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A few weeks ago, I signed myself up for the "One Week 100 People" Drawing Challenge, which I learned about from Marc Holmes, a local Urban Sketcher (though, admittedly, I am virtually never around for the official meet-ups and do all my urban sketching alone). The challenge was what it sounds like: over the course of one week, sketch 100 people. At first, I was arrogant. "Yeah, that's easy," I thought. Quickly, I realized it wasn't so easy. I was thinking back to when I was a teenager, when I had more energy and zero responsibilities past doing my homework after 3 pm and consequently enough of both to draw for hours every night. Like I said in a previous post, I used to fill thick sketchbooks. There's reason why not everyone is an artist, and why some artist fail to produce work, and that's because you got to prioritize it in your time in life for it to happen once you're an adult.

Anyway, be it that there is still snow falling on April 1st (what a joke, very funny Nature), it was wet, snowy, and bitterly cold outdoors. I really wanted to draw only real-life people in action, but as you'll see below, some are from videos and photos. Drawing from video is actually a neat experience. You can pause video and get an action you'll otherwise never witness in real life, which expands the possibility of poses.

What I took away from this challenge is that drawing is just like any other habit. A couple years ago, I was part of a French book club in aim to learn French faster (FYI, it worked), so I was reading for 15 minutes to an hour a day to try keep up with the progress everyone was making. This really feels no different. It becomes easier, it becomes more natural, and it becomes something you rather be doing than browsing the web or whatever other way you procrastinate. If only I had infinite subjects and ideas to draw.

Also, I found the more I drew, the more I started sketching images I was happy with. I really love the way line and colour come together with form in some of the last sketches of the yoga instructor and hip-hop dancers; meanwhile, I'm not impressed with my stiff doodles from TV shows. You can read more about each set of drawings in the captions for them. Some of these may turn into full size paintings...who knows!

If you're interested in seeing more work by other artists who joined the challenge, look for #OneWeek100People2017 on social media.

DAY 1 Results"I found my friend Julie doing the same challenge. When she left, a stranger showed up and started telling me about her problems at the pharmacy. Then I froze, so I went home, ate homemade ramen, and drew some peeps from my Facebook friends list and a random YouTube video. The more detailed people are the ones who had to wait for the bus."
DAY 1 Results"I found my friend Julie doing the same challenge. When she left, a stranger showed up and started telling me about her problems at the pharmacy. Then I froze, so I went home, ate homemade ramen, and drew some peeps from my Facebook friends list and a random YouTube video. The more detailed people are the ones who had to wait for the bus."

Read more  →

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I'm excited to say I am working on two new oil paintings. It's been... about 6 whole years since I've done a large-scale oil painting. It's because we have our new studio space in our apartment, which is better equip for ventilating the fumes, the scale, and capturing splatter. I don't have any pictures of our old "studio" online, but it was essentially a tiny corner next to our bed. So. Much. Improvement. In all aspects of my life... everything is just much better.

The past year or more, my focus was to create some more commercial work. Commercial in the sense of being more sell-able, more appealing to a general public... as images about sexuality, nudes, or overtones of suicide don't frequently end-up as wall art. So I have some flowers, some plants, some urban landscapes, and I will keep doing these as I found a way to make them enjoyable for me (I was really adverse to doing work like this because there was just no way I could connect with it), but now...I would like to also work my way back to subjects and themes I care about while still being able to make neat greeting cards.

After a long chat with my dear art & film friend Jessica, I came to many conclusions: I'm bored with what I draw & paint to the point that I see and feel nothing when I sit at a blank paper or canvas; I'm tired of censoring my work subconsciously because I know who is looking at it; and the way I present my work is not working for me.

So as a way to regain my sense of direction, I am starting this oil painting (currently in the state of sketches below) because it stirred within me the feelings of attraction, pain, and a sobering calm. It may be because of my surgery that I find the subjects of extreme body modification we'll be capable of in the future interesting....or it might be just because of the video games I play; either are a perfectly acceptable reason to explore these images. 

As I consider the second and third issue further, here is the current stage of the second painting. I am deciding on the lighting and the palette. The lighting and palette should evoke the same emotions I experience thinking about this scene. One the focus points is how heavy the arms feel and the strained shoulders; like waking up and not feeling rested.

