Saturday, January 28, 2012


Hey y'all!
It is Saturday, and I am finally finished my latest painting.
I wish I could work faster - perhaps if I could paint with both hands simultaneously.......
Well....that is something I can work on AFTER The Artist Project:

So this one is slightly different from the others I have been working on....
This one has the same 'poster' look, but it also has a elements from my 'Pin-up Series".
Here are some in progress shots:
I am a rule breaker.
As a rule, you are supposed to paint background to foreground & top to bottom.....
I always start with the lady.
Because she is the biggest challenge for me!!!
In my original drawing, she was riding it like a horse.....with the streetcar between her legs.....
but it was a bit 'unseemly'...

Finishing up her bits and pieces.

BLAM-O. Yes, this is several days later.....
but it still seemed unfinished.....
I tried to make the lady as though she was breaking out of the poster format......
I was happy to find reference for an old TTC ticket (bottom left corner)
I used the "Dymo label" lettering to make it more interesting and to fix the compositional balance by bring the red down to the bottom.
The background is wallpaper-y and has shiny gold pattern to it.
The quote: "Happiness is a way of travel - not a destination" is from Roy M Goodman.
I like what it says, and I like the inherent irony with it  - and the reality of actually taking TTC!!!
In the final painting (below) I added trompe l'oeil folds and shadows......and then 'burnished the edges of the canvas to draw your eye into the painting.
Here is the final:

"Travel in Style", 36" x 24", Acrylic on Board, 2012.

What do you think?
Like it??
Remember to come out and see this painting in person on the first weekend in March.
For more details check out The Artist Project 2012!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WW45: MASHED, COLOURIZED AND NOT DULL (but may need his eyes examined)

Hey y'all. 
Well, WHAT A WEEK!!!!!!!
I am working up a new painting despite the fact that my studio is still torn apart!
Here is what my studio looked like on this Monday morning (AFTER the floor was FIXED):

and then post water clean-up yesterday:
See how much I care???
OK...let's get to it - 5 things I LOVE this week:
1. DJ Earworm. Yes, You heard me. Do you like that pop music? Do you wish you could hear all the radio hits of today in one song??? Well nobody does it better. I know that mash-up is nothing new, but this guy is super good at mixing songs together. I have been a fan of his since 2009.....Check out his website:

Here one of my favourite of his legendary mash-ups:

Here is the "United State of Pop 2011".....

FUN huh????

2.) Recolouring by swedish artist sanna dull away. She renders iconic black-and-white photographs in colour using Photoshop CS5. She offers a recolouring and restoration service for old photographs, undertook the works-- alongside processing old family photos-- as a personal project. It is, of course totally controversial!! But I LOVE it. I love black and white - don't get me wrong.....I just love the re-invention of the photos through colour!!!

Here is what DESIGN BOON had to say: "It raises questions about "stealing" of culturally significant imagery, as well as the boundaries of what classifies something as art, the recoloured photographs are also technically striking, generally achieving a colour and climate that is not only realistic but also largely consistent with the tonalities achievable or popular at the time."

Anne Frank

‘The American Way’
V-J Day in Times Square’ Alfred Eisenstaedt

Honest Abe

photograph from liverpool's canada dock, 1909, featuring first chief engineer of mauretania john currie

3.) These posters straight from the Library of Congress WPA website! There are HUNDREDS of these and I am just picking a few random ones to show you! The WPA according to wikipedia:

The Works Progress Administration was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.

These are via Cindy - VIA

Kim's Convenience. Those of you who know me, know I see very few plays. I see a lot of musicals (probably an unhealthy number of them). So when I was invited to see Kim's Convenience, I was a little worried. When were the people gonna break into song???? Thankfully it was a really good show. Those of you who live in Toronto know Soulpepper theatre....and you know the high quality work they produce there. Here is how they explain the show: 

Soulpepper Academy alumnus Ins Choi's hilarious and touching debut play set in a Regent Park Korean convenience store was the smash hit of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival. The journey of a fractured but loving family confronting the future and forgiving the past is a Toronto classic in the making. Directed by Weyni Mengesha (Soulpepper Academy alumna)

Although it is centred around Korean immigrants who have a corner store in Toronto and the relationship they have with their is about more than that. It was funny and very touching at the end!! I think the themes in it are totally universal and relevant! It runs until February 11th at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill St, T.O., 416-866-8666 or

Thanks to Shirley for including me in her trip to see this play. It was really appreciated!!!!

