Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My Process

I was recently asked by a friend to document my process step by step. I've done that here, with one of my most recent crow pieces. The last photo was taken with my iPhone and may not be exactly in line with the resolution of the others, but the point still gets across.

Step One: Image selection. I work from photographs often. Sometimes these are sourced images, sometimes they are ones I take myself. In any regard, I look for pictures that have a decent amount of detail of line to build off. Since I use the images as reference for basic line work only (other material processes take over later on...) I prefer ones that have a solid visual description of the form.

Step Two: Pencil. I translate the image onto a canvas. I usually work with a projector to get the proportions accurate, and to speed up the process. At this stage I'm blocking in major, important line divisions. Details don't get very tight here. I work with the projector as it allows me to see on-the-fly how the composition would look larger, and cropped in different ways, and how it would be combined with different visual elements. Working this way often results in unexpected, happy discoveries on the spot that end up becoming the final composition.

Step Three: Ink. I ink the major structure of the subject. At this stage, I'm still quite contained to the original form. I play with various line weights to give visual interest/dynamic feel to the piece. This stage is very meditative. I work from the original source imagery, although my natural/instinctive mark making plays a major roll in establishing lines. I often work very fluidly, without lifting my pen off the canvas for quite some time. This results in nice, spontaneous, free-flowing lines that look super cool. I always mix a variety of line style to keep the piece looking fresh and unboring.

Step Four: Paint, Part One.  After the ink work is done, and looks very tight and refined and cool, I determine a colour palette and start painting. The paint wash that is used as the base colour is defined out of the selected palette. For this piece I am working with a complimentary (blue-orange) palette and chose to use a nice blue as the base colour. I work with thinned down oils, for the interesting effects I can achieve with them (but can't get with acrylics). I wash very subtle colour variants into the canvas and let it run together. The paint is very thin so I can tilt the canvas and play around to get various effects using gravity and natural flow. Once I have covered a certain amount of the white (I like to let some poke through still) I use a rag to wipe away highlights and some areas in the background. It is important that I satisfy myself at every stage of the piece's creation, or else it will feel rushed or unsatisfying. I work with this tone/highlight stage until it reaches a point where it feels worked, but not overworked.

Step Four: Paint, Part Two and Drawing, Part Two. The final stages are to build the colour and brush work into the piece, and to integrate it into the drawing. I paint with a variety of brushes, to achieve a dynamic and varied composition. The brushwork is very loose, spontaneous, and must not be overworked. I allow natural effects of drips and blending to inform the piece, and I work with these as visually interesting components. Sometimes I splatter a bit of selective paint. This stage is completely unplanned and spontaneous. The only established component is the colour palette. There is something incredibly freeing about taking a carefully drawn work and splashing fat brush strokes all over in in a quick flurry.

The final stage is to integrate all of this together. This is the most meditative and immediate process, where I sit and stare and let the pen naturally flow into various brushstrokes. At this stage I call out certain aspects of the paint to make it appear more like a drawn/sculptural element. I often complete this stage in one sitting so that the integration happens methodically and consistently. I continue to draw into the painting until I hit that special moment when I know that it is at a perfect balance of being worked, and not overworked, spontaneous and controlled, and in a nice and aesthetic level of overall completion.

After all of this, I will allow the piece to dry then repaint the canvas edges a stark white, and apply a nice gloss varnish to resaturate all the colours that may have been dulled from the layering effects of ink and paint. I apply the old Jon Hancock, document with a high res photograph, and post online.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Cant Wait to do Some Figurative Again

I've been cranking out lots of animal studies recently. That is an ongoing body of work that I'm super stoked about, and I'm already planning some new larger scale, figurative work. I'd like to maintain the same style I've been developing whilst expanding on technique and integrating some new materials and methods as well (aerosol and/or stencils, plain black line on white BG with solid colour fields, etc).

