2017 Fall show at Fault Line Projects 

I currently have a show at Fault Line Projects gallery on Saltspring Island.

Here’s a walk through:

I’ll start with the larger pieces:

Beneath the Above 58 X 58″ 2017 oil on linen. $3200

In late spring last year I had gone up to Whitehorse to buy my Land Rover which I then drove back to Saltspring taking the Alaska Highway/eastern BC route. Of course, as on any sizable road trip one inevitably passes through some pretty incredible and much changing landscape. Being hammered daily with such epic scenery I got to thinking about doing  a series of more  typical or traditional landscape paintings. Except some large runway paintings I had done several years ago (more tarmac than nature) I’ve rarely painted landscapes and as much as I’ve had a desire to do so I’ve been equally intimidated by the prospect. I thought as a theme I would include some industrial element in each peace to display some level of human tampering. Small or large it’s hard to escape the impact of our endeavors. Just being on a human made road for the whole several day trip is a good example.The other theme I thought I’d work with was working square, apart from copying album covers when I was a kid I’ve stayed away from the compositionally challenging square. Welcome to the age of Instagram! The Above painting “Beneath the Above” was worked from an image I shot in a park off the glacier parkway ( I can’t, right now, remember the name, I’m sure the park doesn’t know it’s name either or in fact even know it’s a park!). It was a bit of a beast to paint, just lots of repeating patterns, as I now realize is nearly always the case in nature, making it difficult to keep track of where one is on the piece while painting. As I drew close to completing the piece, I started to get the feeling it might need something else, another dynamic, something more than just the overpass in the central background to feed the story. Basically I was stuck, so I put it aside. Several months later as the show approached I started working over some pieces on the iPad. (The iPad and especially the Apple Pencil are incredibly useful tools for any artist, it’s easily possible to mock up pieces with Line , layers and colour and have a chance to see infinite possibilities without having to waste materials or chance ruining work like we used to) The first piece I worked on was Toy Box Vigil (below), I had this idea to silkscreen small images across it like wallpaper- trains, planes, rockets , electronics etc. showing how we use the oils and minerals we take from the earth, in this case “fracking”, this now becoming my big enviro conscience painting. I finally whittled the idea down to a “Rubbermaid ” container; it seemed to symbolize the whole process, not only the things we make but the things we make to put the things we make in – so many things and most of these things not even being used… I decided to just make the Rubbermaid an outline because it wasn’t really in the picture but just a symbol of a condition. This led me to consider a similar approach to Beneath the Above; I’d had this composite figure drawing that I quite liked kicking around the studio and it occurred to me late one evening that the composition somehow slotted nicely into that of the painting. I slammed them together on the iPad and began erasing  some of the negative space and playing with the transparency slider, I liked the results. Taking a concept created on the iPad, I have learned, doesn’t always scale up and translate well onto a larger piece so there is still always an element of danger present in the final execution (pun intended) but in this case I was quite pleased.

Toy Box Vigil 58 X 58″ oil on linen. 2017 (apologies for the reflections on the Photo, I’ll insert a better one later) $ 2600

I originally had another large piece relating somewhat to the previous two that I had wanted in the show but as we entered the final week before the opening I realized I would not probably be able to finish it in time. I’d also had this other disaster of a painting floating around for a few years that I’d had my good friend Ellen Box sew and grommet the edges on. It was called Tarp Shelter and the idea was that it could be used as a simple home if needed…interesting idea maybe but a terrible or maybe just plain unfinished painting. I’d also had a photo I’d snapped of a nice arrangement of some discarded drywall mud boxes that I’d been itching to get onto canvas. A marriage was swiftly arranged and Boxes (temporary title) was conceived. I’m not quite sure what I think of this one, a good part of me is happy with it at a glance but I’m guessing it needs a bit more work . John Macdonald remarked at the opening; there’s a pivotal spot between finishing and ruining a painting and he claimed to quite appreciate the “just shy of the mark” place, maybe leaving the viewer some room to join the dots. I still get the feeling I’ll be the one joining a few dots on this one…stay tuned

Boxes (Tarp Shelter) 59 X 80″ 2017 oil on canvas with stitching and grommets. (again, apologies for poor iPad photo) $1800

Next we take a minor detour down a not too distant memory lane; the following paintings and drawings are from about 2012-2014.

