Sunday, December 30, 2012

Metal embossing 2

This is my second effort with embossing, this time using a piece of aluminum. It has a brighter appearance but is slightly more difficult to work with than the pewter. For this one I filled in the background with some lines... looks a bit more finished.

I tried the same image on copper but if was a dismal failure. I poked the tool through the sheet several times. Not because it’s soft. In fact it’s so much tougher, I was using a great deal of strength to manipulate it... occasionally too much. Anyway that piece was a write off so I just used it to experiment with the tools. I’ll probably focus on pewter and aluminum for the future pieces.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Metal embossing

My clever wife bought me a set of metal embossing tools for Christmas. So guess what I’ve been doing over the holidays? My first effort is above. It’s a 6" x 6" piece of tin-coated pewter, extremely soft and easy to work with (but also easy to scratch and puncture). I used one of my tree doodles as the subject. Overall, I was happy with the result. When it was finished I filled the void in the back with caulking (for structural support). Then mounted it on a 12" x 12” square of plywood which I painted black and varnished.

There are various metals in the set. My plan is to do the same subject with each metal. Last night I did an aluminum version. Today I’ll try out the copper. Next phase of the experiment will be to acquire and test out some metal finishes to see what I can do with patina.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Orwell portrait

A recent portrait of George Orwell I did for a friend of mine who is collecting portraits of inspiring people.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

After a lengthy day of stuffing my gullet with turkey and Christmas spirits with family and friends, my mind is wandering to the next painting(s). I thought I’d post this recent commission... a request for a Mickey Mantle painting. I had a lot of fun making it and was happy with the outcome (as was the recipient, I’m told). I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays! Looking forward to starting some new projects in the next few days.

Oil on Canvas
24" x 24”


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Open Skies #1

This is the first Open Skies painting I started last month. It may look innocent enough but it was an obstinate little beast to paint.

The first three of my (intended) series of 10 skies are in the shop now at $80 by the each.

I said “intended”, by the way, because 10 seems far away. If I don’t make it, I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of this rapscallion. (#1, I’m looking at you)

Santa’s got issues

My cartoon for this month’s Northeast Avalon Times (top) and a surly Santa from my iPad.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Open Skies #3

The third in my ongoing Open Skies series. I didn’t use any mediums this time... just paint, au naturale. Love the creamy texture. Though I’m sure it’ll be a week or more before it dries. Tried to focus on well-defined colour and shape for this dense bank of cloud.

Will start posting these to the shop soon.

Oil on plywood
12” x 12"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Open Skies #2

Finished the second of my series of 10 skylines. This one is based on a photo by Chris Hammond. Much happier with this one than the current state of the first one... clearly need to revisit it.

In other painting news I have two commission pieces underway. One big, one small. The big one was giving me tremendous grief for quite some time but we found common ground a few days ago and are getting along much better now.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sculpey face

I found a few small blocks of Sculpey in the house.... bought them about 15 years ago and forgot about them. Got them next the couch in the TV room now so when I’m baffed out for the evening, I play around with it. Make a face, crush, repeat. Haven’t tried baking any of them yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Open Skies

I had some leftover plywood from my storage cabinet project kicking around the basement. While cleaning up last week, I thought it would be fitting to use the scraps for painting, so now I’ve got 10 12" x 12” gessoed panels ready to go. It’s not evident in the photo but the plywood has a great wood-grain texture that comes through in the painting. My thinking is that I’d use them for a series of sky paintings. This is the first though I’m not sure it’s quite done yet. I’m setting it aside for now... I have other projects I need to finish first.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gover House, Trinity painting

Here's a painting I finished a few weeks ago as a belated wedding present to my sister-in-law and her hubby who were married this summer in Trinity, Newfoundland. This is Gover House where they stayed and where the parties took place. The yellow deck is where they had the ceremony. The red building partly showing on the far right is the Artisan Inn restaurant where we had the wedding dinner... stellar food! The town is small, extremely picturesque with a very active theatre scene in the summer. Highly recommended!

