"Once you see his paintings, you won't forget them... His unique vision may change the way you see." -Robert Amos: Arts, Times Colonist


 

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Thursday
May302013

Ask the Artist: How do I decide which paintings to create?

Welcome to another installment of Ask the Artist , a monthly column dedicated to answering your questions about my creative process and my artwork in general. This month's question comes from Carol F. in Calgary, Alberta. Carol writes:

I've been waiting to see if you'll do some more Calgary-themed paintings. How do you decide which paintings you'll create, and when? 

That's an excellent question, and it's one that I get a lot, albeit in different variations. (e.g., 'When will you have one of Hatley Castle ready?', 'Have you done a painting from Vancouver yet?', 'If only you had something of _________ done, I would buy it in a heartbeat!', etc.)

My wife has started taking photos of me taking photos. It's rare for me to be anywhere without a camera in hand! (This photo is from near Tubac, Arizona)

The truth is, I am easily inspired and just as easily distracted. :) I have yet to encounter a place in my travels that fails to spark my imagination in some way, however small. I've taken photos just about everywhere I've traveled to, and I have also created hundreds of sketches to become paintings at some point in the future-- it's just a matter of when.

How do I prioritize certain images over other ones, then? Well, I've developed a system. (Full disclaimer: my wife and I developed this system together. I'm a true, big-thinking Aquarian, whereas she's a meticulous, details-loving Cancerian. I told her I wanted to create a painting schedule. A few days later, she handed me a spreadsheet and a corresponding calendar. Et voila! The creative system was born.) 

My Creative System Encompasses:


1. New Victoria Images

A lot of my artwork is Victoria-based now, because I live here and also run an art booth downtown every spring and summer. Each year, I try to paint new Victoria pieces based on milestone anniversaries. For example, in 2013, some of the buildings that are celebrating major anniversaries include the Emily Carr House, Munro's Bookstore, and Emanu-El Synagogue (Canada's oldest!)

I also try to fit in some new Victoria-themed paintings based on special events that happen throughout the summer. Three of my favourite events are the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, the annual Dragon Boat Festival, and the ever-popular Classic Wooden Boat Festival on the Labour Day weekend. Every year, I try to create new paintings that correspond to each of these events.

Last year's Swiftsure-themed painting

2. Commissioned Artwork

The surest way to see your much-hoped-for painting climb its way to the very top of my priority list is to have me paint it as a custom piece for you. Every year, I create up to ten custom paintings for my clients, and these projects trump everything else on my wait list. I have painted everything from people's homes to the Disneyland Castle on a commission basis, and it's always a treat to see what I'll be commissioned to paint each year.

One of my favourite custom paintings

3. Artwork from Other Cities

I am itching to start turning many of my existing sketches into paintings. I have done a lot of traveling that isn't yet reflected in my paintings, so expect to see some European paintings in the works, as well as my first Vancouver, Montreal, Arizona, and Alaska pieces soon. I would also like to revisit some of my other Alberta-themed sketches and start creating a World Monument series (think Taj Mahal and Egyptian pyramids). 

Image from the Czech Republic. Sketch still hanging out in my sketchbook.

4. Soul Projects

 

I always hope for some time to create some artwork, just because. My wife calls these my Soul Projects-- paintings that don't have to be created at all, but paintings that I really want to make. Sometimes my Soul Projects overlap with Paintings from Other Cities or Milestone Anniversary Paintings, and occasionally my Soul Projects even get requested as Custom Paintings (which makes my heart sing!) Some of my previous Soul Projects have included a barn and a church from a tiny town in Northern Alberta, and last year's Just Because painting was actually the Space Needle, even though it happened to be celebrating its 50th Anniversary at the time. :) 

Do you have a system for getting things done?

Did you expect my creative system to be so... spreadsheety? 

I'd love to hear your comments below! 

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Reader Comments (1)

Thank you for sharing your scheduling process. Your wife is an organizational wizard. I am excited to see you are doing a painting of St. Luke's next year as I am the next-door-neighbour to the church in the grey an purple. I look forward to seeing the finished peice.

June 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda

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