Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Yesterday had a very important but straightforward night of progression in the current commission I am working on: the underpainting! I relaxed and enjoyed painting this while hanging with my studiomates.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Saturday Drawing at Kits Beach (ie heaven on the weekend??)

Today in Vancouver was so wonderfully beautifully amazingly gorgeous that I felt I would be a fool to be working in my studio rather than outdoors. Equipped with a fresh 2' x 2' canvas courtesy of Jono Echols, I grabbed all of my drawing pens and paints (just a portable watercolour...) and went to Kits beach. Spending the day drawing in the sun, and talking to passerby about my work...was wonderful.

Hockey Equipment Progress

I have penciled in the underdrawing for the three commissioned pieces I have been working on. Imagery here, I'm excited to work the underpainting tomorrow or Monday. I'm excited to be working on the three pieces as a whole, meaning I will be progressing the same stages on each of the three, not completing one piece then moving on to the other. This is to create a unified set.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

New Commission

I am working on a new commission. It consists of three paintings created as a series. The pieces are for a hockey player who requested representational paintings of his hockey equipment - glove, skate and stick.

I prepared a photoshoot to create the source imagery, the chosen images are below. I am looking forward to working with a nice orange-blue colour palette to bring out a lot of the subtleties in the greys and blacks of the equipment.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


I started a new piece today. It expands on the techniques I'm working with, combining light applications of acrylic via palette knives, and drawing on top with various weights of ink pens. I'm happy as these works are receiving a good amount of positive feedback - this piece sold before I had finished it!

Friday, 19 August 2011

A Happy Blend of Paint and Ink!

I've been wanting to combine drawing into my paintings more. I recently started an experimental piece that I built on today. I'm happy with how it is coming along. It has a nice "pop" to it, working with heavy black outlines of various line weight. Too bad the foam core/paint surface did something to my brand new pen and now it wont work!
To keep myself perky with my oil painting, however, I made this piece below. It's a close up of a honey dew melon, yet it looks somewhat suggestive - one observer called it "sphincter-like". I don't deny it.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

If I Were A Lobster, I'd Do A Self Portrait

Today at the Studio I continued work on two pieces I had previously begun. Things are getting exciting, I'm feeling like I'm making some good leaps in my artistic development. This is because I took almost three years off from art making to go to Web Design school and work in Toronto as a designer. It wasn't until that time had passed that I realized that my artistic skills were slipping away and I had to revive them - this is when and why I quit my job in Toronto and moved to Vancouver, where I would have time to practice my art again. I'm now happily knees deep in a wonderfully vibrant art community which continues to expand! Thanks guys :) lots of love!

I worked on this new claw painting for a bit tonight. I like that I'm loosening up, and here I put the claw in a setting/context. The mixing table behind is reminiscent of my love of electronics in art. I may spend a little more time tightening up bits of this piece tomorrow before callling it finished - I like having parts of the under painting showing through. This was an important moment.

I've developed my larger lobster shell canvas some more. I'm starting to like how it is shaping up, although I want to tighten it up with more details still. I would like to have a little more of the underpainting showing through, but I will maintain that mindset for my next work. Regardless this guy is coming together both as a work and as a teaching tool/learning process.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Surface Experimentation and Texture Supreme!

This weekend in the studio was quite explorative and productive. I worked on pieces previously begun, and started some new ones. Lots of experimentation going on. I worked on these Friday and Saturday, and took Sunday off to paint my apartment.  As per usual the iphone photos aren't exactly the best for colour representation, but at least it allows me to show you constant progress!!

I'm excited for this piece. It's a larger canvas, several feet high and about 2.5 feet wide. I've built up some nice washes and a fun colour palette over top of the tape and I really enjoy how it is looking. 

This is a canvas of about 2x2 feet. Here I've drawn the shape of a lobster over top of the background, which was painted with a lot of washes.
This is the same work, with some more paint coverage. It's more developed than this now, and I will be posting the more up to date version shortly! I am enjoying the looseness of the paint coverage, but feel that I may be focusing too much on making it a "painting" and less of a mixed media, experimental work. Sometimes I fear making my paintings look too "complete"; I take a lot of inspiration from really excellent artists in Vancouver and I am still looking to find the best balance of "purposefully incompleteness" for my work. I also enjoy combining technique and styles, so the less polished as a mere "oil painting", [perhaps] the better.
I really like what's happening with this little guy. He's only 12x12 inches, but the surface texture and background washes are working very well. I'm almost afraid to paint something on top of it!! The connection between this one and the larger canvas at the beginning of today's post are nice as I'm starting to feel some consistency amongst the work :)
This is an experimental work of acrylic paint and sharpie on foamcore. The effects are really exciting, I enjoy them a lot! It's incomplete, and I believe I will add more of the lobster drawing to this piece and likely take some inspiration from it for some newer works!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

An Animation I Did a Few Months Back

I realized that I haven't really publicized my more recent animation a lot. I did it months ago, and slipped it onto YouTube after creating it. It was a piece I made for a radio contest here to create a 30-second TV spot for the station. It didn't win, but I had a blast hand drawing all the bits and animating it and putting it to sound and music. The screen shot below will link to the video on YouTube. In the coming future I'd like to get a higher quality version of it up :)

Possible inspiration for future animated work.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Experiments With Digital Collage

I always insist on making something that has at least ONE handmade component, even when the approach is digital. When I designed the website, for example, one of the mandatories was a handdrawn approach to the digital design.

