Friday, 15 December 2017


Patrick Donohue has reviewed the Salon V exhibition at Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts on his popular website, Dilettante’s Diary.

Patrick made the following comment about my mixed media piece, WALLACE AVENUE:

“In a more urban mode, an exuberant Cubist-influenced painting caught my eye with its vivacious take on a city neighbourhood, even before the name of an artist I know caught my eye: Barry Coombs.

For the full review, click here and scroll down.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Read more

I simplified the still-life yesterday and tried to focus on two things. One was colour. The other was the spaces between the objects, sometimes called negative spaces. It’s important to make these areas interesting although, when we stare at the still-life, they may not seem to have much visual appeal.

In the demonstrations below, I’ve varied the negative areas using ‘soft-edge’ techniques.

Some of the students had trouble with the apples and were puzzled because they seem like fairly simple objects. It might be because they are so round, shiny and unblemished that any mark out of place seems to stand out. Either way, it was a good day and some of the less-experienced painters made real strides in their work.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read more

Everyone enjoyed the old box last Tuesday so I kept it as the base for today’s still-life. This was the first day of painting in 2011 for some of the Saturday group so I continued with my back to basics theme. We discussed ‘wire frame’ drawing and some perspective fundamentals.

My demo is a very traditional value study in sepia; watercolour over pencil. I mixed my own version of sepia using Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna.

It’s intended to be only two values. The paper-white areas show the direct light . Everything else is simplified with one value of sepia (although a few areas are slightly darker). You can see my pencil drawing coming through the washes.

There are many benefits to this kind of study. I’ve resolved a workable composition. A strong pattern is revealed. Interestingly, we can understand the objects and the space without darker values, detail, or colour. Highly prized by the Old Masters, simplification works.

Most of the students do a thumbnail study, similar to this but in pencil, prior to starting their watercolour. Still, a little review doesn’t hurt once in a while.

Check out the day’s work below. Note the sepia study in the upper left corner. About five values have been employed in a very bold crisp-edge approach. The whole group admired it. The piece directly below was done by the same artist; both completed today! By the way, that’s a pen and ink drawing on the lower right.

Sustained Saturday Critique

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read more

I started off with more review of ‘wire frame’ drawing. It’s a very helpful approach to understanding the forms of the objects and the space they occupy. The lines have been darkened in the demonstration (below left) so that you can see the process clearly.

The  watercolour study of two pears was done at the start of the evening class.

While the painters worked this morning, I did a small study of a foreshortened pear in three steps. Foreshortening tends to intimidate beginners and more experienced artists, as well. It’s important to try to draw what you are actually seeing and not what you think the pear should look like. Trust your eye. This three step  process might help.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read more

Wallace Avenue

I’ve been invited to exhibit with Salon V at the Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts.

Wallace Avenue is a work on paper using watercolour, resist, acrylic ink and acrylic paint. In other words, mixed media.

The exhibition will run from January 12 – 30, 2011. Propeller is located at 984 Queen Street West in Toronto. All are invited to the Opening Reception this Thursday evening, January 13, from 7 – 10 pm.

Aleda O’Connor (my partner) will be exhibiting three of her lovely drawings in pen and white charcoal pencil on toned paper.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Read more