Ben’s Painting

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This painting took a long time to figure out. I’ve included the different steps and the finished work in the post to give an idea of how the painting of Ben was made.  I do multiple layers.  A lot of times the first steps are just getting something down that I can work with.  You can see that I painted over a lot of details that I initially had.

Sometimes when I paint I get attached to the photo(s) that I’m working from.  When I first started I thought getting my painting to look exactly like a photo was the best thing ever.  I still feel that way a little but I’m branching out.  Recently I’ve been thinking more about what suits the painting.  What should go into the painting and what should come out.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about my process.  When is a painting done?  I think there are multiple points that a painting can be done and that I can stop.  What keeps me going is the image in my head and what I’m aiming for.

 

The Art of Messing Up

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I was talking to a friend about making larger work verses working in my sketchbook or doing small watercolors.  She asked me if it’s more stressful and if I worried more about messing up when doing larger work.

Thinking about it, I understand where she is coming from.  A lot of people worry about what is going to come out when they paint or draw.  They say “I can’t even draw a stick figure.”  or “I don’t know what to paint.”  The trouble with being an adult and doing something you’re not used to is that you worry that you are going to do something wrong.  But with art, you have the opportunity to do something just for the sake of doing it.  If you can learn to enjoy the process nothing is wrong or right.  It’s just taking you on the path to where you are going. 

 

Art Show at Victor Selman Gallery!

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“Self Portrait” acrylic on canvas, 30×40″

This past Christmas, I recieved 11 blank canvases.  When I looked at all the canvases I was pretty happy because most of them were pretty large.  My self portrait, seen above, is 30×40 inches.  Large surfaces allow me to paint more freely.  It also makes it feel easier to do things that I feel rusty at.  Portraits and representational art are examples of that.  I thought that a self portrait would be a good way to get back into painting people.  

I’m excited to see where my work goes from here.  I have a show at the Victor Selman Gallery in DC this June.  The reception is on the 8th at 6pm.  The show will be up from the 7th to the morning of the 22nd.  I’m hoping to have eight new paintings by that time.  Right now I have about six.  It feels good to be producing more and have a way to share what I’ve done.

Death and Life

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“Death and Life” acrylic on canvas 36×48″

“Death and Life” was inspired by a photo I took at one of the Metro stations in DC and the painting “Death and Life” by Gustav Klimt.  Essentially both images had a baby in my brain.  I wanted something overwhelming and bright.

Some people have asked me about the crosses.  Crosses cover the garments of Death in Klimt’s painting and I really like the effect and how it looks.  I included a skull so that the reference would be clearer.

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DC Metro

Screen Printing

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here and it’s not that I haven’t been busy it’s that the nature of my projects have changed.  For example, I am helping a friend of mine with a big collaborative project he’s producing called Kitchen Sink Fest.  It will be performed or displayed at Dance Place on July 30th and 31st if anyone is interested in checking it out.  I would explain more but I’m not really sure what the end product is going to be.  I just provided some artwork to be used in it.

However I am happy to say I have a new project that I will display on here gradually.  I’ve just gotten into screen printing which is amazingly fun.  I decided to do a series of scenes from DC for my first project in this medium.  So here are two examples of what I’ve done.  Let me know if you know where they are!

 

Custard and the Wicked Knight by Ogden Nash with some different illustrations

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Before anyone gets started with the story I just want to say that Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight was one of my favorite stories growing up as a kid.  I was really happy to take on this project when my brother told me he had a copy of the story for my niece but it was missing illustrations.  With that said, let’s begin the story.

