Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Post!

Here it is.. a holiday post! I figure if I can't get anything posted during the normal year I can at least post something now when I have a little free time so here it is...

I usually don't give paintings as gifts but I painted this painting for a good friend of mine who has also been a great supporter of my work and she really liked it - success!!

Atmospheric Study No. 3
14x14 inches
Mixed Media on Paper

Anyway I've been home in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia the past week spending some time with family and friends. It's been a lot of fun but I am really anticipating getting back up and painting again! In the mean time, I've been drawing with watercolours, graphite and oil pastels to tie me over, and while I have figured out nothing concrete so far, it is on its way. Oil pastels are a new medium for me, and I must say my previous experience was limited to brutal crayon-like concoctions when I was a kid - an experience that had majorly tainted my thoughts on them in the past - but I had faith in the power of artist-quality materials and bought a set of senneliers (assorted landscape set if you really want to know) and as anticipated I love them!

I can't wait to get to Loomis and Toles tomorrow in Halifax and buy from their open stock. Hee!!

Watercolour is another media I don't use much, but I picked up a travel set to use with my pastels while on the road this winter. I have yet to find the same love for watercolour, although granted I bought cotman series windsor and newton which are considered student grade, with presumably less pigment load and more fillers. I still prefer the colour intensity, immediacy and qualities of the acrylic paint that I use, but I'm also impatient. I have a hard time wanting for watercolour to dry so I can build up the next layer of colour in an attempt to build the extreme contrasts that I love in my work. So perhaps I will like them more once I run out of the paints I have now and slowly start subbing better quality paint. Or perhaps I will discover its all just a pipe dream and I'm destined to just not like watercolour. :p

Anyway, I have a camera and should have things to post later.

Until then!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Drawings Inspired by Europa

I have similar tendencies of many other artists I talk to - start millions of projects and never get around to finishing them.

Actually this is only a half-truth for me. I have a pretty good success rate when it comes to starting and finishing things, and I have no problem about sacrificing the things that just aren't working out in favor for a fresh start. I actually prefer to have many many works on my plate at one time; my painting process requires a lot of drying time, and for me to make the most of my studio time, I pretty much need to have many things to occupy my mind and time. I assume this is similar for many prolific oil painters and count my lucky stars that I don't work with that media. The draw of acrylic paint for most artists is the very quick drying time, but I often manage to find a way of prolonging this greatly.

The most productive times for me involve finding a balance between painting time, drawing time and computer time. I don't have internet access at my studio anymore and I guess that time has actually been replaced with other part-time work time anyway, but I've gotten back into doing several hours in the studio until all paintings are wet, then a few hours drawing at a coffee shops afterwords at night (also means I don't sleep as well but maybe I should just do decaf instead! Lucky for my body, the nearest cafe is only open to 9 most nights unlike downtown where everything was open 11 pm or later).

I started getting back into the habit while working on my last illustrator drawing (okay while this is computer work, it actually counts towards the art/drawing side of things in my mind), then started on some miniature drawings of... well I don't know what to call them yet. They are just heavily inspired by drawings I've done in the past of fossils, as well as images in my mind of various planet topography and memories of rock like shale and petrified wood:

1.5x1.5 inches
Graphite on Paper

I finally was motivated to work on these drawings, Drawings Inspired by Europa which I posted way back (Feb '09 oh my..)..How embarrassing! But here they are anyway:

Drawings Inspired by Europa 1,2,3 & 4 (in that order)
6x6 inches
Graphite on Gessoed Paper

These drawings have been clipped to a wall in my studio since I moved in, begging to be referenced in other work. This has yet to happen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I have the worst work to photograph! Jesus.....

Never comes out right.

I never use black.

Smaller works on Paper

On top of doing small studies on masonite, I've also been doing some mixed media works on cold press watercolour paper. I have 2 more to finish up and then I'll be taking off over the winter - first back to Nova Scotia to visit my family over the holidays.

