Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Still making a comeback.

For a few weeks now, I have been mostly engulfing myself in stillness.
Still life stillness.
Twenty years ago in high school I hated still life! Hated, Hated, Hated it.
Oh I hated it so much.
And charcoal still life was all we did for my entire 1st semester art; also, we were not allowed to have an eraser for the semester either (but that's a different blog writing to come later). Oh and I guess I also did a charcoal self-portrait. But anyways,
Sooooooooooooooooooo boooooooooooooooooring.
Cans, bottles, fruit and antlers (yes antlers....always antlers, it was a ranch town) sitting staged, place on a sheet with a light shining directly on it. Seriously?
Sooooooooooooooooooo boooooooooooooooooring.
I really thought I'd be making my master piece back then during my very first semester, because when you are an adolescent art student not only do you believe you are the next Picasso or Van Gogh, but you also create your master piece with little training and practice and very quickly, like by end of 4th period quickly. My master piece making self back then, did not appreciate that the still life studies are quite important in developing skill, patience, and experimentation. My master piece self did not realize that all good things take time, lots of dedication, practice, failure, and eventually a comeback.

Well, it's been a long time and the 90's are coming back! Antlers and all!
We got: No Doubt reunion, crop tops, High waist-low flare jeans, Birkenstocks (my personal fav) and a Point Blank remake for starters.
Hell, Bill Clinton might even be coming back to Washington.
Oh, and Still life (well, for me anyway)

Here are a few more of my stills from the comeback art class I'm taking and my practice.

Little Cuties (2016)
Oil on clayboard 6x6

Still #Two (2016)
Oil on canvas board 20x24

Chatty Lemons (2016)
Oil on clayboard 6x6

In the words & wisdom of the great LL Cool J: 
"Don't call it a comeback. I been here for years." 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Never say Later, Procrastinate Now

Back in November I signed up for some drop in art classes. These classes are taught by local professional artists and I have found them to be very relaxing, informative and quite beneficial. The class I signed up for is about using color, value and temperature in your paintings and we are painting different still life set ups.

I must admit that I am a VERY last minute kind of person. And even though I signed up for this drop in art class in November, I did not even look at the material supply list until the night before the class. (I don't recommend waiting this long to have your supplies ready).
This is when I noticed that on the very top of the supply list IN ALL CAPS it said:
Oh crap! Crap! Crap! Crap! I don't even own oil paint. Why didn't I look at this sooner?
I don't paint in oils because I have 2 small curious children, and oils are messy, smelly and well....oily. The solvents are sometimes toxic, plus they take weeks to dry. WEEKS!
Also, I was saving my oil paintings for later, much, much later, like my retirement; when painting in 900 square feet with poor ventilation and getting high on paint fumes won't make any difference.

Anyhow, since it looks like I (and most of my generation) will not have any social security to retire on, and therefore I will most likely die in front of my computer typing out a email to a surgeon, who most likely won't read it and then email me later asking for the information in the email I just sent them?!?!?!?..., I might as well bite the bullet and buy some oil paints ASAP and start now.

Still Life #One (2016)
Oil on canvas board 20x24

I should admit that I am head over heels in love with my oil paints and I'm not just saying that because I've been painting all morning with the windows closed.
I am glad I never read that class list early!
I take it all back, I would absolutely recommend this type of procrastination. It seems this is the key to great discovery.
Here's to making later, now & to my early retirement!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fast sleds, Smiles wide, Laughing loud, forever.

Two years ago today, my cousin passed away.
It is still very hard for me to type this and fathom it all. 
It Still, 2 years later, does not feel real. 
It still feels like he will just crawl out from under the Thanksgiving table and sit down next to me to pass the potatoes.

When we were kids my brother and I could not wait for our Denver cousins to arrive for holy hell playtime. It was with my brother and my cousins that I could truly be myself. They were and remain to this day, my best friends. We were uninhibited to let our imaginations run wild (as well as our endless energy) and we had the parents to let us, as they were just to damn tired to control us after months spent apart. 
Our favorite activity of all time: 
Winter sledding was fun, but not nearly as fun as stair sledding down our grandma and grandpa's old stair case. When we would stairway sled we would line the entire stair case with a fleece, wool, satiny blend blanket to provide good speed (these thin blanket blends work the best. If they are the kind that can repel water and are most likely flammable, you know they are going to be fast). We then would wrap ourselves into other blankets as tight as we could and down we'd go..................
Wait!!! STop!!! Wait!!!
I forgot the most important rule: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER sled into the door at the bottom. You must stop the blanket sleds before the bottom, because that's when one of the adult males would come and project their authority on the shenanigans taking place. 
It was however, inevitable, that on one fast sled ride, the four of us would sled into the door and with this a large explosion would sound and four very loudly laughing children would rocket out the stairway door.
(This is the closest picture I found that resembles our stairway sledding).
We have a bond, the four of us. 
We have a bond that won't ever be broken. 

Little Sled Hill (2016)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x8

Sledding will do that to kids, bond them for life. The excitement, the danger, the thrill.....
The joy of the wild rambunctious ride. Fast Sleds, Smiles Wide, Laughter Loud. 

I told this story at my cousin's service. It is my most favorite time in all of my childhood. It's how I remember him.