5.) I wanted to leave you with a laugh, but I had nothing this week that was funny. NOTHING. But here are 2 clips from Ellen that made my week a little bit better. ONE -  I got a laugh from Sofia Vergara (from Modern Family) who is the funniest woman around:

and this clip of Kevin Nealon made me smile too:

So there you go.......
Hope you enjoyed this weeks post!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I know what you are thinking........
"Rob, shouldn't you be painting? Isn't the Artist Project is only 40 days away!"
Normally at this point I would be a full-tilt painting machine! Sadly, my studio looks like this: painting today........NOT TO WORRY FOLKS....
I am fine...all my paintings are fine......but it is a nasty expensive SEWER related mess..........
It is CRAPPY (pardon the pun)!!
BUT I know I have obligations to you, my loyal readers. Yes, I care THAT MUCH!
So here is my Wonderful Wednesday post.......

1.) fun fact about me.......I watch A LOT of television. A LOOOOOOTTTTTT! So I consider myself a bit of an expert on...well.....wasting time. I have talked about Sherlock before on WW#24....but I just caught the first episode of the new season. After watching it, I realized something. 
So much of the t.v. I watch is worse than the CRAP I just shoveled off my studio floor.....

If you still haven seen season 1...WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR???????????????
I promise you will NOT regret it! There are only 3 (90 minute) episodes in season 1!
I think it is one of the best things I have seen on t.v!!!! 
And season 2 has three more 90 minute episodes.......DEELISH!!!


2.) I also wanted to talk about a t.v. program that I am looking forward to. Now I know, the last time I recommended a show that hadn't actually aired it was DISASTER. I recommended both Pan Am and The Playboy Club. And sadly, they both ended up being a let down. But I am gonna take the chance again and tell you how excited I am about "SMASH".

Why take the chance on something that may be a huge letdown??? Here are the reasons:
a. the cast: Debra Messing, Angelica Houston, Katherine McPhee (from American Idol) and 
    Megan Hilty (who is a great broadway singer!!!!!!)
b. The plot: "There is more drama behind the scenes than on stage, as the team prepares an ambitious 
    Broadway musical on the life of Marilyn Monroe." COME ON! Doesn't that sound good??!!!!!!!!!
c. executive produced by Stevie Spielberg! (yes, his friends call him Stevie)
and finally, 

So let's hope for the best on this one!!!  We will have to wait and see it if is as good as I hope it is!!!
 It debuts on February 6th on NBC! 

3.) Why am I not wealthy? I guess it is good to be Robert Verdi.  He requested that Vans make him a few pairs of custom kicks out of his vintage Hermes scarf collection for his personal use. Sadly, these shoes are the only ones of their kind......and I do not own them. SIGH. But I can still admire them (as always click on the pics to see larger versions):

4.) I love this artwork, they are really nicely done! It is collage work by Nancy Goodman Lawrence!! Check out her website HERE! Super good work, huh?

Here is nancy's Bio:

Nancy Goodman Lawrence received a BFA from University of California, Los Angeles in 1971.
Her figurative collages are based mostly on photographic portraits of her family, friends and self, and less often on drawings of models placed in whimsical settings.
Maps are an important resource to her work, less for their capacity to represent geographical spaces than suggest the space that human bodies occupy. Lawrence transforms mountains, oceans, and roads into veins, and tree branches into rug patterns, and clothing.
She is fascinated with psychology and resists the temptation to use particular locations that are relevant to the subject or a part of the subject. Her Circle Study series is an abstract variation on her map theme. In each collage the inner circle of each piece is perfectly round, but the circles become more distorted as they spread out.
Her work has been extensively exhibited in Los Angeles.

5.) last week's laugh was sh*t girls say.......I found these 2 companions to that series....I hope you enjoy Sh*t Liza Minnelli Says:

and Sh*t Nobody Says:

so there you go!!
Hope you enjoyed this weeks post!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Hello friends!
Well it's Saturday, and yes, I am busily at work.
Before you feel too bad for me, know that I am a workaholic.
Besides (insert condescending tone here) when you love what you do, it really isn't work.
OK. Now that we have all that covered, I wanna show you my latest painting.
I am getting work ready for The Artist Project:

I have already shared a bunch of the new work....but that is sooo last year!
Here is my latest....I did a couple of progress shots:
It started like the others. With a back ground of 'tiles' like Osgoode Subway Station
my reference is below:

I then started work on the 'poster' part of my composition.
This is it before I age it.

