Saturday, 10 August 2019

Dragonfly

A short while ago, I was going through some files and I came across this unique painting, that I created in 2010!  Click on the link below, to learn more about 'Dragonfly'!






Tuesday, 9 July 2019

2 New Things To Share....

Well.... actually, just one NEW thing to share and an update on a project I've been working on since January!!!

To see what's new with the puzzle piece artwork, just scroll down below this post and find out!

As for what is truly NEW.....

I'm proud to present a video that I made with my son, Devon, just last week!!!! During his spring piano classes, Devon learned how to play Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles.  A few weeks ago, he shared this song at a small music school concert!  He did a great job!

Then summer vacation started and I asked him if he wanted to make his own music video!  Devon got very excited and agreed!  We spent the morning filming all sorts of stuff in and around our neighbourhood.... but mostly in our own garden!

A while ago, I explained to Devon how musicians who play other people's songs need to change them to make the song their own!  This is exactly what Devon and I did!  We added a fun intro, with drumming and a very unique beginning to the song!  Even the ending of the video is unique!  This version is quite a bit simpler, compared to the original.... but that's just fine with us!  After all, Devon has only been playing piano for a short while, and some parts of the original song are quite complicated!!!  But I still give him an A+ for this effort!

Please enjoy....





Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Puzzle Peace Art 2019 - A Continuing Story

They say that life is all about the journey and not the destination!!!!  When it comes to my artwork, I can do nothing but agree.  I never know what the final design will look like until it’s completed, since many things happen during the creation process that influence the final design.

Just a short while ago, I came up with a fun idea that would allow me to work with Devon on a collaborative artwork!!!  Since this project will take a few more months to complete, I thought that it would be cool to share this journey with you – my readers!!!!

Every week (or so) I will add photos and stories to this post, at the bottom and in sequential order. 
So – drop by, from time to time and take a scroll down to watch this artwork project unfold…..

The Inspiration – Mid-January, 2019

We love working on puzzles during the winter months!  It’s something fun that the whole family can enjoy… although Joanne seems to be the one doing most of the work!!!!  Devon and I will sit down, every now and again and do a bit of work, but Mom seems to really enjoy it, so we let her have her relaxing time!  That’s a little ‘tongue in cheek’ because Mom often times gets mad at the puzzle!!!!  But if yelling at a puzzle helps her to relax, then I say ‘Go for it!’. LOL!!!!

Devon and Mom starting a new puzzle on Christmas morning, 2018

So – we’ve built up a small collection of ‘done’ puzzles and one evening, I remembered that I had once created an artwork using nothing but jigsaw puzzle pieces.  That was way back in 2001, when Joanne and I were living in Nelson, British Columbia as we worked on the art project entitled ‘Canada: Glorious To Be’.  Thinking about this memory got my imagination working and it was a few days later, when I decided to do another puzzle piece artwork!  I figured that I could design the image in a way that would be easy for Devon to understand so that he could participate in the project with me.

I shared the idea with him and he said that he would help with the new project.  So – it was time to get started….

The Wood Canvas – Mid-January

In order for this project to be successful, I knew that our canvas had to be quite large!  I also knew that the canvas had to made of wood in order to keep its shape!  Devon and I went to a local art supply shop and went wood canvas shopping!  While we were there, I had another thought…

Devon and Daddee at the For The Love of Art "Hip To Be Square" exhibit 2018

Since I have been participating in several  ‘Hip To Be Square’ art shows over the last few years, I suggested to Devon that we buy a square canvas so that we could enter this artwork into an upcoming exhibition.  That way, many people could enjoy our creation… and just maybe we could sell it and use the money for his swimming or piano classes.


When we got home, I began prepping the wood canvas with two coatings of gesso!!!!

The Project Begins – End of January

After the gesso had dried, I mixed up a nice dark purple colour to paint the border’s edge.  I wanted a plain and simple edge that would complement the final artwork without distracting the viewer – as I have often times created interesting borders in the past!  This time, I want viewers to only focus on the artwork and not the edge design!!

Then, we had to come up with a design!  For several weeks, my imagination went wild.  I thought up all sorts of interesting things that we could do!  In the end, we decided to copy another artwork that I created a couple of years ago….


