Friday, August 22, 2014

egoist, street art enthusiast, beercolor painter and that

...pronounced TIP-dog.

Kevin Woida's awesome painting hangs above the turntables to inspire thorough and relieving scratching.

 There is the huge question that  wonders me to sleep some nights... "what happened to all the stuff I painted?"  Granted a lot of it is in the garage. That is a problem I think a lot of painters face, but even looking through the paintings I managed to document for this blog "project", which represents less than half of the paintings I have done in the last eight years or whatever, the fact is almost everything I have painted in my life is gone. I would estimate that I retain less than five percent of my own work. So where the hell is it?

I was visiting my dear frienddd (long tangential run on here) whose nickname I recently realized is not even "Greazy DC" but "GC" which does make sense since those are his actual initials and he's not form the DC area, hes from the KC area as the hat (backup hat not pictured) would suggest, (back to the  important sentence) AAAAnd realized that some of my art is in his house, along with the art of more talented and interesting painters like Kevin Woida. So I started a new "project" (just these three photos really, in all likely-hood this is the end of the "project") to track down art in peoples lives and homes.  How does it share the space with the rest of a persons important things? Does it play nice? I do this because I am an egotistical wretch and need to know that my passing through this world will leave some kind of mark. If not a bruise, a ripple. I am really exited to see how far this "project will carry me. (I have decided to abandon the project just now, because it is too much work and not interesting)

 But something that does interest me is this awesome memorial? to a guy with a beard who may have only been a year old. Found on the top of Black Butte fire watch, where I left my second annual vampire Jet Jet.

 I leave these tiny hastily done paintings around when I travel because I am too old and allergic to jail to do real street art, but part of my job here is to keep up on whats going on in the streets by way of the creative class. This is what I noticed the arty types throwing up on the walls of Portland this month. As well as a big shout out to my favorite dive bar, the epicenter of my love story, and the home of what may well be Portland's best fries.
best snail style!
acupuncture study guide? on the 8 market on Belmont

Can you guess where this is?

It's the bar I met my wife in.

The bathroom mirrors are not even mirrors really.
House across from Nuestra Cucina, So good!
Then finally because I am actually turning into a quieter more respectful and observant being with every breath, I continued my watercolor practice. It is so nerdy and makes my brain hurt while I do it. But I am starting to enjoy the flood of considerations that I have to meet as I priorities light, color, shape, distance, perspective, butt pain, bug tolerance and the difference between painting with water or beer. Yes at least one of these is technically a beer-color painting.
Beautiful lake, secret location, can't tell.
Respectable pond, at Black Butte.

Towels, BBQ, Trees.

Just Trees.

Clinton St.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Great Harrison Cady, Expert Animal Smithy!!

There are so many illustrators who I just love and imitate often. Sometimes as I'm looking through the book shops I see some I don't recognize, and that may have been overwritten by history.

A couple years ago I had this experience with the work of Harrison Cady and then after seeing his amazing illustrations that once, I have been running into them everywhere.

The stories of "Reddy Fox" are one of those free downloadable stories I ended up with on my phone and my son listens to them over and over. Then I realized that the handwork teacher at my school reads these books to her students while they work quietly.

I am just floored by this guys illustrations. Super balanced and full of form. This kind of confident, clean line work and quick hand that is so typical of newspaper illustrators of his time, similar in some ways to George Herriman or  Winsor McCay, and even Dr Seuss started working this way under the constraints of deadlines. It was a rich environment to bring up talented drawers in. I sometimes wish I could enforce that kind of pressure on myself to push myself.

 You can really see how a guy like this had learned from observing nature and field drawing, and then how well he crafts these perfectly proportioned and dimensional little characters is astounding. Each one is so readable and if you squint looks as perfectly balanced as a yin-yang.

Harrison Cady had a long association with Thornton Burgess, illustrating the writer's books, including Happy Jack, and his daily newspaper column, "Bedtime Stories". Their partnership spanned five decades, beginning with Baby Possum Has a Scare (c. 1912), The Adventures of Reddy Fox (1913) and Buster Bear Invites Old Mr. Toad to Dine (c. 1914), The series continued into the 1950s with At Paddy the Beaver's Pond (1950), followed by the reprint The Animal World of Thornton Burgess (1962).

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sketch Book Update. Becoming the old woman I have always been.

front stoop
 There was a  time when I was feeling like I had given up on art. When being a dad, or trying to have a teaching career had made the idea of sitting in the garage and painting for hours seem like the most ridiculous waste of time. I left the paint and the garage alone for most of two years I think. But when Audra came back from Bali after helping out with a Flora Bowley art adventure she bought a couple of canvases and made the whole family start painting again. A lot of thinks became clear to me when I began creating art again.

