Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Art Museum Trip

 These are pictures that I took from a recent trip we made downtown.  It was a date between my oldest son and myself.

We visited the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and just enjoyed being together.

This picture is my son sitting outside the Inversion Cafe, a regular spot on my downtown itinerary.  He's sitting under a bunch of lampshades hung all over by the Houston Art League, which is attached to the Inversion Cafe.  For the best tea and smoothies anywhere (don't know about the coffee; I can't get past the tea and smoothies!) go there!  It's always fun to see what the Art League is up to as well.

The next picture is Chase in the underground tunnel between museum buildings, and the bottom two are outside the museum.  We enjoyed a well-deserved break after all the walking, looking and thinking we did!
 We made two more stops while we were down there, one at the Half Price Bookstore (always a thumbs-up in our family) and the other at Texas Art Supply.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Picasso Quote

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.  -  Pablo Picasso

Isn't this beautiful?  It's a statue we found in a museum somewhere in Germany.  I'd tell you where if I could remember!  Could Maxfield Parrish possibly have seen this?  It's carved from wood and is about six feet tall on a pedestal.  

Washes the dust off my soul, let me tell you!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dragon Woodblock

Here is the carving as I'm working on it.  I still have a ways to go at this point, but you can get the idea of what I'm up to.

Here is the finished dragon; as you can see, he's gotten a a bit dirty.  This is how he looks after I made the prints.  Scroll down the next few entries, and you will be able to see the progression to finished work.

Closeups on Dragon Series

 Here are a few closeups that I promised in the previous posting showing my dragon series.  It's a little difficult to tell, but if you're looking at it in person, you can see several layers which give it more dimension.
This one is part of a sky/tree section. I really like it as it gives me a feeling of a beautiful, breezy day.
I've melded together a lot of greens and aquas along with some iridescents and golds to give this one a dreamy quality.

Well, the colors are bad because I'm not a great photographer, plus I took these shots with my phone.  Am I making excuses?  YES!  Anyway, these colors lean towards greens, aquas and blues on this particular painting.
I used iridescents on the water coming from their mouths, as you can see here.  If you click on any one of these pictures, you can get a closeup.

And this, the last shot, gives you a feel of paint flow.  I like it when I find a sedimentary ink that reacts to other inks as shown here.  Or maybe it's magic.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

East Shore Dragon Series

Okay, here is the series I promised to show.  In my previous article, I showed the photos I took to inspire me.
All of these are woodblock prints, but are completely individual members of a limited set of six.
My first job was to draw out the dragon.  This I did on cheap newsprint or something like that.  Then I did the highly technical operation of scribbling on the back of the paper with an ebony pencil, laying it down on the woodblock, and tracing over my work.  Instant copy, right on the wood.  Then I realized I had done it backwards, because I wanted the final dragons to be looking from left to right.  Remember, the image is inverted when you print.  Well, I didn't remember, so it turned out to be a joke between me and my students.  AND... I had to retrace and redraw it!  Oh, brother.

While I was carving the dragon, I worked on the backgrounds separately, so everything would be done at the same time.  I used my experience with lakes to inspire me. 
This first dragon is called 'East Shore Calm.'  I like the calming, cool feeling it gives me.

This dragon is called 'Keeper of the East Shore.'  I used the trees across the lake and the beautiful fresh sky to inspire me.  Note that you can see the colors through the dragons.  That was very important to me as I like the textural interest that brings.  We won't even talk about the pics I had to toss because the paint was too thick or too thin.
The next one is 'East Shore Dragon.'  Love the colors in it and the deep water feeling it gives me.

 The next one, with the dashes of red, is called 'East Shore Guardian.'  It's the only one with any reds in it, and I like it because of the way the complimentary colors work together.

The last one I named 'Dragon of the East Shore.'  The colors are really vibrant and bright.  I paint on YUPO, which is a 100% polypropylene paper.  Because of this, it's completely nonabsorptive.  I use colored inks because of their vibrancy, and they sit on top of the YUPO without soaking in at all.  The result is
 extremely bright jewel tones.  It's really difficult to paint on, but the tradeoff is extreme fluidity, an unexpected depth, and hopefully some nice, controlled surprises along the way.
I'm selling these for $300.00 each, and just framed my first one and put it in the gallery this week.
In my next entry, I'll give you some closeup looks at these works.

Dragon Paintings - Initial Photos

I just finished a series of paintings which these dragons inspired me to.  As an artist, I appreciate beauty in many forms, and will often take a detour if I know that it's a 'scenic route.'  On the east shore of Lake Woodlands, which they imaginatively named 'East Shore,' are several dragons dribbling water into the lake.  I love them, and now and then will stop to see them, enjoy the lake and have a little chat with my friends.  Here they are.
I had a nice woodblock just waiting for me, and one day while driving past my dragons,  realized that this was what I wanted to do!  I parked and walked over to take these shots.
In my next entry, I'll show you the paintings I just finished.