In my youth playmates would urge me to road hockey or football but I'd stay in, completely absorbed in my grandfather's player piano. Although I avoided contact sports, table tennis was my favourite. Along the path, drawing and painting became my first loves. For the last twelve years, it's clear that I have reverted to my childhood pursuits: watercolours, drawing, and piano. In the process, elders get to hear their favourite melodies.
I left home at twenty-one and moved to a large city. It took me years to adjust, and it seems now that I was forever experiencing change. My first job was with CBC as a stores man in a film library where we shipped 16-millimetre film all over Canada. I don't imagine they have that department anymore now that they videotape everything. After I had left I did numerous odd jobs until in 1978, Canada Manpower introduced me to George Brown College's Sign Arts Program. The year's course gave me the personal resources and skills to follow a career lasting 25 years until 2004 when hand lettering had already discontinued being a viable trade. Many sign writers relied on their transferable skills to find new occupations. I was no exception.
A native of Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada, I attended Stamford Collegiate Vocational Institute, George Brown College (Sign Display Arts) and Niagara College (Interactive Multimedia Post Diploma)
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You might agree that connections between art and music make sense. I sometimes imagine what it would be like if an audience painted while I played their favorite songs or how we enjoy some jazz on the radio when a group of us artists get together. I am comfortable with words such as movement, balance, colour, theme, volume as universal jargon, in my space doing the things I do.
Drawing is the foundation for any creative work, but then it's tempting to become finicky about a project and risk losing subtleness. For example, I try to economize with 11" by 15" watercolours as Alwyn Crawshaw accomplished with his 30-minute projects. Too much time spent is like the feeling you get from practicing the same song all day long. Less is more with no turning back.
Anything can develop into a painting. I start by translating the shapes into values (lightness and darkness), and that process determines mainly the way the work communicates. In music, we use expression and tone which are painting's counterparts. Ultimately value is the critical part that inspires my efforts.
Like waves, everything moves about in constant flux. I see this, especially in the human figure. As form moves, the medium translates the rhythms to the drawing. I try not to “think” while I’m drawing - obsessing with specifics of inner structure's location, proportion, "fitting" the layout, or choosing a colour or tool. Commencing with the most dynamic areas while diverging from habitual drawing patterns the experience goes beyond form. This is often achieved by seizing on opportunities to follow a process with conscious awareness while applying various exercises that help sharpen observation skills.
Studio 201, Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Coronation Seniors Centre, Millennium Trail Manor, Valley Park Lodge, Greater Niagara General Hospital (volunteer), St. Catharines Art Association, Lifetime Financial Planning Group (sponsor), Visiting Angels Inc. (sponsor), Stamford Estates, Nancy Grampola (mezzo-soprano) Image: QMI Agency