Friday, June 24, 2011

Road Trip! and the paintings are off to Victoria and the Sooke Fine Arts show ....the first step of being juried along with about 1200 other entries from some very very phenomenal artists. The jurors must winnow down these entries to a firm 375 that will be the actual showing of the Sooke show. I'll find out on July 1st if I make the cut.
A wee bit anxious, truth be told.
But while down there I shall endeavor to see my son and his lovely lady and will be celebrating a late birthday with my dearly treasured friends.
I AM so looking forward to this weekend! I spent 2 hrs washing and vacuuming and wiping down the van; loading her up and getting together all the various and sundry that a road trip entails......oh, and making sure the 'royal' Jams has the adequate care and attention she .....demands.
And the weather looks grand.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Newest Painting from the LIVING THE MYTH SERIES (# 3)

"Waiting for The Prince"
36" X 43"
Mixed Media: acrylic/collage
With an original designed  tattoo emblem (in the background 'wallpaper') for my painting by an old friend. Part of the submissions for the Sooke Fine Arts Show which I need to deliver to next weekend for the juried process.
We get to wait until July 1st until we know if we are accepted ........oh the agony.
Now I am in the 'weird' space of thinking these paintings suck....I half hate them, half love them....makes me crazy.
This is the dilema creative folk have endured throughout time. But it keeps you going because you keep reaching for that elusive goal of the most perfectly sublime painting/sculpture/music/choose your medium. And when and if you ever reach it.....well, what's the point of carrying on?
So in a way I welcome that 'push/pull' feeling.
It means I'm still moving forward.

The Three 'R's.......

Today I thought I'd talk about some of the art books in my collection of over 300 (may I add) that I've found helpful in the creative process. Then again, I have a vast amount of the purely visual eye cookies in art books too and they are worth a mention as well. Being as it's the weekend and even though I have a deadline for finishing my painting looming like the proverbial sword - I am also planning a 'couch retreat' with a good book later.   In my world, the three 'R's stand for "reading, reading and really a lot of books".
Anywheretobeginway, I thought that I'd try to break it down into categories over the next few posts and that way accomplish a few things at the same time, to wit: having something to blog about, helpful art related books and organizing the clever is that! we go:
Catagory 1:
'Rendering In Pen and Ink'
by Arthur L. Guptill
watson-guptill publications
This is one of those enduring classics that ANY ONE  the least bit artistic should have. It's been in print for over 60 years and I think that illustrates just how good a book it is. I originally 'stole' a copy some 32 years ago from the MooseJaw Public Library - yes I returned it many years ago with apologies both monetary and verbally contrite - but this book has been a constant 'go to' for me. If any of you are interested in learning how to draw in black and white and also for anyone who wants to get into the comics and graphic arts field....this IS the book. Some of the information is dated as it originally came out when you drew with 'qwill pens' but it still is applicable to the more 'user friendly' tools of today. got a budding artist in your midst? This book with a set of drawing pens (see your local art store) makes a great gift.

'Drawing Dynamic Hands'
Burne Hogarth
watson-guptill publications
Actually ANY art book by Burne Hogarth is worth getting - a real master of human anatomy etc and he was a founder of the School of Visual Art in NYC . This book is dog eared and coffee/paint/ink stained and full of notes etc by me. Hands are the most difficult of body parts to get right for me so this is definitely my bible. It's made a huge difference in my drawing and painting of hands.

'Painting Watercolor Florals That Glow'
Jan Kuntz
northlight books
I haven't painted in watercolor for a long long time now - 4 years?? - but this book was a 'top 10' from those years and I still go back to it. If you're into floral painting, it doesn't get better than this.

'Making Color Sing'
Jeanne Dobie
northlight books
I cannot say enough about this book. I've had my copy since the early 80's and it stands the test of time. Although geared towards watercolor, the information on how to place color in your painting to make it 'pop' with visual excitement works for acrylic as well. A gem.

Jean Drysdale Green
watson-guptill publications
Everything, and I mean everything you need to know about experimenting with all art media to achieve different effects in your paintings. Opened my eyes and made my hands itch to really take it up a notch. It has lead me down some fantastic paths to where I am today. Granted, not all attempts worked out but some did and you can see that.

...I have to stop here but honestly, I've pulled out way more books. However in trying to stick to the category of 'use over and over and over' I need to be stern with's just that some of the ones I pulled out made me all 'hey! this is so good too I forgot it was here and I should mention it too'.....well, that's why we love books isn't it? They spark our imaginations and make us dream big.
Until next time....hope you find some that work for you too!

