Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Text added

As you can see, I have been working on the blues poster some more and have started playing around with the text as well. I think I have found the right font, now it is just a matter of getting the color, placement, size and feel of it with the background. The image itself is getting closer to what I have in my head and will hopefully wrap it up in the next day or so. There are a few areas that still need some more work and addition of color, but am confident that the result will be something that speaks for itself. With this project I have really enjoyed getting back into the digital sketching mode. At first it was hard leaving the pencils and pens alone and working solely on the computer. But I am really pleased with how smooth the technique came back to me after a fairly lengthy break. Now I just hope that February can be as productive as the last half as January has been going.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Blues poster starts

So the start of the blues poster has created quite the amount of projects that are currently being worked on. With the large Canyon painting, the new kolb studio painting, two portraitures, and now the blues poster all being done at the same time, a shortage of work is not a problem. But I am enjoying the work and keeping my mind full of good music and caffinated beverages to boot. With that, I also have the good news that I will be soon moving to a better working/living space and will be able to create with some materials that I would not be allowed to use in an apartment, ie charcoal!! I can't wait to get back into more drawing projects and the increased work area to explore. As for the piece on the left, it is one of two versions of the blues concept I am going to be doing. This one is a digital rendition similar to the illustrative style I have done in the past and the second version is going to be a collaged paper w/acrylic over the top. If this is all too confusing with the progress of the digital piece, you can check out my website Shawn McCann and look under the illustration portfolio to get similar styles and what the end result will look like. Hope this helps a little.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

progress on the "Kolb Studio" painting

Hello everyone. Well, another weekend has gone by way too fast but was fortunate to get some good time in the studio. I managed to get a number of canvases prepared for some soon to be paintings and also worked on the "Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon" piece some more. You'll notice that this piece is going to be a little more expressionistic with its treatment of color. Also I have been getting some questions about the large piece I had started a little over a week ago. That one continues to come along and I promise to put more images of it soon. I am just looking at the group of pieces as a whole right now and trying to figure out what and how many pieces are going to be going into the show in May. That should all be settled a little better when I go visit the gallery on Tuesday in Waconia. I can't wait to check it out!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The start of another one

Saturday is finally here and it has been a great day to get things done both in the studio and out. The snow was a nice surprise as well this morning. Funny how it seems to only fall on the weekends. So, as you can see by the picture I have attached another painting has been started. Isn't it a beauty!! This is a really rough start but will hopefully give you an idea of the piece to come. The image itself is of a house the is perched on the edge of the grand canyon. I thought it was a great image and needed to get it on canvas. Hopefully in the next few days you will be able to get a better view of the piece. I have also attached a rough sketch of one of the images I am considering for the blues poster filled in with a little tone to add to the mood. Let me know what you guys thing of the poster concept. The final would have the lamplight from the top left shining down in the dark on the guitarist leaning against the old building.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

ITS DONE! .... I think

Hey everyone, I think the Apache Painting is finished!! It finally seemed to be at a point that I could call it complete. What do you all think?

Apache Painting getting close to done

So Thursday has come and I have been working in the studio on the Apache Trail painting. As you can see I have worked more on pretty much the whole painting. I still have some areas to work out in the rocks and the extreme foreground which will be done last. I am hoping that over the next few hours it will get close to being complete. But as usual, I am sure I will keep poking away at it over the next few days when I find little things here and there. It has been alot of fun bringing back all the sites, smells and noises in my mind that I remember from being there. After the painting tonight I will be bringing some of the concept sketches for the blues poster into a final stage. Then I will hopefully start to narrow down the image, or two, that I want to do for the final illustration. Maybe I might post the final three versions of the sketches and let you guys help me decide. What does everyone think? Would you like to vote on the images that I am considering for the blues poster, or do you want to be surprised by the one I choose? Leave a comment and let me know what you are thinking!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just when things...

Just when things looked as if I didn't have anything to do, another exhibition has rolled around. I found out this morning that I will be exhibiting some new work in a solo show out in Waconia in May. It will start on the 7th and will run for approxamitly 6 weeks. I am really excited about this show because it will be displaying some of the new pieces I am creating now of the Grand Canyon series. You can about imagine what the next few months are going to be like. But that is good because it will keep me out trouble and keep my mind to task. So to recap the week of crazy events listings(sorry for them all), I have three upcoming exhibitions, a book reading, a lecture/workshop event, and the Gateway Project along with some great competitions that are coming round the bend. Wish me luck and It would be great to hear from you guys to keep me sane!

