Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bowl of fruit on a mosaic tile table

Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6"
Painted Sept. 17-23, 2007, #132

The point of interest for me in this painting was certainly how the mosaic tile is semi reflected in the left side of the glass bowl. The setting is on our veranda. A large post was actually casting a shadow on half of the lemon. As in many of my paintings, the use of red and primary colors are ever present.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Red Delicious

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6"
Painted Sept. 17-22, 2007, #131

This image is from the same photo study as Trois pommes (Three apples). Basking in the bright summer sun, the polished wax on this Red Delicious is playing tricks with light and form. Even in this smaller version, it is still larger than life in scale.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Corner Store no. 2

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6"
Painted Sept. 16-22, 2007, #130

This past July (2007), we spent a getaway week-end in Halifax, NS. On day-two, shortly after leaving our hotel for an early morning Sunday run around Point Pleasant Park I passed in front of Olympic Confectionery, a corner store at the other end of Barrington Street that boasted not one but two Coca-Cola button signs. It literally stopped me in my track. I had to return later that afternoon to take a few snapshots. 

Corner Store no. 1 was done in 1989 and was my sixth painting. The setting for no.1 was on the other side of the country, at the corner of Commercial and Venables Streets in Vancouver. This one also had a beautiful striped canvas canopy. It still surprises me that these type of corner store façade still exist today. Hopefully when the time has come, these will be restored instead of replaced.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6"
Painted- Sept. 16 - 20, 2007, #129

It's crunch time, 9 days left before the opening of my solo show. At this point I have started to concentrate on smaller pieces, 6 x 6", a format that has become quite popular with the daily blog painters. I am aiming for a total of 8 or 9 paintings in this size. This is the first installment. These Coca-Cola bottles are actually the same that are featured in Pop Tent, except their contents have been emptied. As a commercial product, it is one of the most recognized both for it's famous logo created by the inventor's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson in 1885, and for it's equally famous contour bottle of greenish tint glass. Coca-Cola was introduced to the public in 1886. I have realized that the empty version is much more suitable to paint. There are areas that sparkles like tiny emeralds in the light. I will be doing a more elaborate version that is not cropped in the near future.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cherry & Lime JELL-O

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 12"
Painted September 3 - 15, 2007, #128

It is always interesting to do a bit of research when doing a painting. Gelatin is a very old product and was popularized during the Victorian era, when they started serving it in elaborate jelly moulds. The name brand JELL-O dates back to 1897. The gelatin actually comes from the collagen in cow or pig bones and connective tissues. It has been a part of my own landscape since I was young. Growing up, I was a nose bleeder and Mom would often serve me this jiggly dessert, saying it was good to prevent nosebleeds. It is a staple food in many hospital settings. Served at the cafeteria and on every third tray to patients. I currently work as a nurse in the outpatient's department, where I regularly assist in an endoscopy clinic. If you are scheduled for a colonoscopy, you'll be on a strict diet of clear fluids, broths and the proverbial JELL-O for two days. Maybe now, you won't be able to find any pleasure at looking at this painting. Nonetheless, I've always considered it as a comfort food and I still like it after all this time, especially with fruits and whipped cream.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Child's Play

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 12"
Painted August 25 - Sept. 2, 2007, #127.

Crayons have been around since 1903. They are still the first tool of choice for all novice artists. This box set is a replica of a 1903 design. Monopoly made it's debut in the early 1930's. It is believed that more than 700 million people have played this board game.This painting has a feeling of nostalgia, yet it is as relevant today as when I was growing up. When you have children, you do revisit your own childhood on a variety of levels.

On a sadder note. One of my all-time favorite artist, Ken Danby passed away yesterday during a canoe outing in Algonquin Park, Ontario. He was 67 years old. His art book Ken Danby: A New Decade purchased in the late 1980's was a great point of reference, and influence me greatly in my pursuit toward a higher form of realism. I had the great pleasure to view his solo show, Earth, Sky and Water; Ken Danby - Landscapes at the Bernaducci-Meisel Gallery in New York City during the month of November of 2002.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Trois pommes

Acrylic polymer emulsion on canvas, 16 x 16"
Painted- August 16-25, 2007, #126

In 2002, I did my first still life with fruits where I left some produce stickers on two Golden Delicious apples. My work is very influenced by pop culture & Pop Art, so I never remove then when I paint. The purpose of a produce sticker is to display the PLU code, the 4 or 5 digit number which universally identifies produce type and variety. To me they seem more like little designer tags. A colleague at work commented on a painting I did with stickers and said, "I know this apple, it's number 4021". He then continued to recite a string of numbers that he had memorized because he uses the self-serve check-out machines we have at one of the grocery stores in town.- SOLD

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tomatoes on a vine

Acrylic polymer emulsion on canvas, 16 x 12"
Painted - July 30 - Aug. 12, 2007 , #125

