Saturday, August 23, 2014

Plein Air Workshop!

Next month as part of the Plein Air Burlington Festival I will be giving a  2-day workshop. Check out their website to register and for more info.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Death of a Hipster

                                                          Death of a Hipster 9 x 12 Oil

The latest painting off the easel and the first still life I've done in a while (no puns pleeeze ;-)) . I started this a while ago, maybe even last year and set it aside and found it while cleaning and decided to finish it. Its in oil on a Ampersand panel.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Judge Parker Process

Here are the pencils and inks for an upcoming JP Sunday strip. We are moving on into the new Neddy storyline and I'm sure longtime readers will enjoy it. It's interesting to go back and draw characters that Baretto drew on his run like Rocky ledge.

I'm sure the snarks and Trolls will not enjoy this run, or just obsess over the female characters breasts--which frankly I just don't get, I mean real boobs are always just a few clicks away on the web. I don't check in on the  the Comics Kingdom site very often, but when I do I see the same sad sack trolls trying to be funny by snarking there. How pathetic these fools are.

For the trolls there is no pleasing, and I would in fact never try to appease them, I hope they are never pleased and become so enraged they drop the strip. That would be too much to hope though. That way better fans, real fans will be able to feel free to comment again. King is aware of the issue and has banned some trolls. I've had some great feedback from a few readers recently, new readers and  who have been following the strip since the 50s! I'm sure most of the readers are above 50, and enjoy reading something that they have followed as a daily routine for decades, there are not many things in the world that you can say that about.

 I also found out that over 10,000 readers read the strip on-line every day, Wow, which is also great. I guess our audience is building daily through the internet. So the trolls on the Comics Kingdom site who come in to hate on the strips every day are not even 1%. They are also cowards. Creators have a public face, these turds don't even have a real name and nothing at risk creatively on a daily basis. These clowns are the worst type of people who like to try and tear down the work of others, and I'm sure they are all excellent at their jobs---world beaters--award winners who all have work pasted up on their mommies fridge. Thekings of industry--if they even have a job. I'm sure they certainly have nothing that fills their life with passion or accomplishment or they would be out there doing it instead of like the trolls they are, peeing on the legs of real creative people. I suppose this is just the result of the internet culture allowing so many messed up people the ability to take these pot-shots from the anonymity of their troll dens. Luckily the fans of almost anything are not like that, but trolls are a troubling sign of our ever growing on-line culture.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Painting Up Hill

 I just completed this painting entitled, Up Hill last night in the studio.  It's 12 x 16 on on a cradled panel from Dick Blick that has a kind of textured surface that was fun to paint on. Below tou can see my first blick-in that I let sit for a day while I I mostly used flast on this a finished this week's worth of Judge parker strips.


I mostly used flats on this to block it in then a red sable and a Kafka No 2 pin striping brush for the rest. I love the Kafka brushes in general and use them a lot because they are great for pulling a line and hold their shape as well as a lot of paint. I love painting this time of day where you get the cool and warms colors mixing into each other. This is coming up the hill to the terminal at 69th street and based on a pic I snapped driving home one day from school a year or so ago.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

More Urban Landscapes

I have been hopping back and forth between doing the Judge and painting this week. It was a good week, maybe the best post school with the new set-up and home. I finished these two paintings this week and have two more on the easel that I hope to finish by early next week.
I always have a camera with me thanks to my iPhone so I always find opportunities for paintings like the abandoned Water ice shop, which is a former Dairy Queen I saw on one of my midnight strolls. I have taken up to walking in the evenings to destress and stretch the legs after being in the studio all day.

I have taken to painting on panel of late and was just down at the Dick Blick in Center City and restocked on panels for the big push I have planed this summer painting wise. I still hope to get back to Plein air painting this coming week.

 I-95 11 x 14 Oil on panel

One of the things I do when driving around is snap pics with my iPhone and this painting based on a very dark and pretty blurry pic I took driving into Philly on I-95, but it had a great composition for a painting when I reviewed it.  There wasn't much detail and it was really dark as the camera was aimed towards the sun but often these snapshots will give me an idea or basis for a painting. So the color on this is made up since the picture had so little as well as detail. I have to say  one of the colors I have come to love is thalo green. It can really add something of a surprise color punch to a painting. Its such a strong color though it can overpower a painting too, like thalo blue. Just a touch can spark up a green though in a surprising way. Its a great way to add a vibrancy without adding white to chalk down the color. To me the biggest hurdle in a landscape is handling the color green--and the human eye can see more shade of green than any other color.

So often I see a great view to paint and its from some vantage point like the middle of the expressway or road where I could never set up to work. My solution then is to just shoot away with my iphone or even video the spot as i pass it and try screen grabs or freeze frames later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Judge Parker Process

Here is a some more  of my comic strip process on the 8-15 JP Sunday that will be coming your way in a month featuring Sam and his long time secretary Gloria, who I get to draw about once a year-year and a half in our time but maybe a few weeks in Parker time.

