May 24th, 2008
Well.. here's the first shot of me beginning this work, even though this would be a few days old.
Just to give myself an idea of where everything will be going, I start the piece in watercolor.. I do the background and then put down some colors for the butterfly itself. Once everything's nicely dry (about a day or two) I start stippling mostly the black for now, but there are other colors coming into play also.
With stippling you can run one color over the other and the human eye does a wonderful job of filling in the blanks. Course, having the watercolor there really helps too.
A little "history" here.. I first learned about stippling when I was working in the advertising department of a local company. I was a really adept cross-hatcher but the problem with that was it didn't reproduce very well in the newspaper. It would get a little blobby.. so I was told about stipple and thought I'd try my hand at it.
Around the same time, a friend asked me if I'd ever done any art for silkscreening (t-shirts and such).. I told him no, but I was willing to try. And that was where I REALLY learned about stipple. At the time, I could only use 6 colors.. I did my own transparencies in stipple.. one sheet for each color.. and it was labor intensive. But some of the designs were pretty good (course it's been over 20 years and I don't think I have any of those lying around.. but I'll check).
At any rate, in black and white you can get some wonderful, soft textures and in color.. they just blend beautifully.
If you would like to see the entire sequence of pieces, including the finished one, please go to the "Ink" group discussion about the blue butterfly.. and thanks for looking and reading.
March 18th, 2008
Funny how the space we work in becomes so precious, especially if you actually HAVE a space you can call your own. My little studio is approx. 64 sq. feet.. but it's ALL MINE!! In it there is my music CD's (over 700 now) and the CD player that holds 400 of the little buggers.. and the headphones - cordless - on top of that. There is something so peaceful about working in your own space.. headphones on.. pencil/brush in hand.. just whiling away the hours.
The music, like the media.. changes with the moods. I have recently discovered that I like smooth jazz - never used to.. learn something new every day huh..
I have, in my studio - colored pencils (Derwent, Prismacolor, Lyra, Faber-Castell and Brynzeel), pastels (soft pastel sticks, Derwent pastel pencils and Conte pastel pencils), transparent and opaque watercolors, assorted graphite pencils and a little charcoal.
Papers, pads, boards and anything flat that looks interesting.
Amazing what you can fit into such a small space.. but you will notice one thing that missing... THERE IS NO PHONE!!!
November 16th, 2007
Lately, I've noticed a few "discussions" about FINE ART, HIGH ART and so on. In my humble opinion, does it really matter which it is you do as long as you're enjoying the journey?
I classify my art being collages, portraits etc. as vignettes.. not really complete and never really done. With the portraits, I don't like adding a background - in my mind's eye, that just mucks it up. I want all the attention on the subject - whether that be human or animal doesn't matter. I don't want anything detracting from it. With the collages.. well, it's very hard to put in any kind of background that won't look weird.. so they all end up having this complete/incomplete look to them. Which is what I want.
On rare occasions I actually put in backgrounds (the dachshund series).. but that's mostly because somebody wants it that way. The art I do strictly for myself is more to the point.
It all goes back to a teacher in a commercail art school I attended. He was walking around the room checking on how every one was doing (we were illustrating children's stories). He came by mine and said he was pleased (the background was only partially in). A while later.. he came cruising by again and this time he said "you've ruined it"!! I had "filled" in the background thinking that it would look more "complete" that way. Well. guess what I never do now.. FINISH ANYTHING!!
When I abandon a piece.. it is because I am pleased with it at that point. I know that there is always more I can add.. more detail, more color but why? I rarely go back to change anything and I try very hard to NEVER come back and FINISH it.. and it's all because of that teacher.
On the other hand, I guess that means that I'll never be a "fine" artist.. I'll just be a working artist for the rest of my life, which in the long run is just "fine" with me.
November 3rd, 2007
You get so sidetracked trying to make a point that frequently the original thought is completely lost. So, to that end, I wanted to make a point about how I feel - and this is NOT open for discussion- about art and how I do it. You can call me a copyist or an artist.. doesn't matter. What does matter is that what I see I put down on paper, canvas.. and a variety of other formats. When I'm working on something the most amazing things can happen. I almost feel God-like in the "creative" process. There is a point at which the art seems to take on a life of it's own.. it begins to breath. You can't get that feeling when doing an abstract or a scene. There is only one type of art that happens in, for me, and that's realism in portraits.. nudes, animals.. living, breathing creatures. You can look into a face and see God looking back.. it is a thoroughly addicting feeling.. something that you can never stop doing. I've gotten pounded on a lot for being outspoken.. doesn't mean I'm going to change.. but I have things to accomplish right now and don't really have the time to play..
To those of you who miss me.. I'll be back.. to those of you who wish I would stay gone.. I'll be back.. 11/03/07 I've managed to finish 5 but have a lot more to go.. but, I must share this with you. I have noticed something happening to my art.. not a bad thing. You know how you get into a "zone" where you hear nothing, see nothing but what you're working on? I'm getting there more often with less effort than before and what I'm noticing is that the work has improved even more. I finished a multiple Great Dane and I swear he could walk off the page!! It was so.. almost humbling.. you sometimes look down at your own hands and wonder how in the world is this possible? I'm human.. I'm flawed.. how can this come from me? Anyway.. time to get back into the zone.. have a lot more work staring at me that's got to get done.. later..
November 3rd, 2007
I started working on this commission about a month ago.. seems that it just kept calling me back.
The story is this.. at one of the Ohio zoos, the mating pair of jaguars were successful and momma jag gave birth to 2 healthy cubs.. one male and one female. I don't know the reason why the cubs were separated from their parents (maybe to make them a little more "people" friendly) but the vet took the female home to raise her for a while. She was named Maya and when she reached the age of "destroying" the house, she had to be found a new home.
When that happened, he accompanied her to her new home (another zoo) and was completely broken hearted.. from what he said.. so was she.
At any rate, he contacted me to see if I could do a piece on her. He gave me TONS of reference material from the age of about 4 weeks up to maybe 4-5 months.
It was slow going for a while until I figured out what I needed to do, then it just flowed out of me.
What you see here is only one quarter of the piece but I thought you'd like to see that SHOE.. and little Maya. Ah.. they are so cute when small huh.. but remember.. she will weigh around 130 pounds when full grown but would be able to take down a deer with no problem. So.. a man would be a cake walk..
No matter how cute she or any big cat cub is.. you always have to remember that they are a predator and will always be a predator. You can look.. but you can't touch.. well, not all the time, anyway.
I finished the piece October 15, 2007.. put in a little over 50 hours of work.