Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Olympic Gold

I finished today the acrylic painting I've been working on to complete my Olympic ice hockey series. This particular piece I had a hard time envisioning when I first decided I was going to take it on. All I had in mind was a portrayal of Olympic gold victory - and to make the image nondescript as to whether it was a men's or women's victory:

So this is how I began:
I decided that the final image would remain in the abstract (but less cartoony!), remain nondescript, but that I needed to do something to make the colours more accessible as bold whites and reds can often be too bold for one's home decor!


So I painted in my detail, and then layered on paint using my palette knives of various shapes and sizes to neutralize to some extent the bright colours and make my final image. The highlights of gold are intentional - to show past Olympic golds for Canada, and in hopes of future golds to come, perhaps in 2010 (touch wood). This painting will hang proudly in my home, unless with some luck for me (touch wood again), I can find a place to display this proudly during the Vancouver 2010 games. Go Canada Go!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Team Canada Hockey

Because of the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, I decided to start a small series of drawings focussed on winter sports, with the hopes of being able to showcase some of my work around the timing for the Games. Here are some ink drawings I've been working on over the course of the last two months based on images I've collected of Team Canada victories in both men's and women's ice hockey. No doubt 2010 will bring more victories for Canada in hockey, and many other winter sports areas. My hope is to also put together an abstract acrylic painting to go with this theme - I hope to start that this weekend in fact.

Here are 3 of the images I've worked on recently, using my "texture factory" technique using pen and ink:
Breakaway - Team Canada Hockey series, Vancouver 2010

Pen and Ink Drawing










Goal! - Team Canada Hockey series, Vancouver 2010

Pen and Ink Drawing









Team Victorious - Team Canada Hockey series, Vancouver 2010

Pen and Ink Drawing

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vancouver By Night

After about a week of having this canvas almost complete, hanging on my wall, I determined what I needed to "fix" to finish the piece. And now here it is, a finished painting! I darkened up the sky and the mountains and brightened up the sea-wall to make it look later in the evening, and more lights being necessary. More outlines were created as well to give the buildings a "clean" yet abstract look. I'm very pleased with it - it's bold, it makes a statement, and it looks stunning on my dining room wall. I believe I was successful in making the city lights come to life. Please see my previous post for more information on my artist process:

Now onto some new projects.... stay tuned!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vancouver By Night - a work in progress...

This is still a work in progress, but I'm happy with it so far. This is the largest canvas I've worked on in a while - so large that I can't work on it off my easel. The trouble is that I can't then leave it out when I'm not working on it, and have the ability to analyze it informally (i.e., whilst having a meal or watching TV). So since I reached this point of completion, I hung it up on the wall, even though it's not *done* (but will be soon enough, I'm sure). Since then I've painted more on it whilst it's hanging up on the wall (those additions are not shown here) and intend of doing more of the same this week.

When I first envisioned this piece, I thought, ok, neutral colours, but yet an outstanding large piece for my dining room.... I've been quite successful with other cityscapes such as Vancouver and Canada Place so thought I'd try it again but larger scale. I aimed for abstraction as doing fine detail on such a large piece would take a lot longer than my motivation and interest would allow. As always, my thoughts on the piece evolved as I worked on it - deviating further and further away from the thoughts of neutral colours. I've decided to go bold, as per my usual style, and it's looking great on the wall!

I've decided to do some work on the mountains and the sky to darken them up a bit to further the illusion of it being a night scene. Will post the final image when it's complete, but I'd love to get feedback of the progress up until now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Textured Flowers - the final version

And here it is, just completed. Scroll down to my last post from earlier today where I explain the origins of this piece (a drawing with ink workshop I facilitated in June 2009).

