September 9, 2014
Influences and inspirations
I ventured out of the studio the other evening to a social event which is always an interesting time for artists. While discussing some of the newer pieces I'm working on, someone asked me who my influences were. Like any good Canadian artist I cited the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Tom Thomson and they have all been powerful influences on my work. However, I have always been reluctant to mention some of the artists who have had a profound impact on my work as they are not traditional 'inspirations'. As a kid, I grew up reading a lot of comic books and watching a lot of movies. I became steeped in the works of cartoonists like Don Martin, Robert Crumb and Frank Miller. I fell in love with the conceptual drawings and paintings of Ralph McQuarrie and Mark Sullivan. Their exaggerated perspectives, use of bold lines and cartoon like composition became deeply embedded in my brain and I can now say with some certainty that it is because of their work that I'm drawn to the style of painting that I do. I've also learned that it is important not to feel ashamed about whose work influences you because you feel that it doesn't meet the standards of 'high art'. Anyone who puts pen to paper or brush to canvas is creating and should be celebrated for their efforts.
March 27, 2014
Free is good.
As an artist, I like to donate paintings to causes that I believe in. I recently donated two pieces to the Keyano College Fine Arts Program in Fort McMurray and a piece to benefit the UBC Creative Writing Program here in Vancouver. In an age where the arts are often the first budget lines to be cut, I feel that this is my way of giving back to a part of society that is under constant scrutiny for whether or not they are 'profitable.' Art by its very nature is one of the purest forms of expression that we have.
Whether it is writing, painting, sculpting, filmmaking, dancing or drawing, this is the stuff that fuels my soul. Life would be very bleak indeed without all these disciplines and more often than not, people do it out of a deep seeded passion rather than a desire to make a profit.
If there's a way I can help them do that, it only serves to enrich my own life and I'm more than happy to help; free of charge.
January 26, 2014
Thank you to my new and returning visitors
One of the great things about getting your paintings out into the world is the chance for people to see them. It seems a very simplistic interaction; the artist creates the work and the audience standing in front of the paintings respond to the work.
But what if your audience is a world away?
For this past exhibit I created a fairly wide-reaching online marketing campaign that targeted art lovers in my hometown of Vancouver and around the world. The results were immediate and surprising. My website received thousands of new hits from people clicking through the ads I had posted on Google and social media outlets. This of course translated into increased sales, but more importantly, more people saw the work than I could have ever hoped would see it physically in the gallery. Given the sculptural quality to my works, I always prefer that people see them in person as I believe that is the only way to truly appreciate them, but there is a tremendous satisfaction in knowing that someone who may not be able to attend a show, can also view them from Australia or China or Denmark.
In many respects, this small show at a beachside gallery in West Vancouver became an international show and I am thrilled that I was able to share the works with the world.
January 9, 2014
Terrific Opening Night!
Despite Mother Nature throwing a little rain our way (but fortunately keeping the king tide at bay), there was a wonderful turn out for opening night of the Flow show at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver on Tuesday evening. Many thanks to the staff, board and selection committee of the West Vancouver Community Arts Council who really helped make the night special. A very special thank you to past clients, friends and family who were able to make it out on a school night. It was wonderful to have you all there. While a few pieces are starting to sell, they will all be on display until January 26th if you want to come down and check them out.
January 4, 2014
Happy New Year!!!!
I finally had a minute to blog after feverishly prepping for the Silk Purse show for the past few weeks. As the load in date for the show nears, I thought it would be fun to talk a little about the process of how the 'pour' paintings came to be. Like many good things, the style came about as the result of an accident. While looking for self-levelling gel at Opus Artist Supply about a year ago I ended up purchasing something wrong and completely different from what I was looking for; pouring medium. Being in a somewhat lazy mood that day, I decided not to return the unopened bottle and instead started to experiment with the unknown substance. The first experiment was a piece I ended up naming "Grapefruit Moon...One Star Rising' after the lyrics of a Tom Waits song that also happened to be what I thought were the only recognizable shapes on the canvas. I had no idea about paint/medium ratios or what this new material could do. To my horror, most of it poured off the canvas and onto the floor. It also took the better part of three weeks for each colour to dry (a problem with my mixture ratios). Still, there was something fascinating about letting the mixture run and pour with only minor interventions from me. Subsequent efforts like 'Mount Currie' would see experimenting with colour mixing right on the canvas while pouring and my ability to negotiate the honey-like substance into recognizable images became more honed with each passing piece.
There are 22 pieces of pour art on display during the Silk Purse show. I am proud of the discoveries I've made along the way while painting in this style. While I don't feel that I've entirely mastered the technique, I do think I've developed methods that other painters looking to try their hands at 'pour' art can use in their own works and that fills me with great satisfaction.
