Things are getting exciting around here, I am having an artist reception at our local gallery here in Cookeville. (Art a’ la Carte ) Not sure the town is excited, but we are around the house, have to get some good finger food and few last-minute details ready for Friday evening. The art looks good hanging all together, like a gathering of … well you get the idea. Hopefully I won’t talk people’s’ ears off too much.
As for my latest piece to post, it a continuation of Lines Too Storm. Layers and layers of weather coming in, each different in color and shape. Had several more overhead lines in this originally but it just didn’t look right, so I had to cover and redo most of the middle…but that isn’t why the darker colors are there. They were always part of the original concept/idea i had for this piece. I have several more ideas along these lines,no pun intended, I will keep you posted as they come to life.
Speaking of storms, the weather is supposed to be a better than fair chance of rain…which will keep people away no doubt…maybe i will catch a break. At any rate the show will stay up until early December, so that will make up for the bad weather. Nice to talk to people about your art but more important/meaningful to get people to view what you have done.
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.
6 Mixed media pieces on heavy stock colour paper coated with polyurethane.
Haven’t got any big pieces in process currently, so I thought it might be nice to review a series that was inspired by the fall, leaves and water. The part I am most proud of was staying within the original idea yet having different looks. Schooled and practiced painters may find this second nature, for myself it was a challenge. The first in this series is the one on the top right, and the last was a bit of a cop-out by just going black and white. I have displayed them as a unit/series once and it felt good. Each has a story as to why it is different from the last, maybe at a one man show I might get an opportunity to bore someone… ;-) As a normal course of artistic creativity I tend to jump around a lot, which keeps me from being bored and juices flowing, but at some point I want to explore where some pieces might lead me. We may never create the next world’s masterpiece but if we don’t stretch with the creative spark we achieve, how will we know what is possible? Curious how others feel about this, feel free.
Gee, I posted just the work with no words and nobody called me out for it…or maybe that was a hint…lol
This was a different approach than others i have done as i started out with white on white/gesso, playing with the thick media and shaping it. Once dried the fun began again adding color here and there as the piece spoke to me…then the finial layers and massive amounts of rubbing, sanding, carving and then coloring and a finial rub…then I played with my trusty white uni-ball SIGNO…a couple of last minute color additions and clear coated for the shine. A not so instant-gram piece…title says it all, only wish i could have gotten his or her face better
Well the Cookeville Comic Arts Festival at the Putnam Library had a pretty good turn out, especially for the first year. There was I believe 8 artist in attendance showing their talents in the fine art of comic illustration. Could have been more but a nice start to something I hope the library promotes again next year. Although I was manning my son’s table , he was too busy overseeing all the events, comic illustration is and always has been at my core…i really admire the works that were presented at this event…KUDOS Matt !
Ever wonder where those torn fishing nets end up, or what’s snagging them? In my dreams this is at least one answer… was thinking about another octopi piece and well, this happened, but i am sure there would be some lurking around…perfect place…and i am sure that a ship wreck is right behind this outcrop. Good story?…the thing about a ocean type setting is at least true…using the produce netting made the rest easy once they were installed. ..going to live with this for awhile and if it doesn’t feel totally finished…then i suspect i might see a octopi sneaking into the piece…
Technically this is a very complex effort…besides too many layers too remember ( about 1/2″ thick in places) I used red and black netting and tissue paper over much of the piece, and in some areas, the netting, is so far down you have to look hard to see it…didn’t want to darken the caves as i am sure they would be…the surface is really nice and coral in feel, i believe…might be more of scene/seascape than an abstract, but that wasn’t the initial goal. If i do come back and add sea-life there will be more than one octopi.
Doing abstracts can surprise you from time to time, especially when there isn’t any definitive idea about the subject matter. This is just such a piece for me. Once I added the browns to the work i couldn’t help but see island type scenes in my head…as most of you that read anything from me know…i like to spend time with a finished piece and figure out its title… in this case i had several going on in my head well before i finished…not sure i liked the fact it influenced some of my artistic choices before i finished…but hey sometimes it is good to go with what you feel strongly about…and see where it takes you.
If I had a shrink I would imagine he might suggest a vacation to some Caribbean island…actually that isn’t a bad idea !!!