When I fly and that’s not too often, I seem to get really excited in a creative kind of way, I think it’s all the buzz in the atmosphere – people, excited about what they don’t know about , coming and going, arriving, departing. Anyway, by the time I’m on board the A320, 757 or 787 (I wish! I haven’t been on “The Dreamliner” yet) I’m all fired up. It’s people, people, places, there’s an edge; life, death, the big space in between…The plane gets off the ground, I order a couple of mini wines and start scribbling down my responses, responses to all this buzz and calm, it’s a kind of poetry I guess. After doing this for a few years I started writing the words larger and on top of one another, playing with compositions more than meaning, which in turn got me into doing the same thing with oil on canvas, there’s something I like about the words disappearing into the distance like fading memories. Usually by the time I’m done I don’t remember what I started with. Here are a couple of the bigger works on canvas followed by a couple of the drawings done at 30 odd thousand feet.Momentary Jubilation 48 X 60″ oil on canvas $2200
Things Come Around 36 X 48″ 2014 oil on linen 2014 $1800


Falling Through Time 8.25 X 8.25″ 2014 oil and graphite on paper $275 framed.

Alone at the Party 8.25 X 8.25″ 2014 graphite on paper $275 framed.

Keeping with the square theme and also done in and around the time of the earlier large landscapes are these three smaller pieces done in oil on panel. they are just simple representations of photos I like for some reason or other from my random shooting. Sometimes there’s just an inexplicable quality to an image, something that can’t be created or controlled much but possesses something more than the sum of the parts. The mountain scene was my quenching of a desire to do one of those 50’s style cowboy paintings one might find at a garage sale, sans cowboy! On my travels along the Alaska Highway, scenes like this are around each bend in the road but every now and then the light would dial up the magic and cause me to pull over in wonder.

 High on the Trail 16 X 16 X oil on 3″ deep panel $675

On a trip to London a couple or three years ago I had rented an little place, and this was the front door.  It was an old council flat in Hackney, I tend to stay in a different funky neighbourhood each time I’m in a large city . It’s always more interesting and always a lot less expensive. The flat was a lot nicer than the first impression gave it out to be. I just like the mood of the blue door and fluorescent light.Holiday Rental 16 X 16 X 3″ oil on on panel. SOLD

The last of this series in the show was also from a London accommodation situation, I had checked into a Paddington budget hotel and ran into a mixup with the keys for rooms 6 and 9, ultimately resulting with me staying in room 13. Once again I just like the arrangement and story suggestion of the keys, they were very enjoyable to paint.Sixes and Nines 16 X 16 oil on 3″ deep panel $675

Another area I’ve been exploring in the last couple of years is collage. I take a lot of photos. I’ve always struggled with the idea of photography as a stand alone art form…dodges projectile. I’m not saying there isn’t great photographic art but just my own might not apply. Digital imaging is such a saturated area in contemporary life it seems taking the images to another form of expression seems a likely solution. Collage is a very satisfying way to work with captured images, maybe a way of releasing them onto a bigger playing field where the rules and boundaries can be broken down a little. I think it’s a great way to work with complex composition that is a lot more down to earth than working on the iPad or in a computer environment.Memory...MossMemory of an Imagined Future 33 X 48″ Collaged digital image and graphite on panel. $1200

Another thing I play with is painting and or drawing on small wood panels. The following is a point-form recollection of my activities one fall day a few years back. A bit like a “what I did on my summer vacation”…What I Did Today , pencil and latex paint on plywood. Jan 12 /13What I Did Today. 27 X 33″ oil and graphite on 9 wood panels. Now framed. $500

The rest of the show is made up of smaller works on paper.

There’s a life drawing group that meets weekly here on Salt Spring Island and every so often I get in the habit of going to it for a while. Drawing is really important, line is really important, looking is really important. Without a dedicated couple of hours regularly it doesn’t take long to become a little rusty in all these respects. At the drawing group I much prefer the shorter poses, when things start to drag out into 20 – 30 minutes I get overly cautious and my drawing generally suffers. To get around this I usually do a series of shorter drawings; 3-5mins. while moving around the model a few times. Not paying too much attention but having a vague idea of some composition I  draw the poses over each other on the same page. This is something I call “composite drawing” similar to what I do with the poetry stuff. The following drawings were done in this way. _DSC8058Insurmountable. Oil and graphite on paper 18 X 18″ $575 Framed


Crupled Into Sleep. MossCrumpled Into Sleep. 11.25 X 11.25″ Oil and graphite on paper $375 Framed SOLD


OpheliaOphelia. 14 X 14″ Graphite on paper. $475


Here are a few of shots of the space and as might be noted there are a couple of pieces I have not covered yet (no proper photos of them) but I will soon.

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The show is on till Nov 3 / 2017. The gallery hours are Wed 12-5. Thur -Sat 10-5. Sun  A/O.


