Thursday, June 25, 2020

Where Am I Moving My Blog?

From hence forth I will be blogging on my main website under "blog" or click on the link: My New Blog Thanks for all your support!

Monday, June 15, 2020

The King Of Staten Island, Judd Apatow? Just ApaWow!

The King Of Staten Island, 2020 is an American comedy-drama starring SNL cast member Pete Davidson, directed by Judd Apatow (HBO’s Crashing, another absolute favourite of mine with philosophical underpinnings on what it means to struggle and achieve as an artist) and written by Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson and Dave Sirus. Dark, funny and tender, The King of Staten Island is largely based on Pete’s real life struggles with depression and suicide after his father died a fire fighter on September 11 when he was 7. In this version, Pete plays a mid twenty something aspiring tattoo artist whose aspirations have stalled. Unable to get out from under the roof of his mother (Marisa Tomei)’s and stuck in a time capsule smoking pot with his buds on the basement couch, Pete finds everyone else around him evolving: his younger sister (Maude Apatow) is moving away to college, his mother starts dating another fireman (Bill Burr), his girlfriend (Bel Powley) becoming a city planner and wanting to make their relationship public and official, Pete just can’t seem to try nor commit to anything when everything can just go blank in a blink. Nothing resolves until Pete insults then befriends a senior fireman who once new his dad, played by a former fireman (Steve Buscemi), need I say more? 
A movie about loss, heroism, getting your act together and floundering and family. I loved every bit of this flick by Judd Apatow? Just ApaWow!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A Painter's Peony

Peony Panda acrylic on canvas 6 x 6 x 1.5 inches, 2013 In private collection.

Peonies are my favourite flower, every year I get peonies for my Birthday as they remind me of my grandma who always knew when my Birthday was coming, "when the Peonies are in bloom!" I painted this peony panda a few years ago, pandas are my favourite as they also remind me of my grandma. A deep dive into history's best peony painters inspired this post, turns out peonies have long carried much cultural wahoo!


      A fragrant flowering plant native to Asia, Europe and Western North America with about 33 known species. Purple, pink, red, white and yellow, they open in a short window of 7 to 10 days in late spring/early summer. While it takes several years to re-establish itself when moved, it blooms annually for decades once settled. Two cities in China, Luoyang and He Ze host annual peony exhibitions and state-funded peony research facilities. Today The Netherlands is the largest peony-for-cut producing country. Confucius is known to have eat nothing without its flavourful sauce and for centuries all over it has been cultivated for its medicinal properties. A remedy against stomach pains, epilepsy, jaundice, gallstones, seizures, teething pains and snake bites, the Romans treated over 20 diseases with it including warding off evil spirits, demons, witches, storms, the evil eye and bad dreams. It protected crops and was also given high titles from the "King of Flowers" to the "Prime Minister of Flowers," its petals have been used in tea, added to salads, punches and lemonades for centuries. Culturally celebrated they have been used to tell the stories of human triumph and tragedy for generations. In one Greek mythology the God of medicine was transformed into a peony flower to be saved from another's jealousy, in another they sprouted where a God's tears were shed after the loss of a loved one, these flowers have been used to represent immortality and perfection. In Chinese culture they decorated the imperial palaces to express the wealth and prosperity 2.5 century long dynasties like those commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor Qing dynasty and painted by the Italian Jesuit painter and architect Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). The Europeans referred to them as the "rose without thorns." In Victorian times they symbolized a peaceful life, a happy marriage and good luck. In the female they have known to represent from beauty and fertility to bashfulness, shame and shyness with a story of mischievous and or timid nymphs known to hide their nakedness in-between the petals. In the male they were popularized in full body tattoos to represent ferocity and power inspired by the peony decorated warriors of the woodblock prints and paintings of Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) Other famous peony painters past have been the Swiss physician, naturalist, bibliographer and philologist, Conrad Gessner (1516-1565), the German engraver, printmaker and painter, Martin Schongauer who filled the Dominican Church in Colmar with stories of colour and tenderness and the French Modernist and Impressionists, Claude Monet (1832-1883) and his contemporary Auguste Renoir (1841-1919).

Martin Schongauer (1450-1491)

Yup Shouping, Qing Dynasty 1644-1911

Gold engraved lacquerware food tray, Song dynasty 1960-1279
The two long-tailed birds represent longevity and the peony represents prosperity.

Portrait of the Fragrant Concubine during the Qing by Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766) 
     A mythical figure in Chinese legend based on an actual concubine from Western China who entered the imperial harem. They say she had a natural fragrant scent, maybe of peonies! and bathed in camel's book daily on her journey to the imperial court to preserve her natural fragrant scent. Homesick, the emperor did everything he could to win her heart, giving her a luxurious room and a garden and building her a a bazaar, a mosque and a miniature oasis based on her hometown. Until finally, he won her over with a jujube tree bearing golden fruit from her hometown. 

