Buon giorno! Just a little reminder that I’ve been posting some of my smaller, older paintings for sale on Etsy at ridiculously low prices in order to clear out some inventory. This painting, titled “Haze and Fog”, pioneered the loose, drippy style that I moved into toward the end of my Architectural Period—it was always a crowd favorite, as well as one of my own. The other two 16x20s of Venice have already sold. Last one!
Sadly, I’m not going to Europe any time soon. A friend of mine just returned from a few weeks in Germany and surrounding countries, and I enjoyed her photos so much I made this little map for her, including the canals of Amsterdam and Metz, France, and the castles of Bavaria.
I’ve been playing with layering cut paper, and there’s also ink, graphite, color pencil, gouache and watercolor.
New York, New Yoooooork
Have I ever mentioned my day job? I ‘m a graphic designer in the marketing and communications department of a large law firm. I’m bringing this up now because one of the attorneys I work with recently commissioned three paintings for the office in Manhattan. This one, bearing the working title Le Big One–NYC, measures 42″ x 42″. It’ll be the focal point opposite the reception desk in the lobby. I took progress shots along the way, because, hey– that’s fun, right? I like to look back at earlier stages and layers to see how it developed and evolved– it’s a bit like archaeology, in a way…
So as you can see, I started out layering in various papers–including maps–and blocked off areas with a little oil paint. I then worked in a few gel transfers and more paint (rinse & repeat) until I was satisfied with the result.
But the real take away here is that I’m going to have paintings on display in New York City. (pause to let that sink in.) Also, the beloved attorney that commissioned the works sent this to me via email: “To have personal, original, meaningful work from within the family in our space is priceless.” That brings a l’il tear to my eye, it does.
The Even Better News is that my BFF coincidentally just moved to the Lower East Side, and I’m going up to visit her this spring. We’ll take a jaunty little hike up to Midtown East and pop in to see my work in its shiny new home.
Cheers to that!
And hey, –thanks for stopping by. Got any questions about my methods and techniques? Ask away!
Want to see more of my mixed media gel transfer art-making shenanigans? Yeah, ya do– click it.
What’s cooking in 2014
First up, a new illustrated recipe for TheyDrawAndCook.com. I used watercolor pencils– which are hey, kinda neat. They’re color pencils with a water-soluble lead, combining the best parts of wet and dry media. I wanted this piece to have a nice warm sepia tone to it, so I did a few washes with coffee too. I hope the directions are clear enough so that someone could use it to actually make this delicious bread– it really is amazing.
In other news, I’ll have an illustration in the upcoming March issue of Ionic — an online science+art magazine out of the UK. I’ve also just signed the paperwork to allow some of my art journal pages to be published in a book due out early next year. More on both of those stories as they develop.
Plans for February: I’ll be doing a step-by-step photo post of a mixed media collage painting I’m about to finish up, and I’ll also post more art journal pages.
Plans for 2014: I’m going to buy a sewing machine! I’ve been hand-sewing all my up-cycling projects, reworking old clothes into plushie dolls, new clothes, and sometimes, plushie dolls in new clothes– like little Ralfie the Sweater Cat here. Machine sewing would help me step up production enough to maybe open an Etsy shop…
trips and travels
From the folks who brought you TheyDrawAndCook.com, there’s also TheyDrawAndTravel.com. This map of Philly was my first submission, and then the following week I drew a map of my favorite spots in Las Vegas:
Those are the two places I’ve been in past 12 months. Traveling is one of my top 5 favorite things in the world, and if there’s one thing I never leave at home, it’s my sketchbook.
I have created a new section for my travel journal on my recently redesigned my portfolio website, which now includes loads of new, never-before-seen-on-the-internets stuff! I’ve added lots of new illustrations, since I’m focusing on that more than fine art or graphic design lately.
In fact, I start my illustration course this week– I’m taking Eccentric Illustration online through the Academy of Art University in San Francisco this semester. It’s being taught by Roman Muradov, whom I’ve googled excessively since seeing his name on my schedule, and I’m really excited to learn a thing or two from him. Posts may be few and far between in the coming months– or they might not, since I’ll be producing heavily for class, I might actually have tons of new stuff to show off.
urban: right up my alley
This week, the Illustration Friday topic is urban. I combined a few snapshots taken from a moving car in a seedy part of LA with shots taken at the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. Major Liquor and Marlene’s Muffler Shop are actual Real Life Places. I like to imagine what Marlene looks like… Most of the collage elements are from the Spanish section of a certain cable company’s disclaimer booklet, and I used acrylic paint, watercolor, color pencils, pen and ink, and coffee.
