I must admit that there is not much local news what really makes me wince, but this did:
Gallery Burns

This place was owned by a Dutch family, and supported a lot of local talent. To make it worse, their accountant had offices upstairs. At their age, they might not rebuild.

More Ashes
And More

Sick. That is a lot of good hard work up in smoke.



Three is all You Need.

I have worked out a system for using only 3 colours, because, as we all know, any colour can be mixed from those. The printing industry has been doing this for years. So my thing was to choose colours closest to the process colours of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow (CMYK). And of course, I don't/ won't use black, because it's yucky. Of course, CMYK is used for optical mixing, but....

So for me it is: Manganese Blue, Permanent Rose (Quinacridone Red), and Windsor Lemon. This is not Windsor & Newton's recommended 3 colour system, but what do they know? ;)

The Mang. Blue is actually a copper phthalocyanine pigment, because they discontinued the actual manganese-based pigment due to toxicity and cost. But it is pretty close. The yellow--I just special ordered 4 tubes from the friendly gals at Opus. Had to come all the way from the big warehouse in Old Blighty.

So here is the paintings I have done so far in this system. It's been super fun, and I often wonder why I don't paint exclusively this way.....

"Still Life with Orange and Spoon" This little gem was done back in '96. Still can't do that soft, gritty paint textures anymore. Something to do with brushes and canvas priming. I thought at the time that this one was just an experiment. But now it is a constant inspiration. Not for sale.

"Two Apples" Done late last year. Flirting with realism here. Dad has this piece now.

"Courier Bag" The faithful man-purse in which I pack groceries, tools, paintbox supplies, smoking equipment, clothes, papers, etc. every single day of my boring little life. Custom-ordered from Timbuk 2 in the three colours. It is also the national flag of Romania. Painted really fast, wet-into-wet.

"Island Wine" Has something of a Old-Masters feel (but not execution). This baby needs a big gilt frame and to be hung in an ornate, late Georgian drawing room in James Bay above an old oak sideboard with a pipe rack and a cut-glass carafe :)

"Taste of Asia" Thanks to friend Clau for the Dragon Fruit and pears, and to Anna for the avocados. A bit weak, this piece, but cheerful.

Been working hard today and grinding out to Romanian techno-pop:

"Alo... aalo...
Sunt eu, Picasso
Ti-am dat beep
Si sunt vonic
Dar sa stii, nu-ticer nimic

"Vrei sa pleci
dar nu ma, nu ma iei
nu ma, nu ma iei
nu ma, nu ma, nu ma ieie....."

(&c. With some footage of Bucharesti Otopeni airport.)

Time for bed.



It's a Signature Thing.

A lot of people ask me why I sign my canvasses "Nicholas".
  • According to my mom's old 1958 Webster dictionary, Colin is orig. dim. of Nicholas. Believe it.
  • "Colin Williams" is pretty generic-sounding. I mean, I could be called "Jones" or "Smith" or something....
  • "C. Williams" or "Colin W" looks dumb in paint.
  • CMD Williams is equally dumb. And I don't want to be one of those guys who you never know their actual first names: AY Jackson, JEH MacDonald, AJ Casson, JMW Turner. Can you imaging? "Yo CMD, 'sup?" Uh huh.
  • I am sure there are other Colin Williamses painting today, even in Victoria.
  • It sounds kinda Dutch, and I'm half Dutch (Frisian actually.)
  • I've been signing it that way for years.
So there.



I Love Flamenco!!!

Went on Saturday to a show of friend Tammy's flamenco school. WOW!!! I couldn't believe it. So, so beautiful, emotional, poetic.

Stunning production all around, and Tammy (yellow skirt) is certainly one of the more talented dancers there, IMO. Her transitions are very smooth, her gestures appropriately poetic and graceful--without being grotesque or overly exaggerated. Her timing is also flawless. And she dances with a huge grin on her face. You can see she is all into it, and totally lost in the creative act. Ole, Tammy, and Bravo!

I will be posting future show dates on here one I know about them. More than worth the price of admission. Treat yourself to some poetry in motion. I hear they will be dancing in Centential Square here in Victoria early July. Y'all stay tuned.

Thanks to Steve Switzer for the photos.

