Upcoming Shows

People, I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have upcoming shows in great venues:

I am absolutely stoked to be a part of the Collective Works Artists' Association, the not-for-profit group I have recently joined in Fernwood (my neighbourhood of Greater Victoria).

Collective Works Gallery
1311 Gladstone Ave.
Box 5079
Victoria, BC.

For a map, click here.

This is a very cool and innovative endeavour by and for artists right in Fernwood, Victoria's Latin Quarter, the Montmartre of the West Coast, a hotbed of creativity, culture, and community values. This is where I'm digging in, folks. Artists, if you are reading this, join up!

For the Feb. 15th show, these 2 pieces have been accepted. If you wanted to buy them, you may be too late, sorry, as they may no longer be around after the show. Of course, you can still buy them if you come to the show, but then you will have to pay the show price as listed. But "Beached Logs, Harrison Lake" will have a custom frame by Greg Snead, so the frame alone is a $180 value right there.
"Orange House, Fernwood" 10X12" Oil on Board. $195.00.
Hoping for some local sales! The house is on Grant St. actually.....

"Beached Logs, Harrison Lake" 18X24" Oil on Canvas. $475.00.

Please come out to look, even if you don't buy. You can always look--and there will be lots to see. It's a bit strange that I have had very few sales to family and friends, even though everyone raves about my work. That is the way my career is supposed to work; selling to family/ friends at a discount. Oh well. When these peices gone, they're gone. We'll soon see if "the art-buying public" are actually out there, chequebooks in hand, or whether they are just another urban myth (like alligators in sewers, or what-have-you).

See you there!

Hangin' With the Pros

Like a custom suit or dress may make someone feel more professional, successful or self-confident, so too the custom frame.

Professional artist and framer, Greg Snead, who lives close to me here on Hillside, will be getting all my business from now on. The quality of his framing, his great service, and his kind mentoring have already been important to me, and is helping me put my best foot forward for my upcoming shows.

Tastefully chosen stock (I let him) and perfect mitres make me feel like I stole this piece from the National Gallery or something! I'm kinda shocked to see a frame this nice around one of my pieces.

The back of the piece, with the paper cover "to keep bugs out" as Greg says. It looks professional on the back now, too.

Plastic coated heavy-gauge wire, and the usual screw-eye replaced with a two-screw plate ensures that your picture will still be on the wall if The Big One finally hits the Left Coast here. The picture will last as long as the wall does......

And these little plastic thingies will keep the bottom edge of the frame from marking the wall during the inevitable aftershocks.

Seriously, this level of workmanship and attention to detail is a revelation, and a nice match for the artwork. I am stoked to offer Greg Snead's frames for sale with my work.


True Blue

If you have been following this blog at all, you know that I have switched exclusively to a 3-colour system. The simplicity of this system allows me to concentrate on spontaneously mixing, and "composing" with colour, rather than hunting amongst 12-15 tube colours and continuously cleaning my brush to ensure colour purity.

My standard three primaries have been Manganese Blue (Hue), Winsor Lemon, and Permanent Rose. This is still the most flexible combination for me, but it only truly works with Winsor & Newton professional-quality colours. Blue is the backbone of my palent. I love all colours, but I have got to have a blue that rings out like a bell, clear and pure as cold fresh air.

Sometimes, though, I need darker darks and harder greys. My standard 3 as above are all a little tonally weak, and thus limits how dark I can mix those darks that I am at last coming to terms with. Even being able to deal visually with heavy darks is something of a major achievement for me. If you saw my work from the mid-'90's, you'd understand what I mean. My eye has preferred (until now) very bright and pale colours. Like Gwen John and Jacques Villon in their late work, I was trying to achieve harmony through tone. Now, it is tonal contrasts which interest me more.

"Pine Bog, Wickaninnish Beach" 18 X 24" So this is my most recent painting with my standard 3 colours. Pretty tonally homogeneous, with blues-riff colours. Bit busy, but quirky compositional stuff going on, and some nice chewy bits, too. I glazed the sky with Mang. Blue and then overpainted the clouds.

