Monday, October 29, 2012

Past Work 4

watercolor on hot pressed illus. board
9.25" x 8.75" (23.495cm x 22.225cm)

A slight break from the previous celebrity portrait/caricature posts, this watercolor was done during the same period.

This was when I was experimenting heavily with watercolor on different substrates, exploring their various surface characteristics.
I tried watercolor boards, cold and hot press illustration board, kid finish (paper) fixed to board and some others, eventually arriving at a really slick surface, one that requires great patience in the early stages of building up the surface but gives the work the same kind of depth and richness of oil painting.

Although this painting has a traditional watercolor finish or look to it the surface and working methods used was not. This was after buying Burt Silverman's book "Breaking the Rules of Watercolor" which was both an epiphany and has had a lasting impact on my own work, especially in my less traditional watercolor technique like these here, here and here.

It is a way that invites working the medium back and forth, breaking down the surface then building it back up, a method that generally goes against the more traditional approach of additive (only) painting, applying washes from light to dark, building up the painting in a straight forward manner.
It is a more physical approach, scrubbing and wiping areas out then repainting, really taking advantage of the solubility of watercolor.
Lights and even whites can be brought back from dark passages, unlike traditional watercolor paper, which allows greater freedom to aggressively push paint around, never having to worry about holding back and preserving the white of the paper or the hassle of masking fluids.

While an art student I had instructors who taught the same kind of mentality, one that suits my temperament better. I no longer had to work in that kind of 'point A to point B' manner which is far too easy to screw up when you suddenly realize, half way through, you have gotten too dark, have the wrong color or temperature or want to completely remove some defeating element.

I can go forward, backward, sideways... it does not matter, there is no fear so it is a much more liberating way to work and it is certainly much more fun.

Incidentally, it also helps when I do paint using traditional methods and surfaces which I still enjoy as well, like this one here and here and "Union Pacific 8381".193

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Past Work 3

"Billy Idol"
mixed media on illus. board
13" x 11.5" (33.02cm x 29.21cm)

Number 3 in these past work posts, another experimental piece.

There is a lot I don't like here besides its unfinished state. The whole right side never got resolved. That's OK though. Sometimes it serves as a record of some exploratory technique and quitting on it early is better than killing it with overworking. And maybe that rawness is what I want to remember ...other times it is one area of the work I want to preserve, something new I learned, if I got that out of it that is enough.

That having been said I may decide to 'finish' the right side, if I can do so without spoiling the rest.
The harsh cast and core shadows were intentional (experimental) and lend themselves well to his persona if you know anything about him. Normally a more refined shadow transition would be better but then again this is a stylized portrait.192

Click on image for larger view

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Past Work 2

"Murphy's Law"
mixed media on illus. board
9.5" x 9.5" (24.13cm x 24.13cm)

Here is another past experimental piece done at the same time as the previous post.
This one is gouache, ink and acrylic paint.

The difference in this one from the previous is the acrylic paint. Part of the experimentation was beginning with the gouache and ink then finishing with another medium, just seeing what I could do.
My experimental work is often left in an unfinished state or is not refined so as to not lose the freshness of the process, allowing me to easily see the steps, and is more akin to drawing than painting.
Having fun, no pressure.191

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Past Work 1

"Pee Wee Herman"
mixed media on illus. board
9.5" x 9.5" (24.13cm x 24.13cm)

Since I am continuing on a new body of work I thought I would show some past art over the next couple of posts.
Here's an experimental piece I did a few years ago, a caricature of Pee Wee Herman. Done in gouache, ink and colored pencil. It's not a perfect likeness but I was more concerned with seeing what I could do with the medium instead of getting hung up on the portrayal.
I often don't sign and date experimental work since it is not meant for sale or publishing but something I will probably do in the future since I can't remember the exact year I did this one.

The fun part of doing experimental work is to let go of any methods, palettes, styles etc. that I usually use and just see what I can do. This always has the extra benefit of feeding my (usual) work, even if in small incremental ways.190

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fire Pit

"Fire Pit #1"
oil on panel, 2012
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Fire is always mezmerizing. It is organic. You can see it but not touch it. It is alive.
I like the idea of it being contained within an unseen pit, the clean edge of the ellipse. Flaming against the blackness but controlled.

This painting needed a lot of inventing of the fire itself, designing the flames to read like fire as we think of it from so many illustrations and graphics. The classic flame design more than a photographic depiction.
This made it fun to play the soft organic lines and shapes of fire against the harder edges of pit and burning wood.189

Click on image for larger view