Here is some of my recent work as of Aug 2021
We Are All Jesus, Buddha, and The Wizard of OZ- XTC
“Give me land, lots of land, under starry stars above.
Don’t fence me in.”
-Robert Fletcher and Cole Porter
These lyrics are imbedded in the face of this bull above the eyes. I have sung these lyrics my whole life. I first heard Roy Rogers sing them when I was a kid. I would watch his black and white movies and escape to the wild west. In 2020, I felt the need to escape as well. I wanted freedom. Ironically, due to forced activity, I probably spent more time outside in early 2020 than most years of my life. Even though my body was active, my mind felt fenced in.
Sometimes fences aren’t real.
Sometimes fences make borders
Sometimes you want a fence until you need to cross it.
“Let me gaze at the moon until I loose my senses
Don’t Fence me in.”
Sometimes you get fenced in by doing the same thing, thus the introduction of the UFO into the painting. The UFO idea had been percolating for years. I felt the need to add to my cow mythology. Cows and UFOs just seem to go together. The beam of the UFO is comprised of clippings from two classic novels, Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey and Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Books have always been an escape for me. Science fiction was my genre but my step-dad got me reading westerns. They are not that far apart.
Gunfights happened in the old west because people would put up fences and others would cut them down. Usually, this is where the hero shows up. I like heros.
I also read a lot of comics (see other post.) Comics were an escape for me. As I got older music was an escape for me, especially punk rock. The symbol on the shoulder represented The Avengers and Anarchy.
There is also a bird (hummingbird/Thunderbird), a Flag, the play off the rebel symbol from Star Wars, and lots of faces, some intentional some by accident.
The “Free” in the sky just appeared. It wasn’t planned. Three of the letters just formed during my process. Once I saw it, I had to add the fourth. Sometimes free just happens. Especially in the west and in the stary skies
Acrylic on Canvas
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.
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…