To see more go here and here.




Stevenson wins hands down. This is after 4 months. Talens is good, but pretty stiff, which is great for impasto, but hard to mix with the brush.

What Hangs Above My Toilet

"Oaks and Phlox" Oil on panel. 10 X 12" 95% En Plein Air. Yeah, baby. 3 colours only, although the drawing was done in Raw Umber.

I like to look at it when I am lounging in the tub ;). Now you know.

I'm gonna go out tonight and paint some more.



Rocks and Trees and Stuff

Well, I received this very touching email tonight from the wife of another carver I really like. They live "back home in the valley" although of course, Vic is my home now.

Sorry Susan, only members of Blogger can post comments. I set it up that way because I have had a few spam postings back with my old blog. Thanks so much for your email, though. Y'know, my priest (who is an artist too) maintains that art can have the same function as Mass; namely, to integrate the Divine, and make us mindful of that Divinity. (I might note that I am a Gnostic, not a Catholic.) So I am very honoured if my art does that for you. Bob probably finds this too, that the work can take over, the "zone" blocks out all else, and the artist forgets himself, becoming lost in the act of creation. That experience of hightened consciousness is communion with the Infinite, the Unknowable, the superpersonal Consciousness, which some people refer to as God. The artist is a priest, almost, in that sense.

I only wish I could get there more often. But the materiality, the forces of this world crowd in. Some artists use chemical methods to get there, but that to me is a dangerous and ineffective shortcut.

"Now we see through a glass, dimly, then we shall see face-to-face". Trying to keep the windows of the soul clean isn't easy. Holding down a high pressure job and living on the corners of two busy streets doesn't lend much tranquility. Creativity is a fragile thing. As per my last post--maybe the problem is that I need to bush-out for a few weeks. I get very little chance.

Speaking of the bush.....

"Broken Tree, Botany Bay" At the beginning of the West Coast Trail, a broken hemlock tree, right after the last and worse windstorm we had this winter. Emblematic, and somewhat autobiographical. This one started off as kinda "Group of 7", but a subsequent overpainting drybrushing added some nuances. Too much mauve, and kinda unfinished looking--which I like. It was a bit unfinished, I though, but then realised that further work would diminish it. The second painting I did last Oct., when I picked up the brush again.... This one is getting a frame real soon. Photos is a bit gritty. May scan it.

"Hemlock Island, Botany Bay" Just up the trail a few hundred feet. This one I DID beat to death. The rocks are way overworked. I donated it to the Auction at the LTBI's 2007 AGM & Conference in 108 Mile Ranch. It went for $150. Guess logbuilders don't like all that pink :)But it did go to a good home where it will be loved.

I have a hard time handling dark areas. 10 years ago, I never used values this strong. Drink hemlock, baby. Yo. But the composition is bang on.

"Tree Island, Hurricane Ridge" The best landscape I have done recently, by a street. Bad photo, though--this new camera! If you take the boat from Vickyville over Old Briney to Port Angeles WA in Never Never Land, the road starts climbing from the dock--all 33km of it. This is at the summit of the Ridge, which you have to walk up. You can see most of the sky in this photo, and some of the impasto--yeah, I love pink in my skies :)

Sold to Erik and Joan vonNiessen in Salmon Arm. Now I have another reason to visit them ;) I am chuffed to have this hung in their living room, feeding eyes and souls. I actually did paint this from a photo--long ways to drag the painting gear. The day was cloudy, and the glimmer of light was a late addition. This piece approaches the touch of the earlier stuff. Too happy with it. What did I do right??!!

Susan, thank you so much again for the kind words. Give my regards to Bob!

Coming up: "It's a signature thing".

Be Blessed, All,

Rudderless in a Sea of Paint

Worked myself into the ground tonight trying to finish a largish piece, but I am growing increasingly frustrated with all the overpainting and brush-cleaning for these uptight "easel paintings" I think I have to do. There may be a sea-change coming in my work (I hope).

I'm always really happy with the paintings I do from life, whether outside the studio, or in it. There is a freshness there and a pleasing simplicity that I find lacking in these paintings that take me hours and hours and are so carefully thought out.

