A collection of paintings, drawings and non sequiturs. Thanks for looking!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I have been working on a series of unsolicited portraits for a little show at Latitude 53, as part of the Incubator series the Gallery hosts each week. The show, entitled "Oil in Oil" is now on view,  and will be up until July 28 2012. Please come take a look!

Please visit the Latitude 53 Blog for additional information.

Below is the Artist Statement that will accompany my show at Latitude 53; it provides good context and summary for what these images are about:

At a recent Latitude 53 Fundraiser event, I had a conversation with a man working “up North”. We didn’t have this conversation face to face, as this man was still in Fort McMurray at the time of our chat. His friends were in attendance and were sharing his texts with me. Through these texts he informed me that he would like to commission a portrait of himself, in the grand style of ‘old school’ paintings, and that he wanted himself pictured with a wolf and a bottle of vodka as props.
Price didn’t seem to be an object, but time was. Turns out he wanted a mural, painted on the wall of his mobile home and he thought it shouldn’t take too long.
I have not painted this mural yet, but I did get to thinking…

Are there others who work ‘up North’ who would want their portrait painted? And if so, what kind of objects/props would they want to include in these pictures?  How would they want to be immortalized? I was starting to form an entire project in my head that revolved around the concepts of identity, industry and the interdependency we all share in Alberta with the ‘bubbling crude’ that comes out of the ground.

My thoughts on this subject were also bubbling, so I thought I would start with simple portraits for now.

The paintings in this “Incubator” exhibit are studies - a chance to engage with those who work ‘up North’. Through these unsolicited portraits I had a chance to visit remote work sites where every day, 24/7, oil and gas is extracted from the ground by men and women. I have never been to an actual rig, and was humbled to find out that it’s not easy to gain access to these sites. I also visited a training workshop, where tech operators were learning to use specific equipment that pumps oil out of the ground.

I quickly noticed that most people I met seldom let the top of their head show. Whether hardhat, or baseball hat, heads were covered.

The faces seen on these walls are just some of the people I met. Everyone was incredibly open and willing to participate in these ‘unsolicited’ portraits, and I am very grateful to them.

Eventually, I would like to take this series further – to arrange time for those who work ‘up North’ to sit for a portrait. My hope is to have each person tell me how they want to be portrayed, what ‘props’ they would want to have in the portrait with them and let the painting process unfold as a conversation between us. The human face is magic, and tells a story. As an artist I feel it is a true honour to be in communion with that magic, and the responsibility that comes with such story telling is a privilege. 

The story of oil, Earth’s ancient resource is a global story. However, brining it home I hope to explore the impact ‘oil’ has on present-day Alberta; I would like to tell this story through the faces of those people whose livelihood depends on what the Great White North has coursing through its earthly veins.

Ultimately, I hope to create a moment of dialogue between the face looking at a portrait and the portrayed face looking back, pausing to think about the legacy we all leave behind.

Here's a sneak peak at the work that's on view:

 "Harley Davidson", 9 x 12" oil on linen

 "I've Been Doing This For A Long Time", 20x30" oil on birch panel 

 "Let Me Get My Welding Helmet", 20x30", oil on birch panel


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day in Review

A large-scale construction project is going on in Edmonton - the City is expanding its Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines. In order to protect some of the vegetation that neighbors the construction sites, the City has built plywood boxes around the trees. These boxes are functional, but sadly look coffin-like.  

So, a group of friends in Edmonton decided to get together and make art that would amp up the aesthetics of these function-over-form structures. I was honored to be included in this group.

The theme was Father's Day (#poppaart), and this is what I came up with:

acrylic on wood, 27"x48", Dad c.1975
The adventure of putting up unsolicited art was quite fun, and the look on my Dad's face when he saw his portrait hanging on a tree on Father's Day, was priceless.
Hopefully, nobody walks off with the picture... But it is the public domain, so I guess 'art getting jacked' is all part of the process.

 If someone does appropriate this portrait, I just hope they're nice to my Papa.
Dad on tree

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Twenty Twelve!

After such a long absence, it feels a little strange to be back, but the calendar now reads 2012, and it's high time to dust off the old blog.

Although life has been full, busy and time has not been on my side, I have managed to complete a few pieces that I would like to share.

Here is one, of a beautiful girl named Ramona (8 x 10", oil on wood).

I will post others before it is 2013.