Monday, September 29, 2008

This week may be a little slow as far as posts go. I'll be tied up for most of the week completing a couple of projects, and I don't expect that I'll have a lot of time for the blog; but we'll see how things go.
• An Emil Nolde retrospective opened last Thursday at the Grand Palais in Paris. It runs until January 19, 2009. (The Art Knowledge News)
M.C. 2
charcoal and pastel
29.2 x 39.4 cm (11.5" x 15.5")

M.C. 2? Could she be a rapper? Are there any housewife rappers? (Is one even allowed to use the term housewife anymore? It's interesting how what should be a term of respect has become such a negative.) How about a hockey mom rapper? M.C. 2, housewife rapper or hockey mom rapper, either will do me.

The first drawing of M.C. was posted last Thursday and looks quite different from today's M.C. 2.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Francis Bacon discussing art with Melvin Bragg: part 2 of 6 of a South Bank show on Francis Bacon, 1985

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Francis Bacon discussing art with Melvin Bragg: part 1 of 6 of a South Bank show on Francis Bacon, 1985

Part 4 of the series on Bacon was posted on Saturday, September 13, 2008.

Friday, September 26, 2008

• News we would like to hear: CultureGrrl and C-Monster join forces to shut down LA Times rip-off art blog, Culture Monster. (CultureGrrl and C-Monster together. The mind boggles.)
The Guardian has a video on the Rothko show which opens today at the Tate Modern.
• Again in the Guardian, Dean Stalham, art thief turned painter/playwright, talks about his experience in prison and the influence of the Koestler Awards in promoting the arts in British prisons.

• Two exhibitions I have been remiss in not mentioning: Head Space: Five Decades of Bruce Head ending November 23rd at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and The 6th Decade: New Work by Bruce Head ending today, September 26th, at the Ken Segal Gallery.


40.6 x 30.5 cm (16" x 12")

This painting was done without a preliminary drawing, using large brushes and small set of watercolour paints. It was a struggle and it probably shows.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Books Maketh the Man, by Thomas Wright, considers the books that made Oscar Wilde. (The Literary Review)
• Michael Kimmelman on the Francis Bacon exhibition on at the Tate. (The New York Times)
• Curators and dealers by Sandy Nairne in The Art Newspaper. (via C-Monster)

' All I know is that if this isn’t remedied somehow, I’m gonna go all Sarah Palin on your asses. And you guys are gonna be the moose.' C-Monster at her best (re the copycat LA Times' blog, Culture Monster).


charcoal and pastel
30.5 x 22.9 cm (12" x 9")

M.C. was the model for yesterday's drawing, as well as today's. This drawing took twenty minutes, and I was happy to get as much done as you see in that time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

• Maxine Granovsky and Ira Gluskin have donated $7 million to the Art Gallery of Ontario. (The Globe and Mail) (CBC News)
• Mark Rothko opens Friday at the Tate Modern. (The Guardian)
• The Gargosian Gallery is big, very big, in the former Soviet Republics. (Bloomberg) (via C-Monster)

Smiling Woman

30.5 x 22.9 cm (12" x 9")

This is kind of an odd drawing. I was seated quite low down, looking up at the model as I drew. There's some foreshortening both with the body and face.
This drawing may not look quite right, but that is part of its' attraction, at least for me.

The drawing took ten minutes, and despite the drawing the model was quite an attractive woman, as well as being an excellent model.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

• The real Lehman Brothers. (Forward)
• 'I believe in nothing.' Gordon Burn contemplates Gerhard Richter. (The Guardian)
• An artist's studio: Grayson Perry. (The Guardian)
• I missed out, for about the twentieth year in a row, on one of the twenty-five $500,000 MacArthur Foundation awards. (The New York Times)
Looking Up
graphite, ink, and watercolour
17.8 x 20.3 cm (7" x 8")

The model for this drawing, which was done last night, is an actor and playwright who is currently working on a play concerning the medieval monster, Gilles de Rais.

Monday, September 22, 2008

• The tragedy of Mark Rothko by Martin Gayford of The Telegraph, and in The Guardian, Kate Rothko Prizel on her father and on her legal battle with his estate.
• A requiem for David Foster Wallace by Rick Groen. (The Globe and Mail)
• Roberts Smith of The New York Times has a post mortem on the Sotheby's Hirst auction.


graphite and gouache
35.6 x 25.4 cm (14" x 10")

As with the drawing posted on Friday, this is an older work. It's interesting how few lines are necessary for a portrait.

