Monday, September 6, 2010

A Different Approach For the Year.

I think Im going to try make a lot of paintings this semester that are "unfinished" like this.  Its more free, for everybody.  This is by a Los Angeles artist named Gabe Leonard and is an in-process photo.  He finishes the painting eventually, but I think this is better.  It can breath and its wild like the wild west girl its supposed to portray.  I would have stuff like this, but with some sort of background color.

Sifting Through A Foggy Summer To Where I Left Off.

The Summer had blissful memories that are challenging to remember.  I wonder why.  Its not like I was pub hopping all over England or doing something crazy like tubing the Red Cedar at night with some of the coolest roommates in the universe.  Weird.  Anyways, this summer has been the best summer since I became too big for the slip n' slide.  So about 3 years more or less.  Romance and adventure has been in bountiful supply.  Whoot!  Plenty of inside jokes about picking your own f*cking corn and jerking off into the toaster.  All to the soundtrack of Double Rainbow and Bed Intruder.  And if you ever doubt the awesomeness, just remember that its almost a triple rainbow.

But, seriously, I exited last Spring Semester running full bore, nay, full on double bore all the way, with a body of work that was conceptually evolving faster than I could produce.  Connections were being made between motifs/characters in my narrative style paintings to my journey in rediscovering my identity in this post-divorce/post-family-estrangement situation.  For the first time in my life I was completely on the outside of the world that formed me and could see associations with the styles and icons I intuitively chose for my artwork.

As far as the donkeys and mules go, they are a reference to illegitimacy, burdens.  The oppression of the yolk speaks of a lack of freedom and choice in working life and being subjected to a master.  Having these animals in an imposing, almost dizzying, and slightly obnoxious grid field weaving in and out and on top of the portrait creates a visual environment that honestly speaks of being born into manipulation.  I'm not quite sure what my colleagues think of this approach.  It seems that they are more inclined to praise only the things that are pleasurable to the eye.  I suppose my definition of art is much more liberal in that it includes the possibility of the eye being offended and that most likely the artist has conceptual purposes for making the offense.

I couldn't imagine being emotionally healthy in a world where the only appropriate artistic expressions are non-offensive pretty pictures.  Its similar to being force-feed drugs to calm you or only being able to talk in one tone of voice.  Its crazy.  Robot style.  Art is exhilarating because it speaks in visual languages that are beyond number, and each one is unique with its own tone and voice.   Im hoping to see more out of my colleagues as far as artistic bravery and self-honesty rather than trend chasing and professor pleasing.

An example of an almost obnoxious pattern field.  Im finding that wallpaper has been great inspiration.

Im also curious about super busy visual fields that aren't necessarily gridded.  Layering these tiny flowers an insane amount might get the viewer close to being uncomfortable, which is where I want them.  Very seductive and slightly uncomfortable visual environments are the aim.

This ceiling is in a room that I saw in Cardiff Castle.  It completely enveloped people in a dizzying visual experience that was disorienting and imposing.  It was wicked fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In the juried exhibition! Balla!

My painting titled Your Wrong was accepted into the end of year-juried exhibition.  The painting is hanging in the Furlong Gallery at Stout all summer.  I'm really excited that I've touched as many milestones as I have this year.  I'm finding that after my 2 year hiatus I can still run with the rest of 'em.  Personal pride has a lot to do with me being back in school, but I have to say that the main reason I cam back is that I knew I needed it to become a professional artist.  I needed the wisdom of the faculty, the camaraderie of my colleagues, and the challenge of the due date.

Looking forward, I have a couple things on my plate this summer.  There's a particular publication and a certain residency that I want to nail.  I also have my trip to England, which is coming up in about 10 days!  I’m also going to summerfest in Milwaukee mostly to see the Silversun Pickups, but Modest Mouse and Counting Crows will be there too.  Next year I see myself tripling the exhibitions I partake in, and setting up a legit studioghost website.  I have GD roomies next year so hopefully I can glean some wisdom on website building.  BTW, the roomies are a good bunch of guys and I’m mucho looking forward to the living situation.  Partay!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Itzall done son

Here are the final works for Spring Semester 2010.  Im happy with them.  Reviews in crit this morning were mixed but thats fine.  I think people generally enjoy them, which is nice, but even if everyone hated them I would probably only be more stubbron for it.  I still need to spend time with them and decide for myself what I think.  Perhaps I'll place them across from me at the kitchen table and have my molskine set near so I can jot down notes as I stare at them during morning cereal.  Since I have roomates soon, I may have to do something different.  They might not want to share their kitchen with my artwork.  The apartment wall will have to suffice I guess.

