The noise of Canada has been filling my mind, and flooding into my subconscious. For the past few months I have been painting the details of Canada in a series called 'The 99'. A series of small one foot square paintings on canvas, this series focuses on the details of Canada, and more recently, natures iconography in Canada. Canadian contemporary realism. From White Hat stares, to contemplating Cowboys. Grizzly, Black, Polar, and even Kermode Spirit Bears. Paintings of regal horned wildlife of the Canadian Wilderness on cherry wood veneer. It seems that painting this series has lead me to expressing these thoughts, as a much larger whole, on a very large canvas.
Over the past five weeks and approximately 150 hours of painting, I finished this new large format painting, inspired by the echo of that noise. Featuring our provincial flowers and Canadian national symbolism. Maple leaves, provincial bird the blue jay, and a stag deer whispering. This is 'Canadian Subconscious', can you hear my echo, Canada? Nature is speaking, are we listening?
THE PROCESS: I decided to experiment with recording the process of this painting from a couple vantage points using different kinds of cameras. This perspective is an interesting one and was captured by a tiny camera, called the Narrative Clip, that spits out 5MB photos of your day, depending on where it is clipped. I attached the camera to the top edge of my canvas looking down across the canvas. The interesting thing about recording my day from this perspective is, it allows me to view my technique much like a re-play for an athlete after a game. It provides valuable information that I would not otherwise have working on my own in my studio. As you can see in the picture here, I am working on a tight area and adding final line details. Often when working on a large canvas, especially in oils which stay wet longer, an artist will use a Mahl stick or a bridge of some sort to help balance their hand and keep it steady. I paint with acrylics, which dry much faster. I also use my fingers as balance points, as you can see in this photo. I come within a hair of touching the canvas, but not quite. My outstretched pinky is enough to give the balance I require, at this point in my career. I am sure as the hands get shakier I will come to rely on some sort of aid, but for now this offers a window into my 'pinky' technique.
I also captured my progress on this painting using my Nikon D810 digital SLR. I set up a tripod behind my studio space, and set the camera to capture a time-lapse. One photo every 30 seconds over 150 hours of painting. It allows me a unique opportunity to see how I work and offers a window into my studio for art lovers around the world. The studio is open, come on in...