Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beta Bird

4' x 2'
oil, acrylic, and vellum on wood

This painting is comprised of easily over 8 detailed layers.

I started off letting the patterns in the wood inspire me. I think of it as a way to alter the existing organic patterns in the wood.
I know the wood is already altered because it is compressed into this board to sell to consumers.
My first layer is usually organic imagery.

My second layer is usually more methodical in an effort to contain and compartmentalize the organic layer (nature).
I usually do this by painting white stripes. I use the color white to show that the contrived layer (man) is trying to take over and create a new clean sanitized controlled space. It it the construction layer, the structure to be built upon.

The next layer is a layer of white to continue covering the organic space and building on the man made structure. However, I usually like to leave behind evidence of each layer so the viewer can easily dive into the layers of the piece to reconstruct it.
Then to mimic what happens in the real world, I start to let the organic imagery(nature) creep back onto the contrived structures. This time the organic imagery is usually a little more contrived because it has a fresh unnatural underlying structure to grow on.

And more organic imagery, as nature starts to take over and obliterate the structure like roots taking over an abandoned building.

Then more linear imagery to push back on nature.

Purple stripes to create a more inviting space while still creating a controlled environment..

I turned the painting upside down because I felt the forms were stronger and more believable.

This is the last documented picture of the process until I was almost done painting the bird, because at some point I couldn't help but get sucked into the world I was creating.

I put blue around the forms in a very flat solid application, but after I was done doing that they seemed too stuff. So further into the process I made the space inside the blue borders less clear to give each flower form more of its own atmosphere. I also did that to give the forms more movement to make them feel more alive, so they didn't look so static.

I hope this post gives you insight into how a piece of art can be made. There are countless approaches, and even more decisions to be made throughout the creative process, and these were mine.

**edit** I just posted an 8" x 17" inch print of Beta Bird on Etsy for $35. http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=31029575

Monday, September 14, 2009

smART show Recap

I had a really good weekend at the Wicker Park smART show! I brought way too much art with me, but luckily there was enough space to put all the work up since I curated my space salon style.

There was more work, but I was generously given two more spaces to hang my work.

I also had a 3 shelf makeshift table with lots of prints.

This was my first year doing the smART show so I was tucked away in a corner out of the way, but we got good traffic anyway.

The best part of the show was meeting 3 really cool people who I shared the space with.
Laura Etheredge http://www.lauraetheredge.com who does super detailed drawings with black microns that take not 40, not 50, not 60, but 70 hours to complete in some cases. (her bigger pieces) and Justin Urso http://jzuphotography.com who showed some amazing photographs that transported the viewer to Japan, where the series he displayed were taken. So check them out!

I was invited to do first Fridays at the Flat Iron Building on 1579 N Milwaukee and I will be there along with Justin and Laura, so come see us, we are funny, just listen for the laughter!

In other news, I just posted my first print on Etsy www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=30844412

and I was featured in Wicker Park's e-newsletter Pipeline!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hand Painted Business Cards

I made some hand painted business cards for a show I had. I was going through my pictures and thought they were good enough to post, so here they are.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Digital Detail

I am working on 2 digital pieces for my show. This is #2
My computer froze once after working on a lot of the hair!!! I am learning to save every other minute!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

4 Growth Spurts

I have been working on 3 different pieces all day... here is a few spurts of progress on one of them.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm In Love

I decided to put Chicago's skyline in the painting. I was so overwhelmed by all the directions this style could go in when I started I had a hard time focusing. Now I have a direction. And away I go.


After working on it a little more the next morning.


with digital painting.... !!!! I have been working on this all night, and I have to go to bed because I have to work tomorrow morning, but I don't want to stop

but I have to.

This is in progress (of course) and I will post new version tomorrow night.
The image of the girl is from a figure drawing session I went to the other day. (Check earlier post)

I feel like I can really go layer crazy with this new style... SO EXCITED!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting Ready For The smART Show

I am going to be in the annual smART Show at the flatiron building September 11-13!

Here is a peek at what I am working on.
I predict they will transform quite a bit over the next two weeks. I am excited to see what will become of them!

I am working in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and marker on almost all of them.
I have a definite color theme going, consisting of mainly pinks infected with some limey greens.

