Man with Pens & An Announcement

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I posted the above gallery on my art blog, a little while ago, and for reasons I fail to understand, that blog post failed to publicize on Facebook and other linked sites as it usually does. I’m posting this preview page of the gallery to alert those who aren’t subscribers to my other blog that I’ve completed that project, so if you’d like to see the completed image and photos of the process it took me to get there, just click on the image above which will take you there.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say that I’ll be taking on a small number of commissions for portraits of people and pets, working from photos in a similar approach (“black & white” graphite on paper). My technique is very meticulous and slow going, so I can only accept a handful of projects before the holidays, but would love to put my talents toward providing gifts to loved ones and friends. Send me a quick message if you’re interested and we’ll take it from there!


A Drawing Project

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I’ve just posted the gallery above, showing the progression from start to finish of my latest completed piece on my art blog, You are welcome to view the post (and larger images) and leave comments if you like by clicking here.

A drawing in 12 snapshots

This woman on the metro with her pensive demeanour really inspired me to draw her, and I was lucky enough to capture her expression on a candid shot I could work from, since drawing her right there and then wasn’t an option. The image above shows the work in progress. See the gallery for the final drawing right here:

Sitting on the balcony, drawing my dad.

Hope all you fathers out there have been enjoying your day. My dad and I sort of celebrated yesterday, when I invited him over to sit for me for some drawings on my balcony over homemade lemonade and cookies. Then we enjoyed a viewing of Les triplettes de Belleville, an awesome animated movie from 2003 which was an international co-production (France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Canada) and was nominated for a couple of Academy Awards. Having been thoroughly entertained and impresses with the level of artistry in this nearly wordless production,  I see what all the fuss was about.

The two adorable mutts in my dad’s arms are my Coco and his Lulu, a high energy girl who is sweet and calm once she’s settled down. In the background is a large drawing I did of my dad just minutes before I took this photo. You can view it, along with preliminary sketches I did, on my other blog,

A Tribute to Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud, Girl with Fig Leaf, 1948

Celebrated painter Lucian Freud (grandson of that other Freud), passed away last week at the ripe age of 88, leaving behind an astounding body of work (see the New York Times article here). I’m sad about his passing of course as I’m a big fan of his early drawings which I discovered through a great book I made sure to get my own copy of called Lucian Freud on Paper. I thought I’d do my own kind of tribute by posting an art project I did a while ago (still ongoing) which was inspired by a drawing of his called Girl with Leaves. Just visit here to see what it’s about.

Not That Kind Of Bi.

Girl with Pink Scarf

At some point in the past couple of days, Mimi decided she wanted to join Facebook and start making new friends. Who was I to stop her? As it is the poor thing only gets to hang out with Fritz and I and whatever guests happen to drop by my place every once in a while. Since I won’t let her go outside (for her own safety and my peace of mind), I figured Facebook was the next best option as a virtual playground. I’m not sure what she’s up to exactly, but all I do know is she’s been hogging the computer and that after only a couple of days she already has more friends that I do, among which (to name names) Christopher Hitchens. How she managed that, I guess I’ll never know for sure.

Mimi and I started a Facebook group called Not That Kind Of Bi. Essentially I’d like it to become a forum for people to exchange about mental health in general and bipolar disorder in particular in an open, relaxed setting. I want to do something about helping to lift the taboo because it concerns everyone in the end and Facebook is just the right kind of forum to do it in. If you’re not on Facebook yet, Not That Kind Of Bi. is yet another good reason to sign up.

Illustration by Smiler 2001(?)

Painting Noises

Vicky Tansey, a fascinating woman probably in her sixties and in much better shape than I am, is considered to be one of Canada’s leading pioneers in the art of improvisation as a dancer, singer and visual artist, and is also an accredited Tai Chi teacher and Buddhist practitioner, according to her bio on the Visual Arts Centre site. I discovered her great enthusiasm and intensely physical approach to painting and drawing today during the first in a series of eight classes titled Painting as Expression, which is geared toward “beginners, and those who want to begin again.”

To start, she had us twelve students—all women, save one brave man—sit in a circle to introduce ourselves and describe what had led us to choose this particular course out of the VAC’s vast curriculum. Next thing we knew, we were making marks on paper with our eyes closed while engaged in a series of contortions; moving our bodies around our limply held “broken” wrists; drawing, arm extended, from as far from our easels as possible while standing on tippy-toes; with charcoal sticks held on our chest—like knives in a stabbing motion—following movements she performed for us with complete abandon, then switching hands and doing it all over again. Vicky was clearly right in her element. The rest of us were predictably inhibited and feeling foolish at first, but these exercises got her point across: if you want to be expressive in your art, it’s got to come from your whole being and not just from an ideal in your head and a carefully held paintbrush positioned at a perfect angle. As it happens, just the type of exercise I had signed up for.

First painting exercise: cut out four pieces of “found” cardboard, cover with gesso, then make marks with charcoal on each “canvas”—again with eyes closed and using the techniques we’d just explored—all based on vocal noises she made—much to our great amusement. Then, using only gesso and a paintbrush, she left us to our own devices to paint over the drawing in order to create new images from the initial markings. Making pretty and colourful images was discouraged—the point was to explore gesture and learn to follow our instincts. Each student managed to end up with very personal interpretations and image styles, almost surprising given the limited resources we were allowed. Just in case you’re curious, here’s what I came up with:

Cartoon Face
“Cartoon Faces”


Yellow Submarine
“Yellow Submarine”

The Bull
“The Bull”

The names just describe the images that came to mind as I was working on them.