Friday, May 31, 2013

A bumblebee process

"A Bumblebee", 6 by 6 inches, acrylic on panel.

I decided to document the process of this small painting with still pictures. Maybe some day I'll have the smarts to make a video and speed it up or something. Anyway, here's how it works.

This is a gessoed panel, with wood sides. For this series I'm using these as ground, instead of my usual stretched canvas.

Here I've taped the edges to protect them from stray paint. The surface is covered with a base texture I have brushed on using matte gel. I like the brushy undercoat it gives to the surface.

A base color, usually purple or a mix of purple, red and brown, is applied.

And here's the base color complete. I like the uneven look, even though most of it ends up being covered. There was a time when I thought the base color had to be perfectly flat, but I've gotten over that.

Using a white pastel pencil I execute a rough drawing of the subject; in this case a large bumblebe on a flower. Pastel pencils easily erase or wash off, to eliminate the underdrawing.

I'm starting to paint the bee, working from the darkest value to the lightest.

These yellow highlights will be the lightest value on this striped section of the bee.

Here's the bee form with both orange and black stripes complete.

After painting the stained-glass look of the wings I'm using a white prismacolor pencil to detail the "veins", for lack of a better, probably more accurate term, of the wings. Prismacolor, unlike pastel, pencil marks are very hard to erase. Nor do they smudge.

The flower petals are going to be white. This blue serves as their base and shadow value.

After a couple of values are added, the white petals come into form.

The center of the flower has a pale yellow hue.

And there it is, needing only my signature.

Here it is hanging on the wall.

This is one of the paintings for "Inside and Out", my September show at Norwood Flynn Gallery in Dallas.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

El Rey de Oak Cliff

My neighborhood of Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas, has long been ignored by the larger city government in favor of more, or actually less diversified, tony areas in terms of (positive) development and infrastructure. That has started to change over the past few years in no small part due to the actions of activists like Jason Roberts.

Jason's accomplishments are listed as being a father of two young children, he ran for Congress in 2011, founded Better Block - which helps communities rehabilitate underused spaces, started Bike Friendly Oak Cliff to encourage biking in his neighborhood, co-founded Art Conspiracy which brings artists together to raise money for non-profits, started the Oak Cliff Transit Authority in an effort to bring street cars back to Oak Cliff and served as the lead singer and guitarist in The Happy Bullets.

While improving our neighborhood Jason battled cancer and won. His medical bills are still substantial, though, so the Kessler Theater, a former movie theater fallen to ruin and reborn as a popular music venue, is having a music and art event to help raise money. I was invited to contribute a piece for the art auction and so here is my humble way to try and help out a good guy.

"El Reyna de Oak Cliff", 10 by 8 inches, acrylic on canvas.

Roosters were once ubiquitous in Oak Cliff, but a few years ago were made illegal. One can still have chickens if they're "properly" contained, but not roosters. Makes for quieter mornings I guess, but some of the neighborhood's funk and originality is missing as a result.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Speedbump Art Tour 2013

The Visual Speedbump Art Tour in my neighborhood of Oak Cliff came around this year last Saturday. It was a great day, with lots of visitors and great support. Thanks to everyone who made it by.

Here are a few photos and other stuff from the tour.

There was also a preview in the local weekly alternative paper, the Dallas Observer, written by Jamie Laughlin. It included descriptions of all of the stops. Here's the description of my work, which I like a lot.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hecho en Dallas 10th anniversary.

Dallas' Latino Cultural Center is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the "Hecho en Dallas" annual juried exhibitions. The organizers chose a group of artists from past shows to include in this anniversary exhibit, and I'm one of them. Tonight is the opening reception.

Since "Eli", which was a part of "Hecho en Dallas" a couple of years ago, isn't available I am showing "Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley" in its place.

Thanks to the folks at the Latino Cultural Center for including me in this special occasion.