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)

Eduard Manet (1832-1883)

    Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Lisa Ng, author of this post! 2018

Saturday, June 6, 2020

FAQs What Are the Best Conditions for Art Making?

Anytime is a good time for art making! but I like the early mornings best. Sunrise to 11am offers the best daylight, I can see the full spectrum then before the sun gets warmer in colour around midday. I also like the peace and quiet of this time as the rest of the world is just getting up and or heading to work, I feel so free and lucky basking in the colours with little distraction. If I'm working in the daytime however, I'll paint in the evening under lamplight. Sometimes I'll save the trickiest colour parts for daytime painting and paint the more easier to see stuff at night. To maximize my attention span I usually paint no more than 1 to 2 to at most 3 hours at a time, roughly taking a 10 minute break between 50 minute sessions. I usually start by painting to music because I love music and art is a great excuse to listen to lots of it but when the day gets lonely I'll toss on a show or a podcast. I like funny clever things so usually an hour long set from a favourite stand up comedian or a tv show with characters I like hanging out with.

I keep my studio space in my living room, I like being able to work on it every spare moment I get. I like the instant access when I get up in the morning after brushing my teeth to being able to tinker on it when I'm waiting for something to bake in the oven. My apartment is tiny but I have adapted. If I'm not eating over the kitchen sink while reflecting on my current progress, I'm eating at the tv dinner table where I keep my paints on.

Body mechanics are important which took me the first few years to learn. I spend so much time here I had to learn to sit straight to avoid back aches and neck cramps. Here I have a small foot stool I'll sit on to work at the bottom of a painting and an ergonomic computer chair that raises and lowers depending on what height I want to be working at. I can stand on the foot stool too to work on the top but often I will just flip my painting upside down and work on it while sitting. 

Sustainability was a thing so keeping production costs low was important. I used to buy palette paper but now I just use the free pizza, restaurant, condo, dentist, etc. flyers I get for free in my mailbox. I cut old clothes to use for rags for wiping down my palette knives and brushes which cuts down on the amount of paint that gets washed down the drains. I struggled with carpal tunnel a lot in my early years but now I have it fairly under control. I paint with a brace, ALWAYS. and do regular stretches and massages when I feel it creeping up again. I've been painting everyday since 2007.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Puzzle Town

Tiger Queen puzzle 11.8 x 16.9 inches 108 pieces 

Puzzles are available! With the kids bored at home I couldn’t help myself and started getting custom puzzles made. They come in a variety of sizes depending on which image you want printed, inquire at for more answers. Here are 2 from a happy customer, they turned out super. All the detail make for a great puzzling exercise, plus you’re left with a pretty print to look at in the end, prices range from $60 to $120 (depending on size) 🧩 

Flamingos In The Bathroom puzzle 11.8 x 16.9 inches 108 pieces 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

FAQs If You Could Put All of Life on the Cover of One Magazine, What Would it Be?

God's Key Chain, Spooky Astronauts Drawing Club, 2014

Good question! Originally thought it would take me a long time to answer but in actuality the answer came at me within minutes. If I could put all of life on the cover of one magazine, I'd put the 2014 digital drawing, "God's Key Chain" by The Spooky Astronauts Drawing Club. A decade old this year, The Spooky Astronauts Drawing Club is a drawing collective based in the Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario area. Founded by a rag tag team of old friends, although lately more like a bickering old family of misfits who just can't seem to get along except in drawing, I stumbled into the delightful mess early on in its inception. Starting with a small handful of regular contributors, the group has spiralled out like a virus with over 60 participants. Astronauts take turns drawing in pencil and after some erasing and re-drawing and sometimes squabbling, a piece is declared finished and an inker and a digital colorist takes over before the final product is posted online.

God's Key Chain to me represents all of life with so many contributors I've lost track of, naturally it contains the viewpoints and chaotic mess of many and yet densely packed all into the palm of God. Dissecting every inch poses more questions than answers but an experience to be had nonetheless!

Get in touch to obtain a print or obtain one online:

Since COVID19, The Spooky Astronauts Drawing Club are still in continual production and have begun to do their drawings together via snail mail, boldly continuing on the exciting work of imagination exploration.

To see more visit our facebook:

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Anglerfish In A Kimono

Angler Fish In A Kimono acrylic on canvas 9 x 12 x 1.5 inches 2020 In private collection.

     Been a wee slow on the updates on here, been terribly busy with life and finishing up the last painting of my large animal in a room series but I finished my Anglerfish Fish In A Kimono Painting a few weeks ago and sold it already, she was quick to go! She is part of a new series I am embarking on titled, Ugly Animals In Cute Outfits, character and personality count after all. If you like you can still buy prints of her on my Society 6 page:

Paper Prints:

Canvas Prints:

Some close ups of the painting.

