Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Gift

"The Gift" - Osprey
Charcoal and Carbon on gessoed panel. 24"x 48"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Home Stretch

I am finally getting this drawing finished up. Except for the trout, this piece will be ready for framing and delivery to an upcoming exhibition. I haven't been really satisfied with it until the last two hours of work. It took that far into the piece for me to reach some approximation of my original vision for the drawing. Normally I have a much better idea of the success of the effort long before it is completed but the last few I've done have only come together in the home stretch.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Interim work

I've been putting graphite to bristol board steadily since my last osprey posting in an attempt to get this commission portrait complete. At 16"x20" there is A LOT of graphite to layer in. With the navy blue of the U.S. flag behind this Soldier in his dress uniform which is a very dark green I've been challenged to get all these darks up to proper value. There is still important work to be done on the facial features but the tedious part of the job is done.
I am eager to return to my normal charcoal style that is free and loose by comparison. Photo-realism has it's place but I'd rather not be the one doing it. I am proud to be asked to create these important drawings of our Soldiers so I am more than willing to do what is required to complete them in an accurate fashion.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Litmus test?


Well... getting work done on this thing but at this point my usual anticipation of success in a work usually sets in by now. A couple of things are at play here as I try to decide if this is going to pass my own criteria for a quality work. As I have written I look for certain things to happen with a piece and so far this one is not sparking my imagination. There is no boldness, no strong lines or interesting light. Yet...

Perhaps one thing to consider is my history with this subject and it's design changes. I have drawn a few variations already and maybe I'm just tired of the whole thing. Perhaps I'm just in a funk about recent events in my life and career. Maybe the damned thing is just not worth the effort. Perhaps I'm just not clear in my mind just what I'm looking for or expecting from this piece to count it successful.

I have decided it is not worthy of submission to it's intended exhibition jury that I had planned it for. At least not at this point. Having let go of that deadline has taken the pressure off and I do have every intention of completing it. I just have to step back, focus, and forge ahead. I've faced greater challenges with works in progress so I'm determined to persevere.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Give and Take


So far, so good. I have struggled a bit getting into my groove on this work but things are starting to come together. I blame that on being rusty and the fact that I've been pushing the boundaries of my technique over the last several drawings. Sometimes I'm in control and sometimes I'm not. I've written quite a bit on the battle that occurs during the course of my drawings. I'm trying to maintain my grip on the work while at the same moment trying to let go. Go figure?

I call this carefully planned spontaneity. I attempt to create a drawing that looks like it is created with effortless freedom but in order to achieve that I feel I need to keep an iron grasp. Yin Yang? Contradiction equals balance? Good thing my wife is getting her Psychology degree. By the way, I agree with her that "The Suitor" is a better choice for title.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Suitor


The female is nearly complete and I wanted to get started on the male while I was in the groove. This suitor is presenting gifts to his prospective mate. While I was observing and photographing this pair he would bring nest materials and finally a nice trout. "The Gift" is the intended title. Planning to work out his head next, a second critical aspect. Once that is in as well as the fish the most difficult part will be accomplished.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Critical Aspect


The face of a bird or animal is always the most important aspect of a successful wildlife artwork. I handle this area with a great deal of precision and detail compared to the rest of the drawing. A few blog entries ago I posted the abandoned drawing of this subject. I reversed the orientation for this new version. I was very pleased with the earlier results of the females face so I'm attempting to capture the same look.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A New Project... Finally.


I can finally get back to what's important. I have been faced with many challenges over the past few months and I'm pleased to get back into my work. This is an osprey drawing I've attempted before in a variety of ways. I've done a number of different studies and drawn a few variations on the design. All of which were not completely pleasing to me. I need to have the composition engage me. I need it to be dynamic enough that I will not lose interest no matter how many times I view the piece. The drawing itself needs to be exciting in the way the strokes appear, the lines need to be strong and decisive, the light unique... everything needs to be powerful! I'm fairly demanding on myself. "Myself".

I have always wanted to work full time on my artwork. I've spoken about that a number of times on this blog. I've made a decision about that. I've decided to get part-time work enough to support myself that will leave me the freedom to focus the majority of my time on artwork. (That's the silver lining). Therefore I will not need to completely rely on selling art to survive. That's the important part. I draw to please myself, first and foremost. Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass what anyone thinks of it. I've lived by that philosophy for the past twenty years and I feel that's why my work has developed the way it has. I've never drawn to sell. Why start now?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Silver Linings?

On Saturday morning February 5th I woke to find this sight of buildings burning directly adjacent to our bookstore and gallery. Just twelve hours earlier I had delivered all of my original works to the Old Forge Art Center for my first one person exhibit. I took a small bit of solace in this fact. The bookstore was a dream and labor of love of my wife Shay and mine. The smoke and water damage has rendered our dream moot.

This original was the only significant one I lost that day. There were a few other unframed works that didn't make the ride to Old Forge.
It was a large drawing measuring 42" wide. To me it was strong enough to seriously consider creating it again. My imagination was not lost with that dream.

Now with no day job to fill my time perhaps I'll use this "opportunity" to take my shot at becoming a real full time artist. I mean, what do I have to lose at this point? Every step I've taken to support myself while I developed my career has washed out with soot and water.

I see large pieces of charcoal on the sidewalk where patrons once entered the store. As I pondered this burnt wood I couldn't help but think of new drawings that are already in my thoughts. Now I actually might have the proper time to create them instead of only drawing in my mind. This picture shows the building debris next to our front door and Wildroot sign.

New possibilities present themselves in strange disguises. Fortune presents gifts contrary to expectations. I intend to accept this oddly silver lined wrapped gift with open arms and make the absolute best of this new reality.

As the pieces of my life get put back together I'll be creating again with new resolve. Life changes when we least expect. I am not fond of the thought that I might miss this chance to become who I truly am. An artist.