Rainy Night in NYC

Not too long ago, I spent the weekend in NYC. It was the rainiest weekend ever. This resulted in a lot of indoor activities. Luckily art galleries are generally indoors.

Some steam after all the rain
Some steam after all the rain

We went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) among other places, hoping to get inspired to paint. If I’m being completely honest (which I am) I’ll admit that I was quite disappointed by the lack of actual paintings there. Maybe I’m just not up to speed with modern art, but the majority of the art work there was just strange.

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Bigger is Better {Time Lapse Video}

I’ve been a little absent from this blog but now I hope to be back to a regular posting schedule. I’ve got big plans for this website coming in the next few months, including ways fellow artists can get involved so stay tuned 🙂 It will be the best art website you’ve ever seen. Promise.

Adjusting to having a ‘real job’ has been new to me after all these years of the student life. I don’t love waking up to an alarm every morning but I certainly do love having evenings and weekends to do as I please.

The painting below is a commissioned one that I began back when I was still living the dream as a student at Ottawa U. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift from the man in the picture to his wife, but then turned into a Valentine’s Day gift. It’s nice and huge and therefore took a solid chuck of time to paint. But that’s okay, because bigger is better.

In 5 easy steps!
In 5 easy steps!

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Why I Don’t Gift Paintings

I rarely paint for people who are not family or paying customers. I think it is awkward. Art is so personal and everyone has their own preferred style. My family has no problem telling me exactly what they like and it’s usually not in line with my own preferred style of art work so I appreciate the honesty. Paying customers will also tell you exactly what they want. Gifting artwork to someone who is not expecting it is a risk. If they don’t like it, they likely feel forced to hang it up anyways and that’s got to suck. I also doubt anyone would openly admit to me if they didn’t like it (other than my family or paying customers). So friends, if you’ve never received a painting from me, this is why!

Not too long ago, I broke my own rule and actually painted a gift painting for someone who I didn’t know all too well for his birthday. It was one of those awkward situations were I’d be on a few dates with this guy, and then it happens to be his birthday. So naturally, I can’t do nothing for it, but then I also don’t want to go overboard since it had only been a few weeks. He’d seen a few of my paintings and particularly liked these two, City Love and After Midnight.

collage

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All or Nothing

If you’ve never heard of Leonid Afremov then you need to do yourself a huge favor and google him asap! He is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils. He has a very unique style and it is unmistakable. Oh, and just amazingly beautiful. Seriously. Beyond words. Unlike most artists who have to die before they become famous, he is still alive! Bonus. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of his work and am constantly inspired by it. Here is an example, courtesy of Wikipeida.

Leonid Afremov and his painting of the Venice Canal

If you can’t beat them, join them, right?! Well that was my inspiration for this next painting. I figured he’s doing something right so I might as well learn from it. So I can’t take all the credit for this painting… a huge shout out goes to Mr. Afremov.

I started out with a very rough outline for the background. Basically just getting some colour on the canvas.
Slowly started building up the background, added trees and some more colour overall.
Next I added some lamp posts
Then some light!
Lastly, I added some more trees and a couple under an umbrella.
This painting looks great unframed because of the depth

18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas. Here it is relative to my bed, to give you an idea of the size.
Zoomed in on the couple under an umbrella
Zoomed in on some trees.
Zoomed in on the lamp posts

 

So I think this concludes my “rain” paintings, at least for now.

On a side note, I tend to have two extremes in life: all or nothing. I either love you completely, or you are totally indifferent to me. You get all of my time and attention, or none of it. I’ve noticed this coming out through my art as well. For starters, I went from painting almost never (maybe 2-3 paintings a year) to pretty much pumping out 2-3 a week! I just can’t get enough of it lately. It has been such a tremendous stress reliever and the amazing feedback from everyone has been very motivating as well. I woke up this morning at 5:30am (even though my alarm was set to 7:30am) and pretty much jumped out of bed and painted until 7:30am (which is when I completed the above painting).

I don’t know how long this enthusiasm will last, but for now I’m just going to go with it and paint. Since let’s face it, there are far worse things I could be spending a big chunk of my time doing.

Ironically, this same “all or nothing” approach to life has prevented me from painting in the past. The last couple years I’ve been super busy, taking 6-7 classes per semester (another example of my all-or-nothing approach to life) so even though I often felt like painting, I would always talk myself out of it justifying that a 1 hour break is not enough time to paint, and it’s not even worth starting if I can’t finish it. In retrospect, it probably would have been a great way to take my mind off school work.

So what changed now? With only 4 classes this semester (by default, since that’s all I have left 🙂 ) I found myself with more spare time than I am used to. I considered getting a part time job, but then had a light bulb moment and thought that I’ve always loved painting but never felt I had enough time to fully pursue it. What better time than now? And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

I seam to have gone off on a tangent here. What I originally wanted to get to is that life is about balance. I constantly have to remind myself that. So bringing that back to painting, how about only 1 more “rain” painting this year? Sounds good to me!

Anyone else struggle with finding balance?

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