Monday, November 29, 2010

New Painting- Day 11

I had planned a big long post, but its been a rough day and I have a headache. I was lucky to paint at all. Tomorrow I need to finish working out the arcade and the rest of the middle ground.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Painting- Day 9

I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Painting- Day 7

I had a lot of distractions over the weekend, and after not seeing this painting for almost three whole days, I'm struggling with a new perspective, literally. I realized the perspective for the arcade or row of arches is way wrong, so I had to finally define a vanishing point and will have to redo the background quite a bit. The "correct" way makes the arcade seem shorter and my column way tall. Honestly, I don't really like this version with its correct one point perspective any better than the original eyeballed version where the real horizon line would have had to be much higher. I should have planned this out from the get go, but I'm used to just eyeballing everything on the fly without sketches and it working out. Instead I had to spend most of this painting session drawing pencil lines with different vanishing points, trying to figure out which made the arcade look best.

When I started this painting I mentioned that the background idea was inspired by De Chirico's metaphysical series. He certainly never worried about correct perspective in his architectural representations. He always had multiple vanishing points, which had the effect of disorienting the viewer, and of course this was what he wanted. But with only one architectural element in the background of my painting from which to gauge perspective, it just looks like I made a mistake if I get it wrong. There were usually many buildings in De Chirico's paintings from which to gauge perspective. In the painting below, "Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure)", there are, count 'em, six vanishing points. There are also his ubiquitous bunch of bananas and train on the horizon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Twisted Toys Reception

Here's some pics from the opening of the "Twisted Toys" show in St. Pete. I sold one already!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Twisted Toy Show

Just like the flier says tomorrow night 7 to 10pm 645 Central Ave. St. Petersburg. Its an art show about toys just in time for the holidays. There will be paintings of toys and toys and toy-like 3D art Bay area people like me have made. This show was made for moi. Below is video I made a couple years ago featuring my paintings of toys. Some of these will be in this show.

The music in the above video is by the alternative metal band the Melvins, one of my favorite bands. Below is a cool stop-action video made for a song off their latest album "The Bride Screamed Murder". I think its funny that the director of this video must have also thought that the Melvins and toys go together somehow.

For most people the most famous thing about the Melvins is that they were Kurt Cobain's favorite band. They must also be one of Greg Gutfeld's favorites, because Melvins' frontman Buzz Osbourne has been on his show "Red Eye" countless times. In the clip below Buzz talks a little about Kurt Cobain, rock festivals and how rock concerts are just too long these days.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Painting- Day 6

Not that much progress today. Worked on the shell and flowers mostly and started to add what will be crumbling buildings on the horizon. These ruins will be similar to ones I placed on the horizon in another post-apocalyptic painting I did a couple years ago, "Girl in Landscape".

I don't know if I'm going to also include the military helicopter seen here on the horizon just above the ruined buildings in my latest painting. I'll have to think about it. I'm considering putting one living thing in it (even the yellow roses are dead and dried) to make it more poignant, but I will have to wait til it progresses more before I make that decision. Meanwhile, as I said, the painting directly above also has a post-apocalyptic theme. The piece was named after and inspired by a science fiction novel by Jonathan Lethem.

"Girl in Landscape" is set in the near future when a young girl and her family must leave an uninhabitable earth for a new planet. In the story Pella Marsh must adjust not only to a strange new world, but also to the changes in herself, as she goes through puberty on the ocean-less planet with its weird inhabitants. I never read the book. I got all this from the description on the back. So the painting was actually only inspired by a blurb, but I still think the image I made somehow fits the idea of the novel. The assembled still-life in the foreground can be taken as objects salvaged from the desolate background, and the Barbie doll can represent both a girl's toy and the girl herself lost in the bleak surroundings. Anyway, I didn't read "Girl in Landscape", but I have read three of Lethem's other novels: Gun, with Occasional Music, As She Climbed Across the Table, and Motherless Brooklyn.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Painting- Day 5

Shit day. I hate this painting already.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Painting- Day 4

After a day off, I'm back. Here's what I did today. Got more cadmium yellow, so I was able to work on the sky this session. These painting sessions have been a little short so far, only about 2 hours each. I plan to spend at least 3 hours a day on the painting from here on out.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Painting- Day 3

Another day, more paint. I ran out of cadmium yellow, so I wasn't able to do much with the sky. I have the idea to paint one of De Chirico's blue-green twilights with a fading yellow sunset. Maybe I'll change my mind, but I still need more cadmium yellow.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Painting- Day 2

After waiting a couple days for the first thin layer to dry, I continue to keep filling in blank spots on the canvas and applying more layers.

