10 that leap


The hours are winding down on 2018 and like many other people I'm feeling reflective about the year that will soon pass into the history books.  It was our first full year of being home and painting on a full-time basis.  In some ways, I approached 2018 as experiment.  How would I respond to painting every day?  Would the business we generate sustain our family?  What would it be like not being anchored to an employer and a regular flow of income?  These were all questions that were in my mind and heart setting out to give this a try.

Long story short, this year and the choice to paint full-time has been the best thing that's ever happened to me.  I've loved it!  We've loved it.  Heather has even jumped in and started her own art exploration in recent months.  Along the way, we've helped many charities and community causes.  We've played a part in raising enough money here in Fort McMurray to build two homes for poor families in Cambodia.  You'll be reading about that adventure in about a month.

None of this would be possible without clients from across Canada and the United States who have bought original paintings, canvas/embellished/limited prints and cards. We are grateful to all of you who have made this journey possible.

I thought it would be fun to look back on the paintings created in 2018 and pick 10 that rise to the top for me.  A question that often gets asked is whether I have a favourite.  It is rare that I can answer that question with a single answer.  In this blog post I'll try to pick 10 that leap for me.

Chat Tom



Of all the paintings that were inspired by our time in Cambodia, this portrait of Chat Tom is the most personal.  Artistically, it explored new territory with colour choices that fascinate me looking back on it with fresh eyes.  I need to get a print of this one, as I miss it.

Song in Heaven



I'll never forget painting this super large portrait of Gord Downie and getting the sense of heaven.  It entered the studio and wrapped itself around the painting.  It was beautiful.

Dorothy McDonald-Hyde



There is something special about returning to a subject that I painted early in this journey.  Dorothy was the subject of my second mural back in 2014.  It was so nice to spend time with her four years later.  She was our neighbour before she passed away.  She was also the Chief of the Fort McKay First Nation, Alberta's first female First Nation chief.

Andy Warhol



I had to slip something a little unexpected into this list.  Looking at this portrait of Andy Warhol using my technique of using short vertical brush strokes of colour with fresh eyes, it completely draws me in.  He was an earth shaker, a disruptor, a rebel and an artist of the highest order.

Saturdays with Scooby



It was important to pick a dog portrait for this list.  What a difficult choice.  This painting called "Saturdays with Scooby" jumps out to me every time I look at the hundreds of thumbnails of paintings done this year.  Scooby looks so comfortable lying on that blanket, so soft.

Lil Wayne



I've shared the fact that I love painting the rappers.  For whatever reason, they are enormous fun to painting, despite the fact that I am not a fan.  This one of Lil Wayne is extra special to me, as I feel like it begins to unpack the man behind the mystique.

Newfoundland Outport



This painting lived with me for much of 2018.  I got a start on it early in the year, then got distracted with other projects.  I returned to it late in October and fell in love with it.  It was a landscape, but it still has my voice, my signature style.  I'm really proud of this one.

Private Beaton Tulk



This portrait of WWII veteran Beaton Tulk reminds me that I'm slowly getting better.  I learn something new every day and my skills strengthen.  This would have been a very different portrait if I had done it a couple of years ago.

Elephant in the River



Elephants factor greatly in the output of paintings in 2018.  I like them all, but "Elephant in the River" has a magic to it that in undeniable.  It is a painting that continues to grow on me.

March Raven



What would this list be without a raven painting?  I've picked "March Raven" to represent as it always brings a smile to my face.  The green in the background fills me with hope and warmth.  March has that quality, as the long winter slowly comes to an end and spring emerges.

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