Monday, October 17, 2011

Who IS that Masked Man?

I spent a good portion of the Summer working on a number of charcoal drawings.  My studio space, up until the last year has had a lot of headroom and good airflow.  I didn't have to worry too much about dust accumulation in the air.  My current digs, while dry, are a little shy in the area of ventilation.  I'm pretty sure I was about a canary short of a coal mine.  As a precaution I've been keeping my dust masks handy.

Making Art safely is something you're (hopefully) taught when you go to school.  You hear the lectures and anecdotes, but many times you don't take them seriously because when you're taught these things you're typically young and indestructible.  This is not the case.  Ok?  Good.  Wear gloves or barrier cream if you paint.  Wear a mask if you work with aerosols or high-dust materials, and always work with good ventilation.  There's nothing cool about hacking up magenta lunch biscuits because you've been hitting the pastels.
At any rate I really need to get those pieces photographed.  Since I was a little rushed getting stuff framed for the last show I'm stuck with the task of having to pull the glass out of a bunch of frames.  Thankfully this round I stuck with metal.  

Needless to say I'm glad to be back working in oils.  Here's another detail from some of my current work, a mashup of one of my favorite cities, Chicago being created for a client who's on secondment from the UK.  As soon as I'm done writing this I'm headed down for another session.  Mixing all of these landmarks together has been challenging.

I like a challenge.  Hopefully I'm rising to it.  It feels like I am.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Keep Trying to Get Back to Writing but...

Boredom is something that doesn't visit my place very often.  With a relatively new full-time day job fixing bleeding computers at a local university, two growing boys, and an after-hours Art career there's not much time for anything else.  Not to mention house cleaning.  Seriously... I try to get a little help from the cat, but frankly he's useless. I keep trying to get a new post started.  I've got loads of drafts, but nothing of note.

So here I am.  Home sick.  No time like the present I guess.

After wrapping up the last show, Oil and Dust, I dove into a handful of commissions that had been waiting.  I'll be posting some more pics in the near future, but here's a small sample.

I'm happy to say that I've landed a couple of other projects and I'm looking forward to getting started.  Funny thing is I've got this idea in my head that I can't seem to shake.  I was sitting up working on my commissions the other night and took a little break to contemplate the over-sized charcoals I put together for the last show.  I got to thinking about the construction and it led me to thinking about machinery.  The boys and I had been watching a documentary about animation and it hit me: I had an idea I had to run with.  All things considered it will have to be a side project that I work on it what little spare time I can muster.  I won't go into details yet since it's only the beginning of an idea, but I think it's a good one.  It's a huge departure and that's something I've been looking for.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Allow Me to Correct Myself

I just realized that I had the wrong time listed for the opening reception on the postcard image for my new solo exhibit, "Oil and Dust" opening at the Iowa State University Memorial Union Gallery tomorrow.  The corrected time is Saturday, July 23rd from 4-7.  Here's the updated postcard:

Sorry for any confusion.  I should really wait until morning to post things.  



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oil and Dust

And there you have it... your own personal invite to my upcoming solo show, "Oil and Dust" at the Iowa State University Memorial Union.  I won't go on too much about it.  You should come see for yourself.

I sincerely hope to see you there.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Work for the Portrait of the Artist Exhibit this Weekend!

This Saturday night, June 18th from 6-9pm the Ware Haus in Des Moines will be featuring the works of numerous Artists from around the country who were asked to do one thing: paint a portrait of an Artist that has inspired you.  The response was phenomenal.  People chimed in from all over eager to pay their respects to their many influences.

The idea got started when I drew a portrait of my friend and fellow Des Moines Artist, Brent Houzenga.  His tenacity and invention has been an inspiration to me and after seeing a particular shot of him I was moved to attempt something I rarely do... portraiture.  Brent saw the piece and immediately had the idea for a show.  The concept took off and very quickly received support from Artists around the US.  It gave us all the chance to tip our hats to the people that have given us direction along the way.

