And another thing you probably haven't seen

Monday, December 28, 2009

Something you haven't seen yet

Monday, December 21, 2009

This is part of my series of bugs. I actually managed to do quite a few gina bugs. Fun stuff and fascinating creatures ^^ This is the project that told me in no uncertain terms that masa paper does not like my colored inks, but black goes on quite well for some odd reason. Go fig.

Poetic enough for you?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Someone commented once that a lot of my art has a certain poetic quality to it. Usually, I would not be so ready to agree, but in this case even I can see a certain poetry here. This is another example of watered shaping lines. I think it gives an effect like a tree in summer swelling with growth and life, don't you? Perhaps it's unseasonable, but the contrast is maybe enjoyable, too.

Watered Mountain (I'd love your opinion, plz)

Monday, December 7, 2009

This rocky mountain is something I did a few months ago and only just mounted. It shows 'watered shaping lines' and I really love the effect. This rocky peak has such a nice presence. I'm not sure it comes across in the photo. Looking at it like this, it almost seems it wants some calligraphy or maybe foggy clouds added. But then, maybe if I just trim it down like this cropped image (below). Any opinions for me?

helping hands, anyone?

Monday, November 30, 2009

This last week, instead of picking just one thing to work on, I decided to start a series of hand studies. I think they are going pretty well in general. The one in the lower left is from da Vinci. I have always thought he did the most elegant hands ^^ The ones on the right are from my hands (the upper one not as accurate as I wanted) and the upper left one is from van Gogh.

Bad Santa!

Monday, November 23, 2009

So my 'long' project last week was this beastly fellow. I was quite taken with him because of his big black boots. He looks like Santa's evil twin to me. See the original that I was painting from below.

This guy really fought me tooth and nail when I was trying to figure out how big to make him and work out the shape relationships. In the end I had to give in and make him a bit smaller than I had planned.

Then when I was actually painting him I kept trying to rush. It seems I never fully learn the lesson: Form a mental image and take a breath *before* you set brush to paper! I was not able to be as accurate to the original as I wanted, but during the points when I was able to loosen up and paint freely, it felt good and natural. Not a bad tradeoff.

White knuckles time

Monday, November 16, 2009

So here's the latest masterpiece. Kidding ;)
This is actually the first finished human figure I have done in the medium. So I guess it could be one of those famous firsts.
For this piece I worked from a piece done by a Chinese artist in the 40's or 50's. I fear I made things to hard on myself. First, I pulled a bit of a Rodin by removing the backscratcher the girl was originally holding. This created sort of a fill-in-the-blank problem that I don't think I handled as well as I would have liked.
I also made things harder by insisting on leading with dark ink first. Doing the outine (right) was fine, but when it came time to work shading, starting dark was definitely hard.
This is the way masters work. I am not one of those, so I spent the rest of the painting on the verge of losing all control. It was a real white knuckles ride for me right up to the finish and I really thought I might lose it ^^
Nevertheless, I am shamelessly pleased with the end result. I think the water element is particularly strong in this piece, and the sense of reflection through some passages really reminds one of living flesh.

We can't afford to wait for nudes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

OK, so I heard Pres Obama say 'we can't afford to wait' one too many times. But I decided to go ahead a post this pick of what I'm currently working on. This is the pencil study of a painting I'm doing. If the painting comes out half as well as the drawing, I'll be pretty pleased. I'll talk about it some more when I post the finished piece next week. Knock on wood.

Don't read this!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just kidding. I'm just having a whimsical moment. I'm still busy with my figure studies. I'm afraid I accidentally let myself get too interested in the horse. Girls and horse - what can I say?

Next week will feature a naked lady - look forward to it ;)

Has it really been a year?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So it's actually been just over a year since I started studying how to use an Asian brush and ink. Amazing. I feel like I have only just begun, and truthfully, I hear it takes a good ten years or so to become a master.

So what have I learned? I have learned to hold the brush an dmake a line. I can make washes and circles and many different kinds of marks. In short, I have been picking up the basics and find that I still have a long, long ways to go.

