15 December 2016

The Watercolours of 2016

Since it can be difficult to find an individual painting or groups of paintings on a blog, even if you click on a tag/label, I've decided to gang up all my recent watercolours in one post. I've also done this with my County 101 and 33 on 33 marathon series (and my models, Sci-Fi and Automotive), and I might even go back and do this with some others like my Interiors, Yupo, and Sunflowers series.

So here are all 19 of my watercolour paintings of 2016 (not including a small handful of commissions) in one handy place. Click on a painting to go to its own post for details and info.

Krista and Caitlin in Banff
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Rosebud in Picton Harbour
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Taylors' Tractor
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

The Crossing
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

With Fever You Wil Have A Bout
22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

Stojan at Greenwood & Dundas
22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

Midsummer Night
15" x 22" watercolour, 2016

Silence in Heaven
22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

Artificial Heart
22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

Things Are Looking Up
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Lost in a Riddle
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Inside A Broken Clock, 1
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Inside A Broken Clock, 2
22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

Statuarial 6
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Statuarial 5
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Statuarial 4
22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

Statuarial 3
22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

Statuarial 2
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Statuarial 1
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016




13 November 2016

Inside A Broken Clock, 2

22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

It's unlikely that this one will get translated into a larger oil painting in the new year, unlike #1, which has the superior composition.

Sketch.

Kimwun detail.

Below is the third video I streamed live while painting this painting (and #1). I don't quite finish either painting in this video, but significant progress was made...







11 November 2016

Inside A Broken Clock, 1

15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

Sketches.

It's possible some of these 13 recent watercolours, including this one (seeing as it was originally intended as an oil and noted in the sketch as a possible watercolour (secondary mission: accomplished!)), will see life as larger oil paintings in the new year. I find the addition of the background in the watercolour far more interesting than the blank void of the sketch, so that might be carried over.

Denim detail.

I forgot how much I like painting jeans in watercolours until this latest round of pictures (4 of the 13 have people wearing jeans).

Form description detail.

Jeans are fun, but I liked the softness of the track pants here, showing the cylindrical nature of that thigh...and that faint colour reflection of the chair is nice, too.

Watch some video of me painting this and Inside A Broken Clock, 2 HERE.


28 October 2016

Lost in a Riddle

15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

This concludes the unexpected trio of moody, figures-in-a-forest paintings along with Artificial Heart and Things Are Looking Up. Read about the influence of painter Jon J Muth (on these three paintings specifically, and on my overall practice in general) in the posts for the other two pictures. And, more comprehensively, here.

Detail showing off hair.

In many ways, it still looks like the way I've been painting hair (in watercolours) for a long time, now, but in some small ways, the hair here has some Muthiness that makes me happy. I'm beginning to get the hang of this, I think.

Some of my work on this painting was streamed live and you can watch a recording of that here.




24 October 2016

Things Are Looking Up

15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

As with Artificial Heart and Lost in A Riddle, I was going for a mood and technique (mostly for the woods) inspired by Jon J Muth's work in his Dracula graphic novel. The trees are pretty good, but my autumnal forest floor could stand quite a bit of improvement. I think I might need a lighter touch. Still, I'm happy with how this painting turned out, creating the mysterious and melancholy mood I intended.

Some of my work on this painting was streamed live and you can watch a recording of that here.

And yes, I've used that reference photo of Sue once before...22 years ago.




22 October 2016

Artificial Heart

22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

I mention in this post the inspiration certain key artists that got me fired up about painting in general, and watercolours, specifically, but here I am, nearly 30 years later, starting to really learn from them.
The mood and the trees are heavily influenced by Jon J Muth's work in his Dracula graphic novel; it's my own scene, but I wanted to see if I could evoke even a tiny bit of Muthness in this painting. I think I did, in the trees, but the figures appear to be undeniably mine (for better or worse). I'm happy with the result.

Conceptual sketch.

In fact, it was after deeply considering the sketch above that I decided to go with a forest setting and carry that over to Things Are Looking Up and Lost in a Riddle.

Back in 2008 I did a very small series of paintings of some of my friends sitting on a green chair. The common idea was they all wore jeans, were barefoot, and my stained-glass-like matrix of geometric patterns was to feature prominently in the backgrounds as well as being seen through the subjects. This is Art and Lindy from one of the unused photos from our shoot for their painting.

