December 22, 2011

A New Idea: Small Figuratives

Slowly, since the summer, I've been  tinkering and racking my brain trying to come up with ways to make small paintings I enjoy doing and, subject wise, hold my interest.  Here's a selection of what I've come up with.

Either I've managed to sell them (thanks J and F&G) or they're hanging in different venues.  They're all 25cm x 25cm on panel and incorporate a bunch of media: acrylic, oil, bitumen, collage, graphite...

What do you think?


December 15, 2011

Battle of the Brushes

Last Friday I participated in my first Battle of the Brushes at the monthly James Street North Art Crawl in Hamilton. If you don't what a battle of the brushes is, well, it's a bunch of painters getting together before a live crowd to paint in a circle on a giant octopusy multi-easel while music blasts and beer is served, just about paradise.

The theme was "Winter" and we had exactly half an hour to interpret a piece the size of your waist to your neck.

It began with a countdown, everyone joining in, then the crowd began to circle like fish around an odd, possibly edible foreign object. Everyone had a ballot they were supposed to drop at some point into the box of their favourite painter as we painted.

Inside it was warm and I wore one of those running t-shirts that wick sweat away when you run but trap it in when you don't, so I had the added challenge of keeping my arms down to not skunk people off.

Anyway, at the end of the night when the votes were tallied, I was thrilled to learn I had come out on top. My painting was put up for silent auction along with the others and sold, whippee! Thanks to the buyer and the organizers of the battle.

Unfortunately my camera battery died, so I have no visual.

November 30, 2011

Holiday Show at the Minarovich Gallery

Here are two pieces I shipped to Elora yesterday, to be shown in a holiday group show at the arts centre.

 Electric Night, 18" x 18", acrylic, collage, and bitumen on canvas.

The Search for Inspiration, 18" x 18", acrylic and collage on panel.

November 17, 2011

That Wraps Up Red Brick

I took down my show at the Red Brick Café on Sunday. It was a huge personal success.

It was the first time I’d shown in Guelph, my hometown, and I was all nerves. I would say that indifference is the worst response an artist can get, but I received many warm and encouraging emails and comments in my guestbook. I had a few galleries contact me and I sold many more paintings than I thought I would.

I want to thank everyone who came out to the opening or went in to the see the paintings on another occasion. I also want to thank Shelley, Jessica, and the staff at the Red Brick for providing the space and being helpful throughout. Aitana, my mom, and my neighbours were shameless promoters. I enjoy the creation side but not the promotion, so your work was essential. I also found my postcard displayed in all kinds of places I had not put it, and mention of the show in the Guelph Mercury and K-W Record. Whoever was responsible, thanks!

Finally, my gratitude goes out to my buyers, in alphabetical order: A and T, A and P, A, C, J, J, K, M, M, V, and W. All the money will go back into the art - into materials, classes, and the upkeep of my studio. Thanks for keeping me going.

So what’s next? I’ll be showing about 10 paintings, though most of them not new, in December in Toronto at the Oakwood Library. I will also have a few paintings in a holiday group show in the Minarovich Gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts, December 8 - 22, and pieces in the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre Sales and Rental Shop.

From March 16 to April 14, 2012 I have a solo exhibition slated at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts, and in May I will have limited-edition prints showing in a group show at Imprevisual Gallery, Valencia, Spain.

As for the Red Brick, make sure to pop and see the next show of paintings by Nancy Farrell. Her work's excellent.

November 11, 2011

Switch Up at the Red Brick and Two Pieces for the Mac Stew

 "Torontonian in Guelph," 100 x 81cm.  SOLD.  I swapped this piece at the Red Brick Café...

...for this piece, "The Ward #3," acrylic on panel, 100 x 81cm.

And I rushed these pieces in to the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre's Art Rental and Sales on time for the gallery's Beyond the Frame Auction.  "A Canadian Corner," mixed media on panel, 116 x 89cm.

"Pedestrian," mixed media on panel, 116 x 73cm.

November 8, 2011

Halloween Paint Off

It's been a busy fall.  I emptied my camera the other day and found these images from Halloween, always an exciting moment in our neighbourhood.

Our warty knucklehead pumpkin.

My witches.  I love this picture.

Our neighbours' creative costumes and decor.

More neighbours.

This house got my first prize.

And a shot of me painting outdoors, in the dark and cold as part of Guelph's second Fourth Friday.