Atmospheric Study No. 1
2 parts both 4x30 inches
Mixed Media on Paper

Atmospheric Study No. 2
9x30 inches
Mixed Media on Paper

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Green Surge

I feel like I'm going to post everything all of the sudden, and then have nothing again for a while.. old habits die hard, I suppose.

This one has been kicking around my space for a while. I'm finally leaving it alone.

A Green Surge (Theoretical Spacescape No. 1)
48x72 inches
Acrylic on Canvas

My paintings are becoming less and less literal, and while they are still heavily influenced by the nebulae works, they are also becoming more influenced by my own memories of landscape and
atmosphere. I found myself writing about the recent direction in a statement for a project:

First, I’m most interested in image references that are obtained by means outside of conventional photography and go beyond naked eye observation; telescopes and radiology reveal a world where the images are determined by electromagnetic readings and colour is arbitrarily assigned according to raw data including thermal readings and radio frequencies. Images of stellar objects like nebulae and planets spark my imagination and leave much room for inventiveness.

Secondly, I am compelled to reminisce on images from my past growing up on the Atlantic coast on the ocean. I’m interested in considering how these memories slowly change and become sensationalized as I spend more time away. Recollections become simplified, deteriorating to simple tonal planes as particulars become vague. Specific details forgotten, they are replaced with memories about the ambiance and energy of the landscape.

Both nebulae and water exhibit fluid, unstable characteristics, yet are beautiful and powerful bodies. My paintings reflect this wavering existence, revealing the excitement as well as the anxiety about these unknown realms. They become glimpses of possible alternative realities that may not exist or perhaps exist somewhere.

I think we all hate writing statements, but I lately have been finding them rewarding in that they can be reminders about what we're doing with our work, and put it in context to the rest of our lives. A little meditation and inner reflection on why we do what we do is not necessarily a bad thing, regardless if the path to getting there may be a little painful at first.

I've also gone back to editing this work, but I think I'm done with it now and will put it away with the other:

46X72 inches
Acrylic on Canvas

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Number 15

I like how I started this blog in Jan '09 and have a total of 27 posts. What does this say about this entire year. ??

Anyway, it's been a crappy weather day, and with our transit strike I wasn't going anywhere. I finished another drawing in illustrator - I think I'm really getting it now. Aside from indecisiveness in regards to my design, this actually came together pretty quickly with minimum googling.

This developed a lot considering my original drawing was this thing floating some-what to the right of this paragraph because I don't quite understand blogger's formatting.

I ended up editing it a lot first mirroring it and then adding to it, back and forth between illustrator and photoshop. The rest of the pieces come from a variety of sources, but unlike the waves in my last attempt, I didn't go so far as drawing original stuff to throw into the background, and just edited a bunch of random elements together to make it look half decent.And now to fold laundry.

Studies of Spacey Landscapes pt.2

Here are the rest of the studies from yesterday's post.

While some of these, I think, are much better as small studies, a few of these will move on to become larger works. In the end, the long ones will be 48x96 inches, the square ones 60x60 if I get my way and they work out.

6x6 and 6x12 inches
Acrylic on Masonite panel

When I paint, my work doesn't spend its entire time sitting on an easel. They find their way to the floor, upside down, whatever position I need them as I do runs and washes, so working larger proposes a challenge on canvas stretched on bars which usually has some give at the centre. So my solution has been painting on canvas stretched on plywood, which is great but hard to do when you get outside of anything more than 48 inches in width.

60x60 inch plywood can be done, apparently (I called and checked around), but I still might settle for stretched canvas, I haven't quite decided yet. Of course there's cost factors in everything, as well as weight issues moving such large pieces when I'm working by myself. But I have 2 48x96 pieces on the go right now, and it hasn't been too bad so far.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Studies of Spacey Landscapes pt.1

Photographed some work today since deadlines loom. It was the first sunny day here in what felt like a while, so I took the chance to photograph all the paintings I could. There are still a bunch of kinks to work out for shooting at my space - there's windows that are huge, meaning its difficult to get photos without glare but its easier to do when there's sun opposed to artificial light.