There's no point in dragging the painting outside for photos until it's finished. I might as well photograph it on the easel.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My New Painting- Day 1

When I start a new painting, I try my best to cover the whole canvas with paint right away. I don't care if it's sloppy, just so long as it isn't applied too thick. I paint with oils, so I will have to wait a couple days for this coat to dry a little before I can continue. Otherwise the surface is too gummy and tacky, and the new layers don't go on smoothly. Anyway, this is what I did today. For this new piece I am going to try to post photos after every painting session, something new to try. I've taken photos after individual painting sessions before and made cool time-lapse videos with the pics, but I've never posted a painting's progress on my blog before. I don't have a name for this piece yet, so I will continue to refer to it as "new painting" here until I can think of at least a working title.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Primed Canvas + A Rough Sketch + A Photograph = A New Painting

I found a nice piece of cabinet-grade plywood (my "canvases" are usually plywood or masonite panels) left over from trimming a larger piece down for a previous painting, so I primed it to get it ready for a new one. I'm limited by the dimensions, which are 24" x 20", but I sketched out an idea that I think will fit here. Looks like it's time to breakout the old mannequin head and conch shell again. I love this mannequin head with its exaggerated neck and upturned head. I think it was made for displaying jewelry.

This painting will be primarily a still-life, as most of my paintings are, and as usual I will makeup a background. This time the background idea came from pre-surrealist/surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico's metaphysical town square series. A couple people have told me that some of my paintings remind them of De Chirico's work, so I decided to reacquaint myself with this influential artist. De Chirico's metaphysical period from 1909-1919 is what he is best known for. These are melancholy, dreamlike paintings concerned with myth, nostagia and desolation. The earliest of these were primarily haunting cityscapes inspired by the architecture of Turin. I decided the background of my new painting will be a De Chirico town square in ruins, crumbling arcades and pillars, a post-apocalyptic town square even more desolate than De Chirico's lonely cityscapes. Below are some examples of De Chirico's metaphysical towns.

This one is the one most people know from art history books:

"Mystery and Melancholy of a Street", 1914

"Piazza d'Italia", 1913

"The Soothsayer's Recompense", 1913

"Torino printanière", 1914

"L'Angoisse du départ", 1914

"Love Song", 1914

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And My Kiss Army Continues to Grow...

Here's the latest recruit to my Kiss Army, Mr. Philip "Space Ace" Bloom.

"Philip (Space Ace) Bloom", 2010

18"x18", oil on cradled panel

With Philip as Ace Frehley, I now have 3 of the four original members of Kiss represented in fine portraiture. Here's a collage of what I have so far. I just need Peter Criss, the original drummer. Hal if you're reading this, the Kiss Army needs you asap.

These portraits are inspired by the Kiss solo albums all released on the same day back in September 18, 1978. The cover of each album featured a painting of the Kiss member on the respective record. Ace Frehley's effort did the best commercially and was also considered the best by music critics. Ace was the lead guitarist of the band. He was the most consummate musician in the group and his guitar playing inspired many to become axe-men back the band's heyday. And just as Gene Simmons' onstage character spewed fire and blood, Ace Frehley had his own performance trick: The smoking guitar. He put smoke bombs in the compartment of his Les Paul and lit them causing smoke to come out through the pickups. Sometimes the smoke would gum up the volume and tone controls and Ace's custom Gibson would stop working. He needed someone to save him from "Spinal Tap" moments like this: Enter John Robison.

In Robison's 2007 memoir "Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's", he devotes a whole chapter, called "The First Smoking Guitar", which details how, as pyrotechnics wizard on the road with Kiss, he helped Ace Frehley create a smoking guitar that was still safe to play. Robison had the idea to put the smokebombs in an insulated box inside the guitar, rather than just dropping them lit into a hole carved in the guitar, as Ace had planned. Bright lights were also added to the custom Gibson, and sometimes there was a wire attached for it to be sent "rocketing" away.

Ace Frehley left Kiss in 1982, finally getting back together with them for their 1996 reunion tour. Over the years he released several solo albums besides the one he did as a member of Kiss. He latest "Anomaly" came out last year. Its his first effort in twenty years. Supposedly Ace gave a concert down here in Venice, FL a few years ago, and almost no one showed, but I couldn't find out anything about it on the web. I was never a Kiss fan, so these portraits are done mostly for their ironic, if not iconic, appeal. Although I did learn a lot about the band over the course of researching and planning this portrait series. For instance, I didn't even know Ace was the lead guitarist, or that he was famous for his smoking axe, or that he is a drugged racist pig with low self-esteem who did nothing...

Good ol' Gene, always the moral compass of the band.