October 7, 2011

Nuit Blanche in Toronto

We made the effort to stay up the night last weekend for Nuit Blanche in Toronto, and it was worth it.  It was inspiring to see so many people out, taking over the streets, for art.

The AGO organized an interesting painting competition.  Rather than paint from nude models in the classical sense, contestants - all recognized up-and-coming painters - interpreted whatever spectacle the museum put in the stage.  Here they are painting a performance by a Neil Young knock-off band.  The winner was decided by popular vote.

Crowd karaoke.
 An interesting display of lights (with giant pigeons flown by spectators zipping along cables above) at City Hall.

October 2, 2011

Streetside at the Red Brick and the Deadly Stick

I had a freak accident last week.  I was running down a set of stairs alongside unpruned bushes when a branch jumped out and jabbed me in the ear.  It poked right in and punctured my eardrum!  Then, white noise, seriously.  I could plug my nostrils and breathe out my ear!  I went to the doctor and she rushed me off to - get this - an otolaryngologist, where I was greeted by the receptionist as the dude with the foreign object lodged in his ear.

"Foreign object?"

"Doctor thought she saw a piece of branch still in your head."

It turned out it was only dried blood and the otolaryngologist said the puncture should heal in a few weeks.  If all goes well, my hearing should also return to normal.

Anyway, to make a long story short, wrapping up the work I've been scrambling to complete this month for the Red Brick was a close call, but today I'm happy to announce that I managed to transport and hang 25 paintings, ranging in size from 5 x 5 inches to 46 x 35 inches and including all kinds of media, even the very topical bitumen.  The show will run from today until November 13, with an opening reception from 4-6 pm on October 15 during the Guelph Studio Tour.  Hope to see you out!

Here's the postcard:   

And here's a sneak peak of the kind of stuff on offer:

Unemployment Line #1
Mixed media on panel, 10" x 10"

Waiting for the 150
Mixed media on panel, 10" x 10"

You lookin' at me?
Mixed media on panel, 10" x 10"

Pinched Corner,
Mixed media on panel, 46" x 35"

September 7, 2011

Fast Painting in Alcúdia de Crespins

Before leaving for Canada this weekend, I managed to squeeze in one last painting contest, this time in the town of L'Alcúdia de Crespins, a forty-minute drive out of Valencia.  The contest started at 9 am and finished at 1 pm, so it was fast, more than usual.  I painted a small pedestrianized street that had been decorated for the coming town festival.  Most towns in Spain take a week off at some point in the year to simply to party.  The residents of the street were all out and in a good mood, and very happy to have me on their street, even if I did manage to drip a lot of paint over it.  I exchanged contact information with a bunch rowdy old timers who wanted to commission me for a portrait.

Since they took a photo of me for their festival catalogue, I took one of them for my blog.

With my good friend Pilar, who won fifth prize.  For an amazing time-lag video of her completing her painting, check out this on YouTube.

My piece picked up second prize.

August 28, 2011

Concurso de pintura rápida de Daimiel

Este viernes, cargamos el coche alquilado y condujimos 300 km desde Valencia hasta Daimiel, Ciudad Real, para participar en el concurso anual de pintura rápida. Dormimos en un hotel a las afueras de Daimiel y a las nueve de la mañana del sábado ya estaba sellando y listo para empezar a pintar. Elegí la plaza de España, la plaza principal porticada del siglo XVI y estuve protegido por los arcos que hay enfrente del Ayuntamiento. Fue uno de los lugares más frescos y agradables que he encontrado en todo lo que llevo de temporada de pintura rápida. Pinté lenta y relajadamente, charlé con los daimieleños que venían a ver el cuadro y lo pasé estupendamente.

A las cinco, expusimos todos los cuadros en el Parterre y tuvimos que esperar dos horas mientras el jurado deliberaba. Mi cuadro obtuvo el segundo premio. Me sorprendió porque había mucha calidad.

Querría agradecer a Construcciones Roygran por haber patrocinado el segundo premio y a los organizadores del concurso por un trabajo bien hecho. Como pintor, los concursos de pintura rápida me ofrecen la oportunidad de ver muchas ciudades españolas y puedo afirmar que la animación, interés y energía de la gente de Daimiel fueron excepcionales.

Enfrascado en la tarea.

Daimieleños disfrutando de los cuadros.

