Wildfires Stop 4 No Man…or Woman

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12x16in. mixed media on canvas.

Been awhile since i have posted on my blog, but I am back again! Getting ready for a show at Art a’ la carte November 22nd. Calling the show “Celebrations Twenty-two”, based on 3 facts:

  • 1. it is on my anniversary (thank you Jane )
  • 2. it is the  date of the opening reception/meet the artist
  • 3. and my featured work (Chaos in the Bay) will be in the “Kansas City Voice,” an annual art publication on …page 22 coming out in November.

Hope to see a few people there that have followed my blog.

As for this latest work I fell back on my forest fire series. Using a new canvas  type for me, comes in pads “ALLWAYS” by Crescendo. Took my inks well with very little bleed and had a nice texture to the surface, just enough tooth to work nicely with pencils. Once I put my finishes on it looked like vinyl, which is way different than what I expected. Will do a few using this to explore the possibilities with my styles. I do wonder if some of you have used this type of canvas before and your thoughts.

Not much to say about the work itself…at least to me it seems very obvious. Fire sweeping thru a forest area, with some man-made features and the sun peaking and playing off of the event/smoke and haze.

Had to tinker

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Remember me? Sometimes I will view a piece, like it, but there is just something not quite the way i would like…if after a few days i feel the same, then i have a choice to make.

1) do whatever I think it needs more or less of

2)decide to do another with the changes i think will make it better

3)do nothing for another week or two and see how i feel then.

I chose number 1 and made some changes…why you might ask…the upper half felt too real, and real wasn’t my goal. The textures were too much alike in the green areas . Too much white outlines in the lower branches…and finally the moon needed something more. They were some more minor changes, as to be expected when you go back and get real close to your work.

I loved the first piece, but now I love this one more, been framed and hanging in my house and looks wonderful. I do work in a basement and if my mad experiments don’t work, they never leave those confines…well rarely ;-)

Earth, Wind and Fire…on Moonrise

Earth, Wind, and Fire...

9×12 in. mixed media on watercolor paper.

I have never seen one in person and don’t real know if i care too, but from pictures I have seen forest fires create eerie landscapes to be sure. This was a piece inspired by my sister, who is part of the army of people working for the government that fight these bad boys. I can only imagine the fury and destruction they cause…but in a sense it is also about rebirth and transformation, things that forest areas have been doing for thousands of years…and will continue to do long after we are gone. She is starting to gather a small collection of these, I believe she has three now, from a series of three!!! My favorite one was HAUNTING AFTERMATH.

Ya Know Why Squirrels Lose Acorns

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9×11 mixed media on watercolor paper.
Discovered some watercolor paper I had purchased from a Ben Franklin store in Topeka, most likely early 80’s…figured that based on the price of $2.65 for a pad of 20 sheets of 9×12. 80lb. stock. It is holding up to my techniques pretty well, normally I would prefer a heavier weight. Matters not as it works and having it in my hands I am making art…not sure if the dry streak is totally over, but it is a start…by the way I did do a 8th finger piece, I will save it for a later post.
Why do squirrels lose acorns? I think they are having so much fun gathering them, finding cool hiding places, teasing dogs, chasing other squirrels that once they go to sleep and wake up the next day its like “Groundhog Day”, …but with no recall of yesterday! I guess that’s just a nicer way of saying scientifically they have no memory of their stash, thus they gather hundreds…in hopes of finding dozens.

North Fork 10 A.B.

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12×20 in. mixed media. With the increase of wildfires we are lucky that Mother Nature still has the ability to come back after these events. To come thru these same areas several years later is to but marvel at Mother Nature’s skills to heal and regrow. Even with this amazing transformation closer examination shows the scars still left, showing to all what happened here. This piece kind of feels like a forest area attempting to heal itself yet still dealing with the past events. The colors show hope for a bright future yet some colors also show the deadly past this forest area has dealt with. Kind of like some of humanities history any place in the world…sad yet hopeful for a better future. As for a clue to the title try 1988 Yellowstone area.

