Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Returning Soon

Finally, I've begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've done all the geeky things that make me feel better when I've had a disappointment. I've hung out in book stores, Hobby Lobby, Office Depot, Best Buy. I've indulged in my favorite evening beverages, cheap wine and fruity rum drinks whipped up in the blender. I've thrown myself into work day and night to distract myself from the harsh reality of my situation. And now, I'm coming out of it.

I was standing in Hobby Lobby watching all the scrapbookers flutter around (how annoying). I always gravitate to the art/painting books. I think I've purchased almost every book on the subject of acrylic painting. So, I've begun reading some of the books about oil painting. I've always avoided that medium for several reasons:
1) I've heard its a terribly messy medium that requires a lot of specialized equipment to work with.
2) I've read that the noxious odors are unbearable to live with if you have a studio in your home.
3) I'm intimidated by the fact that oil painting is the medium of the great masters. I'm afraid that if your not an "expert", or "professional" artist you can't deal with this medium.

However, while I was reading the introduction to an oil painting method book I cam across an author that had a similar experience. She said she had been an acrylic painter who had been striving to get the look of oil paints but was afraid of the medium. She had developed a method of oil painting that was complementary with her technique in acrylics. She wrote at length about painting in oils using alkyd mediums to accelerate drying times. She definitely caught my attention. I'm just slightly impatient (an exaggeration) and I don't like the idea of having to wait for days while a painting dries when I'm inspired and in the mood to paint. She may have encouraged me to try this.

The real clincher for me was that her paintings were the most luminous, glowing still lifes I had seen. She captured a realism and sense of light that was breathtaking. It reminded me of the chiaroscuro effects of some great Renaissance and Counter-Reformation era painters. There is such drama in her works that I have to learn how to do that. So, I immediately bought the book. That's an unusual step for me since I usually focus on figures and portraits. I've decided that if I can learn to capture those same effects I'll gladly take a detour into still life painting. I'm going to experiment (again) with her transparent techniques using acyclic media and varnish as well as slow drying agents for increased blending. But, I'm afraid I won't get it to work. The next time you read me you'll probably see that I've gone out and invested in a few hundred dollars worth of new equipment and supplies to work in oil. Wish me luck.

I'm back!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I have to take a break. My apologies to everyone that have become loyal and supportive readers. The comments, notes and questions about my work have been a great encouragement in my amateurish artistic endeavors. I'm amazed at how supportive that established artists can be towards someone just starting out.

You may have noticed that my blog postings have become more infrequent of late. It appeared that I went strangely silent after I finished the "Watch the Artist" series featuring the "Pink Trunks" work. I didn't plan to stop painting at that point. As a matter of fact, this summer has been one of my most creative periods. However, I've gone through a slight personal crisis in the last few weeks. An emotional nuclear bomb is a more accurate description of what happened. Fellow artists can attest that such things are often paralyzing to the creative process. I know that some artists can use such emotional pain to birth new ideas and artwork, but I can't. I've come to believe that beautiful men should be admired from afar and never approached. The combination of a flashing smile, kind eyes and promising words are a lethal combination.

I think Shakespeare describes my mood best in what Hamlet said:

"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so."

-William Shakespeare, Hamlet

The human animal (especially the male) is the most powerful and dangerous thing on the face of creation. A beautiful, strong, intelligent man is an awe-inspiring yet fearsome thing. For that reason alone it makes the human male a worthy and amazing artistic subject. Shakespeare says exactly what I feel, " form and moving, how express and admirable!...the beauty of the world!" Yet, such a lovely countenance can camouflage the most dangerous creature ever made. I'll be more cautious from now on. I would certainly be careful and guarded if admiring a tiger, lion, or other beautiful wild thing. I'll remember in the future that the human animal is not so far removed from the wild. Only the human animal is able to match its capacity for affection with an equal measure of cruelty.

So, having said that and gotten it off my chest, I'll move on now. For a while I'll critique and review other artists' work. But, as for myself, I think I'll stick to drawing and painting still lifes, landscapes, other mundane subjects that don't have quite the emotional impact. But, then again, where's the fun in that?