Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sheepish Part III

I'm back up North now. It snowed the first day I was home. I'm pleased to report that it's very beautiful this morning (albeit slightly chilly) and I can hear the birds and the crickets chirping. I'm about to get back into my "One Hundred Paintings Project" but first, I finished a spread for my children's book. I've been neglecting it since I've been so gung-ho about painting a lot of other paintings. I thought I would take this brief intermission to finish up this spread. I'm going to be working on the cover and fleshing out the rest of the story as I work on my "One Hundred Paintings Project." That way I can finally make copies and get them sent out to publishers. Huzzah!

You can enjoy this in the meantime:

The working title for this book is "Cumulus" but I'm not sure if it's too complicated a word for kids. I'm open to thoughts & suggestions. Hint, hint.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On Hiatus

I will be temporarily pausing my 100 paintings project as I relocate back to the country this week. Hang tight :)

In the interim,

I also have a fan page on facebook now... well... it's ongoing, but it you want to be my friend:

Dippy & My Friend has a page too! We only have 9 friends, so we'd appreciate your friendship:
Dippy & My Friend

You can also find me on basically all social networks but I forewarn you, I'm bad at keeping up with most of them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Hundred Paintings Part VIII

Well. I dragged (drug?) my feet this past week. So much so, it's almost time for next week's paintings. I've been packing to go back home to the country for a while. I'm looking to my adoring pets and the general splendor of the great outdoors to serve as my muse for my upcoming paintings.

This week I focused on children's book kind of content, pretty tame and straight-forward. I'm not overall proud of the results actually. Which is partially why it took me so long to get them posted. But that's all part of the process right?

The first painting features an origami-making creature called a raccoon dog or "tanuki." I know what you're thinking but it's totally a real animal. They are native to Japan (some guys get all the luck). When my friend first told me about them (during my crazed-obsession-with-raccoons phase. I also had a paper crane making phase too, both which are still ongoing... ) I thought they were mythological. Even Wikipedia says they exist and if Wikipedia says it's true... then it must be. I may like them even more than raccoons now. It's like trading milk chocolate for dark chocolate; both are good but one of them is just a little classier. It was actually difficult to make it look like a raccoon dog. They have rounded ears, which gives it the immediate appearance of a bear no matter what I do. Apparently there are tanuki in a North Dakota zoo. Who's up for a road trip to Fargo?

"In Pursuit Of One Wish"

I really don't know what to say about this next one. The dog was unconsciously modeled after a dog I used to have. The idea was in my sketchbook for a little while. It doesn't really mean anything. I guess it's humorous, because I doubt an umbrella would be much use against fiery space debris.

"The Perseids"

I painted this fairly quickly. I have a whole series of sketches about a raccoon annihilating a birthday party. I just think raccoons are so amusing. I could create an entire body of work dedicated to their hilariousity (another word to file away in my personal vernacular). Raccoons enjoy sweet and shiny things. My wisdom on the matter comes from feeding a raccoon a marshmallow once and recalling Billy's trap to catch a raccoon in "Where The Red Fern Grows" by using a shiny piece of metal and a small hole to ensnare the rabid fuzz. It's almost too easy to imagine how a raccoon could covet noise-makers, streamers, confetti, birthday cake and the sound of screaming children. I neeeeeed one.

"Let Him Eat Cake"

Oh, and today is Earth Day. I wish I had planned ahead to have a painting ready in time. All the same, happiest Earth Day folks. It looks as though the Earth is getting plenty of rain-lovin' in celebration.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Hundred Paintings Part VII

I was on track to meet my quota by Tuesday, but I had to work in Manhattan yesterday and work from home today at a last-minute request. This week's paintings feature a lot of birds and a very similar color palette. (I was all too tempted to paint lots of bears by the way.) I think it's interesting the way paintings can influence one another. I actually bought a second watercolor block (because I finally used up an entire block) and worked on two paintings simultaneously. I like to work on projects at the same time. I can usually problem solve one painting while working on another. This is also helpful if I feel stuck. I can start working on the other painting and usually the answer comes to me. I do this a lot with music too. The trouble with songwriting is I have a hard time returning to a song I started writing. Especially if I'm not emotionally in the same state as I was when I started writing it. Which is why I have over 200 unfinished songs (with great potential I might add).

I was at a loss for ideas this week. I was expecting too much of myself as per usual. Illustration Friday's topic was "vocal". Music notes and speech bubbles seemed a pretty easy route to go in trying to depict vocalization or music. I originally started a drawing of a bunch of cats with speech bubbles, mewing in different hand drawn type faces but I wanted my paintings to be more meaningful than just fun images. Especially because I've been delving into the wonderful world of symbolism, American folk art, and surrealism. So I reached very deep inside myself and recalled a recurring dream I had as a child. It's one of the fondest and most cherished dreams I've ever had.

