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.
Pretty basic stuff here, but never the less a nice journey playing with light and color. This is a piece that looks good from afar or up close. Thought I might get cutesy with the title but then that would take away from the intent…sweet and simple. Someday maybe this will be “Knieling’s Blueboy”, a classic from the reknown artist from Kansas. ;-)
11x14in. mixed media, cut-outs.
I have mentioned before that I have been going thru my old college day’s stuff, well this is one that I cleaned up. This was a drawing class at Ottawa taught by Pal Wright with models. I was hooked at the time on using a Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph No.00 Yellow head(one could tell a true user of these fine costly instruments, they had a black spot on their lips from sucking the ink at the tips to get them flowing again). It amazes me when I look at these drawings at the details I captured…gosh my eyes were sooooo much better then. The deal in class was we did a type of couture drawings, we were able to pick up and look, place and continue. Later in my 3rd floor penthouse/dorm studio (nicely lit desk in a shared room) I would embellish with color and cut out sections and place on fine colored papers. Needless to say imagination made them quite interesting, especially since we couldn’t fit a Chevy or Sonic sign in our classroom. Being fair though, it was my 3rd drawing class and one does get bored…and boredom in my case normally lead to creativity. Actually the most unusual thing about this drawing…the model was nude…I must have been thinking about car hops and lunch ;-)
18×28 in. mixed media on canvas. Naming works is an art in it’s self, or at least it seems. Some artists I talk to spend very little time on naming a piece and just want to get it over with. Why? We spend so much time making something that is linked in some fashion and form to our name, why not give it it’s due. For myself once a piece is finished i want to spend time with it and enjoy it’s presence…it is during this time thoughts of what to call it drift around my head. I write them out on my work pad,or a scrape piece of paper while I am wandering the bins at Lowes, sometimes one begets another and several names later I wonder how I got to this title…but once I place the label to the piece, rarely does it change, it fits like a favorite pair of jeans…just right. When you get down to it a title can help the artist give the viewer some insight into their vision and from that point look at it maybe in a different way…trying to understand… what in the heck was going thru the artist’s head…lol;-)
PS…This piece was about my factory experience and done with the style/commerical art I was into at the time. Believe it or not all of that equipment, I operated at some point in time while working there (Right Donnie?). The title nails it for me.
9×12 in. mixed media. Drawing class could become quite boring despite Tigers, nude models, expensive silk hangings, and good 1970’s rock n’ roll…Professor Pal Wright tried to make it interesting tho. But once when I started cutting out my drawings and placing colorful backgrounds to them or mixing different papers into the piece, drawing class became exciting again. This piece had quite a bit of graphite on it, just no lines since they were cut out. Soaked the cut yellow piece of thick paper in I believe acrylic or polyurethane, then quickly started positioning it on the slick bright red stock, not easy since the yellow paper was one piece and with all of the cut outs hard to position…note winkles I couldn’t get out. Once dry I had at the surface with a graphite stick then started playing with it using an eraser. Note the long hair, it was the 70’s man, mine was almost as long…for a little bit, but thats another story. By the way no live animals were used, just big honking silk sheets with beautiful prints. :-) Hope you don’t mind the reflective photo, I love the way it works on the piece. Later in life i would work with Professor Frank Lemp and I am sure he would have had a thing or two to say about my textures in this piece.