Monthly Archives: April 2010

Drawing Class

I am offering a drawing class through the Calgary School Of Art. This class is a continuation of the drawing lesson I did for years as a public school teacher. It is designed to teach and practice the skills of drawing: lines, shapes, perspective and shading (value). Because of the specific and unique exercises we do in this class we are able to really unlock and develop the innate ability that all of us have. The improvement that participants notice in a relatively short time is generally dramatic. It’s not because of my ability that this happens (much as I wish it was) but because truly we all do have the ability to be very good at drawing and art. To be a genius might be God given but to be very good, to sell and feel confident about it is within each of our reaches. If you are interested in further information or to register please contact me.

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Live Model Study

This was a fun exercise. A five minute pose with a live model. I did it standing up and being quite free with the paint. I took the first few seconds to just view the model and she seemed to be filling up the space in a very confident manner. I did some light sketching and then went at it. What I really like is that I caught that confidence of the pose. After finishing this I really appreciated the fact that the background was lighter than the figure so the attention goes to her. The study I did just before this had the background with a stronger value than the figure and it wasn’t nearly as successful. Another fact that I was strongly reminded of during this session with a live model is that the first few (or even quite a few) efforts are really just warm ups and for me it’s only later on in the session that the images start to look like the model. It’s good to know this so I can take the pressure off the first efforts and just do it and enjoy it because those first efforts are important to get to the final product. Live model studies are something I do occasionally but always coming away from thinking how valuable they are.

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Revisiting The Past

This is actually an image from 4 years ago. Today I had occasion to think about this painting. It’s the first work that I’ve ever had people vying to buy. Looking at it now it seems to be right in line with my current preoccupation: bold use of colour and/or value . . . kind of makes you wonder.

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Alberta Flats

Alberta Flats began as a watercolour which was only partially successful. It was turned into a much more effective painting only after the addition of an opaque medium (in this case casein).

The opaque accents are starting to give the painting a nice rhythm.
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Portrait Of Susan


I’m really excited about this portrait of Susan. It combines my new interest in portrait photography with a different approach to watercolour. I feel that it captures a feeling of quiet strength and emotion. I began it by literally flooding the paper all over with orange, red and a little yellow. This time I didn’t wait for it to dry but went right in with dark blues. The paint was running more than I anticipated and I immediately thought that I’d gone too far but decided to keep at it and see what I could make of it. I let it dry completely and thought that it was bold enough but it needed more contrast so I added more dark blue and some details. I added a few touches of gouache at the end. I’m considering darkening the hair a bit since it seems to attract the eye too much.

Overall this was an extremely satisfying piece.
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The Benefits Of Time

For me, with many paintings, I need time to live with a painting for a while so I can get rid of all preconceptions and start to see what is actually there not what I think is there. This image is an example. It is a couple of years old and I’ve liked much about it but it was always lacking. I recently took it down and did some extensive reworking. I feel that it has improved quite a bit. For example, where the far bank meets the river used to be a very straight line. I never realized how distracting that was and the painting is improved by a little variation in that line. Now, if I live with it a while longer I’ll know if it needs anything else. This work began as a watercolour and now is primarily gouache.

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