Friday, February 27, 2009


This work has been evolving in its own way, after some initial thoughts I have discovered that there is a lot in these 3 pieces that echo my inner process.
The work on 3D surfaces makes it impossible to view the whole image at once due to panels that hinge and swing open or shut. The notion of decay and combining mundane image material like signage with "sacred" icons or religious works which would seem untouchable because of their age and value...
I am fascinated by the idea of finding art treasures hidden amongst ordinary household objects, like a 16th C painting amongst bric-a-brac at a garage sale. What if someone made a box for tools and used the wood panels from a priceless icon? Or painted an outdoor sign over a relic? The contrast between the ordinary and the pricelessly sacred is compelling.
Some years ago I found an old cardboard box that once contained photographic paper being used to keep hand tools together... on my father's work table. He was a photographer and always recycled the shallow photo paper boxes in some way or another. The tools which had taken up residence in this familiar  yellow Kodak box were all objects I knew well and had used often when I was growing up. I took a photo of it...intuitively, I didnt think of it at the time. I recalled the picture and found it..and am making a small painting of it which will go into the larger complex box/crucifixion image Im working on... as though the box the "sacred" image is in has also been used as a toolbox.
Im finding the growth of this work quite exciting... and making the painting of tools my dad used is quite poignant.
I wonder how this work will read or be understood by viewers who dont know all this?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

snowy white

Back from a delightful Whitefish ski holiday to find our town also blanketed beneath soft fluffiness of new snow. Hiding in my studio is a brilliant reason NOT to be out shovelling.
The work is going again... here is latest piece of a hand Im working on... how does one make a hand seem thin and spidery, knobbly and frail? Keeping the work of the 15/16th C european masters in mind? I keep looking at work on the Google Prado museum site... its amazing to be able to look that closely at art!
I can only feel humbled by the sheer virtuosity of their art...its so inspiring.
Meanwhile the background of the hand has darkened considerably and the fingers are longer still... the pictures on the blog are always a bit behind the actual state of the work.
Hopefully get my head down tomorrow and get a lot of work done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

break in transmission

Pictureless today and a lack of blog for a few days...I'm going skiing .
I feel guilty for leaving this and my artwork all alone...maybe thats a good reason to go away!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

complex box

The hornet has been finished...mostly,.... I think...possibly. It has been given a layer of gaze...and I think its done... will be looking at it and seeing if there is anything more to do to it... but right now Im happy with how it looks.
The complex box is getting the underpainting done... the main lay out of its imagery... so far so good... at least its going. But its still early days...will evolve as it goes along.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

sunday slow

Its been pretty much about getting Jannes packed and sorted out for his flight to France early on monday. Off to ride in a semi pro road cycling team based in Mulhouse, Alsace.
I doodled around with the works Im making... tuned them and fiddled a bit here and there. Normal service will be resumed again tomorrow. This is the hornet as it looks so far...some added glazes and tomorrow will ad some final highlights and final glaze... fini.
The other works are coming along nicely, although nothing spectacular to report or show...hopefully there will be something this week.

Friday, February 13, 2009

work so far

Blank and Jones are keeping me company with their uptempo beats.. I have been working on a hornet and having to really keep my eyes sharp...there is a lot of fine detail I wanted to get and it proved to be quite a lot of eye straining concentration.
So here is the freshest version of the hornet in real acrylic no digital style...and then with the box its going to live in with the eye painting which goes inside.
Im finding it exciting going...the work is starting to gain momentum of its own and no longer just bits and pieces that are nowhere close to resembling the mental picture I have to send me in a direction... often making me struggle trying to reconcile the mental image I have with the real one developing on the surface in front of me.
The weekend beckons.... and possibly a slowing in work tempo... and then on monday morning at the crack of dawn my son Jannes flies to France to race his bicycle for the ASPTT team based in Mulhouse, Alsace. He will only return for the Canadian National roadracing championships in June...
Lots of fingers crossed,.....!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