One final note is that some of my prints of paintings are now able to be bought and framed online at If you type in my name in the search window I have a few images available so far. Will hopefully get some of my playful illustrations in there as well in the next few days. Until tomorrow, have a good night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A day of great meetings

Today was one of those days that you look back and say "I wish I had more days like this". It started off with a meeting that was held about a new program that I have been graciously accepted into. It is called the Gateway Project: Families Opening Doors and is being administered by the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in North Minneapolis and in conjunction with the Northside Arts Council. It aims to bring the arts into families of need and use it as a stepping stone to bettering the lives of all that are involoved. The thing that really got to me was the dedication and love that the staff of NorthPoint bring to the lives of these families. Their committment to helping others in need was one of the reasons that I choose to apply for this project. Having gone thru this training session has only solidified that reason and I am anxious to be apart of this great program.

In other news, a couple of upcoming events were also part of meetings today. The first is a reading that I will be doing with my children's book at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis on Feb. 3rd at 4pm. If you guys haven't checked out the Walker after its new addition it is a must when you visit the Twin Cities. It is so nice to be located in a community that values its arts as the Twin Cities does.

Finally there has been a workshop scheduled for Sunday March 25th at the Brookdale Library that I will be conducting. The subject matter is still being worked on but rest assured you will have a blast listening to my crazyness! So keep posted as to more details about that and will be back in the studio making a mess tomorrow!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Apache Trail painting

Sunday started off in fine fashion with a fresh coating of snow and a flurry of activity in the studio. Having worked more on the large Grand Canyon picture I came to work on a commissioned smaller painting in the afternoon and evening. It is funny how things change from working on a painting that is 4 foot tall and then switch to a small 20" x 16". But it was a fresh change and one that was going good. Having started the piece on a blue toned background, I came to put the important benchmarks on the piece and am looking to going in with some detail and a palette knife as this under layer dries a bit. I think the texture will really be a key feature of the rocks and ledges that are present in this scene along the Apache Trail in Arizona. So another day has come to a close and will be back soon with more fun photos.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Future Exhibitions

Well Saturday's here and there are two more upcoming exhibitions scheduled now. They came out of a Childrens Book Illustrators Guild meeting that we held this morning. The first exhibition "Imagine That"! is at the Edina Art Center and will be July 12th, 2007 thru August 21st. The second exhibition has yet to be titled and will be held at the Owatonna Art Center in Sept/Oct. 2008. As I attend more of these meetings I am really impressed with the energy that everyone brings to the guild. It should be a fun year with all that's in the works. I will also be adding these exhibitions to the events list on my website soon. As for the Children's Illustrators Guild, if you would like to check out a great variety of styles and mediums you should check out the website. The address is

Friday, January 19, 2007

Strumming in the Studio

Friday night is here and the studio has become a mad house. The afternoon and evening has consisted of listening to some of the best blues music out there, drawing a live musician and getting my first guitar lesson! The latter is the best of all. Playing guitar has always been something that I've wanted to do and now that I have a teacher it will slowly come to light. I would recommend though for the time being that you bring earplugs with you if you venture to my house though. All of this may seem like a waste of valuable studio time, but with the blues poster competition and also a portraiture competition that Richeson Fine Arts is putting on, what better way to study than that. As the weekend approaches it will be a good time to get some much needed things done on the concepting stage and will also hopefully have some close to final sketches for the poster. As I get those done I will be posting them. Until then, you will have to use your imagination.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sketch of the day

As you can see by the sketch that I posted I have been working more and more with the portrait lately. I have noticed that as I work on these quick samples the flow seems to come sooner. Maybe because I am starting to see the features a little quicker and am not expecting a whole lot since they are just sketches. None the less, I find them intriquing in an of themselves and very important when it comes to actually going into the studio to work. With this lady, she was trying to figure out what I was doing and why! After I was done though I quick showed her and she laughed about it. She said had she known what I was doing she would have smiled a little bit. But that's one thing I like about quick getting people drawn before they know it. Otherwise they seem to pose too much and the character tends to disappear in their demeaner.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The blues poster is in the works

