A HAMILTON COMMISSION
I am busy gearing up for the summer exhibition season, and still waiting on what seems like 100 gosh darn juried proposals and entries. BUT hopefully it all will become clear in the next month.
STAY TUNED FOR DEETS!
In the meantime, gentle reader, I want to talk to you today about commissions. Yes, commissions. Because my art is so specific, I sometimes meet a client who loves my thang (sorry - I will try not to use that word again!) but wants me to create something more personal for them!
Truthfully, I find commissions a bit more stressful, as I am inherently a people pleaser! BUT COMMISSIONS CAN BE SUPER REWARDING TOO. It is often the opportunity to translate someone else's vision into my own. It kinda reminds me of painting for the theatre!
This commission was SUPER.....it was for The Cotton Factory. Here is how they describe themselves:
"In the heart of lower Hamilton, this formal industrial building from 1900 is a prime example of adaptive reuse. It has been transformed from a cotton mill into a creative industries complex, with space for workshops, galleries, office space for creative professionals, and studios for artists."
Honestly, it is a STUNNING complex, that is going to help reshape that area of Hamilton! I LOVE IT!
OKAY....let's see how this commish shaped up....
The first step is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS the research and inspiration. The gallery below has some of my inspirations and some of my research photos...
So with all that in my head, I do a bunch of rough sketches to try to translate and distill the ideas.....
I then send this rough idea to the client and get their opinions....before I begin to refine the drawing!
....once I have a final drawing that is approved by the client, I translate it to the painting surface...I forgot to take a photo at this stage, but I did take the photo BELOW just after....
...I then begin to block in areas....normally I work up ALL the areas at once....but as I mentioned, I wanted this to be PERFECT - so I worked up each area separately! (Like a crazy TYPE A, neurotic artist-type!)
It takes a while to get it right, as you can see above, at first I painted the lettering in grey.....but that ended up changing, as the painting began to reveal itself to me!
....working up The Cotton Factory Building....
...more work on the shadows and such.....
...as you can see....I changed a few of the architectural details of the building that bring it back in time a bit, by making the windows and doors more in line with the 1900's version of the building!
THAT is something you can do with a painting....
Here....a LOT is done.....I changed the Hamilton lettering to green, but was finding the whole thing a bit HEAVY and ill proportioned....I also thought the black border too demanding for the piece!
...I subtracted the bricks and put in more lightness....I fixed the exterior border....but NOW THERE ARE AREAS THAT ARE TOO LIGHT! I KNOW!!! It's all a bit Goldilocks-like! I did fine tunes the banner at the top - THAT is working now!!
...By putting in a traditional Victorian wallpaper pattern, I have balanced the colours a bit better....I have also added a small more industrial border at the top.....the next step involves a series of white washes and colour glazes to give the painting a sense of age. It's the part that makes my work more 'believable' as an old poster!
HERE IS THE FINAL PROJECT:
I was thrilled with the final look.
Once I get to that point it is safe to show the client.
If at that point, the client has any concerns, I can address them.
It doesn't often happen...let's face it, I am usually my own WORST critic! It helps though when you are crystal clear about how the piece will take shape! Generally, if you like what it is that I do, you will be happy with the result!!
So there it is! My latest commission. If you are interested in doing a commission with me, I would be thrilled to chat with you about it!
You can just email me!!
ALSO.....look for prints and postcards of this fantastic piece coming VERY soon!!!!!
Gosh. I really thought that I would be more regular with my posts here. Let's face it, I've been a bit of a slacker lately.
BUT I am working like a crazy man on a bunch of projects, and also dealing with this:
YUP! The old fall kitchen reno. Seemed like such a great idea a few months ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ANYWAYS....all I gotta do is get through the next month without a complete melt down and I will have a brand new kitchen.
In the meantime, I have shows to do! Next up, as I mentioned in the
As you can see above I featured Albion, Webster and Tews Falls.
You really should go and see these....and the MANY MANY more falls in the Hamilton area!!!!
THIS.....is the final image:
I am super happy with this one!
I really enjoyed painting the landscape!!!
I may do a part II - "more falls of Hamilton" - as there are so MANY (YES I KNOW I ALREADY MENTIONED IT) waterfalls in the Hamilton area.
COME OUT. See this beauty in person NEXT WEEK in Hamilton!!!
I will have some prints available as well!
YES...you'll see those next week on this blog!
WHAT UP Y'ALL!!!
I have been super busy getting ready for.....brace for it....my FALL....yes, I said FALL, shows. (Insert whimpering here!)
First up is....
JAMES STREET SUPERCRAWL
Friday, September 9th 6:00pm 12:00am
Saturday, September 10th 12:00pm 12:00am
Sunday, September 11th 12:00pm 7:00pm
Supercrawl is a free festival weekend of art and music on James Street in Hamilton, Ontario. I WILL BE THERE sharing a tent with Cindy Scaife and her art! I will also probably be drinking to make it to midnight!!!!!!! So come by for THAT!
To get ready for the big show, I am doing a few new paintings.
