I returned to the subject of a bridge recently. It was again on highway #3, the Crowsnest Pass through southern British Columbia. The orange of the structure is what drew me in, as did the graphics of the signage. I find the graphic orange colour & structure acts as a bridge between the two dimensional nature of the signage and the environment. The bridge is both subject and a link for me.
Ryan Bridge - oils on panel, 19 x 14.25 inches
My inspiration for working on the Suzuki motorcycle piece titled “Gixxer” is from model kit box art, and the love of process. In developing my drawing for the final art I have been frustrated at times with the drawing process being lost under the painting. The thinking and construction lines are a layer of record that can add a depth. I’ve used an approach in constructing my own panels for years in this piece. It’s a laminated panel that layers-in my original drawing with a top coat to seal the drawing. In painting colour I want to capture the drawing and painting in equal parts.
It’s winter and my activities are more inside. The sun’s low in the sky, and the days are short. A breath of warmth is through an orchid that resides on our kitchen table. The little gem holds it’s bloom for quite along time. At least compared to other potted and pampered offerings. When having a coffee or sitting to eat, this little friend pleasantly offers it’s beauty. It whispers warmer days are ahead.
I think it was the combination of the flat bone white bleached paint with dry grass, plywood clad garage, the tar papered house, in a yard that looked forgotten & sadly beautiful at the same time. The car, a Camaro, looked as though it had not moved in quite some time. The plates seem current, but the registration tags didn't. If a car could have a personality this one seemed to wear a mullet. A hero of an era that had passed. The symbol of earlier muscle cars that had roared, then faded to be replaced by a pale stand-in like this one. A symbol of main street cruzin’ cool, and V8 power that had long ago been castrated. Hmmm …brings to mind the song by The Dead Milkmen, Bitchin’ Camaro.
Early thumbnail pencil sketch - 1.7 x 1.1 inches
Base sketch - 14 x 9 inches
Camaro & Garage - oils on panel, 16 x 25 inches
Dirt Bike - Huskie - oils on panel, 18 x 13 inches
I've been exploring my own framing the last few years. I see some very interesting history on the backside of framed pieces of artwork in galleries. The handmade craftsmanship that went into some of the older pieces has been inspirational for me to take my own thoughts into framing my own work. It's an extention of my interest and thoughts about materials. Also frames have provided a bit of protection from the enviteable shuffling of paintings in a gallery setting. Kind of a merging of a subtle intention of the artist in materials, presentation, and practicality.
Stapler - oils on panel, 16 x 8 inches
Frame materials - 1/4" fir plywood, poplar, and recycled.
Part# 2-15533 Dispenser Cup - oils on panel, 17 x 13 inches
Frame materials - 1/4" poplar and recycled.
And on another note;
I do really enjoy working with vector based graphics. My old Mac was eight years and could not be upgraded. Thank you Apple. So after recently updating the OS on my new refurbished computer, I had to deal with the inevitable fallout of solid running hardware(Scanner, printers, tablet, optical drive, monitor…) being turned into landfill by software “upgrades”. It was a lot of work, and frustration, but it’s all hanging together. I do not enjoy pouring my funds into a computer. They hold their value like a bucket full of holes. I’m running the latest OS now, but I had to do a lot of research to keep my version of Adobe CS6 running. With Adobe moving backwards to a 19th century feudal payment system where workers no longer own their work. Like serfs working the land for the lord(corporation). Never mind the sales pitching from their website(how great the new CC is…blah blah), and being squeezed with updates into a forced obsolescence. So I recently took the step and purchased new Affinity software(Photo & Designer). It’s been a learning curve, but I’m really starting to enjoy some of the new attributes of what I see with their offering. Not to mention a MUCH more rational cost of ownership. That’s right you own your own copy. Still lots to learn though.
NeoBike Thingy - 2D vector, Working with CS6 illustrator, with extra help from Affinity Designer. Kind of a bridge piece.
Driving through southern Alberta last June, I stopped to use a public washroom. Another road that I’ve been over what seems like a hundred times in my life. Highway 2 the longest highway in the province. The highway splits into two roads in the town of Nanton. Each road has 2 lanes in one direction. The east side road going north, and west heading south. This image is from the west side road looking east. One of the few remaining phone booths still in service. The assumption of a world full of iPhones is somewhat a sad joke, but it grows.
Sketch to resolve the basic structure of my painting.
Another roadside artifact that I've driven by many times. The sign and others like it brought back many memories of late nights ordering in and childhood holidays. Also even the effects of the morning after having food in the fridge to reheat for another day. Order in or take out? The take-home boxes of leftovers or doggy bags also come to mind. The sign itself is a leftover as the restaurant behind it was demolished long ago. It now sits on an empty lot full of weeds with an old concrete slab. The text on the sign is a throwback to another time, a near recent past still with us today.
While driving through the southern interior of British Columbia last summer I noticed an unusual type of machinery parked off the side of the highway. The day was overcast with light showers, and the result was that the colours in the landscape all seemed heightened. The machinery was a combination of an open top boxcar with what looked like an excavator grafted on top. I pulled over and trudged back through the wet grass, and took some photos. From what I'd gather, it was machinery for removing old railway ties. The old ties are stacked at certain points, then lifted up into the boxcars. The tags on the sides were a record of urban stops, now parked out in a forested mountain valley.
Moving Ties - oils on panel, 42 x 14 inches
Moving Ties - detail
Another trip had me looking at a tree that extended over the road in a very sculptural way. The road was a sleeping secondary one out on Vancouver Island. It was a three way intersection that seemed almost forgotten. I explored a looser approach in painting this one.
Three Way - oils on panel, 20 x 15 inches
I'll be showing some paintings this June in Calgary, Alberta. The show opens June 6th at the Midtowne Gallery. For those in the area I hope you can make it.
Almost getting run over, or just having some passer-by looking at me gawking on. Then fumbling out my tiny cheap camera, yes it's digital. No phone though. I have one at home that works without thumbs, you can simply speak into it. Pulling over on the side of a busy road has others thinking I'm crazy, or up to to no-good. A security guard looking at me staring at patterns in the pavement. One security guard at a construction site told me that some guys photograph the equipment on-site for stealing later. He said that there are thieves that steal to order. Having a record of potentials helps them shop the targeted machines to prospective clients. Many client/customers are out of country. Wow, an export market. I wonder if those thieves use phones to photograph. Or would they prefer a more precise photographic record of quality. Hhmm… yeah probably not. Maybe there's an app they use, hell maybe tweetin' out, hahaha better yet a facebook page for stolen construction equipment. Moving on…..not the quickest way there, more of an alternate route. Wandering into a light industrial area there's a lawn mower repair shop….