November 19, 2013

Aluminum

It's been a long time since I've seen an arnie or even heard the word, but when I was a kid my dad used to bring the shiny metal balls home from work to play with.
 
 

They were great for marbles or jacks because they could smash through anything.

I've been interested in metal ever since.  A few months ago I painted on it for the first time.  I began with steel and learned how to attach a wood stretcher to it.  Then I rusted the surface using various concoctions in order to create interesting abstract patterns.  I locked these in (well, sort of) using a rust neutralizer and potion that took ages to research.  Finally, I painted on top of this patina and, when that was done, varnished down everything.  A long process but I was happy with the results.  At least until the rust started to eat through from underneath and to turn everything a uniform coffee brown.

I haven't given up on steel but because I now realize the only option is to use auto body materials, and that will require a bit of an investment in cash, I've switched to aluminum, a metal that does not rust.

Here's my first stab at a piece I don't mind showing.  Unfortunately, the camera doesn't pick up what I think is the best part, the sky.  I've left the metal bare there and polished areas so they refract light in different directions.  The scene jitters and shines, especially as you move around it.  

So far untitled
Acrylic on aluminum
30" x 40"

November 11, 2013

The Ward No. 5

Here's a piece I reworked recently, depicting the intersection of Ontario, Manitoba, and Arthur Streets in Guelph, once a thriving commercial hub. You can still make out where the bank, butcher, and other town mainstays used to be.

"The Ward No. 5"
32" x 40"
Mixed media on panel

November 8, 2013

The Ward No. 8

Busy these days working on my show at Strata Gallery in Elora, opening on November 22. For deets click this.

Here's a recent piece I've titled, ingeniously, "The Ward No. 8." Took me a while to get it right.  Actually, "right" might not be the right word but I've given 'er all I have for what it is. Knowing when to stop is a tricky thing, more about running out of options and feeling fatigued than a bell that goes ding-ding. I guess as an artist it's inevitable you have to live with doubt and as the saying goes, the only thing we fear more than death is uncertainty.

But enough Plato. Originally in this piece there was a figure in the foreground covering about half the scene, sketched out loosely so as not to detract too much from everything else. Then I erased the dude and for a long time had nobody. Then the light was screwy so I reworked that. Then I re-added a figure, but smaller. Then the greens looked neon lit...aghh!

I finished it quickly and threw it up on the wall, but there, visible - like a haunted portrait whose eyes follow you - it talked to me, taunting, tormenting. So down it came. I turned it around and put it in the dunce corner. I guess I'll turn it back around in a week and hopefully, by then, it will have clammed up.

The Ward No. 8
36" x 36"
Mixed media on panel