Jan 30 2010

Illustration Friday – Focused (Moon Over Bourbon Street – #6)

I have stood many times outside her window at night
To struggle with my instinct in the pale moon light
How could I be this way when I pray to God above
I must love what I destroy and destroy the thing I love
Oh you’ll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet
While there’s a moon over Bourbon Street

This week the Illustration Friday topic is Focused. This is my take on it. I’ve been wanting to do this piece for a long time (one based on the Sting song Moon Over Bourbon Street). In case if you are unfamiliar with the song, Sting wrote it based on Anne Rice’s book Interview With A Vampire.
He also said this:
“Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with the Vampire’ was the direct inspiration for this song, but there was a moonlit night in the French Quarter of New Orleans where I had the distinct impression that I was being followed.”


I really like how this one came out. It’s all digital, about 7″x9″. I’ve had so many images from this song that I wanted to do, but always came back to the part where he’s outside the window.

Photo credits:
VampireMartin Walls
Woman – headoshinn reid
Woman bodysundeip arora
HouseLena Pautina
Texture 1Andrew C.
Texture 2Stephen Eastop
TreesAndrew Dubock

Jan 26 2010

Illustration Friday – Clumsy (#5)

So there’s this cool website called Illustration Friday -

Illustration Friday is a weekly illustration challenge. A topic is posted every Friday and then participants have all week to come up with their own interpretation.

Basically a one word topic is picked, and then artists come up with pieces based on the theme. This week’s theme is clumsy. I looked up the online definition of clumsy, and one of the definitions was awkwardly constructed, so I came up with the above concept. It’s an all digital piece.

Photo credits:
CloudsDimitri Castrique
Lower buildingBen C
Mid buildingJames Priestley
Top buildingMiroslav Kostic
SteepleVladimir Fofanov
TextureAndrew C.

Jan 24 2010

Breckenridge Sunset #4

I started out working on a digital painting for #4. But I got the urge to paint with acrylics, and this is the result. The finished painting is about 4.5″ x 9.75″. I scanned it in – the colors are slightly off from the painting, but are pretty close to the painted version. It’s based on a photo I took on a day trip last summer to Breckenridge, Colorado – about two hours from our house.

Here’s the original photo I worked from:

It’s good to be able to have options – digital or traditional. I started cleaning my old technical pens after seeing some nice pen and ink illustrations this week. I used to do pen and ink pointillism pieces, so I might work on one of those (if the pens still work!) coming up.

Jan 22 2010

Five cool artist blogs

It’s been so long since I really investigated anything in the art world, other than buying the occasional art magazine when the muse would hit me. But since starting this blog and working on pieces, I’ve discovered so many great artist blogs. Here are my current favorite Top 5, in no particular order…

1. Haunted Nonsense – The Experimental Memorandums of J.E. Larson. I don’t remember how I stumbled across this blog (actually I think I saw him on redbubble.com, but I think his illustrations are fantastic.

2. Studio M.M.E. Blog – Personal Blog of Author and Artist Megan M. Eckman. I think I found her blog in a crazy, random way through a search of Edward Gorey. Lots of great info, beautiful illustrations, and helpful tips. I expect to visit this site a lot!

3. Red Red Day – I think I ran across this on a search of daily painting, on a blogroll of another site. I really enjoy her work and writing style. Very honest and real.

4. Hey Yourself – My Journey Into Illustrationdom! - Funny blog about an art/grade school teacher who is working on becoming a children’s book illustrator and writer.

5. Contemplating The Moon – The Art Journal of Bridgette Guerzon Mills. Just a really good read. Some very nice pieces, and she talks about fitting in art into the rest of your life.

As for my progress, I’m ahead of schedule – believe it or not! This is technically week 3, and I finished the third piece on Monday. I’m working on piece #4 right now, which isn’t based on any song, but is going to be an all digital work I believe.

Jan 19 2010

Tea in the Sahara #3

Please don’t ask us why
Beneath the sheltering sky
We have this strange obsession
You have the means in your possession

Who knew Sting could be such an inspiration? I’ve wanted to do a piece on Tea in the Sahara for awhile – actually a lot of Sting’s/The Police’s songs. The lyrics have always had such a great imagery for me. This song and album take me back to one (if not the first) albums I ever bought. I remember listening to it on my Montgomery Wards record player/stereo over and over.

This piece is a bit of an allusion to some of my pieces from college. One of my professors mentioned to me that my imagery looked a lot like the movie The Sheltering Sky, and recommended that I see it. I watched it, and it was similar. Ironically, the inspiration and part of the lyrics for Tea in the Sahara are from the novel The Sheltering Sky. But my inspiration for my desert images at that time came from a completely different place. I was having recurring nightmares about the desert, as I was concerned that I was going to be called up to go to Desert Storm at the time (I was in the Army National Guard). Luckily that didn’t happen. Another bit of this piece is inspired by the movie The English Patient, and maybe a bit of The Little Prince.

I like how this piece turned out. It’s kind of got a dreamlike quality, which I get when I listen to the song. I did most of it in Photoshop, and painted over the top of it. I’m really liking this method of creating pieces. I may do an all paint piece coming up, but I have so many ideas going right now, it’s faster to create in Photoshop.

Photo credits (these photos are from a very cool free stock photo site called Stock.XCHNG – anyone interested in what the original photos looked like can click on the links in front of the credits…thank you for the great photo inspirations!

