February 27, 2012

busy B...something promising

My ACAD critique was today. My students did a good job in their delivery.  I received a really nice email based on my student evaluation forms from extended studies class.

Hi, Brian – I just read your evaluations and have to say CONGRATULATIONS on a great job! Your students are very happy with both the course content and your presentation – they really appreciate your attitude.

Thanks for doing a terrific job!

Attitude is everything!

I also received this email invitation from Calgary 2012:

On behalf of Calgary 2012 we would like to welcome you to the role of Cultural Ambassador!!
What identifies a cultural ambassador: a communicator, connector, instigator and facilitator of arts and cultural in Calgary; an important role as Calgary celebrates it’s designation of Cultural Capital of Canada.

Within the next few weeks you will be getting a job description and an invitation to attend an information session about what it means to be a Cultural Ambassador.
This sounds like a fun opportunity to participate and be part of the arts community in this special year!

Tonight, after my ACAD class, and for the next two weeks, I have signed up for a bar tending course. I love learning new things. This is the kind of homework one can really enjoy. Soon, I'll be truly able to be the host with the most. Shaken not stirred;)

February 26, 2012


I dropped off my second dragon painting to Motion Gallery down at Eau Claire market for the Momentum show.

Before leaving the studio the other night, I sat for a moment and gave a good look at my work, to see what remained to be completed. I made a list. The next visit I would be far more effective in executing the steps necessary to bring my vision to fruition. I do this often, this scrap has the initial inspiration for my design.
So I got on it. The first step was a ding a light violet highlight as a centre line to each strand of hair and to the fuzzy hands and tail as accents.  I then trailed a thin line of pearlescent silver to add a dull sheen along the elbow and face hair like bits. Paynes grey right out of the tube joined the party. I confidently drew around the knuckles and blocked in the claws to further flesh them out.
I did a graduation of red to orange to yellow on the nails to echo the fire and facial elements. I used the silver to add a highlight across the nails as well as purple and magenta sparkles in Gac 100 to all the parts with purple.
Jumping ahead a bit..........I signed my name after completing everything else on my list signifying completion. However I think I may add a few more things before I give it the final protective coating.
Here is a snapshot that shows the dry brushing I did to flush out the flaming eyeballs ad over the nose.I added a variety of layers and spots to unify the face. I used colours on hand as they came about for the iris details. I used transparent purples to firm up the nose. I splattered gold into the mouth and used white to highlight the fangs.  I used a mix of two types of green sparkles in a clear liquid acrylic and applied it over the face.
I hung up the work, the lighting is much lower in Motion Gallery, the sparkles catch your eye straight on.  I am really happy how the pieces look.  I am going to rephotograph them and rehang them side by  side.  i am not including a picture of the entire work here. I want you to go and see it in person to really get the feel for it.

Enjoy and thanks for following me on this journey ;)

February 24, 2012

A brief word from our sponsor

Mother earth.

I enjoy educative animations. Maybe the reality presented is a bit disheartening, but think about it. It is good to recognize our responsibility to our earth. We each must do what we can be it grassroots changes, observations and innovations in our daily lives. If nothing else cross your fingers. There is no tomorrow.

A: 9,223,372,036,036,854,77,000 grains.

Menu for the future:
Radical Self Reliance.

February 23, 2012

What I do for fun....

Slave away.

During "reading week" I've been teaching and moonlighting in the studio. Tonight, I teach an animation class, afterward I intend on crossing the snowy street to my studio to do some more work on my dragon painting.......... it could be a late night. They will be showing this Saturday at Motion Gallery at the show below:
Hey, I didn't know this was a ticketed event?!

Regardless if you come in before 6 or on Sunday you can be one of the first to see and experience the new and improved dragon paintings in person.

Plus: There is a story in this weeks FFWD about Motion Gallery check it out in print or online here.

February 22, 2012

Count your Lucky dragon

I am still feeling some residuals from disappointment not being part of the cream of the crop in the last grant I applied for. I woke up to write about it in my daily morning pages. I have observed, it is just when I finally let it go that I get back on track and things begin to roll forward again.

I awoke to find an email from the U of C, thanking me once again for my  talk and studio visits. They were so grateful they found an extra bit of cash to toss my way. I am so thankful that they appreciated my time enough to source out additional funds for me. That makes my day, it is so thoughtful and I am so appreciative.

"Remember that everything can change -- on a day like today, anything is possible!"  

