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Curry’s QoR Modern Watercolor Award at the CSPWC 97th annual Open Water Exhibition

October 18, 2022

I’m very happy to announce my watercolor painting The Melt Water Knife, was accepted into the 97th annual Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor, Open Water exhibition and, I ‘ve received the Curry’s QoR Modern Watercolor Award for 2022.

Thanks so much to the judges and organizers of this national society show and also to the donors of the awards!

This year’s Open Water is an online exhibition, and as such, you can view all of the works here.

I wonder if this will be the last year for online shows (which of course were a response to the pandemic.) I’m not at all against online shows, but of course, I hope that if this becomes the new normal, that we will work towards the best possible digital presentation. I personally love to show details! Like this close-up of granulating pigment.

It it ironic of course, that this lovely black pigment is very likely made of carbon. The very substance that is accelerating the loss of arctic ice. I had to laugh a little at that realization. You can imagine a sad little laugh. One of those ‘this is not really funny’ kind of laughs.

Just as there are no longer any bodies of water on earth free of microplastics, there are no longer any ice surfaces free of carbon dust. The particulate matter (most likely from coal plants, but also from forest fires) settles on the ice, and raises the surface temperature (due to the greater absorption of heat from the sun).

I’m still showing this body of watercolor work in exhibitions, but, to be honest I am not making new work on this theme. I think the time for raising awareness of climate issues is over. Artists do not have to sound the alarm. We are hearing it loud and clear from nature itself.

The complete series of these darkly-themed images is available as my self-published artist’s monograph. Here’s some more info (just scroll down a bit) if you want to look inside the book or, for watercolor practitioners you can read the ‘behind the scenes’ production posts written as the works were created, during our annual event; Direct Watercolor (2019: All Posts Collected).

#30×30, 2022, Day30: Back to Street Sketching!

June 30, 2022

It’s been an exciting #30×30 this year! Starting with my small study of AI intermediated artwork, and all the accumulating implications. Is it the end of art as we know it? I don’t think so :) But there are huge changes coming. This stuff will revolutionize visual art. It will end some careers, while being a huge new opportunity for others.

But of course – that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be outside on a lovely day, making paintings with watercolor :) You can’t beat that simple enjoyment of being out in the world, looking for beauty.

So, please enjoy some simple sketching of a beautiful summer day in my city :)

I hope all of you have had the best #30×30 so far. And I look forward to talk with a bunch of you later today in the Last Hurrah! (Our video chat show and tell). The rest of you – I’ll see you on the facebook, and the social media, and I hope you will keep painting and keep hashtagging #30x30DirectWatercolor, so we can all continue to enjoy each others work – until next year!

Thanks everyone!


#30×30, 2022, Day 25: The End of my Figure Drawing Marathon!

June 24, 2022

Well, today was the fifth day in a row, doing six hour drawing days. It’s been an amazing ride, but, to be honest, it’s been tiring.

In the last few years I’ve quit drinking caffeine as a rule. But – during this time I’ve had to go back on that promise. There were a few expensive chai lattes, and plenty of teeth-rattling sodas powering me through these early morning sessions and long afternoons.

Not great health wise, and – not sustainable.

By day five, I could really feel my lack of energy. I had many more failed sketches, and still more just-average-ones. Then, in the long ponderous poses, when I usually do two or three different angles, I simply sat and noodled this portrait. Which – it did turn out great. I’m quite happy :)

But really, getting one great one from an entire day – that’s not great by my standards.

So! This is my morality tale about DAILY STUDIES.

I feel like #30×30 is a MUCH BETTER IDEA than a week long marathon :)

Daily work is something you can scale to your energy level and available time. It’s something you can save up and do in bursts. Flexibility, and commitment for the long term. That’s going to pay off better than whipping yourself, or putting in long hours.

At least, at my age and level of experience. Perhaps the self-flagellation is worth while when you’re young and resilient – and when you have a lot to learn! But the further you go in your art – the less brute-force can help you.

At this point, I need to be thinking about the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ of my work, and be a lot less focused on the ‘how’.

Of course, I still feel it was worth it – and I’ll probably do it again next year. Even after dragging my old tired self though this last day. And I’m going to pay for all this caffeine over the next week I’m sure! I’ll be lucky if I escape without a migraine.

So! Here’s my final word on life drawing for this month; a very fine derriere, belonging to a retired flamenco dancer :) Possibly the best tush I’ve sketched lately :)

Hey, want to hear an interview about #30×30?

June 24, 2022

Nishant Jain of The Sneaky Artist Podcast has posted an interview with me/myself/and I, in which we talk about the event #30x30DirectWatercolor. As usual inside his long format interview’s there’s a philosophy sandwich around the #30×30 stuff – so – you might enjoy a listen while you’re painting! Or doing the dishes. Gardening. Going to the gym. You know – podcast things. :)

Link is here>

And here’s a little audio teaser :)

#30×30, 2022, Day 24: Figure Drawing Intensif! Day 4

June 23, 2022

Hey all! I’m going to post Day 24 early. It’s a little tight getting out to drawing class in the AM. I was almost late for the first set of poses (that’s why there’s a row of small heads in on the first page).

