September 28th 2012

Anabela and Geoff got married a couple of weeks ago.

I wanted to make something special for them, because they're pretty special friends.  They both love cats; quite possibly, (dare I say it), even more than me, especially their two kitties Oreo and Pony.

Both Chris and I put our heads together and decided that we wanted to make them a framed painting.  If you're familiar with their work, you'll know that they use a lot of light, ethereal imagery, so I wanted to include a hint at that in the painting.  Anabela loves peonies, and I thought Pony would look adorable in a silk ribbon.  Chris made a beautiful frame and we stained it with white pickling stain to keep the whole thing nice and bright, (like their lovely apartment).

Anabela posted a little more about the painting, which you can view here.

On another note; I wanted to mention the event happening at the AGO tomorrow night for Nuit Blanche.  Heather Goodchild has recreated a midcentury garment, ceramic and metal-work factory in Made It Then, Make It Againwhere workers will be assembly-line manufacturing uniforms, mugs and metal stools for the workers to sit on.  I'll be helping out along the garment line, and will clock on between 1-4am, but the whole performance takes place between 7pm and 7am.  For a proper explanation, and some beautiful photos of the space coming together, visit The Wardens Today.

Also, I'm looking forward to sharing a painting I've been working on lately for an upcoming show.  It will take place at the end of October in New York.  It's been a lot of fun so far, and I'll post all about it closer to the date of the show.

September 27th 2012

If you're already familiar with my work, you'll probably know that I use a lot of mushroom/fungi reference in my paintings.

I'm not really sure when this fascination began, but it was probably when I was quite young.  I did not like eating mushrooms; I thought they were horrible, until an old neighbour who used to watch us took my sister and I out into the woods to look for edible mushrooms.  From memory, I think they were probably King Bolete mushrooms, but she called them 'Butter Mushrooms'.  We took them back home with us, she fried them up in some butter, and they were delicious!  (Butter will do that).

There was a long while when I didn't give much thought to the humble mushroom, until I started adding them to the odd painting a few years back.  Then, in 2010, I took part in a show at Narwhal Art Projects called The Dazzle and devoted all five oil paintings to them.

Now, any time I go up north to my parent's home, I try to go for a walk back in the woods and see what I can find.  This past weekend was rainy and cool; the perfect climate for mushrooms to pop up overnight.

Here are photos of just a few findings back in the woods.  I brought a field guide along with me, and was able to identify some of them along the way.

*(Please note: I'm not a trained mycologist, so please don't use the names below as reference).

Some type of Mycena


Tremellodendropsis semivestitum

Hemitrichia species and Phlebia tremellosa

September 19th 2012

While in Iceland, we had a couple of days to take things slowly and explore the area around our little cabin in Skagaströnd.  Chris and I would climb up the cliffs behind the cabin and sit in the grass and draw or paint.

Usually, while on vacation, we don't have the time to do any drawing or painting because we're only there for a short time and would rather spend it going to new places.  The great thing about spending time up in the north was that we were forced to take things a little slower and take in everything around us.

Above is a drawing of the top of a rock pillar formation that was just off of the cliffs in the ocean.  There were Northern Fulmar (Fýll) nesting in the rocks, (as well as some angry Arctic Terns that kept dive bombing us while we sat.  We must have been near their nests).

This is a quick painted sketch of the view from our front door.  The mountain straight ahead, (which we could see from many kilometres away on the drive in), was covered in the most beautiful blue Lupins.  It made the whole base of the mountain a bright purple-blue colour.

These were the Icelandic horses that grazed in the field in front of our cabin.  They were a little shy with us at first, but got curious when we stood by the side of their field for a while and came to visit.  

The farm land around the village was so colourful.  There were purple and yellow wildflowers everywhere you looked.  And there were so many different types of birds; it being a bird sanctuary in the cliffs behind us.  I wish I'd taken even more time to draw what we saw there, but that will have to wait for the next time.

September 14th 2012

Starting today, and running until October 14, 2012, one of my paintings, (seen above), will be on display at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Montréal.  The painting is from the first children's book I illustrated back in 2009, and is to be auctioned off the night of October 16, 2012, in a fundraiser for the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

If you're in or around Montréal in the next month, I hope you get a chance to stop in and see the work of over 80 other Canadian illustrators at the museum.

September 6th 2012

Last week was Jenna's last day of working with me for the summer.  She'd been so much help around the studio, and a lot of fun to visit with when she'd come in for her days with me.

For our final work day together, she'd come up with a business card design which she printed using my GOCCO printer.  I think they turned out really well!

This is Jenna printing her second pass of colour on the printer.  She chose a subtle white ink, (only seen from certain angles), as a decorative element in the background, then printed over in gold ink.

Here is the finished result!  I think they look great.

Thanks for all your hard work this summer, Jenna!  To see more of her work, you can visit her blog here, and shortly she'll have a new site up at the web address above.  Yay Jenna!

September 5th 2012

I wanted to post a couple of illustrations I did for The New York Times Magazine a couple of weeks ago.

The first was a portrait of chef Juanjo López, titled "Finding the Divine in Madrid's Red-Light District".  (My work is alongside an article from one of my favourite NY Times writers; Mark Bittman, so I'm very flattered!).

The second, for the same magazine; is from the Lives section, titled "Looking for Meaning in the Detritus of Hurricane Katrina".  It's not a light read; the story was very depressing!  But, very well written and definitely worth a read.

Both illustrations were made to be printed quite small, so I'm posting them a little larger here to show a bit more of their detail.