So here's some bunch of the studies that were in pics from earlier to start:

6x6 and 6x12 inches
Acrylic on Masonite

More tomorrow so I don't flood the world.

Goodnight all ~

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Finished Illustrator Project - a One-Eyed Monster

So after many hours today and yesterday, I've managed to come up with something I am actually okay with in illustrator... Much pleased with my success! On this project I was able to learn a whole selection of random tricks and tools, including how to import and use my own drawings to make my own brushes and swatches, how to edit those images, re-colour and organize, blahblahblah. Some of it was quite tricky! The worst thing for me about this program is how earily similar it is to Photoshop - which makes me attempt to do things how I would in Photoshop, only to realize that it's just not going to work. It took me forever to figure out save colour swatches on my pallet. Insane.

Anyway, speaking of colour, I'm not sure if I'll stick with these, but this is the general idea. I'm more attached to the light one than the dark one but its impossible to gage on this monitor (I moved to my roommate's computer for the home stretch since it has more ram than my laptop, and his monitor is quite dark).

Ofcorse. Pink. Because it is so hardcore.

and dark grey could make a good t-shirt.

So, hurrah... go me... I did it. And I have ideas for my next one too, which hopefully will go a lot quicker. I'd also consider taking requests if any readers have subjects in mind. But otherwise now that I'm finished this task, I'll probably be back to painting the rest of the week.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Studio Life + Goin' Ons

Thought I'd update this again since I found myself taking silly pictures around the studio again.

Been working on some big projects but haven't yet taken any photos of the work. This weekend I'll mostly likely have to do some shooting, however, since I need some images for a small portfolio, so maybe some things will end up on here, but it is way too early to tell.

I think I'm going to call these photos my 'Studio Life' series. Sounds almost intentional.

Anyway, 2 more:

Today I learned how to neglect my plants without actually neglecting them. Alas, I'm not nearly as classy as the person I stole this idea from - she used wine bottles..

Happy little brushes. Or, not so happy. So another thing I some-what neglect (okay they are still soft and good for painting, they just look pretty trashed.). I think if we all spent our life in painty water, we'd look a little frazzled too.

Anywho, I decided about a week ago that I was going to learn illustrator, so I've been trying to learn the many different things about the program that I can actually use to rework drawings and stuff in the future. Back and forth between photoshop and lots of little drawings, I've figured out how to make my own brushes and things among other cool things. It's been a thoroughly challenging and frustrating ordeal.

I feel like blogger may not be as happy-go-lucky as livejournal is/was in regards to what I post. So hoping nothing really comes of this.

Cool beans, yo.. cool beans.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A couple photos

For my own amusement.

I remember back in the day when I use to use blogs for motivation...

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Respectfully Quiet Update

So now that it’s been roughly 3 weeks since I moved into the new space, I’m starting to feel again more connected to myself, my space and my work, and beginning to notice that old work habits are resurfacing. I’ve now gotten back into the grove of bouncing between daily tasks like cleaning, reading, writing, and at every little lapse interval in between I’m beginning to work on art. While I don’t want to create expectations, I do have some new work on the go and have high hopes that they can evolve into the start of the next body of work. I’m finally feeling like some semblance of an artist again, and all the doubts and fretting I have been experiencing over the past few months are slowly exiting my head.

Being back to work feels wonderful.

This new space is an interesting one, much different from the art centre where I was previously homed. There, I was surrounded by a flurry of creativity between other artists exhibiting in the gallery below, several other working artists in private studios like mine, and many theatre groups coming and going, using the space for both rehearsal and performance. While though there was a lot was happening, everything stopped after about 6:00 and I had come to accept and love that I was the only person alive in the building at night.

There’s a beautiful freedom in realizing that you are the only person inhibiting a large space. It can be a place of sacred meditation and peace, a place to hear your thoughts and only your thoughts, to reconnect with the chatter of the inner soul. A place to play privately, to be unapologetically loud or utterly quiet, restricted only by your own desires.