time flies like an arrow

Between getting Jannes' new bike and his stuff sorted out, IM still working on the exhibition stuff...and suddenly discover that time has flown and another day vanished over the horizon...with no blog entry to show.
So today I'll add three images... the eye picture has been finished...its on a real cracked piece of old drywall and I want it to look like a really old fragment of art...I masked the real crack off and painted over it... so in its finished state it has an authentic crack.
The Fresh Daily sign is painted on layers of paint I painted onto a piece of polypropylene  and then removed the now I can glue it onto any substrate...after allowing it to crack and peel... all of which makes it look old and worn. Over all of that comes layers of fading, streaks of dirt and rust and the bloom of dirt and patina of chalky decaying paint. The sign will be glued onto the first set of lids inside the complicated box. (is this making any sense? It should become clear as I work on it and put up the pictures here.)
Aaaaah yes...making art is wonderful... my mind goes some months forward and already wonders what it will look like in the gallery and more importantly, WILL IT SELL? Why does it always seem to boil down to that?
I think I should break for some tea.......

Monday, February 9, 2009

hoar frost and mister Durer

The mist came down thick and dense last night and left almost everything covered in hoar frost. A beautiful hanging spiders web now looks like a delicate looping chandelier.
On the work side of things, my continued efforts with the 3 works I am making are starting to make me happy...they seem to be gathering momentum and the little piece of old drywall now has an eye on it... my homage to Albrecht Durer that will stare from a small blue box that once  housed the Gilbert chemistry set that belonged to my dad. The crack that runs across the image is a real one...the thick and brittle old enamel paint cracked and flaked off when I removed this piece of old drywall. I have masked it off with some tape and will remove it once all my paint smearing is done... Meanwhile there is still some more smearing to be done.
Right now its time for some tea....

Friday, February 6, 2009

surrounded by possibilities

Yesterday was one of those days where the work generated itself. The 3 pieces I'm working on all needed aspects worked on and the focus wonderfully flowed from one to the next in a seamless way, keeping me occupied and engrossed in the process. Ideas and actions followed each other without too much deliberation or pause, seeming to offer up possibilities of their own.
Here are pictures of the one box I'm working was custom made by a friend of mine and had been waiting for a suitable project like this.
The box starts off as a closed object. Its been aged with a vinegar solution to gray the wood. Opening it to the first stage shows a flat surface on which I'll paint a separate image that relates to the inner part. The two upper doors then fold out to the sides and the lower door swings down...notice the crucifix like shape... its designed to play on the old religious icon format.
Its really fun working on a variety of pieces at the same time, having the luxury of a bit of space to be able to work on more than one piece at a time as they tend to generate ideas and possibilities that inform the development of the other a dialogue between them and myself. (NO I dont actually talk to myself!...other things talk to me!)
I have plastered some fabulously creamy Golden Crackle paste onto various surfaces of the boxes and am watching them crack like the dried up muddy surface of an old lake bed. Ive also been using an iron based paint that rusts when you apply a catalyst.
Also founf a piece of old drywall I removed from an old wall...loaded with old enamel paint that has cracked deliciously...and am painting a section of a face that I derived from an Albrech Durer portrait. (Will post that here soon too)
Time for some coffee.......

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh dear!

So much for a fresh new blog start! A day or few of silence. And no sketch as I had planned....BUT...after returning from 2 months in South Africa as an unpaid Director Sportif for my son's warm weather road cycling training before joining his new team in Mulhouse, France, I was suddenly faced with a leaky roof, blocked vent fan ducts and an invitation to exhibit my fine art stuff at Gallery Gora in Montreal in mid April. Most of this came as a bit of a surprise. 

So for now...I shall show the flimsy sketches I have been doodling up in prep for the larger artworks I am making. Flimsy they are...on printer paper with real old HB pencil...nothing digital. How positively antediluvian! But soldier on nonetheless.

On an interesting note...I found a fabulous site for music which has a lot of free streaming music and music blogs. Also take a look at my friend as he continues his sailing expedition from England to Australia in his hand built oak 34 foot boat crewed by his brother, brother in law and fourteen year old son...and himself too. Obviously.

The laundry is making its merry rumble as I work on my 3 pieces, the smell of painty stuff in the air. The 3 works are all to be done inside boxes that unfold like old triptych icons. Yet not quite as I shall be adding a more modern twist to it. Meanwhile crackle paste and sand and molding stucco are drying...they will add texture to the boxes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Ori Gin...any gin in fact

From far away and a long time ago, now living on the planet Hoth, snowy and fabulously chilled, the images and adventures of........