Mother Nature’s TLC

 

mothernaturestlcW9×12 in. mixed media. Given that today’s date is 12/12/12 I had to post…I reached back to some unpublished work. This was done on my trusty 512 Macintosh and then embellished. I did several of these playing with trees having hands and feet to conduct their daily tasks…been thinking about going back and playing with this concept using some of my current styles …time will tell

Sunset On Twin Peaks

9×12 in. mixed media.  Sometimes I try to keep it simple, especially when I am recharging the creative juices.  Tape, brush, markers, and white pen an exercise in using the tools at hand without getting too involved. A nice piece that will show well when matted and framed very simple…not sure it will match much, but it will be hard not to notice.

Nude Bathing By Moonlight

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9×12 in. mixed media. If it’s too cold to skinney dip, then one can only bask in the warm rays of the mountain highlands by the lake during a full moon. Most likely this would just be slightly better than skinney dipping, goosebumps would be maxed out either way. Title obviously came to me as a continuation to my last BUBBLE TREE piece. Didn’t use as much tissue paper in this and I pulled out a trick I learned many years ago to get the right shading…shoe polish! Prior to that the shading wasn’t right for the feel I wanted…want to say the first time I saw this used was by a fellow student at Ottawa University. Never used it too much, kinda messy and gets on everything…the liquid polish doesn’t work as well as the paste type…rub and remove till you like it, then acrylic sealer. Funny how old studio tricks come back to ya… with this piece I believe I have enough to start a new catagory…Bubble Trees

Haunting Aftermath

9×12 in. mixed media. From time to time I try to capture the aftermath or the beginning of a forest fire. I think it is because my sister works for the forest service in the western United States. Her dept. works on supplying the monies and resources so these brave people can work on prevention and fighting the fires when needed. Dauntless task, especially after the fire season we are having this year. My artistic visions fall more into the areas after the fires, and I try to create a feel of what was. In this piece the sun is shining brightly through a forest that is just a memory, reflecting off of ghostly trees rooted in bare exposed soil. I know nature has a way to start anew what these fires destroy, however in our lifetime these forest will never grow to be as majestic as they once were.  Other mediums might lend themselves to creating this piece better, but I was trying to use the ones I know best…pen, marker, tissue paper, pencil, and acrylic.

It Is Too Cold To Skinney Dip

11×14 in mixed media. The 3rd and final wave is up and running at the Putnam County Library and this is one of the pieces. Not  sure how normal shows go but I was able to provide the public with 27 hand picked works over a 2 month period, 9 at a time. Feedback continues to be very favorable from visitors, which is greatly appreciated.  Thanks again to Stacie Johnson.

On to this current piece…nature and the elements, kind of played with a reflective type theme…water, deep and shallow and moonlight…are those snowflakes?…maybe…is that mountains?…possible .  The colors and texture have a brisk cool feel to them, and I really enjoyed changing the shades and hues as the trees came thru the piece. I might over-play the white outlining, but at this point I can’t see the work without it. I have used this style and technique on several pieces now, each one creates a different but pleasant mood for me while glazing at them…I hope it catches you in a similar fashion.

Discarded Sunset On Kansas

Mixed media 18×24 in. on canvas. Back in the day part of studying photography was you did your own developing and printing, very challenging and costly till you got what you wanted. In this piece I incorporated some  discarded B&W nature  shots into my painting, along with some discarded fabric from the textile lab. My kids call it the dirty underwear picture, but I never was that cutting edge back then.  A closer look and we  can see a typical Kansas Winter setting near some fence rows.  I also used a brite red cinnamon wrapper to add texture and color. This is a piece that has had no issue (my wife likes it)  finding a home in a main traffic area in my house over the years. Talk about slow, I started this in 1974 and completed it in 1988…a story for another time.