Recently, I have begun to have the feeling that what I am really trying to do is learn to dance with the brush. Which gives me a very inexplicable sort of pride. I never learned to dance with my feet, you see, and all girls should learn some for of dancing. Don't you think?

Mothra, my Mothra

Monday, October 26, 2009

For reasons I don't really understand myself,
I really love this piece. The camellia may be partially imaginary,
the moth may be pure fiction,
but it just has something of a presence.
Sometimes art is just that way.

Figure Studies (Cont.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My only question: How do I get blogger to make these pictures bigger?

Plum crazy (yeah, I know, I'm sorry.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Well, you'd think I'd get tired of plum blossomes at some point, but they are rather fun to paint.
I think this one needs some color. But what color? Should I do a wash of something brownish on the trunk or just do a few strokes of color here and there fore accent? Maybe I should go crasy and use little dabs of rainbow colors. Ach, I'l have to think on it. And any advice is welcome, so if you've got an opinion, state it here.
I definitely don't want to detract from the energetice brushstrokes I've already got in place.

The closest I am likely to get to a beach this year:

Monday, October 5, 2009

This is a big panoramic drawing I am working on right now for a lovely lady down in Florida that I met through Etsy. This is the largest architectural drawing I've ever done. It's 29" wide and quite a challenge to fill with a tiny pencil point and no projector. But it's nearly done... and the closest I got to a beach all summer (not strange for this landlocked body.)


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So after slogging my way through all manner of traditional subjects, I have finally made my way back to the human figure. This time with a sumi brush. I feel like I'm back in my first drawing class.

Still, it's not like there's no progress. I include a pic of this baby sketch because it reminds me of that freakish dancing baby vid that started circulating the net in the late 90's. That memory still makes me cringe.

So color *does* make a difference

Monday, September 14, 2009

I wasn't sure how well this would turn out, but I recently added color to this painting which was previously just in shades of grey (right). The addition of color has made a huge difference. I now ready the flowers as white instead of grey, and I think I'd like to frame it and hang this somewhere I can see it daily.

A little abstraction

Monday, September 7, 2009

A little abstraction is a good thing now and then. I'm not a big believer in abstract expressionism, but letting go and freeing the arm to do as it pleases can be very theraputic.
Although I might wish for better ink control, I was actually pretty pleased by the outcome of this piece. It gives form to the energy of the moment, whatever that might mean. In the end, I felt it sort of reminded me of a peacock's tail and a tornado at the same time.
How does it look to you?

Dabbling in Mamals

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I was fairly pleased with how this turned out.
I know it's not entirely anatomically correct,
but as a mental image of a horse,
it's not at all bad, wouldn't you say?

Hail Lotus

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Here's something I have been wanting to post for a while.
Although I have not done much of it yet, I do have some homemade colors that I am starting to learn to use. In this piece (still unfinished for lack of red pigment), I was able to do some nice washes thanks in part to some kind advice from Janine of the Freethinkers Team on Etsy. I used a technique called tarashikomi to make the green in the leaves a bit splotchy.

Compare and Contrast

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Okay, so I haven't done the admitedly ambitious series on Freud that I had planned for the summer, but today I bring you one of the main things I wanted to write about.

As I was reading about Lucian Freud, I came accross his Painter and Model 1987 (upper left). I was stricken by the parallels between the piece and Magritte's Attempting the Impossible, and I can't help but think that it may have been in the back of Freud's mind when he was composing his.

At first glance you can see there are many similarities. Both feature two figures, one male, one female. One painter, one model. But Freud has chosen to reverse roles. In Magritte's the painter himself is shown in his role, but Freud lets the female model stand in for him. Both painters call attention to the lie - but is the lie art or reality? This is never made perfectly clear, but the painter's role as mediator certainly is.

Although Freud is often considered a realist, many pieces like this show how he doesn't fit the realist mold hardly at all. There's certainly a lot more that can be said about the two additionally, but let's not belabor the whole thing and take a moment to enjoy the similarities and differences of the two paintings side by side.

A little birdie

Thursday, August 13, 2009

As you can see, a little stiff, but not too shabby.

