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Inevitable: Elvis Squirrel in progress

It was inevitable.
I started this one tonight. Elvis Squirrel – is officially in progress. (4)

Happy New Year to you all.

Elvis Squirrel - in progress

Elvis Squirrel - in progress

Evening Golf Squirrel

Title: Evening Golf Squirrel | Medium: Acrylic and Oil (water based) on board | Size: 9 X 11 | Artist: Carollyne Yardley

Title: Evening Golf Squirrel | Medium: Acrylic and Oil (water based) on board | Size: 9 X 11 | Artist: Carollyne Yardley

I finished this 9 X 11 tonight. It went from blue sky to evening sky –  to blue sky to evening. Finally, the stars and the moon prevailed. Evening golf. I will post an animation next week of all the various skylines this little painting went through. Many layers.  I think it fits the season. Lots of colour and twinkling lights.

Golf Squirrel in progress

I’ve been working on this little one (9 X 11) for a few weeks now. It’s my first painting on board (wood). Totally different feeling. Canvas gives, board absorbs much differently. I like it.
Yes, I will get back to the Bagpiper Squirrel and finish that next. But in the meantime, here’s what’s brewing in the lab…

Art, Scotch, Obama, and Vado HD: The Streets of San Francisco

Our trip to San Francisco was great. We arrived via a direct flight from Victoria BC, (October 15, 2009), and stayed for almost a week. Our cab ride to the hotel indicated what we could expect from this culturally vibrant, and intelligent American city. As we arrived, an Oracle conference was just wrapping up, Obama was in town (we saw his motorcade), and Whisky Fest was about to begin.

San Francisco

San Francisco

We were in town for the San Francisco Whisky Fest presented by Malt Advocate Magazine, but we also wanted to check out many other sights.

Another purpose of the trip was to pick up my Vado 2nd generation video pocket camera, as I tried unsuccessfully to purchase the video camera from their website because they don’t ship to Canada.

This post will review our trip including: photographic highlights of art museums. In future, I will post video footage of the De Young Museum (works by Henri Matisse and a Frieda Kahlo), and an interview at Whisky Fest with Euan Mitchel from the Arran Distillery.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco CA, 94103
Sendak on Sendak

Presenting a major retrospective of over 100 works by Maurice Sendak, the famed author and illustrator of over 100 picture books including Where the Wild Things Are.


Sendak on Sendak

The exhibit showcased his small pen and pencil drawings on tracing paper, plus finished artworks in watercolour, short video interviews, notes, photographs, and inspirations. Sendak saw his inspirations in photographs either staged or from a spontaneous snap for his paintings. He spoke about his torment as a child over the Lindenbergh baby abduction, and said if he were teaching today, he would encourage students, “not to have a style, so as not to get boxed in.”

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street

Our visit to the SFMOMA got me very excited because they allowed photographs. I took several and have posted highlights here.

Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881-1973 les femmes d’Alger (women of Algiers) 1955 Oil on canvas

Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881-1973 les femmes d’Alger (women of Algiers) 1955 Oil on canvas

Jackson Pollack, American, 1912-1956, Guardians of the Secret 1943 Oil on canvas

Jackson Pollack, American, 1912-1956, Guardians of the Secret 1943 Oil on canvas

Victor Brauner, Romanian, 1903-1966, Fascination 1939

Victor Brauner, Romanian, 1903-1966, Fascination 1939

Roy Lichentenstein, American, 1923-1997 Roman Cathedral Set V 1969 Oil and Magna in Canvas

Roy Lichentenstein, American, 1923-1997 Roman Cathedral Set V 1969 Oil and Magna in Canvas

Special Exhibit at SFMOMA
Richard Avedon, Photographer

All black and white photography, subjects set against white wall. I never realized how violent the attack on Andy Warhol was until I saw this photograph of his body by Avedon. Andy and Richard knew each other well, and helped inspire each others work.

Next stop was the De Young Museum in the Golden Gate park (across the street is the California Academy of Science). The building with the living roof gives me ideas for a painting (think creature bumps).


Jess (Burgess Franklin Collins), 1923-2004 The Eamored Mage, Translation #6

Jess (Burgess Franklin Collins), 1923-2004 The Eamored Mage, Translation #6, Oil on canvas mounted on wood

Disney Family Museum

Overall a great exhibit on the life and empire building of Walt Disney.

The early years, his creation of Mickey Mouse, hiring of illustration artists, early animation techniques, animators, creation of characters, stories, sound addition, invention of the storyboard, cel painting, working with conductors and musicians, along with the stable of animals kept on site to design, photograph and draw from. Plus. advanced film production of the day, up until the death of Walt Disney. No photographs were allowed.

