“On the internet no one knows you’re a dog.” – Peter Steiner

June 6, 2016

Vertical Tulip WIP, Jun 4, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 24" X 36"

Vertical Tulip WIP, Jun 4, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 24″ X 36″

I’ve started a new piece – I’m seemingly not straying far from my typical subject matter with this painting of a flower against drapery, but I am going to try to keep this more painterly if I can. I need to push my comfort zone and see what I can do.

A note on quotations:

I love quotations. I have collected them since I was a kid. I love how they lead me to consider new and alien ideas and old, familiar ideas from new perspectives. Something that I hadn’t considered until today was how labelling a sentence or two as a ‘quotation’ changes how we understand it. It adds a certain ‘weightiness’ to the statement – like an implication that these few words are the distillation of a lifetime of experience and contemplation that we are fortunate enough to be graced with. And that is why today’s quote appealed to me so much. I discovered it in my email inbox after I subscribed to the site WhoSaidThat.com. As I began creating this post, and following the quote to it’s source, I discovered that it was from a cartoon in The Washington Post. As funny as the cartoon itself may be, I would never have latched onto this one had I first discovered it in its original context. It was good there, but far better as a stand alone statement about the nature of the internet, and by extension, about the world itself – advice that I choose to live by.

“Art is the demonstration that the ordinary is extraordinary.” – Amédée Ozenfant

May 30, 2016

In 2013 I attended Series Summer Art School at Red Deer College and worked under the instruction of Jen Mallinson for a week playing with her plaster technique that combined acrylic paint, plaster and an assortment of other materials to create unique backgrounds. In Jen’s work, she would often complete her pieces with beautiful charcoal figure drawings. I left the week long workshop with a number of panels ready to go. This weekend I finished one of those panels. The results are below.

Series WIP, Aug 1, 2013, Mixed Media on Panel, 20" X 20"

Series WIP, Aug 1, 2013, Mixed Media on Panel, 20″ X 20″

 

Cowering Cups, May 28, 2016, Mixed Media on Panel, 20" X 20"

Cowering Cups, May 28, 2016, Mixed Media on Panel, 20″ X 20″

“The arts are not a way to make a living…”

May 16, 2016

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

A little more done on this one. I’m really not pleased with the placement of the white books – I will have to somehow improve the composition before I’ve finished.

Open Books, May 14, 2016, Oil and Wax on Birch Panel, 12″ X 16″

Open Books, May 14, 2016, Oil and Wax on Birch Panel, 12″ X 16″

“The only people who have proof of their sanity are those who have been discharged from mental institutions.” ― Marshall McLuhan

April 25, 2016

As Yet Unnamed WIP, Apr 24, 2016, Oil and Wax on Birch Panel, 11" X 14"

As Yet Unnamed WIP, Apr 24, 2016, Oil and Wax on Birch Panel, 11″ X 14″

I spent the weekend at a workshop with the inspiring and very talented Kim McCollum. With Kim’s guidance I started five pieces – none of which are finished. Here is one as it currently stands.

“Nobody is smarter than you are. And what if they are? What good is their understanding doing you?” ― Terence McKenna

April 4, 2016

Stencil One WIP, Mar 20, 2016, Mixed Media on Canvas, 6" X 6"

Stencil One WIP, Mar 20, 2016, Mixed Media on Canvas, 6″ X 6″ – photo taken after step 7.

Stencil One WIP, Apr 3A, 2016, Mixed Media on Canvas, 6″ X 6″

Stencil One WIP, Apr 3A, 2016, Mixed Media on Canvas, 6″ X 6″ – photo taken after step 9.

Stencil One, Apr 3, 2016, Mixed Media on Canvas, 6″ X 6″

Stencil One, Apr 3, 2016, Mixed Media on Canvas, 6″ X 6″ – end result after step 10.

In January I attended a demo of Golden products where I was inspired to pick up a few new items to try out. This isn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be, but I learned some things along the way. Here’s my process:

  1. Black gesso on the edges of a 6″ X 6″ canvas
  2. Golden fibre paste applied with a stencil to create a raised design
  3. Slight sanding of the fibre paste to soften the edges a bit – this wasn’t all that effective due to the spring of the canvas though
  4. Soaked the surface fairly thoroughly by spraying it with water
  5. Applied drops of Golden high flow acrylics: indigo, dioxazine purple, green gold, iridescent pearl
  6. Applied spray inks
  7. Sprayed water here and there, removed water here and there, all rather haphazardly
  8. Repeated steps 5-7 again
  9. Three thick coats of Golden clear tar gel. A slight misting of rubbing alcohol helped to eliminate the bubbles on the surface.
  10. Hand-lettered text added with a Golden marker and high flow acrylic in Indigo

Notes:

  1. As much as I tried, I was unable to get the hi-flow acrylic to bleed like watercolour. I will play with this more and see if I can accomplish it yet.
  2. I really should have taken another photo after I finished adding colour and before the clear tar gel (next time I will)
  3. I’m a little concerned that the very thick layer of clear tar gel may crack as I chose a canvas support for this one. I will try it on masonite next to see what happens there.
  4. I had wanted to build the tar gel up until it created a smooth surface, but at three coats it seemed to becoming the slightest bit cloudy so I stopped there, even though it still has uneven areas.
  5. I like the depth that is created between the background and the paint applied to the surface of the tar gel. It might be interesting to build up an image between layers of tar gel to see what that would do.
  6. Next time I clean the marker, I have to remember to remove the ball-bearings from the marker BEFORE dumping any unused paint down the drain. Sadly, I did NOT do this and my ball-bearings are now somewhere in the drain system rather than in the marker itself.

The text I chose was inspired by:

  • Austin Kleon
  • the last four kilometres of my long run yesterday in preparation for next month’s half-marathon
  • the general malaise and lack of inspiration I’ve been experiencing in my artwork lately.

I’m still working on my second experimental stencil piece and we’ll see how that one turns out.