Thursday, February 19, 2015

Who's Afraid of Chuck and George?

...You may ask. No one should be, since Brian Jones and Brian Scott, collectively "Chuck and George", create no danger, only delights for the eye and intellect. Their observations on their environment and everyday life take a turn toward the fanciful and have brought them considerable and well deserved attention.

CentralTrak, the University of Texas at Dallas Artist Residency space, devoted part of its area to a show celebrating all things Chuck and George through the eyes of their fellow artists and friends. I was honored to be invited to be a part of the show.

The opening happened Friday, February 13 and will continue through a couple of months at least. Below is my contribution and below that are photos of the event and some of the other works I was able to get a record of, with my often poor photography. But hey, it was just one of those nights.

"Chuck (Brian) George"
8 by 16 inches, acrylic on two panels.

And here it is paired with a beautiful Mark Ross painting.

A favorite by Erica Stephens. Those are real teeth on the encroaching monster. While I've never seen anything like that at the Brians' house, I have no doubt it could appear at any minute. I'm sure it would be gentle, but monstrous nevertheless.

A beautifully crafted cut paper piece from Gretchen Goetz.

Disturbingly cuddly Chuck and George dolls by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith.

I don't know who did this, but I like it a lot.

A great Bruce Lee Webb piece.

A fun Ken Craft watercolor narrative.

I don't know who made this, either, but I like it, too.

Tom Sale provided some signature Pinky Diablo skeleton watercolors.

One of my selfies with friends John Slate and guest of honor Brian Scott.

Another selfie with friends John Reitzer-Smith, Milton Morris, a young lady I don't think I have the pleasure of knowing and on the far right friend and guest of honor number two, Brian Jones.

A shot down the hall with the enthusiastic crowd.

The outside window of CentralTrak showcases two Chuck and George heads.

And finally, CentralTrak honcho Heyd Fontenot gives Brian Jones a well deserved sternum massage.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

At Tracy Miller Gallery

Welcome to 2015. This photo was provided by Tracy Miller, artist and owner of Tracy Miller Gallery in Manitou Springs, Colorado. It shows my work currently on display there. It's not an one person show situation, it's part of the gallery's rotating exhibition of all artists' work. I'm happy to be there and I hope to pay an in person visit this summer, as part of another epic road trip.
I also hope to be more attentive to this blog. Another new years resolution.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy holidays

Whatever it is you celebrate, if anything, I hope it's a good time.

This is an image I made, with some process pix along with it.

The piece started as a pencil drawing with intentional smudges. I scanned the drawing and with Photoshop turned the smudges into a half tone pattern.
I added the skin tone and hair as layers. They are scanned watercolor washes.

I added the color of the wing and the bird, also scanned watercolor washes. The robe texture was a photograph of a wall, as was the background. The clock is from a photograph of the court house in beautiful Crockett, Texas.
The gold leaves seen in the final version were from a photograph of a pattern on an antique window.
This piece exists only in digital form.

These are the textures I used, from photographs I took and watercolor washes I made.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Cat Show

This Saturday night Mighty Fine Arts Gallery presents "The Cat Show", an exhibition with part of the proceeds of sales going to spay, neuter, vaccinate and feed feral cats in the Tyler Street neighborhood of Dallas, TX, home to the gallery.

My contribution is a painting, "Backlit Cat", based on a photo I took of our cat, Scout, in front of an unfortunately in-need-of-a-cleaning window. Below is the painting, below that is the source photo.

Psychedelic punk band Inferno Texino is playing a set at the show.

Christina Rees and Bill Davenport, critics for Glasstire, an online Texas art magazine, discuss the show as one of their "Top Five" events of the week. "Backlit Cat" shows up at 3:12, if you're keeping time.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mixed media with watercolor

Okay, I'm a bad blogger. Nearly two months of posting nothing; I have no excuses. A lot has been going on, and I'll try to get caught up with posting it here in the next few weeks, if not days.
To tell the truth, I've been pretty active on my Facebook page, on Twitter and most recently I've joined Instagram. So I guess that's why I'm behind here.

Here's the first catch-up item.
Tracy Miller Gallery in Manitou Springs, Colorado is having a holiday show called "100 for $100", a title that's self explanatory. The idea is for represented artists to show work that is available for that price. I decided to use 5 by 7 inches drawings which I scanned and printed on a laser scanner on 140 lb Arches watercolor paper. I then added watercolor to the printed images. The piece is attached to museum board and that is attached to wood 6 by 8 inches. Below are images of the pieces.

