The Top Five

Hey,what’s your guys’ take on self-improvement? I’m definitely for it. There is a ‘but’ though. Have you heard of the “Top Five”?

Recent history has given us a plethora of self-ordained life gurus that appear plastered especially across social media. From Youtube talk shows to tweets and posts all telling us how to be a better person and get the good life. Is this where I become Debbie Downer? Ah, no. Maybe I’m being just one more opinionated self appointed life coach. Ah, no.

I’m coming at this as an artist and as just an ordinary human being.

Who are  the ‘Top Five’?

No. 1 Winter Chicadee. Acrylic on Canvas. K.Cameron. This was a break-through moment for me in painting. I studied the works of artist Rod Lawrence

Well for the past few years there has increasingly emerged this idea that we are only as good as the top 5 people we spend time with. ( pause for delayed shock effect)

This showed up in one of the online courses in art that I took and seems to keep popping up everywhere. If you want success and a better life then hang out with 5 people better than you. What’s even more amazing is the likes and hearts and other agreeable emoticons that applaud this thinking. Wait now. Hold on. Isn’t your Spidey sense tingling ?

First lets set aside the notion that higher ethical standards demand we stay with an abusive spouse or be nice to the psychopath that wants to stab us in the back (literally or metaphorically).  Nobody is saying we have to let our guard down and invite danger into our inner circle of sanity. Nobody is saying that we have to pull over and help a person broken down on the interstate which could be just bait to lure us in. Call the cops. They are ( presumably ) trained for that sort of thing.

Also I’m not saying we an spend an exhaustive amount of time with ‘exhaustive people’ that drain us of energy. Everyone has a bad day once and awhile. Everyone gets in a bad place periodically.

A recent study (sorry-no link) showed that surrounding yourself with only agreeable people as staff or in business actually could undermine your success. Why? Because a discordant voice can help us see a different perspective that may avoid a pitfall for which the business is headed.

No.2 TV Dinner Acrylic. K. Cameron For me this one has a special place and I truly felt ‘possessed’ by it when painting. It reminds me of the fun times we had watching TV shows when growing up.

True story.

My father, when I was young, once stopped for a dishevelled hitch-hiker/homeless person and gave him a lift to our home. He invited him to supper for which the vagabond traveler accepted and in a twist of bizarre life-is-stranger-than-fiction moment actually ended up serving us our tea at our table!  The glances my brother and I shared form across the table. hmmm

My heart is not as pure as my father, I’m sure. Besides he did come from a different time and place where travelers were welcome at the supper table no matter their status in life.

No.3 Peace. Lockeport Beach NS. After a very restful week renting a cottage on the beach this painting ‘happened’. It’s a favourite of mine and many others.

So here’s the thing. What if you‘re the one who is not part of the  Special Five. What if you end up with the Dirty Dozen instead? What happened to “Do unto others as you would have done to you” ? What about “ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “?

What happened to the principle of reaching a hand down to give someone a leg up? They say “What comes around, goes around…” Maybe you or I will someday need the hand up. Should we be so set on refusing it to others or worried that we are in with the top five income earners and the most positive people we can find?

N0.4 Star Wars Super 8 Cover. Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas. A special gift for my son.

I don’t know how you feel but I certainly don’t want my flag of victory and success  to be raised atop a virtual mountain of skulls. What win is that? In my book, art or otherwise, it’s a loss.

 

No. 5 Old Tree. Thinned oil on canvas board. This was one of my earliest paintings. If you read the post..you’ll understand. 🙂

Once again, thanks for visiting my blog and feel free to comment below.

 

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We Can Rebuild Him or something like that. :)

 “Better,Stronger, faster…” I’m not sure about better and stronger but this was definitely one of the fastest design and paint jobs I’ve done for commission !

About 3 days before a visit from brother ( who lives in the States ) he asked me if I had any paintings ( for sale). Well yes I did in a way but I wanted to give him something that would have more meaning between the two of us…you know, something special.