I stumpled upon this image today (and the blog it came from) and it was like a sign for me :)  Can't wait to keep rolling forward...

photo/blog cred: http://carlsbadcrawl.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/wheat.jpg

Busy Week!

I have been producing a lot of drawings this week. I haven't documented them yet, it is a very big crunch time as my next show is starting in one week from today. Therefore, I will likely post a flurry of pen drawings all at once. I'm going a very systematic route this week on my last batch of paintings for that show, doing all the drawings as a set, then doing the painting across all five at once, then drawing over the paint. I've gotten a good handle of efficiency down for these pieces lately so this is working quite well so far!

This weekend will be busy!

I have one image that is half done that I have documented:

Friday, 25 November 2011

It's Almost Time!

For my show this weekend. Its a two day Christmas fair in Port Coquitlam, and I'll be representing with a table of my gear. It runs Saturday and Sunday, at Leigh Square in PoCo.

Here are some works I'm getting finalized before the show, I'm continuing to crank out medium sized canvas pieces and here is the current state of my collection of small, 6x6 inch sushi studies. These will be available to balance out the price points and make my work as accessible as possible.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Some New Work

Here are some piece updates. I got going on two new single - crow works (you'll note they are in the first stages of completion) and also progressed more on the larger, 5-crow piece. I'm excited to draw into all three of these tonight at the weekly drawing jam with my art buddies :)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Working on a Newer Piece

This new work is larger than a lot of the others - its 18" x 36", and the panoramic orientation is allowing me to explore a different approach to composition and placement of the birds. Because of this I am focusing more on the interactive qualities of the crows. This isn't present in my smaller studies, but moreso lately in the larger works, where I have the room to play around.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Some New Work

With two shows fast approaching, I'm producing 3-5 pieces a week. In addition to that I've started a series of small (6" x 6") sushi studies, something I've had in the back of my head for a while. They are great in loosening up my marks before working on the larger pieces. I toss a couple into each working session to spice things up.

Here are some pics of pieces in progress, and a snapshot of the sushi studies. My goal is to get to 30 of the sushi pieces before December 8 (opening day for One of a Kind Vancouver)

I'm quite happy with the brightness of these pieces. Overall my work is brightening up, getting more colour. I like that.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Two Recent Sales

This weekend two of my crow pieces sold, #5 and #8. The purchasers of #8 are allowing me to exhibit the work at my upcoming shows, which is very awesome of them. Crows #5 sold at the store that carries my work here, Bird on a Wire Creations (@ Main and Broadway).

Pics of the sold works:

Drawing and Beer

Spent the evening yesterday drawing into my paintings. This was, of course, done in conjunction with pints at a local licensed coffee shop.

Here's some progress on the two pieces I worked on. These are now 3/4 of the way finished (require the second layer of paint to make em pop) then they'll be done.

Colours are off, blame my mobile camera. You still get a decent sense of the line work though :)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Crows, Crows...and Sushi

I had a really good day at the studio today.

I worked on two newer crow pieces. Paint stages on three pieces complete and ready to be drawn on, tomorrow at the weekly drawing jam that me and friends partake in at a local (licensed) coffee shop.

I also decided I could continue to push my looseness in my mark making by making lots and lots of little studies. I picked up some small, 6" x 6" panels and start/finish a work within 30 minutes. Really loosens me up for larger pieces! This is also allowing me to play around with colour combinations, experimental marks, etc. On the wall in my studio i have a wish list of subject matter, and for quite a while I have wanted to do a large series of small sushi pieces. This seems like the perfect opportunity. Expect lots of these popping up in the next few weeks, leading into my two upcoming shows!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Whackloads of New Work

I've been putting in some decent time at the studio recently. Here are newly uploaded pieces that I just documented, put on my gallery site, and am in the process of varnishing/finalizing for some upcoming shows.

Crows 10 and 11...I think...

It's getting harder to keep track. Before my next show in two weeks, I'll have to make sure I have all the numbers correct!

