“Oh my god! It looks exactly like a photo! Wow!” “Just like a photo! Amazing!” If you decide to work in a realistic style as an artist, you hear this all of the time. And it’s always intended as a compliment, and I do take it that way. All the same - it makes me inwardly cringe. And this is no disrespect to photography. Photography is its own … [Read more...] about why my art doesn’t look “just like a photo!”
If there’s one thing art has taught me, it’s that I know nothing. Literally, not a damn thing. You’re just painting along, thinking you know what you’re doing and then BAM. Suddenly everything looks different and you were so, so wrong before. The thing is, the truth of what you’re seeing is always 10 steps ahead of you. Life, liveliness, nature, … [Read more...] about painting: keeping me humble since 2003
People see my work and think that the process of creating it is somehow fiddly - that I crawl across the surface of my paper or canvas with pencil or brush, minutely registering every tiny detail. But there’s a world of difference between just copying what you see, and understanding what you see in your imagination and constructing it on the … [Read more...] about wholeness of vision
There is a point in every painting where I must remind myself to keep faith. There is a point, generally right before everything pulls itself together, where it looks like it is actually never going to pull itself together. That it’s a dud. A disaster. A waste of time and art supplies. It’s that midpoint on any journey where you’ve stepped into … [Read more...] about on remembering to keep faith
I don’t talk about this much in this newsletter, but I love painting portraits. (Oddly enough, I talk about my love of portraiture all the time in my “real” life, but I don’t tend to bring it up often when I talk about my art practice. I’m not really certain why that is. One of those precious little dreams you get all secretive about, y’know?) The … [Read more...] about becoming “unlabelled”: the story behind my Kingston Prize painting
I regularly attend a couple of local life drawing groups. Occasionally, the group decides that they’d like to draw the model clothed. Yawn. Turns out, drawing clothed people bores me to tears. I know, I know. Just last week I was talking about how much I love painting portraits and portraits are, generally speaking, clothed people. But that’s a … [Read more...] about why do you paint naked people??
I got in! I got in! I’m still kind of pinching myself! I found out a few weeks ago that my painting, “Unlabelled”, was selected as one of the top 30 finalists out of 415 entries for the Kingston Prize, Canada’s nation wide portrait competition (similar to the BP Portrait Award in the UK). Crazy! So now my painting gets to go on a little … [Read more...] about Ohmygosh! I was accepted into the Kingston Prize!
I wrote a post a little while ago about making mistakes, self-criticism and why sucking at your art doesn't say anything bad about you. I've been talking about these ideas with my father a lot, since he's on his own creative journey with the bass guitar. After writing him a mini-novel over email, I realized I still had some thoughts about … [Read more...] about On being a good student (or, again, why no kittens will die)
Sometimes when I’m working on a painting or drawing, I’ll jokingly say something like, “Hey, this doesn’t suck!” or some other tongue-in-cheek joke about the quality of the work. Or maybe I’ll bring up that something in the piece isn’t working - I’m frustrated with an aspect of it. And the person I’m talking to will inevitably jump in and defend … [Read more...] about On making mistakes (or: why no kittens will die)
There is that point, in every painting, where it’s so tempting to give up. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been painting (10 years). It doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve spent in the studio, learning and practicing (thousands). There is inevitably that point where you think, “This is probably going to suck. Look! It’s sucking right now. I … [Read more...] about Pushing Past the Edges
I'm reworking both my bio and my artist statement this week. My bio is embarrassingly out of date and my artist statement feels disconnected from the work that I'm trying to make. I've been journaling like mad and writing answers to questions like "What do I believe?" It's a difficult process, and painful in a way - revealing why you really … [Read more...] about Courage and fragility
I have an extra special announcement to make today. I’m moving to Ottawa next month to start a new adventure in the capital city! *confetti* There’s just one concern: I don’t think some of my paintings can survive another move. I’ve moved a lot over the last 5 years, and every time I pack those paintings into a U-haul truck, my heart … [Read more...] about The “Hey guys! I’m moving!” art auction
Note: I originally sent this to my newsletter list and it got a very strong response. Several people requested that I post it to the blog so that they could share it, so here it is! If you'd like to sign up to my newsletter list, you can do so by clicking here. During my time studying in France, I learned a lot of important things. One of the … [Read more...] about Mistakes, cheap tricks and magic bullets.