Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A New Home

It's been a long time in coming, but I finally signed on for some studio space outside of my home. I've been debating it for a few months now as I'm looking to move out of my current house and into an apartment/condo/rental home... pretty much whatever I can find that suits my budget and appeals to me. No matter how I slice it odds are that I won't find something with a lot of room for studio space. I'm finding that as my kids grow the amount of space they require grows exponentially... no matter how tight I wrap them.

So I've signed on for some space at the up-and-coming Northland Studio. I was introduced to the space last week and really enjoyed what I saw. The space is monstrous with some great old features like exposed brick and massive timbers. The owner has agreed to build studio space to suit our needs. I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes. Granted the building is old... and all that that implies. I'm betting there will be issues with dust and snags with heating or something on that level. Additionally the owner rents some of the space to local bands. Your mileage may vary with that kind of thing. The last time I visited the building the band that was practicing was actually quite enjoyable: instrumental trip-rock. We'll see if the other acts pan out as well.

The westward side of the space features a great view of downtown. I've picked an eastward-facing space for the time being because of the size and availability. We'll see if I change my mind.

Interested in some space for yourself? Here:



Thursday, November 19, 2009

A New Venue

Coming at ya on a cold, Iowa morning where the fog is so thick you can't see my hand in front of your face.

I recently happened upon a new venue for my artwork. The painting, "Washington Street in Red" is now hanging for view and sale at Baby Boomer's Cafe in Des Moines' historic East Village. They serve good, honest food and breakfast all day FTW! It says on the website, "just like your mom and grandma served it, fresh, no substitutes, and no excuses". That's assuming that your mom and/or grandma was a kickass cook. The homemade pies are to die for.

Aside from great food (and my painting) Boomer's also has works on display by Van Holmgren and Lee Ann Conlan.

I would highly recommend stopping in, eating lots, and while you do... check out some great art.

Oh, Tell Rodney and Tom (the owners) I said "Hi".

Got some other big news coming up! Tell ya tomorrow.



Monday, November 16, 2009

A Bit of a Surprise OR The Yattering and Miss K

When I started painting Friday I had no idea what was in store me. I mentioned a while back that I was interested in doing some portraiture as well as some more figurative work. I've been wanting to change the way I paint as well. Painting more intuitively as opposed to working strictly from photos or from life. Friday gave me a solid dose of what I've been looking for.

So I've been sitting on this photo for the better part of a year. It's a picture that I really enjoy of a friend of mine. I asked her if I could use it sometime last Winter and she agreed. Then in my usual manner I filed it away for "future use" and promptly forgot about it for 6months. I decided Friday was the night. My commissioned work is coming along nicely (plus it needed an evening to dry up a bit) and I was itching for something different to paint so I printed off the photo and started working. The pace was feverish. I don't think I looked up for 3 hours. That's when you know you're having a good time... Am I right? Yeah. At the end of the that session I'd managed to cover the entire canvas in a fairly well fleshed-out portrait. It needed some refining, but the elements were there. Plus my friend had evolved a friend of her own. He's kind of creepy and kind of comical. I'm going to say he's a Yattering. It's from a Clive Barker story called The Yattering and Jack. He's a minor demon sent by Beelzebub to torment and irritate. You have to ignore them or they'll walk all over you... and take your soul to Hell. Some people. Her apparent lack of awareness of the presence of the Yattering is belied by her bemused expression. Oh she knows he's there and her refusal to acknowledge his deeds is driving him nuts.
Or she's a meth-head and this is her paranoia in action.

I took a couple more hours over the course of the weekend to refine both of their features. The Yattering took on a couple of different incarnations. I settled on the last one because of my personal interpretation of the little guy's purpose and my own deep-seated fear of faceless gibbering horrors no matter how comical. All in all I was blown away by the speed at which this painting poured forth from me. I typically paint more slowly working on a single piece for 4-6 weeks. Hmmm... I suppose if I had more time during the day (looks thoughtfully toward the sky)... I should probably be careful what I wish for. Then again...

