Monday, August 29, 2016

A Favorite: Lyonel Feininger's Kin-Der-Kids

From The Kin-Der-Kids, by Lyonel Feininger
Right before art school, I ran across this picture in an anthology. It was infatuation at first sight, mostly because it instantly recalled W. Heath Robinson's illustration of Uncle Lubin in his balloon, but also because the characters and composition of the frame are perfect. 

Nonsensical and illogical art and literature have always been fascinations, and this phase of Feininger's works is electrifying to me. The comic ran in the Chicago Tribune on Sundays from April 1906 to November 1906.

The expressionistic figures are creepy and humorous, and the dialog is hilarious. I love the Aunt's quaint comments, and the cat's observations just kill me.

Mother of Moses!

 This frame from the strip is another one that hits the sweet spot.

There's a Dover edition of the complete strip that you can find here:

If you aren't familiar with Feininger's other works--which include paintings, woodcuts, and intriguing wooden toys--be sure to look into them. There's a lot of info to be had, and this link gives a good take on Feininger:

Thanks for checking out my blog!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Five Hundred and Forty

The Cranky Bird Theatre Production of The Old Curiosity Shop (detail).

This is my 540th blog post.  I want to sincerely thank everyone who has followed and read this blog over the past 8 years. Writing an online journal can seem like navel-gazing at times, and trying to avoid that is challenging when posting at least once a week. Still, it's been helpful to me to keep a record of my art-life, so thanks for sticking with me!

The painting detail above is from my latest work for an upcoming show at Valkarie Gallery in October. The finished size of the piece is 18" x 24", and it's exciting to be showing this and other large pieces along with works by artists I admire.

 Soliloquy, ca. 2010
I was pretty happy with this theater-themed piece done 6 years ago, but am pleased by the evolution and improvement in my newest works.

I'll be posting details about the Valkarie show in the near future, and hope you can come and see all the works. In the meantime, check out Valkarie Gallery --they have fantastic new shows every month!

This month's show features the fine work of Hallie Packard
Don't miss it!

Thanks for supporting the arts, and again for staying with my blog all these years!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Plein Air in Telluride, Colorado

Painting on location in the park at Telluride. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Morse)

This summer I had a chance to hit Telluride for three days of plein air painting with a couple of Denver Illustration Salon members; Clay Brooks and Ryan Morse*. I made progress fast, from the sorta-sad first paintings to the almost-there paintings near the end of the trip.

We arrived in town at about 5 pm, and were painting by 6.  I'd decided to try gouache for the trip, and had pre-grounded most of my paper with a greyed reddish color. I'm new to the medium, but not unhappy with the attempts.

Every day we were up early in order to bag as many paintings as possible.

It rained off and on the whole time...

...but the clouds were nearly as dramatic as the scenery. Here's another view from the top of the Gondola...

 ...and another. What a place! (Photo by Ryan Morse)

The few remaining shacks in the gentrified town gave me my favorite painting of the trip.

The rain was steady on the last day of painting...

...but it was a good one anyway.

Unfortunately, I had painted under a green umbrella, which totally skewed my color choices. I'd also made the poor decision to experiment with a blue ground. Still, the falls and surrounding landscape were so gorgeous I can't complain. And I was learning quite a bit about what not to do, too.

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Morse)

The trip was initiated by Clay, who was there for the Telluride Plein Air Festival. Here's all his work from the trip on the first sale-day of the festival (my last day there).

Yeah, it was still raining at the beginning of the sale. (Photo courtesy Ryan Morse)

When I got home, I still had the plein air itch, so the maple tree in my front yard was a great, (although more-ordinary-than-Telluride) subject.
The previous three days of continual on-location painting had helped tremendously. I'd gained confidence, and solutions and techniques were still fresh in my memory (unlike the forgetting I tend to do when painting on-location only once a week or so).

*One of Clay's oils from the top of the gondola.
 Be sure to check out  Clay Brooks' site

*A couple of Ryan's oils from the trip. Click for Ryan Morse's site

And thanks for reading!

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Creature Design Technique

Blue Creature
A short post on an ink technique I enjoy.  This fellow was first drawn in pencil on toned paper.

Second step: Inking over the pencil lines (which would be the first step) with a crow quill pen and rapidograph ink.

Third Step: Adding white highlights with white acrylic gouache. When working on toned paper, I like to add the highlights before the cross-hatched shadows because I have a tendency to cover up too much of the toned paper (which serves as the mid-values) when I ink the darks. It's a personal problem.

The Fourth Step is the cross hatching.  
The Fifth step is adding transparent acrylic inks for color as seen in the first image.

A big "thank you" to Salvia at Pinzellades al Mon for the kind feature of my monstrous absurdities (visit that cool blog for wonderful, world-wide illustrations):

Btw, feel free to email me at tomsarmo4{at}gmail{dot}com or comment here with questions about this fun ink technique!

Thanks for the visit, and for checking out Salvia's blog!

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