Q and A with Artist Gordon Currie
The following questions and answers were assembled after getting lots of emails about my paintings and how I created them. Enjoy.
How long have you painted?
I start painting watercolour about 11 years ago. About 2000 I was in an auto accident and took time off painting based on a back and neck injury. Three years ago (and then in the fall of 2015) I suffered 2 strokes, losing the vision in my right eye and some in my left. So although I started 11 yrs ago, i have only painted about 5-6 years.
Do you paint Acrylics or Oils?
I paint Acrylics in addition to watercolour and hope one day to try oils. My only hesitation is the length of time oil paints tend to dry.
What sorts of themes or genre are your paintings?
Over the years i have painted many topics but have focused on Gardens, Birdhouses, Architecture, Abstract / Science Fiction, Landscapes, Westcoast Marina’s. Recently I painted a Firefighter in full gear as well as small garden cottages. I also love to paint scenes from Mexico, and Tuscany.
Why do you paint?
I have always liked to draw and design projects on my computer. But I wanted to actually feel / smell the paint on the canvas. I also liked the bright colours. I should mention that painting relieves the stress in my life and is one of the most fulfilling things i do. I should have started earlier in life but I did not have the confidence or technical skills.
Have you had any formal training in painting?
No, although I took dome painting lessons for water colour ten years ago and some basic lessons in Acrylic about 8 years ago.
If you are partially blind, how can you paint?
I get asked this alot. As mentioned above, I see nothing out of my right eye and about 40% out of my left. That 40% is blurry but i can get close and manage. Painting lines or brush strokes from left to right is hard and requires patience and some juggling.
Where do you paint? Do you have a studio?
I paint at homes (usually late afternoon and evenings) as well as out at our family cabin at Moberly Lake. I plan on painting outside around town this summer.
How long does it typically take to create a painting?
Over the past few years, a typical 16 x 20 inch painting in Acrylics will take 23-35 hrs. When I paint watercolours, they can take about the same or longer for full sheets.
How many colours or tubes of paint do you use?
I typically will use 20-30 different colours and then mix another 30+ mixed colours. I use high quality paints that are expensive but they provide rich colour and mix well.
Do you use an easel?
About 90% of my paintings are painted flat only because my right arm gets weak very quickly (as a result of two strokes, I have about 80% of the use of my right side. I hope to use an easel more, particularly outside when I paint.
Do you paint commissions for other people?
I will paint commissions depending on the theme involved. There probably isn’t much I can’t tackle but painting portraits is tough for me.
What do your paintings usually cost?
My original watercolours have ranged from $250 to $1100 each (unframed). My watercolour GiClee prints run in the $200 to $400 range. Acrylic originals (so far i have not made prints of these) run from $250 to $1200 but these are starting to go up as my work gets better known.
Have you sold prints or original paintings outside Dawson Creek, BC?
Actually about 90 % of my watercolours have been sold into the United States and about 30-35% of the Acrylics outside of the Peace Country.
What is your favourite thing to paint?
If I had to pick something, it would be Gardens and Birdhouses. Both my wife and I love gardening and I like to paint bright colours when I can.
How many paintings do you paint each month?
Lately, I have been painting about 3-4 per month. I try to paint at least 2-3 hrs a day if I can. And, its important that I paint while I still have my vision.
Do you paint fantasy images or science fiction?
Yes, I paint both but most fantasy work has been created digitally using Adobe Photoshop and a digital stylus on a Wacom 13×19 inch tablet. I have also painted some concept art digitally as well.
How do you come up with subjects to paint and what is your initial process?
Ideas come from all over including photographs, dreams I have had, research online and from colours I see in nature. In terms of the process, I will typically decide on the size of the painting and vantage point. I tend to look for high contrast views. I will collect images and ideas and will sketch ideas from things that pop into my head. I prefer when starting a painting to paint a warmer tone /colour over the white canvas and then will sketch a rough design using a conte crayon. My approach is to paint darker colours and values and then lighter. Its also important that I get the perspective correct and that I lead viewers into the painting.
What other techniques do you use?
Over the past year I have used a palette knife on many paintings. I also use some mediums to extend drying time if its warm out or windy. I have many other techniques that I will address in a separate post.
What was your very first painting?
My first painting was of an Italian villa with a red tile roof. Its was 8 x 10 inches, watercolour and sits in my back hall to remind me where I started.
I understand you have paintings donated to charity?
Yes, i have donated paintings to the South Peace Resources Society ( Secretary’s Day) and a few other groups including Ronald MacDonald House Charity. I have painted paintings as gifts for many family members.
What kind of painting did you create for the Ronald McDonald House?
I submitted a watercolour painting of a frozen lake in the snow capped mountains with children and families tobogganing. This painting was chosen for a Charity Christmas card and sold thousands in all the London Drug Stores across Canada.
Is your work in any galleries?
Right now, my work is not in galleries but I hope one day it will be. I also would like to be able to sell direct to clients as the costs are cheaper. But there is no question galleries boost my image and work.
Anyone else paint in the family?
My brother David Currie is an artist in Squamish, BC and my father, John Currie has painted acrylics in the past. I believe I have a great Uncle on my mothers side (Charlie Barker) who was a painter. One of my cousins, Andrew Currie has painted at a professional level for years.
What is the weirdest themes you have painted?
Wow, where to start? I have painted railcars (pictures of them), Aliens and space travellers, near death experiences and pyramids. I have also painted parrots.
What is your favorite colour?
I would have to say its a tie between Orange and Green.
If someone wanted to see examples of my work or purchase a painting, where can they reach you?
I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 250-784-8383.