"Dark Shore, Tonquin Beach" 14 X18" Painted the rocks in one go, but had to beat the sky to death. What is with my inability to wipe on a good sky in one shot these days?? Painting the sand in wet-into-wet gave it the perfect effect. If you've been there in Tofino after the tide goes out, you'll know what I mean. Must be seen close up. (Eeeek! I am turning into a realist! ;)

This is my newest painting, but using what will now be my "Dark Standard" of Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Yellow, and Permanent Rose.

I do vary my yellow then as well and sometimes use Winsor Yellow with my "Bright Standard" instead of Winsor Lemon, so the only fixed colour is my red, the Permanent Rose.

The Winsor Blue (Green Shade) was a special order from Winsor & Newton in the UK, and took about 6 months to get here. It is a much stronger tinter (uses more white for the same tonality) than Manganese Blue, being very similar to a true phthalo blue, sharing the same pigment. It sure stains the brushes like a good phthalo!

But mixed with white, as above, you can see that it comes out very similar to Manganese Blue, at least in theory. In practice, however, it seems to lack a little of Manganese Blue's saturation when tinted. But it is very dark out of the tube, and so, when combined with the darker Winsor Yellow, makes for much darker greens, and of course when mixed with Permanent Rose, much darker browns and greys. I can mix something pretty close to black, in fact--at least to the untrained eye.

And, of course you know that I am a paint snob, using only the Winsor & Newton top-of-the-line paint. Previously, I compared whites, and you can see from this demonstration as well the difference using the cheaper linseed oil vehicle makes on brilliance and and brightness. This is after these paints had only 3 months to dry on a sheet of paper. I don't care what any art company will tell you, yellowing oil will, somewhere down the line, take away from the brilliance of your colours, whether you mix them with white or use them straight. And if your white uses linseed oil as well, so much the worse for you. If you are a professional artist, you'll be worried by this, as I am--another reason for using Winsor & Newton. You can also see from the above just how two of the more popular colour lines from Holbein and Gamblin stack up. I might be able to get away with the Holbein, but would not use Gamblin if I was paid to do it. Their Lemon Yellow is just as weak, proportionately, as their Mang. Blue.

I'll be comparing yellows in another post, but that is all the technical ranting I'll do for now.

I'll be working up more paintings like the above, from the blast to Ucluelet and Tofino Dad and I did in December. Real West Coast stuff. I depend on these occasional field-trips to keep me going. Stay tuned!


Life Drawing, Jan. 6

Went to Life Drawing at Xchanges again with my freind IJ. Artists have been drawing from the live model since at least the Late Rennaissence, and it traditionally forms a large part of an artist's training. Because it's so blazingly difficult! This is where the rubber hits the road. To do this, and do this well is a mark of professionalism, and we all know it. And I'm still not sure how well I do it. It shows up any flaw in technique, skill or focus, and is frustrating enough that I want to keep coming back for more--to conquer it. Nature is a tyrant.

I find the male model much more difficult than the female model--with the 2 sessions I've attended, I've had both. Men lack the smooth line transitions and have delightful blocky masses and sharper angles. 'Course, I like looking at women more :) but humanity is beautiful in most of it's forms, I am coming to realise..... I'm not always proud to be a part of this family of critters, eh? but I'm not above celebrating my species in all its (sometimes hairy-chested, paunchy-@$$ed) glory. Spirit meets matter in all of us.

After, IJ and I hung in a bus-shelter, drank beer, smoked clove cigarettes, and waved at passing cops. IJ is a punk chica, totally cool, and I am honoured to be her collegue and friend. I am also convinced that she is a Metamorphmagus, since she has the ability to change her hair-colour at will.

The greatest blessing in my life is my freinds. How many times do I need to be reminded of this before it finally sinks in??

Family too, you know. I love all my people. So if you are reading this, remember to keep in touch, OK? Because you are my most valuable asset.