Other highlights of the trip included Lombard Street, Fishermans Wharf, Alcatraz, The Elvis Zoltar,

The Museum of Craft and Folk Art

It’s very small one room exhibit, but worth the 5 bucks. I enjoyed it because my real job is working in the IT industry. There was an exhibit on technology and sewing, so one artist had sewn the name of the colour in the colour with the hexadecimal code underneath (HTML). A bag featured <strong>Peace<strong>, which is of course how you make text bold on a web page. The final piece was called HTML patchwork 2007 made of embroidered silk fabric and thread made by less than 100 artists from the Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. It makes up the hexadecimal colour wheel, very much like what I use in Photoshop when I choose what colours for a web template design I’m working on.

Yerba Buena Center of the Arts

Highlight was the exhibit Wallworks.

Finally, what I liked about San Francisco is that it is a big city with small community care. One example is this green space nestled in between the skyscrapers downtown.

What I learned during this trip:

1) Norman Rockwell staged photographs and produced paintings from them (Vanity Fair Magazine article titled, Norman Rockwell’s American Dream, pgs 190-204, November 2009) – read on airplane.

2) Sendak took photographs or hired a photographer (labeled in the display) and used as models for his illustrations and artwork

3) Walt Disney Studios also staged photographs and painted characters and scenes from photos.

4)  My thought process is not unlike the minds of the great artists I admire. I’ve been honoured with the opportunity of using photographs by my longtime friend and award winning photographer, Jen Steele, for my artwork.

Victoria Whisky Festival: Meet two fans of Victoria’s most intoxicating festival

For Love of Whisky

Meet two fans of Victoria’s most intoxicating festival

Every January several hundred people converge on the Hotel Grand Pacific for the annual Victoria Whisky Festival (VWF), which almost since its inception four years ago has been acclaimed as one of the premier whisky events in North America. With its mix of intimate, daytime master classes and the large public tasting on Saturday night, the festival provides a unique opportunity to learn from experts while sampling over a hundred different whiskies—including many that are never imported for sale in this province. Such is the reputation of the VWF—and the opportunity to dip one’s beak into unusual bottlings by esteemed Scottish distilleries such as Lagavulin, Balvenie and Bruichladdich—that there are always several dozen out-of-town attendees, with some arriving from as far away as Calgary, Toronto and even Chicago. Not surprisingly, local libationers who know their Glenfiddich from their Glenmorangie waste no time buying tickets to an event that always sells out in just a few days.

Carollyne Yardley “noses” a yummy single malt at a scotch tasting in her own backyard

Carollyne Yardley “noses” a yummy single malt at a scotch tasting in her own backyard

One such is Steve Werner, a senior vice president and investment advisor with a brokerage house in Victoria. A fan of scotch whisky for 10 years, Werner got his start after reading an article in Canadian Business that highlighted Laphroaig, a celebrated—some would say notorious—scotch from the Isle of Islay that proudly reeks of peat smoke, iodine and other jarring flavours. “I bought a bottle and the first sip was revolting . . . my wife wouldn’t let me keep an open glass in the same room,” laughs Werner. Finding himself stuck with the expensive tipple, the neophyte persevered—and by the end of a month came to enjoy the unruly but oddly compelling libation. “I still don’t like the heaviest of those Islay malts, but I now sip scotch to the exclusion of nearly everything else,” he says. His favourites include Scapa, Highland Park, and Speyside-area whiskies such as Aberlour and Macallan. “What I really like are the different flavours and complexities. It’s not that I enjoy this one over that one so much as I appreciate the contrast.”

Werner became such a fan of so-called single malts—unblended whiskies made exclusively from malted barley—that he stood in line for over a year in order to join the Victoria Single Malt Club, whose members meet monthly to sample and discuss the merits of two new whiskies specially imported for the occasion. And given that the people who run the Single Malt Club were the same ones who started the VWF, it was only natural for Werner to embrace the event. Ever since the inaugural festival, his game plan has involved signing up for a couple of the afternoon master classes (“Getting a lecture from someone who really knows his stuff—you learn a lot”), then fortifying himself with a substantial dinner before returning for the evening’s consumer tasting. “The festival is amazingly well organized, the food is very good, it’s a wonderful social atmosphere, plus they provide rides home,” he declares.

Possibly an even bigger fan is Carollyne Yardley, a long-time whisky lover who is well respected within the scotch community for her discerning palate (or maybe it’s just all the practice she gets—Yardley belongs to both of Victoria’s single malt clubs, and has made it to whisky festivals in Seattle, Calgary, Toronto and Paris). “What Victoria has is really a boutique festival,” she explains. “There aren’t 2,000 people piling into one huge room, it’s less of a rush at each table, and many of the locals are discriminating drinkers who take the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what they are sipping.”

