Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas cards

If you celebrate this season, however you celebrate this season, I wish you a happy and peaceful time. My family celebrates Christmas, and for innumerable years I've enjoyed making Christmas cards. They're usually linoleum prints, though not always. I'm no printmaker, but thought I'd share some of the few that remain from over the years. Below is this year's card, a view of our back yard:

Below are a few random samples from years gone by. In most cases I made just enough to give away. The first one is a lino cut with gold leaf underneath and is a hand lighting a lantern. The second, another lino, was done the year my mother passed on, and features a lone doe walking away across the snow.
The third is my studio window at the time and shows my cat looking out the window. Her speech bubble was filled in with various messages. Beside that is Santa's list with the caption, "Aha! Just as I suspected...". Inside, the message was "'ve been good!", or "'ve been bad!", depending on the recipient. The fifth was an experiment with stippling, something I never tried again. It features an illustration of the tree that produces frankincense. The final image is my neighbourhood at the time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twenty one plein air paintings were hung last night at the Cowbell, a very fine and funky restaurant here in Toronto. It's at 1564 Queen Street West, so do drop in, won't you?

I am really pleased to see that this ad from my Toronto representative, Canadian Fine Arts Gallery, features a colour repro of my painting, Boxing Gloves. It's in November's Slate gallery guide. Thank you, CFA!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Painting the city

A few recent endeavors:

Satellite Dishes, 8"x10", oil on panel. I had set up and was an hour into this painting, when a running marathon began to pass by. A lot of breathless "Watcha doing?"s as a seemingly endless stream of runners went past. Plein air has its comic moments.

Billboards, 8"x10", oil on panel.

Rowing Club, 11"x14", oil on panel. SOLD

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Air Show

Fighter jets were roaring around over my head during this painting. Drove me nuts! Oil on panel, 7"x7" SOLD

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recent plein air work

Here are a couple of recent plein air paintings.

Skatepark In The Rain, 7"x7", oil on panel

Canadian National Exhibition, 8 1/2"x11", oil on panel
My work can now be found at Canadian Fine Arts gallery (stay tuned for their updated website).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Urban plein air tips

The trio of Towns Road paintings is now finished, with the watertower below being the last. For now. I also added another image to my Unseen series, plein airs done at 'haunted' locations, the painting of Grenadier Pond being the third in that group. Soldiers drowned after breaking through the ice on Grenadier Pond during the War of 1812, and are still reportedly haunting the place.

Towns Road: Watertower, 8"x10", oil on panel SOLD

Unseen: Grenadier Pond, 10"x10", oil on panel

Skatepark, 8"x10", oil on panel

The following are a few urban plein tips I've sussed during my years 'on the streets':

* Solve drawing issues first. Complex urban scenes can be like a puzzle, and proportion and perspective are key to making it all fit.

* Be prepared for disruptions. A truck will park in front of you, and the driver will refuse to budge. And if those parked cars are important to your concept/composition, paint them in first. Because odds are very good they'll drive away before you finish.

* Be aware of the path of the sun. If you set up at 9:00 am facing east to paint a building, by 10:15 will the sun be above the roofline and blazing into your eyes?

* Some may claim that music on headphones enhances the experience of painting, but I don't recommend it, especially for urban work. I've been approached by dogs, friendly and otherwise, and people, friendly and not, and believe that awareness = safety. Further, the sounds of the city provide ample enhancement to the plein air experience.

* There are many things that attract the eye when choosing an urban subject. If you really want to capture that old Ford in the parking lot, or the faded Union Menswear sign, remember that context is part of what drew you to the scene. Portraying the car with little of the surrounding information is leaving a good part of the story out of the picture. Keep the image contemporary by recording the context and avoid nostalgia. That's all for now.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Visiting a friend's west end music studio introduced me to Towns Road, a funky area of assorted light industry that I never would have found on my own.

Towns Road: Trailer By The Sand, 8"x10", oil on panel SOLD

Towns Road: Tour Bus, 10"x10", oil on panel

Monday, July 19, 2010

A couple of new plein air paintings:

Houses under construction, 8"x10", oil on panel

The Fountain In The Grove, 10"x7 3/4", oil on panel
I wrote a song several years ago about my father's passing called The Fountain In The Grove. The image of a neglected fountain burbling away in the woods came from the song, and I've painted it a few times. In this case I painted the simple fountain at home, then searched for an appropriately gloomy setting in the woods nearby to set the scene.
Thank you to all that came out to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition this month. It was a pleasure to make new connections, meet online acquaintences in person, and to see old friends again. J

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cars. A lot of cars.

