Sunday, November 19, 2006

Small Works Show & Helioderm

You might want to skip over my rambling and go straight down the the pictures. I won't know if you do.

Where does it come from? I think that everything in the universe rolls around on giant wobbly wheel called time. There’s something about the crisscrossing pattern of all those unpredictable waves of tire tracks that cause a buildup of greater and greater complexity.

No, that analogy is too simplistic. There are likely 9 to 12 dimensions you have to include to have an appropriate matrix. That illustrates why it’s so difficult to predict what will happen next. Still, you can see a growth of overlaying interactions that generate new and increasingly intricate forms from the big bang up until the present.

We humans, as part of the universe, create new patterns every second of the day because of our varied interactions. We are the most complicated of creatures with our cultures, societies, arts and political systems. Sometimes we think we know the exact direction we’re going in but don’t be fooled, you’re not really in control so it’s best to see all the surprises as opportunities and see where they’ll lead you.

What the hell am I talking about? A week ago I didn’t know I’d do this painting. It didn’t have any life at all. Friends made it happen. I had to do a brand new painting for a miniature show scheduled for December at the Art Corner Gallery (click on the link above) in Salem, MA. All my smaller paintings are in a show at the Center for the Arts in Homer, New York. A million little ideas went through my head: what shall I paint, what shall I paint? I’ll decided to do something cute but weird. Then I remembered the drawings I posted here on my blog and that people liked them. Scroll down to “Silly Stuff” if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Here’s a step by step in three little steps. This painting is 8X14” and it was done in oils.

I did this first texture layer with watered down acrylics using a rag and dabbing. Sadly much of this was obscured in the painting process. I’d hoped to see more showing through but if you saw the original you’d see more than you can see here. It was actually done over a year ago and was waiting for me to decide what I’d paint on it. I put down a thin layer of drying linseed oil and I began painting (below).

I study and photograph clouds all the time. They fascinate me because they are governed by simple principles, yet they make large convoluted things of tremendous beauty. One day I hope to write an elegant algorithm to explain it. It’s likely a vain hope but till then I can still admire and ponder them. This sky came from observation and many pictures I’ve taken. It went in quickly (below).

While the sky was still wet I painted in my helioderm – a creature of my own invention. I had put some alkyd white on my pallet so it would dry some and get gooey. That’s what I used for my ‘heavy’ whites that I used in the rim lighting. I didn’t add the birds till the next day when I also lightened the sky some. It actually looks darker here. I don’t know why (below).

Here’s a close-up of the face. It took a few tries to get the exact level of cuteness I wanted. I’ve worked out in my mind the internal anatomy of this creature but I’ll save that explanation for another day. If all goes well I’ll do and post more helioderms.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Poly Tician

Just in case you think I only do sweet or cute stuff, here's a entry to dissuade you from that impression. During the recent election I was thinking about politicians and I drew this guy. I know he has a girl's name but I named him that because Polly is such a sweat name and I liked the contrast. A lot of the drawing I do become useful at some point. All I have to do is keep it in my mind in all dimensions, poses and permutations. Nothing goes to waste in my brain except the gray matter itself.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


For a while now I've been doing a series of drawings I call "Fabric Dancers." All of these begin with only a vague notion of what I want to do. The idea is to do the same thing over and over and still be different. I haven't grown tired of it yet. The people in all of these drawings are floating as if they weigh nothing. This picture works on its sides but not as well upside down. I can't explain that. This is the way I drew it though. Under my previous posts click on "The How, Why and Why Not?" to see another one of these dancers. You can see a couple more of these pictures by clicking the title link along with other drawings I've done.

This one is on in the Sketches & Works in Progress thread. I've been a member of that art community for a few years but I never posted. For some reason the site doesn't like me and kicks me off regularly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Silly Stuff

I cannot say enough nice things about The Center for the Arts in Homer, NY. It was incredible to see what they’ve done there since the place began only 15 months ago. They did an excellent job with the exhibit and my wife and I even got to see Richie Havens perform there. I did some ballpoint pen drawings of that I might post later.

Today, though, it's the silly stuff I'm putting up. I've been told by more than one illustrator friend that doing silly art diminishes the other more serious work I do. Poppycock! But I only say it because it's a silly word. My friends are probably right but if I didn't do the pure fun stuff I wouldn't have the energy to do the more serious paintings. Life and art needs balance.

These are Helioderms. Their skin conducts the sun's heat so well that the air inside a special belly envelope expands and gives them lift and allows them to float up very high. They have little spinning flippers for propulsion and can expel gas for a quick extra thrust if needed. They typically stay above the clouds as to always have sun on warming their epidermis. On cloudless days they fly low and poop on people they don't like. They have great memories (much like elephants) and keep a mental list of anyone they observe doing something mean to later dive bomb. Because of them the world is a better place.

Oh, what the hell, I'm including an on-site, done in the dark, drawing I did of Richie Havens strumming away. His left foot dances all by itself while he plays.