Hi, I’m back.

toonbox

Happy Wednesday! My apologies that I haven’t been posting lately. I was lucky enough to work with a team at Toonbox Entertainment on a new feature film that took up almost all of my time. Contractual obligations prevent me from saying anything about it (really, I can’t say anything or post any of my work until the movie starts to get marketed!) but it was great fun.

What little time I did have was consumed by a recent passion of creating pastel paintings of Bison. After a 150 year absence, the prairie bison have been re-introduced into Banff National park and I’ve been creating pieces to commemorate that. Here’s a quick sample from my Instagram feed:

Finally, I did a little re-design and freshen up of the site. Anyway, I’ll be back at it with more crazy family sketches. See you soon!

Indoor stair climbing championships and send your pic challenge!

indoor stair climbing

My mom had an expression: “Never go upstairs empty handed”. This also included downstairs, outside, inside, into the garage… you get the point. Family living means things get left, placed, intentionally situated, all over the house. How long they remain in that spot is directly proportionate to your family’s adherence to the “never go anywhere empty handed” protocol. In my house, adherence is spotty at best. My tactic has been to place items that need to be taken to people’s rooms, the bathroom and linen closet, in the middle of the stairs that lead up to those rooms. Despite going up and down countless times these items can remain fixed on the stairs for days. Clearly I need to change tactics. If there is a world championship for indoor stair climbing my team would be in the final round.

If your home is also nurturing future stair climbing champs, send me a pic of your stairs full of stuff and I’ll pick one to draw an Art of Dad original!

Wicked!! I’m on thedadwebsite.com

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Daniel Lewis is one of the co-founders of an outstanding online resource for dads and parenting, thedadwebsite.com. I was delighted when he contacted me about an interview on my life as a dad and an artist after coming across my work on this site.

Please check out our chat at the following link: TheArtofDadInterview and spend some time on Daniel’s site, it’s fantastic.

A painterly look at Maui

Over the extraordinarily long spring break in the Rocky Mountain School board system, we were lucky enough to pull together a family holiday in Maui. When I lived in Toronto Hawaii seemed like it was on a different planet it was so far away. It’s a popular destination for people here though so we were excited to make it happen. It is a stunning place and we were gifted with perfect weather which made for some nice painting opportunities. The following are some painted sketches from our time on the island.

pineapple

There was a funny incident right off the bat when the customs officer at the airport confiscated my apple. Why? I’d washed it and taken off the label. My kids had not washed theirs (no surprise) so the “Made in the USA” sticker was evident and they were able to bring them on the plane. So I was hungry and they got to rub in that cleaning one’s fruit isn’t good after all…

apples

We rented a condo in the Honua Kai Resort in Kaanapali through VRBO. It was a ground floor unit with two bedrooms and a pull-out couch and it was awesome. Friends advised us to hit up Costco but our late flight arrival didn’t allow for this so we visited the Safeway in Lahaina the next day. Here’s a tip, sign-up for a Safeway members card (they just need name and home address) and you get 10% off each shop! We hung out all day at the resort and were treated to incredibly high winds, breaching humpback whales with their calf and delicious SPAM flavoured macadamia nuts (mistakingly purchased despite the word SPAM being the largest font on the package… and is SPAM even a flavour?).

first day

Banana bread is all the rage in Hawaii. Julia’s is apparently the best in the world. To get there one must drive a beautiful but incredibly twisty road that slips unexpectedly into one lane roads at various times. When you do arrive at Julia’s you’re greeted by an incredibly sweet person in what is effectively a tree house. The bread was delicious (not sure yet if it’s the world’s best), but like everything on the island, was very pricey at $9 a loaf. We still came away with three.

Julias

On the way back to the condo we stopped at Nakalele blowhole, a person sized hole in the lava rock that spews out sea water. It was cool but my favourite part was the hand-painted sign warning people not to get too close (apparently it gets ignored as we were told people die here every year).

Nakalele

There were loads of birds that I’d never seen before but they looked really cool so I decided to paint a few.

birds

Hamoa beach in Hana has been voted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. I’ll admit, it was beautiful. Even better were the constant and consistently awesome waves for body surfing. You have to endure the legendary Road to Hana complete with 601 turns and 56 single lane bridges to get there but it’s well worth it. The road is marked mile by mile and there are loads of neat stops along the way.

hamoa

Every day at 4:30 should be Mai Tai time.

mai tai

We saw loads of long, thin furry animals that we called pine weasels until we finally asked a local and found out they are mongoose. A walk underground in the Hana lava tube (well worth the visit) revealed the rare Hammerhead worm, no joke, that eats other worms. A quick trip to Costco on route from Kaanapali to Hana for snacks included pressed fruit which I loved but every one else thought looked like scat molded into a granola bar. Their loss.

threethings

I’m not a regular yoga guy, though I wish I was, but while staying at the Travaasa Hana there were regular morning yoga sessions which confirmed just how inflexible I am. During one session the instructor told us to “…bathe our eyes in the natural beauty”. I thought that was a quote worth remembering.

bathe

Surprises in the most surprising places…

surprisesIMG_2921.jpg

A bag of Ruffles all dressed potato chips, opened mind you, underneath a slew of shirts in my son’s dresser drawer. Not what I expected to see when I was looking for a t-shirt.

One parent behaviour

one parent

And a shout out to all the single parents out there – we all know this ain’t an easy gig.

Ahhhhh laundry….

laundryrev

The signs are all there for when it’s time to outsource a role.