Friday, December 4, 2009

straight up

Figure painting after 60 minutes and then 140 minutes. It's amazing to me that we got only 140 minutes of actual painting time out of 8 hour of class between people being late, breaks, and people being late on their breaks. This is coming together pretty quickly though - I spent the first 20 mins just looking and studying before I put anything on the canvas. Actually linen, oil primed, which I know I am supposed to love but is not an ideal surface for the way I paint (for now). I'm looking forward to the conclusion AND my last painting class next thursday, but more so the 4 week break that's just around the bend.

after 140 min

after 60 min

I received a thoroughly thorough critique on this painting Thursday and it has transformed into the final painting project, which I'd hoped for all along. I have a lot of work to do in the next 2 weeks, but I'm excited for it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

the end is nigh

The end of the semester is fast approaching and I'm just starting my last round of projects. I'm thinking more and it's harder to even get to the point of putting brush on canvas while the concepts are swimming and battling in my head. Can the word "pastiche" be used in critique and possibly have a positive connotation? I think not but I'm trying to force it.

I'm trying all sorts of things. Not too long ago I attempted a painting based on the collaged image below and it was only about 10% successful so I'm keeping that image away from the internet. I like the idea though and may see if there's some sort of future in it.


Final projects:
Anatomy: NONE thank goodness
Drawing: series of 4 compositional figurative drawings. had an amazing shoot with Pigeon and nailed the photo refs.
Painting: Not yet established but I'm sure it's coming and it will be painful.
Art and Culture: Press release for imaginary curated show and 8 pg catalog article
Comp and Design: "complex allegorical painting". mine is based on baseball imagery. i'm pretty excited about this one as the image has been in my head for a good while.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the birth, the sex, and the death of ... something?

So here's what.

I'm bored of my self portrait. It's going well but I'm bored. I'm looking for some sort of weird inspiration and start flipping through some Tiepolo and the ideas start coming. I've had this weird pressure from the outside low brow types to keep painting these graphic characters and at the same time this pressure from the figurative side and academic side to go more serious. I started sketching some stuff out, initially I was thinking of myself as The Creator, which I am for these little characters, and then of them reproducing inside the painting without my intervention. Then I thought of it as being the death of my cartoons ... then of maybe a birth of a new fusion of styles. In class I've been bombarded lately with images of the reclining nude ... endless talk of Titian's Venus of Urbino. So much shit swirling in my brain. essentially my head is a toilet in mid-flush.

I'm still figuring out what roles all of these elements and old parts of my life are going to play in my future work. Regardless of if this thread carries on, I learned the hell out of some new stuff on Saturday painting this for 8 hours. I CAN fit these made up characters into a real space. I CAN figure out how the light is supposed to fall. I CAN (more or less) maintain the character of these characters and the general line quality as I continue to give them volume. These were all concerns I've had in the past ... putting flat cartoons into real space ... so the solution is to learn to paint well enough that they don't have to be flat.

I think after critique the next step is to throw a ton of paint on there, obscure all the likeness and see what the fuck happens. But for now I'll have to go with the basement level motto "It's done when it's due". All I am certain of is that when Jean Pierre Roy told us "paint a self portrait with some sort of context" this is not what he was expecting.

birth_sex_death_self stage 2

birth_sex_death_self stage 2 close

birth_sex_death_self stage 3

notice the guy giving me chinky eyes?
At least it's not boring anymore.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

cub scout

Here's my final self portrait after day 1 and day 2. I have another 2 weeks until due. It's coming quite fluidly, which is always unnerving. I have this idea to spend alternate days messing it up (drawing/painting whatever is in my head on the top layer) then the following day pulling the likeness back out so it's some balance of impulse/expression and reality. I enjoy the fight. Who knows if that'll work. A classmate mentioned that it looks like I'm a cub scout inside my little treehouse cabin, and she's 100% right on that - I'm thinking of fully embracing that and turning it into some regressive childhood thing.

so many me

first underpainting stage

and yes, I was a cubscout.

some more drawing

Hand studies, 6 from life. The second image is same model from last week, eye level at about her knees looking up. It's a great vantage point when you have a model with sort of a powerful body. We're just getting to the end of this exercise business and going into the end of term projects. It's going fast, in a week I'll be back in Seattle for Thanksgiving and in a month I'll be back there for the Christmas break. Naturally, all I want to do is work on some different art projects. (and maybe relax a little bit)



Thursday, November 12, 2009

self portrait somewhat in the style of ...

