Category Archives: Painting

Romeo Loves Juliet

Here’s a fun fact: the lovely and attractive friends I recruited to model for Romeo & Juliet, are real life cousins.  I thought it was more historically accurate that way.   Just kidding. Truthfully, the two amazing women of artfromKaoS selected the Callahan cousins from about 8 options I sent them, so it was fate… you might even say they were star-crossed. (The cousins might say it’s a little gross.  I say,  that’s what you get for being ridiculously good looking.)

Here are a few of my favourite images from this amazing assignment.

(I think the is the image the cousins like the least. Sorry pals!)

The ibook is available on iTunes for the low low price of $9.99 so feel free to snap it up and share it with anyone who plans curriculum for high school english classes. I know you have connections.

ibard Romeo & Juliet

It has been a very busy spring and summer! Part of that was my bill-paying job, exciting visitors and weather than insisted I get outside. The other part was made up of some pretty wonderful projects. One of those was this, that just turned up on iTunes New & Notable:

Two amazing women offered me the extremely rewarding opportunity to illustrated their iBook edition of Romeo & Juliet.  I have always loved Shakespeare thanks to some great teachers in high school, so I bit on this in a big way. Teachers of the world take note, for this is an excellent way to learn these works  – there is video from a young Shakespeare scholar, a reenactment by some Stratford actors and OF COURSE some illustrations. Something for the whole family. Or classroom. Or whatever.

I’ll post some process work soon, as well as the finals on my Official website.  But if you have an iPad, it’s only $9.99.  Buy it why don’t you?

Should I have done this whole post in iambic pentameter?  I am a Shakespeare nerd living the dream?  Yes and Maybe… in the opposite order.


Hey Baby.

Last year was a fairly busy year for me on the freelance front, for which I am extremely grateful. One of the projects I worked on was a baby portrait for a lovely gentleman to present to his wife! This is their first baby who was about to turn 1 around the time of his wife’s birthday, and he wanted their very special bond commemorated with a portrait.

(The only minus of this project was my neglect in not getting a good scan. These iPhone pictures are the only record I’ve got. The one above is the more accurate colour).

This client was a PLEASURE to work with. I have done family portraits before that have been nightmares. Not only was the father easy to deal with and friendly, he wanted my creative interpretation, and gave great feedback at the on set. I felt like I knew what he wanted on an intangible level, and that I was free to put my spin on the tangible product. A delight all around.

I would work for this gentleman again in a heartbeat… or anyone else as delightful to work with that needs some portrait work! Check my Official (ahem) website:


Follow me on twitter @GillianGoerz

How Things Are Made: the Drawing Edition

Process! I was digging around in some old drawings and found some sketches I made for an old Rob Ford caricature. Nothing says 2012 like reviving old drawings that shame our shameful, disgusting, ignorant, lying Mayor! And also, I like looking at How Things Are Made: The Drawing Edition.

Thumbnail sketches! Get it? He hates bikes.

First crack at the can. This one didn’t make it. Look at G20-I Joe. A real Canadian Hero. Also some dismembered barbies. I cut this one for being “too loaded”.

The Winner! Simpler all around.

From me and Mark Tewksbury, thanks for watching!

Follow me (but not Mark) on twitter! @GillianGoerz

The Painting Processor!

I love seeing other artists’ process work, so I thought I would show some here. This is a diptych I did in school that I still like (so rare) and I grabbed a few pictures of it while I was working on it.

The subject is a zoom in on a photo that I took of two friends who were dating at the time but working their way to their eventual break up, with hostility not veiled enough. I took a photo of them one night posing (they are doing a “goatsee” pose – don’t look that up) but I thought the picture and their expressions transcended the jokey pose and was maybe a little too close to their reality at that time.  I love Gerhard Richter and borrowed his trope of the unfocused photograph and did the following.

I had to complete an oil painting (this was my first use of oils ever. Which is crazy) in less than a week and I like to do a lot of under-painting so I did that in acrylic – just a quick and dirty wash to lay something down I could build on top of. I also drew little outlines in sharpie, since it tends to come through acrylic and stay visible, but can still be covered by a thicker application of paint:

After that dried, I started to work oil paints onto the canvasses. I had cropped the single photograph into two pictures and blurred them in photoshop, and then printed them to work from. The work-froms are taped to the easel and in both of these shots:

By these pictures, most of the oil paint is on there, and since it stays wet for so long I could go in and blur the lines afterward, so this application is pre-blurring, but obviously no pains were taken to get crisp edges or stay in the lines.

And here is a shot of the finished pieces hung together:

Ta da!

If you thought THAT was entertaining, you should follow me on twitter where I can be drowned out by the hilarious celebrities you already follow! Join the gang! @GillianGoerz

Portrait of a Canadian

I hope everyone spent the requisite time at the polls today! I actually decided to spare myself the panic and do it before work, so I could comfortably marinate in my own self-righteousness for the rest of the day. So tender!