Drawing with Ink Workshop

I had two very successful ink drawing classes over the month of June. Unfortunately when a class is only 2 sessions long, and each one presents a new project, it's impossible for me to "borrow" participant work for me to scan or photograph and display samples on this blog for the world to see. The only way to document work is to either photograph during class, or trust that when participants complete their projects on their own time, that they will indeed email me! If any of you are reading this, please please email me! :-)

I really enjoyed this class. The first session there were five participants, but only three for the second as two couldn't make both days. Luckily each day included a separate project. On the first day we explored the properties of ink drawing - it's either black, or not. So how does one get "gray" and show depth? We discussed and tried out as a class the basic tested-and-true methods of stippling, hatching, and cross-hatching. The project for the day was tracing over a photocopied black and white landscape and incorporating these techniques. I could tell people were apprehensive about tracing (because isn't that cheating?), but once they started, they warmed to the idea and understood that this was a way of practicing technique whilst practically guaranteeing positive results aesthetically. And each of the five participants and my own demo version turned over completely different interpretations - six unique artistic pieces traced from the same original piece. Wild!

On the second day, participants took their confidence in drawing a lovely landscape (they were kind enough to bring their completed projects back the second day to show me!) to the next level in drawing their next big project. Me being a huge fan of the texture drawings, decided to show them how its done so they can create their own interpretation. They had the choice of bringing their own image in for inspiration, but nobody did. So instead, each chose an image from what I provided: a set of flowers, an old-fashioned car, or a portrait of an elderly lady. The results were very very positive, everybody was happy with their work, I was super excited (and still am excited). I hope that they email me the results or choose to come to another class I hold in order to share the completed works with me.

Here's the picture I worked on whilst the participants worked on theirs. I thought I might as well keep working after already using a page for the demo. I intend on finishing this project tonight as soon as I've had my supper because I'm pleased with the results so far:


So yes, I will be holding more workshops at Riley Park in the fall. These classes were a pilot run through and were successful! So even though I've now relocated to North Vancouver and would like to set up artistic connections here (am currently seeking opportunities), I believe strongly in honouring commitments and taking further what I've begun at Riley Park. Future workshops will have more sessions in order to enable more in-depth exploration of media and completion of projects.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Drawing with Charcoal - Workshop #2

Second workshop was also a success. We began by drawing still lifes of apples, as a warm-up. It was a good activity - because here we were taking a full colour object and turning it to grayscale, while also trying to show depth and shape using shading as well, using lessons learned last class. After some successful apples were drawn, we moved onto projects, which too were very good, based on images I brought to class. Feedback I received was all positive, and looking forward to more workshops in future! Stay tuned.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Drawing with Charcoal: Workshop #1

Today was my first Drawing With Charcoal workshop at Riley Park Community Centre. It was a really fun class. The participants self-identified themselves as not being able to draw, and wanting to learn some techniques. By the end of the class, they felt relaxed and that they learned something valuable. I had a great time! The focus was experimentation, and exploring tonal values.

We started the class with some experimentation with the medium - charcoal twigs versus compressed charcoal. We also played around with blender sticks, and my favourite tool for charcoal - the kneadable eraser, which allows you to form your eraser into whatever shape you want it to, and then erase or add light/remove shadow in even the littlest nooks and crannies. To me the blender and eraser are invaluable tools, and equally as much media themselves used in conjuntion with charcoal. Its as much about manipulating what's already on the page with these tools, moving it around, discovering new tonal values, and so on, as it is adding actual charcoal medium to the page.

In terms of what the students drew, they traced out some geometric shapes, and turned the 2D to 3D shapes on paper with shading and light values alone (ie., a flat circle becomes a sphere with shading). We then moved onto drawing 2 side-by-side 3D boxes. With shading and light values alone again would show one box being open and hollow, and the other being closed off and solid. This was a very valuable exercise that they enjoyed doing.

We ended the lesson with a shift in focus - from using shading and tonal values to show depth, shape, and and almost scientific or mathematical reality, to being about something without rules, more room for the mind to wander -- something more abstract in nature. It was an exercise to provide food for thought, and something to work at between now and next week's session. I'm excited to see what comes out of next week.