Above are the pencils and below are the inks. I won't reveal the details of the story but it will change things for sure in the Parkerverse.

One of the things that has changed production wise is I've switched back to using mostly the Hunt 102 for inking instead of the Faber/castle Pitt pens. I love the Pitts much better than the Micron Pigmas, their points are better, but nothing beats the snap of traditional pen nibs. Looking over my collection of original classic strips by Raymond, Prentice and  Williamson recently I just fell in love again with that great master pen-and-ink craftsmanship! JP is probably one of the last places you can really properly apply that set of skills and have it fit handsomely.

At the same time I am still painting away between working on the strip, my painting easel just to my left. My goal is a big fresh body of work by the fall.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Post School Momentum



                                                    Morning on Market Street 9 x 12 Oil


It's been two months since my graduation from the MFA at PAFA and on one hand its seems longer than that and on the other, just a blink of an eye. It seemed longer since I had that much of a break from painting while I was moving home and all that entails, plus a lot of things around the house needed to be dealt with like yard work, which being bluntly honest, I don't like to do. My parents have a green thumb, but not me.

All the month of June was mostly consumed with things that needed to get done and had to get done, which are two very different lists but crossed over into each other making days busy with chores that took me away from the easel. I really only care about the easel. Its all about painting for me at this stage.

It does feel great to not be in school at all, to not be pouring anything into any other cup but mine. I thought I would miss it, but right now I don't, I enjoy being home and rearranging life post academia.

In the past few years I have had many of my friends go through this same transition, from school to the post school life, whatever that might be. In my case the biggest factor for me compared to most is that I still had my "day job" as it were.  I still worked full time on comics and animation while most of my friends didn't have a "before time" in that way and a consistent demand on their creative energies.

I've seen it happen with friends and some of my students that  some hit slumps out of school, some students hit the slump and never recover. Unfortunately that is well over 90% of all art  students it seems. The biggest factor I see is that the momentum of school is what moved them along. Friends, expectations of parents, assignments, teachers, homework, the fantasy of being an artist, the whole ball of energy that school is, and while they were being moved along some never actually had a paddle in the water themselves. School moved them, they did not move themselves. This is maybe the biggest issue coupled with the high price of living, the reality that it takes a lot of $cake$ to even have basic normal living these days. The demand to feed the rent monster and the school loan monster also just take many out of the game.

So, in the weeks following graduation that turn into months and eventually years many never learned to paddle the currents on the river of ART themselves and just get stuck,  stagnant or even sink, some to the demands of life and debt. Some students also loose their way a bit, some loose their voice or realize they were really speaking with the voice of another, likely a teacher. Strong and dynamic teachers are great, but they can also dominate weaker artists in a way that shuts up their own instincts. Also like a prisoner looked away from the illusion of freedom, the real and brutal reality at times of real freedom can whack many students off course. Some recover, get their shit in order, get a map and go, and some again, pull up to the edge and get out. Some keep racing along and never stop, they break the tape and keep going past school into the freedom and wilderness of the post art school life.

                                               Abandoned Brandywine 9 x 12 Oil on panel

That's the type of artist I am or want to be, just keep the oar in the water and going, don't break or stop. I have a set of goals that I have been working on and going over even when I am doing things like cutting shrubbery and giant limbs that have fallen from recent storms, going through old paintings and supplies and tossing junk.

I think every artist should have sort term and long terms goals and checkpoints and be willing to adjust short term goals to reach long term ones. I have been studying the art market since the early 90's and tracking the work and careers of todays top figuative and landscape paintres from Lipking to WU to artist like Kanevsky and more, and building a national list of galleries I will be shopping my work to.

Its a big exhaustive job to try and research a gallery, look at the artists they rep, and get info on the owners, gallery managers and see if they are worth the effort to approach.  I have built a decent list and have my top five galleries I would like to be in and work my way up to. At the same time I look at it as a marriage of a sort, do our values match, are we attracted to each other, is there a real honesty there. I also want to move my work beyond the sometimes insular and stagnant Philly market where sales are tough. I figure I need to be in at least 3 mid-level galleries beyond Philly to start an see where that goes. There are a lot of factors you can't control, and some call it luck, but I think fortune favors the prepared so you have to position yourself to catch and luck that is passing by or created by a chain of events YOU start. It start though by having the work in quality and to be honest in quantity as well. I can't change my station with low output of work.
                                                      Paseo de los suenos 11.5 x 13.5 oil
In the past few weeks I have also started painting again and playing around some and enjoying myself. I want to continue the plein air and landscapes, urban and country and get back to the figure too. I hope to be booking models in the next two weeks. So the new short term goal is to really try and paint every day, even for two hours during deadlines and keep something always on the easel and always moving. I feel like I am in a new stage of experimentation and growth and the most important thing is to keep the palette working.
                                                 A block-in on my easel for a new cityscape