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July, 2020     Volume 4, Issue 3.

Welcome to the new normal...

Many of us have had to make adjustments during the Global quarantine over the last few months. Personally, the hardest thing for me to get used to was that I no longer had the house to myself during the day so that I could be creative in a quiet environment. 
 
Still, I wasn't nearly as busy as usual without artshows to prepare for, so you might think that I'd have made good use of that time to do a lot of painting, but that hasn't been the case. Instead, I took the opportunity to refine my business strategy and pursue a couple of new creative ideas.

More details on each lie within...

Watercolours by Dwayne

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

Upcoming Shows...

Ha! I was barely able to type the title of this section with a straight face!

In my last newsletter, some four months back, I was looking forward to my most ambitious schedules ever with fifteen shows in total that I'd hoped to attend. Well, that dream has come and gone. In the wake of the pandemic, all but three or four of those shows have been cancelled (and even they're a little iffy). 
 
I'm not complaining though, because things could be a whole lot worse (did I mention how much I'm enjoying all the extra time I'm getting to spend with my lovely family?).
 
So far though, the only show that I've been able to participate in as a vendor in 2020 was the 5th Annual Artspace Book + Zine Fest (pictured below).

There's something out of place in the 80s this time...

Over the last few months, I've been spending every available moment finishing up and self-publishing the third book in my ongoing time-travel mystery series "The Anachronistic Code." 

That's the cover of the book above (notice an anachronism on it anywhere? My son noticed it right away, and he wasn't even born in the 80s).

Here's a poster that I've made up to promote the book:

You might notice that I'm repurposing my watercolour painting of the "Ol' George" Volkswagen microbus in the graphic. Believe it or not, I'm not shoe-horning my popular VW painting into the story, since a Volkswagen has always been in it, albeit in a slightly different form.

Allow me to explain: the idea for "The Anachronistic Code" has been bouncing around in my head for a few years now, and right from the start, one of the major sub-plots was the recovery of a VW Beetle from the bottom of the Northumberland Strait (I'm pretty sure that the idea occurred to me as I was driving across the Confederation Bridge and looking out over the water).

Why was it a VW Beetle in particular?

Blame Disney.

When I was a kid, I saw Herbie Goes Bananas and was traumatized when they threw Herbie overboard (Spoilers: he survives).

Years later, once I truly understood the concept of movie special effects and film editing, I began to wonder if perhaps they had thrown a real car overboard, and whether it was still out there (it is, divers found it a few years back and confirmed that it was a prop made mostly from wood)

Fast forward to just a few years back to the Pixar movie Finding Dory when a VW Beetle appeared on the seafloor in the background of a few scenes. This was around the time that I was planning out certain details of the component of the story that takes place in 2034, and I wondered if it would be possible to have the hero find a Beetle and recover it and use it to, well… that would be giving away a little too much if I actually told you what he was going to do with it. 
 
Then, shortly after having this idea, my wife and I moved to our current home, where I found an old VW microbus around the corner and was immediately fascinated enough, not just to paint it, but to change the vehicle in the novel from a Beetle to a van. It seemed like a neat coincidence. The VW plays a pivotal role in future books, so I'm not going to give anything else away, except to say that it might just appear on another book cover in a slightly different form.
 

Anyhow, the first three books of what I'm expecting will be a seven-book series are now available for ordering from my website. You can buy signed copies directly from me, or follow the links on the site to digital downloads.

For a limited time, I'm making a digital copy of the first book available for FREE.
 

Buy my books...

New Product Lines...

There's a lot of uncertainty about a great many things in the wake of the pandemic, and that is especially true of art shows. Normally, such shows are my preferred way to get my product out there, but who knows what form they'll take when they eventually come back, so I've decided to branch out into a couple of new product lines that are easier to sell online, or out of the back of a van if it comes to that.
 

Greeting cards

I'm offering two kinds of greeting cards, those with messages on the front (along with the art), and those with just the art. The message cards measure 5.5" by 4.25", and cost $2.50 each or $10 for five. The art cards are 5" by 7" and cost $5 each or $20 for five (enter the promo code 5for4 at checkout). All cards are printed on 61 lb matte photo paper, have a blank interior, and are shipped with an envelope.

Wearables

I’m offering two types of wearable art: T-SHIRTS and ONESIES in various sizes, and only in white. If you’d like to put these designs on a different piece of clothing, then you can buy the transfers individually and iron them on to whatever you want. 

Presenting: Bottle Rocher!

"Bottle Rocher"
Watercolour, 22" by 14"
Copyright 2020 by Dwayne James

This painting is a tribute to the proud fishing industry on Canada’s east coast, and the men, women, and children who have piloted tiny vessels such as the one shown in the painting into often dangerous waters.
 
This painting started as a concept idea that I had last summer, shortly after I had finished my previous “boat in a bottle” variation, “Nova Scotia Blue.” Where that particular painting was designed ahead of time in Photoshop without me ever having travelled to Peggy’s Cove, I wanted to try actually visiting an iconic Maritime site in person and take a picture of the bottle on-site. So, in late July, I drove out to P.E.I. to pick up my wife and kids who were visiting family, and took the long route, specifically by way of the Gaspé Peninsula.
 
I spent a lot of time on the cobble stone beach in front of the Rocher Percé, and took a couple of dozen pictures of my stalwart bottle nested in amongst the cobbles. After all that though, I didn’t get one exactly the way I wanted, with the rocks half-submerged in water, and with the huge rock formation in the correct location in the background, so I ended up combining a few of them “in post.”
 
As for the boat, it’s also based on a photograph that I took on that same trip, this one in New Brunswick. In fact, if you've driven to P.E.I in the last few years, you've passed this boat on the way to the Confederation bridge. It's up on blocks in front of a barn and is in much worse shape than I've painted it.
 
This painting was an opportunity to experiment with forced perspectives by making both the background and foreground out of focus. This focuses the attention on the bottle in the middle, and enhances the illusion that it’s a model.
 

Adventures in Repurposing!

About a year ago, I drove to Ottawa to pick up some Church pews (as told in a previous newsletter).

Last month, in preparation for a family gathering, I finally got around to putting a few of them back together, in this case, angled so that they fit into the corner of our covered deck, right beneath the hanging stained glass windows (it just seemed right, somehow).

They make for ideal bench-seating, although my nephew hilariously asked if he was allowed to eat devilled eggs while sitting on them.

About Dwayne...

Watercolour artist Dwayne James lives in the Lakefield area where he has been feverishly living a creatively-driven life for the past decade, that is when his very forgiving family allows.

Dwayne studied archaeology in University which is how he learned to write creatively. “The most important skill I accrued 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!”

Dwayne had played with watercolours a little in his life, but it has only been relatively recently when he truly began to experiment and develop his style. An avid paddler and wilderness nut, it’s natural that most of Dwayne’s paintings should reflect this passion.

After spending close to a decade as a technical communicator at IBM, Dwayne opted to look at their January 2009 decision to downsize him as an opportunity to become a stay-at-home Dad for his newborn twins, and pursue his painting and creative writing whenever they allowed him to do so. 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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