These cars were continually shuffled around during my stay in the alley. What a challenge!

Oil on panel, 8"x10" SOLD

Monday, June 28, 2010



This is a small (6"X7 1/2") oil sketch executed from inside the first security perimeter of the G20 conference here in Toronto. I was thoroughly searched, my paint box rifled through, and I endured the intense glares of the many police officers in order to get this one-hour sketch done. And it rained on me, too. The cops were polite, though edgy and intense. All hell broke loose shortly after I left. Sold

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


After all the frame making (see below) I was eager to get out and do some image making.
Here's a 10X10 oil-on-panel of construction near the railway tracks. En plein air, of course.

I'll take this opportunity to mention my participation in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Phillips Square, on July 9, 10 and 11. I'll be the one in the chair, with the hat, in the shade, at booth #567.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I haven't posted in a while as I've been preparing for some shows this summer. My frugal nature dictates that I make my own frames. This is time consuming, the show currently on display at the North York library gallery consisting of thirty nine paintings. That's a lot of framing!
Below are a few of the frame profiles I've come up with. Changing profiles keeps it from becoming too tedious a job.

Any comments on the success (or lack of) of these frames are welcome as I'm still learning the craft.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A few more recent plein air attempts:

South a very quick 6"x7", oil on panel

Cherryblossom oil on panel, 8"x10"
The name refers to the street on which it was painted, not the tree type.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A recent stay in Windsor, Ontario produced some plein air paintings. Here are two:

A muddy bus. 8"x10", oil on panel, near Chatham, Ontario. Sold

The old Hiram Walker's stables, Windsor, Ontario. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Doll Castle

Hello, and welcome.
This is my daughter's Barbie castle set up in the garage on a cold night last week. It was a real challenge painting this thing, and I learned a lot by seeing it through to the end. 10"x8", oil on panel.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wallace Avenue, again

I wanted to record this building again before it met its doom on Monday. I got out in the drizzle early Sunday morning for this 8x10 oil-on-panel. You can see the shovel is now in the yard ready to work the next day. SOLD

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This old building has been roughly painted with potential names for an old neighbourhood here in Toronto. The residents are voting for a name themselves, rather than leave it to developers and end up with a title like Wispy Heather Cloudway or Foggy Meadow Village:) The building will soon be torn down to make way for condos.

8"x10", oil on panel, en plein air of course! SOLD

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I love winter

Thank you for dropping by. Below are a few recent plein air paintings. Hope you like them.

General Electric, 8"x10", oil on panel SOLD

Water Slide, oil on panel, 8"x10" SOLD

Garage At Night, oil on panel, 10"x8"

Scanning from slides

I recently bought a very inexpensive slide scanner, hoping to record some older work digitally. You get what you pay for. Below are some mixed media pieces.

Monkey Man, oil, varnish, lacquer on canvas, 48"x54" SOLD

Uproad, oil, shellac, photo emulsion on canvas, 60"x55"

Square, oil, varnish, photo emulsion on canvas, 66"x56"

Oil Lamp, oil, varnish, shellac on canvas, 72"x66" SOLD

Orbis Tertius, oil, ink, collage on two linen panels, 42"x84"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thank you for dropping by. My family recently returned from New York City, and I had the opportunity to do a few very quick oil sketches. There are endless painting temptations there for an urban painter! I used the small cigar box pochade pictured below and, because my good-quality paints were confiscated at the border, some cheap oils bought in Manhattan. Not ideal for me, but these were good opportunities to learn. All are 6"x7", oil on panel, each completed in about a half-hour.
Franklin Place, in Tribeca:

Chelsea Morning:

From the Chelsea Hotel.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pink truck!

Welcome to my humble domain.
The painting below was done in an area here in Toronto that I've just discovered- an area rich in old junk yards and the like. In short, heaven! A sudden deluge of heavy snow put an end to my session, but I think I was about done anyway. Oil on panel, 8"x10". SOLD

Below is a sweet pochade box my friend Brian Gravestock put together for me. Brian's an excellent sculptor in his own right- google him. I'm still tweaking it a bit for my personal painting habits, but it's going to be a great travelling companion when my regular gear is too bulky.