June 26, 2016

you've got to start somewhere....

I think everyone is naturally creative. we all come from different walks of life, with different experiences, influences and natural abilities. We all see the world in a unique way and art is a fantastic way for anyone to learn to express it visually. If you have never painted with either acrylic or oil before, a great place to start is the "Sampler" at Swinton's Art Supply, with me.

Participants learn the enough of the basics to get started and make their own small first painting in under 3 hrs. I answer any questions, show some tips and tricks and everyone leaves with their first painting in hand. The pieces below were all mad one Sunday by novices in under three hours if you can believe it.

I love teaching people who have never painted before, they have a clean slate and always impress me with their palette mixing and paintings. It always amazes me and impresses me how much a first time painter can accomplish and how well their paintings turn out in such a short period of time. It makes me feel very proud and fortunate to have been some part of their creative development Hopefully I inspire them enough to take on the gratifying challenges and life improvements art making brings =:D

June 25, 2016

A world of colour

Things are getting exciting in my colour theory class for painters. We began working with different colour schemes/harmonies such as monochromatic, analogous and complementary. The students mixed the colours they needed on their palettes then applied them to their various compositions.

Some really gorgeous colours are being developed and some nice colour work is being done on their test panels. I love colour and all the things that can be done with it.  Also I thought I'd mention I have a new video episode up on my Youtube channel, check out the colours from my trip to Japan and hear about the harmony and balance of the aesthetic I saw throughout my trip.
Tonight, I'm uploading the final episode (as it relates to my trip to Japan) so stay tuned for Episode 17 "Composition" where I show some of the Hiroshige prints I saw at the Suntory Art Museum in Tokyo.

June 20, 2016

Still life with proper proportions

My Drawing 1 class focused on learning how to see and measure proportions with still life items they brought into class to sketch. The first thing to consider is creating an interesting and pleasing composition by arranging the various items together. I gave a quick demo to accompany my notes on how to build up the drawing from start to finish. By drawing the shapes as simple crystal like line drawings you can properly set them in the visual space.
It is good to be aware of what you can't see as much as what you can see when placing the objects and using comparative measuring techniques.  The intellectual part of this type of drawing helps you to train your eyes and hand while ignoring the brain that is second guessing and compensating incorrectly. turning that voice off can be liberating, like meditating, unfortunately that is no easy task. Below is some of the work they created in just one short class with me with the focus being on drafting proper proportions using comparative measurement.

June 19, 2016

Another one of my babies

I've been keeping this kinda under wraps.

Some may think I've been in hiding.When really I've been hard at work, focusing on building my dream, and that takes a lot of energy, time, patience, not to mention... money.

I am venturing into opening my own private Atelier. An Atelier is a workshop or studio of a professional artist. The word is french and denotes a place that functions as a studio/school for a very small number of select students to assist and learn under my supervision and guidance. I want to help others improve their skills and craft while sponging up all of the knowledge and experience I have through teaching including what I continue to learn.  Artists never stop. It is a big step, I am both excited and nervous.
Last year I heard about the cspace project (http://www.cspaceprojects.com/)  in the old King Edward school. The project sounded amazing. I thought about it hard and how I can be involved. I was inspired to immediately jumped on my application form. At first I made a request for a small private studio space for myself. I love teaching and think I offer a great product in that realm. I feel that my method of teaching can greatly benefit others if I were to take the chance and go bigger. I also really want a daytime gig. If no one is going to give it to me then I will make it for myself. I tossed and turned a while and decided I had to contact the Cspace office in order to expand my vision and to take on a larger space. Luckily we met and they believed in what I was doing and granted the change.
 This week, I went for my first site visit. I signed on without actually seeing the space, based on their stated goals and trust and I'm happy I did. The space will act as a hub for creativity in Calgary and the building will be Leed approved to the gold standard. So Calgary I'm staying to build an art studio/school for you! I donned my safety gear and hard hat and snapped a couple of crappy iphone shots to share here. The pics may not look like much yet, but to me it is oozing with potential. I will be in a room in the top corner of the fourth floor. I insisted on North facing windows, I'm a painter after all. I was happily please to have windows larger than I thought bathing the space in gorgeous northern light. The top opens but is boarded up and when they put in the new windows there will be even more light! A dream.
 The site goal is to keep the heritage of the building so these slate chalkboards are remaining active, so cool. I hate whiteboards anyway, chalk is much better. I had the ledge measured up to see if first I can have benches underneath them and second if I can build a cork board overtop of one for pinning drawing studies.  There are too many chalkboards for my needs. They must be protected and there are all sorts of restrictions on room improvements that I must follow. Hopefully I can mount above the board and sit panels on the ledge and have them be moveable so I have some options.
They are putting in new flooring, LED lighting and a host of air filtration and other certified updates.  I was surprised at how much bigger the space felt. I guess I expected it to feel as small as my previous studios.  I have been investing in furniture for the space on an ongoing basis. I just picked up three new easels yesterday and some canvases. I'd be happy to take suitable donations too but my aim is to keep the space largely open and the gear portable so that it can be set up appropriately for whatever task is at hand. ural features that I need to work around.
I got in with my little roomie helper to take some measurements for the furniture I am having custom built. Here she is taking all the measurements I need to fit stuff in and around the pre-existing architecture. All the walls will come white when I move in and the whole building will have card access security. I intend on installing gallery hanging equipment, and filling the upper walls with appropriately inspiring images. I am also collecting plaster casts for reference and building up my supply and book collection so that I can aid anyone who wants it.
I have some great support of those around me but I am a bit worried about students and how to market and not loose my shirt with all the new expenses I have.   That is not an area I know a lot about and personally I'm not a huge fan of dealing with money. I'm doing this instead of buying a house. I'll be spending most of my time there anyhow, too bad I cant live or sleep there. lol.Total artist priorities.
Thanks to my little helper Miranda and the C-space staff for their help on my site visit and for the super cool safety gear. I am so excited and cant wait until the day I get to move in, I will be doing much in the way of classical academic studies. For those of you interested in learning traditional drawing and oil painting skills or in doing long pose figure studies, my spot will be the place to be, and probably the only place in town offering this style of thing.  Stay tuned as this develops further, I hope to be opening in November of this year, fingers crossed.

Like a proud father...

It is Father's day and I got up early to send my well wishes to my dad's.  Hopefully you have done this by now too. Now its time to turn the table a bit. I'm staying at home, making me a stay at home dad today. lol. Joking aside, I am like a proud father when my students and the people I work with achieve their goals. Sometimes I pull out my camera when I feel this way and write this blog to share it with you. So here is a bit of gushing over my "kids".

I am proud to announce my Blackfoot Graphic Novel is off to the printers so in a short time there will be 2000 copies of my participants and elders to be proud of all the hard work they accomplished. I also want to share some of my Drawing 1 students work from class this week that made me feel a bit like a father showing off 'cause he's so proud.

We did skull studies last week on toned paper. This is only the 4th class. It is the first time many of these students have not only drawing this way but also with charcoal as a material. Rather than go on and on about the process, the chamois etc. I think Ill just let you look at the drawings and their development for yourself. In no particular order. enjoy.