Sesión de crítica con Mompar, un gran pintor.

 Oriana pasándolo en grande en el parque infantil.

 El cuadro final. Una de las cosas que me cautivó de la plaza fue el olivo árabe milenario que se aprecia en el fondo.

 Recibiendo el premio.

XV Concurso Nacional de Pintura del Natural de Casas Ibáñez

El fin de semana pasado participé por segunda vez en el concurso de pintura de Casas Ibáñez, Albacete. En vez de pintar la popular plaza mayor como hice el año pasado, pinté una escena más urbana, la Calle de las Monjas, en dirección al Ayuntamiento. Y parece ser que mi elección fue buena, aunque el sol me hizo sufrir al final del día. Hace unos días me llamó un organizador para decirme que había ganado uno de los premios adquisición. Querría dar las gracias a los patrocinadores y a los organizadores por organizar un concurso nacional tan profesional.

VII Concurs de Pintura a l'Aire Lliure de Beneixama

Aquesta era la quarta vegada que participava al concurs de Beneixama. Enguany he triat pintar la plaça principal, al costat de la font, baix d'uns arbres que pensava que em farien ombra la major part del dia. Pero el sol trobava tots els forats possibles per acabar tocant-me i vaig haver de canviar de posició vuit vegades, cosa poc recomanable en pintura rapida. No obstant, vaig aconseguir acabar el quadre utilitzant una bona dosi d'imaginació.

 Els tocs finals a les acaballes d'un dia esgotador amb molt de sol i calor

El quadre acabat.

No vaig guanyar cap dels tres premis, pero vaig vendre el quadre. Gracies a les compradores, si llegiu aquestes linies.

August 8, 2011

Fin de semana agridulce

El sábado nos despertamos a las 5:30 en Valencia, desayunamos un café, metimos dos cuadros blancos en el coche y salimos hacia Villanueva del Rebollar de la Sierra, entre Teruel y Zaragoza, donde llegamos puntuales para el sellado a las 9:00. Saludé a unos amigos pintores, cogí otro café y me instalé bajo un árbol al lado de una fuente vieja. Perfecto: sombra y agua natural para beber, limpiar mis pinceles y escuchar su murmullo todo el día. Tenía un cuadro grande, de tamaño 100 x 120 cm, y puesto que quería hacer otro concurso al día siguiente, era importante reservar fuerzas.

A mediodía, tenía el dibujo y el cuadro con manchas de color por todo, hecho un desastre. La gente se raspaba la cabeza y me decía: "oh, curioso, es muy moderno, ¿no?". Estaba empezando a aclarar la escena cuando Aitana recibió la mala noticia que su abuela paterna de 97 años había fallecido y que la familia ya se estaba juntando en Beneixama, a 360 km de Villanueva del Rebollar. Puesto que no faltaba más que unas horas para acabar, terminé el cuadro y lo entregué en el ayuntamiento. Luego fuimos a comer una comida de lujo - dos platos, codorniz, todo gratis - en la casa rural del pueblo, la Casa del Azafrán. Estábamos allí, a punto de tomar el café en el corral-jardín de la casa, cuando el dueño nos dijo que ya habían anunciado los premios.

Llegué a la plaza del ayuntamiento y la gente estaba aplaudiendo. ¿Qué había pasado? Un organizador, Nacho, se me acercó y me estrechó la mano. Me dieron el primer premio. No lo podía creer. Pero así hice el viaje larguísimo a Beneixama menos triste.

Querría agradecer a los organizadores y a todos los vecinos de Villanueva del Rebollar por habernos acogido tan bien a los pintores y a nuestros acompañantes.

La vista que pinté, más o menos.

 El lavadero de al lado.

 En acción.

Con Iván, el del sombrero rojo, y su abuelo. Qué nombre más bonito.

La deliberación enfrente del ayuntamiento.

El cuadro final.

 Un cielo tremendo que nos encontramos al ir hacia Beneixama.

August 4, 2011

Silencis sorollosos

I'll be showing 12 abstract pieces in oil at the Rata Cellarda ("cellar rat") in Beneixama, Alacant from August 5 to September 2.  I've called the exhibition "Silencis sorollosos" in Catalan, roughly "Clamorous Silences" in English.

Here's the postcard and a fun little video advertisement I made.  Any feedback, as always, is greatly appreciated.