Clearing out the studio

The New Year is always a time of new beginnings, of clearing out the cobwebs and moving forward into a time of fresh opportunity and possibility.  I thought it would be a good idea to take the handful of paintings in Birdsong Studio that been hanging out with me for awhile and giving my clients a chance to set the price.  We are holding an online auction between now and midnight on December 21st.  Most are originals; some are canvas prints.

We are using an auction site called 32 Auctions.  I like it for a couple of reasons.  First, it gives everyone a chance to see the pieces that are up for grabs; there are 15.  (Clue: make sure to click the VIEW ALL ITEMS bar on the bottom of the opening page) Second, it makes it easy for participants to stay in touch with the action by sending emails whenever you no longer have the top bid.

Link:  Wild Colour Portraits Auction

Here a a few of the items and some background information on them:

Charles Darwin - 20" x 20" - original acrylic painting

This portrait is an homage, of sorts, to an artist from Castlegar, BC named Jordan Perkins. This colour palette has always grabbed my attention: the warm reds and yellows contrasted by the cool blues and teals.  I also love playing with colour in epic beards; Darwin had a great one.  This is among a small list of personal favourites - a little bit harder to let go.

Of course Charles Darwin is a great subject. He was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution.  To say that his work has influenced our world would be an understatement.

Herbie Hancock - 12" x 24" - original acrylic painting

I have grown into a huge Jazz music fan over the years.  Herbie Hancock is one of the greats.  I painted this portrait around the time I heard an interview with him about his years with the Miles Davis Quintet.  He talked about a time they were playing a bar in Chicago when they decided to play against their instincts.  The band was so huge and successful, that they felt they were losing their creative edge.  So, collectively they forced themselves into a strange land of doing the exact opposite of what they had learned to do.  The result was recorded and can be heard on the album Live at the Plugged Nickel.  It is pretty remarkable.

The idea of "playing against your instincts" has had a great influence on my journey.  When I begin seeing a pattern in my work, I purposely take on a project to shake things up....with thanks to this interview with Herbie.

King of the World - 16" x 16" - original acrylic painting

It has been strangely warm in Fort McMurray since Heather and I returned from Southeast Asia.  The other day, my friend the squirrel showed up on my doorstep.  He and I have become comfortable with each other over the many months that he's been visiting.

During the warmer months, painting with the door to the studio wide open, he became a little too friendly.  One day, while I was in the house grabbing a few nuts to feed him, he decided to do a dance in my paint palette.  I returned to find colourful footprints all over the place, including on a painting that I had just finished that was lying on the table.

Marcel Marceau - 16" x 20" - original acrylic painting

I have a folder on my computer with hundreds of images that have grabbed my attention over the years.  There are several stunning black and white photos of legendary mime artist Marcel Marceau. According to the Wikipedia article he was a French actor and mime most famous for his stage persona as "Bip the Clown". He referred to mime as the "art of silence", and he performed professionally worldwide for over 60 years.

At the very end of this project, I started throwing paint at the canvas, creating the explosion of splatters coming from his fingers.  He successfully created an explosion of expression, using only his body, in a way that was truly quite remarkable.

Mark Twain - 15" x 30" - original acrylic painting

Who didn't grow up with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn?  Mark Twain told tales that penetrated generations of young minds and influenced us in so many ways.  This painting emerged on the canvas as I was beginning to evolve my style.  It features some of the bolder colour and broader strokes of my early work and hints at the more detailed work to come.  There is also a time lapse video if this painting's creation on my YouTube channel.  You can watch it by clicking here.

Sir John Hurt - 15" x 30" - original acrylic painting

Sir John Hurt passed away on January 25, 2017 at the age of 77.  He was a prolific actor who, in my generation, rose to prominence as Astronaut Kane in Alien (1979), Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man (1980) and Winston Smith in 1984 (1984).  The newer generation would know him as Ollivander from the Harry Potter films. Director David Lynch described him as "simply the greatest actor in the world".

Underneath my signature you will see a date:  January 28, 2017.  It was created shortly after his passing, perhaps giving it additional meaning and value.

Teddy Roosevelt - 16" x 16" - original acrylic painting

Widely considered one of the more effective U.S. president, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt served from 1901 to 1909.  He was the leader of an emerging superpower as my grandparents came into the world.  Bold, brash and adventurous, I really enjoyed bringing out his personality in this portrait influenced by a young Florida artist named Dominic Mattioli.

There is already bidding action on a number of the pieces.  All you have to do is register for free on the site and start bidding.  You get an email notification whenever you have been outbid, which makes it easy to stay on top of things.  Have fun!

Here is the link to the auction site one more time:


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