Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another one joins the collection of the artist!

"Collection of the artist" is a polite term I use to describe my "half failures". My definition of technical success - only my point of view of course - is slapping 3-4 layers of paint in a hurry (1 per day to allow for some thinking time and planning in between layers) with the white canvas and the underpainting generating as much light as the white paint I used to balance colors in the final product. Given the element of chance involved, my likelihood of succeeding 100% of the time is "snowball in hell".

I have never tried a mat varnish here I go with this overworked painting seeking some color attenuation (fogging effect with the intent of masking)! The back lit figure is a definite challenge...which, considering the layering technique I use, has to be won at the early stage of the painting. The second photograph (mat varnish) was taken on the veranda...

With regard to my quest for expressionism (one anemic step after another)...the abbreviated face associated with the fellow in the back represents an apex for me...not much to write home about you may say!

Also, in terms of the application of paint, I seem to want to gravitate towards flowing "buttery" colors... opposed to colors applied with clear cut expressive brush strokes.

My challenge will be to balance these two approaches in every painting while emphasizing the thing is for sure: I am still searching...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fund raiser...

I have been approached recently to provide a painting for a fund raising event dedicated to kids and sport. This is the one I will submit (this lighthouse from Cape May was done on raw canvas).

Winterizing the house is cutting down on my painting time...hope to be able to get back on track by mid this week. My objective is to produce a minimum of one painting per week this fall. For the next few paintings, I intend to use any remaining commercially stretched canvases from last summer. After that, I will use canvas by the roll (using plywood as temporary support) graduating to larger size paintings while avoiding storage issues.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chinese black ink...

My Saturday mornings in the fall are reserved to Chinese black ink painting, an artistic discipline that I currently take in the Montreal China town. Although totally committed to the occidental way of painting...I keep coming back to the "way of the brush" hoping that some of it will influence my art.

The unforgiving black ink is certainly the beginning of a cure for the white sheet syndrome...if you can make it there, you can make it everywhere!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Summer is a goner...

What is wrong with these pictures...well, these flowers won't last any longer (as we are closing the gap to November)...and, unfortunately, they are merely an expression of summer's last post-mortem spasm. Looks like I will be plugging away with a few more beach scenes to revive good memories from the summer gone by. The Zen garden reminds me that I should do a Buddha series as I was planning to do in the spring. There was quite a bit of interest at my October exhibition.

As for the work in progress, I toyed a bit with the computer last night and seem to be ready for the next moves: I will add a seagull to bridge the gap between the more distant figures and, as a bonus, the main figure will get a right arm and a left shoulder...after I rake all the leaves on my lawn!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sandbanks painting continued...3rd pass...

I used the worst brush I could find for this third pass, and painted as if I had a roller...for the water that is. I was much less cocky with the main figure (still relatively small on a 22 X 28 canvas). Looks like the hairy chested guy in the back will remain "reduced to his simplest expression"...

Refinements and highlights are next...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sandbanks painting continued...

For some reasons, and perhaps instinctively, I used a softer brush stroke approach with this painting in contrast to the previous one... at least at the initial stage. The light in this scene comes from the mid morning sun and is somewhat diffused. Ideally, I would like to go for exaggerated contrasts while retaining as much as possible the quality of the uncertain step after another!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sandbanks painting....

I started this simple beach scene today. Ironically, I had to work a little harder than usual to accurately capture the postural lines of the main figure. I kept stabbing the canvas with titanium white and azo gold until I achieved a certain likeness (so much for drawing skills). I would like to go with blue greys and pinks for this one...I think.

Monday, October 20, 2008

...Cape May beach scene final...

After final analysis, I settled for this version with the exaggerated "lunar lighting" and somewhat of a photographic look despite the fairly loose application of paint. Not much expressionism here but the monochromatic contemporary look is something I want to exploit in future paintings. I also intend to experiment with the epoxy varnish on this one to create a highly reflective surface adding to the illusion of being there...blinded by the light.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

...and the beach scene series goes on...3rd pass...

I delivered the last painting sold at my exhibition this morning, a Buddha. Next opportunity to sell to the public at large: November 17th when I exhibit 5 of my paintings at a concert dedicated to Edith Piaf.

I used to have a hard time parting from my work. Tripping over a truck load of residual works in my studio seems to have taken care of that weakness...sort of. Still holding on tight to those watercolors though...

Some more refinements & nuances to be applied on this one, especially in the dark areas.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

...and the beach scene series goes on...

Keeping the momentum going with the beach scene series, yesterday, I did a quick first pass for this first real beach scene from my Cape May vacation. This time around though, I want to stick to more vibrant colors...we will see how this one evolves from one accident to the other, my usual way of painting!

Here is the 2nd pass today:

This is a 22 X 28 canvas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Experimenting with high gloss varnish....

I decided to revisit the large canvas using high gloss varnish to create a glass effect as if looking at the scene through sun glasses. I am not a big fan of gloss varnishes (my preference is satin varnish or no varnish at all), however, in the future, I would like to go in the direction of using different varnishes to create different textural effects, even on the same painting. I have one gallon of epoxy varnish in the "back burner" but I shied away from using the "sticky mixture" on this painting because of the textures I had already built on the piece. One thing is for sure, I want to produce an "epoxy" series but only with subject matters that will be complemented and enhanced by a high gloss/glass-like finish...sort of a "method in the madness" approach.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First solo exhibition - Opening night...à travers le regard de Juliette!

At the opening night , unbeknownst to me, Juliette decided to document the event by taking close to 100 photographs..right left and center (to my great pleasure since I did not have a professional photographer in place)!

What are her chances of succeeding as a professional photographer in the future if she decides to become one (she is 8 years old now)? Well the answer to that is..."better than average!"

"Merci pour cette heureuse initiative, Juliette!"

This is the exhibition through her eyes:

Monday, October 6, 2008

First solo exhibition - Opening night...a great success!

My first show was a memorable event indeed. More than 65 people showed up at the opening night. I had the attention span of a gerbil as I was trying to have conversations with as many of them as possible! By the end of the weekend, more than 100 people had showed up at my exhibition. This would not have been possible without the support from the cultural center, my close family and the friendships we built over the years (double-click any slide below to see a larger presentation).

"Your appreciation for my art has touched me profoundly. Your feedback will no doubt help me reach new heights in 2009. You made me realize the importance of direct interactions with the public in the development of any artist. You have recharged my batteries! Many thanks!"

"Votre appréciation pour mon art m'a profondément touché. Votre feedback va surement m'aider à atteindre de nouveaux sommets en 2009. Vous m'avez fait réaliser l'importance des interactions avec le public dans le développement d'un artiste. Vous m'avez redonné de l'énergie à revendre! Un gros merci!"

Coming out of this first wave of acrylic paintings, 9 paintings were sold (3 before the show and 6 at the show itself).

Here is how things rolled out from preparation to the opening night:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Largest canvas to date...part III

Decided to go for cool monochromatic colors in the end...sort of a look from the 50's in a way or, as if the observer were wearing sun glasses as well. Chinese artists use black ink and get a lot of mileage out of using fewer colors. I seem to want to go in that direction for now (ethereal, monochromatic scenes). Sticking to the warmer colors would be an objective for the next painting since the first phase of the work suggested a punchier final painting. Working on large canvases is definitely a challenge with fast drying acrylic colors. The work gets looser...a noble objective. This one goes to my exhibition as an experiment (not quite there yet) and a harbinger of things to come.