painting and photographic works

painting

Autumn Pastels (part 1)

I love the media of pastel – for the rich color and soft shapes that can be depicted. Autumn is a great time to be inspired by the natural landscape, to find images particularly suited to pastels:

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Those people familiar with my work probably correctly guessed that the images above are not pastel works but rather are abstract photos that I took and created, with the intent of using them as reference images for future pastel paintings.


The “2012-08” Series

In August of 2012 I started a small series of large canvases. This series  of abstract paintings were all done on 91 by 121 cm (3 x 4 feet) canvasses. I used generous amounts of gel with the acrylic paints for think, juicy textures. The color palette was restricted to the primaries, plus black and white.

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“2012-08-01” acrylic on canvas, 91 by 121 cm, 2012

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“2012-08-02” acrylic on canvas, 91 by 121 cm, 2012

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“2012-08-03” acrylic on canvas, 91 by 121 cm, 2012

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“2012-08-04” acrylic on canvas, 91 by 121 cm, 2012

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“2012-08-05” acrylic on canvas, 91 by 121 cm, 2012

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“2012-08-06” acrylic on canvas, 91 by 121 cm, 2012


Mountains (a Series – Part 2)

In this part 2, I share more mountain paintings, a few more from the Banff region with a couple more based on reference photos from when I cycled the “Golden Triangle” in May of 2010.

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“Sun Play II”, oil on hardboard, 41 by 30 cm, 2009

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“Mountains Over Vermilion River”, oil on hardboard, 30 by 41 cm, 2010

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“Mountain’s Edge”, oil on hardboard, 51 by 61 cm, 2009

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“On the Ridge”, oil on canvas, 46 by 46 cm, 2010

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“Rocky Mountain Serene” oil on canvas, 23 x 30 cm, 2009

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untitled, oil on hardboard, 20 by 30 cm, 2009


Mountains (a Series – Part 1)

Living in the Canadian province of Alberta, the Rocky mountains have always been nearby and not an infrequent subject for my art (although not nearly as much as I would like). In this 2-part blog post I will share my take on mountains as subjects for landscape paintings.

All of the works in this “Part 1” were painted in August 2009 when I spent a week at the Banff Centre.

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“Twisted Stone”, Oil on hardboard, 30 by 41 cm, 2009

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“Mountain Mystery”, oil on canvas, 61 by 41 cm, 2009

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“Long Shadows on Tunnel Mountain”, oil on hardboard, 30 by 41 cm, 2009

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“Bow Valley from Tunnel Mountain”, oil on hardboard, 41 by 30 cm, 2009

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“Sun Play (Banff)”, oil on hardboard, 61 by 51 cm, 2009

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“Banff Evening Solitude”, oil on canvas, 51 by 76 cm, 2009


Lines (an Abstract Painting Series)

This small series from the autumn of 2012 was an exploration of mark making into the wet surface of an oil-painted canvas:

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“Marks”, oil on hardboard, 30 by 30 cm, 2012

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“Fall”, Oil on canvas, 46 by 46 cm, 2012

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“Lines in a Field”, oil on hardboard, 30 by 30 cm, 2012

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“Spirals”, Oil on canvas, 46 by 46 cm, 2012

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“Maxwell”, Oil on hardboard, 61 by 61 cm, 2012


West Coast Trees (Painting Series)

In my previous blog post I shared a series of my landscape paintings of scenes from Canada’s west coast.  Again, these were painted around 1992, in fact these paintings were intermingled with the more open coastal scenes done during the same period.

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“Candles in the Rain”, acrylic on hardboard, 51 by 61 cm, 1992

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“Red Trees”, acrylic on hardboard, 36 by 38 cm, 1992

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“Red Path and Trees (study)”, acrylic on hardboard, 51 by 61 cm, 1992

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“In the Darkness Grows”, acrylic on hardboard, 36 by 38 cm, 1992

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“Together”, acrylic on canvas, 51 by 61 cm, 1992


West Coast (a Painting Series)

In around 1992 after visits to Canada’s west coast (particularly the Gulf Islands), I produced, perhaps my favorite series of paintings. This collection featured trees(and/or driftwood), shorelines and often active skies. My works at this time may show signs of influence from the paintings of Emily Carr.