Since 1990, I have been painting with acrylic paints using a transparent layering technique. I have only painted on canvas once, opting for gessoed hardboard instead. I had a difficult time to make the paint stick if it was too thinly diluted. Ontario artist, Heather Horton wrote an article in Art Avenue magazine for their May/June issue of 2007. The article was an analysis of her painting process. Here, she mentioned that she applied two or three coats of gesso on the canvas with light sanding in between coats, "it helped to reduce the texture of the canvas and created a more even surface to paint on". In retrospect, the canvas I did paint on was pre-primed, it just needed more coats of gesso and sanding.When painting still lifes, the possibilities of subject matter is endless. With Tomatoes on a vine, the sunlight passing through the holes in this colander, the tomatoes being reflected inside the stainless steel vessel, the heavy contrasting shadows were the elements that inspired me to start with. I am very pleased with the outcome of this piece, and will paint on canvas more often from now on. Heather Horton has a very successful solo exhibition underway at the Abbozzo Gallery in Oakville, Ontario. She is a rising star on the Canadian art scene, and I am fortunate enough to call her a friend.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


"AFTER HOURS: the hyperrealism of Alvin Richard" will be held at Handworks Gallery, located in the heart of historic uptown Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Dates - OCTOBER 5 - 18, 2007
Opening reception - October 5, 5:30pm - 8:30pm.

Handworks Gallery
12 King Street
Saint John, NB
E2E 1G2

Contact - Gallery owners - Cliff Turner, Shannon Merrifield or gallery staff to purchase artwork posted on this blog. Artwork must remain in the gallery until closure of the show.
Telephone - (506) 652-9787

Gallery hours are: 10:00am to 6:00pm (AST) from Monday to Saturday
*-More artworks to be posted for this show in following days.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pop Tent

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed MDF, 
18 x 18", painted July 12-29, 2007, #124

One thing that wakes you up in the morning when you are camping (except crows), is the bright sun. On one of those morning, I realized that the inside of a tent might be an unusual setting for a still life. Fast forward.... Jean-Luc, our then 11 year old son and I, had done some backyard camping and the Coleman tent was still up on the lawn, when I did this photo study. These were actually the last shots I took that afternoon.

My fascination with this subject is how the light filters through these bright colored drinks and become illuminated, almost as if they have their own power source. And of course, the way the light is being refracted on top of the beverage, which often changes color. This is my third installment of the Pop bottle series in a galvanize pail. The previous two were completed in 2005 & 2006.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fresh & Juicy

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 16 x 20"
Painted June 9 - July 10, 2007, #123

It seems hard to post a painting without mentioning my wife Suzanne. In some ways, she has always been my muse. Up until 2002, she appeared in almost every painting I did. It was she who first suggested that I should do more still life paintings. Now, she often provides the subject matter. This spring when she bought these incredibly large grapes at Costco, they were screaming at me to paint them. I knew the challenge with this one was going to be the green pedestal glass plate and to try to recreate the translucence yet opaque film of the grapes.
The other challenge was the scale. I was really out of my comfort zone painting a 16 x 20". Anything beyond 12 x 16" is large for me, and that has to do with my unconventionally technique with acrylic paint. I paint on a flat surface. I use the acrylics as if they were watercolors. The paint is often very diluted with water and would start running down the board if it was on an easel.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Shooter marble in the light

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 16 x 14"
Painted May 16 - June 3, 2007, #122

I usually paint still lifes that are at scale or somewhat under. What has surprised me about this piece is by enlarging the main subject way beyond it's actual size, I was able to produce an image with a more heighten sense of hyper realism. The windowsill is in our son Jean-Luc's bedroom and the marbles also belong to him. I bought three of these retro looking mason jars with glass lids in a flea market for 50 cents each. I would suspect that they will make a reappearance in future works. The semi-distorted abstract effect of the marbles caused by the bottom lettering of the word IDEAL, was very appealing to me visually. The vibrant colors and lighting effect remains yet again, the main feature here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mini sweet peppers in Mason

Acrylic polymer emuslion on gessoed hardboard, 11 x 7"
Painted April 23 - May 13, 2007, #121

I am not much of a cook. Suzanne, on the other hand can works her magic around the kitchen. I am very fortunate. She is also the one who does the grocery shopping. The minute I saw her remove these mini sweet peppers from the grocery bag, I knew that I was going to paint them. Here in Atlantic Canada, the most common and available brand of mason jars are: Atlas, Bernardin, Consumers, Domglass & Kerr. This Ball mason jar is a flea market find. The star here is the light coming from the window, the clarity in the glass, and the colorful splash of yellows, oranges, reds and greens inside the jar.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On the cutting board

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 18"
Painted May 22 - June 5, 2006, #102
Private collection - Québec City, Québec

This image is a result of happenstance. We were visiting Suzanne's sister Lise, and her family in Lévis Québec. Suzanne & Lise were preparing supper. Dicing up peppers and onions to garnish marinated beef & chicken skewers for the BBQ. As I entered the kitchen and saw what was in front of me, the only thing left to do was to get my camera. The light source is coming from the kitchen window. In the Pyrex measuring cup are onion skins, pepper seeds and tops. I like the way the light filters through the plastic cutting board onto the counter. Lise was a key figure in my growth as a painter.

