Friday, March 25, 2011

New Works, Gordon MacDonald

It's a lovely March 25th, and we can't think of a better way of celebrating this first Friday in spring than with new works by Gordon MacDonald!

After a successful trip to Toronto, Gordon  has returned with these new paintings on canvas, board and copper. To see the entire collection, visit our website 

For those of you not familiar about his works on copper, Gordon has offered this explanation:

    Gordon MacDonald
Works on Copper

In 1992, I saw an exhibit of Flemish paintings by artists who surrounded Rubens (1577 - 1640). In their midst were two paintings which stood out. It wasn't the skill with which the paintings were executed, or even the subject. What was remarkable was the freshness and vibrancy of the paintings, they looked as if they had been painted last week.

At first, I thought they were forgeries, but on closer inspection found they were painted on copper. At the age of three hundred and fifty years old, there was no yellowing, there were no cracks - none. After doing some research, I found out why.

Copper is a self-protecting metal. If the top layer (the patina) is removed with sandpaper, it immediately begins to re-oxidize. Oxygen is the very thing that is needed to dry oil paint. As the top layer of copper seeks to recombine with oxygen, the oil paint absorbs the oxygen. Since copper is the surface underneath the paint, it helps to dry even the bottom layers of paint. When oil paint does dry on the copper (I have tested this.), the paint can only then be removed with power tools and heavy sandpaper.

Microbes are one of the causes of deterioration with oil paint. Wood or canvas are susceptible to organic break down, and old work often needs to be  "relined", which means one separates the paint from the surface and puts it on a newer surface. Even work that is only 50 years old can deteriorate in certain climates. Copper prevents this from happening, as it is an inhospitable environment for microbes.

Copper is also not as susceptible to changes in temperature the way canvas is. Temperature changes can make canvas repeatedly slacken and tighten, allowing cracks to form in the work. Copper is completely stable. Although the cost of copper is rising (as I write this it's $4.50/lb), it is a small price for the result I get. It's also a fun surface to paint on.

If you would like more information about paintings on copper, there is a book on the subject titled “Copper as Canvas - Two Centuries of Masterpiece Paintings on Copper, 1575-1775”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Two Paws Up!

Andrew MacDonald is an local artist whom we've had the pleasure of meeting recently before our annual pre-shrunk exhibition. After inquiring about his work, he admitted that he often paints in his attic but rarely shows the finished products to others. Only his cat had the privilege of seeing his paintings. 

After a bit of enticing he agreed to submit for the 4" x 5" show, and low and behold his works were fantastic! He's recently added a few new pieces to our collection which are the cat's meow...
And guess what? The cat agrees!    

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hey, Who Goes There?! ... Brian Porter Of Course...

Brian Porter came bursting through the doors yesterday. It was somewhat like seeing the apparition of a long lost legend or maybe a floating hologram of himself.

Why was I so surprised? Well the last time I saw him, his truck had broken down during his stay (which he insisted was the city's fault) and he vowed he would never to return.  

      Now that his truck is repaired, and the sun has started to come out, Brian has graced us with 
a visit and new artworks.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Benjamin's Travels

Benjamin Alain has packed his traveling briefcase and is headed for South American in search of vitamin D and bronzed skin. As a parting gift, Benjamin is offering our local art lovers a new selection of framed and unframed coffee spill drawings to keep us satisfied until his return.

Here is a sample of works in frames:

Good luck Benjamin, travel safely and make sure you keep your parents informed of your whereabouts!
 And while you're at it...send us a postcard

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

David McKay: New Works

We had a wonderful opening reception on Friday with artist David McKay,
thank you to everyone who helped us extend our welcome. 
Here is a sample of the works included in David's exhibition. 

McKay paints using egg tempera and watercolors. For those not familiar,
here is a brief description of egg tempera:

Egg tempera is one of the oldest, most versatile, and most durable methods of painting. Said to date back to prehistoric times, it is generally unaffected by humidity and temperature changes. They dry rapidly and become water-resistant, which means one application of paint can be rapidly followed with another without the two layers mixing. This allows you to see one color through the other.
The first recorded recipes for egg tempera called for only the egg whites and were used for illuminating manuscripts on paper and parchment. Because this mixture is brittle, it was eventually replaced by a recipe that required only the egg yolk.

This exhibition will remain on show until March 26th.

 For more information on this artist, or others
contact Argyle Fine Art
1559 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Enter to win Mucha Moula (50$!!) at Argyle Fine Art in celebration of crappy weather! Wear your favorite raincoat, rain boots, umbrella or yes, even a rain poncho and we'll take your picture and upload it to our fan page. Vote for your favorite Rainy Day Art Addict on our facebook fan club, or vote HERE by adding a comment below! 
Voting will end on Sunday at 5 :)  
Winner will be awarded with an Argyle Fine Art gift certificate worth $50 Hurray!
(no you may not vote for the dog above)
 It looks as though the weather has taken a turn for the better, and so you're all coming into the gallery sans rain gear!  This makes our little contest a little difficult.
On a Hilarious note, look at the jacket Adriana came in wearing this morning.LOOK FAMILIAR?!             (clue: see animal above)
I swear up and down that this was an absolute coincidence. Wow.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Welcome David McKay To Our Artistic Family!

David McKay has been hard at work establishing his artistic career while living in New Brunswick, and has had much success in doing so. For the past thirty five years, McKay has exhibited throughout the country and beyond. He's had the prestige of participating in group shows at the National Gallery and has been the focus of a documentary on Bravo. All the while, McKay has maintained his residence in New Brunswick, where he has his studio space in beautiful Gallery 78. His home province has provided him the perfect backdrop to draw inspiration from while painting his lush watercolour and egg tempera landscapes. 
These paintings truly evoke the beauty of his surroundings.

      We're delighted to announce that David is taking a leap across the boarder with new artwork destined for Argyle Fine Art. Although many Nova Scotians have come to know and love David, they have not been able to see his paintings in our local gallery settings. Now that we've invited him to join our extended family of artists, we hope that you'll help us make him feel welcome on
March 11th at 7pm as we unveil his latest exhibition.      

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This Friday (March 4th) from 12:30 - 2:30

Stop by and meet the artists of Yo Rodeo! 
Paul Hammond and Seth Smith are paying us a visit to discuss their recent work in 
Swing by and try on a pair of 
3D glasses for a truly unique gallery experience!

Friday, March 4th from 12:30 -2:30  
1559 Barrington Street
Argyle Fine Art