Friday, February 5, 2010

This is of a country road on North Pender Island.18X24.
Once again, it was late in the summer, late afternoon. The best light of the year.
My approach to this was more stylized brushwork. Making my brushstrokes a large feature of the piece.


  I knew I couldn't possibly compete with the light that was captured in the photograph I had taken:

In painting, simpler is almost always better.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010








One of my first figures. 
Not bad I suppose.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Like most that paint, I'm obsessed with light. How it affects colours. How it is colour. How do I recreate its beauty? How do I do it justice?  How do I make it better?
Dusk out here in late August and September lasts forever. The orangey, red and yellow is so strong and enveloping. You can even feel the colours as it hits you. In turn - with your face to the setting sun - you feel juxtaposition of coolness - purples and blues - send chills up and down where the light doesn't hit you.
It's this intensification of the light, of beauty, of opposing forces that really makes me feel alive.

I love late summer.

Another poor photo here.The black and white strips it to its essentials I think:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I spend the weekend in a cabin in the woods in the outskirts of  Courtenay.
It sounds more romantic than it actually was. The area couldn't decide if it was in town, farm country or pre-industrial park.

The cabin was an old converted barn in the back of badly remodeled  mid century house that doubled as a costume rental company. At night you could hear in the distance the sound of chainsaws, dogs barking and the low rumble of highway 19. The night I took these pictures, there were also the sounds of a house party somewhere beyond a meadow. I swear I picked up the sound of someone being sick.

At night it was impossibly dark and since it got dark at around 4:30, we would create our own entertainment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm not really proud of this piece.

Others have said that is has some redeeming qualities, but I don't see many. I was focusing way too much on detail that its soul had been squeezed out somewhere in the process. I should have been more bold and ignored the teeny tiny brush altogether. There was so much in the photo, I guess I wanted to include it all. It was back when deep down I thought I had some sort of moral imperative to duplicate everything that was before me. How wrong I was.
There is simply nothing that I find inspiring about this piece.

But still there is something I find amusing about it. The oddly shaped beemer, the graffiti, the fliers stuffed in the dirty windows.

Alright, I guess it's not that bad.


I was walking through Chinatown today with my 3 year old on my back and passed Dales Gallery on Fisgard. Even though I had promised Violet a hot chocolate - and there was no distracting her from that task - I felt compelled to go inside. The artist showing was Stephanie Harding . They were awe inspiring. The colours, the composition, her contemporary subjects. They really spoke to me. I told her that I could only dream to be as accomplished as her. She told me to give it time. Maybe, I thought to myself, but we both know it's not that simple.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My lovely wife.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Painting is very much experimental for me. I'm sure that any seasoned artist might look at some of my work and cringe. I don't pretend to of the same caliber as the pros in the world. But I have potential. My ultimate goal is to achieve a level of success to the point where others would have a desire to pay a monetary amount for my pieces.
It's not so much about the money itself. It would just be nice to know that a painting of mine stirred enough inside a perfect stranger that they would be willing to pay for it and put it up on their wall for an indefinite period. That would be the ultimate vote of confidence. The ultimate compliment.
The cash in my wallet would be nice too.

This painting is the biggest yet. 36" X 48" I think.

I generally find large canvassed intimidating, So finishing this one was an achievement. I hacked away at this one for six months or so. It took so long because it was during renos in my house at the time and there was nowhere I could comfortably work on such a big canvas. Eventually, I wiped off the dust and finished the damn thing.
There will a lots of firsts in the paintings I show on this blog. Another first for this was that it was my first flower.
Ive already established that I am not interested in the classic flower scene. Whatever that really means. There will always be something alternative and contemporary in my style.

I still haven't perfected the photographing thing. These pictures don't really do the paintings justice. In this one in particular, there's way too much glare. Some tweaking needed still.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Here's a self portrait of me in a bar in Seattle.

It's one of first figures I've ever done. I did it quite quickly. In less than a couple of hours.

I've been working on the best ways to lay out my canvas before painting, and I had a bit of a breakthrough with this one. For a year or so, I kept thinking I needed begin certain paintings with a pencil sketch. (Not for all subjects, just for ones I would find especially daunting.) But being that I'm the time to paint quite thick, I realized the pencil was too difficult to follow. And I found the whole process tedious and restrictive. It was taking away from some of the expression of the work. I instead painted a quick sketch with some burnt umber, and then coloured in with this one. It won't be the only method I will follow from now on, but it made me realize some things. The quicker you can get our work on canvas, the better it seems to come together. Once you have the proper construct of the painting, you can take you time on the colours and brush strokes. For me the best paintings are ones that you can interpret in a literal way, but you know that they are paintings.
What makes a good painting? This is a question I'm always asking myself.

This one is not the greatest little piece in the world. The brush strokes are messy, the shaded area aren't right. (Maybe I should have use some blue/ purple?) I could got on, but this one represents a breakthough for me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I painted this one recently. It's of a young arbutus tree on Saltspring Island.
It's looks nothing like the original. I had a lot of trouble with the luminosity of the original subject. So I had to improvise. The original subject looked quite different from what I painted. I suspect those not familiar with an arbutus tree may not know what to make of this painting. It certainly is one of the most alien like trees out there. I think it's the strangest looking in Canada - yet the most beautiful.
I initially tried to paint an impression of the shrubs and rock in the background, but all that did was take away from the tree. I knew I needed some colour, so I carefully through trial and error came up with this.

I'm currently experimenting with the most ideal way of photographing my paintings. I know the best light is natural light for this sort of thing. It's a dark and rainy this time of year, however. So I'm having to taking pictures in different rooms in different times of the day to figure out what are the most ideal conditions. Also, I don't want the camera lens to distort the image, so zoom level and position of the camera are considerations.
It's proving a bit more complicated that I thought it might.

Here's on I painted over a year ago. At the time I was quite proud of it. However even a year ago I was still very experimental in my style. (I still am.)
It was the first painting I did were I took conscious effort to translate the picture into a painting, rather than try and duplicate exactly what I looked like in real life. My first impressionist painting.
What I don't like are the colours and the composition. The colours are inaccurate, but that's not the problem - they're just not vibrant enough. I was too busy trying to focus on my paint strokes to focus enough attention on my palette.
The composition could have done with a bit of tweaking - and it would have gone a long way.

This painting is from Pacheedadt Beach, near the beginning of the West Coast Trail and Port Renfrew. A magical place. I try and camp there every year.

The painting now hangs over my fireplace. I must take it down replace it with something better.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day one.

I felt reborn since I started painting.
I may not be great yet, , but I am on my way. And it's too rewarding to stop.

Here's one I did about a year ago.

11x11, acrylic on canvas. I took a picture when I, my wife, Christine and Violet spent three weeks in London. 2 years ago. We tend to follow the unbeaten path when we travel. Walking as much as possible With spent a significant amount of our time in east London when we were there. I hate using the word "authentic", but there was nothing catering to the tourism trade in this area.
We found ourselves in this cafe just off Brick Lane. It was very dark, full of old, mismatched living room furniture haphazardly placed. There was a strange sense of order the chaos, however. It was the light that really got me. Where I stood, there was a haziness from the light that flooded through the warehouse windows in the distance.
That afternoon we walked all the way back to our flat near Kensington High St. It was a long, wonderful day.