An interesting exercise in painting class today: use the drawing from a black and white photo and paint in the color information using another artist's portrait as reference.

I referenced Ann Gale, off a 400 pixel image, and it was quite a mind-bending exercise holding the color in one part of the brain and the drawing in another, then combining the two ... a bit like an IQ test. I usually fall back on painting high chroma all the time and avoid green at all costs but here tried to embrace the mud, green, and muddy greens, then use the reds and cool lights to pull certain features forward.

Chromatically, it's very different from anything else I've done, and I'll definitely be pulling some of the new painting info into my arsenal.


self portrait closeup

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

studio business


The self portraits are becoming easy to whip out now. This was a couple hours while eating a sandwich. It's going to serve as an underpainting for painting class Thursday. We're using monochrome underpaintings and b&w reference photos, and copying the color treatment from an image of an admired artist. I'm trying to go with Ann Gale, but not sure if it's going to work out for me due to a dearth of good images of her paintings. I just sloppily slathered some shellac over the drawing and learned a couple great ways NOT to shellac a drawing. Did you know that shellac is a resin secreted by the Lac bug in Africa to build coccoons? So this shiny stuff is bug secretion suspended in alcohol. I love it.

ribcage charlie

Ribcage Charlie. This guy is fantastic. I've worked with him quite a lot lately, 9 hours on this pose, and 4 straight weeks in anatomy/sculpture. This was my first completely nice experience with linen and a sort of weirdly luminous lighting setup coming from below.


This model is never very inspiring to me at first, but everybody's drawings seem to turn out nicely.

more mini self portraits

I finished the series of 14 but will just post a few more. These all had weird self-imposed limitations and the colors turned out a bit muddy in the photos. The hardest was the all cool palette. Our of alizarin crimson, cad lemon, and pthalo blue it's really easy to make fluorescent greens and purples, but much harder to approach flesh tones. Basically just have to make it as muddy as possible and work into it with chroma from there. Learned a lot and nearly killed myself. I'm going to continue on as a side project though.

4" portrait
limitation: all warms (cad red deep, cad yellow deep, ultramarine)

4" portrait
limitation: all cools (alizarin crimson, cad lemon, pthalo)

4" portrait
limitation: use just liner brush

4" portrait
limitation: speed and simplicity

4" portrait
limitation: as few strokes as possible

sometimes the lectures are a bit dry

Sometimes the lectures are a bit dry and my notebook gets fun. Check out the close-up of the second image - I was having fun with those faces and an old dried up micron pen.




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

self 3, 4, 5

self no 3

self no 4

self no 5

self portraits 3, 4, 5 of 14. I'm up to #9 and just got so utterly sick of looking in the mirror yesterday that I couldn't do anything. That said, I'll probably continue doing this for a long time. They're turning into sort of an interesting series.

I'm hitting what I suppose would be the midterm portion of school - getting slammed with these 14 portraits due next week along with a big painting and 3 cast drawings. Plus a makeup anatomy class on Sunday, oh boy. In my big painting, I'm finally starting to back away from the strict representational academic moda and putting together a totally different style that might bridge some of my old school work with the representational skills. Hopefully I'll have something exciting to show on it a week from now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

weiners, models, bento.

