Thursday, January 19, 2017

More Border Designs and Influences

 Border Design, acrylic.
As promised in a post a few weeks ago--more borders!

This one actually has a subject within the proscenium, but I've removed it for this post. Been working on a crop of new pieces, and this is one of them. I like imperfect, almost-symmetry much more than the opposite.

Antique toy theaters are definitely an influence, and some of my strongest childhood memories are of going to the old theaters in Denver--before most were torn down--and looking at the amazing plaster and tile decorations.

Book covers used to have great designs--I like to hunt in old bookstores and antique shops, and photograph them.

And there's always the internet.

This is a border--the interior also removed--done for a show at Helikon Gallery...
...and the amazing Sendak artwork (from his Nutcracker) that inspired it.
Old engravings, like this book plate by P. Voight, are also great catalysts for new works.

This owl, a fragment of a larger acrylic work, sits atop a clutch of oak leaves.
Leaving you with one of my favorites; a watercolor border that in fact holds a Cupboard Goblin instead of my watermark.

I could go on and on, but that's plenty. If you missed the previous Borders post, here's the link:
Borders Part One

Thanks, as always, for your interest and support of my work!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Feature in Imagine FX

 I was very happy to learn that my submission to Imagine FX magazine resulted in a feature in the January 2017 issue. 

In a regular section called Fantasy Illustrator Exposé Traditional, several of the editors pick and critique several traditional-media fantasy illustrators.


Everyone who contacted me from the magazine was genial and considerate, and as you can see, the feature is concise and very nicely done. If you are a fantasy artist working traditionally, what are you waiting for? Submit!

Here's their Facebook page

and their Instagram

And thanks for checking out my blog!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Some Border Designs and Influences

https://www.instagram.com/tomsarmo_art/
Borders interest me greatly, and influences vary from

the illustrations of George Cruikshank, to

the stained glass windows of Harry Clarke. 

https://www.instagram.com/tomsarmo_art/
Sometimes I get carried away with preliminary sketches.

https://www.instagram.com/tomsarmo_art/
Can't say I like drawing better than painting. Good thing there are both available.

 Maurice Sendak; designs for The Nutcracker

The 70s and 80s saw a surge in border designs by contemporary artists. Maurice Sendak's wonderful sketches have always been a huge influence.

Trina Schart Hyman; Detail crop from Saint George and the Dragon

Same with the amazing illustrations of Trina Schart Hyman.
 
Borders give an artist the ability to extend the "story" within an artwork, but often are simply wonderful, decorative touches.
 
https://www.instagram.com/tomsarmo_art/

Playing around with new border ideas and methods remains a favorite endeavor. 
I'll be posting more influences and borders next time. Until then, please check out and follow me on  Instagram   tomsarmo_art.

Thanks for the visit!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Leaning Forward

Winterbreeze. Mixed media, private collection.
 
When a cold blast hits, leaning forward feels better than running away. Maybe because the forward bend means resistance rather than compliance; conjures courage rather than cowardice; maintains hope rather than fostering despair.

Here's Winterbreeze in progress...
 
 ...and another sketch along the same theme. He's gotten a blast of bad news, but he's not gonna run.

I wish peaceful Holidays to all.

Thanks for reading.
 
 






Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Change is Good

http://tomsarmo.com/
Hansel and Gretel, acrylic and collage, private collection.
 
I think that changing media leads to better artworks because it frees a person to experiment.

This is a work done several years ago. While organizing photo files, I ran across the image and realized that it was one of my first works using acrylic paint. Prior to this, watercolor had been my focus for my career. I'd seldom worked seriously with acrylics, finding them too transparent, gooey, and plastic-shiny. Then an artist friend introduced me to Maimeri Polycolor paint. What a difference--it's opaque, thick and buttery, and dries matte!

http://tomsarmo.com/

And I realize now that there are great advantages to switching up media every so often. I like the feeling of freedom that comes from experimentation, and switching to a different medium allows time to just goof around. This piece has much more freshness than my previous watercolor works, mostly because the focus was on a new-medium adventure rather than precision.

http://tomsarmo.com/

I also drew first with a paintbrush instead of penciling-in. The kids may not be perfectly drawn, but I like their rather offhand character.

Recently I've begun to work more with oils, and am being a bit too serious with it--probably because oils have that reputation for "seriousness". I hope to break out of that soon, and prove my theory that changing to a new medium is a freeing experience. We'll see...

Thanks for the visit!




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Objective in Object Drawing

Scampering Lantern sketch, drawn from my great grandfather's lantern.

