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
9×12 in. mixed media. Let me start by saying thank you to everyone, I have hit a milestone I never imagined I would get to…1000 followers!!!!!! … I reached that early today, it is very humbling and at the same time extremely uplifting . THANK YOU ALL
The long winded titled piece was done like some of my bubble tree series, without the trees. I had a preconceived idea about goosebumps…thus the title. It has a different feel than the others like it…but I can sense being in the water for sure. Not many have seen this piece so I will let you guys and gals tell me what you think.
9×12 in mixed media. As simple as this piece seems to be, it was fairly complex in execution. Lost track of the layers but beneath each square of color I started out very vivid and bright. I really love how the textures allowed some of the full richness of the under lying colors to show. I did have to knock down some of the peaks though to get a more uniformed look. The full body white lines in some areas show well too. Unfortunately this piece can only get full appreciation in person, as the photo can’t capture the subtle tones. This was a follow-up to “Neutrons and Fertilizer,” only taking the tones the opposite direction in values.It kind of gives a wintery feel, although I have seen colors this muted from above when you get a lot of sun reflection in spring time. You have to work at seeing the signature as I didn’t want to disrupt the feel of the piece, lower right hand corner.
9×12 in. mixed media. Title speaks for the work, right? Layered process like my earlier works, 6-8 deep, lots of texture. This is a similar process that was used to make 5 Finger Blues. Title took awhile to hit me, but once I started to think along those lines the name stuck. Inspiration? Ever been up 10,000 ft. while flying over Kansas farm land in late spring? Different crops some fairing better than others…hmmm seems like we have some crop circles.
By the way Cookeville Artprowl 2012 went well…will show a few pictures from it soon.
12×25 in. mixed media. In my younger days I tried my hand at commercial art working for the city of Topeka Parks and Recreation part-time, while working full-time at a Pet Food plant. The assignments were fun and I got a taste of working with a client and what they wanted and what you could deliver at minimum wages. The real nice thing was after doing this for about 2 years I realized if i was doing art like this for 40+ hours a week I would have gotten to a point of losing the zest of creativity. A great job and I met some very interesting people but my dream of being a commercial artist took a big hit plus I was good at making dog food
At any rate this piece was an idea I had for a science fiction book cover long ago and finally did it recently. Markers, colored pencils, graphite lead, and acrylic created the effect…if you see a reflection in the picture I was too lazy to remove the piece from the frame before shooting, what else can I say.
8×11.5 in. ink. My earliest memory of drawing was doing pictures of cats, dogs, horses, planes, etc. on a piece of paper each one about the size of a 50-cent piece. I would then show it to my Mom who would give me praise and encouragement and then say finish filling the page before I give you another piece of paper. Might explain why I hoard drawing pads and books half-finished today, I don’t want to run out or worry about getting more.
So this drawing is one I shared with my Mom while I was in college…she loved it and noted how well I used the paper . Subject matter was whatever came to mind or was in view doing the process…key chains, money, dominoes, ads, magazines, mushy cards for GF’s, old sneakers, etc.
To be sure most artists that do abstract art know how to draw well (ie.. realistic) but we choose to go another direction…cause that is what inspires us. I don’t draw cats and dogs any more but my Mom would still be proud of the of the fact my abstracts use all of the paper…thanks Mom.
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.
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.
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 !!!
A 9×12 mixed media. Really enjoyed doing this piece with the bright colors and the hues. The trees were fun and I love the way the branches and foliage work. The much larger trees without foliage seem to become just color variations and background noise. This was all about nature and the wealth of colors we can see when we take time to look.