Pecha Kucha

I was recently asked to engage in a Pecha Kucha talk/evening, still not quite sure how the terminology slots with these events. It’s interesting and quite challenging to have to choose only 20 images to cover any given subject, at first it seems like a lot but it doesn’t take long to amass a much bigger pile…then the editing… and what is it one really has to say and why this picture or that one. Quite early on in the process I decided to ditch any notion of what I was trying to say, picked some of my current favourite images and hoped they would inspire a few choice words to slip from my tongue in the heat of the moment… Well it kind of worked, I think. I got a few laughs anyway. I froze up a couple of times and fortunately every twenty seconds the picture changes (saved by the bell!) and one is jolted on. Here’s a basic recap through my rose tinted memory. 

DSC07975Cover image: a collage I made from images I had shown in an earlier installation with a bit of supersize me presiding at this point just mocked up! (currently showing at The Parallel Show on SaltSpring Island)

_DSC5491I started with the above image because it represents me in the big world I think; out in my snail shell home; the Land Rover, exploring the backroads of Vancouver Island .


_DSC8054Then this one; a work in progress currently called Beneath the Above. (58 X 58″ oil on linen) I think with this image I was trying to show the humbling process of trying to imitate nature; ‘still struggling with this one but I have a new angle that I’m throwing at it for an upcoming show at Fault Line Projects.


DSC00145…and really, who can compete with this kind of oneupmanship!


Version 2I think I then brought things back to basics with; what really does inspire us…

In the beginning…


_DSC8063…and then some more of my shoddy attempts of some kind of ownership; because isn’t that what art is… painting the deer you didn’t catch on the cave wall and crying yourself to sleep!


IMG_0528These guys have got more than a deer to chew on. I’ve always had a bit of a thing for the aviation industry, I mean who doesn’t love all the shining potential of a new journey swaddled in technology. It’s all getting a bit old now but we manage to keep dressing it up.


IMG_7983On the topic of humans I followed this with another drawing; a common theme of mine; tables and chairs, not unlike discarded shoes they can always tell a bit of a story,


DSC08728When I was a lad (Lancashire accent) we would go to the beach in Fleetwood (northwest England) and I would marvel at this building, probably wanted it too…Some kind of meteorological station I think. The theme of the Pecha Kucha was: “what inspires us”… I think this building got me thinking a bit.


P1020048Our planet is natural, our world has been designed by someone, well a few people to be un-exact; there are so many beautiful and elegant designs that a lot of us might just take for granted…just the stuff thats always been around. The Kikkoman soy sauce bottle for example.


DSC03846…and then there’s always these minimalist masterpieces lying around all over the place for us to trip on.


_DSC8058Sporadically I go to a life drawing group where a bunch of people in clothes sit in a circle and draw a naked person posing in the centre. Being a bit cheap or because I use expensive paper I tend to draw my figures one on top of the other and have recently taken to painting in the little shapes when I get home… more ownership stuff I think.


DSC00651I think at the Pecha… the images got a little muddled but I think this one was next and this might have been where I froze up… I mean , what is there really to say about a highway junction. Do they still call them spaghetti junctions? I think I shot this flying out of Calgary one rainy time. (looks like a new meat packing plant going in over there too)


DSC06666A lot of how I shoot is done in a style I call “Drive-by Shooting” just hold the camera to the window and rattle off a few shots then see what you get later, one of the great benefits of digital… or is it? 2nd Ave and somewhere.


Drywall Mud BoxesOften in my travels through daily life i see great inadvertent art, this is a sketch of some empty “drywall mud” boxes craftily arranged in a pile by our local dry wallers: “The Little Brothers”. I’m currently working this into a painting. (don’t let them know, they’ll probably want royalties) Said that like I actually sell paintings for stupid amounts of money, lol.


DSCF0544I’m torn between finishing this now or nipping out for a bottle of wine…                              ….It always impresses me how little, birds seem to need, they seem to spend quite a bit of time just flying around for the hell of it and to them weather, rain or shine is just weather. I think I titled this one ” Over Nowhere”


DSC04151Early morning departure, Logan


IMG_6903When I fly, unlike birds, I carry all kinds of stuff; the usual devices, a couple of half decent cameras and the trusty Moleskine sketch book. I also often carry portable drum machines and other electronics that often raise a concerned eyebrow from the flight crew (oh, it’s just a drum machine…). I order a couple of mini wines, get a buzz on, pull out my Moleskine and become a poet..! Well…, I write successive lines of random thought in a linear fashion (Some of these ramblings can be found @ skeletalskreen) or failing that I just stack the words atop one another kind of like the bodies in my life drawing.  I also have a series of paintings done in a similar way.


DSC09253Every now and then I look out the window… The Arctic Ocean is a cold and lonely place.


IMG_2910It’s hard to fly without thinking of mortality, but even death can be beautiful.


_DSC8060There are dizzying myriad ways to negotiate this life, it’s hard not to be inspired. “Don’t Despair” could be a title for my last image but it’s just a drawing of an inspired young organic farmer making some extra bucks by modelling at a life drawing session.