Flight of Persius
Oil Stain on Oak Flooring
3' x 3'

From Left:

Estrangement, D.O.B. 2-9-06
Lemon juice and watercolor on paper
30" x 50"

Severance, D.O.B. 10-5-09
Lemon juice and watercolor on paper
30" x 50"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Two Paintings and Two Days

Here's the beginings of the end of Spring semester 2010.  This diptych, when completed, fulfills my obligations to the class contract.  I'm rather excited to see how this one turns out.  Once the masking fluid is applied it should not take very long.  Im going to color this one with lemon juice mostly.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

closing in on the finishing details

I hopeful about this thing.  Im thinking that it will be done on time and in the manner I originally planned.  That barely ever happens.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

as expected, sort of.

It does look very different than it did yesterday, and I have to say that there were things happening under that tape that I didnt expect.  With the tape off the left side, I notice how locked my eyes get into the chair area.  This is a little detrimental to how I want the eyes to flow around the painting.  However, I thought of a solution.  I think I might sand down the left side a little bit.  Perhaps this will push the left side back into space and keep the eyes from getting trapped.  I better sleep on it though.  Maybe I'll like it a lot in the morning.  For real, that happens.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You can't be afraid of accidentally destroying your painting

I wanted to document this painting before I began my late night painting session.  It'll look very different after tonight.  I can't know what it'll look like exactly, but I know what I am going to do to it.  Im thinking that I will do some serious sanding on the donkey train.  In the original idea, the donkeys were supposed to be vague and more ghost-like.  They grab way too much attention as they currently are.  I think I can tone them down with the sanding, then a highlight stain with white, and then a white stain wash over all of that.  The donkey that is most protruding will have less of this white stain wash and the furthermost donkey will be mostly obscurred by white.  There's a ton more that Im doing tonight as well, but working on those damn asses will be the most complicated part of the night.  So here it is!  My painting before I wreck it.  If you let the fear of accidentally destroying your artwork paralyze you, you'll never reap the rewards that are sown through risk.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

battling this thing

I know that I haven't blogged for a bit, but that because the painting was going through an ugly phase.  Its better now.  I agree with my collegues that the strength of the material lies in allowing a deep hand-rubbed stain serve as the shadows and sanding the surface to bring out highlights.  The white pigment stain as highlight is a bit supressive to the wood's natural beauty, which is ok in some places where concept calls for it.  However, to do that everywhere is a mistake, and causes the painting to lose its breath.  I will use the white pigment stain on the train of donkeys as a reflection of an oppressive light source.  I will also use it on the child's shirt and the small horses to speak of the concept of white-washing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Red Mules

Here's part of the mule wall-paper-like pattern.  This thing actually might be closer to being finished then I may have thought.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

working on the blanket now

I really like the red stain that I mixed and applied for the shadows of the blanket.  Its blood-like.  The oxidized kind.

I wanted to add this detail of the blanket before I use the mid-tone stain.  I think its very powerful as it is, but I am still compelled to move forward as planned.  Its not like the graphic quality of the shadows will be erased, its just that they will be something a little different than they are now.  I am thankfull for digital photography.  I can capture all the beautiful steps in between.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Artists are Criminals

The stain application turned out better than expected.  I was very unsure of applying this coat of stain on the chair.  This is probably the case because it is a stain color that I have not worked with a lot nor did I do a test application.  The English Chestnut was instant gratification indeed.  So much about this process is tedious and requires alot of patience.  The work is heavily front-loaded in planning and detailed preparation.  Then, just like how I imagine an armed bank robbery goes, you load up your instrument and will yourself to unload it.  Running through the motions of the plan turns into an awakening acknowledgement of developing obstacles, plus a pounding awareness of time drying up all of your opportunities.  You duck and dodge, and improvise and take it.  Then stop yourself from taking more and run cuz your about to fuck it up.