I did this small painting in-between breaks when I was away from my large paintings on vacation (to the UK) or away at my in-laws. I don't like to go a day without painting so I carry a small one with me anytime I need to go anywhere. Production was over the course of several months, maybe about a year of just working on it a little bit here and there. I took my time with it adding in all the details, the flowers on the kimono, the reflection lines from the watery environment. Red and pink is one of my favourite colour combos. I also like the contrast of the angler's natural resting bitch face against the soft tones of her floral kimono. Angler's put out their headlight to attract prey before they gobble them up, in this case though this sophisticated angler is an art collector highlighting a favourite work of art of hers..

The great famous  wood block print, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai. This is something I frequently do, add depictions of famous art into my own artwork. I think it adds context to my influences and I looked at so much art from books in public libraries growing up, it allows me to revisit my favourite pieces of artists past. It's a shout out and if a viewer recognizes it, it's always lovely meeting another art fan, giving us something further to remember and share in. Plus it gives me to opportunity to ramble on about my favourite artists:

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, Katsushika Hokusai, 1829 - 1833, colour wood block 10.1 x 14.9 inches. In several private and public collections worldwide.

Katsushika Hokusai 1760 - 1849

Japanese artist, painter and print maker of the Edo period, most famous for his woodblock print series, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji in which The Great Wave Off Kanagawa is included. Hokusai produced this print when he was 70 after some intermittent setbacks including paralysis and misconduct from a grandson which left him in financial ruin in his later years. Having some success in his middle life, this painting in particular helped him gain back an eternal notoriety. Done during a domestic travel boom and inspired by a personal fascination of Mount Fuji, this series of prints introduced the new synthetic pigment, Prussian blue to the art market affordable enough to be used in prints for the first time. His father (an uncle who adopted him) was a mirror maker and his mother, possibly a concubine, Hokusai began painting around the age of six from his father whose work included painting designs around mirrors. He went by more than 30 different names during his lifetime and although this was common among Japanese artists of the time, Hokusai went through more aliases than any artist, marking the different prolific periods of his artistic development. Although a life in the mirror business would lead him to what would be thought as life among the upper class (metal mirrors would soon be replaced by silvered glass mirrors imported by the Dutch) he decided to find work as wood carver. Hokusai relocated 93 times throughout his, never an avid cleaner, he would let the grime in his studio pile on before setting up shop elsewhere. At 12 he worked in a bookshop and lending library, at 14 he worked as an apprentice wood-carver under Shunsho. He had two wives both who died soon after and between the two, had three children. When Shunsho died, he began exploring other styles of art including European, French and Dutch copper engravings he acquired. A short time later he was expelled by the Shunsho school due to his studies from a rival Kano school. Hokusai went on to explore different forms of art and subject matter from courtesans and actors, to landscapes, to daily life of Japanese people of different social levels, to portraiture and brush painting. Known for antics of self promotion, he sometimes did public displays of painting with brooms dipped in buckets of ink and once won a painting competition painting a giant blue curve on paper then chasing a chicken across it whose feet had been dipped in red paint, describing the image as the Tatsuta River with red maple leaves floating. He also did illustrations for books of fiction and poetry, how-to drawing manuals, illustrated board games, paper lanterns and cut out dioramas as an easy way to gain quick income and attract more students. In 1814, he drew his first Manga (meaning random drawings) a precursor to the modern day Manga, which consisted of studies in perspective, thousands of drawings of animals, religious figures and everyday people with funny overtones which later developed into 4 frame cartoons illustrating the humorous ways of the wealthy. In 1839, his studio was destroyed in a fire and his popularity began to wane as younger artists began to take the stage. These circumstances did not deter him however and he was given refuge by a wealthy farmer who invited the then 80 year old to stay with him where he continued to paint and never stopped. He completed his painting, Ducks In A Stream at 87. He left behind a staggering 30,000 works of paintings, drawings, woodblock prints and picture books in total that would inspire generations of artists after him worldwide. During his lifetime, Japan had enforced isolation practices that deterred tourists from entering and citizens from leaving but when Japan opened its borders after his death in the 1850s, Hokusai's work crossed continents and landed in the hands of Claude Monet who acquired 23 of his prints and Edgar Degas who admired his sketches of the human figure. In the Western world he was known as a unique artist combining the use of Western-stye vanishing point perspective with the flat colouring wood block printing techniques native to his home Japan. Asian artists of the time mostly depicted far-away objects just higher on the composition. On his death bed, at 89, he is quoted, "If only Heaven will give me just another ten years.. Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter." His tombstone bears his final moniker, Gakyo Rojin Manji, which in Japanese spells, "Old Man Mad about Painting."