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“Bending to the Sky”, acrylic on hardboard, 61 by 61 cm, 1992

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“Windswept”, acrylic on hardboard, 51 by 61 cm, 1992

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“Red Leaning”, acrylic on hardboard, 12 by 15 cm, 1992

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“Waiting on Island View Beach”, acrylic on canvas, 61 by 76 cm, 1992

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“Turning Sky”, acrylic on canvas, 61 by 61 cm, 1992


Night Train (a Series)

This painting series was a bit unique for me. It had a common theme in terms of the subject matter – all of the images were drawn from what I saw (and captured with photos) during the night while on a train between Edmonton and Vancouver in November of 2007. What was unique for me was the use of oil pastel on a number of the works, and oil paint on a couple of larger ones.

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“Rolling Through the Night”, oil on canvas, 41 by 51 cm, Nov 2008

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“November Rockies Dusk”, oil pastel on paper, 23 x 30 cm, 2009

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“Passing in the Night”, oil pastel on paper, 23 x 30 cm, 2008

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“Night Siding”, oil pastel on paper, 23 x 30 cm, 2009

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“Dawn Arrival”, oil pastel on paper, 23 x 30 cm, 2009

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“Supporting the Dawn”, oil pastel on paper, 30 x 23 cm, 2008

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“Morning Train into Vancouver “, oil on hardboard, 61 x 71 cm, 2008


Riverdale (a painting Series)

In the early 1990’s I did a series of paintings of the Riverdale community, in Edmonton’s river valley.

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“Tree Frog Press”, acrylic on hardboard, 30 by 41 cm, 1991

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“Bird Bath”, acrylic on canvas, 61 by 51 cm, 1992

One of the most distinguishing features of the community at the time was the large, undeveloped tract of land that belonged to the historic Little Brick factory,  By the end of the decade those fields would be redeveloped to look like suburbia, but at the time it lent a rural charm to this area, just a kilometer from downtown.

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“Old Brickyard Field”, acrylic on canvas, 51 by 61 cm, 1992

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“Old Brickyard Road” acrylic on canvas, 51 by 61 cm, 1992

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“The Little Brick House”, acrylic on hardboard, 28 by 36 cm, 1991

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“The Rink Shack”, acrylic on canvas, 51 by 61 cm, 1992

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“Sun on 92nd Street”, acrylic on hardboard, 36 by 38 cm, c. 1992

A decade and half later I would revisit this series with a few more paintings of the community:

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“Summer Morning on 91st Street”, oil on hardboard, 51 by 61 cm, 2008

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“Riverdale Garage (winter sunlight)”, oil on canvas, 41 by 51 cm, 2008


Earth Light Tapestries Series (part 3)

This blog post shares the last eight works of my 24-piece Earth Light Tapestries series of paintings. The first 16 pieces were shared in Parts 1 and 2 of this blog post.

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“Earth Light Tapestry XVII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XVIII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XIX”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XX”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XXI”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XXII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XXIII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

The 24th (final) piece in this series was completed in July 2007, about 8 months after the start. About half of the series formed a solo exhibition at the Gallery at Milner (Library in Edmonton) in November of 2009.

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“Earth Light Tapestry XXIV”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)


Earth Light Tapestries Series (part 2)

In this blog post, I present the middle third (pieces 9 – 16) of my 2006/7 Earth Light Tapestries series of abstract paintings. (The first 8 pieces are shown in Part 1 of this blog post)

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“Earth Light Tapestry IX”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry X”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XI”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XIII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XIV (The Sun King)”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XV”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry XVI”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

The final group of paintings from this series can be seen in part 3 of this blog post.


The Earth Light Tapestries Series (Part 1)

The non-representational (abstract) painting series which I called “Earth Light Tapestries was my largest and most deliberate series. I began the series in late 2006 and finished in early 2007. A dozen pieces from this series were exhibited in a solo show at the Milner Library in Edmonton in November of 2009.

From the start, I set out with the goal to paint 24 pieces, each which would be 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm) in size. I used acrylic paints with the intent to be experimental with textures and additives. The “earth” in the series title refers to the “earth” pigments (ochres, umbers, sienna, etc.) that dominated the colors through this series.

The pieces were just given numerical titles (in roman numerals) corresponding to the order in which they were created.

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“Earth Light Tapestry I”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry II”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry III”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry IV (Windy City Sand Storm)”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

The “sand” reference in “IV” comes from the texture which was created by the mixing a fine sand into the paint and gel media.

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“Earth Light Tapestry V”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry VI”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry VII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

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“Earth Light Tapestry VIII”, acrylic on hardboard, 24 by 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)

The rest of the pieces in this painting series are presented in Parts 2 and 3 of this blog post series.


