Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm a Winner!

I just found out that I won Juror's Choice Award for my painting "Easter Sunday," in the Traditional Category of the Third Annual Juried Art Show at the Orillia Museum of Art and History, which is on now until August 3, 2008.

"Easter Sunday," oil on linen, 20 x 16 inches, 2007

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I just did another interview with Jason Anders for Fulle Circle! This one focuses more on technique!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mannequin Painting

Here's another new peecture that I recently feeneeshed.

"i wish i were invisible" mixed media on panel, 12 x 9 inches, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Matthew D Innis' Blog

I first met Matthew a couple of years ago in one of Juan Martinez' workshops, and we stayed in touch through email afterwards. Over the years he has taught me about the realist art world a lot. He'd email me when i asked about who studied under whom, and told me all about Frank Reilly, who taught a number of the best realist artists around today! Matt's just so knowledgable about artists, art history, materials and techniques! Anyone who wants to educate themselves in realist art should visit his blog, Underpaintings daily, I know I will be!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

BG Painting Instructions

Thought you guys might be interested in this background painting step by step I found kicking around on my computer that I made to teach the painters in Korea how to follow our keys. I also found a few scans of some of Johnny's favorite golden books we were using as reference for this painting.

*Unfortunately I don't have the final version of this painting anymore:( But this was done just as a tutorial to show the process.*

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Here's an interview I just did with Disney guy Jason Anders of Fulle Circle!

click here

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Here's a painting I recently did en plein air. Painting outdoors is great for developing your ability to paint quickly and loosely because the light changes so quickly!

"Dusk" oil on panel, 5 x 7 inches, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Wrap a Brush

Hey gang,

Here's a video of me wrapping my paintbrush after a good day's work, to prevent them from getting frayed. It helps keep 'em nice and flat so that you can use the thin edge to do nice thin lines and the flat side to do thicker strokes:)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Palette Notes

I'd like to say that my palette is all sooper limited and all that, but I guess at this point it's become almost a combination of the four artists who I've studied under (hehehe, and in this case I'm counting having "studied" under Jeremy Lipking after just watching his demo DVD:) (the other three teachers are Yuqi Wang, Juan Martinez and Kevin Gorges) So yeah, now I've basically got the palette you see here.

I mix a bit of white into each colour with a palette knife, creating a “string” of colour tints, with the exception of Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber. I use these colours mostly in the shadow areas, and white tends to make them too opaque and “chalky” looking.

If you're interested in how this palette “came to be”... it started with Juan Martinez in Toronto, ON. He taught me about the “strings,” which are useful because then you have both a lighter and darker - as well as an opaque and a more transparent version - of each colour. He didn’t use many blues and greens though, or the Burnt Sienna, all of which I took off my palette for a while after taking his workshops. He introduced me to the red oxides as well as the Yellow Ochre Pale. He also convinced me to give up the way of the impressionists and start using black on my palette for the first time in my life.

Next I studied under Yuqi Wang in Santa Fe, NM. He favors a more colourful palette, and although I still tend to lean towards more greyed down colours, seeing him paint beautifully with Flesh Ochre, Prussian blue and Egyptian Violet, made me just have to add them to my palette as well (for VERY restricted use).

Also, while I was in Santa Fe, I took classes with Kevin Gorges, who studied at the Florence Academy of Art, so he worked with a VERY restricted palette. He didn’t even use Cadmium Yellow, instead he used Naples Yellow - so onto the palette that went, but I kept the Cadmium Yellow on too.

Now, most recently, I bought myself Jeremy Lipking’s demo DVD, and was surprised by how much you can learn from a DVD! I guess after studying with all these masters in real life, I just never would have thought a DVD could come close to being as good, but actually I have realllyy found that it has improved my painting so much. After watching the Jeremy Lipking DVD I remembered something that I had kinda heard before - that Alizarin Crimson is not really all that permanent:( So now I’m using Alizarin Permanent, I’ve also added burnt sienna back onto my palette. It's an old favorite that I used all the time in my landscapes (Phil Craig loves it too!) then i removed it from my palette after adding all those red oxides. But yeah, seeing Jeremy Lipking use it brought back memories of how much I used to like it, and I stuck it back on. I still have burnt umber too (and sometimes even some other Umbers, like Green Umber), and, as you can see, I’ve started mixing up his “magic” mixture of Ultramarine, Titanium white and Alizarin Permanent (a light blue, slliigghhtly purply mixture)

heheh I basically have a phobia of purple! As in “Do I see Pink and Purple!?” of my Spumco days (John K would look at my background paintings for the new Ren and Stimpy and if he said that, he wouldn’t even look at them;) Also associated with purple is the dreaded “old man syndrome” where by artists as they age sometimes go through a period where they want to “jazz up” their work and purple is always prominent in their art. BUT, instead I have bluey green syndrome, where I’m too afraid to use purple, and I make everything less grey purple then it is! So yeah, I started mixing up that “magic” colour of Jeremy Lipking’s and wow, it is making all the difference in my painting!! I mix it into my flesh tones a lot, and it keeps them from getting crazy saturated. It’s also so great for cooling the tones as they recede, and warp around the edges of the form. Actually, the lemon yellow is an addition I made after the DVD as well. Before I would only use it if I reaallly required it (which I only ever did once, when I was actually painting lemons), but now I see that it can mix quite nicely with the blue mixture, and some cad red or orange to make nice skin tones!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


This is a painting I just finished last weekend while my favorite (and only) sister, Jessica Gordon, was up visiting for the Puppy Love Show. She's pretty happy that I'm finished it too, because her feet can't take any more posing like that!!

