Monday, August 20, 2012

The New Beginning

So it has finally come to pass. I am now an official Grad student at Wichita State University. As I sit here, adding to this far too neglected art blog, I think about how I (for years) would fight the concept of going to grad school. I saw it as just another way for them to get my money. But fate it seemed had different plans for me. No longer could I just sit on the outside, wishing that my work would create itself. No longer could I just wait for inspiration to hit. I needed a thump on the head. I needed a revitalization. And BOOM, here it is. If you can't tell, I am feeling a trifle preachy, hence the gaudy language use. The true goal and fear is to simply create work that matters and affects me. I am currently (slightly) uncertain as to what that will look like, but sometimes a blank slate is the best place to start. I want to move away from some of the work I have been doing, because it tends to come from a (more or less) emotionally unhealthy place. And the other parts of my work seem to be far to illustrative to be critique worthy. The larger problem is that I still like that work. So... how to keep the history, yet move on, and somehow, even more so... how to combine and keep my integrity. The heart of every artist's struggle.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grad School

I have just accepted a graduate position at Wichita State University for this fall! Looks like grad school was very much in my future. I am tremendously excited to join such a great group of artists!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


My portfolio has been fully submitted to Wichita State University! It feels like an incredible relief, but I am still plagued with a need to make more work. It is one of the best feelings I have felt in a long time! Here are some other images that were sent, I know that some have been on the blog before, but non-the-less....
"Appropriate Interaction" 10"x22" Acrylic and Ink on Canvas
"We Found It" 10"x22" Acrylic and Ink on Canvas
"It Is Time" 20"x30" Acrylic on Illustration Board
"Navigation" 11"x14" Acrylic and Ink on Canvas I am quite sure I will either go back into some of these or I will ignore them and never look back. Either way, it is done and I am pretty pleased!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Portion of Grad School App Portfolio

I have some new photos of my work for ya'll! They are being created for my graduate school application portfolio. I have learned a lot about my work in the short time frame these were created. It really has been a grueling and wonderful experience!
"In This Present Situation" -Acrylic on Canvas 36" x 36"
"Overlooking Destiny" -Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 48"
"Comprehension" -Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 30"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Birth of a New Painting

So I just finished another painting. I actually took some process shots on this one, although I skipped a few major steps. But here is a bit of the process below.

So you may remember the "Rainbow Puke" start, well this is the base for the rest of the painting. Generally it took me a while to figure out how to fix it. The fix was as follows: a thin coat of white gesso. All that remained was some pink permeating through the gesso. (Sorry no process shot)

After the gesso dried I drizzled some yellow on it. Yellow is one of my go to colors, especially in the beginning, as it is rather neutral in its own loud way. I then started to take some new colors in, discovering shapes and forms.

Here I am simply letting the painting and the medium speak. I am discovering shapes and forms and space intuitively.

"Integration" - Ink and Acrylic on Canvas 11" x 14"
And here is the final image. I spend quite a while letting the painting dictate what needs to be discovered. I also try to let the colors do the discovery. It was in this work that I really seemed to discover a method for working. I seem to reference nature and landscape more than I realized, balanced by an intuitive discovery of the the work through its development and my medium.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Conversation with Nancy Morrow

So today I finally got to meet with Nancy, a former professor of mine at KSU. We got to talk about what I had been up to artistically and discuss some of the issues. I couldn’t find my notebook while we were talking so I didn’t take notes. Sadly, I am now trying to remember what all was discussed.

Firstly, she was pleased with what was there. She said that is showed that I had worked, even if I hadn’t worked as much as I had wanted to. We talked a lot about how I was coming up with the images. The early work was built under the P.R.R. (refer to blog name) theory that I had created earlier. These works although landscape in nature, she said she couldn’t directly pinpoint them to their source.

