My regular followers on Facebook and Instagram have noticed that on occasion I post a painting of a bird or some kind of non-human animal. I really enjoy making these paintings with the Condo inspired, Picasso-influenced style that I have become obsessed with. I feel like there’s an awful lot I can do with them too. In some ways they feel a little tentative, but that is calculated to be honest. In the case of these paintings, I wanted them to look realistic at first glance, but as you look a little harder you start to notice that something is different about them. The suddenly you see that aforementioned Picasso thing that’s going on. I could make them much more weird and Picasso-like, but I’ll probably continue to paint them in this way for a while. I don’t know how long that will last, but since I am working as intuitively as I can, I guess I can say I’ll know when to start pushing it in other directions–well–intuitively.

Of course in my mind I do wonder if I should continue to do these paintings. The thing is, the only real metrics I have to measure how popular these are, are sales and how well they do on Instagram and Facebook. And well, I’ve only posted four of them so far, so it’s hard to have any real idea about either of those things. But I will say this, so far they’ve done okay on Instagram and my brother owns the two birds. Having said that, there just has to be more people like my brother out there who would appreciate this work, and let’s face it, not everyone wants their favourite pop-culture characters hanging in their house. Not even if they were painted in a kind of normal way, let alone they way I paint them! So there are definitely reasons to continue working on these. And in fact I have one on my easel right now, thought it may never see the light of day, but that’s another story.

I should also let you know that I have another really good reason to keep at it. Next summer, I am supposed to be participating in an exhibition entitled: Damaged Landscapes with the Frost Shield Kerfuffle Collective that will be taking place at the Glesby Portage & District Arts Centre in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Now due to COVID, I understand that there’s a chance the exhibition will be delayed. We shall see. Anyway, you’ve probably noticed that I’m not really a landscape painter. Not that one has to be a landscape painter to participate in such a show, but it wouldn’t hurt. And I’m sure many of the other nine members of the collective will proceed with loose interpretations of what a landscape can be, but I don’t really know for sure. And this is my blog, so back to me!

Shapeshifting Otter, Paradise Tanager, Canada Warbler and Koko, all oil on canvas, 2020

The one thing that all animals have in common is that their existence is tied to some kind of landscape (duh!). Even us human animals for that matter and even if that landscape is what we might call a ‘cityscape.’ But as I usually do in my blog, I digress. Here’s what I’m thinking for my contribution to this exhibition: I’ll paint more animals! The more I look at the four or five paintings I’ve done so far, the more I think that maybe the weirdness, that slow burn thing I mentioned earlier is an interpretation of how animals in the wild, or even in captivity are reacting to what humans are doing to their environment. I wasn’t planning to make work about Global Warming, or other human-caused catastrophes, because that work is being done by a lot of artists in many fields. Having said that, I think that maybe being human at this time in history it may be unavoidable to at least touch on it even if indirectly. That is unless you happen to be one of those–let’s call them–’Trumpy’ people who are in complete denial of science.

So now that I’ve decided that I will continue to make a series of animal paintings, are there any you’d like to see? Send me a message as I still can’t allow comments on this blog. Grrrr. Hey, I just made an animal noise! Seems appropriate…