I began working on some facial and hair elements. I created a stencil out of water-colour paper and cut out the flame shapes for the eye brows.  I blocked them in with red as a base colour. I made a dark purple for the hair element and added a mid tone, later, I will add a lighter purple highlight.
 I also created a stencil for the finger nails. This adds uniformity to the bunch. I filled them in with red, which will eventually be covered in orange and yellow to match the flames.  I did a light wash over each of the squirmy bits that come out of the face and knee/elbows with a neutral grey then wiped it away on the white highlight. I may still revisit this with a lighter highlight.
In this angle shot you can see the surprise the sparkles give when light is reflected on the piece. It would be ideal to have a light closer and above the painting (Angle of incidence = angle of reflection) so that the sparkles hit your eye when you walk by and catch your attention.

Before I left the studio since it had struck midnight and my truck may turn into a pumpkin, I made a list of all the things I hope to accomplish next time I'm in. By doing this,  I will be focused in order to get this piece completed and varnished before the Saturday unveiling at Motion Gallery. I am still a very busy bunny, time management is key. I teach tonight, I have a B-day party to attend afterward, I teach animation at QAS Thursday evening and had a many other things on the go....... so I can't afford to lose my focus or direction.

Oh yeah, I got an email form the Taoist Tai Chi Society, they are very interested in using my image for their T-shirt design. (Fist Pump!)

February 21, 2012

Re-visiting the first dragon

I spent the day off (family day here in cow town, presidents in the U.S.A.) In my audio adding sparkles to the dragons scales. I tok this painting back front he gallery in order to add some of the process I learned by working on the second one and in order to help them match each other better. I al also doing some work on the hair, face, hands and nails. Then I will give it a sign and a good dose of varnish. Let it dry for a day, then deliver it back to Motion Gallery for the unveiling of the pair on February 25th!
This picture can't do it justice, see my latest piece in person.
Here: Motion Gallery on Facebook.

I got some news today that I didn't receive a grant I applied for back in November:( However, rather than let it get me down...
I gave the granting officer a call to enlighten myself with some feedback.  They said I had very high marks and that it was extremely competitive. They thought my support material was fantastic, and my artistic merit scored high.  This was reassuring.

The feedback that I received will help me to apply for the next grant. They thought that since I was doing a lot of experimentation that I needed more time to do the things I am going to do. I can say that I will address this in the next grant, but I know I will be able to do it in time stated because I have no choice, my Show is in October. Professional peer artists think I should take more time to experiment. I really appreciate that sentiment, it is reassuring! So not getting a grant has turned into an empowering feeling that I'm going to kick ass and definitely get the next one- boo yeah! Plus as I continue to work on stuff my portfolio and support material get even better!

February 17, 2012

Divine Inspiration Lecture

Phew, I'm glad that's over.

I gave an artist lecture for a terrific group at the U of C.  It was really nice walking into the building and seeing my rainbow deity on posters all over the place.
Lisa Benschop from Stride came down and brought some exhibition invites for future openings. There were just a few 70's style chairs left empty.

I often forget how difficult it is to present to a large group. I shared my secrets and some of the lessons I've learned as my practice develops while showing a small selection of slides. These kind of personal outpourings can deplete the energy and make one feel very vulnerable.

That being said, there is a flip side: I shared my perspective in hopes of inspiring those in attendance to feel inspired, to believe in themselves and to find their paths and become a veritable force to be reckoned with.

- I may have inspired somebody (Samira) to take up painting, RAD!  Keep your eyes peeled for it.

- One gent compared me to Michelangelo, an extremely generous compliment.

- I took a lot out of the older people in the crowd and the few with obvious hangovers, they will wake up with a Eureka!! moment after their naps.

There were some great question and reflections following my talk. I was told by a few bright and shiny eyed people from the audience that it was inspiration and the best talk they've seen because usually the speakers are boring (so I'm told). Boring is not a word for my lexicon.

The generous and noteworthy host, Eric Cameron took good care of me, I enjoyed tea and a po-boy (but no where near anything I had while in New Orleans) in the elite (on campus) restaurant. The group was extremely friendly and great conversationalists. I made myself available for studio visits to the Grad students and had a fantastic time wandering the halls kinda lost, looking at work. I received many messages and likes on my FB page.  Hopefully there will be some follow thru and drop ins for a studio visit. Two gals are coming this Monday at 2pm if there are any other takers....... get on the Bunny train =;D

February 13, 2012

Dragon Done!

I completed the second dragon painting last night.
The feeling of relief accompanies the satisfaction of achievement.

