Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bison Rides a Mountain Bike

I decided I’d start on a second series of Critters on Bikes. The first bunch were fun, and a lot of people seemed to like them. To start with I thought I’d simply redo some of my favourites from the first series (no thinking involved, just start painting!). I have a couple new ones in mind too, but to start with it seemed right to start where the first series began…

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Bison Rides a Mountain Bike, October 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 50x40cm

I’ve started the Touring Camel and then I might work on the Cyclocross Moose… then move on to some new critters. These, however, are much bigger that the original series. The original series were small paintings on paper to fit in to these wee picture frames Amanda had bought (so the bigger ones were 18x12cm (~7”x5”). The new ones are on Medium Density Fibre board with their own frame for hanging built into the back and are roughly 50x40cm (~20”x16”). I’m also using slightly better paints.

I also have some other ideas for paintings and stuff… Oh to find the time to work on them all…

You can see the original Bison painting HERE.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Again With the Cows…

Around the time I was painting Cycling Past Cows Under Cumulus Clouds and the kids were starting their first paintings on MDF, I had them paint a couple of cows on paper. I drew a simple cow on a piece of paper and had them paint it.

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Keria Brown, Cow Wanting to Find Some Grass, October 2010, Acrylic on Paper, 30x24cm

Finnegan Brown, Cow Standing in the Sun, October 2010, Acrylic on Paper, 30x24cm

They turned out so well I thought it would be fun to do something similar on MDF so I hatched in my devious little mind the “Brown Cow Project”. I cut, glued up , and prepared three (nearly) identical sized boards. Then, I drew a cow on some cardboard and cut it out to use as a stencil and drew three identical cows: one on each of the boards. Then I let the kids at it – they could paint their cows anyway they wanted…

Originally I thought I might get Amanda to try painting one of the cows (as I’d already just painted some cows…) but she didn’t seem all that interested so I painted the third one.

Here’s what we came up with:

Keria Brown, Brown Cow Triptych I, October 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 40x29cm

Finnegan Brown, Brown Cow Triptych II, October 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 40x29cm

Tim Brown, Brown Cow Triptych III, October 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 40x29cm

The irony being that none of them ended up being brown… but they were painted by Browns! Despite my vision of something resembling uniformity only one ended up looking much like the original drawing/stencil… (you can try and guess which one) but that’s all okay. Far be it from me to stifle a collaborators own artistic vision!!

I love painting with my kids…

Painting with the Kids Again (Part Three)

Finnegan finally finished up his painting he started some time ago:

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Triceratops and Daspletosaurus Talking to Each Other, October 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 40x36cm

Friday, October 15, 2010

Painting with the Kids Again (Part Two)

The kids got working on their paintings the other day:

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Finnegan is painting a couple dinosaurs.

Keira, I thought, was painting a unicorn ballerina on the stand with a dragonfly on her nose, but it seems to have turned into a cheetah…?

It was good to see them taking a bit more time on things…

Keira is done hers.

Cheetah Ballerina with a Dragonfly on her Nose, Ocotber 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 36x40cm

Finnegan has decided his needs a bit more work. He worked on it a bit more yesterday and plans to do so again today…

In the meantime, while Finnegan was working on his some more yesterday, Keira did some more painting on paper. I have found that giving them all available colours they tend to mix them all together and things gets a little… “muddied”…? So yesterday I gave Keria only two colours (of her choice) and an “assignment” to pick one shape, paint one colour inside the shape and another colour outside the shape. The result was one of the best paintings she has done yet!!

Unicorn Heart, Ocotber 2010, Acrylic on Paper, 25x32cm

We are painting fools, we are…

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Painting with the Kids Again

We’ve been doing quite a bit of painting around here over the last couple weeks. At some point the kids asked why they couldn’t paint on the big boards like I do? The immediate response that came to my head was “because you’re too darn fast!?” I tried to explain it a little better than that. Simply preparing one of my artboards is a pretty labourious project that takes up a considerable amount of time, spread out over a number of days… too much time, I thought, to supply kids with when they paint a picture in a matter of minutes…

But then I thought; “Why not indeed!?” But, to give them a sense of the work involved (and hopefully understand why I won’t be providing them with such luxuries EVERY day we paint…) I had them help out with the preparation of the boards. I cut all the pieces on my own (table saws and four-to-six-years-olds just don’t seem like a good combination). But I had them gather round and watch the board and frame being glued up. When that had all dried completely (the following day) we started applying gesso!

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

I’ve had then do three coats and even got them to sand after the first coat… hopefully they’ll take their time with the painting (at least five minutes…)!?

They applied the first two coats on Sunday and the third today. I promised them they could paint on them tomorrow – stay tuned for their immanent masterpieces!

Simple Printing with the Kids

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and thus all the kids regularly scheduled activities were cancelled. This meant we could make it to Something on Sundays at the Mendel Art Gallery.

This week they were doing some very simple (and clever) prints. First we drew a line drawing on a piece of Styrofoam (cut from a Styrofoam tray), then coloured them with washable markers. After that was complete we wet a piece of paper, placed the Styrofoam plate face down on it and pressed it with a roller – Presto! Simple Prints! (Relatively) mess free and not requiring sharp objects like other simlar block printing methods.

