Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Imagine... rejected

The annual Arts and Letters Competition for Newfoundland and Labrador is quickly approaching and I found out today that my entry (Imagine) will not be shown this year. :( I was disappointed as it's one of my favorite pieces. Not to mention the most labour-intensive linocut I've ever produced.

The judge(s) provided me with more detailed notes than I normally get so that was nice. They clearly put some thought into it and made some valid points:
  • "Depiction of flowers is good and expressive. A nice contrast with the blockiness of the mosaic."
  •  "A bit symmetrical, makes the image static, not enough energy"
  • "Image needs a greater sense of diversity, a sense of chance"
  • "The image is confined and stifled by grey border"
  • "Good strong shapes around edge"
  • "Good energy pushing from the center outward, but that could be taken further."
There's always next year. In the meantime, it's available in my shop.

Image size: 11.5" x 8.5"
Paper size: 14.25" x 11.5"
Edition: 12
Linocut; White ink on black paper

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stockholm - Gamla Stan (Old Town)


I thought it might be nice to add a few Sweden shots here. Art and design seems to be deeply ingrained in their culture. In Stockholm, it seems like you are never out of eyeshot of something beautiful to look at whether it's a street corner sculpture, an architectural detail or even a shop window that says a lot more that "buy me".  The Swedes seem to have embraced art as a part of their culture throughout the ages.

The above panoramic was actually about eight shots I took while on our boat tour (thank you photoshop). Stockholm is largely made up of islands and many of them, just beyond the city center, are inhabited even though they are too small to justify bridges. It seems, for some Swedes, traveling by boat is a part of everyday life.

I'll post some more shots over the next few days.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flights of fancy

Just got back last night from Sweden. We had a great trip: Stockholm is a beautiful city filled with many wonderful things to check out. Highlights included the Vasa museum containing a 17th century warship, a 7-course smorgasbord at the Grand Hotel and strolling through the cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan (Old Town) from which Stockholm evolved. The only low points were getting there and getting back. Since we have no direct flights to Europe in Newfoundland, we had to get head west in order to head east. 

We were busy being tourists so I didn't get to do much drawing outside of the flight plan doodle above. It was a nice distraction during the 24 hours it took to get to there. We did manage to take over 300 photos though. I'll probably use some of those for future doodles and paintings.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fabulous Blogs

I've been delinquent this past week... no posts. Had a few freelance gigs on the go and just didn't have the time. I suppose as I get busier, I'll need to make a point of finding the time because I'm really enjoying posting as well as poking around the blogosphere and interacting with other artists, doodlers and the like. But I'm finding it hard to find time for it all. I don't know how Sheila does it.

I'm a bad blogger...   or am I?

Apparently James Parker doesn't think so. He bestowed upon me a "Your Blog is Fabulous" tag. (Thanks, James!) Aside from being a very active blogger, James is an artist living in Costa Rica. His web site has a great collection of his wildlife paintings.

I'm not that familiar with tagging but I'll give it a go. His rules are to name your five favorite addictions, then pass the award to five other bloggers. I'll put the tags at the end of the list.

John's top five favorite addictions (in no particular order):

1) Gardening. Last year my wife and I bought a place outside of town which was originally owned by people from a farming family. They built 10 cold beds, a huge greenhouse and a shed. Though it had been neglected by the previous owner, I felt some strange obligation to pick up where they left off even though I didn't have a clue about gardening. Anyway, long story short: I repaired the beds, planted tons of stuff and spent the rest of my summer weeding and watching it grow. Now I can't wait for the snow to clear and get back at it.

2) Art. I like looking at it, making it, giving it away, selling it, framing it, and finding just the right spots on the wall. Making it includes doodles, painting, pen and ink, linocuts, as well as digital illustration (oh stop rolling your eyes... digital counts!). I picked up a router and a chop saw a few years back so my buddy and I got into framing... good times... must get back into that... the art is piling up.