This building is completely different. While there are many legitimate regular businesses that use the facility, with typical 8 am to 8 pm hours, at night it’s a different story of creativity. After the businesses and other artists leave the building for the day, this place is overrun by musicians who have many studios for their personal rehearsal space. It’s a completely different atmosphere that can be horrifically overwhelming at times. When I originally first moved and had to face the reality of just how obnoxious it could be, I nearly lost it again. How could I work when the music was so intrusive? How would I ever get anything accomplished again?

Now it’s starting to become wonderfully reassuring. I’ve come to recognize that many of them are quite skilled and I now get real comfort that comes with knowing that now I’m never alone. There are possibly friends to be made here, and connections to seek just around the corner. While the utter peace and quiet and desertion I came to enjoy at my previous studio, there’s about as much opportunity here, and perhaps this is more appropriate to my time.
Each space offers its communities. Perhaps I originally fretted that this would be the most isolating part of my journey, I have high hopes that hopefully be shown wrong.

Just like Home, I’d like to believe that Community is wherever you make it.

p.s. I would have pictures except I have managed to loose the battery charger to my camera in the move somehow. It could be a while before I can get another one...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Welcome Home

My entire life I’ve struggled with the idea of roles and finding my own place in the world. I continually question if art is truly a worthwhile and meaningful endeavour which can possibly be significant to a larger picture or, if I’m following this path through personal selfishness and if that is the case, is it actually ok to exist that way and feel good about being selfish?

I thought moving would be a fresh start and act as some sort of conclusion to some of these thoughts, since fate randomly hooked me up with this opportunity instead of the alternatives which probably would have sacrificed my studio entirely, but it’s turning out to be not the greatest idea. There’s been several challenges to immediately overcome upon moving in, and I’m immediately unsure if the pros of this space really DO outweigh the cons. There’s a feeling of helplessness in not knowing what the solution is, or what the next step is. Past months have been spent feeling like my head is just barely above water. Is it ok to live this way? Is it ok for me to live this way? Is the sacrifice worth it?

The biggest dilemma of all, is that I realize I have every option to just immediately, knowingly change it. I’m not stuck into this path because I’m not intelligent enough to hold down a regular, steady full-time job. I’m smart enough to go to school and finish a degree in something that’d get me a job that is secure and pays enough to live decently, dare I say comfortably. I’m just continually conflicted about which direction to choose.

Finding studio and living space and the appropriate balance between the 2 has always been the challenge, and there are always sacrifices to be made, but this time I’m wondering if I’m strong enough as a person to exchange space, heat, and working plumbing in exchange for peace and quiet.

2 nights of sleeping there (almost 3 but I got fed up with the noise), I’ve been introduced to the bands that rehearse in the building (starting) at 2 am in the morning.

Today I bought earplugs.

I'm really tired.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Onward and Upward?

Since the first time I left home in NS, to moving to Ontario and all the moves little and big in between, I have developed a real love/hate relationship with moving and all the little bits and boobs big and small that it entails.

I’m excited, also sad, to announce that I have found a different studio space and I’ve officially left my current space, the one which has been home to me the past 2 years. And when I say home, I mean home, as I have never felt anywhere more at home than up in that little studio, here in London, Ontario.

However, I can’t hide that I’m really looking forward to this new stage of my life. Any life change is always met with lots of anxiety and the reality usually is, in my current life at least, that nothing is ever easy for long. But there’s always a lot of hope that the next leg will bring better opportunity and I hope that it works out alright.

The act of going through, sorting, and re-evaluating possessions is something I love. Long-distance moves are the best – purging is a great experience. I enjoyed every moment of letting go of every failed piece, and destroying everything which I couldn’t fathom as being a part of something else. In retrospect, now that everything is at the new place, I actually wish I could have gotten rid of more....

Turning the page to another era.