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In June, I will be teaching a 2-session workshop on Drawing With Ink at Riley Park Community Centre. This is one of my favourite media, so I hope you as a reader of my blog will consider signing up as it will be a lot of fun! My classes are really designed for all levels and no experience is necessary. You will be challenged, but only in amounts that will benefit you and only according to your individual artistic level of comfort :-)

To register, click here and use the activity search tool

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Monday Night Art Series

16+ years


Anyone can draw! This workshop series will guide you through the basics of drawing and practice techniques while working on drawing projects that are both unique and attractive. Workshops explore techniques with pencil, ink, and charcoal. No experience in drawing necessary.


Drawing with Pencil

M 7:15 PM-9:00 PM Apr 06 & Apr 20 $50.00/2 sessions


Drawing with Charcoal

M 7:15 PM-9:00 PM May 04 & May 11 $50.00/2 sessions


Drawing with Ink

M 7:15 PM-9:00 PM Jun 01 & Jun 15 $50.00/2 sessions

Monday, April 27, 2009

Current Projects

Well, I'm in a bit of a hiatus with painting, I must admit. I think a lot has to do with a lack of space in my current dwelling, which means that once I complete a painting, I have to find a place to squeeze it into my closet, as I have no leftover wall-space (all taken up with paintings already), and no storage at all. I think much of this challenge will disappear once I've moved into my new home (which I just bought!!!!), have walls that are asking for paintings, plus storage space for ones not currently displayed. I'll actually have the ability to rotate what I exhibit privately in my home. The sunny weather and the covered patio will allow for airy and inspiring work space. And I'm also starting to think about creative venues for exhibiting my work publically.

So yes, I've just bought a home, and will be moving in there in about 3 weeks time, meaning energy is going to be consumed by the packing, moving, and unpacking stage. However mixed into this will be some creative outlets, with two upcoming projects:

First is my art workshops at Riley Park Community Centre that I'll be teaching May 4 & 11 as well as two sessions in June. April's didn't go ahead because of registration numbers, but May's (on charcoal drawing techniques) is scheduled to do so. I've enjoyed curriculum planning, and now working on some samples to show (as finished works based on each demo). I'm excited about the outcomes, and anticipate reporting here on it.

Second is my new home! The previous owners did an interesting job of painting it (certainly far from my tastes), so it's presented me with needing to paint before I move in. Of course many would think this as a chore and an added expense. While that may be true, I consider it to be an opportunity to make this place my own and a statement of sorts. I'm visiting tomorrow with a contractor for an estimate. Although he'll be doing the painting, I'll be selecting the colours. And after moving in, I'll have the project of setting up and decorating. I may not be an interior designer, but considering what I've done with my current tiny home to make it a home (under the limits that renting allow), I think I can make this place pretty fabulous. I'll be sure to post pictures of the progress, starting from the before images of the current paint colours, and the re-colouring and decorating process that May will bring.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I will be teaching a series of art workshops for adults (no experience necessary) at Riley Park Community Centre as part of their Spring / Summer programming.

To see their complete Spring/Summer brochure and calendar, click here.


Here is the synopsis for the course:

Monday Night Art Series
16+ years

Anyone can draw! This workshop series will guide you through the basics of drawing and practice techniques while working on drawing projects that are both unique and attractive. Workshops explore techniques with pencil, ink, and charcoal. No experience in drawing necessary.

Drawing with Pencil
M 7:15 PM-9:00 PM Apr 06 & Apr 20 $50.00/2 sessions

Drawing with Charcoal
M 7:15 PM-9:00 PM May 04 & May 11 $50.00/2 sessions

Drawing with Ink
M 7:15 PM-9:00 PM Jun 01 & Jun 15 $50.00/2 sessions


This should give me plenty of excuses to resurrect my blog, in developing the course work, and sample work to show students. Stay tuned! Sign up for the course if you're interested. It's going to be lots of fun!