Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Project - Naturalist's Journal of Strange Beasts


I've started a new project; one that will probably be a continuing pursuit. The premises is that the artist is an explorer in the early 1700's, sailing on a ship in the same way that Darwin travelled on the HMS Beagle as the on board naturalist. In this project, however, all of the animals encountered are imaginary creatures. All of these are going to be done in watercolor, though some of these might lead to the creatures being used for standalone oil paintings. Likewise, some of the creatures in past oil paintings might be included in this project.

With each watercolor painting, there will be notations written in the lower margin, as though the naturalist kept field notes. Additionally, there will be a "letter" to accompany the painting, written by the explorer, narrating how the creatures were found, the environment, and travel adventures.

My friend Julie will handle the notations and letter writing, since she has much better handwriting than I do. She studied calligraphy and is a superb writer. So this will be a collaboration of sorts, although right now I'm just coming up with creature paintings.

I don't know exactly where it will lead, but it sure has been a great deal of fun. I will probably work exclusively on these for the next couple of weeks, and then get back to oil painting.

I plan to include the initial twelve naturalist journal paintings in my next show at the Bone Room in Berkeley.

Above: Spider Baboon (Red knee Mexican tarantula and Gelada Baboon) (not yet finished - work in process. I need to finish the grass and plants)
Kangalion and mandrill-lope
Painted Lady Butterfly and Murine Mouse

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Exhibit at Modern Eden

The last 30 days have been intense, as I wanted to get several new pieces done for my solo show at Modern Eden, which opens on Saturday, November 12 at 7 pm (more details at this link.)

Over the last 6 weeks, I completed 8 small studies of mutant hybrid deep sea creatures, which were used in refining my technique for the final painting, "Trepanation." The most difficult effect to achieve in the final piece was the transparency and delicacy of insect wings on some of the fish. I used thin transparent layers to gain the effect. Additionally, reflections of violet and aqua were added to suggest the iridescence of gossamer membrane on the wings.

Not all of the creatures in the small panel studies were incorporated into the final painting. For example, the crabfish (shown above) was not used. However, it will probably be a character in another project that I am working on for the upcoming show at the Bone Room in Berkeley. (I'll write more on this new project in a future blog post)

Also, Bert Green (Bert Green Fine Art) visited me at the studio today. We had a great meeting and he updated me on his move to Chicago. He will continue to represent me, though in a different city.

Tomorrow will be the not-so-fun part of being an artist - packing all the work up so they can be delivered safely to Modern Eden.

Next year is already shaping up to be another busy year. In addition to getting ready for the Bone Room solo show in March, I need to get started on a painting for a Beinart Group Show, opening in March. And there are some other developments that, if they come to fruition, will mean that I will be running on all four cylinders all through 2012. Kind of like what happened this year!