Category Archives: Art

Courtney #2

I completed the alternate piece to the first painting of Courtney.  courtney B double rough copy

I did the bottom idea first and really enjoyed the outcome.  It’s currently on display in the “Front of the Class” teacher art show at the Oakville Townhall.  In fact, I’m writing this post between the end of my workday and the beginning of the Opening Reception.  I’m sure I’ll see all of you there clamouring to buy my art 😉

For the second painting I started with the intent to do my usual technique of creating the illusion of depth by fading the shapes from yellow to green to blue.  When I got to this stage I stopped:


I didn’t feel that the end product would look good with my usual technique.  I tried one of the shapes and didn’t like it.  No time for pictures as acrylic dries fast and I had to wipe it off before it set.

I hearkened back to a painting I did over a decade ago.  Very similar composition and similar number of shapes.


The last place I saw this piece was at the Arta Gallery in the Distillery District.  It was my first time exhibiting in a gallery and this was the first piece that was sold to someone I didn’t personally know.  What a great feeling!  You always remember your first stranger 😉

As a side-note to a tangent: I ended up breaking even on the show back then.  The percentage of the sale that I received just barely covered the cost of the rental of the space and the wine and cheese for the opening reception.  I won’t mention the cost of driving to Toronto a few times for set-up, reception and tear-down.  Life lesson:  don’t buy the good stuff for a group showing because the friends and family of the other artists will drink all of your wine and eat all of your food instead of their friend’s.

It all came out positive because lots of friends and family, including Vladimir Kondratenko (great guy and great coach!), visited from long distances to support my artwork.

Anyway, I thought that my current piece would benefit more from a similar colour pattern.  I planned it out on photoshop and went through a variety of colour placements before I came up with this:

colour planning

It has four different hues ranging from yellow-green to cobalt blue.  I managed to balance each hue throughout the composition using the “rule of odd numbers” and by toning down the yellow so it wasn’t not too bright.

Happy with the new plan, I slapped some paint down (very carefully and with control) on the canvas and planned on doing a second coat to be sure to cover all the blue of the background and get a nice, flat area of each colour.  Instead, I noticed the texture created by putting a light, semi-transparent layer of paint over a flat, dark colour.  I liked this textural component to my piece and decided to keep it (click for more detail).

2016 Courtney #2, acrylic, 8 x 20, 72 dpi 1000 wide - better picture

Worst case scenario, I can paint another layer to get that flat, graphic look.

A quick stretch of the canvas and a wire for hanging and there you have it: Courtney #2.

“Front of the Class” teacher art exhibit

Each year we have a wonderful teacher who organizes an exhibit for all of the Halton District School Board teachers to showcase their art.  It’s a lot of work to do this kind of thing and I’m grateful to be included as an artist.  For a full list of artists, visit here.

As a bonus, my work was chosen to be included in the press release.  You can  check that out here.  If you’re looking on a tablet/mobile device, you might not be able to see the credit for my piece.  It’s the one at the top of the article that looks like this:

2016 Courtney #1, Acrylic, 8 x 20, 72 dpi, 1000 wide

If you’d like to see it in person, it’s currently on display at the Oakville town hall until May 26th.  The opening reception is on May 5th at 6:30 if you’d like to meet many of the artists and have a bite to eat and maybe a glass of wine.  I’ll be doing my best to attend, but that all depends on whether or not I’m on babysitting duty that night.  I’ve been told that people don’t like it when I refer to looking after my own son as “babysitting” instead of “parenting,” so I’ll be using the term”babysitting” indefinitely 😉

Courtney #1

So I’ve been able to complete one of the studies for a larger painting featuring Courtney.  My first step after the initial planning stages was to get the background filled in and then pencil in the areas that I’ll be painting.


After some SUPER SECRET PAINTING TECHNIQUES (I forgot to take pictures), the painting is ready to be stretched.


I learned how to stretch a canvas in university and it has saved me money over the years and also allows me to stretch a canvas to my desired tightness (I like it tight).  Typically, I’ll stretch a canvas before priming and painting it so it will dry stretched, but when dealing with such small canvases, there’s no real worry about mounting it unevenly.


There you have it, study #1 finished!

2016 Courtney #1, Acrylic, 8 x 20, 72 dpi, 1000 wide

I decided to try my new style tweak first because, well, I was excited at how it might turn out.  I haven’t decided how I like it because I always have to take a day or two away from the work before I can stand to look at it again.  On to study #2…

New piece!…well, the beginning of one

I’ve had a lot of stuff happening in my life since my last painting.  I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s affected my “creative output.”

Luckily, I was inspired by someone I know from my gym.  She was taking a nice, little nap on the mat beside me and when I looked over, I quietly told her friend that it was the exact kind of position I like for my art, but I didn’t have a camera to capture it.  She offered to take a photo with her phone and then send it to me.  I gained permission to use the photo and it was sent to me.  Let’s call her “Courtney.”

Courtnay Bergart cropped 2443095_10154679384519951_842928834_n

This particular photo works for both my ink style as well as my painting style.  I’m starting with a painting.  In my typical style, I reduce the image to smaller, organic shapes and round out all the corners.  I then pick a light source and treat each shape as a separate 3D object with a shaded area on the opposing side from the light source.  Each shape ends up looking similar to a smooth pebble.

My first step is to pick out the shapes that I want to use and then round the corners.

painting rough

When I’m happy with that I start to think about colour schemes.  For this one I’m thinking of using yellow for the highlight and blue for the shadow.  I’ve created a rough version in my usual style as well as another in a variation of that style that I’ve been tossing around in my head.

courtney B double rough copy

I’ve decided to create a miniature painting of both styles to see how they look.  Those will be in my next post.

Showing at Homegrown Hamilton

This is my second opportunity to show my work at Homegrown Hamilton on King Williams St in Hamilton.

This is a good one to see in person (see details for the reason why at the bottom of this post). I take my own pictures for this online gallery and I don’t have the experience or the equipment to get a nice picture. I’m usually hitting the timer on my camera and holding up giant fluorescent lights on either side of the camera to try to minimize reflection while evenly lighting the whole piece. Since H type pencils are very light and graphite is reflective, I tend to lose a lot of detail in the picture. While hanging these pieces, I had a friend help. The comment “Wow, you really ARE good at art” was made, despite these pieces having been viewed online prior to her help 😛

I hung my work from oldest to most recent, so you get an opportunity to view the progression in my skill while I explored the mediums of 3H pencil and pencil crayon.

Also, here’s the deal you get for reading this blog post:
If you buy a piece of art from this show, I’ll give you 10% back in cash.
Additionally, I’ll let you buy ANY other piece(s) of my art (website included) for 50% off!
Just get in touch with me after you make your purchase ( and we’ll get things going. Bonus smile if you tell me that I really AM good at art 😛

The showing will be until October 11, 2015.

Group showing in Oakville

What do Emma WatsonSydney BrownAdriana Daca, and Nadia Barey have in common? They can all be seen at the Oakville Town Hall from now until May 23.
Front of the Class – Secondary Visual Arts Faculty Show
Oakville Town Hall, 1225 Trafalgar Rd
Reception: April 1st, 7-9pm

Come and see a few of my pieces (a recent sampling of all three of my styles) and many more from the talented teachers of the Halton board.

New Website!

I hope you like it!  I’m really happy with how this new site looks.  It’s also much easier to use.  I’d like to give a huge shout out to my friend, Mikey, for suggesting, creating and coaching me through the changeover from the old site to the new site.

Give the new site a look-through and tell me what you like or don’t like.  Be nice, though; I can’t take too much criticism.