I remember when I was very young, my grandparents took my family to see the Pittsburg Ballet perform the Nutcracker. I loved it. I didn't really understand it at the time, but I remember the Mouse King and the giant lady who, when she lifted her dress, dozens of children ran out from under her.
Before the ballet began, we went to a museum that was close by. The exhibit was different Santa Clauses from around the world. Mannequins were carefully dressed and placed in vignettes inside the gallery space. I remember La Befana, the Italian witch-like character who does the job of Santa, Belsnickel, Santa's companion, and of course the Krampus.
The idea that a demon would whip naughty children, chain them, and stuff them in a sack on Christmas Eve, only to drag them back to it's cave high in the mountains and boil them for his Christmas dinner was both horrifying and fantastic to my 5-year-old mind. From then on I was hooked.
The Krampus is gaining in popularity in the United States for the past few years. A movie just came out and though it was funny and silly, it didn't really explain why the Krampus was to be feared. I'm cooking a drawing in my mind and though I will be working on it over the winter holidays, I'm not in a rush to complete it any time soon. A figure that has captured my imagination for most of my life deserves to be drawn carefully and with respect.
Fear the Krampus!
So the last time I checked, I had made an entry to my blog on January of 2014. Almost a year later I decide to blow the dust off, add this page to my navigation links, and attempt (yet again) to add thoughts or comments. Here's the problem, I suck at adding words to paper... or screen in this case. The magic of drawing is to convey emotion and detail in a single line so that when the image is finished, so much can be spoken in a beautiful, rhythmic way. My writing style, however, comes across like I'm trying to write a college paper thirty minutes before class starts. My goal is once per week. Let's see what happens!
I am working on my new series of drawings, based on John James Audubon’s nature drawings. The idea is to take common North American birds and alter them, creating beautiful freaks of nature. The series is called “Oddubon.”
The first drawing is the Black-capped Widow, seen here. I was ready to start the second drawing, but hadn’t decided which bird I wanted to tackle next. Over dinner conversation last night, it was recommended I draw an owl. I had just spent the entire day with a forest ranger showing students a beautiful great horned owl and I thought it was a neat coincidence.
That evening I let my followers on my Facebook page vote on which bird to start next (two-headed house wren or cyclopean owl). Hands down, EVERYONE voted on the owl.
So, today I started drawing. I was working out the face, and figuring out the complex feather texture when I was summoned to the mailbox. I had a special message in the mailbox. There he is in the photo: a beautiful screech owl in my mailbox.
I’m very curious as to what this all means. Any suggestions?
I had a great vision for my final “cat-in-1900s-attire” series. Little Greta was the model, with curly hair sticking out of her ears, round little body, and a sweet face. She would be my matriarch. I had envisioned her with a Victorian high-neck lace collar that covered shoulders and chest. I wanted her to look somewhat stern and also grandmotherly. But, the drawing did not like that. I fought, redrew, and did everything to make that vision happen. Greta was not having it. The high lace collar made her anatomy too human, The idea of giving her shoulders somehow made her look like a portrait of a sea captain. I was clearly not in charge of my drawing, but I realize I rarely am. My vision of a drawing changes as it is created. The artwork takes on a personality and if I try to force it into something it doesn’t want to be, it will fight until I win (the outcome is never pretty) or it wins and I let it tell its story. She did let me put a shaw, spectacles, and a cameo on her, but that was as far as she was willing to go.
Horror Vacui is the fear of empty spaces in art. It is the filling of the entire surface of a space or an artwork with detail.
Back in the Fall of 2012 I created an All Hallow’s Eve drawing on a ceramic platter. It took a great deal of time, because I started drawing small and filled the entire piece. It was a fun, comical drawing that captured the excitement of Halloween when I was a kid. I’ve decided to redraw (and add more detail) in Adobe Illustrator. This will be a big project, so I figure I should start now if I am to have it completed by Fall of 2013.
The images I post on my progress are zoomed in at 300 − 400% of the actual size.
As I add more to the image, I’ll post wip (work in progress) pics.
I appreciate all feedback, too. So don’t be shy!
I've always liked this quote from Henri Matisse. It is a simple, bold statement that few can argue with. In the last six months, I've been learning the true meaning of this statement (or at least how it applies to my life).
There is a big step between someone who makes art and an artist, and there is a bigger step between an artist who makes work for himself and an artist who actually puts his artwork out in the world for all to see. In the past six months, I have been doing exactly that, and it makes me nervous.
When no one can see my work, it is only I who can see the flaws. To look at it critically, appreciate the good parts of the piece, chalk it up as a "learning process" and file it away for very few (if any) to see. Yes, I've had a website for years, but it was like any other young artist's portfolio; the best of what little I had, and held on to for dear life. Sadly, I'm not a young artist any longer, and the old work is stale.
So, the website was updated, newer work was posted (and still is) and my Facebook page is open for all to see (students, parents of students, colleagues, strangers). It frightens me, but I keep posting regularly. I did a 30-Day Drawing Challenge and whether that day's drawing was good or bad, it was posted. And through this, I keep going back to Matisse's words. It takes courage to be an artist and not just a person who makes art. It does take courage to put your talents out into the world, and do it over and over again. It takes courage to believe in your talents, your drive, and your skill. So this is me, attempting to be courageous.
I've been busy illustrating some of the poetry of Dr. William Crooke, and thought I would post some sneak-peeks of one of the pieces. The poem's title is "Tea Time," and I'll post the final work along with the poem once it is finished.
I've decided to add a blog to my site so I can show some of the unpolished work, processes, and stages of some of my pieces. I plan on adding events and happenings here as well, so if you use a RSS reader, make sure you follow along. Also, be sure to follow me on Facebook.
Some of the projects I'm working on right now:
Stick around to find out more.
Runs with scissors but doesn't eat paste
I'm creating this blog to show works in progress, stages of development, and oddball stuff normally unseen in the portfolio.