When Sue & I got married in 1986, Lise was living in Vancouver BC, working for a firm where she did silkscreen printing and graphic art. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Université de Moncton. She was the one who introduced me to great artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Maxfield Parrish, Auguste Renoir.... My first visit to a major public art museum was in her company, at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1988.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Summer of '69

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed MFD, 11 x 17"
Painted April 2 - 22, 2007, # 120

I bought my first car at age 19. A run-down Chevelle Malibu 1971 for $200. It got me where I needed to go. This bright-red, eye-candy is the 1969 version. I wished that mine would have looked this cool. I took the photo study in 2003, at the Atlantic National car show in Moncton. When doing a painting like this, you learn to understand the properties of reflective metals and actually learn how to see better. Bryan Adams song of the same name seemed appropriate for the title.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Green Tea with Mary

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 10"
Painted- March 20 - April 1, 2007, #119.

In context that these paintings are all for a solo show, I am producing imagery that I hope will create a sort of narrative. Elements from one painting, may appear in another, either physically or thematically. Here, a tea cup is sitting on a Mary Pratt book entitled, A Personal Calligraphy. An art book with some of Mrs. Pratt paintings, chronicles, reflections and some of her published essays.

The light source above is coming from a Dragonfly Tiffany style lamp, a birthday gift from my wife a few years ago. I was fascinated by how the light and the stained glass shade played on the reflective surface of the tea. The cup and saucer are Royal Daulton.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Atlantic Salmon, an homage to Mary Pratt

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 14 x 18"
Painted March 3-18, 2007, #118

The genesis behind this painting was inspired after many viewing of a documentary entitled,"Adrienne Clarkson presents - Infused with light - a journey with Mary Pratt", that aired on CBC in 1997. (I have it on tape). She was being interviewed in her kitchen while preparing to bake a salmon. Cutting it's head off, stuffing it with these lavender flowered chives, then wrapping the fish in a cheeze cloth and aluminium foil paper. Mrs. Pratt has also explored the element of fire which is reflected in the flames behind the fish. This painting is not a copy of one of her works. The subject matter reflected in the documentary was the premise from which I drew the inspiration for the image. This completes the red BBQ triology for my solo show.

Mary Pratt who lives in Newfoundland has always been my favorite female artist. I've have benefited greatly from viewing her art in several group and solo exhibitions, including two major retrospectives that toured Canada in major public art galleries. This year, Canada Post honored her with a set of two art stamps that were issued on her 72nd birthday.


Backyard Condiments

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 16"
Painted Dec. 2006 - Feb. 11, 2007, #116.

I did my first original painting in 1987, at the age of 25. At that time I knew very little about fine art. My attraction was more toward photography, media and commercial art. I knew what I liked visually. My first painting was of my new bride Suzanne, sunbathing in Daytona Beach with a Coca-Cola paper cup with straw and a bottle of Coppertone sunscreen in the foreground. It was only a few years later that I would discover photorealism and art depicting commercial items. Minus the diner setting,this image is not necessarily an homage to Ralph Goings, but his images has certainly permeated by sub-conscious. Although he is certainly an influential artist that I've admired especially after viewing his art at the O.K. Harris Gallery in NYC and through art books written by Louis K. Meisel.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Shadows cast on a barbecue hood

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 15 x 11"
Painted Feb. 11-25, 2007, #117

Painting glass and reflective surfaces is something that I enjoy doing, as these filter and reflects / refracts light. Light and contrast are elements that inform me if a subject matter is major enough to paint. This is the second painting done with our charcoal BBQ with flowers in a mason jar. The first was shown and sold at the Capitol Theater Art Gallery in Moncton, NB, in a group show organized by the Fog Forest Gallery earlier this year. I like the fact that light and shadows exist in such a close proximity.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Wild Irises, an homage to Van Gogh

Acrylic polymer emulsion on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 10",
painted - Jan. 7-20, 2007 , #115.

This is my first posting ever in the world of Blogging. I am currently preparing a solo show entitled After Hours, comprising of 25 new paintings to be held at the Handworks Gallery in Saint John, NB, Canada, from October 5-18, 2007. In the following weeks, I will be posting paintings to be included in this exhibition.

The first acrylic painting is entitled, "Wild Irises, an homage to Van Gogh". I purchased the book, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh a few years back. It was originally published in two parts in the late 1920's. Self-portrait, 1889 - that graces it's cover is in the collection of the Orsay Museum in Paris. Last year during a two-week vacation of France and Switzerland, we visited that museum during our stop in Paris and I coincidentally wore a very appropriate shirt to coordinate with the masterpiece.