Stanley Mishkin

Stanley Mishkin

Location: Canada

I am a realist painter with interests in the figure and portrait. I also paint urban landscape, an example is the series
City-Scene which looks at demolition and construction in Vancouver. The series can be seen at
I am currently expanding my technique as can be seen here with the painting Covid Memories.


selection of works

All paintings are either oil on canvas or oil on board

Theatre “Theatre”

24x36 ins. Oil on wood.

I created this painting in 2007. It is my interpretation of a B&W photograph I took in 1984 of the demolition of the Fairlawn Cinema in Toronto. Searching through my old files one day I was drawn to the haphazard shapes and textures of this building in the process of destruction. As a painter more 20 years later I used colour and design to transform the original from a harsh commentary in photo documentation to one of abstract aesethics. The technique is a monochrome under painting superseded by several transparent glazes in the mid-dark and dark ranges followed by direct opaque application for the mid-tone and light ranges. The painting has many subtleties and lustrous quality and evokes a mysterious beauty to this forgotten structure.

Woodwards #1 “Woodwards #1”

37x45 ins. Oil on wood.

The first of three paintings that depict the former Woodwards department store a fixture in the once bustling commercial district in downtown Vancouver. Here I've rendered the building in a dilapidated state and populated the foreground with characters from the Downtown East Side, now a very gritty district that has the distinction of being Canada's poorest postal district. I created the billboard sign in order to juxtapose this area with the cleanliness and wealth of the Fraser Valley where Vancouver is the major metropolis. Crows regularly make their journey across the city at around 5pm each day from the West End of Vancouver to Burnaby Lake in the East. I have included the crows as a motif and set them against Vancouver's often changing skies: in this case a fast moving and active cold front.

Woodwards #2 “Woodwards #2”

35x39 ins. Oil on wood.

This is the second of three paintings that depict the former Woodwards department store, a fixture ot the once bustling commercial district in downtown Vancouver. This once iconic structure of almost 100 years has excavators ripping it apart, smashing up the rubble to reclaim the steel, then sorting and piling all with mechanical balletic movement. The skyscape is my own invention to enhance that movement and mirror the composition.

Woodwards #3 “Woodwards #3”

26x41 ins. Oil on wood.

This is the third of three paintings that depict the former Woodwards department store, a fixture of the once bustling commercial district in downtown Vancouver. The scene that I painted here shows the rubble after the implosion of the remaining buildings that were not demolished by excavators. My photo reference was daytime, a grey and rainy day. I chose to make this painting melancholic and low key so I chose to set the mood at twilight for that effect.

The Pacific Pallisades Hotel “The Pacific Pallisades Hotel”

45x28 ins. Oil on wood.

This building was a high-rise hotel that stood near Stanley Park, in Vancouver's West End and was demolished by implosion. Once again the original photo reference was dull and unremarkable beyond its foreground movement. I enhanced the movement by adding colour to the smoke and included cranes in the mid-ground for context to the theme of the show and as a Vancouver motif another variable sky, this time dull and heavy clouding out the North Shore mountains.

The Shangri-la Hotel “The Shangri-la Hotel”

46x35 ins. Oil on wood.

The Shangri-la Hotel sits along Georgia Street a main connecting thoroughfare between Vancouver's West End and the Downtown. Again from my own B&W photograph I decided to play up the abstract qualities of the reflection in the windows of a bank tower.

Mountain View “Mountain View”

28x48 ins. Oil on wood.

The title of this piece, Mountain View, is an irony because the view of the local mountains from this point is now dominated by the condominium towers and the former Olympic Village which was converted and re-sold as new housing.

Vacant Lot “Vacant Lot ”

26x41ins oil on wood

City Space “City Space”

28x37ins oil on wood


My art is generally based in narrative realism and as such my intention is communicate social themes as clear and concise statements with use of the aesethic qualities of traditional painting techniques.
I formulate my ideas with sketches and photo reference. I like to use photography of unremarkable scenes especially if technical errors abound; the exposure is poor, the focus is blurry, the subject appears banal and the expressions and gestures are unflattering. This kind of imagery give me inspiration to re-interpret the reference in order to create the visual drama that underlies the subject.

Pink “Pink”

24x30ins. Oil on canvas.

This painting is essentially a back yard landscape. In this painting an aerial viewpoint captures the drama of a seemingly innocuous garden scene. In reality the rhododendrons are white; the name of the cat is Pink.

Zoo Bird “Zoo Bird”

24x30ins. Oil on canvas.

This a bald eagle in an aviary at the Toronto Zoo. The B&w photo I took some 20 years earlier than the painting I created. The photo was poorly exposed and very much' washed out' which allowed me to play around composition and give that magnificent bird a very definite caged in feeling.

The Big Bank “The Big Bank”

28x18ins. Oil on canvas.

This painting was inspired by a series B&W photographs I took in 1983 of the TD Centre in Toronto. Not only is it an illustration of the office towers reflected back in the windows, it is also, by the juxtaposition of the small foreground figures to the big bank, an observation on the power relationship between a corporate institute and those it serves. I have interpreted this seemingly banal everyday moment to suggest a complicit relationship, an unquestioned accord that underpins society not unlike the time when temples and cathedrals were the most influential and dominant features of our cities.

The New Liberty “The New Liberty”

17x12ins. Oil on canvas.

This painting is my response to the 9/11 disaster. It juxtaposes the athletic figure of a nude woman in a defiant gesture standing on the American flag (where in fact The Statue of Liberty stands) against the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center. Here my commentary reflects on the Patriot Act, which was an abandonment of the American constitution in the face of those terrorist attacks, and the collective jingoistic paranoia toward the Islamic immigrant population leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

The East End Jewish Smithy “The East End Jewish Smithy”

25x38ins. Pastel.

