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January, 2020     Volume 4, Issue 1.

To New Beginnings!

They say that you should spend the first day of each new year doing something that you really enjoy in the hopes that the New Year will mobilize to offer more such opportunities to you on a regular basis.  Well, I don't know about you, but apparently I am fated to spend a lot of the next year cleaning up the kitchen after a huge brunch.
 
So, I have a lot of creative plans for the next twelve months and it's immediately clear that my first project will be finding a way to clone myself so that I can get it all done. Here are just some of the things that are going on, although I'm saving details on one of my most exciting new ventures for a future newsletter.

Watercolours by Dwayne

Offering the following products and services:
Original paintings
Signed GICLEE prints
Custom framing
Gift Certificates and eGift Cards

Learn the art of Illustrative Watercolours...

My next iteration of my "Illustrative Watercolours" course at the Art School of Peterborough is slated to start on January 21st. If you're interested in collaborating on a project with a group of other artists, then sign up today!

Art as a Tax Deduction!

I'm copying this right out of my last newsletter since it bears repeating!

If you are a business owner who would like to decorate your office with some original art, then don’t forget that you can get a tax deduction! Renting is an option as well. Contact me to discuss either of these possibilities.

Here’s a link to an article on the subject:

Tell me more about Art as a Tax Deduction

Seriously, don't call them meetings...

When I left the corporate world in favour of a creatively driven life (full disclosure, I was entreated to leave and have yet to be invited back), I vowed that I would never attend another boring meeting again. I don't know about you, but I am not a person who is suited to sitting in a conference room talking about the work that has to be done when I could actually be out there doing said work.

My mind tended to wander in meetings, and I spent most of my time staring out the window or, when there was no window in the conference room, drawing one on the whiteboard and pretending. (Come to think of it, now that I read what I just wrote, I'm getting a sudden insight as to why I was invited never to return to corporate life).
 
Anyhow, the reason that I'm telling you this is because of my aforementioned vow, the one never to attend another meeting. Because, imagine my conundrum when I was recently asked to join the steering committee for the Buckhorn Festival of the Arts.
 
"Will there be meetings?" I asked, almost immediately.

"Yes. Monthly," was the answer.

For a moment, I said nothing. Then, finally, I asked, "May I call them 'gatherings'?"
 
The answer was that I could call them whatever I wanted as long as I actually attended them.
 
In any event, it's an exciting time with the Buckhorn Festival. There are so many opportunities for the show in what is a very crowded market, and I'm looking forward to matching my synergy with other creative silos and leveraging my skills and experience to help steer the Festival into a bright future.
 
On a related note, I think I just filled out my "Corporate Meeting Lingo" Bingo card. What did I win?

Presenting Two New Originals...

Here are my two latest paintings. Both were created as a part of one of my Illustrative Watercolours course at the Art School of Peterborough, (see earlier in the newsletter for information on the most current iteration of the course starting next week).

They both measure 11 by 14 inches (16 by 20 inches when framed) and are available for sale. I'm not making copies of either, so they are truly one of a kind. Contact me directly for details.

Tell me you love them...

If you’d like to see them in person, they're currently on display now at the school.

In Progress...

If you recall, I detailed in a previous newsletter that I'm painting a series on Canadian coins with the images on the front of them rendered to look real. When these nine paintings are arranged in the proper configuration on the wall, they will form a larger image that includes a huge maple leaf.
 

This planning image shows the two paintings that are complete and demonstrates how all the individual paintings in the polyptych will fit together. 

So far, I've two of the paintings complete (the dime and the silver dollar), and have very recently started play on the loonie. This one is exciting for me, as I've always wanted to paint a loon, but didn't know how to do it in an original way.

If you'd like to follow my progress on a more regular basis, follow my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts (links below).

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Read my New Book!

Because so much of 2020 so far feels like repeats from the previous year, I'm repeating stuff from my last newsletter to make sure the message is getting out.

Here's an article on the book that I published just before the holidays....

Here’s the synopsis:

The Anachronistic Code

It's 1985, and Josh Donegal is seventeen…AGAIN.

Josh has shifted back in time some fifty years and he doesn't know how, much less why. What’s more, he's noticing temporal anachronisms—minute changes that would only be obvious to somebody who had lived through the 80s before.

Is Josh alone? Is somebody trying to send out a coded message?

He's going to have to find all the changes to figure it out.
 

Sound interesting? 

The first book is available as a digital download here, and the second one here.

I’ve also got a collection of both of the books together in one volume available as a 281 pages paperback novel here, or a Kindle book here.

If you’d like a signed copy, you can order one from my merchant site (scroll down to the Books section).

Here’s what the front and back covers look for the hardcopy:

My Reorganized Studio...

Just before Christmas, I came into possession of a HUGE assortment of matboard. The only problem was that I didn't really have room to store it, at least in the way my downstairs studio was arranged. 
 
Naturally, this presented me with the opportunity to reorganize things more efficiently! After some creative reorganization, the matboard is more or less sorted and I've got a much more functional studio space!

Here are some pics of the new area.

Being a big believer in repurposing wood (much more on this subject next), I used one of the two shelving units that I picked up with the pews from St. Martin's Church in Ottawa a few months back to display knick-knacks and the like on my wall.

Here's the shelving unit from the back of the St. Martin's pew up on the wall behind my easel.