"Moments" oil on linen, 24 x 18 inches, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Puppy Love - La Petite Mort Gallery

Here's some photos of a recent group show that I was in at La Petite Mort Gallery here in Ottawa. The show was called "Puppy Love - The Artist as Dog" and was meant to be self portrait of the aritsts as a dog. My sister, Jessica Gordon, also had a piece included in the show.

Hehehe, without noticing, I did dress up in my doggie cosutme for the show (I match my dog in the painting)

"Ouroboros," oil and wax on panel, 14 x 14 inches, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Sophie" Step by Step

I just finished this painting yesterday at my friend Helder's house, where we were both painting his girlfriend, Sophie, who was kind enough to pose for us.


For this painting, I started with a general flesh colour for the face, then added darks to the shadow side. Normally I would block in all of the background colour early on in a painting, but to achieve a more spontaneous result I resisted, and limited painting it in only where it was absolutely necessary to describe the tones and colours of the face. At this stage, I was mostly just thinking about blocking in the basic shapes, but I was also thinking a lot about “big form modeling.” This means describing the larger, overall forms, such as the egg shape of the head and the cylindrical nature of the neck and body.


For this sitting, I added the hair with my nifty new Langnickel brushes! They make really nice looking strokes! In rendering the hair, I thought very carefully about each stroke before putting it down. Then I made sure not to mess with them at all afterwards, to maintain the spontaneity. I used burnt sienna, burnt umber and ultramarine for the hair. Then I refined the features, and the overall form of the face. Once the dark hair had been added in, I found that I had to darken my shadows quite a bit from the first sitting, to get them dark enough.


While I liked the feeling of the brushstrokes in the hair after the second step, the shadow side of the head needed to be darker, so I worked into the hair a bit more, as well as refining the features and adding her necklace.


Although I liked the looseness and of the background up to this point, some of the diagonal brushstrokes were too distracting, and the contrast of her hair against the light background was just way too strong, so I carefully carried some more of the background colour around her head a bit more, being careful not to mess with each stroke too much, as I did want to maintain that looseness. I also worked quite a bit on her neck, which is a challenging area of the body to render successfully. The goal was to render it’s anatomy, which consists of tendons and large muscle forms, while also capturing the soft quality of the neck. Lastly, I went in and softened the cheek and hairline slightly.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ogrant Update

So, I have just found out that in fact anyone in the world, student or not, can leave feedback on my Ogrant video application to help me win money for school!, and (YYAAAY!) they actually take the feedback into consideration when they choose the winners too!!!!!!! so Yyyaaaaayyyy!! Also, any Canadian Student with a valid student email address through their college can vote for my video too! So please leave me some comments on my Ogrant, and if you're a Canadian student, even better, you can vote for it too!! (click here to vote and leave feedback)!!

Cheryl Painting - Sold

I did this painting in a three hour session that was held at Joe Bastiste's studio in Santa Fe. He holds drop ins every Wed and Sat in his studio, and while I was there as the TA to Yuqi Wang at Andreeva Portrait Academy, I attended as many of them as I could! This painting here is acutally of his girlfriend, Cheryl, who is an artist and model, and that day the model didn't show up, so she generously offered to pose for us instead:)

"Cheryl," oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches, 2007

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Mother's Day" - Step by Step

This is a painting I did on Mother’s Day, of one of the daffodils that we grew in our yard.


This painting was done in a more “direct” approach, meaning that instead of starting with a burnt umber under-painting, I “drew in” the image with color, to achieve a more spontaneous result. At this stage, I was mostly just thinking about blocking in the basic shapes, but I was also thinking about the “big form modeling” as well. This means describing the larger, overall forms, such as the cylindrical nature of the vase.


I wanted to preserve a lot of the initial brushwork that had come out of the first session, so I primarily focused on the smaller details of the vase at this stage. First, I solidified it, by sharpening up the rim. I also refined the “big form modeling” of the vase, adding highlights, and making sure the edges feel as though they are wrapping around the form. When I first added the calligraphy on the vase it was much too tight in comparison with the looseness of the daffodil. I wanted to keep the painting loose, but accurate, so I went in and softened some of the edges until I was satisfied with the result.


Although I liked the looseness and transparency of the background up to this point, I decided that it was a bit too distracting, so I darkened the edges of the painting first, to frame it, then carried the paint inwards around the daffodil. I felt this did a better job of framing the daffodil and helped it to stand out from the background.

"Mother's Day," oil on panel, 6 x 4 inches, 2008

Voting for Ogrant has Begun!!

Yaaayy! So voting has begun for the Ogrants! As it turns out, only students can vote, so if any of you out there is a student, or knows a student, and wants to help, they can go to the O-grant website, and register in the top right-hand corner (I think you need a student email address to be able to vote), then, after registering click here to vote for my application (just click “SUPPORT,” in the top right-hand corner). They take the number of votes into consideration when they choose the recipients, so I would really appreciate any votes I can get!!! Feel free to email me if you have any questions along the way!