Monday, September 5, 2016

When Things Just Don't Turn Out

Sometimes my artwork just doesn't turn out like I want it to. No matter how hard I try, my fingers simply won't create what I see in my mind. Like someone wasn't paying attention and a memo got lost somewhere, or someone else got sloppy on the translation. I suspect this happens to most artists, but my style of work lends itself most particularly to the phenomenon.

I never have much of a sketch in place before I start. I remember an old artist friend once gasping in shock when she saw I was about to start a final painting. "Not yet!" she yelled. And then she made me sketch some more and only let me start painting when it was ready.

I appreciated her efforts, but since then I've been taught a very important lesson from one of my art school teachers: don't fight yourself. If you have a style of working, go with it. Otherwise, it's a long and losing battle. So, I use my intuition, and go with it. I feel that I "build" my pieces more than anything. I can complete a piece quickly, and achieve a layered and textured look because of this. But it also means I do have many, many failed pieces of artwork. I'm like Frankenstein with his monster. Sometimes I keep these monsters to be used as surface for future experiments. Mostly, I just bemoan them. I had a couple of these monsters lately. Here they are.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Beast Within

If you could be an animal, what would you be? I would want to be something that flies, probably more like a bird than a fly. 

But that's really just something I think about when I look at these pieces. It was not my starting point. It's just that I spend a lot of time thinking about shapes. And these are shapes that I saw in some paintings. I like Rembrandt's hat, too, and I always wanted to copy it. There's a lot to be learner when you copy great works. Like what requires a light touch, why something was placed in a certain spot, and how subtly colours were used to create depth. And so on. 

Anyhow, I'd probably want to be an eagle.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Oedipal Complex

I have an Oedipal complex.

Because I can't bloody finish my graphic novel about Oedipus. I keep rewriting and redrawing and choosing a new style and a new platform. And who really cares? Really. Absolutely no one except me.

Maybe I'm stalling. That's it. I need an app or something. Some large, wall-hanging calendar that I can write on and that shouts at me and nags me endlessly until I get it done. Where can I get one of those?

Friday, January 16, 2015

My holiday card is way late


So, as always, I anticipated the holiday season with giddy delight and created this moving illustration e-card type thing. I did end up sending it out to some of my loved ones but this holiday season was ultimately a let down and a bit hectic because of the flu virus and its effects. But there were some nice times and I am striving to be more grateful and less sulky. So anyways, better late than never, I guess, here it is.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bullitt to the heart

I saw Bullitt for the first time yesterday. I also saw Steve McQueen for the first time. Funny how his star appeal is so instantly apparent. Lots of people are good looking. But not everyone has the power to make you want to watch them. I'd watch Steve McQueen read a book, I really would.

Anyways, I drew this on my tablet on the bus, but I'd like to do a finished piece. Maybe a series of pieces of stars from the sixties. I liked Bullitt. I liked the style, the moodiness and the soundtrack. But then, I don't know too much about movies from this time period. What should I watch? Any recommendations?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sea Fever

"Sea Fever"is the title of a poem by John Masefield. I suppose by default, it is also the title of my illustration for the poem for Cricket magazine. Possibly because I'm too lazy to think of a new title for the illustration. But actually, it's very difficult for me to come up with titles for visual art. I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that, otherwise why are there so many paintings with the title, "Untitled"? It's hard to think of a few pithy words to encapsulate a drawing, painting or the like.

Anyways, I liked the poem, and the job was great. I will post a picture of the final as it appeared in the magazine, with the poem, too!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I've just been trying my hand at painting again. The reason for this is that last fall, I got a studio space. It's in the building that housed the now defunct Vancouver Playhouse Theatre company. The new owners have divided the space into mostly sound-proof recording studios so that when I arrive, I wend my way through a maze of these studios, a medley of musical styles emanating from the doors. 

At one end of the building is a large room where the visual artists live. It's here where I can make a big mess. No one cares that I have paint in my hair or that my brushstrokes cast splatters in a 2 meter radius. I don't care. Sometimes I just sit and listen to music. Sometimes I just sit there. And sometimes from the window I watch the punk rockers coming in and out, feeling some kind of solidarity with them.

Other times, I paint. This is the beginnings of a landscape, on the drive back from the interior of BC. It's dry but cold there right now. And quite beautiful in a way I can't quite name. Not rustic. Not peaceful, sad, inviting, dramatic, or lonely None of those. One day I'll think of the word, if there is one. But maybe I'll have to transmit it through my painting. Somehow.
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