I'm in the midst of a posting frenzy! Anything to avoid finishing my readings on the size of the phallus throughout Art History. (actually it's quite interesting)

And a few words of advice. Firstly, don't lose your keys. However, if you do lose your keys (it happens) and your roommates have a bunny (name, Bento) make sure the bunny is locked up. If you do lose your keys AND your bunny isn't locked up AND you need to run around the house in a frenzied keyhunt because you're late for school, don't leave your breakfast on the table because bunnies are hungry in the morning too.


Going on, if you're late to drawing class you get the crap spot. In this case, looking down at the models head from slightly behind profile on the shadow side. Ted Schmidt says "uhhh...well...Degas did a striking portrait from this angle once." but unfortunately I'm just Jason. After a couple hours of fudging headstuffs around I ended up with something presentable. The other drawing I prefer, but it photographs horribly for whatever reason.


Enjoy your cage, Bento.

more painting class

This was an absolutely ridiculous still life arrangement followed by an even more ridiculous lighting setup. I only captured about 25% of our spread, including the skull, Gumby, Planet of the Apes Ape, soldering buddy, and old timey camera. On top of that it was lit with a red gel for the main light source and a blue gel for the reflected light. I actually learned quite a bit about shadow in this exercise - not to think of it as a lack of light, but as a different (temp and value) light source - and also to really think about that line where the 2 light sources combine (terminator or whatever).


and the finished dead palette self portrait ... not too unhappy with this one.


1 of 14

I've become accustomed to staring at myself in the mirror for about 3 hours per day doing these self portraits. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself when this series is done with.

The current assignment is 14 in 14 days at a maximum size of 4"x4".


Things learned: don't fuck it up on the last stroke ... 30 min can easily turn into 3 hours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Profiles, Big Hands, and Hips







In progress. I think the lower half of my mug is a bit long, but I sort of like that. Again, amazed you can get pretty close to accurate colors using this dead palette, maybe its because I'm a painting zombie. Dead palette by the way is earth primary colors (yellow ochre, blue-black, trans red + white).

self dead in progress

same painting, colors a little more accurate than the last update.


The whole thing - pigeon is pretty much done but all the background is in limbo. This was an perspective assignment.

pigeon in space in progress

Monday, October 12, 2009

My paintbrush is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life.

Last week was ROUGH.

I can't help but think of the Rifleman's Creed scene in Full Metal Jacket this week. My paintbrush, without me, is useless. Without my brush, I am useless.

Anatomy studies of hip and ribcage due Monday.
Cast drawing due Tuesday.
2 readings for Thursday.
3 paintings (2 self portraits in different palettes and a still life) Thursday
1 big painting Friday.

All that being sick and having a messed up back, that has to be about as hectic as it can get. I've been keeping a pretty regular schedule of 9am-11pm in the studio M-F and I was also in from noon-9pm Saturday. Pizza and coffee, coffee and Pizza. Sunday was a well deserved football day.

I've already had to paint 4 self portraits for painting class homeworks and 1 drawn for drawing class. Our esteemed painting prof has warned us that in a couple weeks we're going to have to do one small self portrait per day for 14 days. He's trying to kill us off, I'm sure of it, but we're becoming decent fast.

This is the way I left the studio today. The drawing is a little wonky but I think the light is looking pretty good. Pardon the poor iphone shot. It's a red-oxide, blue-black, yellow ochre (dead) palette.


Warm-cool still life in about 9 hours. Red-oxide and blue-black. It's amazing what you can do with 2 colors and white.

still life warm cool

This model held this pose for 6 hours! You could tell he was hurting at the end of the day. This is with the iphone, but I'll post a better photo later on. Gotta love the male nude holding a pole.


A close-up of my first painting for History of Composition and Design. I'll get a better photo of the whole thing and post it. The only requirement was that it use Renaissance perspective (single point window). I was having some trouble getting the lamp-lit dark room to come together, but I just put down a glaze of transparent red-brown mix and it worked! The light just all fused and makes sense.


