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24 February 2010

Side Project

Here is a watercolor I have been doing for a side project. Don;t get me wrong this isn't the only one, there's more. Nor does it consist of just dogs or animals. My subject matter is really wide open. Since its my own endeavor I like the idea of just doing whatever is topical. A big source of inspiration is the BBC and looking through the worlds news through images. As a visual artist it makes sense to me to. These photographers are heroic especially when they put themselves in a war torn area to capture a great shot, while I sit behind an easel and would prefer to make it up. Its not all just covering the hot spots around the world, they also get to witness some of the most interesting people and places. Two sides to the same coin that fascinate me. This one however is closer to home.

Here is an example where life imitates art or is it the other way around? I did this little study not knowing I was going to soon own a very similarly looking puppy. This is my three and a half month old english bulldog Talulah. Its like raising an alien baby. I'll try not to turn out to be one of these freaky dog owners who talks about them incessantly. However, I will say she has been kicking my ass with her special needs. Seriously though look at her, she oozes cute. If she didn't, I would have put her on eBay by now.

I kid.

21 February 2010

Palettes . . . .

I had promised to breakdown my palettes for the Black and White show at Robert Lange Studios, which is still up through the end of the month. Opening night in pics: Amazing space, great art, and tons of people. (Sorry I am a bit late in posting this):
The Show!

With black and white, the addition of a few subtle color choices can start to bring a greater truth, or a more natural aspect, to what could be a limited depth of painting. What I noticed when putting a warm color into the shadow or into the light was that it made the grays (mixed with strictly black and white) appear very blue. At this point of my experimenting with this new palette I started thinking about temperature, and that is one of the most important aspects of a painting: the color relationships. My goal was to find a nuance and subtlety with my color choices. Each color added to the B&W mixture was very small, as a little addition shifted the color noticeably in one direction, either towards warm or cool.

'Turning Point' Palette:
Ivory Black - Alkyd Quick Dry White - Virdian - Yellow Ochre - Raw Umber

'Forbearancet' Palette:
Ivory Black - Alkyd Quick Dry White - Yellow Ochre - Raw Umber - Burnt Sienna - Phthalo Blue
This was the only painting where I blocked in the background with a graphic Pthalo Blue shape and the foreground with a yellow ochre - burnt sienna shape. Much like a landscape painter might tone the canvas before going out in nature. Usually this tone is a nice warm wash of yellow ochre/burnt sienna/cadmium red or any other This underpainting acts as a counter to all of the greens and blues in nature by using a color mixture that complements. It also helped me set up my composition. Once this was dry I worked wet on wet as per usual. However you can see little areas of these two punchier colors coming through and providing a nice injection of life to the painting.

'Provenance' Palette:
Ivory Black - Alkyd Quick Dry White - Hansa Yellow - Raw Umber - Transparent Oxide

'Zenith' Palette:
Ivory Black - Alkyd Quick Dry White - Hansa Yellow - Raw Umber

All paintings are oil on board and 24" x 12" in size.

18 February 2010

Morning Ephemera

Today is a smattering of randomness from the studio.

First, a notification for all of those who follow the blog or are newcomers. I will be now posting regularly on Sunday, probably evening, so it will be there in the morning to start the week, and again on Wednesdays. Most of the time it will be about my process, however, if I get caught up and don't have something to put on the blog, then I'll post work about an artist I admire or think is interesting. I troll the internet quite a lot in my spare time looking for art and coming across a wealth of talent. As someone who teaches, I often keep a large library for teaching aids, for posterity, my own quarkiness, and subsequently for sharing with students and friends. I thought posting some of this material will perhaps lead you onto an artist you can appreciate and be inspired by. Since I don't follow one genre of painting or adhere to isms or feel unequivocally linked to a certain time period or movement, I'll just put up what I think resonates with me in that moment. What I do feel passionate about is making imagery. I don't segregate fine artists, contemporary artists, video game artists, concept artists, graphic artists or anyone else making a work of art. Often times I just want to be shown a little story I can get lost in for awhile.

Like this one from Adrian Ghenie:

A couple artists who personify excellent narratives are the Wyeth Family; N.C., Andrew and Jaime. While getting my degree in Illustration I like so many others fell in love with NC Wyeth and felt that was the essence of illustration, packed with emotion, drama, like one shot movies unfolding on the canvas.

With Andrew Wyeth I always thought it extraordinary that he paints of a nostalgic Americana that doesn't exist. Like remembering a dream when you wake up. Then rehashing what was going on behind your closed eyelids all night. You know that the impressions you are pulling from are close to the dream, but then again, why we dream is so elusive that the events recalled in the morning are never how it actually took place. As convoluted as it sounds that is my interpretation, anyways. Living for the first time on the east coast and visiting a few other states during the winter months it really dawned on me where Andrew Wyeth derived his palette and subject matter from. As someone who had always lived out West I couldn't quite fully connect with his body of work and it felt alien in a way. Not to say I wasn't moved by a number of paintings. However, once I experienced the stark beauty of the landscape in the colonial states during winter I fully understood. It was my 'aha!' moment I guess.

I am the most unfamiliar with Jaime Wyeth's work, yet as you can see from my sketch below I quite liked his personification of character. His portrait of JFK is the most often reproduced painting of the former president and interesting that at the time it was lambasted for various attributable flaws. He obviously knows about personality whether it be a flock of seagulls, a pumpkin self portrait, or a ram. Anyways, long story long, I drew this montage representing the three generations of the Wyeths' as I read a book about them. I've provided a new narrative from their elements.

Here is a detail of a my last painting based around the theme of Black vs. White. I'll post the full painting and accompanying thoughts, and ask you all a question.

Lastly, I know its Thursday, however, from now on there will be posts on Sunday nights for Mondays and mysteriously throughout the day on Wednesdays.