During the brainstorming session for this challenge, I was tempted to pull another one from the archives. Most everything I did last year included some element of urbanity– Like this one, in particular:
I mean, it’s even got ‘urban’ in the title, right? But since three of my last four IF submissions were pulled from the archives, I started feeling like I was defeating my own purpose, which is to experiment, have fun, and make new stuff. And since I’ve really had a hankerin’ for hand-lettering lately, I decided to return to my drawing table this week, and I’m glad I did. I like the little sketchy-sketch that came out of it, and I think it could be developed into something rather interesting, if one had, say, a larger sheet of paper and a three day weekend… Le sigh…
a background with no foreground
This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “yesterday“. So I think of nostalgia, history, memories… I think of Italy. I fell in love with Italy a few years ago, the culture, the language, the art… and one architect in particular. His name was Angelo. He met and married someone else, and I realized that I was just painting empty backgrounds with no foregrounds.
This painting is typical of the work I was doing back then. It’s called Piove sul Bagnato, which is how the Italians say “when it rains, it pours.” It’s one of the last paintings I did in the Italian architecture series.
I moved on.
I’ve been exploring mixed media collage for a while– you can see more of that on my portfolio site, and now I’m learning character-based illustration.
Sometimes, though, I still miss Angelo.
This week for Illustration Friday, I decided to tackle the Tower of Babel with a typographical solution. The topic is “myth.” I’ve always found the Tower of Babel story fascinating. I’ve painted it a few times in the past (see below), but this is my first digital rendering. I used Illustrator, and the text is pulled from the biblical passage as quoted by Wikipedia:
“They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withheld from them which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down and confound their speech.” And so God scattered them upon the face of the Earth, and confused their languages, so that they would not be able to return to each other, and they left off building the city, which was called Babel “because God there confounded the language of all the Earth”. Genesis 11:1-9
As a child, I thought that was a little mean-spirited of God to stomp on peoples’ dreams and ambitions like that. But then I see what we’ve done since the Industrial Revolution and I think that maybe he had a good point after all. What a mess we’ve made… but then some pretty wonderful things have come out of it too. Which is why the title of this painting is Babel Evolves: Entropy and Evolution Occur Simultaneously.
If you’d like to see more of my work, I have a blog about a book about a dog and a portfolio website. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or would like to leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by!
Charlotte: home of 90 mph winds & 3 mph traffic
Aside from the flaming garbage truck on the interstate at rush hour Friday (creeping 3 whole miles in one hour!) and the semi-hurricane-force winds on Saturday, Charlotte seems like a nice city. I went up to explore the town and attend the opening of a group show at Baku Gallery in the famed arts district of NoDa. This was Contrast, curated and promoted by the Culture Initiative- and it went well. There were a lot of very talented people in the group of 61 artists, and the show was well attended.
Actual people looking at my work- yay!
These two paintings were created especially for the requirements of this show- 12″ square, black and white.
The following Saturday, I made my way to the two art museums in uptown Charlotte– the Mint Museum and the neighboring Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Both were fabulous, containing a myriad of treasures, as well as a few snicker-worthy bombs. I didn’t care for the featured exhibit at the Bechtler- Niki de St. Phalle. I find her work garish and simple, and her forms are crude and unrefined. She certainly has pop appeal though, which is for me another tick on the ‘con’ side.
this is the statue outside by St. Phalle. its shininess is its redemption.
I also saw the work of many greats- Tinguely (the aforementioned Niki de St. Phalle’s more talented husband), Picasso, Ernst, Miro, Rauschenburg, etc… and I was exhausted & a bit art-saturated afterward. The museums offered great views of the surrounding streets and were architecturally interesting themselves.
lobby of the Mint. Chihuly sculpture in the background.
Charlotte’s inner city has several great modern buildings and an aesthetic not to be overlooked.
from the backside of the Latta Arcade- an historic group of buildings around the corner from the museums
The wind was also against me and my plan for a walk. Aye, thar was a cold wind a-blowin, and mighty hard. I had to walk at an angle on some streets, and my hair would’ve been whipped off my head, had it not been firmly attached to my scalp by the roots.
These poor poppies were taking a beating, and were probably rendered completely petal-less shortly after this photo was taken.
I am also fascinated by Charlotte’s public transit system, the Light Rail… or whatever it’s called. Being from a city which barely has a bus system (which I have never ridden) I am enthralled by the trains of the larger cities and Europe. Subways and elevated rails are like alien constructs to me, providing hours of delightful window-watching and hands-free travel opportunities. Themselves worthy of being photographed, with all their tracks and stations and associated accoutrements, the culture of rail travel is exotic and captivating. Crossing trains also provide opportunities for erstwhile auto travelers to photograph other roadside interestingness whilst being stopped…
I wanna ride that train at some point. I also have several other things to do on my Charlotte list, and I look forward to returning at the end of the month to claim my unsold work (if any) from the Baku Gallery.
Old Sheldon Church
On a slightly cold, but no less glorious day, we went here:
The Old Sheldon Church, about 50 miles down HWY 17 South. It was burned down during the Civil War and simply left standing. Lots of people get married there. But we just did this:
and some of this:
I won that hand. He didn’t see it coming.
and on the way home we stopped and photographed this: