Archive for March, 2014

Commissions Progress Page

There are few things that give me satisfaction like delivering a commissioned piece to a client or friend that requested the work. I have not updated this page so often as I should, unfortunately. I have been very fortunate to have done several commissioned works in the past year. Some are included here.

Another commissioned work, and this one I enjoyed so much. When people approach me about commissions, I am often really surprised in a happy way with the ideas people come up with. A friend, who is a practicing Zen Buddhist, wanted me to do an image in the style of Buddhist religious iconography, but using the Nintendo character, Kirby, as the central character in the image.

The final image:

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Kirby, as Buddhist Iconography, Casein Paint, Acrylic paint and graphite on a gessoed wood board. In private collection.

To prep for the final image, I did the following studies:

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Study, “the Buddha” Casein Paint on Gessoed paper.

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Kirby, study, acrylic paint on Gessoed paper.

 

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8-bit Kirby, study, acrylic paint on gessoed paper.

 

 

 

This work was a lot of fun to do. Aside that it was being purchased by a very good friend, it was a deeply personal work in many ways. Also, the client’s requests about the work meant I used painting techniques very different from how I usually paint. I definitely learned a thing or do, doing this particular work.

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Commissioned work, I am going to have to check with the buyer, because I forgot the title I scribbled on the back. Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 24″ in private collection

 

The next piece was also a joy to do. Sometimes, when I am approached about an idea the buyer has a very specific idea of what they want, –down to materials and the actual image. I do enjoy, though, when the direction for a commission is a little more amalgamous I have have the go-ahead to play and experiment with my typical style. This was one of those works. I had little direction other than to do something in my style, but include crows in the image.

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“Mother of Crows” acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″ NFS

On the SWPA page, I put out there I was doing commissions. A friend asked that I do one of the small works of Albany’s long-time alternative music hang-out, the Fuze Box.

The Fuze Box was a rescued Art Deco building and one-time White Tower Hamburgers location. White Tower was a Wisconsin-based competitor of White Castle, the first store opened and the company peaked in the 1950’s. Most of the original details in the building are still present: the molded glass and chrome, as well as signs advertising the buildings history before it was reused as a night-club. Long-time Albany scenesters still remember the days when the club was the QE2, and hosted live all-ages shows, as well as alternative dance nights.

So, a venerable historic structure in its own right, the Fuze Box/QE2 has been an anchor of Albany’s nightlife as long as pretty much anyone cares to recall. My friend, James, wanted an image to commemorate the Fuze Box and commissioned the work. I started doing preliminary sketches this morning.

A bit about my process: any commissioned work, or a serious work I do generally involves a few sketches. The sketching allows me to work out problems and practice the image before I start the actual work. I encourage my students to practice their ideas with sketches on paper before they truly start a piece. In this case, this is a mixed media color study and architectural study of the White Tower building (as it was in 2006, this image is from my own collection, taken with one of my many digital cameras I have owned over the years).

The sketch:

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The original image I am working from is below:

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I’ll include images, with the permission of the buyer, of the full work when it is done. If you’re interested in commissioning a work, use the contact information in the about page.

[update]

Working on an architectural drawing of a highly symmetrical Art Deco building is proving to be a challenge (not an unwelcome challenge, by any means, but still a challenge). Hopefully, I am not trying the patience of my buyer by taking my time and doing a score of preliminary sketches to get the end product right.

Last weekend, I went out with my point and shoot and took a couple night-time images to make a composite image for the final product. Today, I am working off pencil sketches of the various angles.

here’s today’s sketch (pencil on paper):

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I have permission from the buyer to include the work, which he just picked up today, on my blogs here. I did two versions of the Fuze Box image, and James, in turn, wanted both images.

So here they are drying on my easel (the source images I used are above):

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Thanks James, and I hope you enjoy the images!

Good friend and fellow odd human Seamus approached me about doing a painting for his girlfriend, Sid, who is likewise a super-cool human. What Seamus (being a Star Wars fan with a command of apocryphal and character lore I do not, sadly, have) wanted was a re-imagining of The Jabba the Hut scenes in Star Wars, with his cat, Sif, and he and his partner as characters in the piece. So, Jabba the Sif, became a thing. I drew four or five character studies, and then began painting what was one of the most fun images I have ever committed with acrylic paint to a canvas.

