26 April 2012

Winter Chicken 1

18" x 14", oil on canvas

Here's a nice portrait of the beautiful chicken on John Della Bosca's shoulder in my portrait of him and his wife, Geri.

When visiting a selection of farmers in Prince Edward County for my Field to Canvas series, I shot a lot of photo reference for use back in my studio. Along with the obvious shots of the people, I took a few pictures of their farms and some livestock in case I needed to incorporate them into their portraits, or, as above and with my recent cow paintings (here, here, and here), for use as reference for separate paintings altogether.

Detail.

There's another painting of winter chickens on the way, and you can see it in its early stage below.

Early stage with orange acrylic ground:
Top canvas is John Della Bosca's chicken.
Bottom canvas is three of John Nyman's chickens.



24 April 2012

Pure as a Lover's Desire, Evil as a Murderer's Dream

22" x 15", watercolour, 2002

I thought I had posted all my paintings featuring Ashley, but here she is one final time as part of my Red Shifts mini-series.

Her dress is really black and white (as in the bottom half of this painting), but I changed it to white and red for the top half to reinforce the idea of purity –while still trying to evoke passion with her expression. I changed the colours of that dress in exactly the same way for Corona Solis (november) about two years earlier.

The title is a line from "Cut to the Chase" by Rush from their Counterparts album.


22 April 2012

Pacino and Williams

22" x 15", watercolour, 2002

Also part of my Red Shifts series, this painting deals with the colour red as it relates to anger. For reference, I used a photo from a magazine of actors Al Pacino (left) and Robin Williams (right) from their 2002 film Insomnia. I added that red wedge to reinforce the already strong emotions between the two characters.


19 April 2012

Keeping Warm

7 1/2" x 22 1/2", watercolour, 2001, private collection

Part of my limited Red Shifts series, this painting deals with the colour red representing warmth and comfort and features my friend, Karen, as the model –and also features some nice contrast that I seem to keep going on about. I tried to keep the background dark to evoke being cozily wrapped in velvet –rather than evoke being surrounded by fire (which would be too warm).


16 April 2012

As If

22" x 15", watercolour, 2001

This painting was part of a series I was developing called Red Shifts, exploring various strong emotional states (anger, passion, etc.) associated with the colour red, and seeing what that colour does to some relatively milder emotional states (comfort, hope, etc.).  I only ended up doing a handful of paintings even though I was getting into it and enjoying the monochromatic limits of this series.

This one deals with skepticism, a slight topic, but I think rendering it in such strong, evocative colours,  puts that skepticism in a much more powerful light than simply being about doubt. As viewers, it's our own emotional associations with red that provides a deeper subtext.

Obviously, I didn't just pull out my Alizarin Crimson and go to town with these (that would be boring); I made the rich blacks like I normally do by mixing various blues and browns, and colours other than red appear in the red areas. But, yeah, there's a lot of pure red, too.


12 April 2012

Kathleen (a) & (c)

 
22" x 7 1/2", watercolour, 2001

Here's an even better example of the candid photography I was talking about in the post about paille. Jill and Magda & Kiro are pretty good examples, too –and are a couple of my favourite candids.

Incidentally there is a (b) to this series that makes this a triptych, but I'm not too satisfied with how Kathleen looks* in that one, regardless of how well the glasses and bottles turned out.


*and by that I mean how I painted her.

11 April 2012

paille

22" x 15", watercolour, 2002

I like booze and I've featured that subject time and again over the decades (you can see no fewer than seven of my paintings involving sweet, sweet booze in this post about Artevino), and I expect to return to it in the near future (possibly after my next big series which is currently in pre-production).

The reference for this was shot around the time I was experimenting with candid photography, using a point-and-shoot film camera (which had no auto-focus feature that delays the actual snapshot and often makes you miss the moment you're trying to capture). I took this camera everywhere I went and mostly just aimed it in the general direction of my intended subjects, hoping the framing was good (or good enough to use as reference), but never knowing until the film was developed.

I was out at a bar with some friends and I must have taken two rolls of film, but a lot of spontaneity was captured unbeknownst to my pals.

