Leaving a Mark

My impression of Harvey Specter in a rough sketch.

We hear a lot these days about leaving a carbon footprint. The fact is as  humans we move about the earth leaving behind a life-trail. Sometimes it’s a good trail. Sometimes, not so good- as in the plastic jetsam that is smothering the planet we call home.

This post is not about pollution though. It came about as one of those in the shower moment thoughts. Too much information? Do you ever have those? Like Barney Rubble sometimes our true talent for singing only comes out in the bath or shower. Maybe it has something to do with being baptized in water- a return to the womb , so-to-speak.

This post is not about inspirational talent in the shower.

If you’re anything like me you have moments of what might be called minimalist thinking. When you have an epiphany and it turns out to be so profoundly simple. It occurred to me that most of what I do can be paired down to simply leaving my mark.

This is likely true for all artists. If you think about it then you realize that all art, music, film, sculpture is about leaving a mark whether lasting in the cerebral sphere  and passed on audibly/orally (like music) or something  tangible in the tactile realm- like even a gravestone.

We are all leaving a mark .

I’m not sure why, at the early age of five I was so intent on drawing my first mural on my sliding bedroom door. A large face with stubble and a cigar. ( no one smoked cigars in my family). For some reason some innate desire reached out to that pencil or crayon and began asserting an influence on my surroundings. Since then my interests have been in art, caricature, painting, drawing, drafting, film-making,logo design and of course, writing. All of these are about leaving a mark.

Just like the earliest of scribes who pressed bone into soft clay to create cuneiform tablets we too share in this amazing quest to leave our mark upon history.

Now from here one could ask and point out the obvious. What kind of mark are we leaving? We’re you or I really proud of that painting or Youtube video we did? Of course part of being human is playing the fool. We all make mistakes. Sometimes big ones that just don’t get erased too easily.

However, I’m not going to press those questions. I’ll preach to myself first.

Suffice it to say that artists leave a  mark. Perhaps this post is a bit open ended or anticlimactic. You’re invited to comment or further the discussion. It was, however, the fact that in its simplest form my job or at least my avocation here is to leave my mark; to leave behind a record for others to experience.

This fact has left an indelible impression upon me.

So now what about you? Anything to add to the discussion be it ever small or large ? :^)

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10 Years After…but who’s counting!

Can you honestly go back to doing something you love even if you haven’t done it for years?

The short answer is , Yes, I think so.

I used to do live (and studio) caricature work for fun (and extra income) years ago while holding down a full-time job. I used to hit the malls or go to local events like school graduations, farm markets, etc.

The gallery below is from 2005. I believe, as memory doesn’t serve, that the last live event I did was in 2007.



Fast Forward 10 Years Later.

Over the years I developed some farsightedness that makes it difficult for me to focus on what is only a foot or two away (about the distance from my eyes to my drawing board.) Caricaturing means being able to see nuanced expressions in detail of a person’s face at about 4 feet away and then taking that mental snapshot and putting it on paper (about a foot away). Of course glasses can correct that,etc.

Also as malls and public places seemed to be giving way to online meet-ups it seemed harder to get places that were live events.

Then some insurance issues began to crop up where a shopping mall would have to ‘hire’ me under their insurance (I guess in case erasure dust or flying pencil lead might harm someone. “keep getting your caricature done, sonny, and you’ll go blind!”)

Weather for doing outside events is always ‘iffy’ with or without a tent. Since I live in the Canadian Maritimes it means weather can change almost instantly. It’s no joke and the saying goes here, “if you don’t like the weather then wait a half an hour..” We’ve been dealing with climate change on a micro level since Noah’s Ark!

Overall the pattern – the one I perceived- seemed to be on the downward trend. So I kinda gave up for 10 years!

I kept doing caricatures in my studio at home but gave up on live ones.

Then through a local business and personal development outfit I was encouraged to dust off (that lethal erasure dust) my drawing board and give it a try. I didn’t even know if I still had it in me to draw more than a stick figure. Honestly, the demons we create!

Here are some more older pics



I am , I know  not the best caricaturist out there..well, I am the best…ahem…within a one kilometer radius for sure. At least I think so.

Anyway enough trying-to-be-funny.

Never Give Up…Never Surrender.

Although sometimes it is necessary to give something up, the general rule of thumb is if it’s something you love to do then it’s best to push yourself and at least try. I had forgotten how it felt to make someone’s day just a little better and put a smile on someone’s face. For example,one young man walked away with his finished toon repeating …”that’s awesome..that’s so awesome…”. I mean it wasn’t that great but it sure made him feel great!  And that’s the point isn’t it.

Here’s some photos of the day…Ten Years After !

 

P.S.

By the way, I did have to use some dollar store reading glasses to help me check for detail just before finishing each caricature.

I do have a caricature facebook page or you can follow my artistic shenanigans here at my regular facebook page Kevin Cameron Art

Thanks for stopping by!