Although I didn't consciously have Hans Holbein in mind when I did this study, the influence of Holbein's minimalist portraits can be seen here. One of Holbein's great portrait drawings is posted below.

The Lady Eliot

chalk, pen, and brush on paper

Hans Holbein, 1522-3. Royal collection, Windsor, UK.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie Playing Hot House, 1952.

This video is from a New York television presentation of the 1951 DownBeat awards to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. The music will grow on you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

• For anyone who loves painting the Metropolitan Museum of Art has just opened an exhibition not to be missed: Giorgio Morandi, 1890-1964. (The New York Times). The New York Times has a slideshow from the exhibition.
• What do you do with a 3,500 piece art collection when you've just gone bankrupt? The former Lehman Brothers begs the question. (
The Washington Post has an article on how the current American financial crisis might affect the arts. (via C-Monster)
• Andy Warhol we know. Pietro Psaier? (The Telegraph)
Last Friday writer David Foster Wallace was found dead at his home in California. (The Los Angeles Times)

Maureen No.2

ink and gouache
43.2 x 27.9 cm (14" x 11")

This is an older work which I rediscovered yesterday. I must say that I really like it, and not because of the ominous shadow or the odd placement of the figure, but because it reminds of the model, Maureen.

On my website there is another drawing of Maureen done during the same drawing session, as well as a portrait sculpture done around the same time as the two drawings.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Red Foot
graphite and pastel
30.5 x 45.7 cm (12" x 18")
• The Detroit Institute of Arts is in financial trouble according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. (via Modern Art Notes)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

• The last laugh to Damien Hirst. (The Wall Street Journal)
• A major public sculpture is planned for Calgary. ( (View on Canadian Art)
White Chair
ink and watercolour
20.3 x 20.3 cm (8" x 8")

Another straight watercolour, this one done in twenty minutes.

Watercolour has its' own particular beauty, although I often find it too pretty for my liking. Watercolour can be so attractive, so pretty, that it can overwhelm the other elements of a painting. This is something that I need to keep in mind when using it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

• Happy Hirst as Sotheby's auction continues. (The New York Times)
• The confused and unfortunate life of Asian antiquities expert Roxanna Brown as told by Jason Felch of The Los Angeles Times:
part 1, part 2, part 3. (via Modern Art Notes)

Back of a Chair

ink and watercolour
19.8 x 19.8 cm (7.75" x 7.75")

I don't often do straight watercolours, but that's what this painting is. I'm not that happy with it, mainly because of the drawing of the head, which could have been better.

The painting was done in thirty minutes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

• Well-known American poet, John Ashbury, is making his artistic début at 81. (The New York Times)
• Borobudur (The Wall Street Journal)
• Is an art market crash near and do we care? (The Financial Times) (via C-Monster)
• Damien Hirst explained (again). (Time) (via

Régent Leclerc

ink and pastel
14.0 x 8.9 cm (5.5" x 3.5")

This drawing of Régent Leclerc was done a couple of months ago in Quebec City. Régent was performing on the patio of a restaurant in the old city. (The restaurant may have been Le Petit Château.) Of necessity, it was a quick study.

Régent Leclerc would be described, I suppose, as a singer/songwriter in the tradition of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, or Daniel Lavoie. We have two dreamy CDs by him, pogné par la musique and Intime. For the past twenty odd years he has spent his summers playing and singing in the old city of Quebec.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Francis Bacon Interviewed by Melvin Bragg: part 4 of 6 of a South Bank show on Francis Bacon, 1985

When I was watching this video I couldn't help but think of the Oscar Wilde line: "One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Red Forehead

40.6 x 30.5 cm (16" x 12")

Last night's painting, done with inexpensive paint.
It was a bit of a struggle to get it done in a short sitting.

The model is a photographer who prefers working with film, to working with digital images.
The New York Times reviews an exhibition, Aaron Douglas: African-American Modernist, currently on at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

• A $200,000 reward is being offered for the return of 12 paintings which were recently stolen from a California home. The stolen paintings include works by Chagall and Rivera. (CBC News) Derek Fincham offers four possible reasons for the theft. (Illicit Cultural Properties)
• The story of an artist, expatriate Canadian, Joseph Plaskett, still painting at 90. (CBC News)
• Damien Hirst's $100-million diamond encrusted skull is now available at the reduced price of $24.95.(C-Monster)
• "He probably cried when Queen Victoria died." This was Damien Hirst's response to art critic Robert Hughes' recent criticism of his work. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Banana and Pens

14.0 x 8.9 cm (5.5" x 3.5")

This is a simple scene from an office desk.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

charcoal and pastel
30.5 x 45.7 cm (12" x 18")

It was a cool in the studio on Monday evening when this drawing was done. To keep warm the model wore his socks, hence the title of the drawing.
Vladimir Nabokov discusses Lolita: part 1

An amused Vladimir Nabokov, literary critic Lionel Trilling, and writer and host Pierre Burton, attempt, rather unsuccessfully, to discuss Nabokov's Lolita on a late 50's episode of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation's Close Up.