Alberta Landscapes (Painting Series, Before and After 2010)

In my previous blog post I shared my Alberta landscape paintings from the particularly busy year of 2010. In this post, I share my landscape works from a couple years before and after that year.

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“Red Deer Field and Trees (study)”, oil on hardboard, 20 x 25 cm, 2007

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“Canola Fields I”, oil on canvas, 51 x 76 cm, 2008

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“Canola Fields II”, oil on canvas, 76 x 51 cm, 2008

(See the previous blog post for Alberta landscape paintings from the year 2010)

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“North Saskatchewan River”, oil on canvas, 61 x 91 cm, 2011

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“Storm Approaches” acrylic on hardboard, 61 x 91 cm, 2012

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“Dark Treeline”, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 91 cm, 2012

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“Bend in the North Saskatchewan River”, water color on paper, 10 x 15 cm, 2012


Alberta Landscapes – 2010 (a Painting Series)

Although landscapes are a theme I have always painted, there are periods when they become a particular focus. In around 2010, I developed a new series of landscapes from my home province of Alberta. Most of these again depict the prairies and parkland that dominates the central region of the province. I was painting primarily with oils during this period and this series was painted in the studio.

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“Vanishing Prairie”, oil on hardboard, 31 x 41 cm, 2010

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“Beside the Highway”, oil on canvas, 23 x 30 cm, 2010

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“August Prairie and Sky”, oil on canvas, 76 x 51 cm, 2010

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“Flat Prairie Horizon”, oil on canvas, 41 x 51 cm, 2010

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“Prairie and Forest”, oil on canvas, 45 x 61 cm, 2010

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Prairie Exit”, oil on canvas, 51 x 41 cm, 2010

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Prairie Gold”, oil on canvas, 46 x 61 cm, 2010

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“Prairie Hay”, oil on hardboard, 30 x 41 cm, 2010

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“Prairie’s Edge”, oil on hardboard, 30 x 41 cm, 2010

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“Sheltered Prairie”, oil on canvas, 41 x 51 cm, 2010

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“Through the Trees”, oil on canvas, 41 x 51 cm, 2010


Alberta Landscapes – 1990 (a Painting Series)

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the subject matter of my painting  was primarily landscapes, and more specifically the prairies, parkland and foothills of central part of Alberta.

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“Approaching Prairie Storm”, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 91 cm, c. 1989

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“Central Alberta Summer Horizon”, acrylic on hardboard, 61 x 41 cm, c. 1989

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“Central Alberta Landscape”, acrylic on hardboard, 46 x 61 cm, 1992

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“Red Deer College”, acrylic on canvas, 91 x 121 cm, c. 1989

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“Restless Foothills”, acrylic on hardboard, 41 x 61 cm, 1991

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“Road to the Rockies”, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 91 cm, 1991

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“Rolling Prairie with Fence”, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 91 cm, 1991

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“Southern Alberta Foothills”, acrylic on canvas, 51 x 91 cm,  1991

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“Thunder Cloud”, acrylic on hardboard, 20 x 25 cm, c. 1990

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“Stripey Fields”, acrylic on hardboard, 41 x 61 cm, 1988


Whales Atrium (a Painting Series)

One of my weirdest (and by weird I mean quirky and fun) painting series was the abstract group of paintings that I did in 2010 and which I called “Whales Atrium”*. In this series I played around with various acrylic media and additive in a very exploratory and undirected way. Other than the lack of any direction other than to experiment, the common element to the 12 paintings in this series is the size – all works are on 30 by 30 cm (12 inch) hardboard panels.

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“Eggman”

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“English Garden”

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“Ga Joob”

i-am-he-feb-10-aohb-12x12-web-2x

“I am He”

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“If the Sun Don’t Shine”

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“I’m Crying”

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“Penguin Singing”

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“See How They Fly”

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“See How They Run”

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“Sitting on a Cornflake”

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“Smile Like Pigs”

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“The Joker Laughs”

Don’t try to read too much into the titles of these works, they were largely an afterthought.

* I am still waiting for someone to “get” the significance of this series title. Let me know if you think you do.


Auvergne (Painting Series) – part 2

In Part 1, I shared some plein air paintings I made during a 3 week stay in a small village in the Auvergne region of central France. I was captivated by the area and it continued to be an influence on my painting for years. Not only did I paint while there but I also sketched and took many photos. These references and my memories inspired these paintings:

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“Montaigut” oil on hardboard, 61 x 41 cm, c. 1986

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“Steve Painting in Field”, acrylic on hardboard, 46 x 61 cm, c. 1986

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“Evening Stroll Back to Montaigut”, acrylic on canvas, 51 x 76 cm, c. 1988

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“Auvergne Landscape”, acrylic on hardboard, 46 x 61 cm, 1984 AoM

There are a few other paintings I have done of rural France that I count in this series, although I can’t be sure the scenes are from my 1984 visit to Auvergne or from another of my two trips to France during the eighties.

