The very first colour medium that my great grandma taught me was chalk pastel. As I started using this medium more and more, I discovered different effects from using various surfaces and subject matter. It was a great medium for learning how to render soft fur and skin in portraits of people and pets. Using a surface such as Canson paper with a bit of tooth and grit allowed for more textured effects on subject matter such as landscapes but also required more spray fixative for hold and was especially fragile under glass framing. I discovered my favourite pastel surface in my 20’s that had the sturdiness of a board, good hold, smooth texture and full acid free archival properties. It was a framing product called suede matboard that came in a multitude of colours in large 30″ x 40″ boards. Below are 3 pastel samples as they evolved throughout the years using velour paper, canson paper and suede matboard. The first one was done over 20 years ago on dark brown velour paper.
Pastel on dark brown velour paper
Pastel on grey Canson paper
Pastel on grey Suede Matboard
My very first art show was in 1993 where my high school art teacher, Mr. John Waite, arranged a hallway display case at WL Seaton Secondary. The bottom 3 panels were my first acrylic paintings that I ever created and I sold every piece in that show for a whopping $20 each! That same year I entered those paintings and 15 other pieces into the Interior Provincial Exhibition. I received 15 first place red ribbons, 2 second place blue ribbons and 1 third place white ribbon along with 3 rosettes for “Most Points Teen Division”, Most Outstanding Artwork in Show” and “Most Points Overall.” I received $70 in prize winnings but even more exciting was my first big sale of $300 for the “Most Outstanding Artwork” winning piece…a pastel portrait of Chief Dan George.
Chief Dan George – Pastel, 1993. (Age 15)
My acrylic style began to evolve in the year 2000 with a trip to New York. I spent an entire week sketching in Central Park and completed a small acrylic series “Bridges of Central Park.”
In 2006, I registered for an art class with Victoria based artist Nicholas Pearce. Nick is an excellent instructor, grounding his students with the basics from start to finish using only Cad Red Light, Cad Red Dark, Pthalo Blue and White. Below are the two 24″ x 36″ pieces I created from his class.