3) Publication Design/Layout. Weird huh? I bill myself as a graphic designer. I can put together ads, brochures, web sites... pretty well anything I'm asked too make. But I really love making publications. Books, magazines and newspapers: that's what I most enjoy in my work life.

4) My Fire pit. Is it weird to be addicted to a fire pit? Who knows. I sure don't. Nor do I care. I LOVE my fire pit. The week we moved into the new place, my wife went out of town and  a neighboring buddy came over. We had a few beer and the topic of a fire pit came up. We scouted the property for a prime location. It was hypothetical of course but before that case of beer was empty, we scoured the tree line for rocks, dragged our top choices to the selected area, made a big circle, then burned stuff. Instant fire pit. Last spring I upgraded to Fire Pit 2.0 by digging out the space, lining the pit wall with stone and buying some huge pointed stones to make it into a compass design. I've already got plans for the next upgrade.

5) Documentaries. It sounds snobby but I do love a documentary. Don't get me wrong, I watch more TV than I probably should. I have favorite shows (Battlestar, Lost, Heroes) that I follow and watch all genres of movies but I most enjoy a good documentary. A recent fav: A Workingman's Death.  Powerful subject matter and spectacular camera work. Also Garbage Warrior. It seemed a little flakey at first but what a fabulous story it turned out to be.

Okay, coming up with that list was harder than I thought it would be. Here are five blogs I frequent and therefore new owners of the "Your Blog Is Fabulous" award. (Rules for those tagged will be the same: list five favorite addictions, then pass it on to five bloggers)

1) Peter Yesis. Peter has great step-by-step photos of a lot of his ongoing paintings and I really enjoy seeing his process.

2) Jim Bradshaw. Fabulous doodler and artist! You should hire him!

3) John Stewart. Great portrait artist. His digital work is very inspiring.

4) Andy. Great cartoon characters. His "A Dude A Day" project is hilarious.

5) Jonathon Burton. Awesome illustration work.

That's it... I've got to go. I'll have no more posts for the next week cause in 6 hours, I'm off with the wife to SWEDEN of all places. I was going to post on that but I've run out of time. But I have a fully loaded digital cameral, a brand new sketchbook and a fist full of pens and pencils. Hopefully I'll have some interesting material to post when I get back.

I'll leave you with a shot of Fire Pit 2.0 in all it's glory:

Oh alright, an action shot too:


From my sketchbook. I'm thinking about doing a series of robot cartoons in the future. I like the idea of fancy robots being plugged into an outlet with a five-foot cord. Makes them rather useless. And makes me laugh.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe

I was looking for a new subject to do some pen and ink work when I came across the famous Edgar Allan Poe daguerreotype (1848) on Splinter In Your Eye. It's a blog from British Columbia hosted by a photographer and an illustrator... some great stuff. I don't know why Poe was there -- most content is local scenery -- but it was my good fortune.

This cartoonish portrait was inspired by David Levine's work. My awful crow image reminded me that I need to take more care in my artwork instead of barreling through it like a race to the finish. "Poe" was an exercise in patience. I enjoyed working on it and I was pleased with the end result so I think I'll do some more of these.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eastern Health cartoon

This is my latest for NLPress.ca

For those of you not from Newfoundland, the province has been rocked in recent years by a scandal within out government health services. Improper breast cancer screening over the course of several years caused some people to needlessly have mastectomies while others who needed them, didn't get them resulting in numerous unnecessary deaths. This week, the Cameron Report was released and assigns blame to all levels of Eastern Health. The government seems content to have the same people who contributed to the problem, fix the problem. I think (and I think others would agree) that heads should roll: clean house and give them a budget that will help keep people safe. I'm normally a big fan of our premier but when poor government services and budget cutbacks result in multiple deaths, then maybe it's time to reconsider who's in charge.

The cartoon is digital, largely completed in Illustrator with some Photoshop work to finish it off.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Different Wigs for Different Folks

I decided a few days before deadline to do a piece for the new "Different Strokes..." painting challenge. It's not my best work but, as always, good practice so I'm glad I did it.


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