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“Country Road”, acrylic on hardboard, 41 x 30 cm, c. 1985

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“Maison dans la Campagne”, acrylic on canvas, 46 x 30 cm, c. 1986

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“Red Roof in French Landscape”, acrylic on hardboard, 30 x 46 cm, c. 1988


Auvergne (Painting Series) – part 1

The creation of my first painting series (a group of works based on a common theme and style), was an important point for my artistic development. In August of 1984 I attended a “Painting in France” course put on by Paul Deggan (in conjunction with  Capilano College in Vancouver). I and three other students stayed at Deggan’s home / art studio in the small, medieval village of Montaigut-le-Blanc in central France (the Auvergne region). For three weeks (after a week in Paris) we explored and painted this picturesque village (with it’s old chateau,  a church and village walls) and surrounding rural areas.

The paintings in Part 1 of this series blog post are works that were painted “en plein air”, right there looking directly at the scene.

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“Countryside View from Chateau” Oil on canvas board 45 x 56 cm

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“L’Eglise”, oil on canvas board 33 x 41 cm

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“In the Field”, oil on canvas board, 28 x 41 cm

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“Arch in Montaigut-le-Blanc” – oil on canvas board, 38 x 56 cm

A number of other paintings were created as part of this series but they were done after the trip, back in the studio, from sketches and reference photos. These other paintings are featured in part 2 of this blog.


The North (Painting Series)

In 2009, I painted a series inspired by a train trip from Toronto to Edmonton in December of 2008. The first day and a half of the trip covered southern and northern (northwest) Ontario (actually not very far north in terms of Canada’s geography but feeling very far removed compared to the Toronto region). I took many photos of the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield to use as  reference images for paintings. As a series this is one of my personal favorites. Here are the key works:

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“Evening from the Canadian”, oil on canvas, 61 by 122 cm (24×48″), 2009

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“Leaning”, oil on canvas, 41 by 41 cm (16×16″), 2009

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“Northern Survivor”, oil on canvas, 51 by 76 cm (20 x 30″), 2009

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“Winter Sunrise on the Rails”, oil on canvas, 61 by 61 cm (24 x 24″), 2009

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“December Sunset (Northern Ontario)”, oil on canvas, 61 by 61 cm (24×24″), 2009

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“Leaning II”, oil on canvas, 61 by 61 cm (24×24″), 2009

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“Northern Sunset Over Unknown Lake”, oil on canvas, 61 by 91 cm (24×36″), 2009


Twitter Art Exhibit 2016

I am participating again in the Twitter Art Exhibit. I mailed my postcard-sized painting today. It should comfortably get to New York by the March 11 deadline.
Here’s an image of my piece, entitled “Restless”:

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This, the sixth, Twitter Art Exhibit runs March 31 to April 21 (2016) at the Trygve Lie Gallery in New York City.

Like all of the preceding Twitter art exhibitions, the works are donated by artists from around the world and sold, with proceeds going to charity. There is no theme for the exhibit (the only thread connecting the exhibit is that all of the artists are on Twitter), so the range of works is mind boggling. To get a feel for the diversity, look inside the book featuring the works from the 2014 Twitter Art Exhibit that was held in Orlando.

The first Twitter Art Exhibit was held in 2010 in Moss, Norway, the hometown of founder David Sandum (@DavidSandumArt), after he called upon his many international artist friends on Twitter. The rest as they say is history.

My Twitter handle is: @RandallTT


A Kick in Your Creative Pants

Do you ever find yourself wanting to ( perhaps even needing to) do something different with your painting – but are feeling blocked, just unable to get started? One solution may be as near as your smartphone.
Specifically I am suggesting that you use some common photo apps with built-in transformative filters. Take a standard image and then apply a filter or six to see what happens. I’m not suggesting just painting the transformed photo but you might start off that way and once you creative juices are flowing, use that first painting as a jumping off point for a second.
These are some variations I came up with using the Cameraringo app on my Android device:

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To me each of these variations suggests a different  approach/media/color palette that I could use, and once applied to one image I’d likely carry the idea across to a little series.