Multicultural Art Fair 2017

Every artist made a sale and connections with the public I was told. The painting you see above is one of ‘mine’ and it sold as well! There’s a small story to that. It was displayed on my table which was being manned  or rather, womanned by my wife and daughter.  here’s a view:

Where was I? I was just off to the right drawing caricatures , or cartoonitures, as I call them. More on them here from that day. Here’s one pic of me drawing:

Alrighty then,…back to the sale story. Brief …I promise.

I was kind of late signing up for the event and decided to do a series of paintings that were sort of mid-century modern..y’know those stylized, cartoon-ish paintings you see in the old late fifties and early 60’s movies. I think the style was partly due to the popularizing of acrylic by that time (and pop art in general).

Beth and I strolled the town a week or so earlier, camera in hand and took some angles and shots of popular buildings (Kentville,NS). I was able to get 3 paintings finished and the sands in the top of the hour glass were losing to the ones in the bottom. About 2 days before I decided to skip a street and do King’s Arms Pub. It was a good call.

Friends of the owner flew like birds on the wind and made him aware of the painting. He soon showed up with cash in hand that exchanged in to mine in a manner of speaking.  Although I was drawing at the time I managed to turret my head in his direction and shout a “Thank You sir!”

He aims to hang it in the Pub.

Photo from Henny Penny’s facebook page

Here’s the other paintings:

Several of my other stuff was sold as well that day. Great to get out. Great to help support diversity!

Thanks for visiting! More on the toons in the next post!

Way Back Wednesday-Farm Family Day 2007

Me and My daughter

My Daughter and I outside the Farm Market

October is the time that everyone takes note of in an agricultural/farming community.  The farmer keeps busy pretty much all year long but the rest of us really see the results in the Fall or Autumn.

In a way it’s like a painter who works up dozens of  paintings in his/her studio and then exhibit them all at once in an art show.

These photos were taken in early summer of 2007 for a Family Farm day at Hennigar’s Farm, Nova Scotia.

I was invited for the day to draw caricatures (Cartoonitures) and I remember having some interesting chats with the people I sketched.

MeDrawing

That’s my look-back for Way Back Wednesday.  Over 8 years ago!

Horror Faces of Hallowe’ens Past

Last year on my kevincameron-artist facebook page (cartoonitures) I ran a sort of guessing game of classic faces of the horror genre.  I would show an eye or corner of a mustache, etc and try and get followers to guess the actor.  Most of these were from a time when a lot of horror films still held that good wins over evil or there was a lesson to be learned of mistakes we as humans often make in arrogance and ignorant pride.  Sure there was always  camp and B-movies and there always will be. They can be fun too!

Well I hope you can enjoy these .  Oh and the ‘hair-thing’ is just a little personal cartoony touch.  I’ll be posting before Hallowe’en more of the display I’ve been repairing and re-assembling.  Hope you’ll visit again.  P.S.  Some were done in charcoal, some in pastel and some with watercolour.

Mayberry Times

   

 

 

 

 

 

This is my homage to Andy Griffith who recently passed on.  To be honest I never watched many of the Andy Griffith shows just due to my age.  I’m old enough to have seen some but was young enough not to see them when they were first released. The show ran from 1960 to 1968  and the humour and cast were a big hit with everyone.

I hope to be able to add two of the other cast soon  ( Don Knotts and the young Ron Howard- you know, the producer of Arrested Development ) but I have been so busy with things that it’s taken me awhile to finish this one. So no promises when :^).

Canada Day

In honour of Canada Day I’m posting this Cartooniture or caricature of three well known Prime Ministers. It’s a drawing I whipped up a several years ago for a live event (which happened to be on Canada Day, of course).

From left to right  we have Brian Mulroney, Paul Martin and John Diefenbaker .  These were drawn  very quickly as a last minute idea.

Below is an old picture from around that time.

This particular gig was at Hennigars Farm Market in Greenwich, Nova Scotia.  I enjoyed meeting and talking to different people as they had their faces drawn.

Just for fun I drew a Cartooniture of our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.  I know it’s customary to complain about acting Prime Ministers and then deify them years later but I’ve always tried to avoid this.  However Stephen Harper hasn’t been one of the greatest supporters of art culture in Canada.  Ah but it’s Canada Day and I don’t want to taint the spirit of celebration. Besides a picture is worth a thousand words they say. So here is that sketch of Harper as mentioned.  Really I am thankful to live in a country where we can at least attempt to live in peace and toleration,  have the freedom to pursue our desires,  and caricature our beloved leaders without the threat of a hanging.  That’s something! ha ha Happy Canada Day everyone!

An Influential and Respected Man

He may not look like a villian however Signor Ferrari played by Sydney Greenstreet  is on the side of money.  He’s an opportunist and in his own words  with  a touch of humor, “As the leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca, I am an influential and respected man.” Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, simply categorises him as a “fat hypocrite”.  Ouch!  I guess they weren’t as sensitive about obesity remarks back in the day.  Body weight does not make one any more or less  a hypocrite.