Interesting enough, the oil painting above of autumn trees and birds is more of my genre. It's not really a dark painting, yet it has that duality of being somewhere in between with the background texture. The background was actually created by my partner, Justin; it's a painting he started, painted over several times, got mad at, and abandoned. I saw potential in it, so I asked him if I could use it. So I guess, you can say it's an accidental collaboration.

Finally, here's another artwork I have not got around to posting that fits in well and I've been kicking myself to post. It's an observational watercolour of sunflowers I grew on my balcony. I didn't want to paint them at their prime only, instead at different stages: new flowers opening, blooming flowers, closing, and withering. The colours are gentle and light, yet the tone of the picture changes as it progresses down. I guess what I like creating is work that's all-encompassing. (Links to prints and such below.)

September Sunflowers12"x18" watercolour on 140lb Fabriano paper. Sunflowers from a balcony garden, flowering late in September. ~2016

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I managed to forget to post about it. This summer, I was commissioned to paint a portrait of a couple for their wedding, featuring them as hobbits. I wasn't too sure what I was getting myself into at first, however it turned out to be a really fun and creative painting to work on! I wanted to wait to post about it in case the couple would somehow find it as it was a surprise wedding gift.

Veronica and Juan the Hobbits16"x20" watercolour on Fabriano watercolour paper, created July 2016, signed and dated on painting and in margin. This is a commissioned piece for a couple who are hobbit fans.Veronica and Juan are the couple pictured as hobbits leaving their hobbit home on a sunny afternoon for a walk. A quiet brook, lush greenery, lavender flowers, round red mushrooms, surrounds their home meanwhile other hobbit homes are visible in the distance. They are hand in hand, happy in each other's company. ~2016 SOLD

There is also a time lapse video of the whole painting. It's a little hard to see as I moved into my new home studio area and my camera setup has changed. I will have to figure out a better angle for the future. The image is 16"x20". A little bit of a challenge painting a landscape and fitting a portrait into it, plus a fantasy one at that with varying proportions: hobbits being very short and needing to appear small in scale to their home, the surrounding landscape, and looking proportionate while perspective progresses forward.


Oh, and very appropriately: I marathoned all of the Lord of the Rings series this Christmas season, extended director's cut. Accomplishment unlocked?

I've got to admit, I lost track of all the different projects I have on the go. It's one of my problems... picking up endless new projects. There's not quite enough time in the day or energy in my body to sustain everything I want to be making. Let's see... I have about 3 different knitting projects, 1 crochet, 3 paintings, and at the same time, I am trying to do things like turn my artwork into greeting cards. Yes, this is my new idea. It's not really a new idea, as in I always wanted to do it for as long as I remember and I just didn't know the logistics around it.

Well, I have my own online storefront, I print the cards, and I do all the shipping - so no third-party is taking advantage of my art, as some of you like to put it. One of my greatest pet peeves is the cards you get at the pharmacy from one of the greeting card monoliths... They're expensive , they're pretty tacky, the jokes are usually offensive or lame, and they are usually not even nice quality. This really is my sales pitch, because I'm just plainly not happy with the options. Of course, if I go to a gift boutique, there tends to be art cards that are nice; ultimately, this is where I'd like to see mine: small, local shops selling them. If anyone has any advice on this besides going in the shops, asking cold and green, I would love to hear your suggestions.

I've printed many cards already, and I am very happy with the quality overall - they do look like my preview images. The insides are blank because it's too complicated to make cards with different messages, so there are faint lines to guide your writing instead.

Here are two sets I already have extra stock of that are ready for immediate shipping: The Greenhouse Mixed Set & The Calm Acrylics Mixed Set. I also sell the cards individually, or as single image sets.

Slumbering Greeting Card
Ballerina Greeting Card

They're packaged in plastic sleeves and I decorate them like parcels with yarn and ribbon.



What else have I been doing? Christmas is becoming a busy season for me in art... I did my first ever caricature. It's probably not something I'm going to get into, and was more of a helpful thing I wanted to do for the person commissioning it. The pencil drawing was already finished, and I had to paint the colours in and ink it. I don't know the artist who did the original pencils, though it was signed, "Halifax Waterfront" and I'm pretty sure I saw a caricature artist there while walking through at one point. Here it is, if you want to see it - I'm not going to include it as part of my portfolio unless I do more like it.