January 5, 2016

High Functioning Sociopath – Day 2 Challenge Painting

The whole goal of the 30 Days 30 Paintings challenge is to grow creatively. I take that as permission to try new things, new styles and fail or not as I go. Becoming a painting robot is not a good thing and so, over the course of this month, I will be playing around with colours, styles and techniques.

This painting is no exception.

I’ve got a wide variety of canvases in both black and white. I love painting on white with limited colours because those pieces really pop. Painting on black requires a whole other approach.


When working on a black ground, it’s important to get the highlights in place first. There’s no point painting the darks because they won’t be obvious. I prefer some visual drama as I work.

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This was a painting that I struggled with. The colours weren’t working for me. The shadows weren’t doing it.  I just couldn’t see where things were going.

Focus is so important when painting, because the train through Shitsville can be slow-moving. If you stop and look around, you may never leave. I had problems staying focused here and I think, at this stage anyway, it shows.

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So I decided to throw caution to the wind and throw in colours that were perhaps, not entirely skin tones.  The hardest part when painting is making decisions about how to approach a piece. Every painting requires choices like whether to stick with conventional tones or to go for temperatures. Yellow for warmth, for example. Taking that leap can make or break a painting but in my mind, if a painting isn’t working anyway, then there’s nothing to lose.

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And look where that leap went! Some fiddling back and forth with temperatures. Additions of purple and magenta and bright blues.. And suddenly things pull together.


Then it’s a matter of details and touch ups. A little black line here. A shadow there.

sm_20160103_193907-1 “High Functioning Sociopath”


Acrylic on canvas

Prints and the original are for sale.

Contact me for more info.





Want to see my work in person? I’ll be in Kitchener for Tri Con on January 16th and 17th. Check out my events page for more details!

Plus, follow along as I paint my way through this month. 30 Days 30 Paintings is a fun challenge which can yield some surprising results. I’m currently painting my way through my backlog of pieces I had planned over the last couple of years. And some new ones.  Follow along here and on Facebook where I paint live nearly every night.