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17 Mar '11

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Study No. 1 | The Girl and the Owl

My fiancee and I are moving which means I’ll be moving into a brand new studio soon! The change is welcome and I’m excited to have more room to spread my wings. Packing up the old studio has put me into a reflective frame of mind and I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve grown as an artist in the past few years. I’m happy and thankful for my progress but I’m definitely ready and looking forward to the next phase in my life and career.

Girl & the Owl

During this time of old to new, I’ve decided to say goodbye to the past by revisiting some of my previous work in a series of graphite drawings I’ve created from a selection of my favorite paintings. The first goodbye study is based on a painting I’m really proud of: The Girl and the Owl.

The Girl and the Owl Study by Michael Shapcott
Study No. 1 | The Girl and the Owl
10″ x 12″
Graphite on Bristol (acid free, heavyweight paper)

Each original graphite study is for sale. If you are interested in The Girl and the Owl Study, please contact me. And stay tuned for more revisited work in the days to come as well as some shots of the new studio!

Update

SOLD!! Thanks for the interest and wonderful feedback!

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03 Mar '11

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Reverie

Reverie (pencil to paint) by Michael Shapcott

Rev·er·ie

| revuh-ree | –noun
1. State of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie.
2. Daydream.

Reverie by Michael Shapcott
Reverie
24″ x 36″
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Canvas
SOLD

Prints are available HERE for those interested.

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16 Feb '11

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Lola’s Note

 

‘Suicide’s Note’

The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.

| Langston Hughes |

This beautiful, tragic poem by Langston Hughes conjures up images of sadness and death and has a haunting feeling of calm that struck and moved me. The title of the poem, “Suicide’s Note,” seems to have a dual meaning. It can mean the actual note written before taking one’s own life, but it can also refer to a music note. I think the poet was talking about the “song” death sings to us at dark times. The person considering suicide seems captivated and seduced by the beautiful yet dangerous river of water (death) much like victims of a Siren’s song have been lured to their watery demise in tales of old. To the person in the poem, the water promises peace and tranquility, an end to pain and heartache, and an escape from all of life’s troubles. (“Suicide’s Note” also reminded me of death poems traditionally written near the time of one’s own death.)

This poem along with the frequent presence of death in my life as of late (I’ve been to four funerals this year, one just last week after finding the kind and gentle elderly man who lived upstairs from us dead in his kitchen) not to mention personal feelings of stress, sadness, and loss have led me to create the following painting entitled “Lola’s Note” (a deliberate play on the title of the poem).

Lola's Note by Michael Shapcott 
Lola’s Note
24″ x 30″
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Canvas
SOLD

Lola is a character much like the one in the Langston Hughes poem. She is caught in a moment of trance with the river, walking deeper and deeper into the water that will take her life. Her hopelessness and pain allow her to turn to the great peace and resolve the river offers her. A snake hugs her neck, representing her focus and the dark temptation or “song” she is surrendering to.

My photo reference for “Lola” came about by fortunate accident while stumbling upon the beautiful photography of Zhang Jingna. I hesitated a bit before referencing a photo of such a perfect artistic portrait but like the dangerously seductive water in the poem, her emotionally captivating photograph entitled “The Coldest Day” called out to me as the perfect inspiration for my forlorn character and I surrendered. I’d like to thank Jingna for her breathtaking photography and for permission to use “The Coldest Day” in bringing my painting story to life.

**A note to readers and interpreters of this blog/painting: My objective with this painting was to express feelings and thoughts through imagery. I do not promote/condone suicide. My experiences with death, most prominently my baby sister’s death when I was nine, have taught me that life is truly a gift.

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14 Jan '11

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Kierra & D’Arcy

D'Arcy-&-Kierra-Reference2_webI recently had the opportunity to create a painting of two gorgeous little sisters in a very special portrait commission that I wanted to share with you all.

David, a bass enthusiast and all-around awesome guy, contacted me to paint his daughters, Kierra and D’Arcy, as a 10th anniversary present to his beautiful wife, Elena, and I was thrilled to take on such a touching project.

Not only are David & Elena proud parents who absolutely love their kids but they’re pretty cool too. David plays in a surf band and Elena works at a Toronto radio station. (If you know me, you know how much I love music so I thought that was great). Also into photography (check out his DA page here), David naturally took some amazing pictures of Kierra and D’Arcy that I used as reference for the piece.

Just from seeing the photos of these mini-muses, I could tell they were filled with personality and light and life. I wanted to capture their intensity and depth of emotion while expressing the powerful inner knowing kids have. I also wanted to bring out the uniqueness of each sister separately and yet get a feeling for the relationship between the two. I only hope it captures something of the life and spirits of Kierra and D’Arcy. Below is the finished piece.

Kierra & D'Arcy by Michael Shapcott

Kierra & D’Arcy

Elena and David’s anniversary was in early December and upon receiving the piece, they expressed their enthusiasm and had only awesome things to say about it. Kierra even wanted to take it to school for show and tell! I am ecstatic that they are pleased! Along with their review, the couple sent over a photo of the girls standing in front of the painting. Of all my personal commissions, I’ve never had anyone do that before and it was so touching and amazing to see. Absolute best part of the whole thing! And I love the way they’re mimicking the expressions of the painting in the first one!

Kierra and D'Arcy in front of painting

Kierra & D’Arcy in front of their painting

I can honestly say that this was one of my favorite commissions to date, so thank you David, Elena, Kierra and D’Arcy!! I’m honored to have had the opportunity to create this special painting for such a cool family!! Happy 10th Anniversary Elena & David and keep shining Kierra & D’Arcy!!
 

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02 Nov '10

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Totally Terror!!

Happy belated Halloween everyone! This year’s festivities were pretty great… made witches finger cookies with my girl, went to a party dressed as a half man/half woman, painted my first scary Halloween painting and took part in a local group show called “Totally Terror” at Madison Art Cinemas. The show opened on the 28th and is up until the beginning of December.

The theme is 80′s horror flicks and features frighteningly good art by my awesome artist friends including Heidi Alamanda, Osiris Orion, Matthew Fletcher, Chris Uminga, Dave Estes, Thomas Drew, Craig Medeiros, Rick Beaupre, Yosiell Lorenzo and more. The show was a lot of fun and brought back memories of all those “old” movies and the feelings that went along with them.

My 80′s horror film was Steven King’s Pet Sematary so I decided to paint the zombie 2-year-old Gage and Church, the cat…

Gage and Church the Undead (Pet Sematary) by Michael Shapcott
Gage and Church: the Undead
Pet Sematary
18″ x 24″
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Canvas

And, as I mentioned earlier, my fiancee Melissa and I tried our hand at Witches’ Finger Cookies and dressed up in some pretty hilarious homemade outfits. Thought it might be fun to share some pics:

Witches Finger Cookies

Our delicious peanut butter cookies…

Michael & Melissa_Halloween2010

And our crazy costumes…

Muahahaha!! Happy Halloween!! 🙂

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12 Sep '10

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Bear

I’ve had a few sketches lying around and the other day one jumped out at me and told me to paint it.  So I did.

AND I recorded a quick time-lapse video of the painting process…

Bear by Michael Shapcott 2010
Bear
16″ x 20″
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Illustration Board
SOLD
 

Painting Bear


(click HERE for best FULL-SCREEN view)

Watch it on YouTube | Watch it on Vimeo
( Music: Tighten Up by The Black Keys )

© Michael Shapcott 2010

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