Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Poe embossed coffee can foil

So my wife made coffee this morning and, joking, hands me the foil from the new coffee can, “Here you go, something to emboss!” I was going to chuck it out but I noticed it had a really nice feel to it. Similar to pewter but thinner. So I embossed it. I found an old Poe image I used for a linocut a few years ago. I was just doing it as a lark really... bit of a warm up, but I like how it turned out. There were a few permanent crinkles that wouldn’t go away but otherwise, a really easy material to work with.

Here’s a look at the finished product which is in the shop:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Celtic knot dressed in Sunday best

I’ve been agonizing over how to best show these embossed pieces and I think I’ve settled on this.

The final piece is a 6"x6" embossed pewter celtic knot with faux patina (alcohol dye), matted with a dark stained Maple veneer all set in a simple 8"x8" black frame.

Should be up in the shop soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Moo... complete at last

The Moois Cowis (pretty sure that’s the scientific name) is finally finished. It should really have been finished months ago but for some reason I always found fault with it... feels like I’ve painted it three times over by now. Anyway, it’s signed so I’m letting it go so I can move on to new things. It does need a coat of varnish which should just take half an hour but, by this painting’s standards, may stretch into weeks.

Moois Cowis
Oil on canvas

Some earlier progress pics:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sprite can embossing complete

Well that seemed to work just fine! The pic above shows the embossed side (left) and the rough debossed back (right). Lines are decent, depth is good. Still some crinkles I’d like to get out but otherwise done. The stiffness of the aluminum (compared to tin-coated pewter) can make it challenging to work with because the piece tends to buckle quite a bit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sprite can embossing

This is a pic of the pattern I intend to emboss on a Sprite can. I have no idea if it's going to work, but I’m trying it anyway.

Apparently aluminum cans are a perfectly acceptable material for embossing. And god knows we have enough of those in the house. Between my beer and my wife’s Diet Sprite consumption, we end up with a lot of cans. If this works out, I’ll have a lifetime supply of embossing material.

Check out this video from Atomic Shrimp (see below) on how to make a small box from a tall aluminum can. Definitely trying that out. I suppose I’ll have to buy some pints on the weekend. And I’ll probably need a lot of practice. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Embossed celtic knot

My latest effort embossing metal. This is a celtic knot in pewter, 6"x 6". The photo is a bit deceptive as I’ve not yet figured out the best was to apply patina to the piece... the darker areas in the pic are a trick of the light. I’m pretty happy with the depth I was able to achieve with this one but I’d like to have cleaner lines. I suppose that will come with practise.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Prints for sale

I started making prints available in my Etsy shop over the last few days. I’m excited about the inclusion (probably more than I should be) for two reasons. 1) I’m reviving paintings that have been sold for some time and 2) the shop now has lots of inexpensive items for people to choose from.

Most are a 6" x 6" image on 8" x 8" sheet printed on Canon glossy photo paper with Canon inks on a Canon printer. No, I’m not a spokesperson for Canon... just trying to express that the prints are of high quality and should last for many, many years (a hundred if you believe the ink packaging spiel).

Most of the prints added so far are still life images. There will be more to come. In fact I intend to put a renewed focus on getting better photos of my paintings when they are finished and adding each one as a print from now on.

I’ve ordered various mats in the last few days so the prints will eventually be packaged with a pre-cut mat, a foam core backing board and polybag. Will also be using this packaging for my linocut prints as well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Snowy Streets

This painting is based on a photo I took from my home during last weekend's snowstorm in St. John’s. I was fixated on the image because, at the time, I was amazed at how much of my neighbourhood was being visually blotted out by the snowstorm.

I started this with the intention of doing a thin acrylic underpainting as a base for an oil painting but I really liked the colours I was mixing with the acrylics so I just kept going with those.

More pix and details available at my shop.

“Snowy Streets"
acrylic on canvas
12" x 12”

Monday, January 14, 2013

New cartoon

My latest cartoon for the Northeast Avalon Times. If you are in the area, pick one up!

More Sculpey heads

I haven’t baked these... they’ll probably get recycled. I like the grump.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snowed in

This is the view from my house in the east end of St. John’s. Bit of a mess. We’ve had our power back for a little while now at least we’re fed and coffeed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Weathered wave

Oh, I made a big mess during the production of this one. Thankfully I had large plastic sheets. 

For my previous poured paintings I’ve been content to let the paint find it’s own way but for this one I wanted to give it direction. I’m really happy with the result. A lot of energy went into it and I think it shows. Much pouring, scraping, throwing and dripping. Where the paint was thickest, heavy cracks emerged during the drying process giving it an extra weathered flavour.

The painting has 3 coats of gesso, many layers of high-quality fluid acrylics and finished with a glossy oil varnish.

"Weathered Waves"
acrylic on canvas
24" x 24”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hanging out my shingle

So after nearly four years at my current day job, I’ve decided to return to life as a freelancer. The steady paycheque has been nice but I think freelancing is more in line with the life I want to lead right now. I’m hoping to focus my work on publication design and production as publishing has always been my favourite area to work. My first job was with a book publisher nearly 20 years ago. Over the years I’ve been designing and producing books, magazines, newspapers, CDs and DVD packaging and hope to continue in that vein as a freelancer.

The other benefit to freelancing is that when jobs are scarce, I’ll have lots of time for painting! See the method to my madness? I also have some illustration and cartoon projects in the back of my mind. My hope is that between the freelance and my art-making efforts, I’ll be able to support myself. Seems reasonable, eh?

If not, I expect by the end of the year I’ll have an irritated wife, a drained savings account and a resume that reeks of desperation.

But that won’t happen (he says anxiously).

So, if you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll probably see a lot more activity: more posts, more art, more design projects, and maybe a little more of a push to sell my work.

The pic above is of my fancy new cards from moo.com. No, I’m not on commission. I just don’t mind pushing a company that does such nice work for such a great price. Thirty bucks for 50 cards, great stock, nice finish and delivered quickly. I just got the 50 because I’m not settled on a “look” yet... I put this one together in a hurry to make sure I had cards before the day job finished.

Wish me luck!

Oh and if you're are in the market for design work, inquire within. (my bio at right has an email link)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chalk pastels test run

Finally got a chance to try out a set of chalk pastels my friends gave me for my birthday in the fall. I used one of my Trinity photos from last summer which I'm thinking about painting.

It was a different experience from paint. I immediately regretted taping off a small space. Even more than paints, I think pastels need a big space as details are difficult to achieve with the big chunky chalk pieces. I didn’t end up with the image I had in mind but it was a good first effort with this medium, I think. I’m happy with the foreground.

I used painter’s tape to frame the space. I’ve read that some people swear by it and others hate it. It seemed to work fairly well but did pull up a little paper here and there when removed. If anyone can recommend something better, I’d appreciate it.

Got a bit of fright when I applied the fixer... everything went very dark. Thankfully the tones came back around as it dried.

Another thing I learned is that I’ll need to vacuum the space before I paint again... lots of coloured dust and bits all over my easel.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The cat’s meow

Willow has found the warmest spot in my workshop. And refuses to budge.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New year abstract

Kicking the year off with this weird little abstract... puddles of poured acrylic paint and glaze. Usually I add water to the paint before I pour but this one was a pure paint and glaze combo leaving a thick footprint on the canvas. These poured abstracts feel like a guilty pleasure but I intend to do more of them this year.



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