Working from photos rarely produces something I am happy with, with perhaps the odd exception, like the two seascapes of my first post on here.

One coming post will be about my 3 colour system. This is something I have developed myself, although I got the idea from another artist (whose name I have long forgotten). Maybe I need the discipline of only three colours, and mixing everything--this would really train my eye. I have already limited my palette from the old days, and the 5-6 paintings I have done in 3 colours have all turned out pretty good. But maybe that is also because I have painted them from life as well.

I despair, and I need the oxygen of hope in my own work. I can't go back to the good old days when any time I touched the brush it was magic. There as a series of painting I did in the mid-nineties that have an unreproducible paint quality and overall delicacy and freshness (like "Big Sky--Duck Range"; subject for a coming post). I hope these days will come again, and that I will to continue to innovate....




Well, I am not really that happy with this Blogger template, even after my mods to it, but it will have to do for now. I am pretty tired still from yesterday, having ridden my bicycle 80 km in 2.5 hours in cold/ windy/ humid/ hilly conditions.

But I just recieved a freindly email from a sculptor/ carver I hugely like, and I had to let you know about his photos posted on my work website. I was looking at his photos again today, having just gotten the captions coded in. I'm the webmaster at my day job, too.

This man has an incredibly solid and at the same time playful sense of form. I LOVE his simplified volumes and general overall style. I get the same buzz looking at Russell's stuff as any of the great European masters (and like him a lot more than, say Moore or Arp).

Which reminds me--I still need to go finish looking at Rodin at the AGGV. I like Rodin (I guess, if I could actually pronounce his name).

Mr. Adolph is an artist I would like to actually have in my apartment. His small stone pieces are simply delightful.

Think I'm coming down with a cold.


I'm Back

Hi All, I'm back. I sure don't need to spend more time on this computer, but I do need to get my work out there and seen, and spread the art-love around a little better.

This blog will be focused only on my art, and the art I like. I am planning to give self-critiques of my work, and explanations of intention, and discuss my techniques. Comments and crits from other artist are welcome.

I am surfing a huge wave of creativity right now, for the first time since I started painting, and painting again after a dry spell of about 5 years. So this exciting, and I want to share it.

Of course, (almost) everything is for sale on here. If you really want a piece, email me. Special prices are available for family and friends. This isn't intended as personal creative narcissism, but rather a serious endeavour as a professional artist. I want to make good, lasting art that will actually be hung on walls--and hopefully in museums--to bring lasting enjoyment to people.

To start with here is some recent stuff:

"Lighthouse, Mayne Island" Oil on canvas. 14 X 18". There is a little bit of perspective distortion in this piece compared to the photo (which gives it a bit more drama--some great diagonals going on there), but the tonalities are bang on, and the colours a a bit revved up. The main thing in this one for me was achieving that intensity of blue without glazing--by painting over a cream ground. Duh. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Another thing that was a bit unusual for me was my treatment of the sky--I started off by rubbing pure Manganese Blue over the ground with a bit of medium, then slapped on the same colour in a strong tint over top. From now on, with the odd exception, all my paintings will be done on an off-white ground. Photo was taken from the Ferry to Vancouver.

"The Happy Isles" Oil on Canvas 14 X 18". Title is from an Arthur Lismer painting, and I liked it because it made me think of Psalm 65. I got some remarks from a friend in Romania that it is "not me" being a bit keyed down and not my usual coloured self. But the tones are spot-on, the composition unexpectedly structured and the paint quality fresh--therefore it pleases me. I did it in less than 1 hour, which is fast by my standards. Not a good photo. I will do an entry here sometime about tonalities and my struggles with that. Photo also shot from the ferry. (BC Ferries should buy my stuff! ;)

"Orange House, Fernwood" 10 X 12" Oil on panel. This is one of those delightful pieces that "just happen". I did the sketch outside, and then filled it in back in the studio. After studying the results, I realised that the composition was a lot more structured than I had realized--I didn't stop to analyze it at the time. The substrate was a bit too smooth but I am not displease with the brushwork. Has that "etude" feel. I enjoy the rhythm of diagonals and the tension across the center created by the verticals. the circular motion created by the different elements kinda locks the eye in. I am not letting this one go cheap.

More later--Lots more!