Sunday, October 12, 2014

'Men I Know' part 5

'Ken' 24½"x18½" Oil on canvas
A painting of fellow artist Ken Gerberick, another in the ongoing series of "Men I know".

Ken as an artist is very diverse, producing paintings, collages, and particularly assemblages - for which he is best known. These carefully built collections are made up of items and materials which society has used, often abused, and then discarded.

Most of the source materials and items that he uses Ken finds in Vancouver's laneways or Vancouver Island dumps. These he builds into sculptures that pretty wittily dig at society and its often warped ideas and sensibilities.

Ken has by far one of the most interesting and bizarre studios I have ever been in... The City of Vancouver really should turn it into a museum.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dirty Welder Girl

'Dirty Welder Girl' 24"x18" Oil on canvas
A portrait of fellow artist Melanie Davies, an old sculptor friend from way back. She is "dirty" as she had been "metal-bashing" one of her steel sculptures and is covered in steel scale and clouds of soot.

This is actually the second version of a portrait of her. The first iteration, which I painted over a decade ago, was a piece that I had never really been very happy with... so I used that as a starting point and painted another. Luckily I also still have a pile of drawings that I made at the time (although stupidly I did them on thin cheap coloured paper... I'm never going to do that again), so it wasn't too hard revisiting this image.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

'Men I Know' part 4

'Sean' 24½"x18½" Oil on canvas
One more in the series of paintings of 'Men I Know'. This one is of Sean (otherwise known as 12 Midnite).

An artist and musician who specialises in "low-brow" pop culture, particularly the sleazier, more brightly coloured, loud, and slightly damp corners of Americana.

Monday, August 11, 2014


'Flowers in a Glass Vase' 10"x8" Oil on board
A small oil of a bunch of flowers that I painted one night by artificial light. I don't often work on board, much preferring canvas, but at this tiny scale boards are far more practical.

It reminds me of a lecture about still-lives at college in which the tutor finished off by stating: "Don't trust anyone who doesn't like flowers! They have no appreciation of beauty... and are probably psychopaths." It was a weird thing to say, but is sort-of true.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

'Men I Know' part 3

'Rob' 24½"x18½" Oil on canvas
Another oil brunaille, this time of my friend Robert Lutener. A very erudite and charming man able to quote large chunks of Greek literature, although with a "gruff" facade... but once passed that, he's a big-hearted softie.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Punk Poet of Pender Island

'Bruce' 50"x40" Oil on canvas
A portrait of Pender Island's infamous (and much loved) Bruce Butcher.

Bruce is a "local character", as anyone who has attended any of his poetry performances will attest. He is a fixture of Browning Harbour, living on his converted fishing boat the 'New Rosa', where he floats about enjoying the local wildlife.

This painting took far too long to complete, partly due to being shelved half-way through for over a year, and to some extent as a result of the massed ranks of conifers.

Sadly the photo is a bit poor, there was a thunderous down-pour outside that altered the light... somewhat appropriate given the theme.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Painting The Louvre

'Pavillon de Flore' 9½x4½" oil on panel
On a recent visit to my parents' in Oxford I found this old painting that I made when I was 18 or 19 (I think just 19).

It was done on the spot in Paris on a trip that I made with my friend the painter Donald Short. I remember that while we were painting we were both swarmed by hordes of Japanese tourists. It is pretty small as it had to be transportable as were carting around quite a bit of painting equipment between us.

It was a trip that we financed by painting a double-decker bus as a playbus for ASDA supermarkets. The stay in Paris was unbelievably cheap, we stayed in a brothel (which is another story) and kept on being stopped by the police... well we were slightly "dodgy" looking art students after all.

The painting is of the Pavillon de Flore (a section of the Palais du Louvre, built in 1607) and the Pont Royal. During the French Revolution this pavilion, which is really an extension of the Grande Gallerie, was the home of the infamous Committee of Public Safety.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pulp Charity - Ancient Horror on Granville

'Ancient Horror on Granville' 10"x8" Acrylic on panel
This was a paid commission for a future auction that the well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist Mark Brand will hold later this year to raise funds for his charities in Vancouver.

The theme, initiated by the local Vancouver artist Andrew Young, was "Pulp" (in any way that I saw fit)... so I painted a "mash-up" of 1940's gangsters and a Babylonian demon, Pazuzu the demon from 'The Exorcist', all set in the neon-lit night-scape of Vancouver's Granville Street. As one does.

It is a tiny black and white illustrative painting, both things that I don't normally do. I however enjoyed painting this piece even though it is far outside what I normally do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oxford - The Cherwell River

'Summer' 16"x30" Oil on canvas
I am just about to return to the UK for a visit, my first in over a year. I used to live in Oxford, up-river from London, and used to spend many hours cycling about the city.

One of my favourite places is the River Cherwell at the Marston Ferry Bridge. I have often stopped to look at the view of countryside within the city, surrounded on all sides by buildings, but seeming miles from anywhere.
'Winter' 16"x30" Oil on canvas

I painted the same scene one summer and again the following winter; it changes, but is still the same, the Cherwell flowing its way towards joining with the Thames.

I currently have these two paintings mounted side-by-side in a custom common frame that turns them into a diptych.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

'Men I Know' part 2

'Teo' 24½"x18½" Oil on canvas
Another painting in the series of oil brunailles that I have been doing of interesting people that I am lucky enough to know.

This is of Teo, a delightful, wee young lad... and I mean young, he was just two weeks old at the time. This one was a pleasure to do as he didn't move much (too busy growing to care).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

'Men I Know' part 1

'Duncan' 24½"x18½" Oil on canvas
I have been painting a series of oil ébauche sketches done as brunailles. Basically this involves pouring an amount of "painters' soup" (a fluid mix of paint, oil, and turpentine that looks like ox-tail soup... hence the phrase "that painting looks a little bit "soupy"") over a white primed canvas and smearing it into an image. It's an old tonal technique, often done traditionally to produce an underpainting, although some painters such as Eugène Carrière have utilised it as the basis of their practice.

The theme of the series is "Men I Know", a wide range of subjects from newly-borns to elderly friends. They are all mainly "heads" (24½"x18½"), although there are a few slightly larger canvases. As I know a lot of interesting people, this might be a large undertaking.

So far I have only done just over ten, this one being of my friend the sculptor Duncan MacCallum.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013... Over But Not Forgotten

'Rob' 36"x30" Oil on canvas
I sadly didn't post anything last year (me bad)... if I left it a year I hoped nobody would notice! Probably very few did.

Well, it was a phenomenally busy year. Many good things happened, some slightly annoying, but nothing actually bad or unfortunate.

This is a painting of one of my studio-mates, Rob Farrow, which won the 'Figurative Award of Excellence' award in 'A.I.R.S.' the 4th ‘Annual International Representational Show’ held by the Federation of Canadian Artists in Vancouver.

It wasn't the best prize by far that I won during 2013, but it was the one that pleased me the most for many reasons, although chiefly as I had "strongly" encouraged a friend to also enter. He did, and himself won a prize which made me very happy... a good night.