Later I would give up the PRR method, and simply try to work from the brain. I really didn’t think that it was such a bad idea, but looking back I’ve realized that I stifled myself. Nancy said one of the hardest ways to work is from the brain. You have to remember form, light distribution, color variance and everything else related to its physical self. That is a lot of information for the brain to simply remember, organize and interpret. It can quickly become a mad man’s folly. I know we have talked about “inspirational imagery” around the studio, but I guess I always had this silly notion that “real” artists didn’t need that. How very wrong I was. This “inspirational imagery” is a diving board. It is a motivator for work. I don’t have to feel limited my surrounding images, but rather inspired. She suggested that I try to find something I can visually investigate. I research countless things in the form of a hobbyist, but never anything particularly visual. This seems relatively silly in retrospect, as I am a visual artist.

We would eventually talk about process. I believe that I work on canvas best, but at the same time, I feel limited by roughness of the canvas at times. There are times I want to do small delicate work, but can’t. She suggested linen. I’ve heard of it before, but never really investigated it. It seems to be a more tightly woven material, aka smoother. It is also tragically expensive. For now I should just paint.

She found some imagery that I did actually respond to and it was germs, or spores. Something like that, but the forms were very interesting due to their depth and interactions. They also made me think of cosmic photographs (space nebula, asteroids, etc.).

We also talked about the little rooms. They differ so much from the organic paintings. She said that sometimes we feel the need to compensate for missing properties in our work, and that I simply over-shot the moon a bit. She didn’t say it was a bad thing, and that I may be considerable to a therapy of some type. I really liked this idea. It means that my little room things can just be mine. She also liked the cut out shapes (the rectangles full of white lines). Yet instead of overlapping them over each other, she was pondering on overlapping them over the paintings. This isn’t really something I’ve ever considered, but it was a welcome change of thought.

Next on the list was a discussion of the number of works created. She was pleased to hear that I tend to work on multiple paintings at once. The practice isn’t good for everyone, but I work quickly and get bored even quicker. But more so on the number game is, you can start a painting the same way multiple times. The beauty of painting is that is virtually impossible to recreate a painting exactly. I know that you may be able to disagree with that statement a bit, but for me, I can’t recreate a painting without going nuts. So, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel each time, simply restart a painting and learn something new. A technique that was discussed was having 3 paintings that are virtually the same. On one you paint like you normally would, the second you paint with slightly opposing ideas or with different parameters, and on the third you just go crazy. The benefit is that you are learning something from each painting, even if they aren’t so called “the one.”
Another practice that was discussed was creating two lists. One list is filled with everything that you believe a real painting should have. The other list is filled with everything that does NOT make art. Then create two works, one from each list. This is useful in getting an understanding of what secretly and subconsciously motivates your work. We immediately discussed Julie Heffernan, an artist I am very infatuated with, but quickly realized through the discussion that although I love her work, I have not desire to actually paint like that. Please note the image below:

Juile Heffernan - "Self Portrait as Tender Mercenary" Oil on canvas

It was just a joy to talk and confront my work realistically again. I just don’t’ know how artists survive without other artists to talk to. Thank you to Nancy Morrow for your time and wisdom.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Paintings in Progress

Nothing much, just some paintings in progress. One is very mono colored, and the other is like rainbow puke.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Worlds in Small

I am thinking about creating small spaces that are real and intricate. I guess I am thinking about how a person reacts to scale and imagery within smaller scale. These are some process shots. The piece is about 4" high 8" long and about 3" deep. It is on Bristol and later foam core. These are painted in watercolor and drawn in ink.

Cut Outs

I have been working on cut outs, just drawings with shapes cut out. I would like to layer them and possibly color them. I am moving slowly on this, but really like this. I feel like I am really presenting dreams and memories in a very beautiful and compelling way. These are works in progress with names only for organization purposes. All of these are on Bristol paper.

Layer 1

Layer 2

Layer 3

Layers 1 and 2 together

Drawing before cutting

Paintings in Progress

The following are two pieces I recently started. I was simply trying to get myself to paint again. I am really pleased for the most part with these pieces, even though I feel they are not quite finished. As always forgive the poor quality images. You have no idea how crippled an artist is without photoshop and poor lighting... pity.

"Blooms of Midnight (Temp name)" Ink and Acrylic on Canvas 10"x24"

"Sunrise (Temp name)" Ink and Acrylic on Canvas 10"x24" (The names of these pieces have changed and their sizes updated on a later post.)