 I outlined in paynes grey all the dangly bits. Then I rubbed in a neutral very and removed some from the centre with a damp piece of paper towel.
 I mixed each individual colour of sparkles into GAC 100 in this shot cup. I applied it to each scale, respective of their colour. The green andy blue ones had two colours of sparkles each.
 The full piece in the studio to give an idea of the overall effect of the piece. I pained the claws and each finger nail. I added purple and magenta sparkles over the hair and flaming areas.
 I put a lot more work into the dragons facial features, and added purple strands of crazy hair. I added teeth made up of greys and white highlights. I added spots and blended hairs across the face and put in more work on all these details to make it pop.
I add my signature to signify completion. Then it became time to put a protective coat of varnish.
Its hard to tell in this photo, but the room is filled with a toxic cloud.  I did a crystal clear spray varnish application, unfortunately there is not adequate ventilation to do coatings. I had to escape the room immediately. Luckily, I won't be in the studio for at least a full day. I have to teach all day at the Alberta College of Art and Design. This is why I am so happy I finished the piece, good timing to allow it to dry. I will be delivering the piece to Motion Gallery this Wednesday.

February 12, 2012

Still Dragin' on this Dragon

I spent a full day of work doing a little bit of tidying and moving some stuff around before getting a good crack at this Dragon piece again.
I started off with colours that reminded me of Fruit Loops. Pinky red, orange and yellow and painted the tufts on the tops of the claws. Happy with how that turned out, I took another step forward. I took a iridescent copper and added a highlight to the stomach ribbing. This in turn advanced me to take out the Payns grey and add some depth and shadow on the stomach areas.
THis new shelf came in handy tonight. Here are the selection of pigments I used and all the tools fr tonight, including my sketchbook where I made the initial drawing.
Heres my impromptu little set up. I put a chair on the floor pads, it made it really comfortable. I got them, might as well put them to good use, right?! The shelving unit was the perfect heigh. So much so, I am tempted to buy another one tomorrow! I outlined the entire dragon with white focusing on the belly areas and the base of the spine. I also blocked in the knuckles and fingers with white and then added accents with the paynes grey. I rubbed a burnt umber into the corners to add to the aged feel and vignetting.
I put in more time in the face. This is where things got exciting. I had a stencil laying around that prompted the flame work around the eyes and muzzle.  Step by step it began to get flushed out, from the greens to the yellows. I added a beard and teeth. I created a magenta and did all sorts of stuff in the purple flames around his extremities.
This closer up snap shot from my iphone gives a better view of all the little details mentioned and then some. I am looking forward to taking another stab at the piece with a fresh new look at it and eventually add my signature and be able to deliver it to the gallery all shiny and varnished.

February 11, 2012


Another night in the studio.....

Here is some of the lumber I got from my room mate that he collected over the years. A few pieces have a bevel and can be use to build future stretcher bars. They are about 8 feet log which is good if I need to build them for my next exhibition for Stride in October 2012.
I laid them down on the floor for the time being, I need to create some room to stack them against the corner wall. Beside them, you can see the shelf I had to paint for over the doorway. The paint was free, the great thing about the artist studios I work in is that everybody shares and swaps stuff around. I found this by the sink = score!
 Here is the shelf installed over the door. I am finding that I have too many places to put stuff now, hopefully it doesn't have me collecting so much more that moving out becomes a chore of fear. I put a bunch of stuff on it already, but I intend on putting some decorative toys and such, figure models etc in the near future. for now I'll keep them at my house in case any kids come over and I have to have toys for them to play with.
 A place to hang my hat. This snail hook was a gift from my god friend KT, it used to be in my home studio but I am slowly cleaning that out so that we can have an empty room in the house, possible for another renter. I want to get some hooks for the back of the door for a place for others to hang their jackets. I can't mount anything to it, its metal, so I need to find one of those wire ones that hangs over the door.
 Yesterday I got some new jeans, all my pairs are trashed and can only be suitable for painting. ON the way to Marks I stopped in at the Home depot to pick up a few things. I saw this shelf, at $15 I thought it was perfect for the little kitchen area I am planning to put in, so I picked one up.
Here it is by the garbage can near the front door. There is nothing on it, yet. It will probably be stacked with snacks and bottles and drink mix. I am taking a bar tending course at the end of the month. I want to get some experience in mixology so I can provide the best libations to visitors. Hopefully it will lead to work opportunities during the Stampede if I need it. Otherwise bar ending truing can be put to good use as I strive to be the "Host with the most!" The space between represents where the mini fridge will fit.
Here is the slide projector doing its work putting some old growth forrest into my space.  I went thru some slides. I cannot believe how impressed I am by my library. I have them organized by subject in huge binders. EX. Animals, Clouds, mountains, structures etc. Virgo power!  I also discovered some of famous artists, trips to NY and Toronto, Japanese gardens (i love them!), my old documented work and to top it all off slides from my first Burning Man. Woot woot! Indeed, something to be excited about!