To add to my Hamilton collection, I wanted to replicate the kind of look in my "The 6ix" painting. Don't remember that one???
HERE IT IS!
I like calling Hamilton 'the Hammer' it's strong imagery!
I like even better that I have used the tagline from the 80's....
YUP! How fun am I??
ANYWAYS, so then I tried to pick a few highlights of Hamilton. Are they EVERYONE'S first choice? Naw. But I like them....and THAT is what is important!
I chose architecture I really liked...the imagery is as follows....
1. The Hamilton waterfront/skyline (with a nod to the steel mills)
2. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats
3. The Pigott Building
4. The George R. Robinson Bandshell in Gage Park
3. City Hall
4. The proposed light rail on King Street (I am imagining this is
gonna get me into hot water with some people!)
5. The first Tim Horton's
6. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
Here is a small non-detailed breakdown of how I completed the painting...
.....and then I stopped documenting it!
Which always happen when I get 'into the groove'......
Here is the FINAL IMAGE!
I am also working up merch based this this bad boy!!
Please come out in September to see me!!!
So, everyone has been talking about "the six" or "the 6IX".
For those of you living under a rock (or out of Toronto) they are talking about Toronto....And I mean more than just Drake and the Raptor fans....
SO....WHY "The 6"?
There seem to be 2 schools of thought.
ONE - it was due to the amalgamation process that created our Toronto. It was originally broken up into SIX different cities: Toronto, Scarborough, North York, York, East York, and Etobicoke.
TWO - it is attributed to Toronto because of the inclusion of the number in the city’s two area codes 416 and 647.
So I thought I would make a piece that both glorified and satirized this WHITE HOT new nickname.
First I adopted a 1950's "welcome to" postcard style.
MY FIRST TIME (although if you look at my logo - I am trying to do the same kinda thing)
So I thought about the imagery that I liked - icons of the city which included:
1.) The Skyline with the CN Tower
2.) The fantastic modernist architecture of New City Hall and Nathan
3.) The Goodman Worts Flatiron Building
4.) The clocktower of the Old City hall Building
5.) The St Lawrence Market
6.) The streetcar
7.) The Prince's Gates at the CNE (and another streetcar)
8.) The Flag of Toronto
9.) The unofficial mascot for Toronto - the raccoon
Then to add a bit of "Rob-oscity" to it....(aka smart-pants-ness) I put the tag line as "...kinda makes you miss "TDot" or "The Big Smoke".
It amused me a lot....here is how the painting profession went....
So that was how I got to this...the final image:
I think it is one of my very best pieces!
I am now figuring out how to merchandise it....
STAY TUNED FOR THAT INFO SOON!!!
LOOKING AT YOU LESLIEVILLE!
So here's the thing.
Sometimes I just plain forget to take photos of a project as I paint it. This is the case for this next piece....
"Leslieville" came together pretty fast when painting it. (Which is great and a refreshing change from my last few pieces!)
Here you go:
So as you can see, I went for the same multi-area focus that I did on my last big painting (St Clair West). I like that by picking a bunch of locations in the same area - I can really get the flavour of the area!! I think this one is pretty good...In it, I focused on:
1. The DeGrassi Street railway overpass that is essentially the gateway to Leslieville.
2. The beautiful Ashbridge Estate.
3. The iconic Leslieville Mural at Jones Street - that is about to repainted! :-(
4. A stretch of Queen east that represents the many FAB shops!!
I have featured the streetcars (as they are iconic for Toronto - and especially Queen Street). I have also integrated the maple leaf as my homage to Alexander Muir, the composer of “The Maple Leaf Forever” who was a Leslieville big shot!
This is all in preparation for The Riverdale Art Walk:
Riverdale Art Walk is a two-day, public fine art exhibition showcasing established and emerging artists INDOORS and outdoors in Jimmie Simpson Park in Toronto’s flourishing Queen East arts district. The first outdoor art show of Toronto’s season, participating artists are selected through an anonymous jury process, allowing an opportunity to participate in the only outdoor art show that focuses ONLY on fine art. Last year, the festival hosted over 170 participating artists and the inclusion of local community groups, entertainment and food vendors.
Now in its 18th year in the Riverdale/Leslieville area of Toronto, the festival has grown to reach an audience of over 10,000 art enthusiasts and supporters. Through new partnership opportunities with the local BIA, the Riverdale Art Walk expects to continue to grow.
The Riverdale Art Walk is held primarily in Jimmie Simpson Park (Outdoors) plus, NEW this year, the indoor space of the Jimmie Simpson Community Centre!
YOU WILL FIND ME INDOORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Tell a friend - actually, tell 10 friends!)
Saturday, June 4 11:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday, June 5 11:00am – 6:00pm
I will have A LOT of new work to show you at this exhibition!
Mark your calendars!
I hope you can come out and see me!
St. Clair West is WONDERFUL!
Hey guys! As you probably have noticed, lately I have been working on new pieces for me "Sign of the Times" series. Gearing up for the outdoor art show season.
Up 'till now I would pick an area that I loved and then find the one one building that really spoke to me about that neighbourhood!
