Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

It is with great pleasure that I'd like to announce that my painting "On The Stairs" has been acquired by The Robert McLaughlin Gallery for their Permanent Collection. Not only am I honoured to have a work in a Public Gallery, this beautiful gallery is located in my home town of Oshawa, Ontario. 

Also, I will be the gallery's Artist in Residence this winter. On Saturday January 11th from 1-3 pm, I will be giving an artist talk which is open to the public. 

I will be teaching a figurative painting class in acrylic paint at the gallery as well, the sessions run one evening a week for two hours from January 16 to March 6th, 2014. click here is you would like to sign up!

A special thanks goes out to my beautifully talented model Dearbhail Bracken-Roche, and to my dear friend Jacquie Severs who brought my work to the attention of the gallery. To be recognized in my home town by the Robert McLaughin Gallery, where I spent many hours in my youth exploring their collection warms my heart and inspires me beyond words. I'd also like to thank CEO Gabrielle Peacock, Senior Curator Linda Jansma, the Acquisition Committee and the Board members who made this possible. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Portrait Drawing Workshops in April

     After several recent requests, I have decided to host a series of portrait drawing workshops in my studio in Toronto. There will be two different sessions available, Portrait Drawing from the Model, and Portrait Drawing from the Photograph.

 The workshops will take place over each weekend in April. On Friday evening from 7-10pm, there will be a brief lecture followed by a demonstration. On Saturday and Sunday from 12-6 pm I will work carefully with each participant as they learn to create a solid yet expressive portrait drawing.

    The Portrait Drawing from the Model workshop is available either April 5th, 6th and 7th, or April 19th, 20th, and 21st, 2013. These sessions will cover all necessary aspects of drawing, from blocking in to portrait, to different rendering techniques that will bring a lifelike quality to your work. The participant can choose to create a series of drawings or focus on one work.

    The Portrait Drawing from the Photograph workshops is available either April 12th, 13th, and 14th, or April 26th, 27th and 28th, 2013. These sessions will cover many of the same principles, but with special attention paid to the challenges of working from photographs, including which areas to focus your abilities on and which to simplify. A selection of photographs will be available for you to work from, and I will be covering simple ways to take stronger photographs to aid you in your future works. The workshops are available for $350 for one weekend, or $500 if you decide to participate in both the Drawing from the Model and Drawing from the Photograph sessions.

    There are limited spaces available, so simply choose which weekend works best and contact me as soon as possible to solidify your position.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Welcome to 2012! After a relaxing holiday season, I am ready to get back into the studio and put in some serious hours, I feel refreshed and ready for it.

I've written plenty about my experience at the BP Portrait Award 2010, but this latest story puts the icing on the whole thing. Shortly after my painting was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, I received a letter from a little girl named Holly. She lives in England, and loved my painting so much, that she wanted to send me her pocket money in hopes that she could acquire some of my art work.

Her father also emailed me, explaining that the family had lost mostly all of their belongings in a house fire, that they were staying with family and things were pretty grim. If I would only send a scribble, Holly would be overjoyed. I was touched by Holly's letter and her family's situation, so decided to draw a portrait of Holly, using the photo she sent me of herself as reference.

I thought the letter was so damn cute, I couldn't help but post it on facebook for my friends to see. The exhibition had a huge impact on my confidence and career, and the letter from Holly was yet another fantastic thing that came of it.

I was very surprised by the reaction. People were dismissive of the letter, trying to warn me that it might be a scam, that I was stupid to think that it was authentic. I hadn't even considered that it was a scam, and felt slightly crushed by the negative reaction from some close friends and family. I saw the letter as a beam of pure joy, that some little girl across the pond would be so moved by my work, that I may have an opportunity to give some of that happiness that I felt about it back to her.

My gut told me to ignore the negativity. I was going to create the portrait and send it to her. If it was a scam, then fine, but my intentions were true, and I was ready to take the chance. How often do we get an opportunity to truly touch someone with our work? Would someone actually fabricate a story like this? Maybe. In the age of email scams and identity theft, everyone is on high alert. But the chance at bringing happiness to Holly at a trying time in her life, far outweighed the slight chance that someone was trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

So I shipped it, asking that she wait for Christmas morning to open it. On December 29th I received an email from Holly's father, along with pictures of Holly opening the package!