Next chapter. Cross fingers that it’s good...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A long post from someone with nothing to say

Well I logged into here with the intention to write, and got absorbed in reading several other blogs which I started to follow back when I first got onto this thing. I've realized pretty much that I don't currently have a hell of a lot to say, let alone anything interesting, but still find some point in actually sharing some of the progresses on some of my work. I guess this is mostly for my own benefit, not necissarily the readers, a point of actually marking some off the headway I'm making on some work, and feeling like I may actually be accomplishing things again.

I've been thinking a lot about my studio, obviously, and its importance to me. I remember back when I first moved into my current space, I had grandeous ideas of of how this space would become the hub for many figure drawing gatherings that me and my friends wanted to do together at the time. Work space, let alone enough space for several artists to work at once, always seams to be at a premium, and this space was perfect. The area entirley devoted to figurative drawing and collaboration gradually shifted into a make-shift "den" complete with a couch, a few chairs, area rug and a coffee table.

This time of collaboration, networking, and sharing of models and working with people was important, but since then my direction with my work has changed. I still have yet to actually come up with a cohesive plan for a body of work that actually involves serious figurative work, and I'm really beginning to wonder if I ever will come up with something. Since I draw pretty much weekly, and collaborate a lot of sessions, most people inquire if I actually do anything with the work...

To me, its some-what surprizing that I haven't done anything. And then, on the other hand its not. Most of my life has been felt feeling rather alienated and distant from the people and community aorund me. I have difficulty connecting with other people, connecting with the ideas most people seam to have in regards to being human, society, gender issues, that sort of thing. There's nothing that's that important to me that I have to say.

So now that the figurative work is without focus, that area of my space has become pointless and scattered. I feel pointless and scattered. The loss of space made me struggle a lot with my identity as an artist, and if I'm actually worthy of what I currently have, or if I should give the opportunity up to someone more deserving. I've become, admittedly, exceptionally critical about what I see around me in respects to fellow artists and their art. I'm no exception from my own criticism. Honestly, thinking back, this had a lot to do with why I left NSCAD and Halifax. But the area is packed and no longer in the studio, and I feel like I want to keep it that way. I want to reclaim the work space as work space for larger projects, and some-how have my actual life outside of the work space too..

I need to rethink this opportunity and take hold of it again. I'm working larger, and intend to continue doing larger work, even though there's no notion of practicality in anything I'm doing. I've come to realise that it is ok to do the art I want to do, simply because I want to do it and not because it needs to be sellable and have monitary value.

I think I still want to do figurative sketches. But need to reconsider the venue for selling.

I want to do larger work that is challenging both mentally and physically. But I need to find a venue for showing.

I desperately need a gathering space to call home and connect with people again.

Anyway, these have been the things working through my brain over the past week as I've finally gotten my hands on the next 4x6 canvas, as well as 3 more 4x8 sheets of plywood. I wanted to share a photo of the one drawing I had started, and will come back to as I start working on the other 3.

In February while I was AWOL, I put in a grant for a project I wanted to do. Its still in the back of my mind. Part of me is frightened that I get it, and won't be able to make my idea work. Another part is very hopefull and eager for the opportunity to actually do something that's a step in the direction for doing work on a scale I find really exciting.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas
48x72 inches

Whats going on:

  • I'm kinda back into working in my studio. They ended up not renovating anything and I spent a bit of time drifting. Its a little awkward and I'm still some-what living out of boxes, but I've gotten back into drawing and painting and spending time in there practically daily,
  • I now have a laptop, and have been consequently hopping around the city, surfing the various coffee shops, libraries, and wi-fi networks,
  • Looking into venues for getting rid of the piles of figure drawings I've been accumulating
  • Writting writting writting and getting back into applying for things and feeling somewhat productive again (mostly using this as an excuse to get painting again).
I finally have some new work to share, and some almost-finished new work. I've been working larger and have the intent on continuing to work larger. I've decided to take a step back from exhibiting until I feel like I have enough work to scout for major opportunities again.

Hopefully I'll get a few more 4x6 foot paintings like the above one out before end of summer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Art Therapy

I know its been practically 3 weeks since I last updated. I guess that shows that I'm still pretty out of the loop with the rest of the world. Fallen off the radar, maybe you could say.