I explained to Devon that we would be inspired by the concepts from this artwork, but our new art would end up being different in a few different ways.  I really like how the sun’s rays go through the border (in the above art) and I wanted to copy this concept in our new project… so we started with laying out the border…

An hour later, we were both itching to glue down some puzzle pieces, so I showed Devon how to do that…

 The first peaces to be glued down!

 
And after one hour, some more border colours are done!

Beginning of February

It's always good to 'get your feet wet' whenever you begin a new project.  After this first day, it was time to get moving forward!  I spent some time laying out the design for this project.  In the above image (the one that we are using as inspiration for this art) you'll notice that the sun is touching the horizon.  As I was laying out the lines for this art, I showed Devon how I was using a small dinner plate to draw the circle for the sun and I asked him where he thought the sun should go.  He decided to put it more into the centre portion of the sky... and so I did!

Then we started gluing down some more pieces...


When we started, I was showing Devon how to do everything.  How to pick a puzzle piece to use... how to find a spot where it will fit.... how to glue the back side of the puzzle piece... how to hold it in place until the glue dries, etc. 

I knew that there were going to be many places where I'd have to do the work myself - like where colours intersect and small details that would be very hard for Devon to do - but my goal was to find ways for Devon to work on his own, with very little supervision.

So... I got him to work in the large areas of the design.  I'd glue one piece down for him and then tell him to make a 'snake' having his puzzle pieces expanding outward from where he started.  This worked out very well.


When Devon first began working on his own, I was working right beside him - working on another part of the art.  He would ask if he was doing it right - I'd say yes or give him a little guidance - and then he'd continue with his work.  After a while, I told him that he's been doing such a great job and that because he understands what to do, he doesn't need to ask me any more questions!!!!  And he proved me right!!!!  Whenever I'd inspect his work, it was always perfect!!!!  Great job, Devon!!!!


Magic Moment - Mid February


I began this post by saying that life is about the journey and not the destination.  This magic moment is an example of all the fun things that happen during the journey!  

So - Devon was building his 'snakes' using yellow and orange puzzle pieces to fill in the middle of the sun.  At one point, he called out, "Hey Daddee!!!!  Look how well this piece joins my two snakes!"  I looked over and noticed that he was holding a yellow puzzle piece in his hand and then he had me watch him as he put it on the canvas.  True enough, it fit amazingly perfect and now two separate 'snakes' were joined!!!

Some may think that this is rather trivial, but for me, it's quite dynamic!  I actually feel rather 'universal' or full of karma during moments like this.  Just think about all the randomness that is happening during this art process.... and then, suddenly.... a form of unity comes into being!!!!  I love moments like this!!!

Random placements find unity and karma!

And then the work continued....



Interesting Observations - Mid-February

One day, I was sorting out puzzle pieces from a used puzzle I had just bought for $1.00 and I noticed something interesting!  I called Devon over to show him and explain what I was going to work on next...


I showed Devon how some of the puzzle pieces I was sorting out, had two colours on them.  The first ones I found had both yellow and white colours.  I told him that we can glue these pieces to the art just as they are - we didn't need to separate the colours.  So, we found areas where the sun's ray was touching an area where the cloud is and we glued them on!

The first few times we did this we were using yellow and white puzzle pieces... but, a short while later, we found some blue and white pieces, as well!!!  I wonder if viewers of this art will ever notice this very small detail???


First Completed Area – Mid-February
When we first started this project, we had lots of fun tossing a blue puzzle piece over there, a red piece over here and yellow pieces over here and there!  LOL!!!  After a bit of this, I decided to see if there was an area that we could complete so we could get a better sense of what the final image would look like!




That’s when I noticed that the sky had 5 small areas that could be completed in just a few hours.  I gathered together my entire pallet of blue and purple puzzle pieces and went to work!!!


After I finished these small areas, I felt great… but I knew that I had to stop working on the sky for a while…

The Waiting Game - Mid-February 





Just behind my work area, in our dining room, we have also been busy working on completing another puzzle.  ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh is amazingly filled with so many blends of blue that I knew I had to use this in my art…. but Joanne got mad at me every time I suggested that she work on a different puzzle, so I could get my hands on this one!!!!  My bad!!!  So, I have to wait!!!!


Oh well!  There’s a lot of other areas that still need to get done, so we started working on a different area of my art...