Hello Shaun

what can I say! Holly opened your parcel on Christmas morning, she was so excited and couldn't believe you had done a portrait of her, and to tell the truth I was choked. She has been hawking the picture around showing anyone and everyone who she has seen.
Holly also wants to produce something to send to you, it is still in the planning stage at the moment!

As promised I took some photographs and have attached them.

Thanks again and if there's anything we can do for you just let us know.

Best wishes for the New Year, Tim.

I felt a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when I received these photos, a kinda "In your face!" moment to all who doubted. I feel extremely lucky in my life to be able to make a living as an artist, and like any profession, sometimes it can be tough. But with people like Holly on my side, I feel invincible. Cheers to Holly, and to all of those who told me to follow my instincts on this one. Happy New Year indeed!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blue Coco Fest and Giclees Available

In May I had my first solo exhibition at Engine Gallery, which celebrated the return of my painting Blue Coco from the National Portrait Gallery in London. Several other works were displayed, along with the advertising material the NPG produced featuring my painting and personal photos from the exhibition. It was a fantastic and successful event, the gallery was packed all night with people enjoying themselves and I got a chance to meet some of my new collectors in person. Thank you to all who visited us.

We put together a video to promote the event, which we had a blast putting together with the model for Blue Coco, Dearbhail Bracken-Roche. You can view it here.

Because the reaction to Blue Coco has been so strong, we decided to have limited editions giclee prints available at the event. This is the first time I've had reproductions of my work produced, and since Blue Coco has affected my life and career more than any other painting, I am pleased to be able to make it available to a wider audience.

First, I had the painting scanned at Colourgenics, a fine art reproduction house that is located near my studio. They have a massive flatbed scanner capable of scanning works up to 60 by 90 inches at incredible resolution. Once we had the 200 meg file, I spent the afternoon with their technician colour correcting it to match the painting exactly.

I have to say that i was blown away by the results. I was always hesitant to have my work reproduced, fearing that the subtlety would be lost, but the giclee prints turned out almost indistinguishable from the original.

There are two editions available, with shipment included within Canada and the U.S.

The first is a giclee print on 250 lb archival stock, presented on acid free foamcore. The edition size is 50. The image is 17 x 20 inches. the same size as the original painting, and is available for $350 CAD.

The second edition is a giclee print on archival canvas, which I stretched onto a wood panel. The edition size is only 10, and is presented in a cherry wood frame that I hand painted to match that of the original painting. The canvas is 17 x 20 inches and available for $850 CAD.

Visit my website to view the giclees, and email me at if you have any questions or to place your order.

The Blue Coco giclees are also available at Engine Gallery, contact them at (416) 531-9905 or if you would like to arrange to see the giclees in person.

I'd like to thanks all of the people who made the Blue Coco Fest exhibition such a success. Our DJ Dylan Thomas Childs, photographer Matt Barnes and assistant Mike Chapman, cocktail waitress champion Bernie Collins, cupcake chef and fellow artist Brandi Deziel, Aaron Downey and Kate Hamilton for our delicious food, my beautiful model Dearbhail Bracken-Roche and her family, my wife Kelly Grace for producing our video, and of course Engine Gallery owner Steven Schwartz for hosting such a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This is my latest painting, of my little buddy Elijah. Last year when we visited London for the BP Portrait Competition, we stayed with our good friends and their three wonderful kids. We had a fantastic week, walking along the sea side, having barbecues and introducing the stories of Robert Munsch to the little ones.

Having portrait painting ideas buzzing around my brain, I asked Tasha and her five year old daughter Kora to pose separately for the camera. Kora is a little comedian, the most hilarious kid I've ever met and was a real sport about posing. Her mom promised her a treat if she followed my instructions, and not wanted to miss out, her son Elijah jumped in front of the camera to ensure that he also received a sweetie.

