In this blog I will review my recent art projects and describe in some depth their purpose and why I decided to create them. I will stray away from skiing in this post and try and primarily focus on the wonderful world of art.
  When I returned home in early October my mom had asked me if I would be able to complete the task of two paintings to match a larger piece I had previously completed and was displayed in our dining room. This piece was not my usual style of art, but one I admire. Cubism was a style of art invented by Picasso and Braque in the early 1900's and focuses on analyzing an object and breaking it up to give it more than one viewpoint. It is considered to be one of the most influential styles of art in the 20th century, for not only visual arts but also music, literature and architecture. Cubism went through two major phases. 
The first phase was called analytical cubism and can be characterized as simplifying the subject matter into shapes which would represent the whole object. To envision this, picture the image on glass and then dropping it on the floor and trying to reassemble it. Analytical cubism also tended to be monochromatic or consisting of very few colours. This phase lasted from 1910 to around 1912.
The second phase is called synthetic cubism which can be more or less described as collage. This was the first recognized time of using objects other than paint such as newspaper, small objects, etc in the piece. This style was very flat and more colourful than its predecessor. This lasted from 1912 to 1920 as a major movement.
  Now that you have a bit of an art history lesson I will describe my version of cubism. The first cubist piece I painted, was a grade 11 school project. Picasso is one of my favourite artists and I really wanted to move away from my usual impressionistic landscapes. With cubism in mind, I decided I would give it a try. I thought that analytical cubism was too dull and lacking in colour for my taste, but I liked the effect of the broken objects. However, I really liked the colours in synthetic cubism and the flatness to it. So I combined the two into my own cubist style. The subject matter I chose was a fruit bowl, and I broke it up slightly, while still giving it the flat characteristics of synthetic cubism. I then added lots of colours to the fruits but kept the background dull with respect to analytical cubism. Lastly I added bold black lines to emphasize a shattered glass effect and also pop some of my colours. The result was Liam's cubism. 
      So back to October. With the fruit bowl piece in mind I decided to stick to the style I conjured from the two phases of cubism. At the time I had been investigating interesting degrees to pursue further on down the road. My parents had suggested the Oeneology and Viticulture program offered at Brock, so my mind was on wine at the time. A wine bottle and a pair of wine glasses ended up being the subject matter of the piece. I also thought this would match well with the idea of food in my previous piece. I made this piece a lot more fragmented than my first one and tried to incorporate more planes of view to create a more interesting piece. Although, I still kept my intense colours and bold lines though. The result was a really cool piece that showed some evolution and improvement from my first cubist piece.
   For the second piece I wasn't too sure what to paint. So I asked my mom what she wanted. She decided that perhaps I should use less colour and do something a bit different. Looking through the analytical cubism pieces, I noticed that they used a lot of violins as subject matter. I thought this was interesting and I could do a version of this because my brother Sean is a very talented double bassist. He just had his first symphony premier a couple weeks ago and is currently working on the next one in December. I hope to go to his symphony in the spring when I'm home. The piece quickly took shape. I used very small brush strokes in a variety of directions to achieve an interesting texture to the piece that I had seen in a lot of the analytical cubism pieces, particularly with Braque. I then broke apart several basses in the piece using references from some of Picasso and Braques works to give it an authentic look. I think I used more colours in it than I had intended to, but it gives the analytical cubism style a very modern look that I'm quite pleased with.

  The next project I've been working on is an exhibition for next fall. This is with the group of artists I belong to called the Consolidated Artist group of 7s, and we base ourselves out of Kings Framing and Art Gallery in Corbeil, ON (just outside of North Bay). The exhibition requires two pieces to be done that represent the LaVase portage, a series of portages running from North Bay to Mattawa. It is suppose to be done en plein air, however I live in BC now so I'm just using reference photos. Luckily I have lived on both the lakes in North Bay which are apart of the portage system so I took my photo references out my back door when I was home in October. I have decided to focus on two well known locations that the portage route encounters. One is Stepping Stones, which are a series of boulders that protrude into the middle of the Mattawa River. The other is Camp Island, a massive beautiful island in the middle of Trout Lake with beautiful sandy beaches, very old red and white pines standing watch over the island, and the best camping spots I have come across. 
  When I came back to Whistler I began working on a sketch of Stepping Stones. When I say sketch you are probably envisioning a hastily drawn picture with an HB pencil on a ratty piece of paper, but what I mean is a small painting. Painters often use these sketches to plan for larger pieces of work and are particularly handy for en plein air painting. They allow the artist to capture the colour, mood, and basic concept of the piece and then can go back on a larger canvas and spend more time developing the details and overall impression they want the piece to have. In other words it's practice and planning for when I go and do the actual piece. The sketch I did turned out quite well and I'm satisfied with the colour palette chosen and some of the techniques I chose. It gives me a good start to the exhibition. 
The last piece I have been working on is from my trip to Frozen thunder a few weeks ago. I've been doing this piece just for my own satisfaction and also to follow up on documenting skiing through art. I figured that to a non-skier Frozen Thunder is a curious site to the eye. A trail of snow groomed through a loop on the ski trails with not a spec of snow to be seen anywhere else. Hundreds of people gathering to shake out the summer jitters and strap on their skis. It's definitely a happening place in the fall and one many people from abroad also come to experience. So I determined that the oddness of this scene would candidate well for the next ski painting. 
  It's a much busier piece than I'm used to and painting. It has small images of people is not the kind of painting I enjoy, but it was a good lesson for me to reach out and push my art abilities. The piece depicts the stadium area of Frozen Thunder. There are skiers chatting around the pistenbully, coats and bags scattered on the ground and on the many fences, the large hills making up the world class race course Canmore offered and of course the shimmering out of place road of snow. 
  I always like to paint subjects from ski trips because they are usually quite unique when observed by other people. They also withhold a lot of memory and meaning, which helps to create a successful piece. The thing I like most about this piece is that it captures an excellent example of what the ski community is like, fun, hard working, friendly people trying to make our sport as successful as possible. The community in skiing is one of the reasons I enjoy skiing so much and why many others do as well. 
  
  For more information on my artwork, where to buy my artwork, and where to stock up on high quality art supplies at great prices check out  http://kingsframingandartgallery.com

Liam
 





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