Friday, January 23, 2015

I am not #Hashtag

The new year, only three weeks old has proven to be a crazy year so far, fraught with a lot of terrible goings on world wide. If not shocking, not surprising in a way, still a bad beginning. I expect that any hour I can read some terrorist assholes blew up something, killed a lot of people--anywhere--even here.

In the cartooning community and on Facebook especially people started putting up pics of themselves holding drawing tools with the slogan/hastag "Je suis Charlie" or "I am Charlie".

I can understand the feeling, but I didn't do it and wouldn't do it because I am not Charlie. While I completely support free speech/ free press including making fun of anyone or any god, I didn't feel my emotions were going down that road. I have no problem with those who did it post the slogan---I suppose you feel like you want to do something, say something--or even more likely, kill the bad guys--and they were. But that only stamps out that fire, not the inferno...

But I think slogans are a very iffy thing. They can easily become a false flag. They can also work against you as they just become a knee jerk #hashtag and loose the original meaning as people just repeat, retweet and pile on. The media gets it, runs with it makes $$ from it and co-ops the thing into a theme song and graphic. Its already gone now, washed over by the next #hashtag, whatever trending topic that might be. I think I'd have to really think about how I would want to react to these situations and how I would want to respond in social media and artistically. That isn't something I would hashtag, or tweet. the issues we face require deep and long thinking and not slogans. I don't hate on those who did like some on FB, calling people out like Marshall Dillon. That is redick! Also you never win arguments of FB, so why even waste the time? Go make something positive, make a song, art, volunteer, whatever works for you.

What this shit does for me is make me focus on, life, now,  my life, my goals, what am I doing, where am I going, etc. You realize that shit can and will go down any minute, YOU can go down, but what can you do? Stop your life? No, you have to stay focused and move forward. You have to do whatever you need to to keep your energy up, your light glowing and hope that effects the others around your circle of influence.

So the energy of 2015 is a strange kinda twisted energy, a real weird mix. Had a great show opening, and good feedback, and article on outdoorpainter, and my commercial work is going solid for DC right now. I'm finishing the pencils for the first issue of my Convergence book, the last pages will be done by early next week, I have them broken down, I just have to transfer my layouts to the board and tighten them up. I wish I could show the pages to you but DC says, NO! But since they already ran the finished promo for this page I'll show the pencils.

So you'll have to wait till April and May to see the rest of the work....

                                                         Manayunk Sunday 9 x 12 Oil

I have managed to get out and paint once in the past few weeks for an afternoon with the PAPP in Manayunk---Brrrrr! After 3-4 hours standing on frozen concrete my poor feet were numb and I had to stop. I wasn't crazy about the painting, but if felt good to get out of the house/studio. The weather has been just off enough to mess with my schedule so the time I am free its raining and freezing. I know that in  amonth the weather will really start improving a lot so I'll have more time to get back outside.

I have also started on a new body of figurative paintings. When my DC gig is done I will be able to move further and faster. But I have started sketches and studies from a model. I have even done some from paintings I saw that I made in a few dreams. That is actually very hard to get that feeling you have in a dream down on paper as the act is like catching smoke to a degree. It more of trying to draw a feeling than a thing. And we all need good dreams these days!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Philadelphia Plein Air Painters Opening

Last night was the opening for our show at the Newark Arts Alliance, you can read up on the opening on the PPAP Blog!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Shows Up!

Sunday I along with my fellow PPAP painters hung my work for our  show which opens this Friday at 6pm at the Newark Arts Alliance.

 It was fun to see the gang again, some of whom I hadn't seen in a little while and we all shared the warmth and good vibes as we hung our work and helped each other. Now its time to get the party snacks!




Friday, January 02, 2015

Starting 2015 Right!

The holidays have thankfully come and gone and with it the year known as 2014. 2014 was a very, very mixed bag of a year, maybe even more of one than most. The highs were higher and lows lower than any year in a long while. The good is that I graduated from PAFA with my Masters which finally ended my official time as an art student. The whole MFA experience was also pretty mixed and its still an open question as to whether it will pay off artistically vs the cost of doing it. I guess its a question that might take a few years to answer, but I will say that I think one thing I can point to is that the MFA experience made me even more sure and even a bit strident about what I like and don't like and what matters to me as a painter.

So many things are changing now in art education, fueled by the crazy high costs vs the unfortunate outcome for most students. Not being an artist and huge debt.

The fact its too easy to get an A or B in art school which does not translate into actual skills that can later be a real way to make $$ as either a commercial or fine artist is just the start of the problem.

I as returned to doing comic conventions in 2014 after many, many years which was also quite enjoyable and profitable---surprisingly so, even leading to my current gig at DC drawing part of the new Convergence maxi-series.

The bad was dealing with taxes and watching the Ferguson situation and all of its fallout. Seeing how big the whole issue of racism is still a huge open wound on America. How dumb our country is , how polarized and how much we have reversed in a way, driven by fear and the profit made from fear. I mean I know it was this certainly more this way since 9/11, but to see the ugliness that has been squeezed out of people is always unpleasant. You wonder how can and should you respond and I think the best way to start is in your own personal life and dealings with people.