I assumed that it was all fun and games with Elijah, and that I would probably paint either Tasha or Kora. When I looked at the photos however, I was struck by the qualities I picked up with Elijah. We had really bonded over that week, he is a great little person with such sensitivity and wit for someone his age. I decided to celebrate his more serious nature, giving him the spotlight of attention which his sister Kora usually basks in because of her more outrageous personality. Also, I couldn't help but paint the bit of dirt smeared on his face from our day at the beach, as I felt that it downplayed the formality of portrait painting, while keeping true to the care free existence of youth that I try to hold onto in my life and work.

This painting is my tribute to Elijah, and to his family who make us feel so welcome, accepted and loved whenever we get a chance to spend time with them. We hope to visit the UK more often!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"New Day" and capturing expression

Number three in my "Moving Out" series, this painting features Kelly standing in the doorway of our old kitchen. I have painted her in this environment several times, and in the backyard behind her, creating a vague storyline throughout the series (see "In the Yard", "Blue Cup" and "Green Mug").

I paint Kelly more often than anyone else by a long shot, I think the number is around twenty canvases now. I feel that since we are so close and have spent the last twelve years together, I can communicate my ideas through her more easily than any other model. She knows exactly where I'm at with my work, and our paintings have influenced each others in incredible ways over the years.

I displayed several paintings at a large exhibition in the summer, two paintings of Kelly and one of our good friend Ebony. People would joke, "So, that's your'e wife, and that's your mistress?" Other people would simply point to a painting of Kelly and ask if she was my wife. It happened enough times that it solidified my belief in the incredible sensitivity humans have when viewing faces. People could somehow read the paintings on a deeper level, without knowing either myself or my models.

Capturing expression in a portrait is at once the most challenging and most delightful part about being a painter. One brush stroke can change a model's expression from elated to frustrated to nervous in a single swipe. When you nail it though, you can really touch people, more than any photograph, more than an encounter with the actual model. The time and patience taken to create that painting shows, like slow pulsing radiation.

That is what us figurative painters are after I think. Today artists have a huge variety of artistic expression available at their fingertips, and figurative painting still rides the line between being either significant or outdated in many circles. But in my mind, painting, and painting the figure especially, has the ability to affect viewers and relay emotion in ways other mediums can't. That's why we painters don't mind the long hours, the isolation and the stresses that come with being a representational artist. If you can get them, you can really get them.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Packing Up"

I completed this painting in September just in time to be displayed at Art Toronto, the largest international art exhibition in Canada. It was my first time exhibiting with Engine Gallery at the fair, and they did a great job of finding a home for the painting during the collector's preview.

Art Toronto gathers galleries from Toronto, Montreal, New York, London and others from around the world to display what new and fresh in the art scene. The work covers the widest range possible, which I always find refreshing, and there seemed to more figurative work this year than last.

"Packing Up" is the second painting from my "Moving Out" series, which come from my experience of leaving my last apartment. I lived there for about five years, three of which with my wife Kelly Grace. It was a little house from around 1890 with tons of character, like the doorbell that screamed like school bell and made us jump every time it rang.

Kelly and I both used the living room as our studio (pictured in the painting), an incredible feat given the cramped quarters, but we had the house to ourselves and plenty of good times were had under that roof. We have separate studios in our new place, which is fantastic, but I will always think fondly of the days in that little house in the East end, and all of the paintings that we created there.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jeanne Beker

Here is the portrait I painted of Jeanne Beker for the episode of "Star Portraits" I participated in several months ago. She has been involved in the fashion world for over 25 years, the face of "Fashion Television" and has produced several magazines and fashion lines over the years.

The filming of the episode was completed in three parts. First, myself and two other artists (Lori Dell and Gillian Iles) met the crew at a storage facility on the outskirts of town, readying ourselves to meet our mystery sitter. We weren't told who the celebrity was going to be, as it's kept hush hush so they can reveal the sitter to us on camera and film our reactions.

I was excited to see Jeanne walk down the stairs, I recognized her instantly which was a relief. I was worried that I would not be familiar with our model, and have to mug a fake smile when they walked out!

