30 September 2008

[break.]


17" x 11", watercolour, 1994


I am a HUGE fan of science fiction and, ever since I was a young child, looking at the conceptual art for and other visuals of the Star Wars and other sci-fi films, TV shows, and books really fires my imagination and has inspired (if not influenced) my artwork a great deal. So this week will be Sci-Fi Week and I'll post the very few "space" paintings I've done.

But the thing is, out of the hundreds of images I've made, there are very few that deal with or contain any science fiction elements. Even this one is a hybrid of 20th Century North American fashion mashed up with the Lars moisture farm homestead on Tatooine. I don't know why I combined this model (from a fashion magazine) with Luke Skywalker's home; back then Star Wars was only beginning its resurgence into the general public's face (and even with the "special editions" being released in cinemas, there was still only "Star Wars," "Empire," and "Jedi") and it still felt like it was a sort of underground thing to do --and I felt I was being cheeky, not geeky.

Also, I don't know where that title, including the weird use of square brackets, means or came from. "Taking a break on Tatooine," I guess...maybe...

The "sand" texture in the foreground was made using the age-old technique of spraying the paint by running my thumbnail along the bristles of a toothbrush dipped in paint. I usually make a rough mask of the areas I don't want affected by tracing that shape on regular paper, cutting it out, and weighing it down with whatever fits (erasers, scissors, pens, etc.).

Like most paintings, this one is tricky to photograph and looks better in person.


29 September 2008

Social Audit

22" x 15", watercolour, 1994, private collection

The hands are kinda wonky, but mostly deliberately so: I wanted more emphasis on the couple's faces and thought I'd try to create a sort of illusion of shallow depth of field by fudging out the hands (rather than blurring, which I was clearly unable to do). Now it just looks anatomically incorrect.

I added the wings and halo for no particular reason other than I thought it would look nice and maybe a bit unusual; it certainly wasn't due to any religious feelings or belief that angels actually exist. I think the glow in the hair due to the halo is quite effective (as is the glow around the dress) while the halo itself is a bit too glowy.

Incidentally, the models are Mädchen Amick and James Spader from the time just before I started taking pictures of my own models.


27 September 2008

Put Your Feet Up

20" x 16", oil on canvas, 2007

I honestly have no idea what the original watercolour painting is that this Echo is based on. I tried opening a bunch of likely candidates and reprocessing them in Photoshop to see, but nothing matched up. Since I can often "see" the original painting in the abstraction by blurring my eyes (or taking off my glasses) I even tried blurring this picture in Photoshop to jog my memory, but no dice.

There's a strong likelihood that this is an abstraction of my original watercolour painting Finest Worksong, the only other candidate being figment...but I'm still uncertain...

25 September 2008

Having the Last Laugh

40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2007



Fuel, 22" x 15", watercolour, 1998, private collection

Another Echo and its source painting.

Having finished the woman holding the bottle of wine for Fuel, I got stuck as to what to do with the background. I showed the painting to a friend of mine at that stage and told him about my problem and he pointed out that it was actually a dilemma: it wasn't a matter of what background to use, but whether to use a background at all. He suggested not using one and I took his advice and simply left the paper around the figure blank to see if I liked it that way. At the time it felt like a bold move for me, since everything I was painting had a background of some kind (either abstract or representational). So I left it alone, really grew to love the negative space for its own sake, and quickly felt that the picture was completely finished.

The negative space became something very interesting in the abstract oil version, keeping the simplicity of the original.

I've completed a large oil on canvas version of Fuel which retains the negative space of the watercolour version --but with a nice deep, dark red (see below).


16 September 2008

les Oiseaux (en encre)


14" x 17", ink on paper, 2008 (bottom in private collection)

Here are two ink and wash versions of my recent little bird paintings. I was trying something somewhat stylistically different with the oils, but I decided to take a more representational approach with the tonal studies with these. More to follow during the week.

08 September 2008

Distillery 067-B

36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2008, private collection

This is the second of five large paintings of the Distillery District buildings I have finished (and the only vertically-oriented one) so far. The other three are very nearly completed once some texture issues are worked out.
This painting and my previously-posted painting (and quite possibly the remaining three) will be on exhibit at the Queen West Art Crawl in Trinity Bellwoods Park this weekend.
Let's hope the rain stays away.

05 September 2008

les Oiseaux


above: private collection

above: private collection


above: private collection


various sizes, oil on canvas, 2008

During the weekend of 13 & 14 September (11am - 6pm) I'll be participating in the Queen West Art Crawl in Trinity Bellwoods Park.

As with last year, I'll have many paintings with me for show and sale, but this year there are a few new additions, mainly my large Distillery paintings and my little bird paintings. There are 18 of them and range in size from 8" x 10" to 16" x 20" and are quite nice. There are also ten of them painted in ink on paper (14" x 17").


02 September 2008

Taking Liberties

17" x 11", ink & digital, 2008

This is the image used as part of the poster I made for Dave Carley's play Taking Liberties, which was in this year's Toronto Fringe Festival. It was a great and complex play with excellent performances by the five actors, was a huge success, received rave reviews, and I was happy to be a small part of it all.

I drew Lady Justice in pencil, inked it, scanned it, then used various software programs to make the clouds and colour it all in. The text info for the play was also done digitally and can be seen in full as part of my show of this and several other posters on Thursday night (details below).

SpeakEasy's 13th Annual Illustration Show, Thursday 04 September 2008
Take a peek inside the collective imaginations of 29 talented illustrators whose work features original styles, techniques and media. SpeakEasy has a reputation for showcasing the talent of Toronto's best illustrators. This colourful event is sure to be a myriad of fun in typical SpeakEasy Fashion.

Time & Space:
Thursday 04 September, 8pm-Midnight
The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen West
Second Floor Lobby + Studio Rooms

Cover:
Pay What You Can ($4.00 Donation Suggested)

For more information contact:
David Brown
email: david@blttogo.com telephone: 416.533.1374

http://www.speakeasyto.com/