My Benjamin Moore Colour Trend Challenge

Testing the Shadow 2117-30 colour for my project 
I couples days ago I was perusing through the Internet looking for some inspiration and learned that the Benjamin Moore's Colour of the year for 2017 is a really rich and deep purple called Shadow 2117-30. I've been into purples lately so, naturally, I was drawn to that particular colour. In, purple is said to have a calming effect over the mind and nerves. It can be uplifting, trigger creativity and increase intuition. To me purple also represents balance as it's the combination of the high energy of the colour red and the cool calming energy of the colour blue. Interestingly, when looking into what it means to like the colour purple, a lot of the description fits my personality. At least part of it. 

Inspired by that colour, I decided to create a piece of artwork featuring Shadow. But then I also looked at the entire colour palette for 2017 and saw more interesting colours with eye catching names such as Gentleman's Gray, Sea Star and Stormy Monday. So I decided to upgrade my idea and turn it into a year long art challenge for the upcoming year: Perfect time for a new art challenge! So my art challenge for 2017 is to create art pieces featuring each of the 23 colours of the 2017 trend colour palette. It should be an interesting experience. I already went ahead a couple days ago and bought my first four colour samples : Shadow, Gentleman's Grey, Amulet and Cloud Cover (shown below).

(left to right) Shadow 2117-30, Gentleman's Grey 2062-20, Amulet AF-365, Cloud Cover OC-25
I'm not entirely sure how this is going to go. At first I was just going to use them in a painting but I've decided that these painting will only use the colours from that palette and that they will be used in my cloud painting project.  I've never used them to paint on canvas before so it will be interesting to see what comes out of that idea. 

Wish me luck! 

Dare to Dream

Dare to Dream 
Acrylic on canvas, 9" x 12"

Every single invention that currently exists around us started out as a thought or a dream : The clothes we're wearing, the homes we live in, the places we work at, the countries we live in, the car we're driving, the roads we're taking, the books and magazines we read, the shows and movies we watch, the music we listen to, our electronics, our vacation spots, the Internet, social media, etc. They all started as a thought, an idea or a dream in someone else's mind and we are essentially living in other people's dreams.

Dreams are powerful, especially big dreams. They move us forward. They change the world for the better. Imagine where we would be without people like Martin Luther King, Rosa Park, Valentina Tereshkova, Ganhdi, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah and Elon Musk? They dreamed big.  Not only are we living in their dreams, we're also actively working on keeping their dream alive, which is great. The problem is that too often, many of us are so busy living in someone else’s dream that we often forget to create our own dreams too. It's like we forget that we also get to participate if we want to, if we dare to dream just like the ones before us did. 

Dreams are the first crucial step in making big changes. Rather than spending time complaining and commiserating about how things are not the way we want them to be, we should spend more time dreaming about how we would like things to be instead and then start taking action to turn these dreams into reality. But first, we must dare to dream. We can only change something by creating something new that doesn't exist yet, and in order to do that, we need to dream.

All these thoughts inspired the painting above entitled Dare to Dream. As you watch this artistic cloud formation in the the video below, I hope to invite you to slow down for a couple minutes and take some time to think about your own dreams. What do you dream about for yourself? for your family?  for your friends?  for your environment? for  your country?  for our world? Do you even still dream? If not, do you have to courage to start to dream big again ? 

Documented by Rainbow Scontayo

I was recently approached by Alex Gladwell, founder of Rainbow Scontayo to be featured in a short documentary. It's a video production company specializing in personal documentaries. Like many artists, he also has personal projects he runs on the side and one of his current projects consists of creating short documentaries of various people in the city. It was fun to be on the other side of the camera and get into a great conversation about art, life and philosophies which resulted in this neat clip recorded after our hour long conversation. Of course, my sidekick Newton had to be in there as well. 

Alex has interviewed quite a few people. I'm number 47! You can see more clips here on his video wall. I've been enjoying looking through the various clips and hear some of the wisdom that can come out of a 1 minute clip. Also check out fellow urban sketcher Wil Wong's interview

The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar

Myself and some of the urban sketchers capturing the musicians.
Photo courtesy of B. Beard Photography

There's something I find fascinating about sketching musicians. I don't exactly know what it is but it feels right. It's not the easiest thing to do as they move quite a bit but it definitely provides a great sense of well being. And judging by the comments on our meetup page, it certainly looks like I'm not the only one who feels this way.  

As the weather is getting colder, we need to find indoor spaces to sketch as a group, and The Rex is truly a gift. Located right downtown near Osgoode subway station, this casual and friendly family-run musical mecca offers live Jazz shows every day : 19 shows per week with local and world-renowned musicians. 

This time we have the pleasure of listening to the Hart House Jazz Combo and the Hart House Jazz Ensemble. They created a beautiful and relaxing ambiance on top of being our models during our sketching session. It was great to witness such talented individuals partake in their passion for music and inspiring to think of the fact that many members were not professional musicians. One of the singers is an actuarian professor and many of the musician are students working on a degree in a different field! 

Below you can see the results from my sketchbook during the event. The first two were was more of a warm up and getting used to the movement of each musician. Members of the Hart House Jazz combo come on an off stage depending on when it was their turn to play a portion of the song, some moved more then others but I managed to capture some of them. 

Sketching the Hart House Jazz Ensemble was a little easier because they mostly remained seated. Being really close, I was able to capture more details and at the end of the session some of us got them to sign our sketches for fun. You can see more of the sketches and photos from the event on our Facebook page. Many of the sketchers are looking forward to the next time we'll be back sketching more musicians playing. It's our second time sketching there and I'm imagine will be back again for more. Part of me wonders if there's a way to collaborate with The Rex in the future and make this a regular thing. We shall see.
To get a better idea of our time there, I create this little video summary of our time there. Enjoy!

Clouds are for dreamers and their contemplations benefit the soul

Journal painting for the new month

Clouds are for dreamers 
and their contemplations benefits the soul. 
- Gavin Pretor-Pinney

How beautiful is this quote from the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society!  Yes! There is a group for people who appreciate clouds. I just found out about it today and I'm seriously considering joining. I read their manifesto and immediately connected with it. Especially the one about how contemplations benefits the soul. There is something about looking at the beauty that unfolds every day above our heads, the colours, the shapes, the lighting. It's all very mesmerizing and it makes us feel great and relaxed. There's definitely something to it and I wouldn't be surprised to find studies showing that there is measurable mental health benefits from looking at clouds : nature's meditation and mindfulness app. Maybe that's one of the reasons I'm into them. They seem to be appearing more and more in my paintings and doodling, like this one made a couple days ago in my journal for the start of the month. 

I also made a video of the process and uploaded it on my youtube channel. This prompted a couple more ideas of doing live painting session accompanied by a pianist. It would be the next best thing to watching cloud formations in the sky. Something to work on perhaps for the new year. We shall see. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this relaxing painting cloud formation online.