The group show at Pentimento Gallery at 1164 Queen St. East in Toronto has been extended until June 9th. This show includes some pieces by myself, as well as from artists G. Elliott Simpson, Stev'nn Hall, Troy Brooks, Kirsten Johnson and others. C'mon down - the weather's great! - and check it out.
Pieces of mine showing include "Angel No", "Roadside", and "The Miracle Of The Bread."
The painting commission for the Lobby of the 40 Homewood Ave condo building in Toronto was completed on time, and is now hung up for all to see.
The painting is called "This Is Helena". She's 7 feet by 4 feet, all oils on a traditional gesso and canvas base.
It's good carefully breaking your own rules as you go along. I never used to do commissions, so that's been a challenging one to break, but rewarding. I vowed when I was younger (under pressure from my family to paint 'nice things') that I would never paint flowers. Well, both these personal transgressions have turned out merrily, and have opened doors as well.
It's a wonderful feeling to be able to take it easy for a few months, and that's just what I'm doing this summer. If you've seen the blog previous to this posting, you'll know that I'm taking a bit of a holiday after seventeen years of painting full-time, year-round. It's been an unusually long and warm summer here in Toronto (though rather gloriously so!)...and it's a grand treat to be able to enjoy it. Up until now, almost all my summers have been spent largely indoors getting ready for fall shows.
That said, once the fall does arrive, I plan to begin setting up a new body of work. We shall see how it goes! So, I'll keep you posted about that.
I've closed up shop with Gallery La Petite Mort in Ottawa. I've had a good time with Guy Berube who runs it - nearly four years - but I've felt it's time for a change. Thanks to Guy and the crew at LPM for all their work on my behalf.
For the forseeable future, work will be available for sale from myself, directly. Works from the past will be available, and some new ones, as well. For a list of them, you can check my website; www.jameshuctwith.ca
The need to change the way I work has been gathering steam for a few years now.
Ever since I started painting for shows back in 1995, I've always felt a bit behind the eight ball. I've been generally working towards shows ever since, but without a cushion of work to fall back on, I've always felt a bit behind. In the last few years it's been becoming clear to me that I needed to reverse the order: get work together first - work done personally at my own discretion - and then look for venues.
So - it's a strange thing to be without full-time galleries for the first time in seventeen years, but it's an exciting time as well. Time to regroup, rethink, savour and prepare for some new adventures.
Well, it's been awhile, hasn't it? It hasn't been quiet here at the studio, though. There have been lots of good developments.
I've let my time with KWT contemporary, in Toronto, go bye-the-bye. They're going through some changes, and I decided that this would be a good time to not overextend myself. So, although they had some work of mine, it's been returned to me. It was wonderful dealing with them though - we had a great time! So, thanks, KWT and all the best!
I'm working away on new personal work. Inner-Bible stories, mythological-mystic figures and jumbly stuff. I'll keep you posted. Say a prayer!
Aside from that, I'm doing some portrait commissions, which are really tough, odd and rewarding. I used to swear I'd never do them, because I was afraid I would never get them right. Now I think they turn out to be lovely - but it is a long haul to do them, because they demand so much consideration. The current one I'm working on has taken three or four times longer than I thought it would. Now, it's turned out really well in my opinion...but it can be a bit nerve-racking at times, living with something uncertain that others are depending on you for. Something quite intimate and lasting. So there are good days and bad weeks...but it certainly is rewarding to see something unexpectedly good come through.
Hand detail from portrait in progress.
Things keep getting quieter and quieter, by design. More and more I want to sit with the art and work on it, myself - free from deadlines and business. There's a lot I want to learn and enjoy - and that's stuff you can only do by doing the work attentively. It's no consolation to know you can paint a painting, and miss out on it, even as you work on it. That's working on automatic, or working under pressure. I think it's time for a re-immersion, a re-visioning and some new, lovely approaches.
Well, I'm still working away at some portrait commissions. The one I'm trying to finish first is being particularly resistant to letting me know what to do with it. I started it, then stalled, was sure I could finish it, then wasn't sure if I ever would. Then it sat on and off my easel for a few weeks, while I resented feeling incompetent and slow about it. Then, suddenly, I figured out the background (which always influences the face out front. It's an old artist's saying - if you're having trouble with the figure, look at the background). Then, the background stalled on me again. What's up? Maybe it's the winter blues. Anyway, I've got to finish it up and do it well, which is a bit like demanding a rope be pushable. Happily, the next few steps with it should be fairly straightforward.
I'm doing a lot of sketching. I have, possibly, the worst 'shorthand' in the world for sketching, which means that the meanings I have jotted down in near-abstract line form are near-unreadable to me after the fact. I should get back to life drawing more often and shore this up, I suppose. My sketchbook is filling up with squiggly hieroglyphics, though, which might mean something, somehow. Ergh, the vagueness.
The other portrait comission is just starting out at the compositional and drawing stage. Both the commissions are 16" square, which is an borderline-peculiar size to do a portrait on. First, it's hard to not make the head so large that it doesn't suit one's painting style. It's easy to make it just a bit too big for my brushwork to work properly. Then, if the head tends to be smaller along with the figure, it suddenly creates a whole lot of room around figure that needs to be filled in well. That is challenging too. How dim, how bright? Subject matter or more abstract? Personal to the sitter or otherwise? If so, how and why?
Otherwise, the studio is positively recriminatory with prepared yet unworked on canvasses. Or partially worked on. More on that later.
Not a heck of a lot to report. I'm working on a few portraits and portrait commissions, as well as getting going on a painting for the travelling YESSRS exhibition.
Aside from that, the studio is basically full of canvasses and mounted panels being prepared for painting upon. That means lots of gesso - the protective ground used on the surface to be painted - being deployed. So the studio has all these pure white rectangles starting to proliferate in it. I love the look of them. They're so pure, I hardly want to touch them.
- Plans are shaping up for a show of my new work at KWT Contemporary in the late summer or early fall of 2012, as well as a show for Galerie La Petite Mort in November 2012.
- I've been invited to submit a piece for a travelling group show called YESSR4, that will travel from Buenos Aires, Argentina, from March 15th to April 8th. Then, from Santiago, Chile, from May 10th to June 3rd. Then finally on to Ottawa to La Petite Mort from July 6th to July 29th. It looks pretty interesting. Definitely not flowers and teapots kinds of stuff.
-I'm submitting work to be included in a new book to be published by Bruno Gmunder. It will feature thirty-eight artists, all of whom work with the male figure.
I've begun updating my website (www.jameshuctwith.ca) to provide readers with a less irritating experience. It's more comprehensible now. The new show is all there, with , I think, a more telling set of pics than can be shown here.