Every year around the same time I would have a dream that I was in the woods, anxiously waiting. I'd begin to realize I was waiting to hear the sound of little silver bells. I knew somehow that it meant some word of importance was coming my way. Finally I'd hear the bells in the distance, then the ever-increasing sound as a blue bird drew near with little silver bells tied to it's leg. It would come and land on my shoulder and whisper some important news in my ear. I was the only one who could understand what the blue bird was saying. Which is why it was so important I wait. Every year I would have the same dream and the bird would come tell me something important. The trouble is I could never remember what he was saying. Eventually the dream came less frequently and then it stopped all together.

The last time I had the dream I was staying in a gymnasium in Potsdam, NY, for two weeks during the ice storm of 1998 while live electric wires surrounded our house. I guess this dream resonated so strongly with me throughout my life for a couple reasons. One, it's one of the only happy and peaceful dreams I've ever had. Unfortunately the bulk of my dreams are pretty distressing or dark. Two, it's the only recurring dream I've ever had. While a lot of my dreams touch on the same themes, imagery and general turmoil, this was the only one that was almost a shot by shot re-make. Lastly, the dream always felt like more than a dream to me. So much so, it almost felt divine at times. I was really sad when I stopped having it. I'm sure Freud would have had a thing or two to say about it. All I know is I was overjoyed by the presence of this blue bird and devastated when it stopped coming. I remember being so frustrated as a child that no one would take me seriously when I told them about the blue bird. Children have more important thoughts than adults. They really do. I wouldn't exactly call myself a "kid person" (and I don't mean goats), but I'm perpetually floored by their wisdom and insight.

So anyway, that's my long-winded interpretation of "vocal" this week. Or lack thereof in this case. As the bird can no longer communicate.

"The Bearer"

I'd like to preemptively state that I understand how uncanny it is that the painting entitled "X" happens to be number twenty in roman numerals which is (XX). I realize how confusing that must be. It was not intentional. I think the message in this one is pretty self-explanatory so I won't bore anyone with some poorly constructed run on sentence. I have a few paintings in mind I'd like to do as a series on a similar wavelength as this one. But... I have reached twenty paintings! That's a milestone. Or a twenty-painting-stone? Huzzah.


The content of this painting can be found in an even more secluded and heavily guarded place inside myself. Again I shall spare the excruciating details and leave it up to viewer interpretation. I can say, though, that I was aiming for a very limited color palette and I wanted that color to be red.

"The Ties That Bind"

Also I didn't use any reference for that apple. So it's not too shabby I guess. I even got that reflected light I'm ever-so fond of. I probably should have painted it from life but all I have right now are Golden Delicious. Ah well.

whew. okay. bye then.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

One Hundred Paintings (Part VI)

I've painted this week's paintings a bit ahead of schedule. I've been freelancing in Manhattan this past week and will continue to do so into this week. Foreseeing a conflict with my personal project I decided to paint all three paintings this weekend during my time off. There is after all no greater joy than locking oneself in a room for two days straight. Cut off from all sunlight and general merriment.

Another piece for Illustration Friday. The topic was "Return." This was a pretty general topic and I came up with a lot of different interpretations but I decided on this. Again with the bears... I just don't know. Last year it was raccoons. Most of them were rabid or dressed as American folk icons.

"You Came Back"

It's not as if I've been watching any Akira Kurosowa lately but for some reason I can't get the movie "Dreams" out of my head. Particularly the dream sequence with the little boy in the peach orchard. Like the way that some people get songs stuck in their head, I will often times get fragments of dialogue or strong images stuck in my head. Lately it's been peach and cherry blossoms. There are much worse things to have mulling around up there. I'm not sure if the sudden obsession with flowering trees reminded me of "Dreams" or vice versa. These things are never clear. However, there are quite a lot of blossoming trees in the neighborhood. I sense there are some wires being crossed. It truly is my favorite time of the year. We used to have a weeping cherry tree at my old house that would only bloom for about a week. I used to lie under it all day in the dirt and mulch and watch the petals fall. Those were some of the happiest weeks of my life. I enjoy the strong symbolism and imagery of peach trees and blossoms. In Japanese and Chinese mythology they are said to represent longevity, health, youth and immortality.

"Tree Spirits"

I wanted this last painting to be somewhat loose and painterly. The result unfortunately was that it actually looks a bit sloppy. But I've been realizing I'm getting a little too attached to these paintings and spending a bit too much time on them. I want it more to be about exploring the medium, composition and the conceptual side of the artwork and less about tediousness and craft. I have a tendency to use the smallest paintbrush known to man and spend hours laboring over a lock of hair. It has to stop. I already know I can paint well if I really try. I want to be able to explore concept and the emotional side of painting more.


That's all for meow.