I've never had a lot of success painting faces. Especially making those faces look like the person (people) I'm supposed to be painting. I began to realize that was part of my block. I was so wrapped up in making a Portrait that I was failing to make a Painting. I eventually let go of the fact that I was painting someone I knew and just started painting a girl. A girl based on a photo of someone I knew. I am happy to say that her eyes DO follow you wherever you go. In the context it's more than a little unsettling.

I also had to let go of the idea that my fictional/fantastical ideas for paintings were somehow of less worth than my other work. That was a tough one. I was told a long time ago that I shouldn't put the two together, but part of me has been trying to reconcile them every since. Perhaps this is a step in that direction. Either way I'm excited and more than a little surprised at myself.
It doesn't get much better than that.

I think I need to do more. Wanna pose?



Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Hurried Thursday Update

Good morning one and all. Just wanted to make a quick post this morning to catch up on what I've been doing. It's been over a week since I blogged and I'm feeling like a bit of a slacker in this respect.

I just finished a commission I picked up back in early October. It's another Des Moines cityscape. My client came to me with a couple of very nice photos and we collaborated a bit on how to put the piece together. I'll say it again. I've been very lucky with my clients. They've all been so easy to work with (that's not always the case). I put the finishing touches on it last week and delivered it Monday. Just in time as I've got a number of project lined up. Every now and then it seems like I've got to feed this compulsion to take on a bit too much work, but you do what you do to keep you motivated. I've got work to finish for the Crossroads Conference in December and for another potential group show in January. And let us not forget we barreling towards the holidays... and all that that implies.

"It's another Des Moines cityscape."
There's the only problem I've really run into doing commissioned work. I've got these directions I'm trying to take my Art, but commissions are usually requests for you to produce something in the style with which people have become familiar. Don't take that the wrong way... paying gigs come first for the most part, but sometimes it can feel like they're stifling forward movement. I've heard this from other artists at different points as well. The general concensus is however that people need to eat as well as a myriad host of other things to survive. I'll never complain about selling work or having a damned good excuse to stay up at night.

But I do have a number of ideas that are just screaming to get out. I'm looking forward to a chance to let them.



Monday, November 2, 2009

New Scam Coming Soon to Your Inbox!

Hey Kids! I just got hit up by a new email scam this weekend. Well, it was new to me at least. It came as the result of posting my teaching class on Craigslist.

Here's the message I received verbatim: to rob
5:24 PM
My name is David john I'm interested in your lesson. I would like you to
be taking my daughter your lesson while i am at work in your city. I live
in England(UK) but i'm moving to your area because I'm having a contract
with Environmental Protection Agency in united state, And they are the one
responsible for all payment of all my need including the lesson fees and
there mode of payment is by Cashier Check.The contract will be just for 4
weeks so i want you to email me back if you can teach my daughter,
(jenny) she is just (18 yrs old) and also you don't have to worry
concerning how she will be comming to the lesson i have already made all
neccesary arrangement for all her needs infact i have negotiate with a Cab
Company that will provide her the Cab and driver that will be driving her
to the lesson and driving her back home after the lesson . So i will want
you to get back to me with the total charges for the 2hrs in a day 3 days
in a week for good 4 weeks...

I will be waiting to hear from you shortly
Mr David john
here is my living address
Ryhall Rd, Stamford, PE9 1UA
United Kingdom

Here's a link I found regarding another wording of this same email:

Naturally it was pretty easy to spot the scam what with the poor grammar, odd spacing, and a very fill-in-the-blank look about the message. Not to mention the person's name, "David John" was in no way reflected by the name in the email address, "". Granted not everyone uses their name in their email address, but to use a totally different proper name is, to say the least, a little suspect. Things like this can be easy to overlook when sales are down and you're in need of cash. Keep your wits about you and remember what your parents said, "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is".

When in doubt check with or your fellow Artists. And hey... let's be careful out there.