Finding Inspiration - Mid-February


The foreground of this artwork is fairly simple – there’s two hills of grass with a few triangular shaped trees.  The grass area is quite large and I’ve always felt that this will be difficult to find enough puzzles with green in them… so I decided that I had to add a new design element!
That’s what I love about creating art.  I get an idea – I plan it out – I begin the work – and then things change!  That’s why I thought many of you would enjoy following along with this adventure, so you could see how things change along the way.
So – I pulled up a chair and sat down and thought about how I could change my foreground.  As I sat in my contemplative mind, a memory from my childhood came to me and I found inspiration!!!

I grew up amongst some of the loveliest landscapes in Southern Ontario.  There was a lot of farming, but because the area is so laden with gravel and sand many large patches of land are left fallow, or used as grazing fields for cows or sheep.  I used to adventure through these rolling hills for hours and hours and the one memory that came to me was of one farm that was filled with rolling hills… and sand! Lots of sand!!  These sand dunes were very susceptible to erosion caused by wind and rain and they looked so beautiful as they were always changing the look of the landscape.  So – sand dunes here we come!!!
Sand dunes added to design

Dreaming of Art – Mid-February
I have a history of talking in my sleep, from time to time.  Several of my artworks and one of my songs had been directly influenced by my dreams, as well…


Dreaming of a Better World is a great example!!  I’ve even woken myself up because I’ve been laughing or talking really loudly, while I was sleeping – the sound of my own voice woke me up.  On several occasions, Joanne has told me that I sounded like I was talking in an alien language, in the middle of the night!!!!  I laugh and tell her that I must have had another visit from my spirit gaurdians!!!

A little while ago, while I was making breakfast and lunch for everyone, Joanne came into the kitchen and told me that I must have been dreaming about my puzzle art, that night.  She said that I sat up a bit and started saying, “Just make sure you cut the pieces first!!” a few times before I rolled over and flopped back to sleep!!!!  This story cracked me up!  This just goes to show how connected and focused I get while working on my art projects!!!!

End of February


Still Waiting - First of March


I mentioned earlier that I'm patiently waiting for this puzzle to get completed!!!!  As soon as it's done I'll be able to get back into the sky part of the puzzle artwork!  Hurry up, you two!!!!! LOL!!!!


Clouds – First of March
I always enjoy putting some kind of cloud into my landscapes.  In this first photo, you’ll see that I’ve added a black line around the outside edge of the cloud, to make it easier for you to see….
As the weeks have gone by, I’ve been looking at this cloud and wondering if maybe it’s just a little too much cloud for this image?  Then, one evening, I decided that it was too much… but what to do??  The cloud just took up too much room and I didn’t want it fighting for attention against the beautiful sun.

So, I turned the one big cloud into two smaller ones.  Because a lot of the sky has already been put into place, I couldn’t make a very drastic change, but I found that this small change made a rather big difference.  In this photo, you can see that I simply erased one small line to divide the cloud into two.  The bottom cloud now looks like it ends behind one of the sun’s rays while the top cloud continues to weave its way between a few of the sun’s rays.

In the end, I’ve decreased the size of cloud by just a little bit, but the ‘weight’ of the cloud has decreased quite dramatically!!

Small Milestones – Mid-March
A couple of weeks ago, I shared the concept for and the creation of the sand dunes in this artwork and the photo I shared showed one of the sand dunes, completed!  That was the first part of this entire project to be completed!!  Since then, I’ve had three other milestones…
Inside border complete!!
Just the other day, I finally completed the thin second border around the entire image.

And, even more recently, I completed the second sand dune and one tree!!!!
I love it when parts of the image are done!  I just don’t have to think about them anymore!  It allows me to focus my thoughts on other aspects of this art…. and this artwork has quite a lot of other aspects!!!

Almost a Milestone – Mid-March
These four milestones of completion are rather small parts of the entire project… there is just so much work to be done!  For the last week or so, I’ve been concentrating my efforts on the top right corner of the artwork so I can get a better understanding of how the final image will look, once completed… and I’m very happy with how it’s all coming together…

I’ve filled in more blue sky triangles (because the puzzle that Joanne has been working on got finished and after a few days of enjoying it, she has allowed me to cut it up for this project!!! Finally! LOL!), a couple of the sun’s rays, quite a bit of cloud and an enormous part of the thick, outside border.  But, this is no time for a pat on the back.... We've got a lot still to go.....
End of March Update


For the last two weeks, Devon and I have been working very diligently on this art project!