I have used the image with Sid’s permission.

Jabba the Sif. Acylic on canvas. Commission and birthday gift from Seamus to Sid.

Jabba the Sif. Acrylic on canvas. Commission and birthday gift from Seamus to Sid.

Thanks Seamus and Sid, I am glad you enjoy the finished piece.

Regardless of how quirky the idea, I am glad to take commisions of whatever you are looking for, and will do my best to fit materials and time within a budget you can afford. If you’re interested in a commission, use the contact in my about section on this blog.

The Class

For those that didn’t know, I have spent the last several weeks teaching an art class within the Capital District Psychiatric Center. My goal is to get funding to expand a program that makes fine art classes a part of mental health treatment both inside and outside the hospital in the city I live in: Albany, NY.

Again for those who didn’t know: this is a goal for me, because I know when I was inpatient in CDPC, art groups were important to me as a way to rebuild my life in the hard times I was having. The art groups were something I looked forward to each day when I was inpatient. AsĀ  teacher, I want to use art to help troubled people do what I did: get out of the hospital and live better lives outside of the mental health system. Mentally ill people can live full lives, hold jobs, and stay well. We can and do recover. I feel like art can help mentally ill people do that, and I am not alone in that belief.

In that spirit, I’d like to show some of the in-class demonstrations I have done. These are sketches and things I did during the class, demonstrating for my students, art techniques and skills.

It’s my hope that my students not only develop their own skill, but find ways to make art a part of thier lives once they are back living in the community –professionally, or non-professionally.

Art is important. I know from looking around my classroom, art is important to helping struggling people heal.

Some images:

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Bulletin board of my student’s work

 

[update] 5/21

This past week the class has been working with mannikins (croquis) I was able to purchase with the grant money I received. The class has really latched on to drawing with croquis. This past week, I have been encourage students to pose the croquis and talk about an incident in their lives. The class has a two-fold purpose of not only teaching art, but as an informal part of the students therapy and recover from significant mental illness (all students are currently admitted on an in-patient basis). There are two images from this (my in-class demonstrations):

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

 

The first sketch: a student described a family member who had overcome addiction.

 

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

 

The pose is meant to describe a student’s experience during a recent depressive episode.

 

[update]

Adding some new works, older sketches and works are towards the bottom of the post.

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Acrylic on paper, student prompt was to represent what “trouble” meant to them, based on a podcast from “This Modern Life”. Related to a San Francisco cafe whose proprietor struggles with Schizo-effective disorder.

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Fayette Michigan, abandoned town and now a historical site. Watercolor on paper.

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Lake Michigan, near Escanaba, Michigan. Watercolor on paper.

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Sketch, charcoal on paper. Portraits.

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Oil Pastel on paper. Prompt for this was encouraging students to depict “Safe Spaces”

[…]

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Sketching architecture, reproduction of Van Gogh’s House at Arles.

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Architectural study, perspective example. In this case a very quick study of the corner of Clinton and N. Pearl St. In-class example.

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Study, landscape, another Van Gogh reproduction.

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Study of Paul Klee’s “The Red Balloon,” from a lesson on using color and abstraction/ non-representational drawing.

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Architectural study, from the book “Hudson Valley Ruins.”

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Portrait, study. From a lesson about composition and placement of facial features.

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Studies: faces and facial features.

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Study, portraiture, faces and facial features.

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Placement of facial features and composition.

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Manet’s work “The Old Musician” has been a recurrent theme in my sketching. In this case, the “dread-locked cow-girl” is based off a figure in the Manet piece, and swaps the gender of a figure from Manet’s work.

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Study, dog

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Study, infant.

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Study, tree trunk.

First, a figure study. Study of a child playing, including an illustrated armature (left). In class demonstration.

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Reproduction, Paul Cezanne. Working on landscapes, explanation of horizon line. Oil pastel on paper.

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