So as the title of this post indicates, I have managed to create 100 portraits in one year. In fact, I’ve done more than that, so in the new year on Instagram (and Facebook), I will post 10 works a day for my first 10 posts of the year. And it won’t actually be the 100 portraits I painted, it will be the 100 best portraits. That’s right, I’m slightly over 100 now and I’m not done yet, so there will be a few paintings that are excluded from these posts. And that’s okay with me because there are a few finished paintings that I’m not thrilled with. Let’s call them experiments with varying degrees of success.

So that brings me to a question that I’ve been pondering: what am I going to do next year? Chances are I won’t have as much time in the studio as I did this year. There are all kinds of reasons for this, but the main one is Covid-19. If the vaccine rolls out in a timely manner, there is a good chance I will spend a fair amount of time outside of the studio and even outside of Winnipeg. Of course, things may not be getting back to normal till the last quarter of the year and maybe not even then, so who the hell knows? But even if I end up in the studio as much as I did this year, I’m gonna have to change it up a bit. I’m not saying I won’t still do pop culture related portraits, but probably not two or three a week. It’s more likely that I’ll work on one of those each week along with something more involved that I will take who-knows-how long.

Paradise Tanager and Canada Warbler, both 11″ x 14″ oil on canvas, 2020.

So what the hell are you thinking, asks you? Well, I have a few ideas. First of all I have to make some work for an exhibition with the Frost Shield Kerfuffle Collective, which was supposed to take place next summer, but due to Covid has been postponed till 2022. That exhibition is entitled Damaged Landscapes and I have a few ideas for it. One of those is to do more paintings in my Psychological Cubist style of animals such as the birds, otter and gorilla I painted last year. I imagine that these paintings will be larger, possibly as large as 4 x 6 feet, which is as big a stretcher as I can get up my stairs into my home studio. It will be kind of like the animals are looking back at us and asking: “What the hell have you done?”. There is also the possibility of creating an animation, which is what I did for the Kerfuffle’s last show in 2019. One of these days I’ll share that on my website. If I do it again, it would significantly cut into the amount of painting work I get done and it will just depend on how I feel once I start making work for the show.

There is also talk about an exhibition of astronaut work with my friend and the newest member of the Frost Shield Kerfuffle Tim Brown. Tim and I were briefly in the same cohort at the University of Manitoba School of Art back in the mid 2000s, but we lost touch for a while. When we re-connected¬† a few years ago we were both surprised to learn that we had each been making work with Astronauts as a major component. We were doing this for completely different reasons, which I won’t go into now, but we’ve been talking about doing a duo exhibition of astronaut work and maybe that can happen in the coming year. If it does, I’ll likely make new work with cubist astronauts like this one of Buzz Aldrin, from 2019.

Buzz Aldrin, 11″ X 14″, oil on canvas, 2019.

This brings me back to last week’s post where I mentioned that I would talk about some of my favourite contemporary non-George Condo painters. I feel like when I get going on the work next year, I need to look at art more than I have been. So I’ll likely look at painters like John Currin, Chris Ofili, Janet Werner; Christian Rex Van Minnen and many more. I’ll look at most of these artists just to be inspired to keep going, not to try to emulate. If you know of any other painters I should look at, send me a message! Damn, I wish I could allow comments! grrrrrrr