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I Wonder – How Many of You Are Readers?

July 24, 2020

Do you read for entertainment?

Because – I’ve recently put together a collection of my own original fiction, Snake Eater and 29 Other Bite-Sized Stories. < affiliate links, thx ]

It’s a slim volume of thirty stories. Some are tiny – what you’d call micro-fiction. Others are traditional length short stories.

They cross an odd set of genres, maybe best labeled contemporary fantasy. Maybe a touch of horror, definitely spiced with some dark humor. Oh, and they’re written for adults. But nothing I wouldn’t let my mother read. (You don’t know my mother. That might not be saying much).

I’d love to hear what people think!

If you’re interested, I can send you a PDF copy by email. Free of charge. Details below.


I’d love it if you were willing to make a purchase – because that gives you the option to leave a verified review on Amazon.

Which is kind of an incredible favor for a writer. The best thing you can do for us, and it only takes a moment. A great many of you did this for my drawing books, The Urban Sketcher and Direct Watercolor, and those reviews are still putting bread on the table as we speak. (For which, you have my heartfelt thanks).

So yes! You can buy Snake Eater in eBook format at a special price of $2.99. (US and CA, and something close to that in other currencies). Or, if you prefer, you can purchase the paperback for $9.99. (The regular everyday price).

The print experience is my personal favorite. I very much enjoyed doing the page design. Typography is kind of nerdy, but so satisfying to get it right.

Also – I should be clear – even though I’m an artist, this book is not illustrated. These are stories that work best with imagination.

You have my thanks in advance for purchases and reviews!! Or, if you want to take me up on a free PDF version (readable on screen in Acrobat or a web browser, or you can print it out yourself), email me at marc(dot)taro(at)gmail(dot)com with Snake Eater in the subject line – and I’ll send it right out.

Thanks everyone,
~Marc Taro Holmes

New Paintings Up on!

July 12, 2020

[ All Creation in the Palm of Your Hand, 5×5″ watercolor on cotton rag – SOLD ]

Just a quick note about new work on my gallery!

I’ve posted up my Miniature Landscapes from our recent #30x30DirectWatercolor event.

These 5×5″ and 3×3″ original watercolors are on 100% cotton paper, and will ship to you double-matted to 9×9″.

If you’re interested – last time we did this, they sold quickly – so you might want to check out the site today! < yes! quite a few sold day one! but there’s still some nice ones left :) 

[ Listen to the Grass, 5×5″ watercolor on cotton rag – SOLD ]

Thanks! As always – your support means a lot to us here in Montreal.


[ We All Go Toward the Light, 3×3″ watercolor on cotton rag – SOLD ]

[ Flash Flood, 3×3″ watercolor on cotton rag ]

2020 Society of Canadian Artists Elected Members’ Juried Exhibition! <I’m In that!

July 9, 2020

I’m excited to announce my painting “You Can Still Go There Though” (10×10″ impasto oil on panel) was chosen for this year’s Society of Canadian Artist’s members show!

Just a note: This piece is available through the society  SOLD! at my old price of $275.00 – as it was entered into the show before our recent lively discussion on pricing :)

Open question about pricing?

July 2, 2020

Lately I’ve been thinking about what will happen after the pandemic.

You know, assuming that’s going to happen. The Spanish flu lasted three years so, you never know.

Still – I’m hoping in a few months I’ll be able to return to gallery-seeking behavior.

(I’m still looking for representation for my oil paintings.)

But in the mean time, I’ve been selling a few online. Mostly my smaller works, the 10×10” sized pieces.

They’re very practical for shipping, and of course, the smaller the work, the more affordable they can be – and frankly that seems to be important for online sales? – But – I could be wrong!

These happen to be my favorite pieces. I actually prefer to them to the larger work, because the scale of the impasto is more dramatic, and the ‘gallery wall effect’ – when you stand back and see the image resolve at a distance – is easer to experience in a typical living space.

My favorite place to hang these is in the dining room, so I can look up from the breakfast table and chose which landscape to mentally visit that morning :)

So – here’s my question! To anyone who feels like responding!

What do you think is a fair price for these 10×10” oil paintings on 2″ deep gallery panels?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’d really like to know!



Day 27 : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Crossing the Finish Line

June 27, 2020

So here we are at the finish line!

It’s been quite an experience. Now I’m ready to just play for a bit. I’ve spent the last few days of my marathon, taking it easy with 3″ and 5″ miniatures.

Sure – I have more street photos, and more people-in-complex environments – but I’m sitting here not painting them.

Possibly – there’s a limit to how much you can learn in a single push?

This has been a huge full circle, through the various kinds of travel sketching I’ve been doing in the last ten years, and back to the abstracted landscapes I’m painting in the studio. But maybe? I’ve come a little ways?

Every time we stretch, reaching for new goals, we add a little more to our toolbox. There’s a little more depth to the well, a little more gas in the tank.