In the spirit of Left-wingin’ it, I am posting an older piece with a pseudo-political theme. I did this invitation for the Bike Love Sale we held at Curbside, right around the time of Toronto’s Pinko Madness. I set the type for this, but also painted this ravishing larger-than-life portrait of Mr. Cherry  (an actual cut out that people could pose with next to the plaid-painted pink bike we eventually donated to the Darling House. Full back story here and here.).

Here are a few process photos (which you have already seen if you clicked the first link above, but for you non-link-clickers…)

Here’s where he still looks like a late Communist leader:

Here, he is emerging from the background, proving it is better to be Red than Dead and not the other way around:

The plaid fenders themselves (painted by certified genius Noah Rosen):

And finally me, on the finished Cherry Bomb with the finished Don Cherry. He’s so happy to pose with me, he is angrily pointing at camera man Dean Bradley of the Torontoist, insisting that he take 17 more:

But even Don’s polarizing (and bullying) rant stands to remind us of how lucky we are to be speak so freely.  And mock so freely.  And blog so freely.
And to vote so freely. Happy voting day, Canada!

Paperback Nobodies, No More.

Back in November I participated in a show at the lovely Freedom Clothing Collective, a lovely local gem run by excellent women with great taste.  The themed show had participants working with second hand books to give them a second life. Hence the title. Here’s the piece I submitted:

It’s a part of a larger series I am chipping away at (slowly. So slowly) called FACES that indulges both my love of painting portaits and my love of lurking people on Facebook.  All of the pieces are comprised of two profile pictures of different people side by side. I wrote a terribly brilliant and magnetic artist’s statement to justify myself for the show, but will not suffer anyone to read it here. Take my word for it: genius.

(I do think there is something really interesting about the way we choose to represent ourselves in social media and how that’s increasingly where first impressions are made – and comparing those impressions).

This is also a celebrity spotting, since the karaoke participant (or citrus fruit fan, depending on your reading), is none other then my friend Kelly Nestruck, Globe and Mail theatre critic. DID YOU SPOT HIM?  Well done. Now go see a play, you dullard!

The painting is gouache on old book. For you sticklers for detail.

Rookie of the Year

In the spring, during the last class of my degree (Sociology of the Body, which was actually fantastic), I wrote a fairly heinous essay about the behaviors of blogging, and to a lesser extent, about the culture of internet fame.  The latter was my real interest, but for the purposes of the class I had to incorporate the physical body in some way and a mediocre essay was how I chose to resolve the tension. Magically for me, this was still a class in ART school, so the second part of the assignment was to make something that illustrated our thesis in some way. I painted this:

If you don’t recognize the face, it’s meant to be a portrait of Tavi Gevinson, a.k.a. the Style Rookie, done in the style of a royal portrait. I’ve always been interested in prodigies and the whole gifted child thing, so Tavi’s blog, which was as precocious when she started it at age ELEVEN as it is now at fourteen, was an easy sell for me. Thanks to the blog alone, she has become a legitimately respected voice in the fashion community, which is a pretty startling turn considering the tendency of… (media? Who is today’s scapegoat? Media it is!)… of MEDIA to turn prodigies into awful, unlovable, and ultimately discredited freak-show-for-a-fleeting-moment fads.  It’s a testament (I think) to the actual voice Tavi has had from the beginning… and to the balls out, I-only-write-to-please-myself style that blogging lends itself to. My point: in her ability to dictate behavior (her hits are in the million per month), gather and hold a following, and lead with her own voice, she has become internet royalty. Plus there are all those great classical portraits of weird child kings and queens. So creepy and regal and great. Plus her erstwhile blue hair was so reminiscent of old lady. Old lady/young girl/queen/prodigy/it’s a wise child=I like it.

Anyway, enough aggrandizing. Obviously I like the blog. There’s a painting.  The end.

Gouache and Fold

That’s supposed to be a “wash and fold” joke.


SO! I’m participating in a show on December 10 at the good old Freedom Clothing Collective. Love those lovely ladies. Seriously.

Here’s a sneak preview of something LIKE what will be at Freedom. On Dec.10th. At the opening reception and silent auction.

Did I mention the show is called Paperback Nobodies No More? Wordy, yes but we like it too (there was a pun in there. Did you catch it?).  It’s a group exhibition using second hand books. We were given total freedom (more wordplay! And again!) to do to these poor books what we wanted. I wanted to paint in the pages.  The above is my roommate Lucie – a proposed painting that turned more into a study. Only attending the exhibition will reveal the final piece(s)!

Hint: It’s two portraits and one is of a prominent newspaper columnist.


When: Opening Reception & Silent Auction on Dec.10th – auction from 1 pm – 2 am, reception around 8 or 9 I am guessing.

Where: 939 Bloor Street W, West of Ossington, South side of the street (next door to a torridly YELLOW Adult video store)



Mimsy,The Mighty Shih Tzu

Ah, it is with the gaze of a proud parent that I reveal, MIMSY, a sassy-dressin’ shih tzu with sunning on her mind!

This is the cover of a journal I have painted for my mom’s birthday. So if you see her, don’t tell her about it.  Lookin’ good, Mimsy!