So nice!  The entire right side of the sky is done!  Can you see the transition from dark blue at the top to light blue along the horizon???? Although the left side of the sky still needs a lot of work, I have completed the sky surrounding the circle of the sun so it is very clear to see the shape!

End of First Week of April


Over the last week, I've been working on the clouds, the large tree and parts of the border!  This work isn't the most exciting, but I don't want to end this project doing the boring parts, so I pick away at them throughout the entire process!

First Week of May
When Devon and I first started this project, I had calculated that it would take a little over 3 months to complete.  I figured that most of the work would get done by the end of March and the last bits would get put into place over the month of April.  I knew that when April came along, I would be busy in my garden, so I was expecting to do a little work to start each day… but that didn’t happen!
Actually, I haven’t even touched the art in almost two weeks!  Geesh!!!! LOL!!! At this rate, it’ll be September until this art gets done!  April has just been such a busy month!!!
Devon and school friend carrying trees to plant

Devon and I have participated in a couple community tree planting events!

Devon reads a story he wrote about Earthday to his school mates!
We also spent some time organizing a school Earthday presentation!!!

Adding 50 feet of day lilies to the side of a London road!
We’ve also been doing a lot of guerrilla gardening!  Now – to be clear – this doesn’t mean that we dress up in gorilla costumes – LOL!!! – it means that we plant flowers in ditches and parks without anyone’s permission… so SHHHHHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone!  I don’t want to get arrested for illegal flower planting!!!!
And, we’ve also been working in our own gardens!!!!!
But, we have been picking away at our puzzle art… slowly!  I actually have 3 significant areas that are almost completed!  I look forward to sharing those photos some time soon…….



Beginning of May – 3 Significant Areas


Here is the latest full frame photo of this rather ambitious art creation….



I’ve mentioned before that my plan for the border of this art is to work away on it throughout the whole process.  It is a rather large area and I don’t want to be tasked with completing it in one go…. so, I’ve been picking away at it, slowly but surely.  Even though it still has a lot further to go, I feel that my efforts over the last few weeks warrant that what I have got done is a significant area!   What makes it even more significant is an interesting design concept that spontaneously realized itself, a short while ago….


This is what my work station looks like, just before Devon and I sit down to glue the puzzle pieces to the art.  First, we sort out colours and then I cut them into smaller bits and put them on a small plate.  I gave Devon just such a plate of red colours – for the border – and I was surprised by what he had done with them.


When he had finished gluing a plate of puzzle pieces onto the art, I went over to see what he had done.  I found in one small area he had glued these three pieces together.  I thought that it was interesting that the bottom two pieces were actually one piece… that I had cut into two.  Considering the randomness of the plate of pieces I gave to him, I found it interesting that he managed to put two pieces back together again.

What was even more interesting was where he had glued these three pieces together.  To be sure, I got out my measuring tape and this confirmed that these three pieces had been placed right smack dab in the middle of the wood canvas!!!  What are the chances?  This gave me an idea…

I asked Devon if he wanted to hide something in the art – something that no one else would ever know about.  I explained that if we added on to his three pieces, continuing to build on the symmetry that he had started, and then later on filled in the empty spaces with the same randomness that we were using on the border, that no one would be able to notice our design concept and that only we would know what we had done!  He thought that this would be a cool thing to do… and so we did it!!!


Here, we can all see the symmetrical design that we created.  Size and shape of the puzzle pieces are symmetrical!   Their colours are symmetrical!  And their positioning is symmetrical!!!  I love it!!!  It’s interesting events like this, that are the joys of creating art.   Later, when this area is completely filled in, no one should be able to see the symmetry that we created… unless people happen to have read this story, discovered our secret and then when looking for it!

The above photo will now lead us into the next significant area…


This cloud is now done!!! Yeah!  I love it when an area is completed!  I mentioned early in this story, how I had to divide the original cloud design into two parts.  If I had left the cloud as a whole, it would have dominated the sky and I didn’t want that to happen.  So, I divided the one cloud into two…. and now the smaller of the two clouds is done!


