Making Sausage and Cow Lips

As a general rule, I feel one should not know how the sausage is made! Especially when the bad parts like cow lips go in!  Sure, it will be tasty when it’s done, but do you really want to see them drop into the grinder. Usually, I feel like cow lips in a grinder when I paint. It’s either not quite right or maybe it was better before I added the lips. I take lots of photos of the process, and then delete them.

This piece however is an exception. I often liked what I saw. And therefore, I am willing to share. Even though, it literally contains cow lips.

The piece is based of a photo I took outside of Jensen, Utah of a cow grazing. When I approached it look up to check out what I was doing, and a star was born.

The first step in my process is to complete the under-painting. After years of no under-painting at all, I moved to a version of the Dutch Masters style and now construct the whole thing in raw umber. This is called Dead Painting, because the lack of color made the subject look dead. Often with this technique a grey layer is also added. I enjoy the way the raw umber looks so I usually stop at that point.

Here is my “Dead” cow-

After I complete the initial under-painting, I usually will do a layer of glaze and then start to apply colors. The initial layers of colors are usually an under-painting as well and typically are chosen to help emphasize the final layer when it goes on. In this piece I painted a lot of blue, purple, red and yellow.

IMG_0999 I will then put down another layer of glaze  to prepare for the finally layer(s). I then do multiple layers of a paint glaze mix. Recently, I have painted more realistic color combinations, but sometimes I don’t (I feel those times a coming!) It really depends on what my vision for the piece is. In this one I ended up with a brown(ish) cow. I typically finish up with some dry brush work, which is visible in the green and blue of the background.

And ta-da a sausage, I mean painting is complete…

Green River Cow
Green River Cow- Acrylic on Canvas 30 x 40

Mr Jones revisited

One of my intentions for my blog is to tell the stories of my paintings. Everyone has a story real or imagined of how and why it came to be. I realized the other day I had accidentally omitted two paintings from one of my pages- People. So here are the paintings and their stories.

Both were painted during the same time period, I like to refer to it as “The Mr Jones Period.” I had taken some time off from college to work and  play. I also painted a lot.

One day, my friend Dustin asked me if I had heard the Counting Crows song Mr. Jones. With the last name of Jones, of course I had, a lot, people just felt compelled to sing it to me. I really kind of hated it. He then told me it reminded him of me, particularly the verse-

Well I’m a paint my picture
Paint myself in blue, red, black and gray
All of the beautiful colors are very, very meaningful
Yeah, well you know, gray is my favorite color
I felt so symbolic yesterday
If I knew Picasso
I would buy myself a gray guitar and play

Reflecting on that conversation, I learned a few important things:

  1. I really actually like the song Mr Jones
  2. I have a life long desire to be “someone just a little more funky”
  3. My paintings at the time were dominated by blue, red, black, and gray

So, on to the paintings

The first is La Petite Morph (above.) The title is a take off the French term for orgasm- La Petite Mort or The Little Death (see I did learn something in french class.) The morph part is the figures joining together. I have to admit as a young male, I was more then a little interested in the concept of joining together.

Mr. Jones and me tell each other fairy tales
And we stare at the beautiful women

I was into the idea of large color fields at the time. Trying to find the balance between graphic/comic art and fine art. Discover that perfect simplicity of shape and color.  I also liked to paint fast. I felt it was important to complete a painting prior to my overall mood changing. I seldom spent more then a week on a piece, often only a day or two. I felt the truth of moment needed to be captured quickly.

Which brings me to painting two- Rainy Day Woman 

rainyday woman
Rainy Day Woman

This painting was all about mood, the demons that haunt us all. I believe the title has as much to do with the real life atmospheric conditions occurring at the time as it does the atmosphere I tried to create. And talk about red, blue, gray, and black.

I liked the subject because it showed a woman in an oriental style dress. I was influenced by Asia things at the time, like Zen Painting, the Tao and Buddhism.

Help me believe in anything
‘Cause I, I wanna be someone who believes

I still appreciate Asia, probably even more now that I have visited.  I like the way new experiences and new culture have blended into my art and my life (which really are one.) It’s one of the ways I try to be a little more funky.

Sha la, la, la, la, la, la, la
Yeah
Uh, huh
Yeah

 

 

 

“Make Better Art”

In his book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly, Seth Godin, repeatedly calls  for the reader to “Make better art.” The premise of the book is that we should make art, there is no better time to do it, but that is not enough, we should “Make better art.” I have been a fan of Godin since my corporate days and was excited to see he had written a book focused on art. I am also a fan of the Icarus myth (see above.) So, I picked it up and wham! Not only did it speak to my current situation, it also referenced the past three books I read. It was as if my brain had been primed for this book. Kind of weird! Now, I am not trying to get all Secret Celestine Prophecy on you but the synchronicity! It talked to me, it excited me, it pumped me up!

And that phrase, “Make better art,” it bolted through me every time I read it.

Isn’t that the call of the artist, to “make better art?”

DSC_0206 (2)

Above is a side by side photo I took of my chicken that won first place at the Denver County Fair and a painting of some people in a theater that won first place at the  Uintah High School art show when i was in high school. I had picked up the second one when I was recently at my parents house. I wanted to compare.

I currently have both hanging in my dinning room. I wanted to compare.

Results have been mixed.

“Impressive! You painted that in high school?” said the gentleman from art website I volunteered my kids to do a focus group for.

“Can we take that down? your new work is so much better.” My wife keeps asking.

They are both right. My technique has improved over the years. There is a great freedom and expression in my old work.

Then, I use to push to complete paintings as fast as I could. Now, I am slower more controlled.

I like them both! Each has audience! Each has it’s merit! Both are the past!

The next one will be better!

 

 

The First Chicken

I recently read a fascinating article in Newsweek about how medieval Christians encouraged chicken evolution and most likely responsible for the creation of the domestic chicken. It doesn’t answer the question of which came first, but it does talk about the benefit of breaking the habit of being a seasonal breeder. (Tough habit to break! I hear. I wouldn’t know.) Imagine the joy of your annual omelet though!

It also discusses breeding chickens to like people. I know! It’s hard for me to conceptualize the little terrors that existed before this happened. Chickens are mean. They are one of the closet relatives to the T-Rex. I am firmly under the belief that if a chicken was large enough it would eat you without a question.  So, these medieval monks decided to raise these mildly evil birds and then concluded they needed more, faster.  Why? cause you can’t eat steak on Friday’s during Lent. Thus, the first domestic chicken.

A couple of years ago, I felt I needed to evolve past cows and cattle related paintings and spread my wings a little. So, I painted this chicken. It’s a small acrylic painting on canvas- 12 x 12 My mom came to visit a few days later and asked to take it to Dinosaur Land. It felt fitting. While I was at her house, I shot a couple of pictures. So, this is my first chicken-

DSC_0139 (2)

This week, I have experienced endings and beginnings. I went to my parents home for the last 30 years as they prepare to move. I gathered the few remaining items they had held on to for me, pictures, memories, scrapbooks, my swim-team warm-ups, and being an artist, my early paintings.

Orange brown clown doll harlequin
Still Life With Clown- Acrylic on board

This is the first real painting I completed.  I stress the word real, because I had painted before, finger paints, water colors, paint-by-number, etc.. This was the first painting with substance. My high school art teacher, Brock Thorne, had opened my eyes to the joy of structure. How to design, build, format. How to create with a purpose.

Jump forward many years and I am engulfed in the structure of art again. This time, how do you design art that works, how do you build an art business, how do format HTML? Hopefully, I will be able to answer these questions and many more.

This is my new beginning!

 Welcome to my website!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