This was the product of probably my fastest painting session ever. I threw this warm-cool self portrait together in about 90 minutes and just decided to keep it loose because I knew I'd just mess it up with time.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

And it comes

The storm of work is just beginning to hit at once all around. It's a really weird structure for an MFA program, but since we're here to focus on the figure, it takes more instruction. The program becomes much more open and flexible each quarter. Here's the breakdown:

Structural Anatomy: 3 hours of time with the model to work on previous week's concepts in the AM 20-40 min poses thus far. 3 hours of instructed anatomy in the PM.

Figure Drawing: Same structure as Anatomy, but giving way to a 3-4 hour pose toward the end.

Art and Culture: Lecture/conversation with an artist of note or art critic Wed night. Thursday night a 90 minute seminar discussing the lecture, our readings (on the nude in art history this quarter), and gallery openings. Research paper/long art review due toward the end of the quarter.

Painting: 6 hours all instructed. First 4 weeks still life with limited palettes (mono, tri-chromatic, warm/cool, etc), last 10 weeks with a model. a TON of painting for homework.

History of Composition and Design. 3 hours of lecture/critique in the morning. Subjects for this quarter goes from the Middle Ages through Neo Classicism. 3 hours of free studio time in the afternoon with an optional model available every other week.



The homework is REALLY starting to pile up already. I'm getting to the point where I'm there from about 9AM to 9PM or later more nights than not plus doing work and readings saturdays. I'm sure I could do it in less time, but I have too much ego to turn in sloppy work. The end of the quarter is going to be some fun.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

NY, you are loved

For my Art and Culture seminar, the topic for the semester is The Nude throughout history. Firstly, no complaints. As homework, in addition to the readings, we had to head out to Chelsea to check out the "Naked" show at Paul Kasmin and take some notes. On Wednesday I headed out and there was a Cecily Brown, whose work I'd never seen in person, was what I wanted it to be. She's obviously not a great technician but it has that something that's missing in most figurative works. There were some pieces from David LaChappelle, Picasso, Mark Ryden, some artists who have been heroes at various times in my growth.
I'm looking for inspiration to push my black and white self portrait homework, planning on heading back to the studio to work on it, then at Jenkins Johnson see 3 black and white self portraits from Ann Gale, possibly my favorite figurative painter of the moment.

The city just reveals things to you, it's quite generous.


At any time during the day, I can decide that I absolutely need to see a Giacometti or a Vermeer or a Rubens or a Kara Walker and be standing in front of it within 45 minutes. It's like the internet but with more walking.

I'm eating pizza almost every day at some point and losing weight from the biking, walking, and repeated trips up 6 flights of stairs between my studio and all my classes due to my inability to remember all my supplies. Good pizza.

While I miss a night sky lit only by the stars, I'm beginning to love the illumination of the city. The sky looks like a set at times.

I am going to begin carrying my DSLR around because my iPhone cam is doing no justice to this city. Fuck my back, I can spare a few extra pounds.



settling in (paint nerd-out post)

We're just getting into the flow at NYAA.

If you're currently learning how to paint, what follows might be interesting but otherwise probably not.

My prof Jean Pierre Roy knows his business. We did a 5 hour black and white still life this week in class and, as a reward for finishing last weeks homework, we were permitted to use either a second white or a second black. It's the little things.


The most important thing I learned this week was the difference between warms and cools in black and white. Of course I know there's warm white, warm blacks, but mixing out say flake white + ivory black vs titanium white + chromatic black the resulting greys look more like a brown and a blue than the same color. There are all these little bits of knowledge about paint that you just have to glean from a variety of sources so finally getting some new teachers is helping me out quickly. When you look at a painting and it just hits pops, it's mastery of all these things that makes it do that. Also, those subtleties in temperature are something that photography doesn't capture well, neither in life nor in photos of paintings and I'm always feeling these days that we need to figure out what paint can do that no other media can do. There has to be a reason we paint rather than take photos or dance or make taxidermy sculptures.

We're painting a self-portrait as homework every week as well. He said one week we'll have to paint something like 8 small self portraits, so this is looking like it'll be a bloodbath toward the end.