Chaos into orderĀ  - 2021 -

We have just come out of the first year of a viral pandemic. Life as we know it has changed irrevocably. Lives have been lost, social order is stifling and the future is anybody’s guess. How we basicly function as a society has been rewritten into a warped picture Salvador Dali would feel at home in.

However, many of us in this time have had the opportunity to focus on what, through this, has held importance; Home - your nest. What fills your home, whether it is family, finance, property or community, we have all had some time to focus on and work on what is important to us.

This series was developed in contemplation of the symbolism of the chaos and order of a nest, combined with thoughts on the fragile hope of life and security and the significance and relevance it holds to our own current chaotic situations.
At the same time, it is a timeless reminder to look deep into that which we hold dear.

Showing at The Gallery 421

APRIL 27 - MAY 4 2021

View the gallery of the oil paintings inspired by this concept...

There's more to the story...


I don’t like to project my interpretations along with my paintings for the simple fact I hope the painting speaks for itself and leads the viewer to question. I get a greater sense of satisfaction when viewers can attribute their own meaning and significance to a piece. That said, there are concepts involved in these nests that I would write for historical purposes rather than have history guess at what my intentions were.

The Nest

We surround ourselves with the straws - those chaotic events and experiences that make up our lives. Some of them are curly and stick out. Others are placed in ever comforting arrangements all the while creating a nurturing pocket where our goals (eggs) can develop into their full potential. Protected yet exposed and vulnerable to the whims of fate and sometimes the fancy of a vulture or two.

The Egg

Symbol of life. Resting potential. Still on the outside, a hive of activity on the inside. It leads to question: What is life going to be like for the bird? is the odd coloured one going to come out a lizard? what experiences will it have? will it hatch, will something eat it before? will it survive the first few weeks before it can fly? will it learn to fly? All the perils and inherent struggle and misery... is a bird ever ‘happy’? What does it all mean? Why are we here?!?

The questions can go as deep as we are willing to let them. The answers go even deeper.


Artistic Purpose / Overview

There was an overarching set of requirements for this series affecting mood, style, composition and technique.

  • Mood; calming, ethereal, aesthetic / designed.
  • Style; combined abstract meets impressionism meets realism with a touch of tonalism - abstracted tonal impressionistic realism maybe?
  • Composition; something I pay a lot of attention to, using basic principles of golden ratios, balance of shapes and colour and values. 80/20, Square, circle triangle. Hard lines / soft lines. Depth.
  • Technique; traditional / indirect - light to dark with transparent glazes over textured ground using brush, pallette knife, rags and medium.

inspiration and gratitude

This series was inspired by Sandra Hogarth, friend and curator at the Gallery 421 in Kelowna, BC Canada. Through seeing a previous nest I had created, Sandra became aware there were few artists who painted nests and thought it a neat subject to explore.

At her insistence I delved into the subject and realized a great depth in meaning and symbolism. I was able to explore techniques new and old, push compositions in shape, layout and colour and incorporate texture. All of these elements combined to result in balanced abstracted realism.

Deep thanks to my family, friends and mentors who encourage me to keep up the pursuit and to those who create opportunities to further the life of art.


These paintings vary in technique as each required subtle nuances to create the desired
visual effects.

  1. Compositional and value sketch: Pencil / paper: Considerations in composition - balance (80/20) layout (golden aspects) pattern, depth.
  2. Empower the canvas / canvas prep: In priming the canvas, the Gesso was applied thickly to allow for texture. Sometimes the texture is random, inspired by the flow of the music of the moment, othertimes, the subject is pre-defined in texture, allowing for different nest effects.
  3. Sketch in: Rarely graphite or chalk, usually draw in paint using burnt sienna and generous mineral spirits toning the entire canvas and then rubbing back areas of highlight - allowing texture to shine. Allow 15 min to dry
  4. Sketch in - first layer: Using Ultramarine blue thinned with spirit and blended with burnt sienna, a two toned drawing further identifies the desired shapes of the painting. This is where most of the drawing is completed. In a repeating pattern the straw is created using a clean flat brush wet with mineral spirits, using the edge of the hairs, the dark paint is removed, leaving a 3D looking straw of grass. Wipe brush, repeat. 300 times. Once two toned version is looking where you want it, allow to dry (few hours - to a day)
  5. Layers: Using transparent colours - Ultramarines, alizarin crimson, ashphaltum, earth oranges, pthalos, reds etc . The darks are made darker and general harmony glazes are applied. To renew highlights, sometimes opaque passages (whites) are applied. Additionally, most paintings have a ‘veil’ applied to enhance atmosphere. Using zinc or Titanium white heavily diluted with Liquin or Galkyd (damar gum based medium) sometimes lighly tinted create a mist effect whose effect isn’t readily apparent until it dries.

A day or two between layers is common so to work on numerous paintings at a time can be mildly more efficient than one at a time.


Selling at The Gallery 421

APRIL 27 - MAY 4 2021
The Gallery 421click to visit