For many years, I have added to the silly season with my own form of silliness in the form of a twisted card offering. As I have a hearing impediment that restricts my hearing to only one ear, I am sure that I miss I or misinterpret much of the conversations around me. I have taken this situation as an excuse to delve into the traditions and sayings of the holiday season with the idea that if, miss heard, strange images come to mind and out the paintbrush. The inside reads: ” May the blessing of the Season feather your nest.”
Just finished a commission where I illustrated a collector’s favorite book with the artwork incorporated into a custom wooden box formed to hold the first edition book. In this case, Phillip Jose Farmer’s “Green Odyssey”. My pen and ink art was translated into an engraving on the box lid, and the small (8″ x 5″) acrylic painting inserted into 4 brass retainers on the inside lid of the box. These beautiful, custom boxes are made by Dick Olsen who does the box construction and the engraving from line art supplied by the artist.
” My Prince Hath Croaked” an oil 15″ x 10″ began out as a field study as well at a spot found about a mile from my studio. While I worked, an otter bounced past me and splashed through the water in the foreground and into the culvert behind the figure. I had a photo shoot with a model soon after beginning the painting and one of the poses struck me as a perfect addition to the scene.
A spot tucked within the Myakka River State Park not far from my home. It has been my intention to do something like what Fredrick Remington and N.C. Wyeth did as they visited areas of the Old West to gain accurate information to produce western art. Several modern artists have gone a step further, James Bama and Howard Terpning, gave up their illustration careers in the New York area to be closer to Old West locations. While I am not wishing to give up a career painting fantastic art images, I am embracing my environment to produce pirate / sea rover art that rings with an authenticity of place. Howard Pyle a renowned painter of pirates traveled to Jamaica. Much of my art school training came from still life and figure observation, so recording the outdoors with paints and brushes rounds out my experience. Wild Palms is a 12″ x 9″ oil painting which took me four hours to complete. Painting quickly to capture the essence of a scene before the sun travels a great distance across the sky is a challenging skill to hone. The lighting I observed when I started and what I saw at the end was very different.
The Golden Age of Illustration artist and teacher, Howard Pyle, recommended his students put themselves into the context of their painting to make their artwork more believable and true to the observer. Perhaps I go a bit “overboard” placing myself in such paintings, but Pyle’s reasoning is very sound. There is no better way to represent something than by first experiencing it. “On the Account” is a small 10″ x 8″ oil on panel intended as a preliminary sketch to a larger painting. I kept pursuing the problems and solutions of the work between long lapses, adding new ideas to work out a difficulty, until the the sketch became a small work in itself. It is challenging to take odd bits of research material from a multitude of sources in order to integrate them until a natural and cohesive image evolves. The work originated with a photo taken of me aboard a modern topsail schooner. As I maintained my balance as the ship heeled, rose, and fell in the stiff breeze, the propulsion gave me a rush of emotions I wanted to capture as I imagined the sense of freedom sea rovers felt as they pursued their dreams.