Now that I am 6 months out of grad school the dust is sill not settling quite yet on the home front. The studios here are going to get a major shake-over. After seven years as a student and four with a studio in school--all that STUFF came home. I have to really retrofit my life here. I have already tossed a lot and recycled old painting for new surfaces, yet that is just the tip of the iceberg as they say. I have to really rearrange my home to have a painting studio and a commercial studio. since i decided that for now to not get a studio outside of my home to save some bread sicne I am now paying back that student loan. I am getting rid of so much old equipment as well. old printers and such, old tech that just piles up. So its the middle life trim down. Its amazing home much stuff piles up while making art, fine or commercial!

I had much less teaching than planned as classes didn't run last fall and so far doesn't look like this spring they will either, so I'm moving in other directions now. I am going to be spending that time working on a few new series of paintings and even have a Detroit project I want to do maybe this spring or summer. That will involve travel and logistics I am still looking at now. It sprang from a travel proposal I submitted in my MFA.

The Judge Parker strip is still the main an regular gig and I start my 6th year this Feb on the strip. Man, time flies and the strips are piling up too! I never imagined I'd be a regular comic strip artist but since not juggling so many things like teaching and school I have more time on my hands to enjoy drawing the Judge.

Judge Parker pencils from a Sunday strip later in the month. I made some changes due to learning things about mounting a horse ( only on the left side as I found out). I have never had the chance to ride a horse but an artist friend of mine pointed this out to me.

I even managed to get my brushes wet in the last week starting on X-mas day and do a few small paintings. The two landscapes are for the group show I am in with my fellow Philadelphia Plein Air Painters which open at the Newark Arts Alliance next Friday. The two landscapes are in acrylic, which is a medium I have become quite fond of in the last year and the still life is in oil. These smaller one-shot paintings are a good way to keep the hand warm while waiting to start on the bigger projects.

                                                          Contre Jour  8 x 10 Acrylic
                                                        Japanese Garden 8 x 10 Acrylic
                                                  Ghosts of Christmas Past11.5 x 11.5

I have plans to do more plein air work and even enter all of the new PA competitions one more time. I have been rejected from every one the last several years, and rejection is part of being an artist, so I decided if I don't get in any this year I will abandon trying for those competitions and instead put my money and time toward my other painting endeavors. It also ads up to a tidy sum to enter a lot of competitions. The main goal is to expand my gallery coverage to include galleries across the country this year. So, 2015 has a lot of work to do and hopefully many possibilities.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Busy End Of The Year

I haven't posted much here the past month but that's not because I am not doing anything or lounging around-no sir! The end of 1014 is going out in a blaze of work! I am deep into my two issue Convergence for DC on the  Justice league Blood Moon story arc, but I can't show you all any of that yet, not till DC says its OK for me to do so. I am also still churning on the Judge, and you can see the pencils for the latest Sunday above.

I am also getting ready for our group show with the PPAP next month down at the Newark Arts Alliance.
I still have a few things I want to finish for the show and the card is on its way to the printer. I just finished my last week of teaching for the semester in the After School Program. Good luck to my former student Emily who I have been teaching for four years now as she has been accepted and moved to Pasadena to attend Art Center!
                                                                  Good Luck Emily!

Its a great bunch of young artists i get to teach each week and in just a few months its amazing how far some can develop. And of course I am working on the next issue of DRAW! as well--so no time for eggnog here!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Last Sunday of 2014

Here is the last Judge Parker Sunday of this year, which I finished and delivered to King Features this week. Next year I'll be heading into my 6th year on the strip--where does all the time go? It goes into millions of little lines that equal a huge pile of strips by now!!  I might start selling some as I need to manage my space in my archives, its almost filled to the brim. The gang is still stranded in the trailer park and who knows when they will be able to break free and get back home. It's been 2 days in strip time but at this point its been 26 weeks of storyline, as time works much slower when you have multiple story lines and only three panels daily. I enjoyed drawing the baby squirrel  here the most--though sexy gals are always a joy to draw and a constant pull for the message board trolls to fantasize over. I know a few of the trolls haunt my blog.

I think teenage girls are the hardest to draw as the teens all look much older today that when I was a teen. A 16 year old can look 22 now pretty easy, they are way more affected by fashion trends of celebrities. I teach a lot of young students, a bulk of them young women, art schools are full of way more women than men in my experience,  so I do get to see many trends and ideas from my students. In my Illustration Class I have 99% female students so I see a wide mix of fashion styles, though i realize since they are artists they are probably a bit more eclectic and stylish.

 I still wish we had a full page for the Sunday strips like the great golden age, but I suppose we are lucky to even have the size we get now. I haven't seen a Sunday paper in a long time myself, and the last time the strips were printed so small it was a shame. In a change-up I inked most of this Sunday with an old Esterbrook nib.

Between JP and the DC work it's double duty for a few months in the studio, but being winter I suppose that's OK, I wish I could squeeze out a few more paintings as I have a show with the PPAP in January.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I'll be doing two issues of DC's big Convergence event featuring the Justice league International, written by Ron Mars and coolors bySotocolor