Yesterday I sketched a green pepper with the intention of creating a collage sketch for use on a larger work. Turns out I rather enjoy the digital illustration in itself!

Here are steps involved in creating it:

I photographed this pepper at home the night before, right before bed. I tore it open for a quick snack and HAD to draw it.

I did a pen sketch of the pepper on paper, which I then scanned. I converted the scanned drawing into Black and White, and began collaging digital elements in Photoshop.

The finished sketch has elements of the handdrawn, and is overlaid with visual collage components that I find interesting (newspapers, electronic maps, etc).

Monday, 8 August 2011

Textures, GIF Colour Palettes and LOVE

My adventures in the studio yesterday consisted of working on an existing painting and experimenting with surface textures for some future pieces. I also discovered something today that I like while saving these images to place on this blog.

Here is the current state of my latest lobster painting. The details aren't there yet so it looks a little flat, but I've here blocked in the shadows and darks. Once those have depth with more colours I'll start on the highlights.

This is a larger canvas that I've been playing with casually. It's in early stages, of course. I'm not totally sure where it is going at this point. I'm just having fun with experimentation in between other works.

I've been playing with surface texture a bit recently. Here I've wrapped a canvas with tape and then primed over it. I've also used oil-based painting mediums to achieve a barnacle-like texture which I think will work very well for lobster paintings. This may lead to a large, very close up painting of a lobster shell - I'm going to do some photography with my lobster shells and try some Photoshop compositions to see how this could work out.

These two screen shots are the GIF colour palettes from two of the images above. I am intrigued by the really interesting colours that the computer presents. It is neat to see how the images are broken down into flat colours. In some way I would like to use this breaking-down-of-colours to my artistic advantage :)

Saturday, 6 August 2011

A New Series Idea..

I've been thinking for a while about the idea of painting portraits and crossing out the eyes with a big, single stroke of white paint and writing with big, magenta letters "FPO" - to disguise the complete identity of the person.

In advertising, FPO stands for "For Placement Only", and refers to something that holds the place of an image, or text, until the final components are decided. I feel this is an interesting means to consider people in society in a world so driven by the imagery of ads around us.

The sketch below is based off older works I've done, and simply worked up these mock-ups in photoshop. I wanted to see what the effect could be like. This is a project I may approach in the coming months.

Friday, 5 August 2011

New Lobster Paintings and Studies

This evening in the studio was all about a focus on the claw and knuckle components of my latest "shipment" of lobster carcass parts.
I did a bit of charcoal drawing to get warmed up then worked away on two different pieces. 

I did a couple of larger charcoal studies to get myself warmed up and familiar with the pieces of lobster I brought with me to the studio this evening. This is the better of the two drawings I made. Music while working = Joel Plaskett Emergency.
This is a new 12" x 12" canvas piece I started tonight. I had previously prepared the surface - it is a nice deep canvas, with duct tape wrapped around it. I then gessoed over the entire surface, and here you can note the shapes created by a few pieces of overlapping duct tape. I really dig the effect. Music here = Pat LePoidevin

This is a piece I started yesterday. It didn't get a lot of attention today. I like the look of it, it's painted on cardboard which is a cool throwback to some of my cardboard portraits from a few years ago. Music = can't remember. 

This is the same canvas from earlier, with some more progress made. The underpainting is done with acrylic. You can make out the duct tape lines a bit more with some paint on them. I'm happy with how this piece is coming. The colours, due to my iPhone photo, are off. It's not THAT yellow :)  Music while working = CBC Radio 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My Latest Upcoming Exhibition (Huge Group Show, But..Whatever Still a Show :)

The AWOL Gallery in Toronto displays tons of 12" x 12" pieces each year as part of their Square Foot Show. This is my second time participating. I've posted the poster here - I have three avocado paintings on display this year. This is my second year participating.

New Show I'm Stoked For

Nikol Haskova has a show starting at Ian Tan this Saturday. Ian Tan is a great space, not overly pretentious and comfortable. I've posted some pics below of works that particularly inspire me - the negative space around the crows is really great, so is the piece with the addition of found objects. This is definately going to have an impact on my upcoming work with lobsters.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

New Exhibition On Display!

My new exhibition, at the NAC (Niagara Artists Centre) in St. Catharines, Ontario is officially up. The reception for the show is set for September 10.

This piece, titled DRIP is a looped animation displayed on two monitors. The animations are timed to interact with each other - the dripping water from the top monitor falls into the bottom screen. Each animation is done with a different method of animation for visual interest. The top screen is composed of roughly 25 pen and watercolour cut outs of water droplets, filmed one at a time, on top of an ink and charcoal drawing of a faucet.

The bottom animation of the jar is a graphite drawing which i erased, and redrew, depending on the placement of the falling droplet of water.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Some Lobster Studies

I'm currently working with a number of the lobster carcasses I recently picked up from the Granville Island Keg here in Vancouver. Here are a few crummy-quality camera-phone images of recent sketches for upcoming works. :)

My works focus around the theme of "consumption"...

...I feel that the way lobsters are torn apart and shredded by hungry restaurant-goers is an interesting metaphor for how we as people function as consumers in society...

...the interesting textures and shapes of these lobsters are only revealed because the restaurant-goers are providing these shells to me after their meals...

...they become an anonymous component in my artmaking process....

...i mediate a new use of these pieces of 'trash' and create work that i feel is unique...

...and i do, for the record, enjoy eating lobster.