Drawing from life--objects, figures, etc.--never thrilled me as a young student; most likely because I struggled with it. It did not come naturally, and teacher's instructions to "just draw what you see" helped not at all. Bored by replicating something in front of me, no one ever explained to my young-self why it was useful. 

While I figured out its value (as a means to a creative end) in art school, copying objects remains difficult for my short attention span. I sometimes admire the technical ability of photo-realism, but I'll never understand the point of spending that much time with being a human camera as an objective.

 So, figuring out how to tweak an object to suit me helps, as does messing about trying to add a bit of personality. It's a great way to build a mental image library, hone skills, and have some fun.

This clock was drawn from the one that hangs in the living room. If the real clock was this goofy looking, it would please me immensely, but then I wouldn't draw it :)

Being a fan of the anthropomorphic tradition helps too--the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel and many other artists continue to inspire.

This lantern sketch was gestured out pretty quickly using a crimson Colerase pencil on toned gray sketchbook paper, and outlined with a brushpen. Crosshatching was added with Micron pens. A bit of blue Prismacolor and white highlighting--using a Uniball Signo pen--finished the sketch. Hope you like it, and

thanks for reading!




 
 



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

From Mice to Poultry

Working with roosters and chickens, as well as mice. The roosters are prep work for a piece that'll be in an upcoming show at Valkarie Gallery called Cock of the Walk. It's a show celebrating the Year of the Rooster.

I don't know quite what the end artwork will be, but preliminaries are never a waste of time;
I'm learning with each sketch, and the ideas will be useful down the road. Even if I don't use any of these ideas for the show, they will probably turn up in a finished work at some point.

Been working on tan and gray toned papers, with pencil, blue and crimson Colerase pencils, and white Signo pens for the highlights.

In the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Rooster is the unluckiest year in the 12 year cycle, but the Rooster is confident, courageous, and best of all, honest--all three are badly needed in these times of ignorance, cowardice, and propaganda.

Hope this coming Year of the Rooster is filled with love, courage, and compassion for you and all people of the world. I will not give up hope, even in this darkness.

Thank you for reading


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mice!

http://tomsarmo.com/
Been goofing around with mouse sketches. Mice have been a constant inspiration for artists for years. There's Mickey, and all the other Disney mice of course, plus those of Beatrix Potter. And the  Merrie Melody cartoon rodents, and David Petersen's Mouse Guard. So it's not exactly easy to come up with unique-looking mice characters.

http://tomsarmo.com/
Nonetheless, I'm tryin'...

http://tomsarmo.com/
...and it is fun!

http://tomsarmo.com/
This fellow pleased me--I feel like he is pretty unique. The sketch at the top of the post turned into this detail of a larger acrylic work.

http://tomsarmo.com/
When I was a skinny little kid I had out-sized ears and got called "Mickey" for a time. So here's a less skinny self-portrait prelim in my own honor. I hope it doesn't look much like the famous fellow who inspired my nickname.
Thanks for checking out my blog!




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The DYAO Painted Violin, er...Mandolin!

Copyright Tom Sarmo 2016




Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Vanishing Violin

This year I was again asked to paint a violin for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra. I enthusiastically accepted; the Denver Young Artists Orchestra is a favorite. It's a group of young musicians auditioned from all over the Colorado Front Range, and the music they make is astounding! I'd painted a violin for their 10th Annual fundraiser, and it was a blast! See it here:
My first Painted Violin

A week or so later, I was given this gorgeous mandolin, instead of a violin, to paint.  It had once belonged to the mother of a musician in the Colorado Symphony, and he generously donated it to the DYAO's Painted Violin.

Dating from about 1918, the mandolin was damaged, but still gorgeous!

I'm a sucker for the character of beautiful old wood--and for craftsmanship. And it about killed me trying to save both the patina of the wood and the decal on the front of the mandolin. I traced it, designed and re-designed it, pestered other artists for advice, and finally realized that sadly, the front had to be covered up.
A coating of Kilz, and then a coating of red acrylic followed. The design was drawn with a fine brush and black acrylic. I was able to save the decorative circle and edge.

A progress shot...

...and a detail of the illustration. I chose a Sherlock Holmes theme because it had somehow become the Year of Sherlock for me; I was in the midst of reading some, and was painting a large Holmes piece for another show.
Click on the link for more info about this mandolin:
And check out all the cool Painted Violins here:
Don't forget to visit the site of DYAO for information about all their sweet concerts and their worthy mission:

Thanks for your visit, and for your support of all of the arts!











Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Tiny Bit of Peace


Shacks. Lawren Stewart Harris

I needed to see something new, raw, and beautiful this week. And I found it. 
There's a lot of good left in this world, and much more to come. 

Art gives me hope. Artists give me hope.

Thanks for the visit.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...