Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Firsts: Denver's AnomalyCon (and what I learned there)

 A first: Suiting up like a Hatter.
(What I learned: Wear a costume to a con--even one as conservative as mine. Not participating is a creative buzz-kill. For yourself as well as others.)

Another first: Attending AnomalyCon.
(Badge art by Joe Becker https://www.facebook.com/joe.magog )
(What I learned: It was a great time--observing, meeting good folks, buying some art and books, and listening and learning from Con pros!)

 Another first: Life drawing at a con (thanks to--and photos by--Kathryn Renta https://www.facebook.com/LatchkeyArtist ). The model, Aaron Spriggs, was one of the best! I've done a lot of life drawing, but this guy's imagination and expressive poses took the blue ribbon.
(What I learned: Models with props are more fun to draw. They might never have the imagination of Aaron Spriggs, but they'll be better models if they have props.)

I'm no portrait artist (sorry Aaron) but his unique, and long-held, expressions made me want to try to be.

 Another first: Being on (some great) panels (yes I exaggerated the hat).
(What I learned: That what I learned being on a single panel could fill a research paper. No hyperbole there. I contributed--put in my two cents worth--but I listened a lot more (really) to the other panelists and to the audience. And I took away fantastic info!)

Another first: Experiencing this amount of  imaginative brain-work in one place. That hotel was bursting with creative costumes and creatures, goofy hand-made machines, and phenomenal artwork.

(What I learned: Buy the art when you like it. I saw some nice bookmarks by Sarin Tatroe http://sariochan.deviantart.com/ and didn't purchase them. Now, I want.
(Luckily Sarin is kind and will send them after the fact.)

 But I did snag this original piece by Joe Oliver early on--and it's going on my illustrators wall-of-honor. Check out his blog here http://jolimint.blogspot.com/

And check out all the artists of AnomalyCon here
then click on their links and support their art!

Another first: Hearing Pandora Celtica perform live! Photo by Rich Spears
The group's jaw-dropping vocals and harmonies, creative songs and arrangements, and clear, unique lyrics made me an instant fan.
(What I learned: Pandora Celtica is primo talent, and I'm glad I bought a cd).

A repeat First: Attending AnomalyCon.
(What else I learned: All cons are not equal. Thanks to Kronda Seibert https://www.facebook.com/KSAuthor , Kathryn Renta, and the whole crew, this con ran as smoothly as a well-oiled, clock-work-steam-shooting-deisel-driven monster.
Best of all, it was warm, friendly, intelligent, and welcoming.)

Looking forward to AnomalyCon 2016. I wouldn't miss it. You shouldn't either.

And please click on all the links--your support to everyone involved means a tremendous amount.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Old Witch is a Poster!

 The Old Witch studio set-up.

I've posted about the process before:
 Now I'm posting about the product.

 Here's a detail of the painting: Leaning on her human-femur cane, she (and her crabby owl) are offering you a succulent apple. This suspicious twosome is available as an 8" x 10" mini-poster!

The great people at Colorline in Golden, Colorado have printed her on heavy weight, premium stock, and she's beautiful (as only a fairy-tale witch could be)! Please check her out, and also the other heavy weight mini-posters Colorline has printed from my watercolors by clicking on the link:

And if you're in the Denver Metro area, support local business and consider Colorline for your printing needs!


Monday, March 23, 2015

More Vacation Sketches (Not exactly why)

As promised, some traditional, not digital, goof-off sketch-cartouches.

 There's something very relaxing about hand-drawing symmetrical designs. Imperfect, rough-ish art has always appealed, and little baroque designs hit the spot sometimes. That's the why of it.

Over the years, in many conversations with gallery owners and patrons, I've been advised to be able to speak lucidly about the "whys" of my creations. Before that, I was encouraged by teachers and profs to do the same. Lately, I've read several blogs stating that an artist looks like an ignorant lump if unwilling to explain the "whys" of their art.

But flip it around. Would anyone who has bought an artwork want to explain "why" they purchased it, what deep, buried-in-their-unconscious mind-reasons provoked them to spend money on it? That seems pretty absurd.

It's not that I don't wonder sometimes, why certain themes continue to crop up in my work, and there's value in thinking about it for me as a creative person.  But I simply don't always wish to say, or even give it the time better spent creating more images.

Sure, I can tell you that I love scarecrows, and that Disney's Scarecrow of Romney Marsh series was a favorite of mine as a kid, blah blah blah.... 
But in truth, many of my sketches and works, like the one above, emerge from the paper or canvas as I'm drawing them. Guess it's like automatic writing or something. That alone is often enough for me, and it can be pretty thrilling.