Valentines Greetings!

I hate Valentines Day, as does anybody who doesn't have a significant other. Yet, it was on this auspicious holiday that I would receive a glimpse of wit. I made three versions, one rather innocent and two rather grim. I love them! To all of you Happy Valentines Day (belated).

"I got you the biggest Valentine I could find!"

"I just couldn't figure out how to mail it. Happy Valentines Day!"

"You gave me your heart for Valentines Day!"

"Oh! I wasn't supposed to eat it? Happy Valentines Day!"

"I'm giving you my heart for Valentines Day!"

"I didn't really think this through... Happy Valentines Day!"

Wood Nymph Portraits

The following are a couple of portaits I did of some nymphs of sorts. They are rather simple and just an indulgence in my imagination.

"Young Man" Watercolor on Bristol 8" x 12"

"Aging Well" Watercolor on Bristol 8" x 12"

Interview regarding Mania

I am about to introduce something new. Self-interviews. I sometimes have a hard time expressing ideas. Recently though I have discovered that if I interview myself it makes more sense... to me at least.

Interview of Mania and Art
- 2/23/12-

If art were to be truly a combined matter of inspiration and training, then what is to say that a hint of madness can be an aiding tool to the natural creation of art. I would like to propose that there are certain aspects of madness that is crucial to the creation of honest work. The type of madness I would like to explore is better known as “mania.” Mania is seen as an overdrive setting to the mind, something often seen as a semi-drug induced state. The more positive aspect of this is that no drugs are required to accomplish this “high”, as we’ll call it. The following will be an outline of thoughts and questions in a pseudo interview style:

1) What would Mania look like in art?
 This is tough to say. I think of layers, color, no color. A celebration of everything and nothing.
 Scale shouldn’t be an issue. Mania can be viewed in many sizes.
 Medium: collage? Although I am afraid of clutter.
 It should be unexpected and avoiding cliché.
 It should explore many subjects.

2) What subjects specifically should be explored?
 The subjects should be “subject” to whims and fancies.
 They should be deliberate yet interpretable (open).

3) If so much is dependent on whims and fancies, then what acts to hold it all together?
 I would like to avoid “illustration”. The word still scares me.
 Its “concrete” is the mania itself. Maybe it’s unity is found within the practice of art itself.
 Or… maybe the lack of something concrete is a part of the mania.
 An artist was saying the following, “I believe this expectation and allowance for uncertainty with a reliance on the daily environment makes art making and life more exciting and less of a predictable, regimented process. It involves taking risk, following your intuition with decisions and allowing things to unfold

Mania itself is a bit unstable. It still needs some more groundwork for something to be built upon.

4) Mania often indicates a sense of repetition. How will this appear in the work?
 I have never been a fan of repetition. Mostly out of the fact that I can’t repeat images.
 Repetition of forms and color is possible, but seems…weak.

I see mania as an excuse to do whatever I want.

5) Mania as an excuse? What prevents you from doing what you want now?
 Pressures from surrounding supporters. People all have a certain expectation of what they want to see in my work.
 People want abstract, they want portraits, they want landscapes…
 I lack a clear vision of what I would like to be doing in art.

6) What have you been doing?
 Abstract with a hint of landscape in it. I do it because it is what comes naturally. I find this kinds of painting to be rather effortless.
 I guess it is because of the “effortless” quality of the creation of this work, that I feel like it is sub-par to what I am really capable of.

7) And what are you capable of?
 That’s the mystery. I would like to believe that I could really create some incredible work. Pieces that really affect the mind and emotions of humanity. I know. It seems to be a bit grand.