Incidentally, here is the original image that spawned the five variations shown above:

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A Studio to Call your Own – Reminiscing

A year ago I was packing up the studio that I’d called “my space” for 16 months. It was hard. I came to the reluctant decision that I had to move out of lovely studio space.

It was May of 2014 when I noticed a sign on the outside of a historic (over a century old) building in downtown Edmonton, a comfortable half hour walk from my home.

Studios were located on the 3rd and 4th floors, in a variety of sizes. I was able to get a very generous space of over 400 square feet. That amount of space was very beneficial to me. Of course it meant that I didn’t have to clean up after every creative session, packing away wet materials and works in progress. It meant that I could set up separate work spaces for my two main painting medias: oil and acrylic.

First into the studio space – my oils

The space gave me room to get, and keep, organized. A set of shelves, behind my work table and next to an easel were dedicated to my acrylic paints and media.

Acrylics Shelf

A similar set-up of shelves, table and easel on the other side of the room was dedicated to oils:

Studio Divided

The space allowed me to work larger than I had been. Canvases of 3 by 4 feet (90 by 120 cm) became my standard and I assembled some even larger stretchers (but never did get around to putting canvas on them).

Big Stretchers

Even with the two work spaces,  I still had lots of floor space to use when I needed to paint on the floor, to build stretchers or for varnishing.

Paintings on the floor for varnishing

In the end it was time to retreat to a much smaller home studio, disassembling shelves and stretchers and hauling out many carloads of supplies and many mostly-completed paintings

Packed up and Ready to go

Packed up and Ready to go

And in the end that highly creative space reverts to just a space.

The Final View - Empty Studio

The Final View – Empty Studio (like in the beginning)

A year later I can see ever so clearer how important that space was. Although I do have some space at home that I am re-converting into a working studio, progress has been very slow. I didn’t paint at all for half a year. Finally I cleared out a little space and created 3 works. Now I am back into re-organizing mode that will hopefully give me room for a couple of easels and two distinct little work areas (one for acrylics and one for oils, with a third, a small table for pastel work).

The other important function of that studio space was storage. I had lots of space for materials – for stretcher bars and canvas rolls, for primed canvases and boards, for paintings in various states of progress, completed works awaiting varnish and framing and exhibition-ready pieces. Now I have all these things stored around my house in different rooms, paintings stacked up, eight deep, against walls and bookshelves. My ultimate goal is to make my studio space just a working space – the storage issue is a whole other problem that I will have to address. I suppose someday it will all come together …


Killing the Plein Air Mood

It was a beautiful sunny morning after a couple of cooler days. It was also my last opportunity to gather some plein air images for printing. What type of landscape I wanted to capture, I wasn’t sure, but I was confident I’d know it when I saw it.

Perhaps a receding fenceline?image Or a grassy field backed by the forest: image Maybe a bending path: image Or a little creek image There’s a tree with some character worth capturing: image Maybe some wild flowers? image A path through the shaded woods? image Ah finally, this is it: image A colorful edge of a field with some attractive curving lines. I walked up and down the bit of trail overlooking this scene. There was no great place to sit so I chose a spot in the grass at the side of the trail. I got out my watercolor paint sticks and yupo sheet and sat down. But, image What’s that … an ant? No not AN ant, hundreds of them. The ground was swarming with them. They were soon all over the supplies that I had set down on the ground and before I knew it they were also crawling over me! I picked up my stuff and frantically started brushing off the ants as I got the heck out of there. My initial thought was to move along and find a nearby place to try again – but I was spooked! I ended up deciding to just collect some photos for future reference and head back to the (safety and comfort of the) studio.


Photographic References for Abstract Painting?

It has become quite common (an pretty much acceptable) for artists to paint from photographic references rather than from a model in the studio or from a landscape “en plein air”. But do photographs have any value to an “abstract” painter? Well, for me they certainly do. One of my favorite forms of photography is abstractions, especially  those that push to the edge of non-representational-ism. Through the use of camera-motion and long exposures, with a bit of post-processing to enhance colors and contrast (and some cropping), I regularly come of with images that I will use to inspire my paintings. Here are some recent examples (all are photographs) that I can’t help thinking would make dramatic largish paintings on canvases/boards/paper in acrylic, oil or pastel.

Spot Lit

Surreal Manuscript

Light on Blue

Light on Blue

Cubist Portrait

Cubist Portrait

Base

Base

Sweep

Sweep

My painting are yet to come out of any of these images and I’m not sure how related the final work might appear in comparison to these references but some day I shall tackle them.