In 2006, Andrew began his third career in painting with a crash course in texture, tone and composition: doing large scale reproductions of works by Canadian artist Jean Paul Lemieux. Andrew's 6' x 4' rendition of Lemieux's Le visitor du sour hangs in his home.
In recent years, Andrew has focused on portrait painting. The common element in all of his portraits (both human and animal!) is his ability to capture the subject's character in their expression. "It's a subtle, delicate thing," he says. "The tiniest change in the curve of the mouth or the shape of the eyelid can make all the difference in the story a portrait tells."
Andrew's first career was as a professional musician. During his 15 years as a singer, keyboardist and songwriter, he recorded and toured with a Juno Award-winning Canadian band and international stars such as Del Shannon, Peter Noone, Lesley Gore, The Mamas & The Papas, Ben E. King and many more. His personal career highlight was performing for a full house at Toronto's legendary Massey Hall.
Andrew is also President and Creative Director at Field Day Inc., an agency he launched in 1989 to provide customer insights, branding and creative services to arts, sports and entertainment organizations. Field Day has developed branding and creative for many of Toronto's top destinations including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian National Exhibition, Warner Home Video, and international clients such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Anaheim Ducks and San Francisco 49ers.
How Andrew works
When painting a portrait, I usually base the overall composition and expression on a single photograph of the client's choice. But if I've never met the subject, a single photograph often doesn't provide enough information. Depending on the camera angle and lighting, a two-dimensional photo may not reveal details such as the contours of the face. I prefer to have as many reference photos as possible, taken from a variety of angles.
But most importantly, the more reference photos I have, the better I can get to know the character of the subject - and the better I can capture that character on canvas.
I start with a pencil sketch, blocking out the composition and general location and shape of the facial features. The next step is to completely fill the canvas with paint, roughing in the hair, clothing, skin tones and background, focusing on light and dark.
Then comes the refining. And more refining. Studying the reference photos again and again, then altering the curve of the lips or the angle of an eye lid… slowly getting closer to the true spirit of the subject.
My portraits aren't photo realistic. I like to retain the rawness of paint on canvas. But when you stand back from the canvas, as someone said about one of my portraits, I hope to "capture the brightness in (their) soul".
A few words from clients and friends
Can't tell you how much we love it! You are very, very talented and we are thrilled! I am beaming. Really and truly! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Holy. Sh*t. As a writer (and an educated person) I should be able to come up with something better than that, but I can't. Holy sh*t – this is incredible. Seriously, I'm in awe. It's fantastic. You've totally captured him - absolutely. It made me very happy. I can't stop looking at it. And it's even more spectacular in real life.
Wonderful work! You truly are gifted and blessed in so many ways. :)
Lovely expression, composition and light!
Oh man! Is that beautiful or what? You captured the brightness in her soul.
You are some kind of freak.