Bellevile Plein Air Festival

This was my second year painting at Belleville Plein Air Festival and it was a blast. I am very happy to announce that the painting below won a Juror's Choice Award. Not only did I get to paint for three full days, uninterrupted, but best of all I got to meet new friends and cool artists.

This was the first painting I got to do once I arrived to town. I saw the view and decided to give it a shot. There was lots in front of me, but I opted to keep it simple and to simplify the shapes.

"Looking from Bay of Quinte"     Pastel   11x14
(Juror's Choice Award)

Belleville is a small town couple of hours east of Toronto. The town is littered with historic homes and buildings. Beautiful marina looks towards Prince Edward island. There is a river running through and a beautiful walkway along. Did I mentioned that there are some serious fish in it? I saw countless giant sturgeons and carp, trout, lots of birds too, Great Blue Herons, Grackles and Cormorants. I mean those are the species I could recognise there were many more.

"Caper's Alleyway"       Pastel 11x14in

Couple of alleyways reminded me of mediterranean coastal towns. That is what attracted me to paint this one. It was nice to be in the shade and not frying in the sun. More Belleville paintings to come in future post.


It is hard to believe but spring has finally arrived to Toronto. After a long and might I say proper winter we finally are seeing the sun and feeling its warmth. 

Next three paintings were all painted at Taylor Creek Park which is close to my house. 

The day started with mostly overcast light. The nice thing about overcast is that it is consistent light without much change as the day passes. There is no rush when painting. I settled on this down view of the creek and the reflection of the riverbank. Because the light is diffuse it doesn't create harsh reflections, allowing us to see deeper into the river bed. I was going for a more quieter mood and felt that making the sky reflection too light would take away from the stillness of the scene. Instead, I brought out more the the deeper saturated blue of the sky than it what actually looked like (it was quite bright), this in turn lowered the value of the reflection and gave less contrast. 

 "Stillness"                                 Pastel, 8x10in

Next up, I turned around to face the now unobstructed sun busting through trees and still bare thickets. The first spring leafs were back lit, and their intense yellow green colour was further intensified by the play of the refracting light and dark background behind them. This is a classic sub surface scattering effect, the same one when you put your hand right next to a strong light bulb and you can see the red colour of your blood right through your skin.

"First Leafs"                     Pastel, 8X10in

As the sun was setting I decided to go for one more. I knew I did not have much time and whatever I decided to paint would lack detail and careful drawing. There was a small patch of cattails nearby, backlit with raking light, beautifully outlining their shaggy worn heads. There was a lot of detail in front of me. I was able only to suggest what was going on but not much more... I look forward to coming back to this spot and doing further studies. 

 "Catching the Last Light"       Pastel, 8x10in

Colour Keys

Here are a couple of colour keys that I did for Pixel Trip Studios and their new game release, "The Breakout". Their previous project "Niko and the Sword of Light" turned out amazing, and from the looks of it, this one will be equally great. Now, head over to their Kickstarter  page to help them make this project.

Lazy summer day

This simple scene was painted in August, 2013 while staying at a cottage near Peterborough, Ontario. We shared the cottage with our good friends and neighbours, and that made the trip all the more enjoyable. During my stay I completed several sketches but most of them did not make the cut, except this one. The intense light and shadow pattern formed by the trees was too irresistible not to paint. 

 "Lazy Shadows"                                     8x10in Pastel

Happy 2014!

I am excited about the upcoming year.  I look forward to coming spring and having my baby boy born, to summers full of light and warmth, travels, family, friends and of course many new paintings to paint.

Happy 2014 everyone!

"Overlooking Bayview"          Pastel            6x10


I painted this view from my driveway looking over towards the neighbour's backlot. Night time painting is both interesting and challenging. The value range of colours is very narrow, and I find it helps if I start with a dark underpainting or paper and build from there. 

"Night, Woodmount Ave."    Pastel,     8x10in

Won 2nd place!

I am happy to report back that I won a second place with my painting "Pumpkin and Corn, Kitsilano". The award was handed out at the OPAS annual art show, juried by Don Cavin. Thank you for the honour.

"Pumpkin and Corn, Kitsilano"  Pastel   10x8in

My family and I flew out to Vancouver this summer to visit our good friends who moved there last year. We had several sunny days and hit some rainy ones too. Scenery was impressive, mountains, ocean, palm trees all in the same place. I love the light and the way this wild patch of corn and pumpkins look set against the brightly coloured building.  

