New Works

Finally! I’ve done a ton of experimenting this year, mainly because I didn’t have many deadlines. After several months work, I’ve completed some new paintings that I’m really excited about. As my sometimes curmudgeony photographer commented to me today, “I think you’re getting the hand of this.”

green city, 36″ x 72″.

 This painting had very grid-like, urban feel as I was completing it. So of course, I added a map of Vancouver. So far everyone who sees it has tried to find their street. I love the motion of the big colour blocks in this painting.

bikini, 48″ x 36″

After I finished this painting, I went home feeling completely satisfied and said, “I did a good day’s work today.” However my cats were more interested in when I was going to do some cat feeding. I love the detail that shows through the many circles, and the beautiful purple created when the blue and pink resin meet. The yellow flower balances out the composition, in fact there’s a lovely balance of many elements here. Sigh.

sunset trip, 36″ x 48″

This painting was the most challenging for me. For a long time, it sat on the wall, looking beautiful but incomplete. I hardly ever use black resin, but in this case it added that touch of darkness that so many of my paintings need. In addition, the black is not a deep black, but more like a squid ink black. When wiring it today, I noticed that it worked better on the horizontal, creating a hazy sunset scene. 

tipsy, 36″ x 24″

Inspired recycling brought this painting to life. I intend to take a few paintings I’m not happy with and rework them with more layers of resin. This painting was a rather plain one with a little colour and a lot of line, and I added the big black stencil form and then went crazy with the coloured resin. Fun, fun, fun!

upon the shore, 36″ x 108″

This painting was the first one to be completed, which means it came together really beautifully (with no agonizing on my part.) It was a direct result of the experimentation I did early in the year, playing with a lot of graffiti elements. I was looking back on my portfolio, and I realized that although I love bright colour, I hadn’t ever done anything  neon bright. Now I have, and this painting is so amazing. I can hardly wait to see it hanging in a home, it’s the biggest piece I’ve ever done and a real statement.

vibrant, 24″ x 72″
This painting is actually part of a series of three that I worked on a year ago. One sold at the Crawl last year to the loveliest couple. And the third one isn’t done yet. This painting has a vibrant, modern look and is also an attempt by me to get as machine-like as possible with three coats of supersmooth resin. It’s not perfectly smooth though, I don’t think my resin work will ever be. And that’s good, since the human touch is what distinguishes original art.

A great week in the studio

I’m currently working on seven panels at once, which is a lot even for someone like me, who hails from Short Attention Span, Ontario. At the early stages, I often work similar motifs on all the paintings, they evolve gradually into something more unique.
Anyway, the painting is going really well, and here’s a sampling of my past week at the studio. 

I can’t get enough ombre, my resin work and
now my paintings have that dip-dye look.
The cats better watch out…

Did some collaged stripes with a 60’s feel.

I started striping it, but I stopped since it looked great already.

The stripes led to patchwork patterns.

More crazy quilts, I think it’s the combination of order and wild pattern I like.

 These lovely layers are already gone, and now I’m working on some florals inspired by spring.  Stay tuned…

I brake for art

If there was a bumper sticker about braking for art exhibitions, I might be tempted to put it on my little red Mazda. I love travel and I love visiting new art museums and galleries. Anticipation is half the fun, so I pour over the art show listings in the local, national and international press.

In the next year, I have a couple of art trips planned already. On the home front I would like to see the private museum of Bob Rennie, which is opening in Vancouver this year. Apparently, it is by invitation only, but I’m sure if I keep my ears open some well-connected friend will be going and I can tag along. His collection tends towards the conceptual, but I am interested in seeing art that has been selected and curated by the tastes of one person.

I usually see at least one show in the States, and this year it will be Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series, 1967 to 1988. This show will be on at the Orange County Museum of Art beginning in April 2010 and running until early September. Apparently it’s so far in the future it hasn’t even made it to the museum’s website yet. I love the structure of the Ocean Park paintings, and his delicate use of colour within that repeated composition. I am also intrigued by the way that Diebenkorn has rotated between representational and abstract works during his career, like another artist I admire: Gerhard Richter.

A study of art and art history can result in derivative paintings without conscious intention. One painting I did drew several comparisons to Richard Diebenkorn, and although it was unconscious on my part, there was a definite similarity. Sometimes, as I work to resolve a painting, whatever seems right may actually be something familiar. To avoid this, I use a tearing process I cannot control that creates a random quality in the work. Still for the visual mind to be completely new is difficult in our image-filled age.

Well here is Richard Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park 54″…

… and here’s my painting entitled “Lines Revealed”. What do you think?

But what is also interesting is that Diebenkorn was initially inspired by the composition of Matisse’s “Open Window, Coulliore” to create the Ocean Park series in the first place. Clearly Diebenkorn has evolved the composition to something quite different, both by hard work (there are over 140 paintings in the Ocean Park series) and by experimentation with colour and abstraction. In the hands of a great painter, inspiration plus hard work equals masterpieces. I am greatly looking forward to seeing the paintings in person.

One door closes…

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} catch(errBye, bye studio!

Leaving my studio after four years is a bit sad. I had a lot of enjoyment and accomplishment here. In this little studio I developed the resin paintings I now love, which took lots of experimentation and many failures along the way. Here I also moved from representation to increasing pattern and abstraction. And I also met many great people during the past four Culture Crawls.

When I first took on the studio, it was supposed to be only for the summer. I had a show to prepare for, and I knew the only way I could get ready was if I worked with the distractions. At home was the siren song of the computer, the fridge and even an attention-seeking cat. So I finished classes at Emily Carr in April, got the studio in May and started painting like a madwoman for the show in June. Here’s what my show in 2005 looked like:

After the show, I exhaled mightily and started coming to the studio only sporadically. I was subletting from Cheryl Fortier, and I noticed that she was always there on weekdays, painting or teaching classes. She treated her art practice as a profession, and I started to do the same with mine. I came to greatly admire Cheryl’s professional attitude and work ethic. Despite our different painting styles, Cheryl and I got along tremendously well, and so I ended up staying four years instead of four months. We love art, but we also love bargains, and we spent more than a few lunch hours visiting the sample sales in our semi-industrial neighbourhood. We also ended up doing a show together at the Britannia Art Gallery, a celebration of the places around our studio.

Now Cheryl has gone to France to work as an artist and administrator, and I had a chance to move to a bigger space, a room of my own. My new studio is just upstairs from the old one, since I could not leave the wonderful Mergatroid Building. So far the new studio seems big and a bit alien, but I plan to christen it with hard work….and cute accessories.