And now to get the ball rolling again...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Okay, so the last time I actually posted, I said I was going to do a nice hawk. And here he is as promised.

So I can keep my word after all ^^

I painted this with ink and brush, and it is undoubtedly one of the more complicated subjects I have tackled. I'll post at least one other bird I have done, too. Namely, the first one I attempted in such a detailed style. That will be posted by the end of the week so that I can hopefully get to my Freud posts next week.

Ack - when will I be back with pictures?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am getting so impatient about getting the pc stuff fixed so I can start uploading pix again, but it looks like I have to wait a little longer.

I guess that does mean that when I do my Freud posts, I can do them back to back instead of spacing them out.

For now I am planning the bird paintings I am going to work on when my arm is in working condition. I can still provide images from the net where available, and here is one of the birds I want to do.

I am not going to be at pains to do an exact copy, but I hope I can get the right feeling which is more important.

So far, he is the only bird of prey I am thinking of working on. The rest are all song birds that I know better. We do have some really cool hawks around here but I don't have any pictures of them to work from, and this one works nicely anyway.

Neda, Protest, and Pop Art

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Through all the coverage of the protests taking place in Iran, the impression of power and horror implicit in the clash of the masses versus the elite has had a profound impact on all watchers.

The use of the internet and mobile phones to keep the protests moving had been the bane of Iranian authorities and inspiration for supporters of justice all over the world.

Naturally, my fixation is for the visual, and the imagery coming from these events has been very powerful. There has yet to be a single image that encapsulates the feel of the movement such as the man confronting a tank at Tienamen Square, but the proliferation of imagery, particularly video and web imagery has been impressive.

On of the most prominent sights so far has been footage of a woman called Neda. The world has witnesses her passing, shot through the heart by a carefully-aimed government bullet. For many, it put an individual face on a distant movement for freedom.

Almost as soon as it took place, the internet was reacting. In art terms, one of the cleverest things to come out of it was the custom avatars. This pop art has astounding immediacy which is not only an indictment of Iranian authorities but a call to a wider audience. Including people who had previously been sitting on the sidelines and complete outsiders who now feel they can show their support.

Although I have been impressed with the media coverage, one thing bothers me. Some very graphic images have been aired of these protests and violence in Iran, but images of carnage that might make the U.S. or an ally of the U.S. look bad are chronically censored.

The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict was reported on in pro-Western media with virtually no blood. The Iraqi and Afghanistan wars have also been presented bloodlessly. Such sanitization of war does no service to the U.S. If the citizenry new the real horror of war, they would not let it happen so idly.

[I apologize for the lack of accompanying images. I can't upload any right now, so I'll have to edit this article at a later date.]

Alas, no picture

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This week there shall be no picture :(

There's internet problems and pc issues up the whazoo. I'd like all these things to work reliably, but that probably won't happen for a hundred years. So I guess, I'll enjoy the excuse to slack off writing my blog this week?

I do fear me

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I may have been overly optimistic about hwo often I'll be able to do my Freud posts - my nephews and niece are visiting for the summer (there are some family issues.) Anyway, I'll do what I can. I think once I get them into a routine I can get back to my normal posting next week or the week after.

For the time being, a picture. My giant insect army is slowly growing ^^

Brushing up on Freud

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I've been something of a fan of Lucian Freud for years now. Recently, I've been getting to know him better, and it has inspired me to some some blog posts about him on a monthly or biweekly basis this summer.

But first, I'd like to bring you all up to speed about Freud if you haven't heard of him before.

Freud is the grandson of you-know-who and almost certainly Britain's greatest living painter. I would say there's a good chance he's Europe's greatest, too.

You could say he is a realist, but then again he's not. Fact is, categories don't fit Freud very well, but you could almost say he is a commentator on realism. He doesn't strictly paint from reality, but the way he presents and composes paintings offers us a way to be more aware of reality and the artist's role in shaping it.

In the upcoming season, I'll take you with me as I explore this and other acpects of Freud's work. I hope you enjoy it and learn something new.

