and create something pleasing to the eye. It was mucho frustrating and then a lot of fun at the same time. I am happy with the result, and I truly hope that Mrs. E. is as well. oil on canvas 36" x 24"
Yes I'm still alive, just not communicating...not intentionally, but business travels, summer and a deep painting/blog/facebook rut are the reasons. Hopefully I'm back with this latest offering which I started a couple of months ago. I'm happy that I left it for awhile, in that some improvements were made such as punching up some dead areas with floating leaves adding a little colour and interest. This canvas is going up in our home with the koi piece on my blog header going to live at my daughter Melissa's house. I'm only about a year and a half late on delivering her birthday present. She has always loved that painting so what else was I to do? I'm still tinkering with this piece, but I don't suspect any major changes to it. I just wanted to post something...anything! oil on canvas 72" x 36"
I would like to thank Adebanjifor his generous permission to reference an amazing photo that he took of his friend and mentor, English artist extraordinaire Peter Brown. You can see the photo on Adebanji's blog. I was not familiar with Mr. Brown's work until reading about him in Adebanji's blog, and now I find myself studying and admiring his amazing paintings. The beautiful clean strokes are nothing short of genius in their precision, economy and brilliant colour. What can I say...huge new fan here. So here he is doing what he makes look so effortless. We can only wish. oil on board 12" x 9"
My good friend Don's father passed on May 9th, and as a memory for his beloved wife, I wanted to paint his portrait. He was a very interesting, warm and caring man, so it was a pleasure for me to try and capture his spirit for this wonderful lady . oil on board 12" x 16"
I've been wanting to paint this guy for quite awhile, and decided to include him in Edward Burton's moleskin as my final painting for the project...sniff! It sure was a lot of fun, and produced some great art from some wonderful artists. I photographed him about three years ago in Vancouver as he played inside the Granville Island market. He was a most interesting looking, and talented musician as he played on his metal resonator guitar, and graciously allowed me to take his picture. oil on paper 8" x 12"
What a great way to spend a quiet Sunday...PAINTING...something I haven't being doing much of lately. This is for Sheila Tajima, for her moleskin book. She requested everyone paint something that they love. Well I love, love, love figure paintings and of course trying to paint them myself. I wasn't sure what to do for her at first, then found this cool photo that I took of a group of Japanese tourists. Thought Sheila might get a kick out this. oil on paper 7 1/2" x 7 1/2"
These oranges are the result of a challenge posted by that very skilled artist Carol Marine. The goal was to paint eight little studies using only ten minutes for each piece. I was hoping the results would be a lot looser, but you can't change the stripes on the old zebra over night. This was a great exercise, and I hope I learned something from it. Well I know I didn't have enough paint mixed, and did not have the paint thinned to flow more easily...two important factors I believe. That's what you get for not painting for over a month.
This painting is for my daughter Jessica, and was promised for last year...ish, so I am thrilled that it is now completed. We'll see if she checks out my blog and realizes that it's finally done. Now she can feel like she's living at an aquarium as it hangs in her living room...ha!
Inspiration for the painting was from a photo taken by a brilliant photographer named Randy Olson, for his piece in National Geographic Magazine entitled Kamchatka Salmon. I've made a few minor changes, and will not sell or reproduce this painting. Fingers crossed that he's okay with this.
Because of it's larger size, I wasn't sure how I was going to tackle this piece, and as it progressed, it became more and more detailed. I liked the contrast of somewhat tight and then more loosely painted fish.
I finally got a bit of time to finish Dana Cooper'smoleskin painting. It's Remembrance Day in Canada, and here in Manitoba it's a day off which I am very thankful for, in that we have time to reflect upon, and remember our soldiers who have, and so bravely now serve our country. Dana's son as I recall is in their armed forces, so I did think about her and her family's contribution as I worked on this piece. The freedom to enjoy a beautiful, peaceful summer afternoon is one of the things our countries have always fought for, so it is my honor to try and depict this privilege which we enjoy on this amazing continent. To all of our servicemen and women, thank you. oil on paper 16" x 5 1/2"
My contribution toDominique Eichi'smoleskin book was a lot of fun to do, even though it's late. Thanks again for organizing the whole moleskin project Dominique, I've really enjoyed the art being produced, and the friendships we have strengthened. oil on paper 11 1/2" x 8"
This was the landscape that I was supposed to be painting instead of a dusty old Corona bottle. What WAS I thinking? In her moleskin, I wanted to surprise Michelle Burnettby doing a portrait of one of her painting buddies, Tracy, and feature some of the beautiful country around Helper, Utah. What a coincidence to be attending a workshop with Michelle's lovely friend, who was a lot of fun to be around. The world can be such a small place. oil on paper 16" x 5"
I have been missing painting lately, and was finally able to do this plein air piece close by my house...hence the very clever title...ha! Yesterday must have been a hundred degrees here, (thirty five Celsius)...even us metric guys go Fahrenheit when it's that hot. The Red River is quite muddy, but has some interesting colour in the bright sunshine, and I just wanted to paint something, even though it was baking out there. So here it is, my first plein air back home. Kinda felt like Utah with the sun and heat. oil on board 10" x 8"
The Flying Moleskins has been a lot of fun to say the least, and I particularly enjoyed finishing this piece for my blog buddy Camille Olsen. It was almost done about four weeks ago, but lacked some finishing touches that eluded me until last night. I've been away, and busy lately, not having any time to paint, so completing this felt great. I punched up the darks in the gal up front effectively bringing her forward and increasing her importance in the painting. (She kinda looks like Rose). Then I tried to create more interest in the shadows in front of her. I took this photo in Germany last May, and included a streetscape in Camille's book on her request. oil on paper 10" x 8"
This was my first attempt at plein air painting, but ninety percent of it was completed in my studio. Using a technique I'd never tried prior to this, I floundered and made some huge drawing errors which I was able to correct at home using a reference photo. The whole experience was quite overwhelming, but a lot of fun nonetheless. I found it interesting how so much information was lost in a photo, and ended up having to wing it. For example, the shaded areas were very flat with little or no value and colour information, but fortunately I had some value clues even though the underpainting was weak. Not all is lost if even a small part of the painting is done from life. In finishing this piece at home, it became a lot more detailed than I originally had intended. oil on board 10" x 8"