For the next ten weekdays, I am going to post ten works a day on Instagram and Facebook and then, likely on the 11th weekday I will do one last post with some of the extra paintings I did. If this is your first time visiting this blog, you may not know that at some point during 2020, I realized that it was possible for me to paint 100 portraits before year’s end and that became my goal. Some of you may remember that I was having trouble keeping track, but I did count them all and apparently the final tally is 109. But once I look through them again, there may be a few I decide not to include. In other words, there are a few semi-successful experiments in there that I may or may not want to share publicly. So while I go through 2020’s output, I think I can assume that I will get a pretty good idea of what worked and what didn’t and hopefully that will help me get some hints at what to do and what not to do in the coming year. And of course, there will be experiments and likely some will work and some will not. We shall see…
So in this post, I will focus on the first six months of our terrible, yet productive (for me, at least) year. As you know, most of the work I did (but not quite all) is my Cubism inspired work that, at some point in 2020 I realized was reminiscent of George Condo’s concept of Psychological Cubism. This is the idea that Condo would paint all of the psychological states of his subject in one painting. Now I realize that most of my portraits don’t quite do that, but I do feel like there is a psychological aspect to the work and at times it gets close to Condo’s idea. And since most of it has a Pop Art angle, I’m starting to think of it as Pop Psychological Cubism (Psychological Pop-Cubism?).
Anyway, regardless of what I call it, I did a lot of portraits. At the beginning of the year I was doing paintings of Star Wars characters. Not because I was an enormous fan of Star Wars as a kid, but because Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon. The first painting I tried to do last year was a painting of Lando Calrissian and that one that didn’t really work. The first successful painting was of Rey Skywalker, although I did not share it publicly till last week. After doing a few Star Wars characters, I moved on to a subject that I’m just a fan of, Luther, as portrayed by the coolest living actor, Idris Elba. It’s still one of my favourites of the year and I highly recommend Luther if you’ve never seen it.
In those first few weeks, I also did a painting of Neil Young, just because he’s awesome and we Winnipeggers claim him as our own, even though he only lived here for four years. Early in the year, I also decided I might paint the characters from Schitt’s Creek, but I only ever did Moira. Some people have told me they don’t think it looks like Catherine O’hara, but I can’t not see her in that painting. I’m on the fence about whether it’s successful or not. From there I moved on to other cultural phenomena such as Breaking Bad. I also started to do animals and my own made up characters, once again inspired by George Condo, but not an attempt to directly copy him.
In may I was commissioned to do a painting of Alex DeLarge, the main character in A Clockwork Orange and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself! That one lead to my painting entitled Here’s Johnny, of Jack Torrence from the Shining. Those two are my runaway most successful posts on Instagram. I also started to do quick study paintings of political figures as well as more comedic characters, such as the main cast of Trailer Park boys as well as three paintings of Mike Myers in various roles that all look completely different and yet very much like Myers. That was around the time I shifted from using straight ahead portraits as my initial sketch to drawings that are more reminiscent of caricature. You can see all of this work this week on my instagram @chrissimoniteart. Next week I’ll talk about the second half of 2020. Happy New Year!