***EDIT*** 8/30/09

I am really seeing these paintings in a new light since I have been doing more digital painting. I think painting in photoshop really allows me to bring my ideas to life quickly without worrying about messing the painting up. This allows me to appropriate the successful digital techniques into my traditional work!
I think combining digital and traditional media exemplifies the struggle between the organic and linear imagery in my work.

Here is the latest progress...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Digital Live Figure Drawings

I was so excited to go to a figure drawing session with my tablet! The buses were all sorta crazy so I missed the fast gesture drawings, but I got to draw/paint 3 poses. The model was really awesome too.

5 minute pose

10 minute pose

Long pose, I think it was anywhere from 45-60 minutes

I toyed with the idea of doing this in color, but decided to stick with black and white.
It took me a bit to adjust all the variables; brush size, opacity, flow, canvas size... and so on
At first I started blocking out the pose with white, then I erased with a lower opacity to expose the background color.

For the last drawing I stopped using the eraser and just used the paintbrush at a lower opacity and flow. Next week I am going to go back and start with a darker background and a better strategy and see how I improve. I am going to watch some time lapse digital paintings on you tube to get some pointers on my digital painting technique.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Digital Painting #2 WIP

I am back from a week away from home. I started my second digital painting today. The last digital painting was done using Painter 11 and this one was done using Photoshop. I'm really having a good time with this new digital painting. Its so forgiving and the tablet is very natural to use. I still love my tangible mediums though.

I'm headed back to a more narrative way of painting while exploring lighting.
I am going to be editing this post as I work on this image to add the most recent version.

So I am addicted and can't stop working on this, but alas I have to get up early tomorrow so here is where I leave it for the night! Aug. 21st 2009


Under the waterfall I am starting to work in some stained glass architecture.
I think taking out the grass gave me a lot more room to get creative so the image didn't have to be stuck on the ground.
I wish I could work on it more tonight, but I have to work tomorrow. I am really addicted....

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Digital Painting

Early morning train ride to Michigan. A four hour train ride turned into 8 hours. We had to go 15 mph for 2 1/2 hours because of flash flood warnings. So I took out my newly acquired Intuos 4 tablet and gave it a whirl. I decided to draw from life and there was a guy sitting one seat across and one seat down from me that looked like Alfred Hitchcock. So I started my first digital drawing.... he ended up moving after about 10 minutes to the seat next to the window and put his blindfold on and fell asleep.

Friday, August 14, 2009

WIP's for Sept. show

I have a show coming up Sept. 11-13 at the Flat Iron Building. For details go here: http://www.smartshow.org/

Here are a few of the paintings I have been working on for the show.

This one is only a few days in the making and has tons more transformations to go through. I am figuring this one out as I go...

Ink, watercolor and a bit of acrylic and micron. Also needs a lot more work... but I like it a lot so far...

Downtown Chicago Condo Murals

So I have a big mural/faux finishing job coming up in September. She is quite a lovely lady. She didn't think she was being very clear with what she wanted but luckily vines, roots and organic imagery is right up my alley!

Here are some small little watercolor sketches I have been doing to prepare.

My idea for the closet doors in her bedroom. There are two sets of bi-fold doors on either side of a mirror. Her carpet it cheetah print! I painted this as one solid image and split it up in photoshop. Now I think I need to take the mirror in the middle into account when making the half circle. It seems awkward to me now. I'm working on an updated design now.
p.s. I also hid some feline shapes in this image.

***edit* 8/24/09***

Digital Sketch for the closet mural. Colors may vary depending on screen.
The bottom won't be quite so digital I am going to fade the look of the cheetah print carpet into the bottom. Also the gray divider in the middle is the mirror.

I'm going to take elements of this image and appropriate it into the final bedroom closet doors mural. The rope looking design on the top just happens to match her crown molding.

This one is for the kitchen. I am also going to split this image into 1'x1' squares and make it look like ceramic tiles.

I made this one as an alternate possibility for the kitchen. She loves the way I did the grass so I incorporated it into the closet mural.

I am also going to be doing some faux finishing on a 128 sq. ft. wall in her living room, a wall in her bedroom, and the crown molding in her bedroom, living, and dining room.
I'll post WIP's of the job.