Friday, February 22, 2008

Early work

This is an image of the view from our backyard, and a shot of a painting I did of Claudia, that goes with today's theme. Claudia is a magnificent model because she changes her entire look every couple of months. I was reading Bob Burridge's thoughts on painting (check out yesterday's copy for his web address). I love how he gives you permission to have fun and enjoy painting -- not to aim for results, or think about who wants your work, or pleasing others when you paint.

That made me think about the first painting I can remember doing. I think my kindergarten teacher kept it to show my mother to give her a laugh. I don't think it showed artistic promise -- my six-year-old nephew Jack has the jump up on early talent. It did show some basic truths about my perceptions and enthusiasms at five,
and a clear predictor of my future.

The painting was of my mother and father at their wedding. My mother was sitting on a chair
eating a big piece of chocolate cake, holding me, and the blurry stick figure of my father looked on. * Of course at five I couldn't imagine their world without me, but I already knew that weddings were parties, and I knew I liked festivity and celebration. Still do. Check. Plus
although I paint in the usual jeans and paint smeared aprons, and torn sweaters -- I like to
paint the opulent fabrics which my mother had, and still has a great fondness for.
I have a particular penchant for white dresses, although white is a no-no in the painting world. The kindergarten painting also said something about my mother -- a woman who could easily have managed the act of balancing a swaddled infant, elegant clothing and eating cake with aplomb. She was and is the inveterate multi-tasker, talking on the phone while reading a magazine, looking at the birds, and popping home made loaves of bread and trays of cookies in and out of the oven as the timer bings.

I'm glad Bob Burridge decries rules. Lately I've been trying really hard to dampen down any white in my paintings with some other colour -- yellow, blue, mauve red. I'm painting a whole cabinet full of white antique china now and trying to make sure that the white isn't too white,
but at the same time I have to do what I do.

My favorite palette is bright almost primary-- red, yellow, blue (lots of turquoise), orange, white, purple and sometimes green. Canadian decor lately has been married to beige. We
love beige rooms, beige houses -- I'm thrilled that the American design world is returning to opulence -- because opulence means fabric, jewels, and colour. How can people live in
the landscape you see above and not want colour? We don't want to ever be offensive,
live in bad taste, take a risk. We'd rather live and die neutral. As a foreign policy strategy I think that's a brilliant concept. But couldn't we take on some of the internal and external vibrant colour in our decor, used so tastefully and joyfully in England, Sweden, France and Italy? I think we could.

I think Toronto is going through a maritime shift. The first time I visited P.E.I. a trucker driving a flatbed of massive logs said, "if you don't like the weather -- wait five minutes. It's bound to change." Five minutes ago I took the picture of my backyard swathed in mid-afternoon gloom, and now the sun is out again.

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Portrait Artist

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!