Wednesday, October 6, 2010


In it's second season, "Star Portraits" is quickly becoming one of the most popular shows on Bravo. As the three Artists chosen to paint a portrait of a Canadian Celebrity go about their process, the show documents an initial sitting, visits each artist in their studio as they work on the painting, and captures the sitter's reaction to the work as they are unveiled one at a time. It is quite an engaging half hour of television, and it's good to see some solid content out there.

Both my wife Kelly and I were fortunate enough to be invited on the show, and we both had an amazing time being a part of it. Kelly met with and painted the incredible David Suzuki during the season premiere, you can watch it here!

My Celebrity sitter was the one and only Jeanne Beker, a television fashion Icon a familiar face to anyone my age who grew up watching Toronto's City TV. It was a bit a challenge getting the painting done in the two weeks we were given, but I kept things simple and was pleased with the result. Jeanne reacted quite strongly to the portraits, I can't wait to see the show.

My episode airs October 30th at 8pm on Bravo. Click here to go to the "Star Portraits" website for more info. It's a great show and worth watching every episode.

Keep it goin' Full Steam

It's has been a wonderful few months, we are all settled into our new studios and working at a feverish pace. This is my latest painting,"Last Glance",which is the first in a series of four paintings detailing the experience of moving out from our last apartment. We lived there for over 5 years, and although our new place is larger and in a spiffier neighbourhood, I will always have fond memories about our little house on Sackville St.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Video

With just under a month left until the BP Portrait Award 2010 leaves the National Portrait Gallery, I thought it would be a good time to post the video Kelly and I have been working on. It covers our time in London visiting the exhibition, including a brief tour of the fantastic paintings that made up this years show. We had a blast putting it together, I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

London in June, Toronto Star

In late June, Kelly and I visited London for the private view of the 2010 BP Portrait Award. I was very pleased to be exhibited in the show, and was ecstatic when I learned that my painting would be used for the majority of the promotional material! My painting "Blue Coco" was used for the gallery guide, on posters placed throughout the city, on postcards, the cover of the exhibition catalogue and on a huge banner draping the front of the National Portrait Gallery. It was a surreal experience to see my painting all over London, where the show is exhibited until September 19th before travelling to the Usher Gallery in Lincoln.

We had an incredible time, it was truly an amazing experience and the high-light of my career thus far. Appreciation for realist painting in London runs hot and was on a level that I had not experienced before. Everyone at the gallery was so interested, from the shop workers to the front desk to the security guards! We met a dozen or so of the other exhibiting artists, and got a chance to view my painting with my model Dearbhail "Coco" Bracken-Roche (who is living in London) and meet her wonderful parents and handsome fella Joel.

Last Sunday, Toronto art critic Murray Whyte put the icing on the cake for me. He wrote an article about my experience, speaking with both myself and Dearbhail which was featured on the front page of the Toronto Star. I have since received scores of emails from people congratulating me from all over Ontario and throughout the UK. Thanks everyone! You can read the article here.....

Thank you to Dearbhail's father Jim Roche for bringing 0ur story to the attention of Murray. This whole experience has given me a renewed push to hunker down and do my best work; a truly inspiring few months that I will never forget.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

BP Portrait Award 2010

I am very pleased to announce that my painting "Blue Coco"(17 x 20 inches, oil on canvas) has been selected for exhibition in the BP Portrait Award 2010. I have been wanting to apply to this competition for a number of years, and was finally able to do so this year. I am super stoked to be showing at the National Portrait Gallery in London, where the exhibition starts each year before travelling to Lincoln and Aberdeen. Last year 1800 artists applied and 55 paintings were chosen, so you can understand how over the moon I am about being exhibited.

We visited the National Portrait Gallery in October and I was excited to see one of Pietro Annigoni's portraits of the Queen. Annigoni is a great hero of mine and part of my academic lineage, so to show in the same gallery as the master and the many other painters I admire is a true honour. Stop by and check out the show in you're in London this summer, it was attended by 280,000 people last year and is the gallery's most attended exhibition. Yesssssssss!

BP Portrait Award 2010 Exhibition Schedule

National Portrait Gallery. June 24-September 19 2010
Usher Gallery, Lincoln. September -November, 2010.
Aberdeen Art Gallery. November 27 2010 -January 22 2010.

I would also like to announce that I am now represented by Engine Gallery in Toronto's Distillery District. The area is made up of gorgeous old booze factories, and has become one of the city's really hip spaces filled with galleries, restaurants and shops. I have a few drawings and paintings up on the walls right now, and will be having my first solo exhibition there in October 2011. With all of this good news, the commissions I'm working on, a new studio, and fresh canvases to stretch it looks like it's going to be a pretty incredible summer!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life's a Beach

Right now I'm busy working on a few projects, this is the under-painting for a commission I'm doing for an old friend. She has always loved this image taken of her parents in their youth, and soon she'll have a 24 x 33 inch oil painting of it to enjoy at her new place.
It will be a full colour piece, but this time instead of completing a fully rendered drawing, I blocked it in directly on the canvas with burnt umber and white. I must say that I've had a blast working on it, those grins are keeping me smiling right through the chill of winter. That and the fact that we're moving to a much larger studio on April 1st, there are smiles all around these days!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Twenty Ten High Five

Welcome 2010!

Here are the studies for my take on the Adam and Eve story, starring Kelly and myself. We shot the photo reference in my backyard, making sure our next door neighbour wasn't home uploading photos of us to his flicker page. I've done scores of paintings of Kelly, and a few self portraits, but I've never painted us both into the same work. I thought it would be cool to make a painting that freezes us in this point in time, so we can be reminded of life in our little house, being in our thirties, and having one chin each.

Being the first works of the new year, I brought the drawings to a higher level of finish than I usually do. These ones are 2B graphite in a click pencil on a smooth greyish paper.