February 9, 2012


Put up an Altar where my native painting once was.

I had a super busy/long day, I intended to hit the studio after class, but I also had the Academic Council meeting. After work I was too "pooped" to work in the studio. The good news is what I accomplished during the day.....  While doing a pre-spring cleaning, my room mate passed along a large selection of cut lumber that can be made into stretcher bars. Score! I also got a plank of wood suitable for the shelf over the studio doorway. It waits to be utilized in my truck.
I found this shelving unit outside my studio and bought it home. It is the perfect solution for an altar over my dresser, which helps get rid of a bunch of clutter. As you can see, I have a place for my raccoon and horse "piggy banks". I have a place for knick backs and collectables. Its tidy. I have some good luck charms and beautiful rocks. My incense and smudges have a good home. To the right, that black thing, is my aroma well diffuser and not he second shelf are all my essential oils and Hippy magic stuff. By tidying up this area, one more aspect of my life is in a happy place. ;)

The studio gets better, my home is better, my health is better (only 4 more days on this month long detox) = Life is better. Bring on the spring!

Oh yeah and this:

My visiting Artist Lecture Series talk at the U of C

Click here ==>http://art.ucalgary.ca/event/winter-2012-visiting-artist-and-scholar-lecture-series-presents-brian-batista

February 8, 2012

Up, up and away....

thats where I'll put all these canvas stretchers!

I put in another long night in the studio, up a ladder........ screwing.
I went straight to the ladder and put up most of the remaining stretcher bars. I also emptied out the white wire rack shelving unit beside the table, in order to place foodstuffs in it instead of paint. I brought my bountiful collection of models to the studio. I spent all last night getting washing them and getting them separated and put into ziploc bags. I recycled all the excessive packaging this morning.  I put down my persian rug and inflated the exercise ball I got on Groupon. Its just the right size to work comfortably at the table.
I did a lot of things you can't see...... like replacing and packing various boxes under the table, and putting my markers, pens and Copic markers into the half desk.  I found it near the dumpster over a year ago and have eagerly anticipated putting it to good use.  It is also good for drilling pilot holes and doing cutting since the top veneer is trashed.
 I tore off the canvas on the stretchers that were a gift from KT and hung them over my work area to save more space. I left the fifth one wit the canvas intact because I like the background painting and might be inspired to work with it. Down at the far end of this photo over the door you can see the beginnings of a shelf. The wooden pieces are from a shelf that used to run along the top of my parents kitchen, where they displayed collector plates. The pieces needed pilot holes drilled in them and anchors in put into the drywall for stability. All I need now is a piece of wood to act as a shelf that can run across the top of the door.
I spent the last bit of time before the clock struck midnight sweeping, throwing out trash and bringing out my recycling. I packed up my tools and put in eyelets and wired up the back of few more primed canvases. With these off the ground it is starting to feel very spacious gain, and yet there are even more surfaces waiting to be turned into artistic visions!

There are only bits to be organized here and there so I can look forward to getting back into the process of painting very soon. Yaay!!!

February 5, 2012

Progress goes like this...

And then something exciting happened.....

I brought out my old slide projector. I decided to put it by a chair, on top of my bookshelf. I put on a random carousel and started to click thru. I turned out the lights, the projector screen filled the top half of the far wall. The slides weren't falling into place so I kept clicking thru for about two hundred slides, and then...... I got distracted but he excitement of seeing old slides from a trip I took to a bunch of museums in New York. I am so excited about this slide projector. So much to see, so many possibilities. I forgot how this type of technology could be so awesome! I can't wait to look at all the slides I took of landscapes over the years and use them as reference for new paintings!

Here is the view from the door, I decided not to go out at all this week-end, (except to my opening across the street, of course) instead, I reinvested my tim into myself and my space. I moved all the furniture out, set up the ladder and drilled a bunch of holes, sunk in some plugs and screwed in some long screws into the mortar.  I hung up a bunch of canvas stretcher frames to get them off the floor and out of my way.  I also hung up a bunch of paintings. I repacked some clear bins and moved the table and furniture back in to place. I decided to set up a microwave and toaster over on the corner of the table. I have a whole little hospitality section on the make. We have a communal kitchen and fridge at the studio but I wanted a little area in here for guests. The toaster oven can be used for sculpey too.
This is the view toward the door. You can see all the canvases and empty stretchers hung above. The table is still pretty chaotic but I'm working on it.  I spend the whole night doing stuff after the brief distraction of the slides. I was jazzed, not really tired at all, things are going so good. My space is really coming along and I am very excited to hang out in there a lot more. I made a list of all the bits and pieces I need to grab before I get back to arranging the space; from speaker wire and extension cables, to a shelf and hangers for near the door. This is going to be sweet by the end of the week!

