Good Dog!

Joey, oil on canvas 16" x 20", 2010
This was a stealth portrait commissioned as a surprise birthday present. The secret remained so until the big unveiling (best birthday gift ever, so I'm told and was thrilled to hear), and now I'm free to post the painting without giving anything away.

Joey, detail

Joey is a handsome dog and I really enjoyed catching his characteristic pose--big grin, bright eyes, ears cocked, ready to play--in this traditional portrait.  I believe that animals have personalities as distinct as people's and can make great portrait subjects.


Portraiture Exhibition Opens Saturday

I have a couple of pieces in a new group portrait exhibition opening this Saturday at the Harbinger gallery in Waterloo. Both are from my ongoing series At the Feet of the Master(ed). One, What's Mine is Yours, is featured on the invitation, above. Three of the four artists in the show--Allan Harding MacKay, Isabella Stefanescu, and I--were featured in the first season of Star Portraits. Karen Fletcher, a figurative sculptor, adds another dimension to the show.

My new painting, If you remind me of my dog... I'm publishing here for the first time.

If you remind me of my dog... oil on panel, 30" x 40", 2010

As I was composing the painting, I kept humming the refrain from Jane Siberry's song, Everything reminds me of my dog: "If you remind me of my dog, we'll probably git along, little doggie, git along git along little doggie..." Do you know it? Anyway, I couldn't shake it, so I wrote to Jane Siberry requesting permission to use her lyrics in the painting, and, gracious woman that she is, she wrote back within the hour granting permission. I worked with Jane's ethereal voice in my head for the duration of the painting. Jane Siberry is on a salon world tour performing intimate concerts in the homes of her fans. How lovely it would be to share a small space with Jane's bright, funny, whimsical personality and uniquely haunting voice. To read more about her tour, visit her website:

For more information about the exhibition, please visit the Harbinger Gallery website.

Drawing at the Museum

Stork (detail), gouache and graphite in Moleskine
I spent an entire day at the ROM this week. The only problem was my compulsive (and futile) attempt to see everything before I settled into drawing. The result is far fewer sketches than I'd hoped to produce. In the end, I drew mainly in the dinosaur and natural history areas. The ROM has a truly wonderful exhibition of birds in flight. I could spend a whole day in that room alone. I'm already hatching plans to do just that.

Magpies, graphite in Moleskine

Ostrich, graphite in Moleskine

Tern and Stork, graphite and gouache in Moleskine
Triceratops horridus, graphite in Moleskine

Mosasaur, graphite in Moleskine



Whitefish, gutted and scaled, oil on canvas board, 8" x 8"

This whitefish, from Lake Huron, was the "rich fish" for our own version of bouillabaisse. It always feels a little different to buy the whole fish and have to confront the elegance of the complete animal --before cleaning, scaling, and chopping it up for the pot.


Happy New(ish) Year

Persimmons and Rambutans, oil on linen stretched over panel, 11" x 14"

This painting appeared, slightly cropped, on my Christmas card this year. Like last year, (that entry here), I was tempted to document the almost outrageous abundance and variety of food at this time of year. Here, in a medium sized city, in the dark and cold midwinter, I can walk downtown and return home with almost any fruit or vegetable I can name. So much for the seasonal and local mantra I find so easy to adopt in the summer. I'm not complaining--five months of root vegetables and increasingly soft apples is not a past I want to return to, but I wonder how long it can all last. I wish us all continued abundance (you choose the form) in the New Year.