Firstly I recognized an emotional debt to the task of creating art. I saw that it had been there for me when I was a emotionally retarded high-schooler, drawing anorexic long necked nudists, and gangster rabbits and crap like that. It had gotten me to and through college and helped me make almost all of the important and lasting friendships I still count on now. Not to mention I use it to gain street cred with students and barflies alike.  So I felt for the first time that I owed art something.

I realized also that through art I am not only just enhancing my experience of awareness in the moment of drawing or painting observationally, but even just sketching from my imagination, or painting a sunken landscape full of prehistoric monsters, I am constantly seeking to understand the shapes and forms of the world as it is. My mind is always at work to make sense of space, distance, botanical structures, geology, anatomy, architecture, weather and atmosphere, shadow and light. Drawing and painting becomes a scientific task to recall how things fit together and appear to the eye. To use your sense of sight to recreate the images of your experience is a way of practicing your understanding. Each sketch, drawing and painting is a tiny thought experiment, in which you are literally measuring the dimensions of the world around you. There is no end to the insights that loom out of the fog of a blank page.

Sauvie Island
My Dog, french for werewolf.

And out of this rekindled desire to seek out artistic practice and strengthen my network of art friends I called up Greazy DC and we went to what I'm certain is not the most awkward life drawing session in the world, because I'm sure it gets weirder on a daily basis somewhere, but the most awkward pony themed life drawing session I have ever walked out on.

But we didn't give up and the next weekend we hunted down the Urban Sketchers at Palio on Ladd's Circle and I saw what could be possible with just a small watercolor set, a sketchbook and a Saturday morning. It was mostly a crew of lovely ladies and I felt for the first time in a while that I had found people who could teach me something valuable, without the ludicrous tuition costs I had come to expect, because Urban Sketchers is totally free (monetarily and otherwise).

Of course I am failing to express my point here, but what I am really trying to say is Thanks, to everyone who ever hung out and drew. I have a worthwhile task I can grow old with, and friends to join me in the task.
Stretch of river bank across from Oaks Park.

One of the least interesting views of the back fence and the woman who came to do the census at our house for five hours.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Road Trip Jet Jets. Littering...Lettering....Letting go.

A town called Beaver. It will grow up to be stronger for the name.

Salt Lake City...goes on forever.
 While Audra drives I get to paint some little Jet Jets to deliver to the stops along the way. It has gotten to the point where any time we go on any kind of road trip I'm packing my little art set first and putting hanging wires on some scrap wood...then packing my clothes.

Before I started posting them here I had put up maybe a hundred around town over the years. Now it is more of a traveling exhibit. I get the feeling like many of them must just get disposed of lickitty split, but hold out hope that somewhere someone like me is finding these little guys and taking them into their life somehow, maybe to adorn the walls of their bathroom. (Where most wierd little artends up, lets be honest.)  It has lately felt like the kind of project that will take years and years before I really know if it is working, or what working is for that matter. Is it reverse shoplifting, or artful littering? I don't know.
Downtown Boise

Boise Idaho right outside the Fork.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I just wanna paint water colors! Joy and Pain...pump pump it up!!!

water color painting in Zion!!!
 It always seems like it will be this great peaceful time, to sit in the sun and paint some beautiful scenery, and then I am sitting there swearing at the changing shadows and how the paint looks all weak and I realize I am just not the kind of person who creates peacefully. It is an awful and frustrating act to look into the eyes of the world and know you may never really know whats going on in there. It is joyful, don't get me wrong. It is a good way to spend the afternoon while vacationing in some of the most beautiful country in the world but painting what you see is hard work. It is a chance to reassure yourself that no matter how hard you look you will never see it all and there is no way you will recreate all the amazingness you have been gifted with seeing in this life.  And then I spilled ink all over it anyway so who cares.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jet Jet Downtown and in a cave, also more jungle cats.

Dropped off two more of my buddies downtown the other day. One in the Pearl and the other one...I can't remember where. Oh well the point is to let them go so does it matter if I forget were they have gone to? I do wonder if they ever end up finding new homes.

Sometimes I forget where I leave them and sometimes i forget to take pictures of them, like happened last month when I had gone hiking with the family at the falls in the gorge. I had crawled into this cave set on leaving the painting in there somewhere. I was using my phones flash to see my way and the tiny cave just kept going on and on for fifty feet or more into the darkness. I finally reached the back wall and crawling on my hands and knees in the tiny space I was suddenly curious about the ceiling and took a picture upwards to illuminate the situation. in the momentary light I saw hundreds of spiders crawling all over the walls above me. I threw the painting down and scrambled out on my hands and knees whimpering and squealing, then emerged to the dubious looks of my wife and kids, who watched as I did a horrible little bug dance.
Round six or whatever of jungle cat drawings with Aunstin B. Amur Tiger time.

Embodied cognition, Painting and Heartache.

This last year has brought me all kinds of opportunities for growth. At this ripe old age I would say that heartbreak ...