Tea setJohn Boyer - “Sailor John”
SistersH Assaf - “ortonesque”
PlaneKatarzyna LipiƄska - “ckgd2″
Deserttijmen van dobbenburgh - “tijmen

Sky – Me

Jan 14 2010

Piece #2 complete

And if I built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire

As I was getting ready for work, the Sting song “Fortress Around Your Heart” popped into my head, as did an image for a painting. The image I had in my head was nothing like this final work, but sometimes they just evolve.

My post about digital painting the other day got me to thinking about how I create my art. I don’t think I need to paint with paints every single time. This piece is a multi-media work. I created most of it in Photoshop, and then painted over the top with acrylics. When I started working on it, I was just going to lay it out in Photoshop and then paint it. But it started to take on a life of it’s own. I’ve been reading a lot of art blogs lately, and I really like the work of Bridgette Guerzon Mills. So I decided to see how it would turn out if I painted over the top of a Photoshop composited piece. I’m extremely happy with the result. I’m also considering doing a series based on the album this song comes from, Dream of the Blue Turtles. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time, and comes from a time in high school when I was really into my artwork. I think it’s important to find something that inspires you, and for me music and art have always gone hand in hand.

This is exactly what I want to be doing.

Jan 12 2010

Flotsam and jetsam

The other day I was looking through an old sketchbook of my grandma’s, and I found a wee little oil painting tucked away inside. It was a still life of a vase of flowers that she had created – about a 3″x5″ piece. It made me think about all of the art pieces I’ve lugged around from move to move since college. A lot of them are in a huge monstrosity of a portfolio that features a not-so-convenient handle on one side only. After a few moves my brother-in-law Paul would refuse to carry it, as it weighs a ton. Some of my larger work is in wrapped in plastic with duct tape, which has held up remarkably well during each move. A few more are in heavy-duty paper envelopes.

What I was mainly thinking about was what would happen to those pieces after I die. Not morbidly thinking about death, but curious as to the future burden I might be passing to my kids. I’ve got a few of my grandma’s paintings and art books – not sure what happened to all the rest. I’m sure my mom and aunt have a lot. I’d always hung on to all of my work, with delusions of grandeur that I would someday be as famous as Picasso and every piece within would be worth thousands, if not millions! (Hey, I guess I still kind of have that dream, but it’s probably more that I am a packrat.)

So…what to do about all of these pieces? I was looking through them a few weeks ago, and found several that I still like that were quite good. Others that looked to be a rush for a school project deadline. What I need to do with them is get them into some sort of decent storage system. Kind of like a flat file storage I’m thinking. I then would probably like to start digitally archiving them, and post them on here. I think I could probably sell some of them, but it’s weird to think of selling something that I’ve had for so long. For some reason the longer I’ve had something, the harder it is to let go.

That wee little painting I found? I gave it to my five year old daughter, a great artist in the making. She put it up in her room on her art carousel container. I’ll bet her great-grandma is looking down and smiling at that. It’s pretty cool to have something that’s been hidden for so long bring joy.

Jan 11 2010

Digital painting

(This is not a digital painting)
The above picture is a piece I did using an airbrush and some colored pencils. Probably one of my favorite pieces ever.

Digital painting. I don’t know why I always forget this option when I think of creating a painting. A lot of what I want to do, or the look I should say, can be done in Photoshop. I went to college for traditional illustration – before there really was a viable electronic option to creating art. My main area of study was airbrush. Not the cheesy t-shirt type of airbrushing, but using the airbrush as it could create the most realistic artwork at the time. Since Photoshop, Painter, and other digital art programs came out, the work of the airbrush can be easily and quickly duplicated using the computer. No more masks to cut, paints to change, etc. I’ll never forget what an instructor told me in 1996 – which now seems ages ago, but had a profound impact on my future art career. I was showing him my portfolio of illustrations, as I was getting into some computer classes at a community college in order to learn Illustrator, Photoshop, and Quark XPress. He said, “These are great, but I can do these in less time on the computer, and if I make a mistake, I can easily correct it.” If I were entering college today, I would probably be emphasizing in some sort of digital illustration/painting (or I would go into something a little more lucrative…).

I think I might try doing some digital paintings/artworks as a part of my 52. I’ve done them before, but had forgotten how much I enjoy the end result. But nothing beats using a real brush and real paints, so I don’t know how much I’ll do of it. I’ve started messing around with the Teddy Bear Picnic in Photoshop – it might be the perfect candidate for a digital painting. The digital pieces will also be good for when I’m traveling.

I’m digging a lot of the stuff on deviantART, like this one, which is a digital painting:

Ancient God by *Wdpk on deviantART

Jan 10 2010

One down…

Well…I finished Painting One. The photo’s color is a little off, but is pretty close to what the painting looks like. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I tried to not work as tight as I normally would, which is hard for me to do. This week I’m in a pretty good spot, since I completed so much on the Cripple Creek painting. It felt really good to get back into the swing of it.

Jan 8 2010

Well it’s a half past four and I’m shiftin’ gears

I’ve come to the realization that the original Painting One is not going to get done this week. It’s too big, and I started too late in the week, due to a travel week and a bit of laziness on my part. So, it is going to be finished next week as Painting Two. But…I am still going to finish a painting this week. The new Painting One is something I’m going to knock out in the next day. I worked on the idea tonight. I’ll be working on a smaller canvas, and there’s not a lot of detail. But I think it’s going to be a nice piece. It’s kind of mysterious and dark. A little more “me” I think. This is what happens when I am working on a piece I’m not totally sold on. It’s not that I don’t like the Cripple Creek painting, but it’s just not inspiring me right now. I’ve got a feeling this might happen a lot, but it’s all a part of the process.