I’m looking forward to taking some of these miniatures and painting them up full size. But that’ll be after the dust settles on this year’s #30x30DirectWatercolor.

I’m ready for a break, and to enjoy hanging around the group and watching everyone else cross the finish line in the next few days.

Thanks everyone for participating in this year’s #30×30 – and I hope to hear some great stories from what all of you have discovered from your own marathons!

Please post your success stories or your trials and tribulations. We all want to read what it’s been like for everyone else!

~Marc Taro Holmes

Day 26 : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Market Day in Siem Reap

June 26, 2020

Day 26: Market Day in Siem Reap.

After the last two found photos, I felt ready to take on these market scenes from our trip to Cambodia.

The combination of the dark silhouettes and the jumbled complexity of the environment – I felt like this would be great material for design abstraction – while telling a good story at the same time.

I’m posting this on day 26, but in reality Uma and I tried to get our #30 done in two weeks. (17 days for me to finish).

At this point I’d struggled with my chosen subjects – fully light-to-dark images with dramatic contrasts. I’ve chopped through some busy, (impossibly busy) scenes. I’ve given myself quite a workout :) But I can say I’ve never tried to paint something like this.

And don’t get me wrong – it’s not a great painting. It’s not something I’d ever hang on my wall. It might look like a scene out of a graphic novel, but it’s certainly not a good painting.

But! – after two weeks of this, I can say, I’m hitting darks in one stroke. I’m seeing silhouettes and welding shapes when I need too. I’m controlling sharp vs. soft edges – and I’m making some artistic choices – this one turns out to be a painting about light through a plastic bag.

Or possibly it’s a painting about this silver bowl. This is one of my favorite silver bowls I’ve ever painted :)

Day 25 : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Final Crit! (#4, Part 2) : Uma Shows Her Masterworks!

June 25, 2020

Day 25: This is it! The last – and very best segment of our art-chat-series. I was really amazed with what Uma showed us and I’m super excited to share these with you.

Click the video – don’t wait! You have to see these paintings!


Day 24 : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Final Crit! (#4, Part 1) : Uma Crits Marc

June 24, 2020

Day 24! – Thanks for following along this far – and welcome to the finish line! Here’s the first half of our series of video-critiques. In this, I’m showing my final projects – and tomorrow we’ll post Uma’s big finish for #30×30!

Thanks ~m

Day 23 : #30x30DirectWatercolor : Found Photo : Late Night Ramen

June 23, 2020

Day 23: Another exercise in abstraction.

I’ve turned the people into the simplest possible shapes, then built up everything around them in a mosaic of strokes.

Here’s the photo. Also found on the web, but the owner deleted themselves, and there’s no trace on reverse image search.

So – I’m of two minds about my painting. I mean, I like it – the balance between drawing and abstraction is good. But the photo is really quite strong. Quite a good story-composition.

As much as I say – artists worry too much about copyright – this is one case where I feel my work here doesn’t rise enough above the level of a copy.


Book Review: Hand Drawn Vancouver, by Emma FitzGerald

June 22, 2020

I have here in my hand a copy of Emma Fitzgerald’s third book, Hand Drawn Vancouver. <– affilate link, thx. (151pp, Appetite / Pengin Random House, $US19.95/$CDN24.97).

When Emma asked if I’d take an advance look, I was happy to agree. Who could say no to another one of her guided tours? I’m a big fan of her first two offerings: Hand Drawn Halifax and Sketch By Sketch Along Nova Scotia’s South Shore.

I gather she’s lived in a lot of places, and I think it’s given her the ability to be a local anywhere.

When she takes on a city, she walks it’s length and breadth in all four seasons, gathering stories and sketches, and a carefully-sifted collection of first-hand observations, eavesdropped conversations and street-side confessionals.

When you first flip through the book, it’s the charming drawings that grab you. Her keen-eyed, quirky sketches are fun and full of little details.

But it’s the stories that make you read every page – and in doing so, fall in love with Vancouver. Or, Emma’s version of a warm and friendly Vancouver with an undertone of real-world grit. Real people living real lives.

People love to find an artist sketching on the street. It seems to flip a switch that makes them willing to tell you the best stories. The way the world would be if you were everyone’s friend.

Emma’s book is full of exchanges with folks, that go from stranger to closest confidant in the time it takes to draw a line. It makes you want to live her life! She has a different world from the rest of us – with our earphones in and our podcasts playing.

I highly recommend Hand Drawn Vancouver – whether you collect art books, or you’re looking for a souvenir of the city – or if you want the perfect gift for a visitor.

Hand someone this book and you’ll instantly accrue Emma’s hard-won street cred. They’ll feel like they know the town like a local born stepchild. There should certainly be a copy in every AirBnB in the city!

Hand Drawn Vancouver, Sketches of the City’s Neighbourhoods, Buildings and People, available in Print and ebook on June 23 on the usual online retailers, or direct from Random House Canada– or best of all – phone in an order with your local independent bookstore.