For that series I also painted Krista, and Lisa. and Chris, and I shot Kimwun on a green chair during our Kitchen Warfare photo shoot, but I didn't get around to painting that back then...but I will be using two of the green chair photos I shot of her in a couple of upcoming watercolours as part of this current 13-painting run.


21 October 2016

Live Painting: 21 October 2016

Another video of me working on those two watercolours (Inside a Broken Clock 1 & 2) that I started in a video from a couple of days ago. This video is also very silent as I didn't have much to say, so feel free to listen to some music as you watch. Visually, among much else (like when I take a painting away to use a hair dryer on it to speed up the drying process and also to "lock-in" certain bits so they don't bleed into other areas and make a bland mess), there's a whole lotta denim going on...


My camera set-up is pretty hilarious when I do these Facebook videos because I have to elevate Krista's iPad high enough for a good view of the painting.

Documentation of my documentation.

The only thing that differentiates my set-up for recording my painting sessions and my normal painting sessions is the tall stack of books supporting and iPad. Behind that stack is my laptop for break time entertainment, illustration work, etc.



20 October 2016

Live Painting: 19 October 2016

For this live painting session, I decided not to prep too much before starting, so you can see exactly how I start a painting, therefore, the majority of the video (just under 2 hours) is me blocking in shadows with violet (actually, technically, Permanent Magenta). My commentary is sparse, as I spent the morning stacking firewood on the front porch (and was, therefore, pretty tired), plus, beyond "blocking in shadows," there's not much to say. Instead of silence (or worse, forced blathering) I had musical copyright-approved accompaniment from Supposubly.

The same technical issues from the previous Facebook video return and I manage to invert the camera before too long so you can actually see me painting (rather than seeing the back of my hand), but the reversed view continues, so I, again, appear to be left-handed (not that there's anything wrong with that).



The paintings being worked on are Inside a Broken Clock and Inside a Broken Clock 2, both featuring Kimwun and a certain waitress. The location is my former co-workers' house on Donlands I photographed for my Interiors series.



17 October 2016

Silence in Heaven

22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

The technical challenge here was to see if I could transform a silhouetted window to look as though the sun was beaming through it. Taking a cue from, and looking at artwork by, one of my favourite illustrators, Bernie Fuchs, I did the best I could. I think the hot spot turned out pretty well, considering I improvised the lighting in this scene. The lighting on the woman, on the other hand...

The model here is the same young woman I photographed when she was in City of Angels (her cast photo is in this post); I did a number of small mini posters featuring much of the cast, and some in their double roles.




14 October 2016

Live Painting: 14 October 2016

The video below is just under 90 minutes of me working on two watercolours which I live-streamed via Facebook...and provided dubious semi-instructive, mildly interesting "play-by-play" style commentary. Initial technical difficulties aside (the image orientation gets corrected pretty soon after the start), it's fairly watchable.

The footage is reversed so that I could monitor my framing using the iPad's screen, so it looks like I'm working left-handed, but I'm not (not that there's anything wrong with that).



For the curious: the painting with the flaming sword is titled Lost in a Riddle, and the autumnal painting is titled Things Are Looking Up, which are both part of a trio of Jon J Muth-inspired misty forest scenes along with Artificial Heart, and all three are part of my recent 13-painting watercolour project (of which, only two (yet-to-be-painted ones) are actually related).

For the curiouser: my previous painting using the same model ref as the one in the video (the autumnal scene) is If This Goes On... (from 1994!).


12 October 2016

With Fever You Will Have A Bout

22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

That's my friend and often-used model, Ashley, once again –this time apparently experiencing some kind of feverish delirium. Taking into account a couple of miscounts and do-overs (or whatever) this very well may be my fortieth painting featuring Ashley.

This a re-use of reference previously used for Pure as a Lover's Desire, Evil as a Murderer's Dream...which is, admittedly, third-season-Star-Trek-level of too long a title.

I used gesso for the wobbly circles and dots.

The title is borrowed from a line in Michael Penn's song Strange Season. I've borrowed from him before for these paintings (at least!): Virtuous or Virtual?, Close, Figment, and Wall.