Painting is: "Woman Reading on Bench" by Carl Larssen - and an artist who I've collected books on....but that's another category.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This is a 'photo board' ......which, pretty obviously, is a kind of painted board of amusing characters that you stick your head in the hole and have a pic snapped, thereby making 'you' the character. These were really popular in the Victorian age when photography was in it's infancy and folks got a kick out of looking 'different'. Well, not much has changed on that front. This board was a commission from my town's local Chamber of Commerce who requested a 'fun' west-coasty themed one to place at the Info Center out at the junction where the road forks to go either to Tofino, the Park or good ol' Ukee ( that's a much easier way to say U-Clue-Let...huh...?) It was a great project to design and paint except for the added twist of having to figure out how to make it possible to take in at night by the staff (whom are posing in the above photo) and I handed that job off to my friend who is a retired shop teacher and I have to say came up with a pretty nifty set up. I did envision kids of a younger set being more of the fan base but from the reports so far, it seems those 'bigger' kids want to get 'into the act' too. ( .....just how many little quotey marks can we use.....)
I think it's pretty zippy, myself! I would like to do lots of them for all over town...say, one with a bear, wolf, cougar and eagle maybe......or perhaps some mermaids and mermen.
Or some 'fisherman' type old salt kind of guy......or how about a surfer dude? Dudette?
Yesiree.....we could get right carried away with this.....
Oh, please let me!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

You Got To Admit It's Getting Better - It's Getting Better All The Time

(It Can't Get No Worse) la la....thought I'd start this off with a little old Beatles tune, since I'm an old beatle myself. Yes by all the turning season's it's come around to my birthday again. Tomorrow in actuality, but we're writing today as I'm going to rela-a-A-A-x tomorrow. By painting a-a-a-all day! Sweet!
I share this birthday month with Sir Paul McCartney whose birthday falls on June 18th which, oddly enough, is my older son's birthday as about that.
Anyhowmanytimescanwesaybirthdayway, I was wondering what artists I share this occasion with and lo and behold it's EGON SCHIELE - and I am a big fan of his. The painting above is done from one of his. With a few of my touches. I did this one as a 'trade' with my hairdresser...a long time honored practise in the arts community - generally how famous artist's paintings end up being discovered in some dusty attic or mouldy basement many years later because the following generations put away that 'awful/dumb/weird' (insert epithet of choice) painting granpa traded some ratty looking schmuck for some soup.
And I'm pretty sure that's the fate of some of the art I've created......funny to muse on that possibility. If you believe in reincarnation, well, I might even 'discover' myself in some far off age....and now we're getting really off track with this kind of strangeness.
Yes, there you go with my brain.....anylet'smovealongshallweway, I am going to turn 58 which in and of itself is no big deal except it has me right smack dab up against the fact that 60 is right around the corner and that is one of those 'pivitol' birthdays. More so than 50 which I could sort-a pretend that was still 'young-ish'. Yepper - 60 is where you really face the fact that you're in the 'winter' of your life - even if you are all the trite and goofy quotes ( you're as young as you feel; it's not the years in you're life but the life in you're years...yadda yadda yadda) Nobody lives forever. I saw that on the back of a fantastically painted VW van yesterday and that's been rattling around in my head for 2 days.
Because that's the reality of life, isn't it? We all have to pass on to whatever comes next in whatever your belief system says....and that includes you out there that staunchly insist you have none - it's still a belief.
Wowzers....we are getting old - there's all that 'philisophical' yap yap that seems to suddenly descend upon you when you're 'old'...eep!
Let's just say that getting older is 'getting better all the time'. What was so scary about this? I get more compliments on my white/grey hair than I ever did when I was young...huh. AND I find the best thing is how stuff just doesn't get me all stressed and freaky anymore. And that's a gift for sure. I'll take it.
Thank you Life!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Working 9 to 5

Ok....let's not drivel on about how I've completely abandoned this blog....well, not entirely because here I am.....but I agree it's been some time.
A..N...D here's the reason.
I got a job.
Yes, indeedly, packyourlunchandbringabriefcase we are adding our woeful self that has had maybe @ 3 'real' jobs in our life to the general masses. Mainly because I am so broke currently, I find it behooves me to accept the fact that I need to.
Ah, sigh bloody sigh. Wouldn't it be fantastic to find a 'patron' that would enable me to live and paint.....but those days are long long past my friends. And if you really look at the whole patron thing; well, they actually told you what to paint.
Two sides to every story, good people.
So, for the next 4 to maybe 6 weeks, I will be getting up and ready-ing myself in a presentable way (perhaps girding my loins is more appropo...?) - as opposed to donning my paint splattered baggy sweats and hoodies - and spending 7 to 8 hrs typing stats into a pc for Census Canada. My arm is really considering packing it's bags and leaving....soon.
Now, aside from the fact that it's an eye opener working a 'government job' (can we say 'anal'?), I am so unfreekingbelievably tired at the end of these days I fall asleep at 9:00. Seriously. I feel like I've been transported back to 9 years old.
And the worst thing about all that is I have no energy to work on my painting. And I feel that wrench deeply. * Let's insert another sigh here, ok? *
Now like so many many of us, I live for the weekend - except by then my dishes and my clothes are piled up in teetering towers with the flies circling and DEMAND that I deal with them first.
My god. It's like an Escher print.
However, I keep saying to myself , " I will just focus on getting through this as best as I can and the money will give me a nest egg to carry on...." and it boils down to putting one foot in front of the other and doing what it takes.
.....but...9 o'clock?!?

Painting is "Self Portrait in Tub With Chinese Food" by Lee Price and boy does this hit home right now because I admit I did crawl into the tub with a plate of toast and then went to bed....