So I thought of this old show called The Six Million Dollar Man starring Lee Majors. My bro used to have the action figure and a lot of the accoutrements . There was hardly even the time for a thumbnail sketch and the final design was basically done in my head and on the fly. I knew I wanted the ‘Bionic Man’ closeup in the center with the rocket to the right and the space X-plane in the upper left. In there somewhere was to be his old corvette and the cardiogram-like analog pattern.

So we were to meet Saturday at my Mom and Dad’s place which is about a 2 and a half hour drive from where I live. By about Friday morning I thought I was never going to get it finished. Just too much work and too little time. I got pretty down about it and felt defeat looming over my shoulder.

I managed to push myself and not give up (which I was really tempted to do).  At 10 pm Friday evening I had one coat of matte finish applied to the whole thing. I did a second coat really early Saturday morning and let the painting finish drying in the back seat of the car.

My brother was very pleased and surprised having not expected the nostalgic memento. I must admit that about half-way through, whether it was a kind of exhaustion setting in or pure adrenaline I, myself got emotional during the process. As one ages, I guess, tears become an oft expression of deep joy rather than sorrow sometimes. I am thankful for the family I have now and the one I had then, so to speak.

Just like the Bionic Man the painting was made from available components so here’s a photo of most of what it took to paint “We Can Rebuild Him”.

Thanks for visiting and we’ll see you around sometime!

How can you Mend a Broken Art ?

Blind Girl by Kevin Cameron

The above painting called “Blind Girl” ( there’s a story behind that name) has been posted before but this time with a different purpose.

Recently it was on display at a local gallery and when it’s display time was up I had to go fetch it.  When I got home I then noticed the DAMAGE!

Gallery’s have waivers that all artists sign which is a contractual agreement between the artist and the gallery regarding insurance, damages, etc.  In this case the gallery having done all in it’s power is not responsible for any work that incurs damage during it’s stay.

Was I Upset?

Yes and No.

I signed the waiver so I took the chance. However obviously I was a little disturbed about it.  I was thankful that it wasn’t one of my more expensive pieces that had been on display….this time.  Here’s how it looked after i got home.

Blinddeafgirl

Blinddeafgirl2

The green arrows point, of course, to the resulting damage.  I won’t say which gallery it was hung at but I will say, that to me, it looks like the impact of a runaway gurney.  The paintings to be hung are on the floor and leaned against the walls during their changeover, etc.

You can see that the canvas on her cheek is wrinkled and there is about a half inch indentation near the frame and almost a tear right next to it.

How can you mend a broken art?

Disclaimer: A professional painting restorer I am not.  Although I do have years of experience with numerous kinds of paint.

Step 1.  It seemed the best thing to do was start with a stretched or tightened canvas.  This was an inexpensive gallery wrapped frame ( and my low price for the painting was reflective of that).  First the painting is flipped over revealing the back side. here you can see at the corners of the frame that two wedge shaped or more like  rhomboid pieces of wood (canvas wedges) are tapped in to spread the corner of the painting apart slightly and resulting in a tighter canvas.

CanvaswedgeBG2

These are unusually large wedges that I had to make because the slots in the back were unusually large.

Blindgirlspray

 The second thing that was done to tighten the canvas was with the use of fine water mist sprayed on to the back of the canvas in the general area of the damage. Soaking the canvas is NOT a good idea.  I didn’t want the surface coat of paint to become so saturated with water that it might peel off.

A Hair dryer was then used to dry the back of the canvas quickly. With the really cheap non-cotton or vinyl canvas this trick will not work.

Step 2.

Blindgirlbrushup

A small round brush was used to paint over tear mark.

Step 3

When the touch up paint was dry I gave it a final coat of satin finish.  You can see the results below.

Blindgirlfinalfinish

To be honest, at a certain angle, you can see some discolouration but for the most part the indentation is gone and things didn’t turn out too badly.  Hope this info helps.  Any questions or comments, just leave below.  O one more, thing.  In this case the canvas wedges were quite heavy and I may need to attach a little weight to the other side so the painting hangs more balanced on the wall.

