Friday, December 16, 2011

Painting in the Cold

In his twice-weekly newsletter, The Painter's Keys, Robert Genn writes a practical and humourous response to one of his readers queries about art in the great outdoors...when it's cold enough to see your breath and your fingertips turn blue.

Shades of what artists from Patrick John Mills Gallery went through earlier this week.

Here are Robert Genn's comments:

Yesterday, Richard Woods of Sparks, Nevada wrote, "I'm just heading out painting at a location where snow is a good possibility. The forecast calls for a high of 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Painting in cold weather is a pain for me. I see pictures of you working while sitting in snow banks and at high elevations with snow coming down. How do you do it?"

Thanks, Richard. With forethought. The main problems are wind, precipitation, and the temperature of things.

Wind: You may need to sacrifice a really good view to put your back to the wind. I often paint in a folding chair, so an extra chunk of foam on the chair-back is useful. Also, one of those fur-lined helmets with the flaps helps prevent an early loss of ears. Parkas or hoodies tend to interfere with head movements and the business of looking over your shoulder for bears. Fur-lined hiking boots are a must. "There is no bad weather for painting en plein air," says Barbara Jablonski, "only bad painting clothes."

Teach yourself to paint using leather or wool gloves. I used to cut the fingertips off, but it's only necessary if you're doing finicky work. Regular gloves or even mitts can help make your stroke broader and fresher.

Precipitation: Whether straight down or sideways, snow, sleet or rain are fun-spoilers. Wet snow falling and puddling on acrylic or watercolour has only limited creative value. Oil and water, of course, don't mix. "Best Brellas" are simply brilliant on calm, sunny days--but in a gale they can move you and your work a mile down the valley.

Warmth: "Scottish antifreeze" from a small flask is best. Cocoa from a thermos works but is less fun. Some ladies of my acquaintance put chemical warmers called "Heatmax Hot Hands" and "Heatmax Toasti Toes" into needy areas. I like to point out that Scotch taken orally in moderation warms all over.

Some painters report the main benefit of sub-zero painting is the achievement of speed. But there's also a wonderful feeling of smugness that slips over you like a soft woollen blanket. Whether an island unto yourself or together with a gaggle of good companions, you're adrift and apart from a madding world and in soft communion with wonder.

Best regards,


PS: "Working outdoors puts you in direct contact with the life force, not just the light and the landscape, but also the vitality of the world." (George Carlson)

Esoterica: Acrylics and watercolours freeze easily and take on an unpleasant granular texture which stays on after they thaw. Keep all your paints, including oils, in a warm part of the car and don't leave them in a car overnight. Liquids like acrylic medium and linseed oil should be near to room temperature for best viscosity. The Russians have pioneered thinning watercolours with vodka. When ice begins to form on the palette it may seem like the time to reconsider chartered accountancy, but really it's just time for the lodge. Tomorrow will be another day.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

ARTIST P.GREENE: At a loss of voice, through visual persuasion.

Assistance:  I'm at a loss when it comes to my artistic voice, I feel that it is lost from the isolation which seems to be my life as of late...

Art Whore

A lot can be learnt from a crack head whore.

They have no shame.... they have addiction... and they will do anything to get more.

I do not do drugs. I am an artist. I am addicted to paint. I am addicted to creativity. I am addicted to Art. I need Art. I Love Art.

My self promotion is very aggressive. And it works. 19 years of hardcore intense hard work. My victory is simple. I get to live my life as a dream. Lots of Paint.

Much to my shock... Sean McKibbon. Managing Editor, Metro News Ottawa showed up... and the next day the above was printed in the Metro Newspaper. Thank you to Metro. You Rock.

My motivation for going out and painting downtown on location is simple. To paint. The new series of paintings that I have been working on Summer Series. I wished to challenge myself. To paint downtown and be surrounded by all the buildings.

The glass, the lines, the spaces, the structures, modern living... it really is inspiring.

I have been wishing to and paint at Bank and Laurier Ave for about 5 months. It took me this long to creatively settle my mind into the format of the location.

Carmela Marrese, Will Hrynewich, and Shannon Lee all showed up on location to paint together. It was fun. The creative energy was all shared.

Carmela and I decided to go out painting together weeks before. The night before my mind blinked and I decided to create a Facebook Event page and invite 500 people (last minute) to join me painting.

It is my intention to start inviting artists to all paint together outside on location. It is fun. We need more art. Artists need to get out of their studio... Freedom.

Be an artist... be a whore... self promote... inspire your life.

live dreams... never sleep


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Painting en plein air

Carmela's paintings drying.
You'd have thought we were in Florida.
Four intrepid souls painted for hours at the corner of Bank St. and Laurier Ave. today, giving a heads-up to Ottawans that there will be one helluva pARTy, that is, a party which includes art, music, poetry, dance, food and libation this coming Saturday at the Patrick John Mills Gallery. $15.00 for all of this. Please see the gallery website and click on BLOG for more details or go to the gallery page on Facebook.

As was commented to one of today's artists, Carmela, one of the great things about painting outside in winter is that paint really sticks, uh, freezes to the canvas, it doesn't drip, because it's frozen in place, and doesn't smear, ditto. Brushes do not have to be cleaned until one gets home because the paint doesn't harden, it just freezes and then thaws once indoors and then they can be easily cleaned. Dust, lint, leaves and whatever other detritus kicked up by passing cars and pedestrians does not ruin one's oeuvre because nothing sticks to frozen paint.

Wet canvases loaded in the back of a station wagon for trip back to the gallery.
It really is the most perfect of conditions!

Some of the materials used by Patrick.

Car roof-top holds plein air studio items.
Clever use of shopping buggy as easel.

