Saturday, December 1, 2012

Abstract Expression

11x17" watercolour
The composition for this painting had absolutely no plan before it was started. My son and I were merely scribbling on a blank sheet of paper with watercolour pencils. After he went to bed, I added the big violet area and touches of yellow with a big wet brush.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I was happy with the way this one started. Before the above photo. I think one of the difficulties I'm having is not planning the colours before getting started and using transparent vs. staining paints in the wrong succession.

The painting below is still a bit tonally flat. The middle foreground shape needs to be dark as well. The hole into the background is also too big. It also needs a pop of colour; maybe red?
Update 12-Nov-12: I wasn't happy with the painting, so added a bunch of rose and violet while it was under wet plastic wrap. That didn't improve it. Was even flatter, muddier, and dark. So I tried to scrub off vertical strips of paint. And this is how it is. This is probably how I'll leave it.
Or I could run the whole kaboodle under the bathtub faucet and see where to go from there?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012



I was organizing the office putting paintings into appropriately sized boxes, when I found a couple paintings that I appreciate now more than when they were completed. Pretty sure this is 2012 vintage.

I like the textures within the various colour fields. I also like the transparencies of the orange and blue on the left. I'm not sure what is on top of what and what it means?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Painting workshop

My wife bought me a one day painting workshop taught by Eleanor Lowden Pidgeon at the Calgary School of Art. The title of the workshop is "Courageous Watercolor" referring to the bold colours in her painting style.

At first I wasn't too sure if Di picked the right course for me because Ms Lowden Pidgeon's paintings are quite different than how I see my style. But I think that is why I liked the workshop so much. I got to see two demos and try a completely new process of painting. I was exposed to new things, as opposed to if I'd taken a class on techniques I was already familiar with.

She is quite careful about planning her paintings. Choosing the colours and the order they will be applied. Making sure not to mute or muddy the colours, except of course when she means to.

The colours in this painting are a bit muddy, but we decided it was okay since these are meant to be shadowy areas.
The top photo is what I produced at the workshop. I was pretty happy with it at this point, but not 100%. So I took a photo and brushed some water over the trees and sky meant to appear distant. I didn't want those trees to be as boldly coloured as the foreground trees. The second photo is the result. I had unintentionally scrubbed whole trees from existence. The third photo is the final result. I painted distant trees again, but with paint much more diluted in water.
Viewing these three photos of the painting, it is also quite apparent the photoshop treatment is not consistent. the trees on the right were not repainted but the contrast changes quite a bit between photos.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Not Landscape Abstract

Initially, I intended this to be a landscape. I wanted to practice making converging horizontal lines at the top to represent landscape off in the distance. Plastic wrap was lay over the green and red areas and black run under the wrap mixing the green and red. The mixing didn't happen as much as wanted. The darker bottom where the black was poured would represent the foreground and the lighter less contrast top would be the distance. I even gave the top a mauve wash, the colour of distant hills. I was really trying to give it 3D perspective.

Then I asked my friend what he thought of it, and he looked at it vertically. It really looks more interesting vertically than horizontal. So it's not a landscape now, and all that 3D perspective business is for not.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plastic Wrap Abstract

I wasn't painting anything in particular. Hardly a plan. Abstract expressionism. This is the result.
11x17" watercolour

It looks rather cold. My wife sees a person. I asked who, but she must have known I was teasing and didn't answer. It wasn't my intention to paint a figure.

The technique was to paint the entire sheet yellow, then lay wrinkled plastic wrap on top the yellow paint. The painting was stood upright and very wet runny grey and blue paint was made to run down the wrinkles under the wrap. This was allowed to set for 30 minutes or so, and then the wrap was taken off, washed under a faucet and layed on the painting again.  Then violet paint was run under the wrinkles. This set for another 30 minutes and then wrap removed to let the paper dry.