The show runs from November 29 through December 31.

This photo shows the "Bull" piece on the wall, to give it some context and scale.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Works on Paper"

Here are some photos from "Works on Paper", a group exhibition in which I was invited to show. I don't work on paper a lot, but I did have some pieces I was able to contribute.

These were "Across the Pond" (acrylic and found objects on paper, 9.5 by 14 inches), "Arboreal 1" (acrylic on paper, 11 by 15 inches) and "Arboreal 3" (acrylic on paper, 11 by 15 inches). I'm happy to say "Arboreal 1" sold to a friend in Seattle. It's always nice to know where a piece is going.

The gallery, called "The small gallery" with intentional lower case letters, is located along with some other galleries in a shopping mall that has seen better days. There are still some other stores in the mall, including a Sears, but a lot of the area has been provided to galleries and artists' studios. The places we visited were well appointed and the work looked good.

Thanks to Rita Barnard, the small gallery's owner, for the invitation.

"Across the Pond" on the wall.

Some nice people keep an eye on "Arboreal 3", one of my favorite of these paintings. My approach in painting it was different from the usual. It worked out well, I thought, so it was a good experience.

A crowd shot with "Across the Pond" and "Arboreal 1" in the background.

"Arboreal 1" is flanked by two other nice pieces.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rooster Plate

I painted the image on this ceramic plate to be auctioned at a fundraiser for a local arts service. It's a place where people who are interested in art can take informal (in the sense that there are no, as far as I know, grades or great pressure to perform at a certain level) classes in painting, ceramics, drawing, and other subjects.

I have many friends who work and participate at this facility, so I was happy to make a small contribution in the form of this plate. The auction event is called the "Blue Plate Special". Get it?

Anyway, I entered into this project with some trepidation, since I'm not at all familiar with the materials and glazes used to make images on ceramics. I didn't take ceramics in college and have had no interest in it, or really any 3-dimensional medium. But I gave it a try and this is how it turned out. Not knowing how glazes translate after firing in a kiln I decided to keep the color flat with a simple outline. I know it's possible to achieve very sophisticated color effects and gradations. But I don't know how to do that and it would take considerable practice and trial and error, just as it did while I was learning to paint, to reach a level I felt comfortable with, outside of this simple approach. The background started out sort of abstract then evolved into an organic pattern. Through research I was able to figure out how the colors I was working with would appear after the plate's firing.

While I was happy to support the efforts of this and other worthy causes, the practice of artists giving their work to auctions is a little controversial. Some artists feel exploited, as they are often assigned subject matter or, as in this case, media outside of their usual materials. Their work is taken and auctioned at prices that may or may not reflect their proven value in the marketplace. And often they are unable to attend the events where their work is used to raise money, due to high ticket prices they are unable or unwilling, since they have contributed to the potential success of the event, to pay.

My first understanding of this particular event was that the artists could only attend if they paid full price for tickets. Then apparently this policy changed, since my wife and I were offered tickets gratis to attend. We were intending to attend the event, as I'm always interested in seeing how my work performs in such an environment, for the not insignificant reason of determining if the auction prices hold up to the retail prices I ask for my work in the marketplace. The reason for my concern isn't that I think so highly of myself, as much as it is out of fairness to those people who are generous enough to buy my work for its retail asking price. There could be some resentment if the work is sold at a lower price than I ask in the market. So while supporting good causes is a good thing that is not the only consideration. I have, I must add, had good luck usually in having my work bring a price at auction equal to its retail price. Since my piece wasn't to be included in the actual auction we decided to not attend, letting the tickets go back into the hopper so they could be sold for full price.

What makes these situations frustrating, other than a low selling auction price, is when the work donated is not used in the way that it was said it would be used. This plate, I'm told, won't be on the auction block, but will instead be given as a sort of prize to those people who paid a premium ticket price to the event. Another word for this might be "party favor", but let's not take that snarkiness any further. If there are a limited number of pieces to be auctioned, then the number of pieces solicited should, in my opinion, be limited to that number. If more funds are required to be raised then other options should be offered. For the auction officials to create a hierarchy of work, based on whatever criteria, especially when that intention isn't made clear at the solicitation point, only feeds more resentment in the population of donating artists, which leads to less work being donated to that or other otherwise worthy causes. Such practices, however innocent and well meaning I know they are, are counterproductive for everyone involved.

Regardless, I do sincerely hope whomever ends up with the plate I donated wants and enjoys it. Maybe one day they will look me up and let me come see where they put it.

Below is how the plate looked after painting, but before firing.