No sitting. Wet paint(ings)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kill an Artist + Constant Harassment = Motivation ====> Freedom

Since I purchased this property four and a half years ago.... it has not been without its difficulties. Never did I anticipate that turning my home into an art gallery would be so difficult. Years of constant harassment from unknown individuals calling Bylaw, calling the City of Ottawa, calling the Police, calling the media, calling everyone to shut me down.

Early this week I finally had a blue sky. Sunshine... Great News.

Let me tell the story....

In the last several years I have applied many times for Special Occasion Permits (SOP) .. no problems.

But last month I went to the LCBO for an SOP. I applied three times.... Declined... all three applications refused. FUCK ME.

I was pretty stressed. How could I have an Art Opening and not be allowed to give out a glass of wine without the fear of breaking the law and getting massive fines. How could I rent out my space for a wedding, party, event with out there being alcohol. This was a nightmare for me.

Late Sunday night I emailed my MPP Yasir Naqvi. First thing I called Andrew Milton at the local Police Department. I called The Licensing & Registration Branch of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario... head office in Toronto, and I called one of the head liquor inspectors over to my home for talk and tea.

Andrew Roundtree (liquor inspector) came to my home. I offered him tea. I also offered him a beer. Just to smile. We talked for an hour. He was very kind. Good guy. He took two pages of notes. I expressed my vision, my wishes, the parties, the kegs, posters... everything. No limits. Everything on the table.

A week later... 8:02 am. Monday morning. I get a phone call from the head supervision in Toronto of the Licensing & Registration Branch of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. I have call display... So I was very nervous. To be honest I was shitting my pants.

Before I picked up the phone... I thought... am I going to have to hire a lawyer... how many months will this bullshit drag out....

So I took a deep breath. I answered the phone. "Hello, Good Morning!"

Well to cut to the bottom line result... Freedom. My HOME is My HOME. = My RULES. I do not even need a permit. I am allowed to invite anyone and everyone. I do not even have to go to the LCBO to even apply for a permit. I can host weddings... open bar. I can have massive art openings, invite the world to celebrate. Total Freedom. As long as I do not sell the beer. No cash bar. Freedom.

You cannot imagine just how much this excites me. I have been in a state if euphoria for days.

As long as I keep the party inside my home or in my backyard. And I respect the local Bylaw. I am good to FUCKING PARTY.

Over the past years
I have been contacted by:
- Bylaw (many times)
- Health inspectors
- Electrical Safety authority inspectors
- Building Services
- Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (Property Taxes)
- Canada Revenue Agency. Two officers came to my home to do a field trip. As part of their comprehensive audit.
- Head office of the LCBO in Toronto
- Liquor Inspectors
- Local police officers (two under cover officers).
I do not believe this is simply bad luck. But rather I have a red target on my back. Dealing with all these above bodies has resulted and continues to result in a great deal of time, stress, and expense.
It has taken years to finally get the correct information from the Liquor Inspectors, Bylaw, and the rest of the above list. But finally ... Freedom.


Why do you show that SHIT?

Running a gallery certainly has its moments. I am blessed with the bluntness of some of the visitors to the gallery.

Sometimes they shock me. As I am sure I shock them with some of the art on display.


What makes ART good and what makes it shit?

Recently an individual came to the gallery and had some pretty heavy comments. Why do you show that SHIT! These comments are expressed more than once. And they are directed to every artist at some moment in time. Art does that. For whatever reason.

OK. Deep breath. Inner Peace. Let me talk about Shannon Lee's Key Board Art. Not wishing to single her work out. As I have more negative comments about other works in the gallery more than her work.

How do I show her work. What is it about Shannon's Keyboards that inspire me? So much so that I spend my days showing them in my gallery.

As I type this blog. As I sit in front of my computer, as I write emails to friends and family. I reflect. We surf the internet... trying to find something... most of us watch porn, do work, job, look at images, chat to our friends... the keyboard is something we all touch.

The keyboard is more than a keyboard. It is something we all interact with. We are all connected to this device. It is something that we use. Abuse and eventually dispose of. Millions of keyboards are dumped. Old. Not Fresh. They are in every landfill everywhere. We have a real love/hate relationship with our keyboards.

When I first was presented with Shannon's art work. I held back. I was not really jumping over the moon. I did not know what to make of them.

Over the last many months, I have come to understand and appreciate them more each day. Shannon manages to explore this device from so many angles: Humour, Joy, LOVE, Anger, Frustration, Insight, Fun, Rage... She has so much joy and creativity and it is explored when she interacts with these objects. Her creativity continues to be honest, pure, generous, ugly, beautiful, everything all the time. Her work always tickles my fingers when I type....on my keyboard.

with love

Wake Up - Mathieu Laca - Time to Paint

Owning and Running a gallery is a joy.

I live and work at home. The gallery is filled with paintings. Every wall has art. It is great. Currently the gallery is filled with approximately 500 plus paintings.

To live with so many paintings is pretty intense. Mathieu Laca's art is always in the gallery. So I constantly have his paintings around me.

In the last weeks I have reclaimed my home and started to paint in my kitchen. I leave some paints, palette, brushes out... Time to Paint. It is fun. I simply love painting.

Mathieu Laca's art work has been in my home / gallery almost every month for a year. I really feel so blessed to be surrounded by his work. So to see so many paintings with the penis in them... well I feel inspired. As Tom Cruise would say... "Respect the COCK!" So I decided to include a penis in a painting I completed last night. Why not. Life is Joy. Life is Fun. Laca is Art. And his paintings inspire me. Not because they have include the penis. But because they are freedom of expression. They do not ask you for permission. They are what they are. Bold and extremely well painted.

Freedom of Expression.

Thank you Laca for your Art.