Archive for the ‘Other Stuff’ Category

The Post-Creative State

There were a few points leading up to the Artist Project this year where I looked around at the paintings in my studio and thought, “wow, I have done a hell of a lot of painting.” And I did. I really did. I shocked myself quite a few times with the volume I was able to produce before the show.

Which is great! Fantastic! Best-case scenario! Some of those paintings had been sitting around half-finished for years. And that’s not to mention the new paintings that were conceived and realized all within the last six months. I did it. I finally had the body of work that I’d been conceptualizing and working towards for a very long time. Essentially the body of work I wished I had completed for the 2017 Artist Project, but such is life I suppose. (I’m usually late for everything anyway)

But now… Well… Now what?

Not that I mean to dismiss what I’ve done or the significance of it to my artistic practice, it’s just that… well… I’m a little stuck now. It’s the post-creative state. That period after you’ve put so much time and thought and energy into creating something. When it’s finally finished and you can breathe for a second. And it’s… a little anti-climactic. It feels (though this is certainly not the case) as if it all matters a little less now that it’s done. You’ve reached the finish line aaanndd whiff. There’s almost a sense of loss…

It’s hard to get that pace back. That drive, that push. And I want it back, believe me. But I’ve been really struggling with creating since the show ended. Ok, I’ve STARTED nearly a dozen new paintings, but finished, uh, two? Two small ones? I certainly don’t need that; more unfinished paintings. And one thing I’ve learned is that starting a painting is a thousand times easier than finishing it.

What’s the solution? What’s the answer? I have no idea. I guess if I knew, I wouldn’t have to write this or feel this way. One could certainly argue that this, this lull, this low-period, is necessary and a vital part of the creative process. It’s certainly recurring, and that would certainly be comforting. But who can say? Maybe one day I’ll get over this and be able to keep going and going. I’d like that. One day. But as much as I’d rather it wasn’t this much of a struggle, I think I just have to struggle through. Keep painting. Keep trying. Today. Tomorrow. And the next day and the next and another day.


Medusa always makes me wonder about Fate…

From statue… (‘Bust of Medusa,’ by Bernini)

…to sketch…

…to painting. Detail from ‘The Golden Fleece.’ (I like the interesting things that happen when you translate a line-drawing to a painting. ‘The Golden Fleece,’ 2017, is entirely sketch-to-painting. It was a really different, really fun challenge!)

The story goes that Medusa began her life as a mortal; a priestess in a temple of Athena. She was a human like any other. At some point, and the myth says very little of this, she was raped inside the temple. Athena, in outrage of such an act occurring within her sanctuary, punished Medusa (?!) by turning her into a gorgon. A gorgon was a creature with snakes for hair, and who’s gaze turned the living into stone. She fled or was exiled to a lonely, far off island to live with others of her kind.

Much later, the hero Perseus, son of Zeus and the mortal Danae, was compelled by an evil king to bring back the head of the gorgon, Medusa. Favoured by Athena, Perseus was aided in his labours and led to several magical objects which would allow him to accomplish this. Perseus finally made his way to Medusa’s lair. There, with the powers he had gained on his quest, he beheaded the monster, and placed it in a bag to conceal it’s powers.

You know Sargent painted this statue, too. *wink* (Benvenuto Cellini’s ‘Perseo con la testa di Medusa.’ The statue, that is. The painting is by meeee!)

I guess I revisit this subject quite a bit.

And on that point, these are two very fascinating studies that Cellini did before he made the final statue of Perseus and Medusa which stands in Florence.

Incidentally there are many other branching myths which are directly related to this story. For example, the pegasus was born directly out of Medusa’s fatal wound. It leapt, fully grown, from her neck. But our concern is specifically with Medusa, so we won’t digress any further. It’s hard enough to say so little of Perseus.

Perseus made his way home through several other adventures. All the while he carried Medusa’s head with him, only removing it from it’s bag when he needed it’s power to turn his enemies to stone. This he eventually did to the king who had first sent him on this quest. Perseus no longer had any use for the head now, and seeing this, Hermes brought it to Athena.

Perseus used a reflection to avoid Medusa’s gaze and guide his sword to her neck. Oh… Who’s that reflected here…?

Athena took Medusa’s head and affixed to her shield, so that all who met her in battle would see the horrible, glaring face of the monster. Forever after, the gorgon’s head would be a symbol of Athena, an emblem of her power. And quite a potent one, too.

Athena wearing Medusa’s image as a mask/helm.

So if we were to sum this up: Athena turns a mortal into a monster and gives it horrible powers. She sends someone to kill that monster. She tells this person exactly HOW to kill that monster by beheading it. She then takes the head as her own symbol and as a warning to both her enemies and her devotees alike.

This is a rather human depiction of Medusa. There is a huge range of variation in her imagery; from the monstrous and glaring, to the human and suffering.

I saw this sculpture in a park in Rome. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous.

This brings us back to my original thoughts… Was Medusa simply a victim of Fate, or at every step was she part of a Divine Plan?

In the end though, for all of us mortals, is there a difference?

The Artist Project

The 2017 Artist Project show was February 23 – 26 this year. And hey, whaddaya know? I was in it! It was a really good weekend of talking about art, meeting new people (hey, maybe you’re reading this because you came by my booth! Thanks for visiting my website!), and having a chance to show my work to a lot of people who have never seen it before!

I put up my favourites of my 2015 Italy paintings and two tantalizingly new pieces… Two mythology-based paintings which are the beginning of a whooole new body of work. Exciting, don’t ya think? Take a look at my setup!

Setup was on my birthday. Thanks go to Nina for this one!

My booth as a whole. Very simple, clean setup. See that trunk though? Makes you feel warm, doesn’t it? Kinda homey, isn’t it? You might say it… really ties the room together.

