Friday, January 30, 2009

Budget blast

This is my latest contribution to NL Press. I'm quite pleased with it. So pleased I entered it in the Applied Arts annual Photo/Illustration contest "Editorial Cartoon" category. I never win these things but you can't win if you don't buy a ticket as they say.

Boil up

Monday, January 26, 2009

Death by a thousand cuts

The annual provincial arts and letters competition is coming up here in Newfoundland and Labrador. I was originally thinking I wouldn't enter anything this year but now I'm thinking about entering my 'Imagine' print. It's not exactly local subject matter but it's probably the piece I'm most pleased with from last year so what the hell. That'll give me a good excuse to get one professionally framed.

The "thousand cuts" in the post title refers to the maddening process of cutting the plate for this print. Maybe I'll do a future post on the process of making linocut prints.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

National Film Board

The NFB launched a new site recently with lots of great free content including some favorites I've posted on Facebook in the past. Here's my all-time favorite Canadian animation:

(Thanks, Drawn! for pointing this out!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

NL Press

Looks like I'll be doing some semi-regular illustration/cartooning for NL Press, a local online news service. The first installment is for Ray Guy's column.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Best Intentions

A bit like Cupid, I have the best intentions when I make these cartoons. From conception I think it's nothing but hilarious. But by the time I get to the end of the process hours later, I look at it and wonder "Is it funny or is it just weird?" The whole point of these are to get people to have a laugh with me so I hope that's the end result. If so, cards are available.

Everytime I post, I get a little more annoyed at this Blogger interface. Why do I have so much trouble uploading pix? Why is formatting text so troublesome? Why is it that Blogger's post window is the only place of my working world that I can't use copy and paste key commands? Is it just me? Am I a blogger nincompoop? (Don't answer that last one.)

I was told that once I dip my toe in the blog pool, I'm probably going to want to switch to Wordpress. From what I understand, Wordpress will allow me to incorporate the blog into my own site and give me more control. I'm all about that. I might check into that this week. Of course, I'll have to develop my own site first. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Recent reads

Not a lot happening creatively for the last few days so I thought it might be a good time to mention a few books that got my attention lately and have really inspired me to keep creating. (Aside from the last few days, that is. Ahem.)

The first is Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life. It's essentially a peek into the illustrated journals/sketchbooks of artists and their thoughts on why the journals are important to them and their work. I was immediately into it when I realized Robert Crumb had a piece in it but I think I've since adopted some new favorites.

Some friends of mine have been giving me copies of Graham Roumieu's Bigfoot books which I highly recommend to anyone who laughs. They are ridiculously funny. The titles alone make me giggle: In Me Own Words, Me Write Book and I Not Dead. When two hunters in the southern US claimed to have found the body of Bigfoot last year, he was quick to issue a press release.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A cat and his prized bag

Okay, now I feel like the pairing of Xander and his prized toy is coming through in the painting a little better. The bag has a handle now. I redefined his shoulder, forearm and tail. I worked on his eyes a bit but I think I made them worst. Anyway, my daily painting is now entering day three. Oh well. I'm still pretty happy with it but starting to get that creeping feeling that the painting has overstayed it's welcome on my easel. Time to sign and move on.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Painting Process

Well, more accurately, MY painting process. For this painting. (ahem) Since I have no formal training and only completed a few oil paintings to date, I don't think I really have a process yet. But I thought it might be an interesting exercise to document the process of one of my paintings from beginning to end.

Our tuxedo cat, Xander, just loves playing with plastic bags. His portrait was overdue so I opted to use a shot of him with his favorite toy.

Here's the original photo:
I haven't exactly created a photo realistic painting... lets call it "painterly" and leave it at that. What I'm very happy about is that I did the whole thing in one sitting this afternoon. I might go back and touch up a few things but it's essentially done. Throughout the process, I shot pix of the canvas... here is the result:

It started with an acrylic wash. When that dried, I sketched the subject out very roughly in pencil.

From there I started roughing in some paint and wiped away shadow areas as I went.

Filled in the background and added some blue detail to the bag. (And to the cat but I thought better of that later).

Started filling in some detail within the cat... filled out the background. Finished the green blanket. Added whiskahs.

Na-taaa! Finished painting.
Now that I've had a good look at the photo, I can think of a few things I'd like to go back and continue to work on:

1) Add highlights to Xander's back;
2) Make the bag more bag-like and less iceberg-like. Maybe add a bag handle and some of the logo;
3) Try and make Xander look a little less sad;
4) Sign it

Cat with bag
oil on canvas
12" x 12"

Different Strokes...

I mentioned a while back that I'd be taking part in a biweekly painting competition (not a competition though -- we're all winners) and here's the entry: The Jefferson Memorial. I had fun with the washes and watercolours in this. And I went a bit mad with the addition of India Ink. But I think it turned out okay... there are things I like about it.... some things I don't. Anyway, check out the other entries. It's fascinating to see the different approaches to the same subject matter. I can't wait for the next one now... I might need to find some other ones.

Jefferson Memorial
watercolor and india ink
8.5" x 4.25"

Andy Capp?

Found this one the other day. And, no, it's not me and da wife. (My hand is not nearly that backwards.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cafe Press

Tonight, instead of doing something creative, I expanded my online empire.

That's right Doods (I hear that's what Doodlepalooza fans are calling each other... if you see that word being used, you know they are in the know), Doodlepalooza for the creative journal, Linopalooza (on Etsy) to purchase original artwork (mostly linocut prints) and now a Cafe Press shop to purchase t-shirts and small posters of some items you see on the blog.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Skull wash

This is actually all black ink with a wash. When I scanned it it was RGB and I liked the subtle sepia look so I left it.

Scanner 1, John 0

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rodin's robot

The original looks a lot better than the scan, I think. I used a brown ink which is not very evident and the yellow is more saturated than the original. Ah, well. Can't blame the scanner for everything: I also put " '08 " on the dateline. Bah. How many doodles will prematurely become last year's news before I get used to another new year? Too many.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pen and Ink wash

I've decided I'm going to try and at least doodle a little somethin'-somethin' everyday. I did the above in about five minutes... surely I've got five minutes a day to make something for the blog. Don't get me wrong... I'm doing other things too. Aside from freelance work, I spent several hours last night and today working on the next oil painting. I'm just talking about having something I can post here each day. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Red Cabbage

The subject for this painting actually came from my garden. I'm a gardening noob; 2008 was my inaugural vegetable growing year. There were successes and there were failures. One of the successes was the crop of cabbages. Aside from a few cabbage worm holes, they were quite fit. The first red cabbage I cut last year I knew I wanted to try and paint it. I took a few shots and, over the course of a few months, created the above painting. Frankly, It's not what I imagined when I started. I very nearly painted over the canvas a few times I was so displeased. But I'm glad I didn't. If nothing else, I'm glad I was able to commemorate my first year of gardening. 

Oil on canvas
16 x 20

Saturday, January 3, 2009


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