Subscribe to newsletter

This is a little late announcement: if you're looking for something to do art-wise this weekend and are in Montreal, I'm going to be part of a pop-up art exhibition in the Mile End/Plateau area! What is a pop-up exhibition? It's an exhibition that only lasts 1 night then disappears, so you really have only one chance to check it out! Here is a link to the Facebook event page, and the details are copied below.

"Dreams to Remember"
Sunday, April 3, 2016 5445 Avenue De Gaspé, Studio 325 Mile End, Montreal
17h-23h (5pm-11pm)
Free Admission
Artists: Alex Chalk, Arif R., David Junkin, Émilie Langlais, James Brown, Janina V. Anderson, Jodie Couture, Justin Tomchuk, Karolina Szablewska, Lucie Swan, Mary Mulderry MacIsaac, Mel-E Juana, Mellics, Minh Truong, Niks Vignal, Sebastien Garneau, Shayna Carolyn, Simon Lariviere, Sophie Mckenzie

Also, here is a new painting I finished. Like I said in the last update, I haven't painted in acrylic in over a year because of my hip issues. I originally had a very different idea for what I was going to do with this painting, but it was working so well as it was that I decided to leave the looseness and bright, impressionistic colours. Sometimes the painting is what leads you, not the other way around. Making the decision when to change your idea or when to stop is a difficult decision, certainly when you get attached to your original thoughts.

35,000 Feet Above #1Impressionistic landscape based on photos the artist took while on the plane of clouds, atmosphere, farm fields, and rivers and lakes. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016
"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />
Context of 35,000 Feet Above #1Context image of "35,000 Feet Above #1" painting. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016

Is it maybe possible that my health problems were also affecting my artistic decisions? I mean, the last painting I did before I had to give up was my ballerina painting. After looking at it for a year and hearing everyone's feedback, it seems stiff with a lot of over-thinking, doing what I thought I should do (pushing realism), and a huge hesitation to experiment or just let things be. There's nothing wrong with that - it is what it is and it works that way - but is it where I want to head with my art? We'll see with the next several paintings I do.

"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, before varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, before varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />
Detail of 35,000 Feet Above #1Detail image of "35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, before varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016
"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, before varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, before varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />
Detail of 35,000 Feet Above #1Detail image of "35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, before varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016

I really love the texture in the clouds, which I mostly achieved with a palette knife. I'm not a big user of palette knives, so it's a new experience for me. Likewise, I also painted this "quickly". My artgasm was over too fast on this one. It's very tempting to just keep going, keep adding stuff, keep tweaking details... The mood of this painting is what I feel like the first days of spring as well. I'm thinking of continuing this into a small series. I will have to try my idea that didn't work out on another set of paintings.

"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, after varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />"35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, after varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016" />
Detail of 35,000 Feet Above #1Detail image of "35,000 Feet Above #1" painting, after varnishing to show the raised paint. 18"x24" acrylic on birch board. ~2016

Prints are available direct from me of this one. The original artwork is varnished and ready to hang. You can see the Work-in-Progress pics on my Facebook and Instagram. Thank you to Bebe Hall for the great title suggestion.

Subscribe to newsletter

Montreal didn't have a very intense winter this year. Worked out great for me because of my surgery - I would've had a really hard time walking if there was 2 feet of snow, ice, and the same kind of -36C weather from a winter or two ago. I'm still traumatized by that. Most people are saying, "Huh, unusually warm / that was a short winter". I guess! I mean, having arctic weather every year isn't exactly normal in terms of the rest of the planet. Thanks Nature. It's nice spring is already starting.

On one of the better days to crop up, Justin and I escaped our apartment and I finally did some urban sketching. I think it's been a year. Just like the act of taking photos, it is a great way to really form a memory and experience around what you're doing.

Here's my drawing. I used a Micron Brush Pen. Not sure if I'm a fan - it's too thick for smaller drawings, but it does make a nice rough, painterly line on a bigger slice.

Guess at Rue Saint CatherineWatercolour and ink, 7.5"x9". Drawn on location at Au Pain Doré. A corner of downtown Montreal. ~March, 2016

I've also been working on a new acrylic painting - again, I have not painted in probably a year or more. With the amount of pain my old hip was causing me, I had to stop painting at the easel. I just couldn't sit at that angle for an extended period of time, and standing was out of the question. Obviously, not a on-location sketch - but it is based off of photos I took from inside an airplane on the way to visit family.

For those in Montreal, I'm briefly announcing I will be part of the a pop-up group exhibition in the Mile End. Please mark it on your calendar! I'll write more about it later.

Subscribe to newsletter

Based on the feedback I received from my colour test from my newsletter and social media, I tried a few other colour tests, incorporated a few suggestions, and ultimately selected the "green" scheme. It was the most popular, but what I inclined towards as well. It was very valuable to do a colour test, get feedback, and push the direction of the image further instead of just going with my gut instinct or first idea.

The Reach11"x15". Watercolour. ~2016 A variety of hands of different gender and age, grasping and reaching, as some suggest, for life force from the blood running through the scene. The finger tips on some hands are frost bitten. The colours for the skin tone are taken from the bi flag, but the background is complementary and revitalizing. The artwork is signed in the corner with pencil.

I think it turned out fairly "clean" in terms of technique, even though my mask failed and I had to repaint so much. Maybe that's just how these masks work. Here's a detail for texture:

Painting 11"x15". Watercolour. ~2016" />Painting 11"x15". Watercolour. ~2016" />
Close-up of "The Reach"

I'm not entirely sure what I feel about the artwork, having originally created the pencils in a down-in-the-dumps mood, then bouncing in and out of that state, and going with something the feels more energetic and refreshing for colours in the end. I felt compelled to reuse the same bi-flag colours as I used in my Biphobia piece. Maybe it's just hard to feel anything when I feel completely drained by life, so maybe it will say something more to me later. On the aesthetic level, it feels pretty solid and I feel good about that.

I also managed to completely forget about this piece I did based on my cactus. I kind of go from one piece immediately into the next. I finished this months ago! I really enjoyed creating this "collage". I think it's a great way to observe a subject thoroughly, have little patches of experimentation and texture, and end up with a completed piece instead of random sketches all over a sketchbook.

Christmas Cactus CollageWatercolour on watercolour paper. 12"x17.5". Observational collage of sketches from my christmas cactus. ~2015

The major issue with my current studio situation (or lack there-of) is space. The issue with watercolours is also that they need a frame. I have neither frames nor space to hang and reflect on my own artwork, so they usually just goes straight into my huge black portfolio, where they are flat and safe, and don't see light again ions. I'm making an effort to take out the artwork more often and look at the real thing, instead of the image on the computer - which is hardly the same experience. Looking at my own work is paramount to seeing progress.