Here’s our rather amazing model for the morning session.

I was pretty impressed with this fellow’s physique. Of course I didn’t ask his age, but I’m going to guess he’s over sixty? To be honest, I’d put money on him being seventy. He did have a scar from a hip replacement. Though I hear it was a car vs bike accident. Either way, I’ve never been in his sort of shape at any age! Even if I did nothing else but work out for the next ten years, I doubt I could achieve this. This is the body of a lifelong athlete.

Frankly, it was an honor to make these drawings.

Yesterday I had *thought* I was going to come in and be super experimental. All free flowing and spontaneous. But – sitting there in front of today’s models – I found myself just making well observed portraits.

I suppose I feel, both our models had such gravitas, the least I could do was sketch them faithfully.

Here’s our afternoon fellow.

I did take two liberties here. In the first pose I drew him heroically. His portrait is pretty close actually, but I gave him a more chiseled build.

In the second pose, I felt the lighting on his face, and the fall of his hair, called for a leaner, more monastic build. Almost ghostly.

He said it’s exactly what he looked like 20 years ago :)

I had one little unfinished doodle left over – that 2″ head drawing. So I had some fun painting him as Geralt of Rivia. (The Witcher). He has that fantasy hero hair!

#30×30, 2022, Day 23: Figure Drawing Intensif! Day 3

June 23, 2022

Last night (evening of day 2) I was super tired – and it was only the second day of this event! I’m not used to getting up early and going to work! Hah. So, I decided to hit these with some wake up color ;) That’s out-of-the-tube DS Pyrrol Orange.

Then in the afternoon, the I rushed back after lunch to find this rather incredible back-bend recline.

There are a few details to this pose – the relaxed hand, and the tense foot – that made it a top notch design. Great work on the part of the model.

This model has a darker skintone, which is always a rare opportunity at life drawing. I think I was starting to get it in this little portrait. I enjoy doing these little heads – under 2″ tall. It’s a good ‘sketchbook’ size.

This one was extra fun, with her elegant two-tone bleached and close-cropped hair.

I had to try the last pose of the day twice – the first one was not a keeper.

But that always means I can re-draw it faster and cleaner the second try. Here’s the re-do sketch, and the painted result (below). Interestingly – these are done on Strathmore Aquarius II paper – (unlike Day 1 and 2 which were on Arches 140lb cold press). So yes – the Aquarius has been annoying me this time around. I don’t like it for this. It’s so soft, any pencil line is like an engraving tool. There is absolutely no option to erase on this paper. Also, it damages very easily. If you carry the paper around, it picks up dents and dings in the slightest breeze. Even get’s damaged by bulldog clips.

I mostly use this paper for making folded pen-and-ink travel sketchbooks – so I’ve never really noticed these complaints when I was working small and doing pen and ink + wash.

Anyway – I was pretty happy with this ‘no-fixes’ drawing :) That’s another kind of Direct isn’t it :)

#30×30, 2022, Day22: Figure Drawing Intensif! Day 2

June 22, 2022

Second day of watercolors with the live model.

Excellent model today. She set a few poses I haven’t seen before – which is actually pretty impressive. I’ve been going to figure drawing for 20 years on and off, so it’s pretty rare to see something new. She’s clearly a strong person – great core strength, rock solid poses, no slouching. I wonder if it’s because of the popularity of yoga? Who knows – but it makes for great sketching.

I know people will ask about this blue in here! Very normal question for watercolorists. We don’t do as much mixing of color as say, oil painters. people tend to go ‘straight out of the tube’ so, they’re always on the look out for new tubes :) This is Holbein’s Horizon Blue, which is a mix of PB15 PG7 PW6. < That’s Pthalo Blue, Pthalo Green and White, if I’m reading that correctly ]

In real life, it’s not quite as saturated. These are phone snaps taken in the classroom, so – not color corrected.

This (below) was the last one of the day. I was bit short for time, (got caught up waiting for other stuff to dry), so I spun out a quick cartoon. For some reason kind of like it :)

#30×30, 2022, Day 21: Figure Drawing Intensif!

June 21, 2022

I’m off to figure drawing today! Yesterday was actually Day1/5. I’ve signed up for a five day figure drawing marathon at UQAM. It’s been two years since they ran this event, (due to you-know-what-cough-cough), so when I saw it posted, I jumped.

I kind of regret committing to an entire week now that I’m actually getting up and going out the door at 8:30am. I’m not a morning person! But hey – I wanted motivation :)

Once again, I am the bad boy. Even though it’s #30×30, there’s a gesture-line under these. I will keep saying, (by way of excuse) Direct Watercolor is a goal, and also a Mindset. If you don’t reach 100% Direct (No sketch, no guidelines, just straight into paint) with every painting, well, you don’t quit just because you’re still working for it right?

Besides, I feel like, if you’re getting 10 and 20 min poses in watercolor, you’re still thinking Direct :)


#30×30, 2022, Day20: Kagoshima Shrine

June 20, 2022

#30×30, 2022, Day19: Umeda Shrine

June 19, 2022