Gover House, Trinity
Oil on canvas
18" x 24"

Friday, November 9, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Little skullies finale

I had a chunk of Das left over from the props I made a few months ago that was burning a hole in my pocket. So I made this little skull relief on the weekend, a finale to the skull doodle marathon I had last week. I painted it with bronze acrylic with a dark glaze for the patina.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Little skullies

According to my iPad output this evening, my brain badly needed to purge itself of cartoonish skulls. Tim Burton, I cast you out! I think the red one is my fav. Might make cool wrapping paper.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cow (progress painting)

Moooo. This has come a ways since the outline but still has a ways to go. Hoping to finish this on the weekend so I can get some other jobs underway. I’ve got a cartoon deadline next week and a Christmas commission painting to start.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Midnight Slumber linocut

I took a few days away from my cow painting (moo) to fiddle with this image as a linocut. I’m still pleased with the figure but I’m not happy with the sky. I may jigsaw a new sky or I might just start again. I did a quick test print last night and, based on that, spent some time cleaning up the plate today. The extra prep time made this evening’s printing session very smooth and satisfying -- no troubleshooting, great ink coverage, etc. For the first time, I used a rolling pin as my “press” and I think it contributed a lot to the excellent ink coverage.

The top image is a shot of the print on a dark background so you can see the paper fibres. The lower image shows the print alongside the plate.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Figurative study

I’m hashing out some ideas for a figurative piece I’d like to paint.   This image is a pencil sketch with some digital colour added. I might explore this further with my new pastel set this evening... or I might just dive right into the painting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Moo. That is all.

The poured paint was a-flowin’ on Friday night but the end result was a spectacular failure. So bad I could only laugh at it. Not only was it boring, the canvas wasn’t level on the table so when I returned to it after a break, most of  the paint had poured off. Apparently I bought very spiteful paint.

Anyway, that whole mess was gessoed over on Saturday. And tonight, to ensure the fiasco was well and truly covered up, I parked a cow on top of it. No one’s getting past this cow.

It’s just some shadows and outlines right now. More to come.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The perils of reenactment

My latest cartoon for the Northeast Avalon Times... pick one up if you’re in the area!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A history of violet

My wife is enabling my paint pouring addiction... she bought me a gaggle of fluid acrylic colours for my birthday. I did three last night. One was dud but I was happy with these two.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gnarly trophy

This afternoon I spent a few hours at my buddy’s place chainsawing trees felled by our recent storm, Leslie. We came across this burl which I snagged as a trophy. Right now I’ve got it out in the sun slathered in linseed oil.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Theatre flats finished (?)

For a little context, these flats will be sitting behind a set of French doors on stage. As a background piece, I think it works pretty well and my wife is pleased with it (phew!). I can’t help feeling like it’s crying out for a little more though. A flowerbed, garish fountain, statue ... something. Needs something to tighten up the composition and bring a little more colour. (Hence the question mark in the title.) There’s still plenty of time before opening night so this might get a little more lavish in the coming days. Otherwise, it’s finis.

Progress shots can be seen here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Theatre flats in progress 4

Got the rail well underway this afternoon. The green grass took a beating while I was sponging texture on the rail but I can clean that up later. Later’s a great time to do things. I park most of my tasks there.

Got your tickets yet? No, not to the gun show... my wife’s show: Self Help. Just a few short weeks away!

(See previous progress shots of the flats here.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Acrylic Chaos (poured painting)

Can you see the surreal, snaggletoothed Bugs Bunny in here? Check the teal rising up from the bottom centre. Or maybe it’s just me.

Because the brain is wired to make sense of visual input, these pour paintings cause it to work overtime. While staring at the image (or parts thereof), familiar images emerge from nonsensical shapes and patterns. Faces and animals seem most evident to me. All twisted and surreal, of course.

My poor (pour) brain... if it were a unionized organ, I’m pretty sure it would be filing grievances by now.

This piece has no title yet... I’m still digesting the acrylic chaos.

Acrylic Chaos
acrylic on canvas
24" x 16"

Monday, September 24, 2012

Theatre flats in progress 3

The paint pouting is on hold until I make some progress on the flats. Try as I might, they are hard to ignore at 8' x 8’. Got some grass colour roughed in and I’m drawing the railing in pencil. Much measuring, cussing and erasing.

Note the collection of containers on my little bench holding my house paint concoctions.

Favourite container so far: yogurt.

Worse container: salsa jar.

Finally, there’s info on the web about the show: Self Help @ the Barbara Barrett Theatre (ACC) in St. John’s. They had sold out shows last time and some disappointed people had to be turned away... save yourself the devastating heartache and preorder your tickets here!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

“Troubled sunset” poured painting

I love the wonky sun in this. It started with the happy accident of adding an unmixed lump of orange so I went with it. A landscape evolved. This process is always surprising.