It gave me the courage to attempt a second piece.  A portrait of another fellow Des Moines Artist who has been a great influence on me, Larassa Kabel.

Here they are together
I won't be able to attend the reception and that's a major downer because from what I saw of the Art that had already been dropped off... it's going to be a great show.  Definitely stop by the Ware Haus, 1718 East Universty Ave, Suite A in Des Moines this Saturday.  Enjoy the show.  Meet the Artists.  Have one for me!



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Prepping for July

I've gone and gotten myself booked for three shows this Summer.  I'll be posting dates and times, but for now I'm doing a lot of prep work.  I've got plans for some large scale monochromatic drawings.  Drawings big enough to crawl around on.  Additionally I've made a bit of an adventurous materials purchase and it's time to make sure it was money well-spent.  While I was waiting I hit the charcoals and dug out my old litho crayons to get the process moving.
They're just ideas, but you've got to start somewhere. 

 Litho crayons are an old standby of mine.  They can take a bit of patience if you're not comfortable working with water-based mediums.  You can attain some great variations in value if you spend just a little time though.

 Charcoals are still a personal favorite though.  I really need to try out making my own.  If you've done it let me know how it went.

Lots to do... lots to do.
Keep up your momentum.



Monday, April 18, 2011

Some Unexpected Guests

I've been very delinquent in my writing these days.  It seems like there's never enough time.  That would seem to be my sign that it's time for some reorganization: mental and otherwise.  Just another form of Spring cleaning I suppose.

Amidst all this mental flotsam and jetsam every now and then you get a gem.  A real treasure.  In this case I got two.  I don't typically spend a lot of time on faces.  I'm more interested in gesture and the figure itself as a general rule.  Sometimes though you just find yourself doing something for no apparent reason other than it seemed like the thing to do at the time.  In one case I had no intention of doing that drawing when I started working.  I just turned around looked at the paper sideways and started drawing.  I'd say it's a step away from my normal fare.  I didn't have any models or photo references so I'm looking to do it again.  I'd toyed with this idea a while back and even went as far as taking a few shots with a model (who bears no resemblance to this woman), but it was never right.  I hadn't really thought about it lately until Saturday afternoon while I was working on some cleaning in the studio and picking at some other sketches when I just started drawing.  When I stopped I had her...
I'm calling her The Smooth Talker.  She'll join the rest of the miscreants around the table having cocktails w/ the Crimson King and The Numbers Man.  I'm still not 100% sure what or who they all are so when they show up I try to be accommodating.
I'm really enjoying the illustrative style that's coming through with these charcoals.

Did I mention I love charcoals?

The next is a piece I was wanting to do, but wasn't considering getting started on it until later this month.  I was rather taken by a still frame from a video made of my friend, Brent Houzenga while he was working on a piece outside of the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles recently.  You can check the video here.  See if you can pinpoint the time of the still I was working from. Also if you would, please, take a second and zoom in on the photo.  The reduction of the image in this post takes a lot away from the eyes.

In both cases I was a little taken aback by my sudden urges to work on these piece and even more  so by the outcomes.  Even though I feel a little divergent at times I think there's a place where these styles of mine will come together... Make something new.  I think this is a good place to be right now.



Monday, March 14, 2011

It Is Finished

It took nearly 8 months, but I've finally managed to finish the 6 large-sized paintings I've been working on for Aviva here in Des Moines.  I'm pretty proud of my accomplishment and can't wait to see them paired with their sister pieces being created by Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Sears.  The entire installation will be nearly 50ft across and will include 12 pieces in total.
In truth there's just a leeeetle more tweaking I'd like to do on a couple of them, but I'm calling it good "for the most part".  I'm trying to get them out of the studio before I do something rash.  You can only look at finished work for so long before you start to find more fault than I already have.  Just looking at these photos makes me itch to go downstairs and start picking...

