Dave Stevens
Illustrator/Cartoonist/Artist

Blog

(posted on 14 May 2024)

Black oystercatchers are easy to spook. They are simple to identify with their black bodies and
orange beaks and you’ll see them along the shore of rocky beaches where they hunt for the
shellfish that live there. If you have ever tried to shuck oysters you will appreciate the strength of
the oystercatcher’s beak. Oystercatchers are masters at opening oysters, mussels, and limpets for
their meals.

George Bellows, who painted at the beginning of the 20th Century, was a member of the
American Ashcan School of art and was purported to have given the name to the group. They
were non political, although many of the works showed life as it was experienced by lower- and
middle-income earners. A piece that captivated me was “Noon” which shows a New York scene
where a steam engine contrasts with a horse drawn cart. The painting is divided into light and
dark areas that are like other works Bellows created a year or two later which catch the action of
fights, such as “Stag at Sharkey’s” or “Dempsey and Fripo”. Although he painted in an Impressionistic style, his works were recognized for their realism, and he differed from the French in that he chose subjects that portrayed active, volatile aspects of city life.

George Bellows - Ashcan School of Art

(posted on 14 Apr 2024)

Amazing Airborne A-Z presents B.C. creatures that spend at least some of their time in the air.
Some insects spend most of their time on the ground, then fly to new locations. A few moths and butterflies not indigenous to B.C. have become part of public or private collections in B.C.
Setting up a bird feeder is the best way to view Anna’s Hummingbird because they fly so quickly. Otherwise, you may only experience an impression of something whizzing by, but you may not see it because it moves so fast. The bird was named after Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli, a French lady.
The male of the species has iridescent colour on its head and throat to attract the rather drab
coloured female. They head to British Columbia to mate.

Georgia O’Keeffe is a well-known American artist. In New York she met and married the photographer Alfred Stieglitz in 1924. In 1929 she bought a property in the desert around Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, an area that inspired her. She is widely respected as one of America’s top modern artists and she has created several pieces that resonate with me. I am attracted to her use of colour and shape with her abstracts plus the created floral patterns and skull images. Most of her work has clean, hard images although O’Keeffe at times lets hard edges become soft and ethereal.

Georgia O'Keeffe

 

(posted on 15 Mar 2024)

The weird and wonderful creatures that make up the plankton of the Pacific Ocean were the motivation behind this image with a cage to signify the zoo. I have watched episodes on TV lately that show plankton at various locations and at depths that defy our understanding. These microscopic creatures are an important part of the food chain that provides sustenance for the much larger basking sharks, manta rays and humpback whales. These sea creatures swim with their mouths open through schools of plankton, straining their food out of the water. Small bits of plastic that mix with the plankton pose a real and immediate danger to these larger underwater creatures. Whale sharks, which can live for one hundred years, manta rays and sperm whales rely on plankton but the plastics don’t break down and can block the digestive tracts threatening death.

One of the subjects that I have been incorporating lately are whales which I see as flying through their environment the same as birds in the air. First, I create geometric shapes with stencils that I hand cut and use special brushes that are flat and round. By mixing colours and varying the amount of paint I can create a variety of shapes on either black or white paper. Later I hand paint into the stencil images adding whales and vegetation to the geometric shapes.
This technique also allows me to question what is the foreground and the background of these images as both play a role and contribute to the overall effect.

   

 

(posted on 15 Feb 2024)

Did you get the pun with the yellow perch perching on the underwater plant?
I remember lying on a dock by St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island and watching perch swimming in the shadowy water below. Perch were imported and were voracious eaters that threatened the local trout, so we were encouraged to kill the perch whenever we caught one.

Andy Goldsworthy has often been called an earth artist. He works outdoors with a minimum of tools plus a camera to record his creations. He mostly uses imagination and time plus natural elements like thorns to join some items together.
Once Goldsworthy photographs them, the sculptures are left to fall apart and to return to their natural state. He has worked in the countryside of Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and the U.S.A. He has written many books about his art. His creations are motivating for students as many of his works show a strong environmental concern. When I taught photography and Art 12, I sometimes sent students to the ravines around North Delta with nothing other than a pocketknife and a camera. I was always excited to see what they would produce.

Andy Goldsworthy

(posted on 15 Jan 2024)

Weirdly Wonderful A – Z features creatures of British Columbia, but letter ‘X’ proved difficult. I settled on ‘X Marks the Spot’, and if you look closely, you will see a Xiphosura crab, also known as the horseshoe crab. It prefers the warm waters of coastal California and was not listed locally. Global warming has allowed this creature to move north, and I found an article saying these blue-blooded crabs have been found in Vancouver’s False Creek.