The past few days particularly I've been tucked away more so than usual. Life's been pretty frustrating lately, but I told myself when I started this blog, that I would try and keep the whining to a minimum. That's part of the reason why I haven't been blogging (that and the lack of computer/internet). That's partially because it happened. Or I should say, an update to my last post, building renovations persisted; I was officially advised to move all my stuff.

So the rest of this story from here-on out gets a little confusing, and a little bit frustrating but bare with me...

Two Mondays ago (March 2nd) I got the message that I had 1 week before they were going to officially demolish and re-build 2 walls...

Tuesday I started tearing things apart whenever I had the time between writing grants...

Wednesday I found boxes and facebooked a moving party for Sunday...

Friday I got the news that they wouldn't start Monday; I could move everything next week...

Sunday we moved everything anyway, since I a) had lots of people offering to help, b) most of the packing done, and c) had already promised I'd devote this upcoming weekend to helping my boss write a grant...

So much to do, I made lists and post-its to help me stay on track!

RIP my studio of awesome.

A lot of my more delicate stuff is now stashed on the 3rd floor.

And then Monday I got the most ridiculous news ever...

Apparently they have changed their minds completely, and won't be moving a damn thing until several months from now.

Since Monday I've been hiding. Hiding on the 3rd floor.

Ever since I was a child, drawing has always been the most therapeutic act of all, for me. While I took up actual painting a few years ago, mostly because I was always told when I was younger that paintings were considered more valuable in the art world, drawing will always be my first love and has saved my sanity many, many times.

This work in particular has allowed me to become re-connected with the very essence of what it is that I enjoy about drawing - large, sweeping movements, the feel of the material, and just creating marks.

This is on a 4x8 sheet of plywood, in oil bar and graphite sticks, with some minimal painting to flesh out the under painting. Still thinking about Europa and the most-recent drawings I've been doing, this work is currently very satisfying to produce.

Lucky for me, I am at least surrounded by awesome helpful people who made the process as painless as possible. And as for my studio? I'm not moving a damn thing back into that space until I know for sure they are done with the staircase that caused all this nonsense in the first place.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drawings Inspired by Europa WIP

I know I haven't blogged much about it, but the shit in my life, work, and the construction in the building around my studio is inhibiting my ability to do several things including:
  • Paint
  • Think
  • Use the Internet
  • Blog

I'm making the attempt to pass the free time in coffee shops drawing. I've started a series of 4x4s inspired by black and white photographs of Europa.

Otherwise, construction has knocked out the internet (and power... I had to re-rout things with extension cords) to my computer, and it may be a few weeks before it gets put back to normal. There's also imminent construction threat in as soon as 2 weeks for one of the walls in my space.

I'll try to remember to blog the construction progress later on this week!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Figure Drawing

Last post: Ended up drawing the guy in front of me over top of all other work meaning nothing worth posting.

Better focus next week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Painting (it's like a brief tutorial!!)

Step 1: Remove all library books and other borrowed items from work surface (note: recent casualties)

Step 2: Locate Roller

Step 3: Locate suitable surface to roll paint onto (plexiglass pallets are good) and clean said surface with babywipes. Accept that it will never totally come clean, and give up, thus moving to step 4

Step 4: Spread paint with pallet knife

Step 5: Load roller with paint.

Step 6: Locate boring area of painting

Step 7: Roll roll roll

Step 8: Stop when areas have ideal coverage and painting seams more interesting (for the time being at least)

Step 9: When dry, glaze to achieve ideal colour and texture

Step 10 is being satisfied that painting can be a bit more interesting without always relying on the use of brushes, and that you've kinda been a complete lazy ass while doing it.

Next up: free pool and dinner as reward. I am a great white.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

& Why Wouldn't We?

I finally busted out some red and I'm finally feeling better about (well at least this one) painting. Although this photo really ain't helping my cause but anyway. lol.

So still makes no sense, why we wouldn't still push paint around, even through difficult times.