Typically when i am being creative 2 to 3 pieces come to completion before my eyes, in a week. Sizes will vary from 9×12 up to 16×20 normally, I dream big but large never seems to work out as well for me…but I sure can hang quite a selection in limited space. For those that might have been following my blog recently you are aware that I am not feeling as productive (just two very nice pieces in the past 6 weeks…i know I shouldn’t complain.) . Well the slow period isn’t going to get any better…mother nature has decided to help me take my mind off of it. I work in a nice basement that I have slowly reclaimed over the years from leaking…i wish i had the same type of basement as I did in Kansas…poured vs. these @#%* cinder blocks. At any rate 6 inches of rain with in a short period of time has me mopping, putting up fans, and figuring what to try next…I will say in the past this same event would have a nice half-inch of ground water through-out my fine gray painted slab…this time i have about 4 areas that allowed just enough to soak my limited floor coverings (old rugs) … I found working off a bare slab very uncreative for myself, besides when i need a break putting is better on a rug vs. the slick too fast slab…long story short it will take me a few weeks to do whatever to make my art cave dry and moldy free…and that leads to my title of this piece. So stay tuned while I work up a sweat for a while fixing my studio, the brite side might be renewed creative energy…plus a few aches and pains. LATER
ps…this is a photo from a visit to the Nelson Art Gallery, was to be a piece at a later date…hmmmm
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
People that know me may not realize I was born in St. Paul Minnesota, land of more lakes than you can count…or the land of sky blue waters…wait that is the Hamm’s famous saying for their beer. This might explain why I drift back to these type of scenes when doing my bubble trees. At least that is what my shrink might say, after digging into my colorful mind….that is if I had a shrink. Haven’t gotten to that point yet, and I know this why? Because my work hasn’t gone Dali or Gogh yet, well maybe skirting it a little occasionally. At any rate this piece is the largest bubble tree i have done to date, other than taking longer than normal, process was the same…I did add some non-organic structures to this piece tho. All my others in this series were free of this and rock pads just seemed right.
Oh, a little factoid when using cold pressed board…if you use anything very chemical based or solvents, gesso it first…otherwise paper might/will de-laminate…hot press has been fine so far with my mediums…this was the first time I had used cold press…LIFE IS ABOUT LEARNING
I was driving through a nice afternoon rain shower and noticed how the sky was starting to open up. The sight real caught me as magical, rain was still coming down hard and yet grey grey everywhere except in this small portion of sky. When I see opportunities to observe what nature provides/skies I am usually driving so the overhead lines seem to always seek part of the stage. Darn things seem to always ruin the view…. however this time the contrast between thick and thin lines made the scene complete in my mind’s eye. As is my style the surface has quite a bit of texture, especially since the blues seemed too strong until I covered the whole piece with white tissue paper…got my colors right and got a lot of texture to boot. Not sure I am out of my slow period yet, but this is a nice start.
I got to wondering about my enjoyment doing octopi and ocean floor scenes. I remembered reading all of the Ocean books in my H.S. library (Shawnee Heights, Tecumseh, Kansas) had this wild notion to join up with Jacques Cousteau my hero, the crazy part about it… I was afraid of water or at least water that I couldn’t see the bottom of. Then I started liking architecture, especially Frank Lloyd Wright , even though i had a fear of heights over 20 or 30 feet. Despite my fear architecture won out. I figured I could stay with cool looking western one story high ranch style houses with that low lean look…oh and only be 10 to 15 feet high…lol. At any rate after 2 years and an associate degree in architecture, I knew it wasn’t for me…so off to be an art teacher, something that I always loved, seemed to be good at, and had only a couple of fears… furnaces (ceramics, casting metal and glass blowing) and speaking in front of people ! Surely college could cure those issues…right, right?
This piece above was something I kept on my bulletin board during my years at Ottawa University, Kansas… adding things every so often to its landscape. The title? well remember the Alka-Seltzer commercials, the bathysphere started out as a tablet fizzing and bubbling. Octopi? If you look hard enough you will find at least one octopi and several squid…this was something that I could often look at during long study hours and feel a sense of ease…took me to a place I thought at one time was my future dream…notice how far you can see in my ocean…pure fantasy
Oh by the way, manufacturing cured my fears of speaking in front of people and using and being around furnaces…but even with a degree in ART I never quite got to being a professional teacher of art…a small regret, but I like what I see in the mirror…so it is all good.