Vladimir Nabokov discusses Lolita: part 2

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

• The work of Roy Ferdinand, a self-taught New Orleans artist, is featured in the e-zine, triplecanopy. (via Modern Art Notes)
• A retrospective of the mostly anti-Nazi, anti-war, and anti-German propaganda by American illustrator and miniaturist, Arthur Szyk, has just opened at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. (The New York Times)

Five Minutes

charcoal and pastel
30.5 x 22.9 cm (12" x 9")

Five minutes was the length of the pose for this drawing.

Monday, September 08, 2008

• What would the art world do without Damirn Hirst? Critic and author Robert Hughes (The Shock of the New) is again taking shots at Hirst. Give the poor (rich) guy a break. (The Telegraph)

Jack Kerouac reading from On the Road (1959)

Dreams of the road, freedom, escape, and humanity: Jack Kerouac gives a wonderful reading from On The Road on the original Tonight Show with host Steve Allen at the piano.

Hanging Body
ink and charcoal
8.9 x 14.0 cm (3.5" x 5.5")

For some reason I like looking at this drawing without thinking (of where it came from).

Friday, September 05, 2008

• Model wives or model-wives? Ruth Butler, author of Hidden in the Shadow of the Master: The Model-Wives of Cézanne, Monet and Rodin is interviewed by Sarah Cohen in The New York Times.
Mississippi Trees
11.4 x 17.8 cm (4.5" x 7")

This small painting was done over a charcoal sketch. The original sketch was made in a Mississippi campground about a year ago.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

• Catesby Leigh of The Wall Street Journal is not impressed by the design for the proposed memorial to Martin Luther King in Washington, D.C.
• Winnipeg's Graffiti Gallery is asking for submissions of works on vinyl - vinyl records, that is.
• Jonathan Jones of The Guardian isn't keen on London's 'Cultural Olympiad' leading up to the 2012 Olympics. He isn't keen on the Olympics either.
Ed Winkleman has some thoughts on John McCain's arts policy, or lack of arts policy.

Head and Scarf

ink and charcoal
14 x 8.9 cm (5.5" x 3.5")

This drawing was done in the lobby of a hotel in Quebec City. It's a drawing of a mannequin's head draped with a scarf. The head was on a shelf in an accessories shop in the hotel lobby.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Make an Effort: explaining Claes Oldenberg to Republicans. This video is part of an ad campaign in the Minneapolis-St.Paul, Make An Effort, designed to encourage residents to find their own ways to welcome delegates to this week's Republican National Convention. (Claes Oldenberg's Spoonbridge and Cherry, 1985-1988, is in the Walker Art Center's Minneapolis Sculpture Garden) (via Off Center)

Blue Black Hair
43.2 x 35.6 cm (17" x 14")

This painting was done quickly with inexpensive paint over a crude pastel drawing. Parts of the original drawing may still show through.

The model is an art student interested in installation and video art.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Black Self-Portrait

ink (relief print)
18.8 x 13.7 cm (7.4" x 5.4")

This is an older work. It's a crude relief print taken from a wood block which was covered with plaster. The image was scratched into the hardened plaster, and then parts were cut away with a knife. The image is me, drawing on the block while looking in a mirrror.
• Deborah Solomon has a lengthy article in the Telegraph on Marlene Dumas, the world's second most expensive living female artist.
• Sarah Thornton looks at both Francis Bacon and the market for his works. (The Art Newspaper)
• The Royal Art Lodge, an art collective founded in Winnipeg and comprising of Marcel Dzama, Neil Farber, and Michael Dumontier opens a solo show, Learned Helplessness, at Pippy Houldsworth in London on September 12th. The show runs until October 25th. (Saatchi Gallery)
• The original Rolling Stones' Tongue makes it big at the the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. (

Monday, September 01, 2008

Enjoy Labour Day. I'll be back tomorrow.