Here's two pieces I started tonight. One of them got the drawing and painting treatment (first layers of each...my pieces usually get two stages of drawing, two stages of painting - in a staggered order - drawing, painting, drawing, painting.) The other one got a bunch of the first drawing stage done. I dont want to take it too far, as I like to have plenty of white space for the cool effects of the paint to show through.

There is a noticable looseness developing in my drawings. This is good. I believe this is due to three factors: The more drawing that occurs, the more likely it is for the drawing lines to become looser and freer. Second, I have started to integrate fatter markers into my roster of drawing materials. I always work with various weights of marker-pens, but this fat chisel helps with the expressive marks. Lastly, my brush work is always quite spontaneous and free, and it was only a matter of time before the drawing adapted this a bit more.

I'm quite happy with these drawings, and am very excited to paint on them (further).

PS coming tomorrow - all the work I did this weekend...it was a big one... (still processing all the documentation)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Working on Mixed Animal Pieces

Its really interesting to take two different creatures, that have wonderful visual characteristics, and mashing them together on the canvas. It is opening whole new possibilities and creations, and opportunities for spontaneous decisions in the art making process.

Not to mention hilarious names, such as my third hybrid piece (not posted yet) that combines hornets and octopus tentacles, tenatively titled the "Hornapus"

Thursday, 10 November 2011

New Work Uploaded

I have completed my rhinoceros painting, and uploaded it to my website. I love taking those nice, high res images of my work when it's all complete. So satisfying!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hybrid Animal Pieces

My fascination with the surface textures and other interesting components of the various animals I have been using as subject matter lately has led me to experimenting with the combination of different animals visually in the same piece. For now, they aren't necessarily overly integrated as hybrid animals, but I've focused more on an interesting visual blending of two (in the future I would like to expand on this).

This is an exciting twist on the work as of late as it opens up new visual possibilities and allows for interesting contrast of visual components. The crow, mixed with the crab claws and legs, for example, is fun. The soft feathers versus the hardened carapace reminds me of the messed up things us artists can do :)

The images below show further progress on my "Igroostadon" piece, and the first stages of the crow/crab ("Crooster" anyone?)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Lizards and Certain Natural Misfortunes

I'm interested in the varying surface textures of the animals that I have been creating art about recently. The leathery skin of a rhinoceros or an iguana, and the tough beaks of birds, and the layered feathers of crows. I enjoy capturing these likenesses while using the opportunity to explore artistic freedom of paint, line work, and the integration of the two.

I source endless images for my pieces. Tonight I started a new work that combines a rooster and an iguana. Its mostly a 'visual blend', not so much a hybrid creature, but the integration process was still incredibly fun.

It's always important to explore new things with one's work to keep it fresh and exciting. I am stoked about this new approach, as when it comes time to paint it I will have some interesting opportunities to combine and separate the two images through colour and brush mark-making.

Another in-progress iguana is below as well, the drawing into the paint marks on this one are quite exciting to me. I may not go too far on that for this particular piece, I like the minimal presence of just some integration between paint and line in the background. The directional flow is interesting.

Enjoy! More progress pics of the "Igroostadon" coming this week as it shapes up.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A Very Productive Weekend

A few good things happened this weekend. I worked live at Bird on a Wire (Main and Broadway in Vancouver) for 5 hours on Saturday. A bunch of people stopped, talked to me, inquired about my work, and signed up for various website communications. All in all, the promotional aspect of the day was exceptional. I'm incredibly stoked now for my next two shows, happening within the next 4 weeks.

I worked on several pieces that day, and today, at the studio. I've completed a couple of new works and while they haven't been final-documented yet, they are posted here (the eagle is almost done, and the Crow piece is finished). My iguana is well underway, and my rhinoceros piece got completed in the studio tonight as well (my camera battery died before I could document that one though!)

Here are some pictures of me working at the shop, and some artistic progress below.