Thursday, August 27, 2009

Web work and some visual research (269)

No time on Wednesday for drawing. I am trying to get back to the YMCA for exercise and begin refereeing field hockey tomorrow so my after-work schedule still needs some adjusting. I had to spend my evening hours getting some last minute things done for Jackie for her grand opening Thursday and working on a rush website for my Mom/Sister/Sister-in-Law at where they hand-make items for kids. That link is to the old site. I need to develop a new one quickly for an event they have this weekend.

I've been watching several movies and tv shows lately on artists including Jasper Johns (his flag pictured above) and Jackson Pollack. There was a show that I was watching Wed night on Ovation about several painters exhibiting in a competition that was really good--too late to remember who though.

Today on LinkedIn, I saw a discussion from a photographer who wanted marketing advise for a site where they are promoting this painter Nick Schlee. is the site There are two clips, on is dialog the other a gallery set to some nice jazz.

Just had a continued discussion with someone in Flordia regarding my drawings of the DD people. It was a good discussion that provided some insight and allowed me to express my feelings. Very touchy feely of me, don't you think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another portrait and an interesting critique (270)

Last week I posted two portraits that I created for a brochure on developmental disabilities. Here's another face that I drew today. These illustrations were done in an effort to avoid two things. First, the cost of stock photography. The program doesn't have a great deal of money and they need to stretch their dollars. So this was an economical way to solve the art problem. Second was a need to stay somewhat ambiguous. The drawing takes it out of the specific and realistic and puts the figure in the context of fiction.

The reason that I get to draw another image is that the customer rejected one of the images. Not unusual. Illustration is a tricky effort. The customer gave little instruction other than asking for photos that were "dignified." After several years of working in this market, I have a sense of what she meant, but it still is very open for interpretation. So I expected that one or all might be out of line.

I have some first-hand experience with meeting and getting to know people with developmental disabilities. I took on this challenge because I thought it would be tough and would offer a great reward at the end if I was able to capture the essence of what I see in those people that I have met. My drawings reflected that emotion and, I feel, were beautiful and successful expressions of the unihibited joy that I always see in them.

I bow to the expertise of the customer--knowing what will work and what won't. But I was bruised by the words chosen to critique the drawing. I think that the customer wasn't aware that I drew these. She perhaps thought that they were clip art placed by John, and was commenting in a way that she thought was educational.

The critique said that the image looked like a charactature of "black face" and perhaps we could find something more "dignified." Again with that vague term. I am not so concerned with the latter, because I doubt she could define that word for me if she tried (not a criticism, just the way it is). But the term "black face" registered sour with me.

I thought I was representing the face as beautiful, animated, and joyful. The reference had big bright teeth, which were well-used, so I drew them in. It is the reference that insinuates that I was working from a characature of a stereotype that I find repulsive. Email does this. Take out the non-verbal, tone, and volume and the misinterpretation begins.

Anyway, it gave me the opportunity to draw this guy. Hopefully they will find him dignified. I hold my head high that the sending of the messages in terms of the drawings were dignified, beautiful, joyous, and well-intended. I can't account for the mind and vision of the viewer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Then life gets in the way (275-271)

I did this sketch of a vegetable to show a style for a future task on Thursday. After that, as the title says--life got in the way.

We drove to Frostburg by way of Baltimore to help Erin move houses. It took from 7 am till 12:30 am the next day to get that done and get home. So no drawing then. Saturday was a recovery day and very rainy. Perhaps Bill made a detour.

Sunday we had to catch up on house work and the girls both returned home for a brief stay. Lex arrived with the Fiesta decorated with sticky notes from her cross country trip. I'm sure there's a video coming soon to a blog near you.

Hopefully I will get on track with something today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When it rains it pours

I've had a drought for so long and worked pretty much on the gull painting that I was really not doing enough. Now, I've been working on some projects that give me an excuse for drawing. Of course that could come to an end abruptly (he writes as he is given a two-sided flyer with a dense design to add even more copy).

This is a third drawing for this Developmental Disabilities flyer that John is creating.

Two in one day!

I posted about the painting this morning before I went out for the day. I took this picture which inspired me to write this poem.

Same Grass, Same Trees
By Dave Morrell

Each day I walk out in the morning,
Ignoring the repetitive view.
The same grass,
The same trees,
The same buildings, and sky,
Not looking for something new.

So often I gaze without seeing,
Leave without pause or a clue.
The same grass,
The same trees,
The same buildings, and sky,
Not taking the time for review.

Today I walked out in the morning,
And for some reason was struck by the view.
The same grass,
The same trees,
The same buildings, and sky,
But something caused me to break through.