We had three hours to draw her from life, and then a few minutes at the end to take some reference photos. It was difficult to get any real drawing done, as the sitter is being interviewed at the same time, but it was a good opportunity to get to know Jeanne a little more beyond what I've seen on television. She was very sweet, and I liked that she had maintained a humble attitude. I pride myself on my work ethic, so I have a great deal of respect for anyone who puts in those long hours to get to where they need to go.

Once back at my studio, I had two weeks to complete the portrait. Usually I would spend at least twice that amount of time on a painting, so I wasted no time and got to it right away. I wanted to choose a pose that expressed her quiet side, something that I caught a glimpse of during our sitting.

We all have our exterior personalities, but in my work I try to reveal the silent nature of us, capturing the moments when we are by ourselves and able to concentrate on our own thoughts. Jeanne especially has to maintain a slick exterior, interviewing models and designers in the whirlwind that is the fashion world must be exhausting and she has to smile all the way through it. I thought that if I could crack through that exterior and reveal something more personal, it would be a better representation of her.

Once the paintings were finished, the artists and the crew met at the Royal York hotel to reveal the portraits to Jeanne. She was to choose one for her own collection, and the other two were to be auctioned off to benefit the charity of her choice.

As we waited in the next room in anticipation of her reaction, I wondered if she would choose my portrait, or prefer something that more closely expressed the surface of her public persona. After a half hour went by, we were wondering what was happening in the next room. The host of Star Portraits, the lovely and charming Louise Pitre, emerged from the room with tears in her eyes. Jeanne had been overwhelmed by our paintings, was in tears herself and was having a very difficult time deciding on which painting she would like to keep.

Twenty more minutes went by, and we were finally allowed into the room where Jeanne had just spent nearly an hour contemplating our paintings. I was overjoyed at her reaction, the greatest compliment I can receive as and artist is an intense emotional reaction from the viewer when first seeing my painting. Jeanne finally chose Lori Dell's portrait, but was so moved by all three portraits, that she donated money to the charities herself and kept all three paintings for her collection.

Filming the show was an extremely rewarding experience for me. At the wrap party for the show, I spoke with nearly all of the artists, and thoroughly enjoyed viewing all of the portraits created for this very unique program. Being a representational painter can be a very lonely existence sometimes, long hours in the studio and little time to get out can drive me a bit batty, but being amongst my peers and being part of Star Portraits gave me a renewed sense of pride in what I do. Click here to visit the "Star Portraits" website to view the portraits and find out more about the show.

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.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brand Spankin' New Website + New Drawing

I finally got off my keyster and redesigned my website. I ditched my original idea of another dark background set up, and decided to use a handsome mid-toned grey with a clean design aesthetic. After watching the documentary "Helvetica", a wonderfully geeky look at the world's most ubiquitous font, I felt that it would be an appropriate choice for my site. It is a clean, non-descriptive little fella, and doesn't distract from the work like many other more decorative fonts do. So now the font you see on your tax forms (both Canada and the U.S) can point you in the direction of my drawings and paintings, instead of to the box with the gut wrenching "amount owing" box! Check it

As Art Toronto 2009 quickly approaches, I've finished a study drawing for my latest canvas.

I wanted to create a painting with multiple figures, and luckily found a great location for the photo shoot 10 minutes before my models showed up. I don't usually speak much about what I'm trying to say or convey in a painting (as I don't want to ram my own interpretation down anyone's throat), but in this work I wanted to touch on the strange dynamics of friendship. The
bonds we form with each other, balancing loyalty with independence, can be difficult to maintain, to sever, or even find reason for from time to time. But instinctively we group together protecting each other from whatever we fear, be it a tiger or a boring Friday night.

Today I'll protect you from looking at a blank sheet of paper. You owe me, big time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Paintings

So I finally got around to varnishing and shooting my most recent paintings. The two paintings of Kelly in the kitchen, "Blue Cup" and "Green Mug", are available for viewing at Ingram Gallery, so if your in the area stop by and check them out. It is the first time I have ever used silver frames, and was very satisfied with the results.

The painting "In the Woods" was one of my more detailed works, and I had a blast really pushing the realism of the different textures. I think it my one of my most successful canvases to date in that regard.