The Other Side

Mixed media 10×14 in. Variation of several ( Between, How Many Trees Make A Forest, The Stage Is Set.) of my other bubbleheaded tree works.  At some point I may revisit these and either on a much smaller or much larger scale try to expand upon this. I don’t believe those are the great pyramids so I have added mountains to the mix. :-)

Springtime In Nemeha County

Mixed media 24×30 in. canvas. I get asked from time to time what was some of your older works like…here for your viewing pleasure is an example of circa 1988. This was done to help complete my BA degree from Ottawa University (no not Canada , sorry). Being a Kansas boy you see these signs in the fields along side of the road everywhere. DeKalb seed has a large presence in Nemaha Co. The sign was done on foam board with colored pencil then fragmented to my liking, against  exposed cardboard (love the ribs and texture).  The painting on canvas was  my acrylic attempt at Kansas landscape. You might notice that it has no signature, well I never quite liked my  signature enough in those days, figured I would come up with a cooler looking one later (I do like the piece tho)…24+yrs later I have never signed it…maybe this year?

How Many Trees Make A Forest

Mixed media 9×12 in. This is a piece that I came back to many times before I felt it was finished. I liked the division of the work and the way the squares formed up, but I kept struggling with the ovals … until I started shading the lighter one. That was when it started to fall into place for me. As to the title…it seemed very obvious to me once I stared at it for 10 days or better.

The Stage Is Set

Mixed media 9×12 in.  Something is ready to happen, but what? Where is this place or where in time is it? This is nature in a pure untainted state ready for the next step/phase/act/scene…but what? Almost a Seuss feel to it without a hint of …whatever is next !!!

Sunset Thru The Woods

Mixed media 12×18 in. I wanted to show the trees and how light seems to go thru or around them at sunset. This is based on what I see out my back door and in the fall it is so intense it is hard to see anything in that direction. I maintained my triangles concept thru out the piece…can’t begin to remember how many times I applied color and acrylics to this…I like the top to bottom effect of light and dark colors. Yes this is part of the Fall series, for what it’s worth there was 20 pieces in that series…not sure I will be showing all of them.

Foldable Art: country side

Mixed media 6×7 ft. Who says you have to hang art on the wall… We had this around for longer than I care to remember, waiting for color.  Used spray paint, charcoal, pastel sticks, paint sticks, markers, and latex paint.  In my mind I started with woods and a lake then a waterfall, kind of has a oriental feel to it. Then  I used countryside to connect the two halves. … there is two sides to this divider I’ll share the other side at another time.

How Did We Get Here

Mixed media 12×18 in. The title say a lot about this piece. I started in a way different place than where I ended…but I am very happy to be there. Was going for fire/fall color thing, original triangles were larger and I didn’t have blue on the menu. Might be hard to see in this photo but piece has about 3-4 layers on top of each other to get to this point. I love how the whites get muted near the top and the change-up of curved lines near the bottom. The paper I used on this is a real brite marigold and about 100 lb. weight, which takes the acrylic well.

Lunar Shallows

Mixed media 12×18. I have done 6 of these trees/water/leaves/reflection type pieces and still find things to do with them. I wanted a lot more of the reflective look on this one thus the moon and the squiggly lines. It made the waves/water more pronounced, I also used more green and brown shades. I have been toying with having some sort of abstract aquatic life near the surface…I promise it won’t be Nessie, but that would be a thought….

Autumn Shallows

Mixed media 12×18. The first time I did one of these reflective-fall-water-leave pieces I couldn’t get a photo without a great deal of glare on them. So I figured I would do the next piece similar but with the glare/white added as part of it.  I like the effect and the blues and leaves are more distinct vs. the first piece (What Waterbugs)…I still need to learn to take better photos of my work.  I had someone tell me they thought the white was abstract geese going south for the winter…verrryyy interrrestinnnggg!  (think laugh-in, the TV show)