Disgusted Fairy

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I was looking through some old drawings and what did I find? This is an expression I fell in love with the moment I saw it. I just can't get over it, and I smile every time I see it. Have you ever seen such a perfect look of disgust? Thank you Soul Eater ^^

Seriously though, I think I'm going to have to get this tattooed on the back of my hand or something, so I'll always have some thing to laugh about ;)

What does this have to do with art?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What do 6 million Jews and one starving dog have in common? Apparently, that's how much it takes to prove that the human race is awful and that we really needed Hitler and evil artists after all.

In 2007 Costa Rican artist Guillermo Vargas tied up a stray dog and left it to starve as what he would like to call either an 'installation' or 'performance' piece of art. Some art critics say that this is just another in a long line of artists using their work to challenge society. Vargas stated that the exhibit and the surrounding controversy highlight people's hypocrisy because no one cares about a dog that starves to death in the street. I have to say, making an image of a starving dog to make a statement about society is completely a different kettle of fish from actually starving one. And it philosophy/logic just don't back it up.
Starving a dog to prove how indifferent society is - that's some rather twisted logic. By the same logic, Vargas could as easily claim that it was a good thing Hitler killed all those Jews because it showed how rotten the world is.

Surely if you have the pre-existing idea that society is rotten, you must have already found lots of anecdotal evidence which you could use, combined with your own two hands and some actual sweat, to make some actual art?

I think the thing that Shock and Awe artists (yeah, I put them together with Bush, and they deserve it) miss is that getting a cheap thrill out of a crowd lasts only a few minutes whereas the best art (Francisco Goya, The Shootings of May 3, 1808 see image) last and continue to have meaning.
Paintings like this were indeed shocking. If we weren't so jaded they still would be. But they still have great power precisely because we are still dealing with similar situations today. You don't have to claim that literal bodies and corpses are art just to get impact, you really can produce art with your own to hands that has impact, too. I don't know why artists today have lost faith in the power of art so they go running to find ways to create sideshows. It's a mystery.
On a side note, the life and death status of the dog used in the exhibit has not been established, but many believe it to have died as a result.

Lotus Flower <3

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I suddenly understand how Art Nouveau took off so strongly in the 19th century. It has to be because of all those sexy, delicious, curvy lines.

I got a great big taste of it doing these lotus flowers. I was frankly surprised how quickly I took to them. I was enjoying them so much, I fear I put probably way too many petals ^^

The question now is..... do I stop where I am or add some watery washes in the background? I had planned to leave the background blank, but I unfortunately went outside the lines a few times and a wackground wash would cover that up completely. Is a puzzlement.

Shading has it's uses

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You may remember this little number from a previous post, tho I seem to have mislaid it.
The last time these mums made an appearance, they were bare bones outlines. Now that I have started working on washes, I decided to give the mums some TLC, and boy, did they respond.
It's still just a stodgy old picture of mums that will never be contemporary, but they're still a lot nicer now ;)

Mounting Difficulties

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'll admit it - I've been totally neglecting mounting my artwork. And for the simple reason that I was intimidated by the idea. What if it wrinkles? What if it tears? (Where am I gonna store it all?!)

Well, I'm over it. With the huge backlog I've accumulated, I couldn't afford to let it just keep piling up, so I took the plunge. And it turned out to be not so scary. Naturally, there is a significant danger of damage, but slow and steady does the trick.

It's actually just a combination of stretching watercolor paper and pasting wall paper in the end (see still moist results above). Silly me. Now if I could just find places for it all... any volunteers?

How to Fail as an Artist, 6

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If you want to get ahead in the art world, you have to know how to play the game. But it helps to know that the fastest way to get ahead in the game is to take the normal rules and turn them upside down.

For example, if you're going to write a paper, you probably know that you'll get a bad grade if you 'Beg the question' instead of really making a proposition.

Completely the opposite for success in the art market. For something like the last 50 years, artists have been making money off the dregs of their genius forebears by begging the question, "what is art?"

It goes a little something like this: The less it looks like art, the more it *is* art. The more people question if what you are doing is art, the better. It's kind of like an extra long, extra expensive episode of punkd.