This formula has worked great, but sometimes there was just too much to choose from, and I had to make a "Sophie's Choice" type of decision....
BUT I recently worked out a new layout that would help help a brotha out! I would highlight a few different landmarks!!!!
So this is the first painting like this!
In this painting, I am celebrating all things St. Clair West!
I chose 3 different areas....
1.) The Artscape Wychwood Barns (if you don't know them - YOU MUST!)
2.) Casa Loma (again - totally worth a re-visit!)
3.) The Vaughn Theatre - demolished in the 1980's!
for more on the Vaughan check out this link:
I have also made sure there are lots of great details in this piece - the streetcars, the brick, the flowers....I LOVE how this turned out!!
Here is a bit of a #WIP (work in progress):
Ya....I know not the best in progress shots - but I got wrapped up in the painting process and kinda forgot to document the different stages. I really think this guy came together wonderfully!!!!!!
SO....now look at the final.....
You love it??
YOU CAN OWN IT!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!
Yes....I will be doing prints and postcards of this one!
BY REQUEST: LIBERTY VILLAGE
HAPPY FRIDAY you guys!!!!
I have more new work to show you!
Yup. This one is a REQUEST!
This new original painting is based on Liberty Village in Toronto!
I went out to take reference shots one sunny afternoon. I wasn't sure which building was the best to focus on. What I DID notice was a LOT of young couples around. It stuck in my mind, so I decided that I would feature a young couple in my illustration!
Okay...so this piece was a little frustrating. I'm not sure why I hit a block mid way, but I did. It was unpleasant for a day while I tried to figure out a solution to make the composition more balanced.
You'll see that in the progress photos below.
Okay so here is how it came together....
AND HERE IS THE FINAL PIECE:
So there you go!!
In the end, I think it turned out great (despite the angst in the middle of creating it)! Come out at see this fine piece at The Riverdale Art Walk this summer! OR BETTER YET.....come by the studio and buy it today!
Yes....there will also be prints and postcards available this summer!
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND Y'ALL!
Where all my gays at?
(Sorry - a painting like this one needs THAT kind of welcome!)
This is my latest completed painting "Hanlan's Point Beach", and I have NO IDEA what reaction it is gonna get. Truthfully, I am not exactly the darling of the Church/Wellesley art scene. I'm not really the darling of ANY demographic - or even in my own family - now that I think about it!
ANYWAYS, despite the fact that I have often felt ignored by most of my 'peeps' (except maybe back in the 80's when I was wore my short shorts to da' club - wink wink, nudge nudge!)I wanted to paint something to celebrate this beach!
WAIT.....I do have a small following of smart Lesbians....so that is pretty awesome! THEY are the best!!!!
But the Gays. OY!
Tough nuts for me to crack!
(Wow. That sounded dirty!)
So let's see. I'm trying this as a social experiment.
A "GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT" experiment.
Unless, now....like always, I have NO IDEA what the Gay peoples like!? (THAT seems entirely probable!)
Okay, so for those of you who don't know it, here is the Wiki-planation (again, that's the Wikipedia explanation)about Hanlan's Point Beach:
Hanlan's Point Beach is a public beach situated on Hanlan's Point in the Toronto Islands near Toronto, Ontario on the shore of Lake Ontario. One kilometre-long part of the beach was officially recognized by the city in 2002 as being clothing optional.As is common for most public nudist-friendly venues, males make up a large percentage of the users of the beach, but women can make up to one quarter of the total on popular weekends. Recent years continue to see an increase in the number of families who attend. The beach is a popular destination for the city's gay community.
So here is what I came up with:
It is more skin that I am used to painting!!!
AND more time spent with my hand in a crotch than usual!
So? What do you think????
A fun compliment to my current beach work!
Look for prints and postcards soon!!
The postcards are DELIGHTFUL - but I need you to wait to see a post about them!
Cherry Beach on EASTER!
HAPPY WABBIT DAY!!!!!
I know what you are thinking this time.
Yes. There are 5 in total that I am immortalizing in paint!
There are still 3 or 4 that ardent getting any love.
But in the meantime this is one of the more famous beaches for locals...and their dogs. I give you Cherry Beach:
The last 2 are COMING SOON!
AND THEN.....just wait to see what I do NEXT!
Hey.....got an idea of what YOU THINK I should do next?
I'd love to hear from you!!!
SCARBOROUGH HAS A BEACH TOO!
What with this BEAUTIFUL beach-like spring weather - it is no wonder that I am "beach-sessed" -- sorry - tried to marry the words obsessed and beach.....not great.....
ANYWAYS, so this post is all about the latest painting in my beach work! There are 5 in total! You've seen the first one - The Sunnyside Beach (just scroll down) and here is #2. It is the Scarborough beach.
YES! I HAVE painted the Scarborough bluffs before....it looked like this:
It was all about the potential wind turbines going in along the bluffs. POLITICAL. BUT since that DID NOT end up happening, let's celebrate the simple beauty of the beach this time!
YUP! Already making a postcard of this one!
I think it is gonna work great with the other new beach pieces!
Whadda ya think???
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!