Stephen Waddell was one of my props on a high school rugby team I coached in Tsawwassen. He played a position that was known more for size and strength, but he brought creativity and intelligence to his game. Stephen graduated from South Delta Senior Secondary and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University. Sid Samphire, an art teacher colleague and friend, joined me in attending Stephen’s graduating show. Next, Stephen completed his Master of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia. He won the 2019 Scotiabank Photography Prize and is represented locally by the Monte Clark gallery. He lived in Germany for a time and showed in various countries in Europe and Canada. He has taught art at the university level and
has work in permanent collections in the U.S. and Canada, including the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Stephen Waddell

 

(posted on 13 Dec 2023)

Found in underwater rocky crevasses and caves in the Pacific Ocean, the wolf eel
can easily be recognized by its large head and powerful jaws which are able to break shellfish. Their bite can be very painful for humans, but they tend to be friendly unless you are another wolf eel. They mate for life and guard their caves and eggs aggressively. Despite their name, they are finned fish rather than eels.

Tristan Unrau was a student at North Delta who has made a name for himself locally,
nationally and internationally. He formed an interesting art triumvirate in grade 10 with classmates Suki and Harkeerat and he was involved with Sonny Assu’s blanket piece in Grade 12.
Graduation also saw Tristan showing with Harkeerat at the Bushlin Mowatt Gallery. He earned
his Bachelors of Arts degree from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and then completed his
Masters of Fine Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. He recently sold through shows in New York and Los Angeles. Tristan has been a finalist three times in the Royal Bank of Canada Painting Competition and he has displayed work at the Vancouver Art Gallery as an Emerging artist in Canada. Such noteworthy accomplishments!
Special thanks to the Sebastian Gladstone Gallery , in LA, for their permission in using some of
their images of Tristan’s work.

Tristan

Tristan in his studio

   

(posted on 13 Nov 2023)

I am participating in the Nanaimo ArtWalk on December 2nd and 3rd at the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, 375 Selby Street near the old railway station.
There are 70 artists represented this year and a shuttle bus has been organized from Downtown to the Old City Quarter every 20 minutes.
The art exhibition runs Saturday the 2nd from 10am - 4pm and Sunday the 3rd from Noon - 4pm.

I hope to see you there.

The lamprey has a suction cup mouth so it can fasten itself to other fish for its food. It first
became known on Vancouver Island, B.C., in Cowichan Lake. The name Vancouver suggests
images like the steam clock from Vancouver’s Gastown, while the name lamprey sounds like
“lamp” and “ray”, hence my fanciful illustration.

Mexican artist Diego Rivera worked on big murals in his native land and internationally. One of
his pieces “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central Park” is fifty feet long. It is a
fresco which covers four hundred years of Mexican history and portrays numerous figures that
convey the agreeable side of life interspersed with darker occurrences such as a man being shot.
Rivera was active in his political views reflecting socialist beliefs. He was involved with the
Communist party and was married numerous times including twice to Frieda Kahlo.

Diego Rivera

(posted on 14 Oct 2023)

When I was a young dad, we visited Booth Bay Resort on Salt Spring Island, the largest one off the coast of Vancouver Island, where my mom would rent two cabins. She’d stay in one and use the second cabin for her children’s families. We’d take turns staying for a few days each. We explored Salt Spring Island for many summers, even after my mother stopped providing a cabin.

After our first visit we took an empty aquarium with us which we filled with sea water and creatures we found in the tidal pools. We learned to aerate the water by pouring streams back into the tank and we let the creatures go each night. We often caught crabs, usually small ones that we found under rocks. Maybe even some umbrella crabs.

Ainslie Roberts is an Australian artist who illustrated aboriginal myths and stories along with text by Charles Mountford in an edition called The Dream Time book. Ainslie Roberts painted the images with confidence and flair, distorting many of the subjects such as placing them on thin legs to communicate the dream-like quality. In my teaching I would use Ainslie Roberts to introduce the idea of anthropomorphizing a subject such as the uprooted tree-hand. Roberts is a fascinating artist.

Ainsley Roberts

 

(posted on 14 Sep 2023)

Tube Worms

Tube worms get their name from the hollow tube shell they build around themselves. They join
other worms to form colonies and are often found near hot vents on the ocean floor. Some deep inhabitants grow from six to eight feet in length. You would think their feathery bodies would catch microscopic food which would pass to their stomachs, but they do not have mouths or stomachs. They rely on minerals from their bodies and from the water as nutrients for survival.

I would like to refer to Antony Gormley again because he is like the tube worms in that he covers himself with rigid materials such as plaster and he then transforms the casts into sculptural pieces. Another Place consists of one hundred cast iron human figures which Gormley placed in the Merseyside tidal flats. He also used cast figures in vacant rooms some of which are arranged on the floor while others climb up the walls or hang from the ceilings. For him the idea behind the sculpture was as important as the visual representation.

Antony Gormley

(posted on 23 Aug 2023)

I have been in touch with the Parkinson's Society of BC and they informed me of things that make a difference when donating if you want to go under my name (Mary your money has already been transferred over).

1. Parkinson BC has their own address - www.parkinson.bc.ca/superwalk

2. I used the full name of DAVID rather than Dave.

3. Page can also be activated through -

http://events.parkinson.bc.ca/site/TR/Events/SuperWalk23?px=1082743&pg=personal&fr_id=1567

Sorry if this is conveluted.

Dave

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