Here it is almost done. But I felt it needed something........
I already had a quote from Eric Hoffer:
"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other"

I LOVE the quote.
As you might have gotten......I am sorta aiming it at the 'hipster' crowd a bit....
I WILL NOT go on a rant about the 'ironic' big glasses and such.....
Anyways, I felt the painting was still missing I called a friend.
This is the transcript of that conversation:

ROB: Hey, Lady, I am trying to finish a painting that is kinda making fun of hipsters. But I need to paint a  an object on the bottom to finish it off and drive the point home. I was thinking of a coaster with a Hipster bar name on it. Is "The Horseshoe Tavern", "The Rivoli" or "The Cameron House" a hipster hangout?

LADY S: How about "The Drake"?

ROB:Ya.... I already have them represented. 

LADY S: I think it is the perfect place

(((insert extended conversation - listing EVERY bar in the city and it's level on the hipst-o-meter scale)))))

ROB: (after a long pause) OH!!!! I GOT IT!!!! Cookie Cutters!

LADY S: I've never heard of "Cookie Cutters" is it new?

ROB: (confounded) Whaaaa? NO. Cookie cutters is NOT a bar. I am gonna paint a pair of cookie cutters on the get it. right???

LADY S: So there is no "Cookie Cutters"? I was thinking I would like to check that bar out.

ROB: (hangs up phone)

LADY S: Hello??


So, here it is, The final painting - I am pretty happy with it!!!

"The in Crowd",  36" x 24", Acrylic on Panel. 

Whadda YOU think??
Come out and see it at The Artist Project in March. last thing.......when I was googling 'hipsters' I came up with these images that made me laugh out loud...and I need to share them with you:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


1. As you know I have become a weirdo-scavenging-type of artist. I am constantly collecting crap for my mixed media works............But artist Sarah Frost takes it to the extreme!! She creates found object and found form sculpture. Her Qwerty Sculptures consist of thousands (and thousands…) of keys from old qwerty keyboards…It´s a multifaceted ScrapHack, filled with any kind of meaning you want it to be. Sarah´s Qwerty work travels the world, a permanent installation can be found @ The James hotel in NYC. I just love it!!!! is her bio:
"Sarah Frost was born in Detroit and grew up in Rochester, NY. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Frost’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions regionally, and she has her first show in New York in 2010. She has also received numerous awards and grants, including the inaugural Riverfront Times’ Visual Arts Mastermind award in 2008 and grants from Arts in Transit and the Missouri Arts Council.  Most recently she won the Great Rivers Biennial 2010, a grant funded by the Gateway Foundation and solo exhibition at Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis. She currently lives and works in St. Louis."

 2.) This bookshelf is FANTASTIC!!! I NEEEEED IT!!!! Check out the site for this product at:   

3.) The Neti pot. Yes. Really. I know you are thinking....REALLY ROB? Nasal douching??? THIS is something inspirational to you??? THAT is the lame-ist thing to LOVE eh-vah!!! Well, let me tell you, dear readers, when you get sick with some kind of nasal will think again about this amazing device. Here's the skinny:

In the pot I have you take water (sterilized) and add a pack of saline.....shake it and then tilt your head and pour it into your nose.......then the amazing thing goes through your nasal passages......and then out the other nostril. Yes. You do feel a bit like the 'Fontana di Trevi'......but the relief afterwards is remarkable. Here is a picture...

OK OK...that is NOT RIGHT....
This is what it looks like.......

This is the one I bought.......

Anyways, if you have sinus problems.........I highly recommend it!!!
MOVING something a little less gross......
......right from nasal irrigation to Musical theatre...BAM.....

3.) Sutton Foster. I know, I know, she has been on this list before. But I just love her. Not only is she is adorable like a spotted puppy....she is a super talented musical theatre powerhouse. Now, I DID blog about her before HERE when I saw her in "Anything Goes" last year on the Broadway. But I am listening right now to her "An Evening with Sutton Foster Live at the Cafe Carlyle"

...which was taped last year, and is SPLENDID!!!!!! Love her. It shows off her 'zaniness' with her big vocal talent.......This live cabaret special she did was to help pro toe her first albumen 'Wish"

.....which is also very very enjoyable!
I highly recommend her music. I wish I could find her singing "My heart was Set on You' (it is my fave!)
here is another thing from 'Wish':

4.) I normally don't condone drinking.......because I am so pure of spirit and crap like that. But I tried this beer.....I KNOW....BEER.....but before you go all " don't drink drink Como's....." let me tell you more about it. It is, like, super fruity (which yes, is also my stage name). It is called "Fruli":
It is yummers. (If you like that kind of thing!)
Find it in your local LCBO HERE.

5.) that is it for this week!!! But let me leave you with a laugh.....I think this is super funny. It is called "S**t Girls say". It made me laugh...........(maybe because I hear these things coming from MY OWN MOUTH!!!) Ladies? What say you??