I’m submitting this to Illustration Friday’s weekly theme, “crooked”.

This is available in the shop.

Troubled Sunset
Acrylic on canvas
12" x 12”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Fire and Ice" poured painting

New poured piece. I actually did two last night but the other one is still wet so I’ll post it later. This one’s already up in the shop.

Fire and Ice
Acrylic on canvas
12" x 12”


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Blossom" poured painting

This is last night’s result of my third day of working with poured paint. I settled on “Blossom” as the title but there were so many options: every turn of the canvas seemed to reveal new shapes and patterns. I am happy with the contrast and vibrance of this one. This is also a bigger canvas than previous... I think the larger size made me feel a little more in control of the outcome.

Pretty sure I’m getting addicted to this process.

The inset photo is a detail from the painting.

Acrylic on canvas
12" x 16”


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Poured out of my mind

Still pouring. Still working small: 12" x 12". Might try a larger canvas tonight.

Poured acrylics

I’ve been working with poured acrylics this week. There’s a lot left to chance and the results can be surprising so it’s exciting to work with. I’m also discovering that it’s easy to overwork them... less meddling the better.

This is the first one I did on Monday. Got a title suggestion?

Acrylic on canvas
12" x 12"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pixel pushin'

I really wanted to do some paint pouring tonight but I had limited supplies and energy. Instead I lazed on the couch and pushed these pixels around on the iPad.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stage flats -- in progress

I’ve been working on the stage flats for my wife’s upcoming show. Normally I’d paint the entire canvas as I go but because this thing is so huge (eight foot square), I’m tackling it in sections. Right now I’ve got the sky and tree line pretty well done, though I’ll probably revisit it at a later stage.

Outside of the house, I’m limbing and junking trees. Thank you, Leslie.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Here’s another little sculpture I’ve been picking at this week, similar to Vincent.

My wife says his name is Alfred. She must be right.

I’ve used up all the left over Das so I need to find another polymer or natural clay. The Das seemed to dry so fast that I had trouble get the little bits to stick. I also found it very crumbly. As a result, Vincent is going to get a good sanding when he thoroughly dries. (He doesn’t know that yet...shhh!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Organic tobacco

My latest cartoon for the Northeast Avalon Times! Pick one up if you’re in the area.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great big scary blank canvas

How’s that for an intimidating canvas? Eight square feet. They are theatre flats for my wife’s upcoming show. Just getting them primed today. Eventually to be a landscape.

Fingers crossed.

Imagination -- IF

This is for Illustration Friday’s “Imagination” theme. It’s a little different than I imagined when I started but I’m happy with it.

I used my fathers set of oil pastels that he bought at Eaton’s shopping centre in the 1970s. Price tag: $2.50. Apparently they still work. It was my first time using pastels. I think I’ve got the gist but will need more practice. They’re really enjoyable to use, especially on the black paper.

My original idea involved lots of exotic plant life. I was still thinking that when I started making the wave... then I lost focus. So to recap we have alien spacecraft, rocket ship, dinosaur, Superman and ... water. Kind of funny.

Superman’s a bit of a mess but I was pleased with the dinosaur.

UPDATE: I sealed the piece with fixative and quickly noticed it was a GLOSS fixative leaving sporadic shiny bits all over the image. Thinking it was sealed, I grabbed a can of matt varnish and gave it a quick coat. Unfortunately, most of it dried white. Big mistake. Lesson learned.

Oil pastels on paper
16" x 22"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mirrored Birch

I’m still obsessing with the birch tree. This time in Photoshop... holding up a mirror to nature and seeing what patterns emerge.

This might be a good time to point out I’ve recently started a Redbubble shop for selling paper and canvas prints of various sizes. If you’re looking to buy prints of my work, you might find them there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Freestylin’ Birch

I guess the tree pic from the last post was lingering in my mind... I felt an urgent need to paint this tree last night. It has its faults but its got a few good things going on. Beyond all that, however, it was fun to make. I needed a break from my current paintings... every brushstroke has become painfully precious which seems to be killing my enthusiasm to finish them. This little fellah, however, was a joy to make: fat brush, big dollops of paint, no mediums and no reference photo. (Well, I used the tree pic below to start the rough sketch but most of that went away as soon as the paint started flying.)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Along Kent’s Pond

I was out for a walk with my better half this afternoon. I love that trail... lots of great spots where the light spills through the trees.


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