Saturday, June 19, 2010
In January 2004, the, "Surreal Bounce" Odyssey was in full swing. In this case it was Jazz Swing. This sketch was done on location inside the Bedlam Bar in Hampstead, England. This bar was Robert Eringer's creation; honoring Creativity and Madness.
Eringer and I were on our way to Gheel, Belgium, to obtain the relics of St. Dymphna, (the patron Saint of Mental Illness).
"Every Night was a Full Moon at the Bedlam Bar", and on this particular night, it was "Jazz Night", so I set up my little Pochade box and rhythmically sketched live jazz. The florescent lights of the bar added a surreal feel to the environment. There was youthful vigor and vitality in the air as this bar was new, stimulating; different than most night clubs of the day.
(It helped to know the management of a restaurant who allowed oil based mediums into the bar/restaurant).
In retrospect, I feel it is one of the best gesture oil sketches I've ever done. It has a life force, and liveliness that will never fade.
Jazz Night at the Bedlam Bar
8x6 oil/panel 2003
Collection of Robert Eringer
Surreal Bounce, 2003
For more >Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog: http://surrealbounce.blogspot.com/
Friday, June 18, 2010
Who could pass up an opportunity for a great story. I am linking this to my friend and patron Robert Eringer's Surreal Bounce Blog.
This photo shows me working in plein air in Geyser, Iceland, in 15 degree weather. I'd driven out to "Geyser" to paint the "Geyser" under the full moon. The Geyser would erupt every five minutes so it was relatively consistent and that made my job easier.
Also, because of the Northern Latitude the moon never set. It was up and full 24 hours a day. So the Moon was easy to capture. The only real challenge was that it was so cold that I had to add extra linseed oil to my paints in order to keep their viscosity.
Everything had been going along just fine throughout the painting, until the wind shifted. All of a sudden, the I found I was being sprayed by hot steamy water. Because I was so cold, the water instantly froze on my person, painting, palette, pride...
I still managed a smile.
Erik (the Red) Russel
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I have a friend in the world who is a sultry country western singer who produce her latest album early this year. Her name is Annie Dahlgren. Most of the themes to her songs were dark and gritty, and she wanted to have my paintings grace her cover!!
She had contacted me last year to paint a portrait of Josh Townsend; the Green Beret from Solvang who mysteriously died in Afganistan
She chose from my archives, ten or so of my plein air nocturnes to use in the CD entitled, "All Through the Night".
This painting was from my first solo museum exhibition in 2004 at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard. It is of an old bus I found one night in the back roads of La Conchita California. When I saw it, it looked like an alien face, or a hockey mask.
It was so odd that I had to capture it.
One year after I painted this painting there was a tremendous landslide in the distance where the last two street lights are seen. They, along with about fourteen residents from La Conchita, perished in the slide.
Now the face on the Back of the Bus looks morose.
Coming events cast their shadows?
Back of the Bus Nocturne
28x28 oil/canvas 2003
Collection of Ann Sanders and Gerry Winnet.
One never knows where or when the Universe will shower it's grace. When I paint a painting; when the painting is finished, framed, and (hopefully) sold, it takes on a life of its own. It has its day in the sun so to speak, immediately, or in time, or maybe never.
In the case of this painting, I painted it in the mid 1990's, en plein air, across the street from my house in Carpinteria. It depicts the full moon setting over Santa Barbara, and the tree is one of the trees my brothers and I use to climb in our youth.
My friend and fellow Artist, Loren Grean, contacted me after producing her musical album, "Meridian Blue". She wanted to have one of my paintings grace the cover.
Loren is a master at Celtic Harp, and writes all of her own music. After searching my entire slide inventory, she found this one painting, which to her spoke to the color expressed in the title.
I obliged. Now my painting is being seen by greater and greater numbers of the public via the internet, or in record stores. I know not its affect on each and every individual who may see it, but I am happy to know that at least one person may be influenced by my art, in some way, some day.
However, I must detach myself from this possibility as well.
Moon Over Santa Barbara
30x30 oil/canvas 1996
I don't know why they call it the corn moon but the Moon set in May looks nothing like an ear of corn. It may resemble it's color...but...
(I know it's probably because it was high time to plant corn for the fall).
This was the last of five sketches I produced one morning down the street from my house. It was a productive morning indeed, but when you have a beautiful setting in your back yard, such as Carpinteria Beach, one can hardly go wrong; especially when there is a big beautiful moon as a guiding light.
Moonset, Dawns Early Light
8x8 oil/canvas 2010
Collection of the artist
What a great day to be at the Mission in Santa Barbara.
Today's demonstration dealt with drawing in perspective; both one and two point.
After toning the canvas, the drawing begins. I started with seeing the parameters of the format (in this case, 22x28). I began by drawing the contour lines of the fountain, then moved to a perimeter outline of the cupolas of the church to make sure my relationships would allow them to fit on the page. (often times the top of the cupolas don't quite make it on the canvas).
Next comes all the lines in contour moving to two vanishing points on the horizon line. While I am drawing these in I am relating the shapes and angles and negative spaces to my original lines of the fountain.
I use my brush as a tool, to measure the angles, and distances of each line and/or intersection of shapes/points, etc. to all other angles, lines, shapes and points. Every mark has relevance.
Drawing this mission is itself a master class. A trained eye can tell which lines may or may not be off in relationship. It is unforgiving, which is why I choose to depict it as a subject. However I notice many of my students fall away from this particular class cause it is a monster to take on.
From this toned drawing, I will work in a limited palette and produce a mellow, antique feeling to the painting.
I won't be afraid to ruin it, so chances of survival are pretty high.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I recommend to my students they should not focus on making money as an artist; although making money is fine, the intention behind creating their art should be pure. They need to strike a balance. Create both art for arts sake, and art for commerce sake.
They should paint and hope to sell, not merely paint to sell.
This was a little 9x12 oil painting I painted up at Ray Strong's Birthday celebration in 2009. It is on the top of East Camino Cielo. We'd gone to paint and celebrate Ray's life (Most OAK Group artists were present), and the brilliant day was soon fogged in.
I only had so much time to paint, so I quickly made a decision to paint a section of the mountain road, meandering behind Montecito Peak. The fog was looming like a monster; billowing up and over the ridge, allowing the sun to filter in only now and then.
It is a somber painting, but it says, "California Landscape" for sure. I never though I would sell it because it is so unusual a composition. None the less, it did sell to a very fine architect in town, and it looks great on his wall.
I guess in this case my art for art's sake blended to become my art for commerce sake.
I have no complaints.
Looming Fog, E. Camino Cielo.
9x12 oil/board 2009