And the third significant area of this latest effort is the completion of the large tree in the foreground!!!  This was a very intense part of this art work!!!!  This tree filled me with a lot of doubt and I questioned my design over and again, trying to figure out how to proceed!  Let me explain…


This tree was one of the first components of the art to get started.  I found a large selection of forest puzzle pieces and simply thought, “Perfect!”.  I wouldn’t have to search out other sources of puzzle pieces to blend together to create this part of the art…. and so, I began the work.


It wasn’t until Devon and I got this much done that my doubt set in!  If you look back at many of the full art image photos that I’ve share, you will notice that in the last few, this area didn’t grow any larger.  I spent weeks contemplating my design concepts, before I moved forward on this area again.

The doubt came from the fact that this large triangle – representing a tree obviously – was going to fill a large area of the completed art in a rather uniform way.  Although there are many colours in this area, when they are all put together, they blended to become one colour… a rather dark colour at that!  My concern was that this tree would dominate, in a negative way, the entire art – like a soar thumb!  I didn’t want that!  I wanted a final image that would all come together in a positive way that all would enjoy!


I reflected on the tree that I had completed in the artwork that inspired this design.  Here, you can see that I used several large colours of Kleenex box cardboard to complete the tree.  I began to wonder if I should copy this concept into the puzzle piece art work.  I wondered and wondered and wondered… for several weeks.  I kept thinking that I could get some wood chisels and remove some of what I had already done and begin to rework this entire tree.  I worried about damaging what I had already done!

And then, one evening, I found peace!  I had been sitting in front of this art, staring at the tree, wondering what I should do.  Joanne walked by me and told me that I looked really stressed out.  I explained my thoughts and then Joanne spent some time regarding the tree and then she said, “Well, I think it looks great now and I’m sure it’ll look just fine when it’s finished!”  That was all it took…. an outsiders observation!  I wish I had shared my concerns earlier!  It would have saved me weeks of wondering!!

So, there ya go!!!!  Even the most skilled and confident artists find moments of struggle, confusion and doubt while in the process of creating their art!  I believe that it is these moments that make both the artist and the artwork stronger!

I’m going to end this portion of the story with a zoomed in look at the texture that is this tree…


It’s this texture that helped me to decide (along with my wife’s encouragement) to continue on with the design concept that became the tree.  You see…. I have great demands of my audience – LOL!!!!  Not only do I want viewers to stand back and enjoy the entire image, I want them to also come in real close, to forget about the image as a whole and enjoy the many interesting areas of this art with their noses only inches away from the art.

This is how I know that I’ve captured someone’s attention.  When this art is done, I should see viewers looking at it from a distance.  Then they see something in the art and they get closer.  Then they step back again, to view it as a whole, while keeping in their minds what they just saw up close.  This art, when completed, should have viewers stepping in close, then away, several times!!!

So – what’s next???  Although my mind is still thinking about all that space that will eventually be the foreground, I’m just not ready to tackle that portion of this project, quite yet!  I think I’ll get Devon and me to focus on the blues of the sky, for the next few weeks… and maybe a bit more of the sun!

So, until then…. have a wonderful springtime!  I’ll look forward to sharing more in another week or so…..


First of July, 2019

Well, it’s been a bit longer than a couple of weeks since I last shared an update about this artwork!  I’ve been very busy!  This is why I rarely do any art during the summer months, there’s just so much other stuff to do!!!
This is where we left off...


Today, I have 3 photos to share with you today!  Nothing spectacular! No new revelations!  Just a few photos showing how the art has progressed!


In this photo, you can see that a lot of sky got done… in the upper left portion of the art!  This happened on a rainy day, when I couldn’t work in my garden!  I spent the morning listening to some LPs on my record player and enjoyed working on this art…. it had been a while since I last did any work!

In this photo, you can see that even more blue sky got done!  This was the afternoon that I had some plumbers at my house fixing my bathroom sink.  I couldn’t leave them in my house alone, so I settled down and got to work!!!


This photo was taken just last week!  Again – another rainy morning that kept me from working outside!  I spent the first two hours working on more of the sky and then  I went to work on a few sun rays.  You can see that I got one of the top ones completed and the next two sunrays – moving counter-clockwise from the other one almost got completed!!!!
 

We've got more to share!!!!
Drop by in another week and see how much more we've got done!!!

See you then.....