Yardley is co-founder of Star Global, an IT company that specializes in web application and design. After achieving international success in a male-dominated industry, it was child’s play for the vivacious Yardley to belly up to the bar next to all those bearded blokes in tweeds and confidently order a Talisker . . . or something truly exotic, like Amrut from India. “Whisky is no longer an old boys club,” she asserts. “There are a lot of women in both of Victoria’s scotch clubs, and our festival attracts more women than most such events.”

Yardley has never been accused of being shy and it’s easy to imagine her sporting a tartan party hat at the festival. In fact she is (mostly) all business. Other than having a sip to help with her extensive taking of tasting notes, she dumps out all that gorgeous whisky into the silver spit buckets. It’s only towards the end of the night that she lets loose, revisiting her three favourites and having a full pour of each. “The companies make a point of bringing some new whiskies each year,” she adds. “Plus you often get to speak with the master distiller and other people who actually put their blood, sweat and toil into making these great libations.”

Although the occasional person (as in, silly young male) comes to grief at the event, Werner is part of the vast majority who drink for flavour, fun and research (after a quick taste he pours much of each glass into the spit bucket). “If you were to get drunk at something like the festival—and it wouldn’t be hard—you’d miss most of the pleasure,” he cautions with a smile. M

The Victoria Whisky Festival runs from January 22-24. Tickets go on sale November 7 at the Strath Ale, Wine and Spirit Merchants, 919 Douglas Street.

New Paintings by David Halliwell at Apes Art Inc

Three new paintings are now available by artist David Halliwell, including this one called, Save a Little Room for Me.
Check out his paintings at Apes Art Inc.


Victoria Comic Book Industry Convention October 31 and November 1, 2009

Location: Harbour Towers Hotel
Victoria Comic Book Industry Convention October 31 and November 1, 2009
Here’s a list of guests from the Comic Industry.

CACSP Saanich Penninsula Artist Studio Tour (Fall) Victoria, BC

The Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula is getting ready for the Saanich Peninsula Artists Studio Tour (Fall).

Over 130 artists. 11-4pm, October 24-25, 2009.

Brochure and map available from the links below and also at local area businesses.

Here’s a link to their website and a direct link to their printable fall brochure and map.

Can I Draw you a Bath, View Art Gallery, Victoria, BC

An article about this Victoria art show caught my eye in Focus Magazine. It’s called, Can I Draw you a Bath, currently on show at the View Art Gallery. Primarily I noticed the blurb because it mentioned Publications such as 3X3 and Juxtapoz having helped broaden our view on illustration. I had just finished reading my first copy Juxtapoz Magazine (love at first sight), and was therefore intrigued.

The View Art Gallery is putting on a show with three artists who use concepts and elements of illustration as a way of transferring information in their work. It looks like these artists have a sense of humour too; I like that.

With Illustrators Dave Barnes, Keegan Wenkman and Allen Brewer.

Showing: October 02-31, 2009
Can I Draw You a Bath
View Art Gallery
104-860 View Street
tel: 250-213-1162

Wee Rock Whisky Club – Peat at Pete’s Whisky Tasting

It’s taken me a while to post these notes (Jan 2010), but I’m back dating.
This was a blind tasting of peaty whisky held at Pete’s house, so while I’ve noted the name of the whisky at the top of the notes,
I did my tasting  notes before I knew what they were. BIG NOTE: Almond Meal Chocolate Spinkle Cookies made by ROB were very, very, very, very good.

1) Ledaig
peaty, mild, base “like Glenmorangie”, earthy, could be a blend, real peat, industrial, pepper, plasticine on the nose, pepper ending, first make.
2) Highland Park Alchemist
apple nose, malty taste with mild taste, licorise, pepper, mild finish, a little oily coating on the tongue.
3) Douglas Laing Ardbeg 10 Old Malt Cask 338 bottles
fudge, caramel, salty
4) Ben Riach Aramaticus Fumosis 12 yo
pop taste, cream soda, medicinal, crofters fire
finished in dark rum
5) Bruicladdich 303
Butter, banana nose, smoke, not super hot at the end, wet wood, smoke cedar
6) Benromach peat smoke
fruity nose, apple/pear/grape/floral, dryer lint, purple, bubblegum
7) Cadenhead
meaty nose, spicey nose, Ardbegian
8) Laphroaig Premier Barrel
spicey, colonge, cheesy
9) Connemara (Irish)
10) PC7
BBQ, and cigarettes on the nose
Butter, cabinet, sweet, light, light Canadian Whisky