Friday Two Cents: Celebrating The Past


 

‘I take a lot of pride in being myself. I’m comfortable with who I am.’ James McAvoy

 

This past week I was able to finish off a personal project of mine that has been on my mind for some time.

It truly started many years ago when I started looking into my family history and where I come from. I was born in Canada but my heritage is from a small island called Malta. This small archipelago’s history dates back eons to the dawn of civilization in the Mediterranean. Yet the period I was looking into was when my family came to Malta in the early 1400s. The Gauchi family was part of the feudal system in Malta until the Knights Hospitaller, later the Knights of St. John, took control of the island chain around the middle 1500s.
In 1565 the forces of the Ottoman Empire invaded the island to completely wipe out the knights and as a stepping-stone to conquering the rest of Europe. Some 40,000 Turks invaded and laid siege to Malta. Standing in their way were roughly 6,100 that included some 500 Knights Hospitaller, 2000 thousand foot-soldiers, 600 servants and slaves and 3000 conscripted native Maltese. With this small defence force, they successfully defended the island. The cost was quite high with a third of the defending force falling to the enemy but in return they inflicted such terrible losses on the Turks. They retreated from Malta with casualties around +15,000; some say it was more than half their forces. The victory may have been costly but it is celebrated as the greatest of the 16th century and initiated the stop of the Ottoman Empire expansion into Europe.
I read and drew many images until I came up with the image I finally painted that you can see below entitled “The Siege of Mdina”. It is of a Knights Hospitaller vanquishing a Turk invader. In the background you can see the Christian army ready to do battle with the knight, in the fields below the ancient city of Mdina, Malta. It a place I have visited on many occasions and the scene came to me after drawing my first knight.
I think this project so engulfed my thoughts because I have been hearing many people talk about their heritage but also people condemning many aspects of our own history because of the not so nice elements that are also associated with the people involved. For me, knowing my heritage has always been a cause of pride. Malta is not a well-known country, but the more I delved into my heritage the greater I began to appreciate it. Yes there are dark elements in it. This period of time probably saw many atrocities but hiding the truth or burying it is not the right thing to do. We should celebrate our past; the good, the bad and the ugly, for these events made us who we are.
I am reminded of a famous quote …

‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ George Santayana

 

Too much of human history is full of repeating the same mistakes. Perhaps learning, celebrating and understanding our past instead of burying, ignoring and erasing it, would help us not make the same mistakes.

“The Siege of Mdina” Painting by Paul Gauchi

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Art Inspiration: Comic Book: Page 10


A few years ago I created a Comic Book Club for the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills. Prior to the club I taught them how to draw three-dimensional objects and characters but this year they wanted something different.

The premise of the club was to teach the students the basics of comic book drawing. Yet due to the amount of work involved in drawing a comic book, I tried to keep the characters a bit simpler than I am use to and I standardized the characters for them. They wanted a super hero comic therefore I drew a lot of different characters they could choose from. They liked that idea but they also had to choose up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain for their character.

Page two is where we see the Legion of Doom plan is revealed. It was a hook for the students and this page was their first glimpse at a few of the characters they would be drawing. I also helped them by providing pages with empty cells for them to draw in the story. I hope you enjoy page 2 of “The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

Page ten, the final page of the comic book. Finally the students and the readers get to meet the new leader of the Legion of Doom. The students asked, “Who does this character represent?” You see the students created their character to represent themselves. They wanted to be their character. I thought this was a great way for them to get into drawing these characters because it is something very personal to each of them. I told them that this character is mine. The leader of the “bad guys” is me. They loved that idea and interestingly every comic book and character drawing class after this one, I used this character to represent me in the group. You may have seen this character from another drawing club I did with a group of students, entitled Heroes vs. Villains.  

I hope you enjoy page 10 of The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

The Rise of Lord Ominous: Page 10

Art Inspiration: Comic Book: Page 9


A few years ago I created a Comic Book Club for the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills. Prior to the club I taught them how to draw three-dimensional objects and characters but this year they wanted something different.

The premise of the club was to teach the students the basics of comic book drawing. Yet due to the amount of work involved in drawing a comic book, I tried to keep the characters a bit simpler than I am use to and I standardized the characters for them. They wanted a super hero comic therefore I drew a lot of different characters they could choose from. They liked that idea but they also had to choose up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain for their character.

