24 November 2010

The Beginning




Stuff II: Gumby's Perspective, approx 18" x 15"(?), watercolour, 1988, private collection

It was in late November, 1988(!) when I first explored the realm of watercolour painting in my high school art class. Mostly, and obviously, I was experimenting with the behaviour of the paint itself and not too worried about making anything representational --except for the little Gumby down in the bottom right. Why Gumby? Why not?

This painting also features my first use of the stained glass-like abstract motif that a friend at the time dubbed "matrix." I got hooked on watercolours while making the  gradations in the various panels. I remember thinking how active and alive the paint was. I still find it exciting to work with a medium that wants to do its own thing but doesn't mind being directed; it feel co-operative, collaborative...almost dance-like. This feeling is amplified when I use watercolours on Yupo.

The bizarre name for this piece was suggested by my friend, Tom McAlister. I felt it was as weird as the picture, so I used it. I think Tom has this painting...

18 November 2010

evade



12" x 22", watercolour, 1998, private collection

This was done during 1998 when I'd set myself the goal of painting one picture per week (I had some extra time at the end of the year and I ended up making 63 in total). This exercise was very beneficial to my development as a watercolourist (I had yet to get into oils...or inks, for that matter) and as a conceptualist. Practice is a good thing, but I didn't want to be merely doing the same thing over and over (although, maybe it looked like that to some people), so I had to come up with new ideas for images.

I collect words –words or phrases that can be interesting titles for paintings (or anything) get jotted down in my sketchbooks regularly, and, if they don't get used, I usually transfer them to the next book. One of my sketchbooks has a page that contains a list of mostly one-word titles and has four sketches for potential paintings on it and this is one of them. That sketch, and the one later in the same book based on my photo-ref shot for this painting, are too hideous to include here. Suffice it to say that they are both similar in composition to the finished piece.

Other mostly one-word titles on that list that eventually became paintings: learn, intent, wall, figment, boom, clear, breathe, umbilical, antidote, mythological, orbit, mad, and unravel me. Most of these were painted during Operation: Waterstorm.

This painting, and nine others (a few watercolours, a few oils; some old, some new), was in the Fall Expressions group show at Gallery ArtPlus in Belleville which ran from 28 October to 27 November.

11 November 2010

Honey

36" x 24", oil on canvas, 2010, private collection

This is a painting of my darling Krista. I initially used the photo ref of her in another painting with a statue of a lion in the bottom right, but the lion was the only good thing about it, so I recycled the canvas (I don't know what new painting it became). But I really liked that pose of hers, so I decided to try again a few years later. I don't know why I didn't use the lion again. Instead, I've included the alchemical symbol for honey. Because she's my honey...and I like ancient symbols.


The background is once again my
"matrix" motif. This time, to further play up the stained glass aspect, I gave Krista a nice halo.
If you get really close to the actual painting you can see the orange base coat quite clearly.
I really like the lighting in this.

This painting, and nine others (a few watercolours, a few oils; some old, some new), was in the 
Fall Expressions group show at Gallery ArtPlus in Belleville which ran from 28 October to 27 November.



03 November 2010

Nest

24" x 36", oil on canvas, 2010

This is one of the small handful* of paintings I've had time to complete since moving to Prince Edward County with Krista to begin our new life and set up Small Pond Arts. In the summer we found a few abandoned nests and more than a few eggshells. We set up a few of the shells in a beautiful nest and I took a picture of Krista holding our reconstruction.

This ended up a little more realistic in colouration than I'd planned, but I'm quite happy with it. I especially like all that dark negative space on the right.

This painting, and nine others (a few watercolours, a few oils; some old, some new), was in the Fall Expressions group show at Gallery ArtPlus in Belleville which ran from 28 October to 27 November. The opening reception was Thursday 4 November from 6-8PM.



*pun intended