8) Do you feel like Mania is the key to it?
 It is a subject that I keep returning to. I don’t know if it is because of a hidden fear of madness, or rather a grasping the dark for anything that can make me substantially successful.
 I recently read an artist statement regarding and action as the catalyst. It was saying that walking was the catalyst for the work rather than the work itself. And on the walks, she would work to deconstruct the world around her and interpret its meanings. This would manifest itself in her sculptures, drawings and movies. So I think this is an interesting thought. Maybe mania is a catalyst for the exploration of artistic mediums.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stanton's Garage

In the Summer of 2010, I had the pleasure to act as Set/Lighting designer for a Decatur Area Theater Association (DATA) production of "Stanton's Garage" - directed under the late Miss. Leigh Davis. It was performed in the Gateway: Morgan Theater in Oberlin, KS. We had a very small budget and had to use only paint and flats that existed. I can inform you that this set cost about $50 to produce. I am afraid I only have a couple pictures, as my other's have gone MIA. Tragically, the photos of most of my set work has vanished. As that is... indulge.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Tree

Yes, a tree. I was recently commissioned, let's be honest... asked, to build a changing tree for my church, as a visual aid to the pastor's sermon set. I was of course ecstatic at the opportunity. The tree is made out of rusty chicken wire, scrap wood, old sketches that I couldn't stand, leftover paint and napkins. I should have taken a picture of the various stages of the tree's development, but tragically I didn't. I do have some process shots as well as the final stage of it's development.

This is the skeleton of the tree, and yes it is hard to see among the myriad of books and odds and ends I have in my room. What can I say? I'm an artist!

This is after the wire was attached and the initial layer of paper mache was being applied.

Here the texture paper mache coat is being added to tree.

This is after the initial painting and the napkin "leaves" were added. You can see that the tree stands a little over 3 feet tall and is about 7 feet across. Yes, I am thrilled as you can see. Have you ever heard of building a ship in a basement, and the problems that can occur? Well, that is the story of my life.

This is the final stage of the tree's development. The death and resurection of Christ opening the door to our future lives as a heavenly family. This was very visully powerful because for the last few weeks the tree would be loosing leaves, down to it's barest twigs and would even be shrouded with black cloth. To end so suddenly with such a burst of color and joy was, well, hopefully meaningful. The project was incredible fun!

Illuminated Manuscripts

At one point in my career, I became infatuated with illuminated manuscripts. And although I loved the inherent religious implications and symbolism with said manuscripts; I twisted them a bit and added some tarot symbolism to my own versions of illuminated manuscripts. If you were unaware,which I wasn't for quite a while; illuminated manuscripts were not only made for beauty, but rather as teaching instruments to those who could not read. On that same note, tarot cards use pictures to help us better grasp some possible universal meanings from the conversations surrounding a tarot reading. I thought that these two things formed a happy union. Unfortunately, I can't quite recall the stories and morals I was implying while creating these sketches.

Pen, watercolor, ink on sketch paper. I really wasn't too impressed with the coloring. In fact it quite offended me. Live and learn.

Pen, watercolor, ink on sketch paper. You can see that this one has a bunch on hatch marks, representing words that you can't read. This would force you to interpret the images alone.

Pen on sketch paper. I was very pleased with this one. So pleased in fact that I was terrified of finishing it for fear of ruining it. This piece makes me wish I had studied printmaking. I feel it would be rather successful as such.

Regarding 2010 Post of Graphic Novels - "Insurrection"

Earlier (back in 2010) I stated that I had begun work on a graphic novel. The name of it was "Insurrection" by Adam Spanier. In the end I would become overwhelmed with the project and abandon it. Below are a sampling of images from the concept stage.

This is a partial rendering of the head corporate conglomerate hive. Pen on sketch paper.

A page from the graphic novel to be.

Yet one more page. Both of these are quickly sketched in pencil on sketch paper.

A concept car for the project. Pencil on sketch paper.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Delicate Bit of Brain-Food

As I was reading through some articles on ArtForum, I ran across an article for Ira Sachs' "Keeping the Lights On", a short film feature to be showcased in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He had the following to say:

"...not to be careful, not to be precious, to be messy, and not to worry too much about what your parents might think. A really important part of being an artist is trying to forget your mother, on some level."

In an interview for YouTube on behalf of Sundance he would also say the following, "Art is not a confessional."

Although this concept is not a new one, it reinforces concepts that were presented to me through my peers and professors (back in the day). Although art MUST be personal, it cannot be so private in matter that it cannot be thoroughly discussed, or objectively analyzed. I believe that this is a very real canyon in my natural art progression. Now... to build a bridge.