Thanks for reading.  If you’d like to purchase this painting or a hand painted duplicate then private message me. Here’s the final:

Blindgirlfinalshot

It Caught Me on my Blind Side

 

BlindGirlSpook

Do you love Mystery and Tales from Beyond?

 This is a true story that I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time. It involves the strange and perhaps the paranormal. (Ha!Playing it up a bit here.)

Our lives are often peppered with the unusual and coincidental and perhaps so much so we never really notice but once in a while something happens that seems so peculiar that we can’t ignore it; can’t forget it.

I’ve never seen a ghost or strange ‘alien’ objects in the skies.  There was, however, this one time that a bizarre coincidence took place regarding one of my paintings; namely, the ‘Blind Girl’ which you see above.

I had been watching on DVD a Brian Clemens series called Thriller.  These were British mystery stories and are still available on Amazon, I do believe.

About the same time I started painting cartoon-like pop art sort of in the fashion of Roy Lichenstein. I was inspired by a kind of film noir image on a box of DVD’s about movies of murder and mystery.  There was  a close up of a blonde woman with a Humphrey Bogart-like man just behind her holding a gun.  I started drawing the painting which would eventually be the the one you see above.

Here’s where coincidence or whatever you call it came in to play.  I had decided to skip an episode a while back of the thriller series.  I’m not sure why.  However I watched over time all of the episodes on disc except one called “The Eyes Have It”.

This is where it gets Spooky

One evening I was in my studio painting this painting I call “Blind Girl”.  I was drawing the hair around her face. I was in the zone as we say when things just seem to be flowing from one’s subconscious.  As I drew in the strokes of her hair all of a sudden as if beyond my control my hand made the brush strokes of her hair curling toward her face. Just one lock of hair that curled unnaturally without symmetry on the opposite side of her face. It seemed so perfect at the time to me and gave the entire painting meaning and gave her personality.

Satisfied with the result I left the studio and that evening- that very same evening I decided to relax and watch the unviewed episode left on the collection. ( Remember I had seen them all over time and had strangely skipped this one.)

The episode was centered mostly around a blind girl and when she first appeared on the screen I was blown away!  A chill ran up my back as if aware of another presence in the room.  You know the feeling.  Here’s what I saw!

 blindgirl2

I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Except for the fact the image was reversed the likeness was uncanny!   Blue eyes, similar features and the colour of her sweater even matched the yellow of her hair in the painting but most of all there was this single curl of hair that I had painted already before ever seeing the show.  Had I watched that one episode earlier you could say I just copied it. You can see a trailer for the episode here.  It starred Sinead Cusack as the blind girl.

blindgirlandblindgirl

blindgirlBL2

Obviously I had to name the painting “Blind Girl”. The original painting is shown at the bottom.  The top one was simply a hand made copy by me.

So what do ya think?  No big deal or a little spooky?