In "Woman in White" I was dealing with a very limited palette, and it became quite a challenge. Rendering Carol's coat was particularly difficult, the gradations of colour were very subtle and surprisingly strange. But painting a dog is always a nice release from painting flesh, and it was the most entertaining part for me to finish.

The portrait "Holly In Yellow" was painted for a local portrait competition, and again was playing with using a limited palette. By exploring the huge range on tones within one colour group, an unparalleled sense of unity can emerge. I really wanted Holly to radiate, a golden summer light bathing her hair and gently warming her face. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

For the Love of Carbon Pencil

I have always done preparatory sketches for my paintings, but it wasn't until recently that
I've moved back to using carbon pencil. The brand I use is Conte, which last year became unavailable in Canada, to the horror to a handful of us carbon junkies. When I was in Florence last October I spent over 100 Euro on them, and had to haul them around the rest of the trip with me. Recently I've heard rumours that they are available here again, but it was worth it anyway. Now those pencils are precious to me, and makes me add pressure to myself to not waste them by creating less than incredible work.

Carbon is a fantastic medium to work with. The Conte brand has the consistency of charcoal and pencil crayon combined; the slight waxiness allows both subtle gradations and rich darks to be laid down easily. I use the 2H for the lighter tones, it is an extremely hard pencil and it great for ghosting in my big forms. I switch to the 2B to finish the drawing with the darkest darks. Using coloured paper with the carbon and some white charcoal for accents is an old favoured technique made famous by Pierre Paul Prud'hon (1758-1823), and gives a must wider range of tone than using graphite alone. This magical combination of elements has made me fall even deeper in love with the pure qualities of drawing.

Here is the study drawing for my "White" painting. I really wanted to capture the haunting quality of the image, so allowed much of the green of the paper to show through. This gives a unity to the drawing, allowing the figures to become part of their surrounding environment and vice- versa. I chose these poses of Carol and Linux the dog because of the pure strength of them, a hard beauty that is both regal and honest, qualities that I hope will shine in the final painting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Brush with War

On Sunday we went to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario. I hadn't been there before, and it was quite a different experience compared to our AGO visit. First off, the gallery is set back into the woods, with a gorgeous stretch of driveway leading into the parking area. All the trees were weighted with snow, the forest appeared begging to be painted by one of our beloved Group of Seven fellows. The gallery itself has a real "country bumpkin" feel, tons of lacquered pine, stonework and off white paint, a far cry from the modern slickness of the AGO. However, I found it much more comforting environment, like a visit to Grandma's cottage or something. The permanent collection had many gorgeous works from The Group and others, and boasts proudly their %100 Canadian content, which I thought ruled.
The specific reason we were there was to celebrate the inaugural public viewing of the exhibition, A Brush with War: Military Art from Korea to Afghanistan. Our fellow painting family member Scott Waters was involved in the exhibition, displaying several works based on photographs from either his own experiences in the military, or from those he captured while spending time with soldiers in training through the Canadian Forces Artists Program. The Exhibition explores the two military art programs that started more than twenty years after the Second World War, the Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artists Program (1968–1995) and the Canadian Forces Artists Program (2001– present).

It is a truly amazing and haunting collection of works. My favourite painting of Scott's from the exhibition is entitled "Keifer on OP", 2007. His use of hot pink and lime green is constant throughout the series, but the combination really sings in this one.

Go check it out. The show runs until June 19th, and then travels onwards to London, Ontario.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

AGO Visit

Since it was Kelly's birthday on Thursday, we gave ourselves a well deserved afternoon out, and used our shiny new memberships down at the shiny new Art Gallery of Ontario. I've been a few times since it's re-opening, and I gotta say, it looks fan-flippin-tastic. From the funky swerves and curves of the pathways in the main entrance, to the "holy crap I've just been eaten by a wooden whale" rib-like swoops that form the dramatic face of the building, it is by far the greatest step forward in Toronto's quest to become a "World Class city".
Sure, the ROM and the pencil crayon building of OCAD look dramatic from the outside, but fall short when you you get inside with their cheap looking "Zellereque" decorum. I think the AGO has succeeded in forging curves and spirals around the hard angles of the existing building in a way that compliments itself and the artwork in a really cool way. High Five AGO, I'll be back soon.