Nonetheless,  Sydney Greenstreet was an impressive actor in front of the camera or on stage. He worked with such big stars as Clarke Gable , Ava Gardner and Jimmy Stewart, just to name a few. The above cartooniture ( my caricatures) pays homage to a star with a bubbly deep laugh that could make anyone feel at home. Christmas in Connecticut is one of my favorite holiday movies in which Sydney Greenstreet plays in.  He died in 1954  from diabetes and kidney failure.

Okay, as promised I’m gonna give you a peek at how I paint these little paintings.

First there is the initial sketch.  This took me awhile.  I had to totally trash my original design to arrive at what’s below.

Greenstreet has this jolly quality about him so I went with the sketch on the far right.

That’s a 2B (soft) woodless pencil above that was used to outline the drawing so I could transfer it onto the canvas by tracing. (like this)

Next I moved on to a basic under-painting.  Something for a little hue underneath the grayscale painting (monochromatic, I guess).  The orange is a burnt orange wash and I used white with a touch of tahiti blue (Americana craft paint) for his shirt.

Now it’s time to mix some grey paint (white, little black and a touch of dark blue) and fill in over the orange.

I started painting a flesh tone over his face as well.  It will all be black and white but the under painting colour will help

give it a certain richness. You may have noticed I toned down the size of the eyebrows.

The hat was painted in black (actually it wasn’t 100% black. I wanted the black outline to stand out a bit so I added some white to the black for the hat.  You can see the shirt was started in the next frame and then , finally, a nice sharp outline using a script liner.

I think there is only one more main character to cover in then they’ll all be on stage to take a bow, so to speak.  A promise to the younger folk; I will God-willing, do some characters from a more contemporary film. It’ll be fun!

Thanks for taking the time to visit and as Senor Ferrari would say, “It was gracious of you to share it with me.”

Play it Once, Sam. (For old times sake.)

 

Ah..good ole Sam. Now he’s a dependable person. He shares a rare connection as friend between both Ilsa and Rick in the story of Casablanca.

He attempts to get Ilsa not to insist on playing an old song that ties his friend Rick and her together. He knows the emotional pain it will bring Humphrey Bogart’s character. In another scene he tries to temper Rick’s plunge into an alcohol fueled depression. Believe it or not, Sam’s (Arthur Wilson), role in the story is very important. He often represents or becomes the very backbone of motivation for Rick Blaine only proving further that a good loyal friend is one’s greatest ally. Boy can he sing and play the piano! Yes…the bow tie is on purpose.

     

You can see my version of Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) above.  He ‘s a bit of a ladies man and an opportunist. To say more might give you a bit of a plot spoiler if you’ve never seen the movie Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart. He seems to   dislike  the Nazi invasion of France ( Vichy France at this point) yet plays a compromiser at first hoping to avoid violence.  The stripes in the back of my drawing are an attempted homage to the French flag.  In order to get the correct tonal differences in black and white I downloaded a colour flag into a photo manipulation program (CorelDraw) and then converted the image to grayscale.

I’ve always liked drawing cartoon faces of people. I couldn’t really tell you why. Perhaps it’s that shy, reclusive side of me that I’ve always struggled with my whole life. If I live to be really old ( that’s older than 48,ha) I will likely be one of those seniors that instead of having a house full of pet cats I’ll have caricatures of all my favorite movie and TV personalities hanging around me.  O well. Guess that’s harmless anyway!  That being said, still looking forward to showing you the full cast BUT there’s a few more to come…for old times sake.  See ya next post guys!

This Time…

Laszlo by Kevin Cameron

In the movie Casablanca, Victor Laszlo is known to us as the calm yet impassioned embodiment of resistance to the Nazi regime.  He is also the husband of Ilsa for whom he has unwavering and devoted love. He is confident and stoic and kind of supplies a backbone to the wider plot of Casablanca.

In this Cartooniture I try to respect the ideal he stands for while still having fun in my own way.

Like the others this  was first hand drawn on paper and transferred to 11X14 canvas.  After which it was painted in with acrylic paint.  I think this toon became a little Picasso-esque and a  bit of cubism started to slip in with the large ,offset eyes.

Sometimes it takes several sketches ( for me at least) to arrive at a satisfactory likeness.  It often helps to squint a bit when studying from a photograph.  This helps you see the essential features.  Watching the movie or studying the person in real life, if possible, will help you notice small facial gestures and body movements which are eyes to the soul of the person you are trying to capture as a caricature.  The main thing is to not give up.  You’ll eventually be able to say, like Victor Laszlo, “This time I know we’ll win for sure”.

Stay tuned there’s lots more to come plus the grand finale when all of the characters are placed together. K