I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to see some more tiny people. It’s been a year since I completed my last painting Undaunted Courage, and I’ve spent the time since working on my animal silhouette series. I’m happy with the way things are going, but I miss the figures, I really do.
So, how bout it? Wanna see me get back to people – the drawings and oil paintings? This week I launched my campaign to start a new oil series about literature. I figured since I ended on books, why not start back up with the same theme? Instead of painting random people, though, my new pieces will be focused on some of the most famous characters in all of literature.
- Jane Eyre
- Holden Caulfield
- Sherlock Holmes
- Captain Ahab
- Don Quixote
- Atticus Finch
There are really too many to count, and I hope I get to paint a lot of them. BUT, I need some help. I can’t get back to painting unless my funding goal is reached. That’s the great thing about Kickstarter.com. After you help out by pledging, you get something as a reward. There are different levels, from just a few dollars, up to high amounts that get you things like original artwork.
So, if you’ve enjoyed my artwork in the past and have the time and means to chip in, please do so. Like I said before, I can’t do this project unless I reach the goal. I’m ready to get my sketches going again and break out the turps and oils!
Here is my newest painting, two bears catching their dinner in a waterfall.
Since I moved to Virginia, I’ve been able to go hiking a handful of times. On one of those trips we almost stumbled across a brown bear. Some hikers in front of us had seen the bear walking across the street so we all grouped together, waited a few minutes, then cautiously continued on the path. I have plenty of respect for this large animal.
I received a request from an old friend to paint longhorns so that’s exactly what I did. My Alma mater, the University of Texas, instilled quite a bit of pride for me within these calm animals. I’m not a cowboy, and I never rode horses to school, but I did see this scene all the time growing up in Texas – sans the tornado of course. Everywhere we drove there were flat fields with either cows, goats, horses, or some other kind of four legged animal. And although tornadoes were a constant threat, I never saw one in person. Burnt orange Texas Longhorns – Hook ‘em!
This is the second dog I’ve painted in my animal series. Pugs, like dachshunds, have a pretty hardcore following. This one, in particular, was inspired by a little guy named Hubert. However, as I found out later, his personality is the opposite of what I’ve shown – tidy and organized. I continue to find myself learning a lot about each animal that I paint.
I started thinking about this yesterday. If I could ask one person to reveal their artistic secrets and knowledge, who would it be? I realized that I wouldn’t ask any of my favorite painters – no Sargent, no Gerome, no Bougereau. I think that I’m always in search of learning new skills, and I’ve always been amazed by classical musicians.
So, as I was thinking along those lines, I’d have to say I would ask John Williams, the great movie composer. Knowing very little about the fundamentals of music composition, I still think music is organized and created much in the same way art is. My questions to him would include ideas around structure, repetition, tone, themes, priority of melody, etc. There are talented composers making music right now, but he is still the most consistent and strongest one that I know.
Superman, Jaws, Star Wars, Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, ET, Home Alone, Indiana Jones…just goes on and on.
I listen to movie scores like I look at art. I feel complete when I look at a “masterpiece”, and I want to know why and how.
Zeppelins, blimps, dirigibles, or whatever you want to call them, fascinate me in the same way the Titanic always has. They conjure up old-timey images that I’ve only seen in movies and photos. I even made a painting in college with myself in a newsboy outfit standing on a shipyard in front of a bunch of flying blimps. They have the sense of being both innovative and vintage at the same time.
I really enjoyed coming up with the concept for this new painting. I knew that I wanted to design it around a cloud theme. I included a few birds in the Moose painting prior to this one, and I needed to add something unique. I imagined a flock of birds emerging from a giant cloud formation with a large blimp slowly following. The contrast in size is an interesting visual.
You can check out the painting and some of the closeups here.
I’m still at the early stages of my new business so I have quite a long to-do list. I’ve posted prints of most of my silhouette paintings to the store already, but as of now they have been somewhat naked in their presentation. I’ve reached the point of staging – arranging the framed prints in a way that’s much more appealing than laying them on an empty table.
I used to be a pack rat in my earlier days, but once I moved away from home I turned into the opposite monster. I don’t like keeping souvenirs or knickknacks because they become a hassle in the long run, especially on moving days. Therefore, when it came time to make my prints look presentable, I found it difficult to find objects to put next to the prints. After a little detective work and creativity I think the arrangements, so far, have turned out well.
Most of my past jobs have been frame shop related. I’ve had to mass produce them, assemble them, and ship them. I’ve had to custom mat and frame prints over and over. It is an extremely useful skill to have, but I always dread coming back to it when I have to. Thank goodness the end result is so worthwhile. A framed piece of artwork feels clean and special. It’s one of the small joys in life that makes me feel complete. I’m sure this will be an evolving process now that I’ve started. Go take a look at the other arrangements I’ve made so far.
It takes quite a long time, from my experience anyway, to recognize the subtle features in a face. Most people can differentiate between two people, but they may not be able to explain what’s different, or what makes that person stand out. I’ve trained myself to identify teeny tiny parts in a face like the length of the space between the upper lip and nose or the type of eyelid a person has. I can’t explain enough the importance of placing facial features in the right spot when drawing people. I have had drawings go from looking like weird, mutated subhumans to life-like representations because one line was shifted a few millimeters over.
This article explains a recent study into how the features of a face correlate to the amount of testosterone during a pregnancy and the ratio of length between fingers. Now, I need to point out, especially after reading the comments posted below the article, that this study does not explain the “manliness” of a male’s personality, but the look of his face. “Manliness” is described simply as having a robust face.
I’m not here to comment on the scientific accuracy of the study (although I’m not disputing its claim). I found this article fascinating because of the process of human development and the aspects of art that attract me, and so many others, to drawing and painting the human figure.
I just finished up a commissioned moose piece using a beautiful green color. Just a note – I’ve done quite a few of these animal silhouettes now, and one of the best aspects of working on them is the knowledge I gain while doing the research. The only moose I recall seeing during my life is Bullwinkle, but after gathering photos for this painting I discovered all of the subtleties of this creature.
Just as I began to skim the surface, I learned that there are two types of moose – cow (female) and bull (male). My moose is a bull moose as indicated by its large and intricate antlers. I can’t tell you how many times I redrew the antlers in an attempt to get them to look authentic. Mother Nature definitely went bold when it decided to give us this animal.
Here is the painting for sale at my store. You can also learn more about the moose here.
I used to believe that it was safe to be in the basement during tornadoes because tornadoes didn’t have legs to walk down the stairs.
I found this website the other day called iusedtobelieve.com. It’s a treasure trove of quirky ideas that adults used to believe as kids. There are so many different subjects to look through like “outer space, body parts, and toilets.” Some are funny- some sad. One word that I would use to describe all of them is – honest. As adults, we are constantly trying to cover our faults and pretend we know more than we do. This site reminds me that it’s ok to be honest in our lack of knowledge because sometimes it’s fun to create answers to questions we don’t know.
When I was little my dad told me when ever it thundered it was my Grandma bowling a strike.
I used to think that when people talked about the stock market crashing, they said sock market, and that everyone had to wear old socks with holes in them because they couldn’t buy new ones.
I used to believe that every day tiny little people, with tiny suits and breifcases and costumes, came to my house to work in the TV.