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


 

Entries in Ask the Artist (2)

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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Sunday
Apr212013

Ask the Artist: How was I trained, and when did my love of art begin?

For the first installment of Ask the Artist, I am featuring a question sent in by Ruth M. from the Seattle, WA area. She writes:


What schooling did you have, and did your love of art start in your youth, like so many artists?

 

Great question, Ruth!

I have loved creating art for as long as I can remember. I was drawing long before I knew how to write and took every art class that was available to me between kindergarten and high school.

Portrait sketched by Martin Machacek

Drawing came naturally to me and was always a passion of mine. I decided in high school that I wanted to pursue art as a professional career. When most of my friends were applying to medical or engineering programs at university, I submitted a portfolio of sketches and drawings to the Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD) and was accepted into their Foundation Year. This was an exhilarating time for me but was met with caution and a bit of panic from my family, who wanted to make sure I had opportunities for gainful employment after graduation. Rather than majoring in Drawing or Painting at ACAD, I decided to specialize in Visual Communications. This program was quite revolutionary at the time, bringing in noted instructors from New York and offering classes in computer graphics, not to mention promising better career options at the end. :)

One of the required courses in the VC program was Architectural Rendering. I loved this class and subsequently excelled in it. My instructor, recognizing both my enthusiasm and potential for architectural illustration, essentially took me under his wing, suggesting guilds and associations I could join to pursue this line of drawing on a professional level. I took his advice, and upon graduation from ACAD, I landed a position creating renderings for one of the most prominent architects in Calgary. I spent several years working in the field of architecture and generated extremely precise illustrations of new buildings.

Hand renderings were becoming a dying art, however, with the emergence of Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and other digital drawing tools. I enrolled at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) to pursue specialized training in CAD, but quickly realized that I was not interested in clicking a mouse for the rest of my life. My love of drawing is what got me into architectural rendering in the first place, and it is what ultimately took me out of it and onto a new creative path in the end.

The dynamic style of paintings I have been creating for the past 10 years is certainly informed by my years of experience in the field of architecture; however, I have not taken any courses or training specifically for this style. It emerged spontaneously one day when I was looking at a cathedral reflected in a glass building, and it has grown and evolved steadily since then.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Want to learn more about my artwork?

Sign up to receive my free newsletter, which will be delivered every two weeks right into your inbox. Stay up to date on my new paintings and upcoming art events, plus gain access to exclusive, subscriber-only content like discounts, free shipping offers, and fun freebies!

Sign up here! Your information will never be shared or sold, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Thank you for your support!

 

Want to submit a question for Ask the Artist?

Lots of people are curious about the arts and my unique style in particular. Not sure what inspires me or what my creative process looks like? Chances are, other people in our thriving online community have the same question as you! Submit an art-related question here for a future installment of Ask the Artist.  If your question is featured, you will receive a small gift in the mail. How easy is that?