If you're planning on coming down to the Silk Purse Show, I will be having an opening reception (wine and cheese) on Tuesday, January 7th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm. The show will then run until January 26. Directions and hours of operation can be found at www.silkpurse.ca
News on the group show 'Home' that I am participating in at the Scotia Creek Gallery in Whistler which runs from February 14-March 28 will follow in my next blog posting.
December 12. 2013
As expected, things have been very busy around the study with Christmas sales and preparing for the January show at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver. I'm anticipating having roughly 18-22 pieces on display during the show and would love to see you at the opening reception. Opening night will be Tuesday, January 7th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. If you haven't been to the Silk Purse Gallery before, it is a lovely little spot right beside the ocean in the Ambleside area of West Vancouver (http://silkpurse.ca/contact/)
We'll have wine and cheese available free of charge on opening night and I'll be there to answer any questions you might have. All the pieces are available for purchase. Please RSVP me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're planning to attend.
Also, the clock is ticking if you're planning to attend my workshop at Opus Art Supplies in North Vancouver this weekend. It is running on December 14th between 2:00pm and 4:00pm.
Please contact the store if you would like to attend.
November 9, 2013
Preparing for a January solo show
January is going to be an interesting and very busy time with a solo show at the Silk Purse Art Gallery in West Vancouver and the installation of two pieces ('Reader In The Woods' and 'Calm Before The Storm') at the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre. I'll also be doing a seminar on pour art at the North Vancouver Opus Art Supply location on December 14th (2:00pm to 4:00pm) if anyone wants to learn how to paint without brushes or just hang out at an art supply store on a Saturday afternoon. The carnival themed pieces are now complete and available to view on the paintings section of this website. There are five pieces in total and can be purchased as a set or as individual pieces. What a great addition to your brand new modern condo or contemporary home!
Getting ready for the January show means lots of new pour art being produced all inspired by our local mountains, ocean and forests. Plenty of pieces will be available in all different shapes and sizes. The show runs January 7-26 and I would love to see you there.
October 5, 2013
Changing of the themes
For those who have been following the changes in my painting methods over the last year, you've probably noticed that I've stuck with the landscapes (mostly) and by-passed the brushes. The technique I have been using is a combination of pouring mediums (liquid polymers), acrylic paints and a host of other mediums to control the subsequent flow of the materials. It's an extremely challenging way to create images (mostly on horizontal planes) with each colour having to be laid in one at a time and allowed to dry for up to 9 hours before the next colour can be applied. As far as I know, I'm one of the only people who paints like this and I'm excited by the results. The public response has also been very good, but I'm about to take things in a different direction again.
I've always liked the imagery found at circuses and traveling carnivals. The bright colours lend themselves well to painting subjects. For my particular style of painting, they are almost tailor-made. A trip to Luna Park in Melbourne with my wife many years ago planted this seed in my imagination and now I feel it's time to reap what I've sown. My next works will delve into this colourful world with bold compositions that are sure to surprise.
I'm looking forward to showing them to you all.
September 22, 2013
Changing of the seasons
Autumn is curious time for painters. The frenzy of the summer selling is over and a great migration takes place with painters heading back to their studios to prepare for the Christmas rush. As most of my works can only be created in the studio it feels like I never left. Right now I'm in the process of creating two large pieces for the West Vancouver Cultural Affairs office that will be on display at the West Vancouver Community Aquatics Centre in January. The theme for this exhibit is 'shelter from the elements'. It seems rather appropriate as I hunker down in my studio and listen to the steady fall of rain outside. These two works are particularly meaningful to me and I'm really looking forward to introducing them into the world at such a public venue.
I've also just been notified that I will be part of a two artist exhibit at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver in January. As I get more details, I will be sure to post them on this blog.
Thanks for following.
August 16, 2013
The exchange of ideas.
There is something immediate and gratifying about showing your work in public. When face to face with crowds of onlookers, you get instant feedback about what is working in your art and what is not. People have a gut reaction to art where they immediately like it or dislike it. If they like it, chances are pretty good that they will open up a discussion with you (if you're lucky enough to be present when they see it). These discussions can reveal things to an artist that they may never have considered when creating the original work. For most artists, this is a fascinating process and one that keeps the creative tanks filled. Art can be a solitary profession and the chance to talk about finished pieces with members of the public is often as good as selling the pieces themselves.
If you you're walking by an art show where the artist is present, stop by and have a talk about the works. Don't feel like you have to buy anything. You'll find that most artists are anxious to chat and you may learn something about their perspective on the world and they may learn something about yours.
This exchange of ideas can be beneficial for both the viewer and the artist alike.
Give it a try.
Solo Show - Silk Purse Art Gallery in West Vancouver
January 7-26, 2014
Installation of two pieces ('Reader In The Woods' and 'Calm Before The Storm') January 2014
Painter's Landing - Ambleside Beach
West Vancouver (I'm out most weekends during July and August from 10am to 5pm). You can usually find me at 15th and Argyle Ave., but I will sometimes set up next to the Ferry Building Gallery just one block east.