And yes, I could easily make up a lot of horse manure about the heavy meanings behind each artwork I produce. I'd sound wonderfully intelligent, and I'm sure it would make the works so much better (oh sure it would). Seriously, I didn't become an illustrator and artist by being an ignorant lump, but I also don't care to increase my "stature"--or my income-- by being phoney.

 Finally, the work either speaks to the viewer or it doesn't. Too much explanation by the artist only steals the viewer's own imagination and personal interpretation of the piece. Plus, I'm just the maker--I don't care to be the object of attention. If that were my goal I'd wear silly clothes, act really quirky, or paint my body or something.

Hope you enjoyed seeing these little creations, and
thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Taking a Vacation

Vacations are a time away from "serious" art, but a vacation from all art would be misery. Not that I'm not doing some fooling around with art daily, but there is something different and wonderful about sketching when I'm away from the pressure of the studio.

So we took a short break of a vacation down in the desert, and I did quite a bit of sketching. By no means a digital artist, I downloaded the Procreate app for iPad out of curiosity. Something fun to play with on the airplane, and the sketch above was the first.

Goofing with Procreate was a blast! Because I know zero about it, there's less pressure than even playing around in a sketchbook. (Don't know why I'm stuck on cartouches and semi-symmetrical sketches again. Borders and leafy flourishes have long fascinated me, and I like drawing them.)
Did not mean for this to resemble the filthy lucre.

This one emerged while watching the rabbits and birds from a patio.

Who knows--now that I'm back home I may even learn Photoshop.

(Did a lot of traditional-media drawing in the sketchbook too, and will post some of the results next.)

Thanks for the visit!

Monday, March 9, 2015

On Sob Stories and Happy Talk

 I check out a lot of blogs--mostly those by artists. I enjoy, follow, and admire the bloggers who can tackle pathos and joy with edifying and genuine prose, and definitely avoid those that are contrived, fake, or manipulative.

Writing plain, real talk on any subject is not easy, because being real isn't easy. But I'm thinking life could be much more satisfying if I can get there in my writing, my art, and in my behavior. I'm working on all of that.

I think mainstream media and advertising makes plain talk--and being real--difficult to achieve. Television programming, along with Madison Avenue, pours out fakery, distortion, grimacing grins and synthetic tears--pretending good cheer, humor, and compassion. How can we express "real" when the cultural water in which we swim is so thick with insincerity and cunning?

But I digress. Here's the point: I recently re-read a few of my past posts (probably a foolish thing to do). Nonetheless, I noticed that some of them seem to contain an undercurrent of frustration. Yes my life is tough at times, but I don't want to succumb to the poor-me's--that's not helpful or illuminating. Also noticed that I've tried to temper that frustration in my posts. Thus things might appear to be perfectly wonderful with me. I hope that's not the case, because that's not true--or real--either.

Now, one of my many personal sad songs could be about the difficulties of being a creative person--a person who finds the water-slide of life full of kinks, sharp corners, and dry patches rather than a smooth, well-lubed tube. The life of the angst-filled artist is a cliche, but in some ways it's true for me and for many artists I know and have read about. But I don't have the talent for addressing it plain and real, without sounding whiny. Or even worse, manipulative. Know what I mean?

 The flip side of the same coin is the cheeriness that masks desperation. The creepy "my life is so fun and I'm so successful" chirpy stuff. Ugh--gimme a break already! All of us--artists and accountants and everyone in between--feel desperate at times, and we all seek solace for that. But swaddling it with fake, happy-talk is just as annoying as publicly pushing anguish for everyone to see. Maybe that stuff does sell product, but ultimately, what do the performances inflict on the soul?

Luckily, most of us manage to find contentment at times; but trying to be happy all the time, that's emotional suicide. And wallowing in difficulties is emotional suicide as well. Doesn't over-indulgence in either of those extremes result in missing out on the range of legitimate--and often fleeting--emotions that make existence truly rich?

I'll keep trying to blog real and be down-to-earth. It is a challenge I sometimes find enjoyable, sometimes not. Really.


Ps. Lots of my early posts are missing the pictures, and I apologize for that...

 I deleted a bunch of images on Google because the numbers of them were getting unwieldy. That automatically deleted them on the posts. If there is a better way to reduce the numbers of images on Google without having them go missing from blogspot, I'd truly appreciate an email.

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