And the biggest secret to this is that rich people love buying stuff that's inexplicable. That way, they can claim to have this extra-refined sense of artistic taste that you just wouldn't understand. (Remember the emperor's new clothes, anyone?) But of course, they still need their investments to appreciate in value, so it's not quite as easy as all that.

Still, it's good to know that you don't have to deal with actually making art to be an artist. As long as you can beg the question, you can rise right to the top.

Next week, how to make platinum, jewel -encrusted skulls that *don't* look like they're supposed to be on your stick shift.

Watch out for those viri

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My brain is incapacitated this week due to some virus, so I'll have to avoid thinking for this post.

I decided to let you have a look at the frame job I did for this little iris painting. I've gotta say, the frame can really make the painting. It looks 400% better now.

I wouldn't normally think to use a mat with a painting, but the painting is 4x6 and the frame is 5x7. I used silk to spiff it up, and it looks quite classy.

Please join me again next week when my brain should be in working order to do another installment of 'How to Fail...'

By popular demand (sort of)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here's some raw, wrinkly bamboo. I just couldn't resist using some blue. I still have to work out mixing proportions for the ink; I'm using too much binder.

New year's resolution update (again)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I hardly ever try to do the new year's resolution thing, so I give the tradition no credit for me trying to improve my painting situation. But it's still a good excuse if anyone asks.
"Um.... why are you spending so much time splashing paints around?"
"Have to. New Year's Resolution."
I wonder how many things you can apply that to?
"Why are you wearing a green 'fro?"
"New Year's Resolution."
"Well, I guess that's OK, then."
Was that as good for you as it was me? ^^

At any rate. Above is my new table all finished. As mentioned before, it's really a glorified coffee table, but it was still a nice project.
I've never made anything remotely like furniture before, so it was interesting. To the right is a picture of the table from the front while I was staining it.
Hopefully this will not be the end of my efforts to try to spend increasing amounts of time on ink painting because I have a long ways to go.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I really love this tree. It's such a humble thing. After painting it, I feel for the first time that I am getting somewhere with my painting. This tree came from inside me, and that's saying something.

New year's resolution update

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So, have you totally given up on your Resolution yet? I set myself a pretty steep goal (considering I'm a novice and just who isn't busy?) of spending 8 hours a day dedicated to painting.
So far I have increased my average by as much as an hour, and hopefully I will be able to do even more soon. I have just started staining and finishing my work table. It's really just a glorified custom coffee table, but hopefully it will be a big help keeping me comfortable and focused while working.
I am starting to run low on all kinds of paper, but hopefully I'll get in a new supply in April or May.
Then I can start doing more fun stuff like the tipsy tree above.

How to Fail as an Artist, 5

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So how do you start pulling down the big bucks? How do you get everyone's attention? The answer is simple: Bigness.

If you want people to know how big you are, all you need to do is demonstrate for them. It really doesn't matter what you are into as long as you can do it bigger than anyone else. It doesn't even have to be better as long as it is inhumanly large. Even manure can become high art as long as you can make a big enough mountain of it in a really inappropriate place.

Therefore, if you paint, your paintings must all be at least 12 feet tall. This ensures that a rich person or museum has to buy it, for one. Also, exaggeration stimulates the brain. The larger you make something, the more stimulating it will be, and people will be forced to acknowledge your artistic greatness by the more primitive portions or their brains.

This also goes for sculptures without saying, but don't forget to apply it to the more popular forms of sculpture making the rounds: installation art and found object sculpture.

Many artists have already successfully applied the Bigness principle, so you'll have to work hard to catch up.

This is why inappropriateness is so important. Exaggerating size is a great first step, but since it a well-known yet never openly-talked-of secret, you also need to combine it with something inappropriate. That way you can overwhelm peoples senses and sensibilities at the same time.

Personally, I am fostering secret plans to release 30 tons of oranges set with sparklers into them Little Miami river on a highly inappropriate occasion. Wish me luck, but don't spill the beans.

(above photo: Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, Spoonbridge and Cherry, 1985-1988)


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I love twisted, gnarly tree trunks and branches. I'm still a bit messy with them, but that doesn't diminish my enjoyment.

Next week: either an Resolution update or How to Fail post. Whichever comes first.

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