On page ninth The League of Justice have arrived to put an end to the Legion of Doom’s plan, except they find that they are too late. At last, the new leader of the Legion of Doom is born and makes an entrance.   Many of the students asked why don’t they see the new leader. I told them this build suspense for the audience and for all of you. Also what he has to say will set the tone for what kind of leader, and Arch enemy for The League of Justice, he will be. I hope you enjoy page 9 of “The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

The Rise of Lord Ominous: Page 09

Art Inspiration: Comic Book: Page 8


A few years ago I created a Comic Book Club for the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills. Prior to the club I taught them how to draw three-dimensional objects and characters but this year they wanted something different.

The premise of the club was to teach the students the basics of comic book drawing. Yet due to the amount of work involved in drawing a comic book, I tried to keep the characters a bit simpler than I am use to and I standardized the characters for them. They wanted a super hero comic therefore I drew a lot of different characters they could choose from. They liked that idea but they also had to choose up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain for their character.

On page eight we see Dr. Mindbender ready to put his plan of fusing the DNA into one person. With the students we drew each cell and the biggest question was what are those tubes in the background. I told them that those are the DNA solutions from each of the heroes and villains. I reminded them that they could see the tubes in the background on pages 2 and 3. The challenge for the students was the action pose of the character Angel.  They were use to drawing the characters more in a standing power pose but once I showed them to draw the bones of the character they quickly drew the rest. I hope you enjoy page 8 of “The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

The Rise of Lord Ominous: Page 08

Friday Two Cents: Worlds Created In My Imagination


 

‘Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.’ Vincent Van Gogh

‘The painter has the universe in his mind and hands.’ Leonardo Da Vinci

 

Last week I took a mini vacation about 1½ hours car ride north of Toronto, to a small city called Midland. I went to clear my head, cleanse my soul and hopefully to get inspired. I love going to that area since I was a child. Many people have cottages in the area and it is far enough from any major city to make you appreciate nature and what this country has.

Many of my friends and family always say, “Why are you going up there alone? Won’t you get bored?” I tell them that I need to get away and be alone with my own thoughts. I tell them I love the area and I always bring up my art supplies so I can have nature inspire me. This trip was no exception.

Once I begin my day I usually get into a routine. Even on vacation I have a routine and I find that it helps to get my creative juices flowing. I go for a walk every morning along the waterfront. Even in Toronto I go for a 5 km walk along the lakefront while I listen to some music. I find that centres me and I can let the creativity flow after. In Midland there was no exception. They have a quaint waterfront with many small boats and beautiful green paths.

Yet as beautiful as these scenes are I find myself losing myself in thought. The world around me drops away and is replaced with worlds created in my imagination. I find it a great way to focus the mind. And from these imaginations I was able to create art from glimpses into those worlds.

For me this trip away from the noisy city was exactly what I needed to clear my mind and soul. To look within and what came out where creations from my imagination. Below you can see a few images I created from those imaginings. For when I looked into my soul I found a universe of endless possibilities.  

Art Inspiration: Comic Book: Page 7


A few years ago I created a Comic Book Club for the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills. Prior to the club I taught them how to draw three-dimensional objects and characters but this year they wanted something different.

The premise of the club was to teach the students the basics of comic book drawing. Yet due to the amount of work involved in drawing a comic book, I tried to keep the characters a bit simpler than I am use to and I standardized the characters for them. They wanted a super hero comic therefore I drew a lot of different characters they could choose from. They liked that idea but they also had to choose up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain for their character.

On page seven we finish off with the last members of the League of Justice, their name and abilities. This gives each student, who wanted to be a hero, the opportunity to see their character and how to draw it. This also gives the other students practice on how to draw these characters and in turn their own. I hope you enjoy page 7 of “The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

 

The Rise of Lord Ominous: Page 07

Art Inspiration: Comic Book: Page 6


 

A few years ago I created a Comic Book Club for the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills. Prior to the club I taught them how to draw three-dimensional objects and characters but this year they wanted something different.

The premise of the club was to teach the students the basics of comic book drawing. Yet due to the amount of work involved in drawing a comic book, I tried to keep the characters a bit simpler than I am use to and I standardized the characters for them. They wanted a super hero comic therefore I drew a lot of different characters they could choose from. They liked that idea but they also had to choose up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain for their character.

On page six we continue to see the different members of the League of Justice, their name and abilities. I found that this way each student, who wanted to be a hero, could see their character and how to draw it. This also gives the other students practice on how to draw these characters. I hope you enjoy page 6 of “The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

The Rise of Lord Ominous: Page 06

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