As I was looking through the list of different competitions and call for entries out there currently, I came across one that got me so excited that I have to share it with you guys. To most people, my love of blues music is something that I don't devulge, but a quick look thru some of my illustrations that I have done in the past can easily show my interest within the blues. The competition that I am going to be entering is the 30th Annual Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival Poster competition. They are looking for artists to submit poster designs for this years festival. So, I have been spending the evening working on concepts and such and if you happen to stop by my place, you will no doubt be engulfed within the music as well. So here's to a fun competition and I look forward to seeing what I can create. Hopefully the judges will like what I do too!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sundays underpainting

It's amazing what you can get done when you get a day to work in the study(minus a few peeks at the football games of course). This is the start of a scene that I encountered out at the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago. I was struck at how beautiful this twisting tree with half its leaves was that I forgot for a moment of the grandness that was behind it. For all the images that I saw while I was there, it was some of the ones like this that stuck in my mind the most. Funny how the mind works like that. The painting itself is being done in oil and is a fairly large piece at 36" x 48". I am looking forward in the next few days to start working in more detail and starting to see the painting really take off. The other painting that I am working on as well is a portraiture that is starting to come together too. Between the two I should be kept busy in the coming days.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The medium debate

So Saturday has arrived already and finally getting a chance to get some things done. As I started sketching out the painting I am going to be working on, I was torn between what medium to do it in. I don't know how many of you guys have had that same problem, but I find it a common one since I enjoy working in many different mediums. To choose between oil, acrylic, mixed media or even digital is like flipping a coin for me. So while I was debating in my head I drew out this tough decision as if I was young again and trying to pick which car to play with. Its funny where your drawings can lead to if you let your imagination wander. One minute I am drawing a scene of the grand canyon and the next minute I am drawing a boy picking between two toys. Where does it stop? Must be the children's book illustrator in me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The sis is in the house

So as you can see by this image even my guests that come over are not immune from the spotlight. This is a quick 5 minute study of my sister Megan as she peered into the depths of the television. Good thing she approved of it otherwise I would have had to do another one of myself. Like anyone wants to see that!! On the art front today I worked on networking as a key for the afternoon. Often I find that the people you know have as much of an impact on your art as the quality of the work itself, sometimes even more. So with that I contacted some old friends and artists I know and was seeing how things were going and low and behold a collaboration on a project might be taking place. Fingers crossed. Other than that, I am anxiously awaiting the weekend so that I can really kick into high gear with some painting in the studio. Speak to you soon...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wed. Sketch

Well after reading "Art Lady's" posting about a sketch or painting of the day, I thought I would try it out. So here is my self portrait sketch that I did a little while ago. I find that sometimes I have a hard time looking at myself to do a drawing or painting, but the more I do it the less I think about it and just go for it.

Elsewhere in my work I am getting excited for a couple of things I am working on. The first items are some grant and residency proposals that I am getting ready. It is so interesting to look back over last years work and see the progress that has been made. I even ran across a few events that I did that I had forgetten about. The other thing I am preparing for is a number of paintings that are going to be the result of my recent trip to Arizona. What a beautiful part of the country. I can't wait to get started on the pieces soon. Some will be from the Grand Canyon area and others will be from areas such as the Apache Trail and areas around Peoria and such. Stay tuned for images to come.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Getting Things started

Welcome all to Studio McCann. Here you will find the ins and outs of a crazy man in the arts. You may ask "What is a crazy man anyways?" Well the best definition I can come up with is one that is scattered in many many ways. This includes but is not limited to: Children's, editorial, book, and concept illustration, Madonnari Street painting, Oil and Acrylic painting which includes figurative and landscape, teaching, and a director on the Minneapolis College of Art and Design's Alumni Board of Directors.

So my hope is that I will be able to utilize this blog for not only showcasing the work I am working on, but also to give thoughts and ideas on what is working, and what is not, in the life of my arts here in the Twin Cities. If you wish to venture further and check out my website you can find it at