Here’s what we came up with:

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

And Here are the printing plates:

I may have to try this at home sometime… thought I’d have to buy some washable markers…. I’m not a big fan of markers…

Looks like they have a lot of fun stuff lined up for Something on Sundays this fall… I’m kind of sad we’ll be missing most… Ah well, we do plenty of artsy things around here!

Cows… Clouds…

Not exactly Critters ON bicycles… but critters… and bicycles…

I have a couple longer (75-100km) routes that I cycle southwest of the city from time to time (which I haven’t ridden nearly enough this year!). There are a couple small herds of cows kept out there. I’ve stopped a few times to take photos thinking I’d paint a picture of them someday… Here, finally, is one:

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Cycling Past Cows Under Cumulus Clouds, 2010, Acrylic on MDF, ~40x32cm

...and for those interested in the magic of art production:

The work in progress sometime last week…

Friday, October 8, 2010


We’ve been doing quite a bit of painting around here lately. Unlike the tones of drawing we’d been doing previously, painting – especially BIGGER pieces – is pretty tricky to do on a flat surface… For the last couple paintings I did (Retired Rat Roams Rural Roads, Tentacle Creature loves Pretty Unicorn, and the Soldiers of Neukirch Uniform Plate) I dug out his old tabletop easel that my grandmother had used for I don’t know how long.

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Handy sturdy little thing, probably built for her by my grandfather or step grandfather. Somehow it had come into my possession and sat unused for years.

Of course with all this painting going on, the kids got rather excited about he idea of painting themselves… and I got excited about them painting – though had avoided it for some time being rather concerned about the potential for MESS!

As I said painting on a flat surface just wouldn’t do (sleeves in the wet paint and getting smeared all over EVERYTING!?) so I realized we’d need more easels.

After snooping around downstairs I found a bunch of tiny little ones:

The seems a little spindly and I had no idea where they came from., but we tried them out anyway. I thought maybe Amanda had used them for the summer camp she had run years ago. After using them we realized there were not really made for children to actually use as easels ( I later discovered they had come from my mom and were really for display purposes ONLY!).

Being a handy sort of guy, however, I decided to copy the simple sturdy little easel my grandmother had.

In a couple of hours I had manufactured two simple, solid, sturdy easels for the kids!

Then I made another, bigger version for myself (in anticipation of working on LARGER pieces in the not to distant future!).

I think I might make a couple more smaller ones – in case we have any smaller friends come over to paint with us!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Soldiers of Neukirch

So this is a bit of a story…

Well… this is another housewarming gift for another friend (also named John) who just built a new house. John and I are both interested in Military History and… well... little toy soldiers and miniature wargaming

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Soldiers of Neukirch Uniform Plate, 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 32x40cm

(Again, not a great photo of it... I took like thirty pics and this one had the least glare...!?)

Those familiar with the hobby will also be familiar with “uniform plates”. These are reproductions (often in books) of paintings of soldiers of a given period – showing particular details of uniforms of different regiments and such.

Some in the hobby (especially those interested in the 18th Century “Horse and Musket” era) come up with their own “imagi-nations”. Countries of their own design – often based on those involved in the European wars of the era. John has a couple little countries of his own design that games are often set in – Neukirch and Luteland.

So what I’ve done here is I’ve painted a uniform plate or sorts detailing the uniforms of a few of the soldiers from the army of Neukirch.

I’m probably explaining this poorly… basically it’s kind of an in-joke. Those familiar with the hobby will probably find it hilarious, and the rest of you will probably wonder if we’re all just a little bit touched – harmless, but not altogether there…

Um… yeah…

Back to critters and bikes soon!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Visions of the New Gallery (Part 2)

I had recently posted about public art displays of childrens visions of the new gallery. They have since put up a few more – including Finnegan’s!!

Amanda and I had spotted them the other night when we were out at Persephone (Which is right next door to where the next Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is going to be).

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

This afternoon we rode down to have a look

Finnegan’s vision of the new Gallery.

You can see the original HERE.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tentacle Creature Loves Pretty Unicorn

There’s a perfectly good explanation for this….

No, I’m not producing hentai/shunga tentacle porn fan art. It’s a housewarming gift for some good friends that just moved back to Saskatoon. She’s into unicorns and he’s into… well… Lovecraftian Horror (among other things…). In my mind’s eye I originally envisioned this as a diptych – one picture with a unicorn rearing, the other with a large tentacle-creature… but I lacked the time… or just go lazy… (if spending the time I spent painting this can be considered “laziness”…). I also imagined each of them being about twice as big… but didn’t have the materials at the time… so…

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Tentacle Creature Loves Pretty Unicorn, 2010, Acrylic on MDF, 42x32cm

I really need to learn how to take better pictures of my paintings… or be a bit more patient and wait for the varnish to dry… or maybe a clever combination of the two.

The title kind of comes from my daughter who, while I was painting it, seemed to be under the impression that the tentacle creature was trying to "hug" the unicorn and that they were going to "get married"...?