This is a painting of my father and two of his brothers working at the family forge in the heart of the Jewish diaspora near Brick Lane, Spitlefields, East London in the late 1930,s. The painting was commissioned by my elder cousin and serves as a family heirloom to be passed on.

Race “Race”

25x38ins. Pastel

Before I emigrated to Canada in 1982 I very much enjoyed English thoroughbred racing and would attend a track at least once a week. Amoung the photographs I had collected was a B&W of 3 of the most famous English jockeys of the 1960,s & 70's: Lester Piggot, Joe Mercer and Geoff Lewis.
Looking at this photograph some 30 years later I was struck by its potential. I decided to eliminate all of the background and set up a contrast of organic and graphic qualities. I felt this juxtaposition demonstrated the dynamism of thoroughbred racing.
To acheive this effect I chose a figurative foreground composition in startling intermediate primaries harmonized upon a graphic background of primary, secondary and tertiary colours.

Fratelli Bakery “Fratelli Bakery”

13x20ins. Pastel.

A commission illustration for an authentic Italian bakery on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver celebrating 25 years serving the community.

Storm Warning “Storm Warning”

10x59ins. Oil on canvas.

When I moved from Toronto to Vancouver in 2000 I decided to drive as it was good opportunity to see some of Canada's vast geography. This painting is of the prairies, a flat land of wheat fields stretching across three provinces. I composed the painting from many of my photos and some sketches I made of that journey, to reflect a typical rural image. The stubble fields, freight train, grain elevators, flat landscape and straight roads. My emphasis is on the sky and the fast changing weather. There is feeling of apprehension for the viewer, in the role of car driver, as a distant storm approaches.

Vancouver Sunset #1 “Vancouver Sunset #1”

16x20ins. Oil on canvas.

The sky in Vancouver is forever changing and from my west balcony I have an almost panoramic view downtown. Here my painting is set at sunset, a moment of only a few minutes before the clouds change and deeper colours take over the sky.

Vancouver Sunset #2 “Vancouver Sunset #2”

16x11ins. Oil on canvas.

The sky in Vancouver is forever changing and from my west balcony I have an almost panoramic view downtown. This painting depicts the same sky as in Vancouver Sunset #1 but about 8 or 9 later. The sky has moved from active and dramatic to subdued and serene.

Horse & Groom “Horse & Groom”

20x15ins. Pastel.

This painting came about from B&W photographs I made in 1986. I was struck by the melancholy and consolation of the subject and thought it would make a good composition for a painting. I enhanced the lighting and landscape to support this melancholy and chose soft pastel as a sympathetic medium.

The Home Turn “The Home Turn”

24x36ins. Pastel.

This painting won the 1st place award in the Surrey Arts Council Art competition.

jazz Moods “jazz Moods”

38x25ins. Pastel.

This painting explores the human figure as it relates spiritually to unfamiliar and discordant environments. The piece depicts the struggle and enduring pursuit of an artist’s creativity in an environment of turmoil, destruction and alienation.


I have a keen interest in painting the portrait. I find that the the aesthetics of the human head have fascinating shapes and volumes that when successfully interpreted reveal the person within. I strive for a poetic realism that is inherent in the aesthetic philosophy of truth and beauty.

Stuart “Stuart”

18x14ins. Oil on canvas.

Sara “Sara”

16x14ins. Oil on canvas.

Flo “Flo”

18x16ns. Oil on canvas.

Rob “Rob”

22x22ins. Oil on canvas.

Self Portrait “Self Portrait”

20x16ins. Oil on canvas.

Franco's, War “Franco's, War”

14x18ins. Oil on canvas

The first portrait of my friend Franco from a B&W photograph I took while visiting his studio. Franco is a highly creative individual and he has a fascination with the heroics of WW2 and populates his studio with model soldiers, tanks and militaria. I have chosen to incorporate this theme into the portrait and from the background of the sky the parachutists are invading the real studio space of the portrait..

Franco's Dream “Franco's Dream”

14x11ins. Oil on canvas.

This is the second portrait of my friend Franco from a B&W photograph I took while visiting his studio. Franco is a highly creative individual who likes to smoke cannabis. In this painting I have used the motive of a background audience awaiting the performance of his next abstract creation.

Vicky “Vicky”

18x16ins. Pastel.

Self Portrait “Self Portrait”

17x13ins. Conte.

Self Portrait “Self Portrait”

17x13ins. Pencil.

Val & Bo “Val & Bo”

11x14ins. Pencil.

Antonio “Antonio”

25x19ins. Pastel.

Figure Work

Throughout my practice I have found that often a sketch can be more rewarding for both the artist and the viewer. This is because it has an economy of strokes and retains a spontaneity that allows for more space in interpretation. It’s my challenge to get this feeling into a fully realized composition while still maintaining an aesthetic appeal. For this reason painting the figure from life is both the most challenging and satisfying endeavor for me.

Life Model “Life Model”

20x16ins. Oil Pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

20x16ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

20x16ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

16x20ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

20x16ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

8x11ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

8x11ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

8x11ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

8x11ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

11x8ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

8x11ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

14x11ins. Oil pastel.

Life Model “Life Model”

18x14ins. Oil on canvas.

Life Model “Life Model”

18x14ins. Oil on canvas.

Life Model “Life Model”

20x18ins. Oil on canvas.

Life Model “Life Model”

17x14ins. Conte.

Life Model “Life Model”

17x13ins. Pencil.