So there I was one Friday night, wondering what to do with myself. And I thought, hmmm, how ’bout an art show?
All I’d need is a few paintings, a lot of cool people, and a big room with booze, a pool table, and a 12-foot leather couch.
Also, a killer soundtrack. ‘Cause that’s a must for any Friday night.
Okay, so that’s not exactly how it went. The true story is about friendship, paint, booze, and serendipity.
One night back in March, Ned Tobin came by with a bottle of wine and some ideas about ink and watercolour. We’d never hung out and painted together before, so we figured it was high time to try. With no specific agenda in mind, he started several of his animal paintings, and I did two quick paintings – a tree frog, and then, somewhat randomly, a koi.
I’ve dabbled in watercolours over the years, but primarily just to create backgrounds for my digital illustrations. And that’s something I’ve done a lot less of since the metalflake paintings took over my life. So I’ve gotten used to a fairly lengthy process for painting, as layers are applied that often need several days to dry. Even longer in the winter months, when the weather is cold and the humidity is high.
These two new pieces were a revelation. I could easily take one from rough concept to finished piece in a single night.
Also, the response was universally positive, which gave me the idea that maybe I could do more of these. And koi are pretty exciting visually, unlike some animals. To me they look like custom cars in a way – wild colours and pattern, and shiny, silvery surfaces. I painted a few more, and a few more after that. Eventually I started wondering if this was a potential art show. Once I decided that it was, the whole process just flowed. Which could be construed as some sort of metaphor for the actual painting process, if you’re a fan of symbolism.
But all that is just backstory. What happened on May 23rd is what really matters.
Many people showed up, and frequently with friends in tow – this was easily the biggest turnout since Hot Pink. I met a LOT of new people, which is always a pleasure. It’s great to see first-timers at a show, especially when there are so many of them. In that respect, this was probably my most successful show to date (obviously I love seeing old friends as well, and there were plenty of those around. There’s a core group of loyal people who come to almost every show and do so much to support my art).
On a related note, this was the first time I had family on hand for a show, and I can’t even begin to explain how much that meant to me. My aunt and uncle even bought a painting.
Speaking of which, I laid the paintings out in chronological order, and it was cool to see how my process had developed over the two months I spent creating the koi. Even though the show is over, I still haven’t entirely stopped painting them. I’ve already completed one new commission, and there’s another waiting in the wings (there are also plans afoot for a piece inspired by the fish in Fantasia). I’ll definitely do more watercolour shows in the future, too. My thought at the moment is that I could have one watercolour exhibition and three metalflake ones each year.
We’ll see what happens, of course. As an artist I try to be open to new directions and opportunities. But overall this was a very, very positive experience, and I’m not just saying that because people plied me with alcohol.
Damn, that was a lot of wordiness. How ’bout a few photos?
Nicola, me, and Jill.
And here I am with Jewel and Buzz.
Explaining something very important, no doubt.
My favourite part of the ill-fated playlist.
The art and some of the art lovers.
Now come the liner notes. First off I’d like to thank Ned Tobin, Amanda West (who was kind enough to hook me up with the venue), John Watson, Annie Friesen, Mike Watson, Jill Sinclair, and Cathy Browne for their contributions. Each of you was crucial to this show, and my hat is off to you.
Next are the patrons, for putting their money where their mouths are: Aida King, Steve Cavers, Donna-Jay Crowe, Kirsten McKenzie, Evan Downie, Jenn Ready, Kathy & Bill Taylor, Jeff Hornby & Cass Wilson, Jewel Staite, Briar Sexton, Nicola Rueschmann, Krista Falconer, Shannon Nilson, Lori Kittelberg & George Smeltzer, Kyle Reid, Kayla MacAonghais, and Samantha Gilmour (incidentally, there are still a handful of paintings available. More details here).
Generally I manage to keep a list of everybody who attends the shows, but this time it got a bit overwhelming at times. So if you were there and I forgot to mention you… well, it’s just an oversight on my part (but drop me a line and I’ll update this post ASAP). Here’s everyone I haven’t already mentioned:
Cindy Busby, Kirst Ostapowich, Alan C., Chris Schneider, Don Falconer, Meghan Kilner, Shaun, Melissa Jones, Matt Bosch, Craig, Chris, Paul Erwin & Alison Tedford, Jason, Jenn Derksen, Katie Moran, Adam Bradley Carlson IV, Lindsay Bayne, Pardeep, Ian MacKinnon, Jill Plotnikoff, Steve Kinsey, Keith Murray, Brad Presta, Cristina Weir, Mila Katana, Jay Holtslander, Bria Hunter… and a handful of other new friends whose names escape me at the moment.
And finally, from the Department of Advice and Support: Jaime Lee Purgavie, Blair Pritchett, Tess McCann, Katherine Houston, Kate MacDonald, and Opus Art Supplies on Granville Island.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
P.S. Photos by Jill Sinclair, Cathy Browne, Jewel Staite, Kayla MacAonghais, Jeff Hornby, Krista Falconer (plus a couple of my own).