Update 21-Sep-12:
So I said I was happy with the painting. But not over the moon. And I'd taken a picture of it. So why not give it another treatment. So I wet the paper again and let some runny cad yellow run under the wrinkles. When that dried, some spots were wet and lifted. Many of the edges look softer from the additional washes.
I'm still not over the moon about it. But I like it. I don't think it's going to be improved with any more similar treatments. It would take a major renovation to blow my hair back

Monday, September 17, 2012

Abstract Landscape

11x17" watercolour

At first I wasn't sure, but the finished painting is growing on me. I've flipped it upside down, looked at it in the mirror, close, far way. It seems pretty done.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Work in progress

First did a sketch so I would remember perspective and keep the far away things narrow and the closer parts fat and juicy.

I started painting the far away bits of the tree, the backside of the trunk and the bushy leaf area. Then I painted the closer parts. I realized I should have painted the background first. So next time I'll do that. This is supposed to be a study for a larger project, so in that sense i've learned what to do differently on the big sheet.

Then I put the plastic wrap on the wet part and stood it up against a wall. I loaded my brush with water and applied the water above the painting so it would run down the wrinkles in the plastic wrap. Fingers are crossed, but will probably see something in need of a touch-up.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Certainly thinking about painting more...

Yes, at least been thinking about painting more. Trying to sneak in a few brush strokes during nap time.

This one was "inspired" by another painting. But not to worry they don't even look remotely similar.

I really like the textures that were achieved on this one. I've been asked to do a big one of a tree, and I think the technique used here is what I'll use for that piece.

The commissioned piece will be less abstract, so I'll do a study to make sure the technique is applicable before using the big sheet of paper.

Geez I forget what that sheet cost. I think it was over $100 for one piece of paper?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sleep plain and simple

Last week I was complaining I don't have time (considering the job and baby) to paint anymore. That I'm always so tired.

When I look back at my past when I seemed to have more time, I wonder if I could have worked harder to build a portfolio to sell on istock and really live like that? Be a painter with 10,000 hours under my belt. To have really put 100% into that livelihood goal.

In the future, will I think this was just as good a time to make that happen?

I was watching a doc about abstract expressionist Clyfford Still, and his daughter recalled a time her father told her "I love you kid, but the painting comes first."

When I was single, I went a few years without a tv. Of course I went out quite a bit, but also read a lot more than now. Whenever I was too tired to read, I would sleep.  I have an amazing capacity to stay awake and watch tv when too tired to do anything else. It's an unproductive spiral.

Of course I'm not going to be like Still when it comes to making choices between my family and painting, but I can also make better use of my me time. If i'm too tired to paint, then sleep plain and simple.

Friday, April 13, 2012


This one turned out pretty well. I took a couple photos at stages before completion. The first is after applying blue and brown. The second photo is after adding green and red the next day. The final is after applying grey.
The problem with this painting is that I tried to replicate a painting by a different artist. It looks quite different. But is it different enough not to piss the other artist off? Is it plagiarism? I'm not going to upload it to istock and then fret about getting busted.
The nice thing about doing homages is that I can practice technique, the how without really bothering to think what to paint.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Got A Plan!

These paintings are more representational. I like each of them. Maybe I'd frame them in a square frame too.

I've been thinking of what kind of photography and painting is realistic while spending quality time with the family. Sticking with my istock big sellers; food and painting is the way to go. Pretty girls don't sell and require way more photoshop. haha!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Something Different

I thought I'd try to be a little more precise brushing on the paint. Less mixing and overlapping and more paint by numbers kinda thing.

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's less representational. I wonder if I represented the various parts with less connected or realistic shapes how it would look? Well already have idea for next painting.

It is a horizontal rectangle painting, but I like the square cropping of the photo. If I framed the painting, I'd pick a square matte.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Discipline Required

I wish I had the discipline to paint everyday. I really haven't been fantasizing about being a full time painter since I got my 9-5 job. But this is the perfect time to build a portfolio. If I painted everyday I'd quickly have a decent portfolio. I don't think I need to schedule time and be inflexible, but consider painting chillaxing. If I'm too tired to paint, I should just go to bed. Thats what I did when I didnt have tv. But then I read. Now I should paint. The problem with chillaxing in front of the tv is it takes so little energy, I just waste time when I should be either unwinding some other way or sleeping. Another poblem with tv is while you're watching you want to finish the show, but if you had never started you would never have missed missing a show.