The Case for Communal Television

Tubeopolis. Acrylic on canvas 16 x 20 by Kevin Cameron

Tubeopolis. Acrylic on canvas 16 x 20 by Kevin Cameron

I woke up thinking about Tommy Hunter.  Tommy who?  Not Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Hunter.
Tommy was a household voice I grew up with as part of my family TV experience.  He’s Canadian and was recently, at the age of 77,  honoured with his image on a Canadian postage stamp.
This post is not really  about Tommy Hunter. It’s about the fact that one of his trademark songs that he closed his weekly Tv show with, “Travellin Man” ,was actually wandering through my mind. Here are a few of the lyrics:
“I am a travellin’ man
Followin’ the breeze
Travellin’ here and travellin’ there
Gathering memories
So let me wander,
All my life away”
There’s this refrain , “…let me wander, let me wander, (repeat)” that has stuck with me all these years since childhood.
It awakened me to bitter-sweet memories of my youth…sentimental emotions.  Being young then, Tommy Hunter was really my parents’ show.  I liked shows with action and adventure and space travel.  Yet the song of Tommy Hunter remains with me in the same way the memory of early summer mornings fresh after the rain.
That’s because television was a communal thing in the 70’s and 80’s.
You really didn’t have much programming choice so you learned to like something that your brother, Mother or Father liked a little.  Sort of like the customary middle east marriages that were prearranged.
Sure, sure, preachers wailed against the evils of television and its morality changing powers and teachers scolded us for wasting our academic minds on the bluish glow.  It’s still the same today. They’re still saying the same thing.  Am I denying that exercise is important and lethargy leads to poor health?  Not a chance.
However we were a physically active family when I was growing up and spending an evening sharing a couple television shows was the icing on the cake.
 The family was together!  We laughed at the same jokes, we cried at the same deaths and cheered as one to see our heroes back again next week.
Now , often ( not always) when I see my family of 5 together to watch a show we are all sitting in the same room but almost all of us have our attentions divided.  Each one of us has our own screen.  Each one has a laptop open on our knees or tabled beside us.  Almost each one of us has yet another smaller screen/ smart phone, etc dimly lurking and updating us on our social status.  
Have we lost something?
  Did we lose a communal connection that we as families had in the old days? I’m not sure.  I don’t want to become the wailing preacher or the finger tapping teacher warning us of doom and gloom.
Perhaps they too, the next generation , will still hold fond memories of sitting together with family and Facebook friends at the same time sharing in those sacred Tv/iPhone/laptop/desktop memories.
Really I don’t care so long as they can still sing their own song or  hum along  with Tommy Hunter:
 “Some have said a travellin’ man walks a lonely mile,
But I find friends along my way who offer me a smile.
I tell people that I meet I’ve travelled far and wide.
I’ve just one man for company. My dear Lord’s by my side.
May I keep a-wanderin’ until the day I die.
There’s nothing that can tie me down. I’m free as the birds that fly.”

Think Like An Artist

GalleryCorner

Do artistic people think differently?  Surely you’ve heard of the caricatured artistic personality that borders on the eccentric.  Heck, you know some eccentric artists and musicians that border on insanity!  Just where are they emotionally and psychologically? Why do they flaunt flowing scarfs in the wind and wear multi-coloured pants and resemble Tom Baker’s Doctor ( Who )more than a mere mortal.

Well I’m no psychiatrist but I am an artist who occasionally could use some psychiatric help.

I know I’m not alone for you see actors, musicians and writers are kindred spirits.  Here’s the skinny really. Everyone has the ability to think artistically (that is according to a book I read years ago, *Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain by Betty Edwards ) but not everyone chooses to do so.

**Artists/ creatives are not fully in the present and yet they are more aware of their surroundings and more sensitized to them than a lot of  people. At least in a different and fresh way.   In other words a mere puddle becomes a lake or  it transforms into vast ocean in the imagination fueled eyes of the artist.  A bunch of dried standing pine needles becomes a visual metaphor for a group of undefined people.  Am I losing you?  To put it more simply the artist (and any creative person) interprets and re-interprets their surroundings to not what is but what could be !  A raindrop sliding down the window pane could very well be an entire cosmos-sphere (is that a word?) where dwells tiny aquatic creatures who live out their lives in all the mundane and tragic performances that we humans are familiar with.

So it is not so much what is mechanically and empirically present that matters to an artist but what potentially exists just beyond the boundary of reality, of normality.   The artist has one foot here and one foot there;  there being a place of hers or his own choosing.  Well what horse-crap is this you demand!  Wait, before you burn them at the stake for their sorcery consider the world that exists in our minds that artists have placed there already ,too late to be changed.  Famous paintings by Monet, Van Gogh or Salvador Dali are present in our collective consciousness. Where would we be without Hobbits and Wookiees and Dragons and Krakens!  Do these things exist?  Are they real, these foolish vanities?  We spend millions each year on books and films to discover the answer or to enter a world where these fictions possibly exist.   Our minds need the rest from the everyday that cause artists and writers no rest.