I've got a truckload of work that's been coming in during my tenure working on these pieces and some that's dropped into my lap since.  I'm not complaining because it keeps me busy and is giving me the opportunity to try some new ideas.  Also being really really busy keeps me from getting too caught up with little things and from dwelling too much on some other things.  Idle hands and all that... So I'm happy for the work and as always grateful for the opportunity to be doing something I love.  

Here's to keeping up the momentum.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Red Wheel Barrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

William Carlos Williams

I've always liked that one.  It speaks to me about the moment of inspiration.  That time when, after a seemingly endless period of effort, something happens and it's the jumping off point of something very important.  Although I'm not necessarily a religious person anymore I can't seem to get over the fact that things sure do have a funny way of coming together at just the right (or wrong) time.  The last few weeks have been a good example of this and some very unpleasant things have come to pass.  But as things seem to go other doors have opened juuuuust a hair and because of that additional light I have been shown other possibilities that I had lost sight of.  You toil and toil and you get desperate and then you see a picture or hear a song on the radio or an old friend comes up in conversation...  BANG!  You see the logic in it all just for a second.  Best to go with it.  It's how my painting The Numbers Man came up last year.

I kinda like that guy...

And it's how I came to a conclusion today.  There are details that still keep it from becoming more than a conclusion.  They balance everything on the head of a pin.  I'm not sure which way things will go, but it gives me a larger sense of purpose and a more open playing field. Sometimes it's hard to see in which ways you bind yourself.  I really realized today. While I've been thinking about making a change I hadn't really taken it far enough.  It's funny how you can say things to others and it makes perfect sense, but you don't automatically apply it to yourself as well.  I know I've been harping on this topic on and off for a while.

Simplify Simplify Simplify.

What could be more simple than a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens?

Bawk Bawk


Monday, January 10, 2011

Something to Cleanse the Palate

Every now and then you have to take a step away from what you're working on... and work on something else.  This is a piece I've been wanting to do for a while, but I've been so wrapped up that I haven't had the time to really explore the idea.

I painted a piece a while back and I was fairly happy with it, but I always felt like I'd missed the mark a bit.  I was trying to get a feeling across, but it really didn't solidify in that piece.  Later on talking with a friend we came across a print of the same piece after the first application of paint.  He said, "I wish you would've stopped painting right there".  So did I.  Every since I've been wanting to go back and try again.

So there you have it.  I do prefer it to my first effort.  I think it's a step in reconciling some of the more figurative, monochromatic work with the architectural stuff.  It's like when your left brain and right brain touch.  Little flashes go off.



Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 7, 2011

In Repair

It's one of the many joys of owning anything large enough to have more than a few moving parts (or software).  We as humans have both.  We need maintenance too.  Not to mention the occasional reboot and system flush.  That second one usually comes somewhere after the holidays.  The funny thing about it is that when things go wrong or break they usually tend to do it all at once.  All of this time floating around and things always seem to happen all at once.

But I'm getting out on a rant here...

So as I take my relatively high-mileage car in for a laundry list of issues of differing severity I also had to consider doing a bit of the same for myself.  I was past due for my 40,000 mile checkup and there was work to be done.   

It's also been a good time to catch up with a few commissioned projects in-waiting.  As I'm nearing the completion of the Aviva work I need to get my ducks in a row.  I need to figure out how to juggle making work for upcoming shows and commissions. I'm looking forward to the studio work because it will give me the opportunity to start exploring the path I started down last year working more figuratively.  I've got a few other ideas bouncing around in my head that I've been waiting to pull the trigger on as well.  I'll be getting the chance soon and that's exciting.  

I love Possibility.  It's one of my favorite things.

Speaking of which the possibility of a new year is upon us if you believe in that anymore.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'll be interested to see how this one pans out.  I've got a few things in mind.

In the meantime keep your eyes peeled.  This round of paintings is due to be completed soon.  You'll want to see them altogether when they're done.  6 canvases of this size (36" x 60") paired up with equally-large wall sculptures... it's going to be a damned sight to behold if I do say so my damned self.