About

Evil Genius.Pictures

About this website.   

This website is necessarily a showcase.   At times, exhibiting my paintings is not possible.  On the other hand, it is a fact that many more people have the opportunity of viewing the work through the Internet than might be the case by visiting a physical location.


I try to present images that represent my paintings accurately.  It is a curious thing that while many artists have Internet images (websites, blogs, Facebook & al) that look better than their actual work, many of mine are actually better in person.   Since I rarely come out of my studio these days, (I am far too busy) this ethernet portal may be the only chance you get.


The 'country of origin' information for this domain is stored with the domain registry and it happens to be in the USA. The evilgenius.pictures website is hosted in the Kingdom of Denmark.


About me. 

I am a studio painter working and residing in western Canada.  I live with my wife who is brilliant, polyhistoric and beautiful.  Sprinkled across the Canadian subcontinent are my children and grandchildren. I have lived in small town Ontario - Gananoque, Mitchell, Fort Frances, in Saskatchewan and now Edmonton. The fearless and wholly self-possessed women who have modelled for me reside here in Canada, too. They have been crucial to my work and my progress.   


My main subjects now are the female figure and the portrait.  The genres of the figure, portrait and multi-figure history painting are among the more difficult for painters as these subjects require skill, experience and a certain acumen in applying a methodology that works. It requires focus, work and long term development. For this reason, many artists don't even attempt these subjects.  Behind my choice of subject matter is the implied belief that humanity is at the centre of the universe and the central theme of all art.  This is perhaps a reaction against the dehumanization in mass society and maybe a certain dismissal of trivial efforts in the field of painting.


Since moving to Edmonton, I have set out to become good at what I do.  To this end I have overhauled the materials and techniques I work with.  I have also initiated systematic and invested study of the female figure by working regularly with art models and over an extended period with one primary model at a time. 2018 will mark the beginning of my fourth year in this project, but it is nothing compared to the time and work I do in my studio.  I paint full time.


Questions directed my way.

Where did you come from? 

No one had ever heard of me, and suddenly I appeared out of nowhere.  In a way this is true.  I was new to the city of Edmonton, Canada.  For  thirty years prior to 2016, I painted, but did not exhibit.    In 2016 I exhibited my first 3 paintings in a long time and launched this web site. 

Who taught you to paint like that?

No-one.  I could paint pretty well before I entered my first painting class in the second year of university.  At that time, the Painting Department was under the control of the New York School and they were either unable or unwilling to teach me to paint the way I do.  I have taken exactly zero art classes outside of university.  While in university I harangued my teachers for more information and greater clarity.   I had a lot to learn but nobody who could teach it.  My standard, however was set by a brilliant practicing artist; somebody outside of the usual dabblers like teachers and Sunday hobbyists and the great throng of mediocrity.

Then how did you learn to paint? Qualifications?*

The paintings I produce and continue to improve upon almost daily are the best indicator about how much I know and what I can do. At least they are accessible.  What I know is a product of a lot of study, much of it having a practical basis. It is true that I do know a lot but what I am really interested in is producing better paintings.  I have a system that I apply to painting in order to attain what I want.  I change it often. Years of problem solving, research, innovation and informed experiment make my future improvement a very plausible proposition.  How did I learn?  By doing.  No person had to teach me the Golden Section or Simultaneous Contrast or the difference between Atomite and chalk.  I knew all these right from the start at the time I needed to know them.   


John Whittingham

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

March 1 2018 CE 


email: eviigenius1@gmx.com



* I have several university degrees including a BA Visual Art and a BSc Computer Science.  In addition to my formal education I have substantial practical knowledge of other fields.  Usually this has meant that other people were trying to catch up to me instead of the other way around.  My recourse to historic sources, background in chemistry, science applied to art, as well as my own protracted enquiry have introduced some corrective divergence from mainstream art and no small amount of innovation.  More of this type of content will be found as the web site(s) are expanded. 

Affiliations :


  •     Harcourt House (2014]
  •     Alberta Society of Artists, juried member (2017)


Making Changes to a New Easel

After my wife's objections died down, I acquired my sixth studio easel. It is a Richeson Dulce (Italian for dum ass) pine easel. 

 

I actually wanted the minty beechwood one from Curry's in southern Ontario. It has a ratchet system, however the store people wouldn't know for another 4-6 weeks whether they would be restocking that model.  So I bought the one in the adjacent picture from Delta Art & Drafting Supplies in Edmonton, Alberta. It is made with interlocking sections of pine or a kind of wood that the Brazilians call 'pine'.  It seems harder than white pine.

 

There are a few modifications which I make to most of my easels, the need for which should serve as a warning about easel design flaws in general.  Most easels have a base that allows for wheels (castors or casters -Am.) to be mounted with truss head screws. I have wood floors, so off I go to Ikea's Home Organization Dept. for a set of four soft castors $12 CAD.  They don't need to lock, but they should have urethane or thermal setting plastic wheel edges that do not scratch wood floors.

 

Why So Many Easels?

I have too many unfinished paintings.  A situation which I hope to change by keeping the canvases viewable on the easels.

 

Wheels

All six H-framed Studio easels are on wheels.  My home modified set of wood drawers which passes for a rolling tabouret is also on wheels.  This makes everything instantly mobile.

 

Winches

Three of the studio easels now have hand winches.  Recently I added one to a heavy beechwood easel as it was impossible before to raise and lower it while a large canvas was mounted.

 

Inadequate Knobs and Bumpers

Often the supplied knobs are too small with cutting edges; I replace the important ones.  Bumpers with a good grip are not only added to the lower shelf/box and upper clamp but also to the front of the base in order to stand a folded easel safely on a wood floor.

 

The modifications listed here (and others) make the easels more useable, secure in holding large canvases, render them mobile and  generally create a better piece of equipment. studio furniture.

Changes made to my new H Frame Easel


  • Soft castors for mobility and protection of wood flooring.
  • Semi-gloss water based urethane varnish coating to facilitate cleaning and deter warping.
  • Strengthen counter torque on carriage bolts. Pine wood too soft so I epoxied the bolt heads.
  • Add wood lip to mast's upper clamp so canvases cannot fall out.
  • High friction surface added between the box and the mast to keep it from sliding down.   (Designs vary but this one relies on friction against the front side of the central mast)
  • Eight soft rubber bumpers: four on top of lower box/shelf, two on upper clamp, and two on front of the base to allow the folded easel to stand on the floor in an upright position.
  • Knobs were good and did not have to be replaced on this model.
  • Later, I also had to reinforce the upper clamp with thin, high density Baltic plywood. The clamp's pine wood was prone to splitting and I had to glue it back together.  This was more of a repair but the addition of the dense plywood resulted in a significant increase in strength.

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