Lookit that grin! Grinning like a fool! Thanks to Nikki for taking this!

Starving Artist Shows Recent Work at Starving Artist

I shouldn’t say that. I eat pretty well. Mostly coffee and donuts, but like, a lot of coffee and donuts. Like, no shortage. It’s also not really something to joke about. But we’re getting way off-topic here…

I’ve got some paintings on display right now! Can you believe it? Me! Showing my paintings? Noooo… but yeah! Totally am, bro! Some paintings from my pilgrimage-thing to Italy from last Summer are up at Starving Artist on Lansdowne! Right here in sunny* Toronto.

*It’s definitely been sunny at some point. It has happened. I’m reasonably sure of this.

Right up until these went up on the walls a grand total of approximately (I say approximately cause when you’re dealing with number that are this astronomical… well… accuracy is nearly impossible) 5 people had ever seen them. So pretty rad to think these were NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN paintings! And I suppose there’s also the fact that they’ve got my goddam heart and soul mixed right in with the paint… you know, if you like that kind of thing.

There are ten of them! Go take a look! Have a great breakfast while you’re at it! Starving Artist definitely comes Corey-recommended. What the hell have you got to lose?

Always beware of reflections when taking cellphone pictures...

Always beware of reflections when taking cellphone pictures…

This statue looks awfully familiar, doesn't it?

This statue looks awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

I promised myself I'd go back and take better pictures at some point. I didn't do that.

I promised myself I’d go back and take better pictures at some point. I didn’t do that.




But yo, if we can be real for a second here, it’s time for a confession… I have a pretty hilariously small amount of experience with hanging paintings. Keep in mind I tried. Oh, I did try. But these aren’t perfectly¬†straight. Maybe even a little lopsided and uneven. There, I said it. Now you know. Ha! But what are YOU gonna do about it? I friggin dare ya to go in there with a level and see if they don’t tell ya to siddown, shaddap and order some goddam waffles. That’s what I thought, waffles or gtfo.

A Week on the West Coast

YO! Back in October I was visiting my bros Mike and Mariah in ol’ Victoria, BC! It was great! I had a good chance to see a lot of the– wait, what? …you don’t care? Drawings? Hey, I’ll tell a backstory if I want to, bud… Oh yeah? Well maybe I don’t care that you don’t care, you ever think of that, BUD?


Well imaginary arguments aside, I did a bunch of sketching over there!

These mountains are the Olympic Mountain range in Washington state. Pretty rad! Lemme just sacrifice a bull and pop across the wine-dark sea on my long-prowed ship!

Painting water is just... BRO. It's bro. I could bro that bro forever, bro. Fuuuuuckin' bro.

Painting water is just… BRO. It’s bro. I could bro that bro forever, bro. Fuuuuuckin’ bro.

I THOUGHT that this mountain might have been a Canadian one, but on some slightly further investigation, I’m pretty sure it’s also part of the States. Anyhow, it’s not part of the Olympic range, it’s off the East side of the island. Er, I guess the East side of Victoria, for those of us keeping track on a map.


And if your maps are still out, this is from up on a hill (Gonzalez hill) sorta facing back towards that first drawing and the breakwater where I sat when I drew it.


This is the legislature building on the Inner Harbour.

I was the subject of at least three different tourist-photos while I was sitting there. Photos from a set that will likely be forgotten and buried in an untitled folder on a soon-to-be-outdated hard drive of an obsolete computer. Which actually hasn't happened to me since Italy. STILL GOT IT.

I was the subject of at least three different tourist-photos while I was sitting here. Perhaps just a single photo from a set that will be forgotten and buried in an untitled folder on the soon-to-be-outdated hard drive of an obsolete computer. Which actually hasn’t happened to me since Italy. STILL GOT IT.

Some sketches (good and bad) from the Royal BC Museum.


Interesting sidenote, these are actually the worst drawings I've ever done.

Interesting sidenote, these seals are actually the worst drawings I’ve ever done.



Yo, ROM, you JEALOUS, bro??

Ever have lunch with a peacock in front of a castle? Sounds pretty good, eh? It’s kinda like a soft version of “ever dance with the devil in a pale moonlight?”

Ok, so the castle was behind me when I drew this. What? I like water.

Ok, so the castle was behind me when I drew this. What? I like water.

It seemed like there were always mountains just on the edge of the horizon everywhere you look in Victoria (another thing that hasn’t happened since Italy!). It’s pretty ideal. Kinda like how deer are “pests” out there. Geez¬†and the sunshine, the bike lanes and the free-roaming peacocks are a real big problem, too. SOUNDS LIKE A PRETTY NICE PLACE, EH? Don’t even get me started on their craft beer epidemic. Anyhow, as I was saying about the mountains, the sky just behind them always had a really soft yellow glow to it that I kept trying to capture in my sketches. I think this last one is the closest I got. How about that, eh?


As an extra point of interest, all of the following names were considered for this post:

A Veek in Victoria, A Birder’s Guide to South Eastern Vancouver Island, Bros Will Be Bros, Bro Is As Bro Does, How I Learned to Relax and Love the West Coast, British Columbia for Dummies: Victoria Edition, Why I’ve Never Seen a Whale, The Trouble With Peacocks, Hey Bros Can I Sleep on Your Couch?, #firsttovisit, What I Did on Mt. Doug and Why, Don’t Go Down That Road There, BC for Basic Bitches, That Dino Don’t Look Right, Randy’s Gut is Full of Greasy Old Oyster Burgers, Selfies Done Right, and That’s Not The Proper Nomenclature.

One further point of interest:

Approximately 5% of the previous list was actually considered.