Artists are criminals.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Painting

Attention class.  This is my new painting.  Please make it feel welcome, and try to answer any questions it may have.  It doesn't quite know its way around yet.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I think its ready for varnish

Im thinking that Im done with this thing.  I'll wait until I talk with Charlie before I varnish it, but even if he wants me to rework stuff I dont think I will.  I like it how it is right now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I put in the 1970's flower colors.  I think they might be a bit too strong.  When its dry tomorrow I'll sand it down a bit and that should work.  Heres a detail image too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

final stain applications

The last stain applications will be put on this week.  Once these flowers are done, it will be time to varnish.  The flowers will have a fair amount of detail though, so I probably will need the whole week.  Im also having trouble finding a matte varnish around here.  I might have to get it when Im in the Twin Cities this Easter weekend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Almost Done

The face is pretty much done.  Just some minor details left.  After I finish the 1970's sofa arm decorative floral print, This painting will be ready for varnish.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

baby face

The lowlights and midtones are in.  Im going to put in the super darks tonight before I go home.  Tomorrow after work its sanding in the highlights.  I also have been working on a new one lately.  Nothing worth photographing yet.  In a couple days I'll have a photo posted of it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

face time

Gotta sand down the face then draw features with pencil.  Then use dremel and exacto to add line quality.  Then stain with walnut.  Then sand to bring in highlights. yada yada yada.  Will this ever be done!!!

I guess Im in control of that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

thumbs up

Working on the hands now.  I tried a new technique for shading and linework.  I put in my lines with the dremel and an exacto knife.  Then I'll sand out the walnut on the suface, leaving the stained grooves caused by the dremel and knife.  Basically, like an etching plate without the printing process.  After the sanding, I will try a coat of gunstock for a layer of warmth.  Then lightly sand it down in the shaded areas and sand it down completely in the highlights.  Then stain it all with puritan pine.  If the highlights are not good enough, I will have to do a coat of homemade white.  but I hope I don't have to go there because I want to treat the skin differently than I treated the sweaters.  The sweaters are almost completely home-made stain and the material has a residue effect.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sweaters are pretty much done

Just have to put in some fine details yet.  Should be no probs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

gray tones

I added some gray mid-tones the big shirt.  Tomorrow I will put in the highlights for the big shirt as well as getting started on another painting.  Im excited to be able to work back and forth between the two.  Im off to bed so I can build the fixture tomorrow morning.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Starting in on the details

Shading turned out ok for now.  Not able to do the highlights yet because I want the shadows to be dry.  I'll tackle it tomorrow morning on the large sweater and tomorrow evening on the baby sweater.  With the highlights on the baby sweater, I should try to find a way to give them an extra shimmer.  Maybe I could give them an extra layer of white stain.  Then it will be time to get the armrest of the couch put in.  I made a mistake on the collar.  It encroaches way too far to the right.  I'll have to sand it back when I put in the armrest.  These are all nit-picky items, and it will be nice to have another painting started this weekend so I can keep growing in momentum.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Home-made stain worked out alright

I applied the home-made white stain for the baby's shirt and buffed out some of the shadowy spots.  Next step will be to put in the lowlights and highlights tomorrow evening after work to get the baby shirt fabric folds more defined.  If time allows I'll go to Fleet Farm to get boards for the next one.  Can't wait to start the next one.  

Monday, March 8, 2010

I didnt restain it.  I like the gray now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This Painting is Kicking My Ass

OK, so this is what Im working on.  I have this 3'x3' section of oak flooring that I am staining images into.  Im also using sanding techniques to put in highlights and blend in different stain applications.  It may be difficult to see what the image is since a lot of it is covered with masking tape so I'll post the photo Im working off of.

Im at a crossroads with this one.  Im not sure what I think of the gray area.  It mostly sits on top of the wood surface and doesn't sink below like the stains everywhere else.  I think I might sand away some highlights and see how that looks.  Maybe after that I will use a white pickling stain.  However, before anything, I should put in the shadows.  I think thats what I will do.

Just put in the shadows.  I'll have to wait until the morning to sand in the areas where I want to apply the white stain.  Its wierd that I like the gray sweater in the pictures I take of the piece, but when standing in front of it Im not too sure.  At least its looking a little better with a bit more shading.

Tried sanding in some highlights with the mouse sander but was not very successful.  Im starting to hate the filmy gray.  I might as well get rid of it.  Its not that I think all areas of the painting need to have the same depth into the wood.  Its that Im not excited about the filmy home-made stain.  It sucks.  Im not feeling it.  Oh well, it was a nice experiment.