Through the routine,
And the drone,
Through the worries of the day,
True value was for a moment made clear.
By the light through the trees
Made clear by the fog,
Each day is itself something new.

Summer must be over--the painting is done (276)

I'm not sure why this took so long to finish. I really enjoyed painting it and am happy with the results.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Illustration for a brochure (278-277)

I continue to work on my latest painting. Got a little sidetracked yesterday by a trip to Wilmington.

I have enjoyed some summer help at work for the past month. A young designer named John Reid has been working temporarily for us. He has secured a permanent job in Baltimore at the end of the month, so I'll be back on my own.

For the past two days I've had John searching for free pictures of people with developmenal disabilities for a comp brochure that I have to create. After extensive searching, he has only been able to find two pictures for free. He found several Royalty Free image as well. So I told him to pick a few of those and I would use them as reference to draw illustrations.

I made three drawings. Threw one away, scanned two, and liked this one. I have to do at least one more. But I'm going to save that for tomorrow.

I need to get on one of my other projects while he is still here--4 big posters.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Still working on the painting (281-279)

I am getting pretty close to wrapping up my latest work. Maybe a few more days. I will try to do a sketch tomorrow just to fill in the page.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Continuing on with the painting (282)

Back in the shed last night to work on my seagull painting. It's coming along. I almost have everything blocked in. Then I can start working on the details. I tried a technique that I saw on the web for the wave, but think I will just go back to my own way of getting that done.

This morning I was thinking about the texture and realized that I was making it too sharp. I'll hit it again this afternoon. The rain and high humidity make the paint hard to work with, but I'll keep pushing through.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

working on a painting (283)

I started the painting on the seagull that I sketched the day before yesterday. I set up in the shed and it was 97 degrees yesterday. I got a lot done, but was drenched. I have to figure out a way to cool that space down, but I like being able to move around without worrying about spilling paint, turps, or brushes.

I did some YouTube surfing of painting techniques. It's amazing how much is out on that website. I think you could learn brain surgery if you put the right search words in.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Planning for a painting (285-284)

On Sunday, we went to see Julie & Julia (an excellent movie). In the movie, one of the main characters has a daily blog. I was interested to see how they portrayed the task of writing a daily blog as a record of some daily creation. She seemed to have a much simpler time of it than me.

I came across some old pictures I took of seagulls at the beach. I think I might do a painting of them. When I was in the Outer Banks, I came across a seagull on the beach painting that I liked. Perhaps I'll try to do something similar.

I also read an interesting article in Artist magazine about composition. It's like being on a roller coaster when switching from objective to non-objective, then back again.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Abstraction (286)

Yesterday afternoon I invited myself to Greg's studio for a little painting session. I grabbed up my canvas and paints and drove the half hour to his house. Greg has extended me an invitation for some time now and I was finally able to take him up on it. Yesterday's results was pretty good. If anything, he got me to extend myself and take some risk. I should have taken a picture of yesterday's result, but I forgot.

Anyway, I worked on it some more today after setting up in the shed. And this is the result. I like it. I am still uncomfortable with the process of destroying what you do in order to build up layers. I had at least three stages that I thought were pretty good. But I kept rubbing it out and ended up here. I'm stopping it for now.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Germs (287)

I did some cartooning for this poster today. I sketched them out then drew them in Illustrator.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sketchbook (288)

I have been trying to use a sketchbook so that I am not trying to create full pieces of art each night. I still try to fill the page, but perhaps I will make it more managable by using smaller pages. This is a sketch of Sadie sitting in one of her many "sunny-spots."

Hey where did we go,

days when the rains came?

Down in the hollow,

playin' a new game.

Laughin' and a runnin',

hey hey

Skippin' and a jumpin',

In the misty morning fog,

And you, ...

my brown eyed girl.

--Van Morrison

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting Caught Up at Work--Nice Logo (290-289)

Apparently one must work a full extra week before and after a week of vacation now. Oh well, this is life as we know it. I was working last night on a graphic for one of the work projects and I thought it was worth putting here. I did two full pages of thumbnail sketches in an effort to come up with about 4 or 5 good ideas. I put three down on paper, or digits, and kept two in reserve once the committee rejects or trys to hybrid them.

As usual, the name part is way too long.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Rest of My Vacation (295-291)

Ups and Downs. Creatively speaking. I thought I would try to catch up on the rest of my vacation. I spent two days working on this painting of the snack/umbrella shack on the beach. Lisa loves it and wants it framed. I am pretty pleased with it. Completely pliene air. No photographic studies or anything else. Acrylic treated like watercolor on watercolor paper.

The next image is the seagull fishing. Its a little different, not exactly realistic. I like the drawing part. Then an abstract drawing followed by some photographs of a sunset and lights after dark. No photoshoping here, straight off the disk.