The one downside of the new configuration is that I don't have that much in the way of wall space for art. But I've got a technological solution for that, but you'll have to wait until another newsletter for details…

A Tale of Repurposing...

If you’ve read even a few of my previous newsletters (or even half of the current one), then you probably already know how much I love using reclaimed wood, and not just in the custom frames that I build. This was most recently demonstrated over the recent holidays during which I built a couple of loft beds for my twin sons.

My sons enjoying their new beds.
Naturally, I have begun to refer to them as "The Loft Boys."

The whole affair started last summer when my wife suggested that we should look into getting new beds for the boys, who were now ten and had been sharing a bed since their toddler years. The ideal solution appeared to be individual loft beds. That way, they could each have their own space to sleep, but also have room underneath for desks and storage.
 
But, as my wife and I browsed the possibilities in catalogues and online, I was struck by the fact that I didn’t really want to pay money for something that I could (in my father’s immortal words) “damned-well build myself.”

I looked at my wife with what I hoped was an epiphanous expression. She looked back at me, her eyes narrowing in anticipation of what she knew I was about to say.

“No,” she said, before I could even open my mouth. “You can’t build the loft beds, Dwayne.”

I adopted an affronted air.

“No,” she back-tracked. “I know you can BUILD them. I just don’t WANT you to. You always make projects like these far more complicated than they need to be. And more expensive too. By the time we’re finished, we’ll have spent twice what Ikea is charging, and each bed will be capable of faster than light travel.”

Ok, she didn’t say exactly that, but she did have a point. The plans that were, even then, percolating through my head involved slides, hammocks, and adjustable desks that lifted up reveal extra storage space underneath. After I assured her that I would scale things back a bit, I hit her with my closing argument: the fact that it wouldn’t actually cost us anything. 

You see, I had been collecting a respectable pile of used wood over the last couple of years. Although most of it was barnwood, a huge section of it came from a house renovation, that I had taken it as partial payment for an original painting.

"And what's more," I added excitedly. "It will help reduce the size of the ugly pile of wood that's leaning up against the workshop."

This is just a portion of the ugly pile of wood that is leaning up against the side of the workshop, and it is how the wood looked before I shaped it into the loft beds.

“If,” I promised my wife, “I can use nothing but reclaimed wood, I can build both beds for nothing more than the cost of a few pieces of hardware. Oh, and a new sawblade (sometimes, you miss an old nail, even when you use a magnet to look for them in the wood).”

That sold her, and I set about making plans and preparing the wood. Because the wood was rustic and weathered, it took some work getting it into the kind of shape appropriate for indoor kid’s beds, but the result was very satisfying. Even sanded and planed down, the wood has a charming used feel to it, with its many nail holes and stains. 

True to my word, I used only reclaimed materials in the project. I build the structure out of the wood from the aforementioned house renovation, but I also made my sons’ desks out of solid oak from the pews that I rescued (as described in my last newsletter), and the shelves are made from wood that we saved when we took out the bar in our recroom (we really aren’t the kind of people who need a bar in our basement, not when said bar takes up too much space and is built of - among other things - some really nice oak.)

As an added bonus, I put the beds together using leftover woodscrews that my father had used for his stairs (In the spirit of repurposing, I didn’t use any nails in the construction so that it would be easier should the beds ever need to be dismantled).

So, there’s still some work to be done. I still want to add some corkboard (I’ve got a bunch that I pulled out of a dumpster), and some pegboard (that I got from my father’s workshop), and who knows, maybe I’ll even find a place to hang some hammocks!

A Parting Thought...

For your amusement, here's my favourite social media post from the past festive season:
 
My sons just tried to come downstairs while my wife and I were making the final Christmas Eve "arrangements."

"Where's Mommy?" asked one.

"Kissing Santa Claus," I answered while looking over my shoulder, as if checking on their progress. "It's my job to pilfer his sleigh while he's distracted. Wanna help?"

Nobody can say I didn't raise my kids right.

About Dwayne...

Watercolour artist Dwayne James lives near Lakefield, Ontario where he paints as often as he can, that is when he’s not spending time with his daughter, twin boys, and his very forgiving wife.

Dwayne studied archaeology in University, and as a result learned how to write creatively. “The most important skill I learned in University,” he says, “was the ability to pretentiously write about myself in the third person.”

With no formal art training, Dwayne has always preferred the self-guided, experimental approach. In fact, he taught himself how to illustrate archaeological artifacts while completing his Master’s degree at Trent University. Said his thesis supervisor at the time: “There might not be much in the way of coherent theoretical content in Dwayne’s thesis, but damn, it looks pretty!”

After working for close to a decade as a technical communicator, Dwayne chose to look at being downsized in January 2009 as an opportunity to become a stay@home Dad for his newborn twins and pursue his painting and creative writing. It is a decision that continues to make him giggle with wild abandon to this very day.

A self-taught painter, Dwayne’s  highly-detailed watercolour paintings have been described as “unconventional” yet “absolutely authentic.”

Fascinated by both texture and dimension, Dwayne channels nature to create personalised images that are not easily captured with conventional photography.

Dwayne seizes a moment in his paintings that shifts every time you view them. You may have seen watercolours before but, chances are, you have never seen watercolours like Dwayne’s.

 
Copyright © 2020 Watercolours by Dwayne, All rights reserved.

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