I remember an assignment in college when we were asked to use bottled ink and whatever size pen point and or brush we wanted. It was to be a subject on a vast piece of paper, but the subject was to come across as small in relationship to its surroundings. I did at least three of these of which this is all I have left, back then I most likely give them away to friends or girls i was trying to impress. Any rate this piece was about 36 x 48 inches on fine illustration paper, not sure were our teacher got the paper…Lynn Havel was his name, a great teacher at BU-CO JU-CO, Eldorado Kansas…back to the assignment I had a small black shadow of a stork flying with no details, couldn’t go outside of the class to work on the piece nor bring in other outside resources (like Audubon..lol) Lucky for me I was a bird watcher for 3 years when I lived in Massachusetts. Came out pretty good I think, got a little lazy on the wings after a while tho…it amazes me how the colors after all these years are still the same, well maybe the paper is a little yellow. Proves the point about using quality materials, this piece is 42 years old.
I like showing stuff like this because people think if you do abstract work you mustn’t be able to do more realistic things…I do abstracts because that is what excites me, …now.
Doing ocean floor themed pieces with my Octopi pal is fun…and this one is no exception. The focus on most of these pieces is the coral and then the octopi…and as is with all of these so far an old wrecked ship lurking in the background…used to think I was going over the top with my color on the octopi, until i watched a PBS special…if anything I am understating the shocking bright neon colors these animals can produce.
Nothing deep to doing these, just pure enjoyment in the process and time spent.
Punch out from a board game, new color pencils, markers and the need to use my acrylics…and this is what you get. The background colors were done with the colored pencils and the outlines were the markers, after that I went to town with the acrylics. At first it was just various shades of bright yellow and then the idea formed about sunflowers…after all Kansas and sunflowers go hand in hand, right? Then if you care about the flowers one must put them in a vase, but not any vase …a red vase, must stay classical, right? The greens and browns should be self explanatory. Had to work on the border some, as plain didn’t look right at all. Quite a bit of raised textured, course the reflections show that.
Without the title not many would guess my intent, but I would hope they would at least enjoy the view.
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.
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.
15×20 in. mixed media on illustration board. LONGER EXPOSURE AND DIFFERENT LIGHTING, BETTER PHOTO,TRY CLOSE-UP NOW. When I published this newer photo it deleted everyones likes and comments that were on at the time, SORRY,my bad...
Found some long forgotten hot pressed illustration board and it is wonderful to work with using my medias. After playing with a few colors I set out to make use of the play piece, hate to waste anything…must be GREEN as possible. For days I kept at clouds, sky, and farm land before it came to focus in my mind. Rectangles! The patchwork land from above is rectangles, the sky is one big rectangle on the canvas…why not make the clouds out of many rectangles…and who wouldn’t want to fly in a rectangular shaped balloon. Everything seemed to fit and I got a little inventive making the balloons from triangles so to play with colors. I must admit it took me hours to settle on the balloon colors, and only when I used white for the middle 3 did it come together for me. From a distance the clouds seem very cloudly shaped, but as in most of my works you need to get up close and personal to see what is happening. I am pretty pleased with it…EXCEPT…Part of my vision was to use netting below the balloon with another shape for the gondola…MIGHT STILL HAPPEN or MAYBE DO ANOTHER PAINTING WITH THAT IDEA…I guess I need to live with this piece for awhile and see what speaks to me.
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.
20×20 in. mixed media.
Lately I have been going thru some of my unfinished and forgotten projects from many a year ago. So for your viewing pleasure a piece that has taking me 40 years to complete. This piece was one started in college and was going to be a colorful sunset type thing, or maybe bright trees. At any rate I started seeing this endless range of clouds and vast depth in a strange landscape and kind of went with that. Seems so clear now not sure why I couldn’t have seen that back then. As for the title, being a Kansas boy I thought about a saying that is old hat…”We aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto!” I believe the picture speaks to that fairly well, don’t you?
9×12 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