Sure, we all must work to provide and to relent to taxation.  We all must live in the present and in the moment. Tis true!  What relief though, that there are artists and thinkers that can awaken something deep in our minds through the portals of our eyes and ears.  They cause us to see the other things we miss.  They are the children of our minds who resist the impressive sensory might of the tall oak tree in exchange for the tiny caterpillar travelling his fascinating course.

At the end of the day, when you lay down the tools at the bench or close the laptop’s window on a days work of accounting and spreadsheet to pick up a book, to peer at a brilliant piece of art or  to enjoy an ordinary sitcom then  think of the artist, the musician and the poet.  We need them.  There is a little bit of artist in all of us. Think like an artist.

Almost forgot.  The photo is of a corner of my office/gallery which displays some of my latest or more recent work.

* Apparently the creative process involves both halves of the brain and not just the right side.  The two halves more likely complement each other.

** I’m defining artist as mainly a visual artist in this article but including writers, and musicians, etc. Most work, I would think, requires the ability to imagine solutions before they exist and to be creative in some way.

Batteries Not Included

RobotandTart

I’m liking the pop art genre again.  I think it’s more *me*. It’s kind of a side thing to making logos and graphics but I like how I get to build crazy s….., stuff!

So I call the pop tart “Popped Art” and the robot, “Batteries Not Included”.  I’ll post some pictures in the making next time. They both are painted and created on canvas.  The robot actually is made of 4 canvases fastened together. It has not been fully coated and there is a little feature I want to add but since I haven’t posted in a while then I thought I’d show it to you as is.

My interest is in vintage and retro items.  Maybe it’s just the kid in me.  Well thanks for visiting again!  I’m anxious to show you something else in the works but it’s not finished enough yet.  Maybe next time.  O, the eyes glow in the dark…spooky!  Be seein’ ya!

Gasp! It’s in 3D!

3DGirl1

Just a quick post about my upcoming  art show in May.  I’ve decide to go all Retro and Pop Art on this.  These are pictures of what I call 3D Girl .  If you look at her with a traditional Red and Blue lens 3D glasses you’ll get a somewhat 3 dimensional effect. I’ll post more of different works as the month of May gets closer.

It’s all acrylic paint with two coats of matte finish. Although I have painted the subject before this one is new and improved ( I think,ha)  More to follow…!

3DGirl2

Talk About Pop , Pop , Pop Music

Handcassettesigned

Just finished a proto-type ( is that the right word?) for a larger painting I’m doing.  I’m working on a new series of Pop Art for an upcoming show in a local cafe (More to follow over the next month or so- the showing is in May).  The painting is 5 x 7 on canvas.  Some of the upper left corner is a little out of focus.  Here are a couple more angles for ya.  Thanks for dropping, er ‘poppin’ in!

MugCassettesigned

PenCassettesigned

Now for something completely different

For me it’s something completely different. There are still some 50’s anniversary stuff to show you but thought it would be nice to break it up with this post. This painting I just completed and it is generally away from my usual Pop art or Fine art style. Yes those are real shells ( well most of them) that are glued with a modeling paste.

This picture shows the relief more.  Basically It started with the idea of starfish representing stars in the sky and the large shell standing in for the moon.  For many years I didn’t think much,in some ways, of folk art.  Nova Scotia is really known for folk art and crafts. My peeve was that folk art threw away all the rules of perspective and the natural mixing of colours.  Now maybe I get it.  It is representational and almost spiritual in some way.

My intention was not to create a folk art piece but to do something different and just break some rules. There is the obvious tip of the hat to Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Also the painting is based on a cottage that we like in Lockeport, Nova Scotia.

Oddly enough I started to listen to 60’s music while painting this. Maybe it can be classed as Folk Pop Art?  What do you think? Well I hope you enjoy it for what it is! Be seein’ ya!