February 2, 2012

Chaos reigns supreme!!!

"Sometimes you've got to make a mess to clean a mess!"
I remember this saying my mom used to say during my childhood.
It couldn't be more true. This nice weather must have me fooled into thinking its spring.  I'm working on my accounts and taxes and getting everything in order. "Out with the old and in with the new". I am also revamping my studio space.  Its hard work but it feels good. I helped a friend move this week-end, and in doing so I got my huge red bean bag chair back that I lent her. This was the impetus to create some more room. Also I have a feeling I'll be having more visitors in the near future...
The before.
So this is the view toward the door, you can see the bean bag charm hiding to the left.  There is a stack of new lumber (i.e. stretcher bars) that KT gave me for helping her move since she isn't planning on painting any time soon.
The Before (2)
I want to create a space at the back  to hang a large piece where the light is better. I plan on setting up a time lapse photography station to capture the process of creating my work over time. I ended up having to move everything in my study to make this happen. The reason the back was kept clear was that I let photographers use this half of the studio now and again. Now the room is reversed so they can use the other end for their set ups.
I painstakingly moved all the furniture and it really opened up the space. Plus having my painting table at the far end makes it closer to working on the projects. I had to move the shoddy animation table and it fell apart on my again, but nay where I hadn't added brackets for stability. I took every book off the shelf, moved the shelf, and put the books back on it. If you can believe it the three pieces lined up perfectly. You can see just behind the painting of the girl on the tiger there is a silver electrical conduit rising up. The shelf butt up against the outlet with not a mm to spare =  a perfect fit, a little tight but it holds everything together!

Not only do I have this stack of Ikea frames to deal with, I found 10 more in a free pile outside my studio. They need backings and glass but they could also be used for panel paintings, and they have a cool chrome finish = score!

I am trying to set up the half of the room close to the entrance as an inviting and cosy area for guests, to first enter that is relaxing. BIG PLUS: also for DJ Cosmic LurkN to have his own area where I'll put out my nice persian rug and have a little place for amenities and treats for peeps who sep by while he is spinning tracks. The work table I'm going to try and keep clear so I have a large working space, maybe I'll put a shelf up above it in the future to store more materials. I have a long and busy few days ahead of me but hopefully I can get more work done. Borrow a ladder and get stuff hung high on the walls, I have more vertical space than these photos show that news to be put to good use. Frames off the floor. When its done, I'll get cracking on some new paintings. I cant' wait!

February 1, 2012

They're sexy, they're suggestive, and they're delicious!

See them in person!
Here are the backs of the pieces with pertinent information scribed in topic marker on the back.  Below are the next steps, (continued from my previous post) I made on my Pin up creations for the show at Untitled Art Society.
I decided to put some shadows on the girls clothing. I added more details to the banana and the dill pickle.  I used white sparkles on the fruit, yellow on the peel and two greens on the 'dillicious' dill pickle. I also added some series sparkles to the red high heels.  Following this, I outlined each mass with the gold again to help the figures pop a little better from the background.
The lovely lady riding a dill pickle, has iridescent silver shine on her long leggy boots. I added highlights and deeper shadows for details on her dress. I had to recut her blouse and rework her chest area more than once, aaaah the struggles of depicting pin up boobies ;P

I let the painting dictate.....She turned out to be a blonde. I used about 5 colours, including the white highlight, to make it happen. I had real trouble with her facial features and given more time would rework it a bit more. I gave her a little black burlesque hat and some pearls around her neck and wrist to take away from the slutty elements. Afterward, I voted each piece in Archival UV protectant varnish by golden.
This cutie rides a sparkling banana. I put naturalistic ridges in the fruit by dry brushing unbleached titanium white and then highlighting it with a transparent zinc white.  I spent a lot of time adding dark outlines on the fruit, for her skin and on her stockings. After adding the highlights to her dress and her hair piece, I spent the rest of my time on the flesh and defining her facial features and hair.  I used an iridescent bronze and some Indian red with a highlight to give her dark flowing locks. I signed this piece wit the dark purple from her dress to the right. I coated it with two sprays of Archival UV Varnish. Afterward, I cut the piece out with an matte knife to make the 11" X 17" size restriction.

I dropped off the piece and it is on display with at least 20 other pin up girls.

See them in person! Get down to the Untitled Arts Society space or peer in the window when they are closed. But do it this week, Saturday night is the closing with all us artists in attendance.

For more details click here.....