Guess what happened in a little white house Where Belinda lived with a little grey mouse, And a kitten, and a puppy, and a little red wagon, And a realio, trulio , little pet dragon. IMG_2371 This dragon was a shy one, for ever getting flustered, So they said he was a coward and they called him Custard, He had eaten sup a pirate once, but then He went back to being a coward again. Custard the Dragon felt comfortable and cozy, His breath wasn’t fiery, just flickery and rosy, And he lay with his head on his iron dragon toes, Dreaming dragon dreams in a happy dragon doze. IMG_2372 Belinda sang as she went about her housework, Blink the mouse was busy with her mousework, Ink the kitten was laundering her fur, And teaching the little dog Mustard to purr. Belinda’s song, as she wiped the dishes bright, Was all about Sin Garagoyle, the wicked, wicked Knight. His castle’s on a mountain, above the edelweiss; It’s gates are solid iron, its walls are solid ice; And underneath the cellar is the dismalest of caves, Where he keeps the captive maidens he has carried off as slaves. IMG_2373 Ink, Blink and Mustard joined their voices three: ‘We’re not cowardly like Custard,we’re courageous as can be. So hush you, Belinda, hush you, do not fret you. We promise that Sir Garagoyle shall never, never get you.’ Then – just as Ink was complimenting Blink- ‘That’, said a voice, ‘is what you think!’ Belinda dropped the dishes on the floor, For there was Sir Garagoyle, coming in the door. You could tell he was wicked, for he reeked of roguery, He was like an ogre, only twice as ogre-y, He was twice as big as a big gorilla, And covered with armor like an armadilla- Armor on the front of him, armor on the back, And every inch of it thunderstorm-black. Ink got gooseflesh, Blink was terror laden, And Mustard yelped that he was not a maiden. Blink fled downstairs, Ink fled up, And underneath the sofa went the pup. Sir Garagoyle pounced with panther speed. And carried off Belinda on his snorting steed. IMG_2379 He plied his spurs with a cruel heel; He was in a furry for his evening meal, His favorite meal, of screws and nails And rattlesnake tongues and crocodile tails. IMG_2374 Custard was roused from his quiet dreams By the pitiful sound of Belinda’s screams. ‘To horse!’ he cried. ‘Brave friends to horse! We must organize a rescue force!’ Said Mustard, ‘I’d show that wicked knight- But I’ve got a toothache and I couldn’t bite.’ Said Ink, ‘I can hardly stir my stumps; I’m afraid that I’m coming down with mumps.’ Said Blink, ‘If only I were feeling brisker… But I’m weakened by an ingrowing whisker.’ ‘Alas,’ said Custard, ‘alas, poor Belinda!’ He sighed a sigh, and the sigh was a cinder. ‘Her three brave bodyguards are powerless as she, And no one to rescue her but chickenhearted me. ‘Well,’ said Custard, ‘at least I’m in the mood To be the toughest chicken that was ever chewed.’ As he thought about Belinda and Sir Garagoyle Everything inside him began to boil. He sizzled and simmered and he bubbled and he hissed, Then he whooshed like a rocket through the evening mist. With headlight eyes and spikes a-bristle He pierced the air like a locomotive whistle, Then swooped from the sky as grim as fate And knocked on Garagoyle’s fearsome gate. IMG_2380Sir Garagoyle rose at Custard’s hail:  He was chewing a screw and swallowing a nail.  He called, ‘You can hammer all night and day, but you might as well take yourself away.  My gates are iron and my walls are ice, and I’ve woven a spell around them thrice, and if by chance you should break in, I’ll lay you open from tail to chin.  ‘He thought to frighten the dragon to death, but Custard blew like a blowtorch breath.  He was a small volcano with a whooping cough, and like molte lava the gates flowed off!  He blew another breath, and the icy walls came a-splashing down in waterfalls.  Sir Garagoyle spluttered like a sprinkler-wagon, ‘A knight can always beat a dragon!’ ‘Pooh!’ said Custard.  ‘How you rant! A true knight could, but a wicked knight can’t ‘Have at you then!’ Sir Garagoyle roared, and he rushed at Custard with his deadly sword.  Twice Custard parried those fierce attacks, then he swung his tail like a battle axe.  From helm and breastplate down to spur, it flattened that unworthy Sir.  His armor crumpled like thin tinfoil, and that was the end of Garagoyle. IMG_2377  Custard rushed like a tidal wave down, down, down to the dismal cave Where Belinda lay in chains, a slave -Chains too strong to chop or hack, but he sawed them through with his spiky back.  Belinda was too weak to speak her thanks, but she managed to pat his scaly flanks.  Now Custard was a flyer of great renown, he was able to fly while sitting down, so home he soared with wings a-flap, and Belinda sitting in his lap.  Ink, Blink and Mustard were in a happy tizzy, they danced around Belinda till they made her dizzy, then they looked at Custard and they gave a shout:  ‘There’s a rabbit in the kitchen and he won’t get out.  He’s eaten all the carrots and he’s starting on the peas, and you’re just in time to eject him please!’ IMG_2376  Custard said, ‘You know my habits.  You know I’ve always been afraid of rabbits.  So if this fierce fellow won’t depart in peace, eject him yourself or call the police.’  ‘Oh’, jeered Ink and Blink and Mustard, ‘What a cowardly, cowardly, cowardly Custard!’ ‘I agree’, said Custard: ‘ and I add to that craven, poltroon, and fraidy-cat.  I’ve learned what a nuisance bravery can be, so a coward’s life is the life for me.’ Belinda kissed him and said, ‘Don’t fret, a cowardly dragon makes the nicest pet.’ IMG_2375