Sep 302017

Digging deeper into my blues archive finds this painting from my ‘Totem’ triptych.

‘Totem One’ 1999 24 x 36″ acrylic on canvas

This is one of a triptych that pays homage to Jack Shadbolt. It’s apparent in this piece he’s a strong influence.

I studied with painter Gordon Caruso at Langara College in Vancouver. He’d been a student of Shadbolts at the Vancouver School of Art, now ECCAD (Emily Carr College of Art and Design.

Mr. Caruso insisted on discipline and rigour from his students, something he learned with Shadbolt.

‘In Search of Form’ is Shadbolts excellent book published by McClelland & Stewart in 1968. It’s a touch stone book for me.

‘Blue Rising’ 2012 36 x 48″ acrylic and pumice on canvas

The rising forms in this piece are similar to ‘Totem’. The approach here is more graphic and hard edge. Pumice makes an appearance in this piece. It’s a material that’s become part of my painting tool kit. I like carving into the material to create a sculpted surface.

Sep 282017

My passion for blue pigment has been part of my studio practice for decades.

What follows in the next posts is my blue works time line.  Painting and drawings.  It covers the past 30 odd years.  I skip around a bit,  but you’ll get the picture.  Chronology doesn’t fit my studio practice.

This piece was completed last year and the process was pure joy.  I loved mixing the blues.  The broad brush strokes of colour flowed off the pallette and onto the canvas.

‘The Deeps’  2016 acrylic and pumice on canvas  36 x 48″

‘Off Macaulay Point’  2010  oil pastel and graphite on paper  10 x 14″

Here’s a small mixed media from several years back.  It’s a plein air piece I did at Saxe Point Park.  Like most of my plein air work, it’s abstracted landscape with few direct references to the place, and based on an intuitive response to the site.

‘Blue Puzzle’  2014  acrylic and pumice on canvas  36 x 48″

This piece is like a puzzle.  It’s almost two pieces, which is typical of how I compose.  I create a compositional problem and try to solve it.  I used pumice on this canvas to create a sculpted effect at the top.

‘Love Potions No. 9’  2006 acrylic, graphite and pumice on canvas 8 x 10″

This small work dates back 12 years when I was going through my sea change.  It’s my favorite in the small series I did at the time.  It, and the other pieces in the series, are about falling in love with the alchemy of painting.  I have a sweet place in my heart for this little love potion.

‘Esquimalt Harbour’  2014 acrylic and graphite on canvas  8 x 14″

What’s consistent in these blue pieces is the horizon line and an underlying grid structure.  I plan each piece by laying out a rough composition. and then work intuitively.  3/4’s of the way through,  the process is the most difficult.  That’s when the two sides of my brain have an uneasy conversation.

In the end I compromise, or, someone wrenches the painting out of my hands.


Sep 182017

Living near active ports on Vancouver Island profoundly influenced this edition of prints.

Near my studio is the Graving Dock in historic Esquimalt Harbour. Esquimalt is home to the Pacific Fleet of the Canadian Navy.

Point Hope Maritime shipyard is also nearby in the Victoria harbour. We have a commercial fishing fleet at Fishermans Wharf and dozens of whale watching vessels. And a mega yacht marina is now being build in the Songhees.

Marine vessels of every size and description, with busy working ports, are always within site. When I fly over the islands or take a boat to the mainland this is what I see. It’s a vital part of island life.

People are out on the water in all kinds of crafts. I canoe often on the Gorge Waterway. And we are all surrounded by the Salish Sea.

Here’s a few examples of the series of prints I’ve developed for this limited edition called ‘Passages’.

Print techniques for each mono print are etch, emboss, and chine colle.

Passages: Graving Dock 1/1/25

Passages: Admiral 1/1/25

Passages: Departure 1/1/25

Passages: Red Net 1/1/25

Each plate for the ‘Passages’ edition is intuitively composed. I assemble the various elements and make decisions about composition as the edition unfolds.

‘Passages’ talks about our natural environment, the built world, and their intersection: The scale of tanker traffic, habitat of salmon and whale, and economics.

I like to combine hard elements of the built work juxtaposed with organic materials and shapes when composing plates for printing. The photo etch plates give a graphic grounding to the image. I used fish net to emboss some of the prints. Use of materials like that connects me on a visceral way to the prints. It’s a poetic way to print make.

Sep 182017

I embrace new technology. It’s often a steep learning curve!

An indispensable tech friend is my Samsung Android Note.  That’s what I’ll sometimes use to update my blog.  The phone has an excellent camera.

It’s a challenge for me to maintain and update my website.  So, I’ve decided to use the blog to showcase my work and post on my travels.  It’s a direct and honest way for me to connect with anyone who drops in to my site.

My other new thing is the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek. Aside from its stellar engineering and cool sport details, it’s the colour I love.  It’s a true west coast blue grey. Subaru calls it Cool Grey Khaki. To me it’s exactly blue grey. Should be named West Coast Blue.

I use the colour lots of my paintings. (And no, my car is not named ‘David’.)

‘My Blue Island’  acrylic on canvas  24 x 48″

I’ll be posting about the tech I’m using now as part of my printmaking practice.

This includes creating etched plates on the XY table using Vector.




Jun 132017

Meta Incognita – Unknown Limits

My recent print installation was part of the Ground Zero Printmakers annual group show at Fifty Fifty Arts Collective Gallery in Victoria, Canada, Feb/Mar 2017.

Its a 5′ x 2′ soft ground etched copper plate, with a 5′ etched print on a 5′ aluminum shelf.

The copper etched plate is a topographic map of the peninsula on Southern Baffin Island in Nunavut Territory, Canada.  The etched print, a mirror image of the plate, runs the length of aluminium shelf.

The concept for this piece is deeply rooted in my early life.

I was born in the northern Yukon Territory of Canada.  We also lived in several small communities in the Northwest Territory.

I was always aware of the vast wilderness beyond my house, my small town.

My playground had no limits in the north country.  It was the tundra, the forest, wild cold rivers and lakes.

The north was space, quiet, simplicity and freedom.

The scale of this piece speaks to that:  the vast horizon line, the white snow canvas of winter, reflection of water and sky.

My choice of materials, copper plate, refined aluminum, and a long roll of paper are the lands resources.  Work in resource extraction industries, and supporting business, is what brings many to the north.

The project also reflects my interest in exploring the boundaries of printmaking.

Meta Incognita offers a sense of suspended stillness in a land that is unpeopled, unknowable and deeply romantic.