Three generations togther

Pre-Halloween portrait

The best part about self portraits is that you can do them any time, no model fees, no fidgety family members. My usual palette is geared towards landscape painting and I certainly have noticed "holes"-missing colours. Painting landscapes feels like a piece of cake compared to portraits. No one will know if that tree over there is off in drawing, but put an eye a fraction of an inch off and it screams. This was about an hour long session.

"Self Portrait"     Pastel     11x14in

Find the extraordinary in ordinary

It has been a while since I posted any work here. Life is as busy as it gets. This doesn't mean that I have not been painting.  Speaking of art, I am taking part in a group exhibit with Ontario Plein Air Society at Hangman Art Gallery. Reception will be held on November  2nd at 2:30pm. The exhibit will continue to run till Nov. 17th. Click here for Google map link. Hope to see you then.

8x10in     "Taylor Creek Roots"   Pastel on paper

After walking endlessly for an hour looking for something to inspire me to paint and not encountering anything "worthy" I threw my paint gear down on the ground in frustration. I figured that I could walk an hour more and I still not find anything to paint. The truth is that it is not so much about the environment but my perception of it, or lack of perception. Find the extraordinary in ordinary I said to myself. I set my easel up and decided to paint the first view that appeared in front of me. 

Won at Belleville Plein Air Festival!

I spent the weekend painting at Belleville Plein Air Festival. It was a great event, had an opportunity to  meet many great artists and enjoy a fine weekend filled with outdoor painting, good food and fun family times with my wife and our little baby girl. The painting below won a 3rd place and was sold on spot. Unfortunately in the rush to hand in the framed painting I did not have a chance to photograph the finished piece properly, hence the glare on left side... Live and learn. I am looking forward to coming back to Belleville next year again.

"Respite"        Pastel on Canson paper         11x14in

Green Purple/Pink Blue

Took a nice stroll down the Queen St. East, Beaches area, with my wife and my little baby girl Ava. I had my portable pastel kit handy when I noticed this interesting view. What captured my attention was not so much the shapes or composition but the colour combination of green purple/pink and blue. I can say that having a baby around really keeps me on my toes as there is not a second to waste when painting.  I felt like I was running a hundred meter sprint in order to finish it before the little one started to fuss.

"Green Purple/Pink Blue"         8x8in      Pastel

Cloud Teacher

Toronto, to me feels sleepy and baren in winter. But come spring and it bursts with life and movement. That is what I saw at Christ Pits Park the other day. There was a sheep dog, jumping high and catching frisbees. Young girl strumming her ukulele, and two guys playing guitar and singing french songs. Kids running and playing around. Looking up at the passing clouds I saw the same burst of life and happiness mirrored in the sky. So that is what I wanted to paint.

"Spring in Christ Pits Park"                                   3x8in  Pastel 

Malayan Pavilion

I have been painting sporadicly or next to nothing in the past month or so. It feels good to take a brake, but the painting itch is coming back.

Couple of weeks ago I took my students to Toronto Zoo for a day of drawing. It was -8 outside with a biting chilly wind. It was totally the oposite inside the climatized pavilions; warm and humid. The day was spent looking at students' work, offering suggestions and encouragement. I barely had any time for my own drawing. After all the students left I took an opportunity and painted for an hour at the Malayan Pavilion.

"Malayan Pavilion"       8x8in       Pastel On Canson

Happy 2013

Thank you for following my work and the support you have given me this year. I am wishing that you have a truly inspiring and meaningful year ahead.

  Commission       8x10       Pastel on Canson 

Tavvauvutit :Inuit Goodbye

Working on a children's book project that I am very excited about. There are paper boats involved, and I love paper boats :) Here is one of the illustrations from the story.

"Tavvauvutit :Inuit Goodbye"     7x14in    Pastel on Canson 

Fall Dance

To be honest I never was a fan of fall colours. I often find them looking too garish, especially seeing those bright reds against still stronger greens. This is coming from someone who LOVES high chroma colour. This year however, I started to see possibilities for fall painting for the first time. I have observed certain scenes around my neighbourhood where lighting looked at times literally unreal to my eyes. I will be posting some of those observations and efforts soon.

Here is a children's book illustration celebrating the season.

"Fall Dance"   8x10in   Pastel