09 October 2016

Stojan at Greenwood & Dundas

22" x 15", watercolour, 2016

My very first post for this blog was a portrait of my dad I painted in 2000 and, exactly four years later, I uploaded an improved scan of that painting for my 300th post. This is now my 700th blog post but it's not any anniversary of this blog...but today is my 45th birthday.

This is another portrait of my dad, painted from a photo taken about 45 years ago as he lights up a cigarette in front of our first house on Dundas, right across the street from Greenwood Park in Toronto. The photo captures a nice candid moment and I've wanted to paint this for a long time, but I'm not sure I successfully captured the coolness of the moment (or the coolness of that jacket!).




04 October 2016

Midsummer Night

15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

The outfit Ashley's wearing here is the same one as in Embroidering the Truth (a peasant dress from the Opera Carmen, which I had access to when I worked as a costumer for Malabar's Opera Department last decade).

Speaking of Carmen, I've painted Ashley wearing the actual and gorgeous Carmen dress several times: in a mock-up poster for the opera; a mural in a café in Picton; a monochromatic experiment in oils; my big Silver Jubilee painting; and a rather absurdly illustrative painting with elements from the opera itself.

I guess, technically, the stars should be out of focus like the background foliage because of the implied shallow depth of field...but if it's okay in a few shots in the Emperor's throne room in Return of the Jedi...

(only Palpatine should be in focus here)







03 October 2016

Zylstra Family Home

14" x 17", ink on Bristol board, 2016, private collection

This was a recent commission painted for the anniversary of a couple of friends, Clinton and Liz, who now live in this house just outside Picton.




30 September 2016

September Sketch Fest Part 56

Selections from Sketchbook #29 (2008).

These are experimental doodles drawn with flourescent highlighters. I drew in the highlights, leaving the paper alone for the shadows. When tilted at a certain angle, the negative effect is clear, but it wasn't until I photographed these sketches and inverted the colours in Photoshop that I got to see them as I had hoped they'd turn out all those years ago. It's a pretty neat effect!


Darth Vader (played by David Prowse) from 1977's Star Wars.


Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness) also from Star Wars.




Commander Adama (played by Lorne Greene) from the 1970s version of Battlestar Galactica.


Tron (played by Bruce Boxleitner) from 1982's Tron.


29 September 2016

September Sketch Fest Part 55

More selections from Sketchbook #29.


I like C-3PO.

I've been drawing Star Wars imagery since the first movie came out in 1977 when I would have been all of five years old (turning six in October of that year).

Preliminary sketches for (abandoned?) puppet show.

That's right: I was going to make a William Shatner-as-Kirk hand-and-rod puppet and perform Shakespeare monologues with it. I figured performing this material would be easy, since I could sorta do a passable Shatner impression and memorization* wouldn't be an issue because I could refer to the script while being hidden from view myself. I thought I might take it around to various venues in Prince Edward County, singing for my supper, so to speak...maybe open for real performers...

I hadn't (and still haven't) built a puppet of this kind, but once the idea entered my head and I started sketching, I grew more excited about the proposed project. Will it ever happen? Who knows? The night is still young...

Jim Kirk–on...tour?

It had to be Shatner in his Captain Kirk costume from Star Trek for recognizability and for fun. Making this kind of hand puppet would allow for a pretty good likeness, depending on my sculpting/modelling skills, but I began to feel that a sock puppet alternative would allow for greater expression. I guess it depends on the puppeteer; a good one could "act" well with the original design.

The inner workings.

Not that this was necessary, but my excitement got the best of me and I did this funny but redundant drawing showing how my hand would operate his head. It did, however, show potential scale issues relative to hand size.


WTF?

I don't remember exactly what this was supposed to be or what it was for, but a friend sub-contracted me to conjure up an illustration of a very complex geometric structure for a project he was working on. I realized this in the end in the computer using CorelDraw, but this preliminary drawing helped me to figure out what the heck was going on with all those curved planes. It's pretty –and pretty interesting, actually.




*Normally, my terror of having to memorize anything for a performance would sabotage any attempt at such and I would fail, miserably. I'm more confident speaking in front of a crowd if I know the material very well (like telling a story from my life) or if I could refer to notes (or both!).