The French word in (faux/pseudo-Japanese) lettering means "straw" and was added to enhance the illustrative appeal of the painting. The blacks are deep and flat to accentuate the figure.

07 April 2012

4 and 300

22" x 22", watercolour, 2000

Not only is this my fourth anniversary of blogging about my artwork, this is also post #300. I started this all back in 2008 by posting Stojan Fixing the Mower, and for this personal celebration I wanted to revisit it with a larger image and some close-up details for your perusal.

Highlights are key.
(pun intended)

I've mentioned in other posts (Coke Addiction 3, Cabernet Franc, etc.) that contrast is a very important element to me and I try to have an area or areas that are very dark and ones that are very light while having a good range of values in between (rather than only having that medium range). The hot spots on my father's leg and shirt (and elsewhere) are bare paper and this contrasts nicely with the background and the shadows on the mower.

Leveraging the crux of the painting.

The above detail is really what this painting is all about: my dad fixing machines. He can figure out just about anything mechanical and, if it needs repairing, it's a safe bet he can handle it, but good. I've always been impressed by this and that's why this will always be the best portrait of my father, no matter how many times or ways I paint him (like here, here, or here).

Also, it was the "energy" of this painting which inspired art director extraordinaire Cathy Solarana to choose me to work on Union Pacific's celebration of Abe Lincoln's Bicentennial, a very fun and rewarding project to work on.

06 April 2012

Winter Cow 1

16" x 20", oil on canvas

Here's another of John Nyman's cows (along with Winter Cow 2) which was so much fun to paint that I wouldn't be surprised if I did a few more in the future since I took so many photos.

Typical orange acrylic ground
with olive green (oil) blocking.


04 April 2012

Winter Cow 2

16" x 20", oil on canvas

This cow and Winter Cow 1 were both photographed while shooting John Nyman for my portrait of him for my Field to Canvas series (I don't remember which one appears in the final painting with him, but I think it was this one). It was while doing that painting that I became very interested in winter scenes and the subtle colours found in snow, but this winter was mostly snow-free, so I never had the opportunity to shoot the county under a nice white blanket (maybe next year), but these wintry livestock paintings were very satisfying to do.

Typical orange acrylic ground
with olive green (oil) blocking.



03 April 2012

Winter Cows 3

16" x 20", oil on canvas, private collection

While shooting reference photos of the farmers for my Field to Canvas series, I also took a lot of pictures of their farms and, those that had any, their livestock, planning to paint some of them later. The cows in this painting belong to Blaine Way, a third-generation farmer in Prince Edward County, who also raises pork and ducks.

Tight pencils.

After tightening the pencils I decided to keep going and fill in some values in the cows (stay tuned for the other two). I left the big areas in this one clear, but had some fun rendering the faces, legs, and and some of the background. Not entirely necessary, but fun.

Also a little different.

Instead of starting with my usual olive green blocking-in of darks, I went with raw umber in this one because I wanted to browns to be as rich as possible and olive green would've given the cows an oddness.

02 April 2012

Leaning Poles [Large]

36" x 36", oil on canvas

I find it interesting now to reflect on my recent body of work and see that, since moving to Prince Edward County, my paintings have followed an organic progression of responses to my new surroundings beginning with three still lifes in oils of wine (representing the burgeoning wine industry here), 12 portraits of local farmers (representing the strong agricultural presence in PEC), six more wine paintings (but using wine as the medium), and, of course, these 15 Barnscapes (depicting some of the local landscape).
My next five paintings are of livestock from a couple of the farms I visited.
Additionally, I'm currently in pre-production for another large series that will continue my landscape awareness and appreciation by contrasting some of the differences between my suburban/urban home growing up (Scarborough/Toronto) and my rural home now at Small Pond.

As with Daytime Version, this painting is a larger version of an earlier painting I did based on the same photo ref. Click here to see the smaller version of this one and to learn a bit about it.


01 April 2012

Slanting Roof

24" x 36", oil on canvas

There are a number of roads that appear in these Barnscapes and I think it provides some interesting context for the barns as well as useful perspective lines to guide the eye around the painting a bit.