Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nest Tree

I received the dreaded notice from the health dept, to remove my brush pile. It's been 5+ years since my last notice, and this is the largest it's ever been (this sort of maintenance never seems to happen without prodding).

 I managed to break everything down in two days, into 3 wood stacks, a light crunchy scattering over the yard, an extensive and attractive garden border of twisted large branches, and this "nest tree" on the right.

 Mid-way through the pile, I found this old yard offering. The tree was still green from an artificial dye. It also had around 100 bendy branches that could not be snapped off, had to be clipped. I have a dead cypress in the yard, I've not yet removed. How funny to wedge this green dyed dead Christmas tree into the cypress' branches, making it look alive (and saving me a lot of tedious branch cutting).
 Before long I had an entire pile of bendy brush that would be hard to break down. Yep, I wove everything into the nest tree. Here's a detail. It has way more brush in there than it appears in these photos....way more.

I should mention that I almost hoard rotting wood. I really enjoy having it around, and even messing with the pile, digging through and finding the various stages of decomposition. Finding various fungus growth. The urge to build with it is strong too. I had to restrain myself from leaning the larger limbs onto other trees and building things. I would love to be able to engage in strenuous puttering like this all the time.

Latest Work

So....I've been messing around with these sculpted surfaces, and today veered into a new direction, within this new direction. I'm experiencing an affinity for tin foil that's not really about the art politics/policy of using tin foil at all. It's working for me materially in a way that's very similar to paint, plus optically, it's off the charts, in terms of eye bang.

I wouldn't classify this new work as New Casualist or slacker abstraction (I believe this was coined by MAH), because I am still wrestling with finding or creating a sound, ringing resolution. Still, I must acknowledge that those influences helped me pass through some materials and handling barriers, with relative ease.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Trojan Warrior - Day 4

I'm calling it. I'll top coat tomorrow and install on Tuesday, and paint more flying debris on the actual wall. Today was difficult. I did not gear up mentally, because painting the debris seemed pretty straightforward, with little problem solving. So I tried to do it on auto-pilot, and became impatient. Also, I noticed neighbors across the street moving, and I had to keep looking out the window, spying. That house is problematic to the neighborhood, and has been for years. It keeps getting rented to new versions of the previous people, which is an interesting idea for a movie, but sucks when it's real. Then someone gets arrested, and the house sits empty for a while, which is actually good. This last incarnation of "1659 Dwellers" were tolerable. Yep, hard to stay focused today.

I may document the installation, in "how to" steps.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Trojan Warrior - Day 3

I spent about an hour this morning finding and photoshopping a cross for the shield, then received an email from my client with a specific image. Not a big deal to change it. I get really lazy about finding the fastest solutions, at least with these commissioned works. I was going to use this shield:

And was even pondering this:

As I said, left unprodded, I get lazy.

Re the above current state of the mural, I'm happy. There are still drawing issues, hand issues, etc. but I can live with it. I'm really excited about the freaking light hitting form thing. I forget until I do this representational work, just how amazing it is to depict light hitting form, with paint. Also, I dispise high contrast and hard edges, and yet I had to go there with this one. You can't paint metallic without high contrast and hard edges.
It was good to have to deal with that. No wonder artists still spend their entire lives painting realistic paintings. It's an endless field of discovery.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spartan Warrior - Day 2

I got a late start today, and then could only work in 1 to 1 1/2 hour spurts, with 1/2 breaks. Still, I pretty much got the face and headpiece done, the the arm worked out. This makes me want to spend time learning to paint faces and the figure. I approached the metallic surface with a very loose and intuitive method. That was fun, and again, it makes me want to spend more time learning techniques.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How To Paint a Spartan Warrior - Day One

Download source images, prep canvas, make drawing and transfer. 

Establish values and shape with a tonal wash.

Figure out the foreshortening that you should have done in Step 1, but didn't have an image for.

Add some color, call it a day.