Sunday, December 21, 2014

after a good long while

 Well, I've certainly abandoned this blog for quite some time. The last six months have seen some major transition, including me getting a new job (hooray!) and basically being an adult. I also got to hang my first NYC show, and also my first show since moving. It's been a pretty good six months, actually, especially in the job department. As a result, I've been sort of viewing my life in the past year-and-a-half or so in terms of When The Old Job Was Good, When The Old Job Sucked, and The New Job. These were painted in the middle period, probably in the spring and summer of 2014, all in the second of the two spiral bound notebooks I used to haul around to occupy myself and mitigate anxiety. 

First up we have two WelcomeTo Night Vale pieces. The top on is Each Named Erika (with a K), in reference to the angels. Canonically, they have non-human, oblong heads and are sexless, but I decided to model then after people I know (including my favorite model), who are sexed and have less-than-oblong heads. I also gave them some floating planetary symbols and multiple eyes. This is the only one of the WTNV pieces I've done that doesn't incorporate text. 

Next we have Intern Dana, another Night Vale character as she goes on her somewhat spiritual journey through the desert on the other side of the door, encountering a mountain and growing exponentially to become mayor material. To be honest I have fallen out of listening to Night Vale and I'm some months behind. The new job is less conducive to podcast listening, so I've been slacking off in all podcasts. A lot of the WTNV fan art I've done (as well a lot of other art) features triangles pretty heavily. Because I really like triangles. 

Following that is one of the few horizontal pieces from the notebooks, called Closer to the Moon, based off night vistas from home and that feeling when the moon seems surprisingly close. 

Perch was a spring piece, getting back into the mint greens and quaintness. It's, um. It's a big bird. I don't know, this was kind of just a spur-of-the-moment thing. This was during a pretty depressing moment of When The Old Job Sucked (like, more so than usual), and I might have been trying to make myself feel better. 

 Sensitive kind of came out of the same thing. If I remember correctly, this one was started sometime in the late winter, but kind of abandoned for a while.  While everything else in this selection is a watercolor/ink/gouache mix (except for Closer to the Moon, which is acrylic), this is pencil. 
 Here we have The Editors, with a throwback to the the massive black blob bodies of the medieval tradition. The name came from a work reference, actually (old job), and I sort of posed them as a mysterious, esoteric council. The tallest figure is modeled after someone who was not, actually, an editor and who has managed to sneak into a few other pieces, including possibly as the central figure in Each Named Erika
And lastly we have Camp of Hearts. This was another one that took a long time to materialize, and I actually had the title before I had the actual image. That's not uncommon in my personal process. I think the title came from misreading something that actually said "camp of the arts," as in a summer camp with art programs, but my strange brain turned it into something else. That also happened with What Double Vein, where I misread "what do you believe in." This not only came from the misreading, but I think was also inspired by movies like Moonrise Kingdom and a camping trip to Ithaca. I wanted something genuinely wholesome and classic, with a warm, nostalgic sense. 

There are actually considerably more art pieces I'd like to include here--I've been surprisingly prolific, even if it's only with small things. Currently I've been waging war on/avoiding Christmas, but hopefully over the holidays I'll be able to do some larger-scale pieces. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

forays into digital art

So I got a Wacom tablet! It's pretty nifty, and I've been playing around with it. It's nice because I can sit on the couch and watch movies without fear of spilling anything. I've been using ArtRage, which is a terrible name, but it's a pretty good program for a beginner, and easy to figure out without much difficulty. The biggest challenge to learning the digital stuff is the disconnection between your had and the line being created. I'm more used to the directness of traditional media, so it took a bit of getting used to not actually touching the piece I was working on. I still have a few things to learn, and I may get some better software because while ArtRage is decent enough, I'd like some more options. So here's what I made!

This is tentatively titled Dome, and I was channeling '70s sci-fi novel covers. The geodesic dome was fun to do, and I got to appreciate layers to the fullest. This features some nice lurid colors and some kind of sexy android girl. I think she's an android; it doesn't really matter. Also triangles. 

The second one, Runaway, is named after a song of the same name by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I was listening to it on the walk home and constructed a narrative. I'd like to do more with this concept, and was thinking of making some concept art for that video game I'm totally going to make with all that time and money I have. (Sarcasm!) The ruined city was fun to do, if time consuming, and I'd like to work more on this subject. Again, there's some retro sci-fi thing happening, and for the larger project, I was thinking of incorporating that with a sort of Arabian architecture theme. 

Finally, we have Wheat, which may or may not have been inspired by the Untappd. I'm happy with how the faces came out, and for some reason I gave it a vaguely Polaroid-like border, but I think it works here. 

So in all, I'm liking the digital art. People, especially non art people seem to have the idea that you can be in one of two camps on the subject of digital vs. traditional media, which is dumb, really, because there's no reason why liking something necessarily has to mean not liking something else. I'm still kind of getting my footing when it comes to digital media, figuring out how to best use the options and what styles work best with it. Personally, I don't think I'll be setting out to make digital paintings look like traditional oil ones--that never looks good. I kind of like keeping the digital stuff cleaner. I also like working with limited color palettes with digital and keeping things on the simpler side, and I'd like to do more with patterns. We'll see where it goes from here!

Friday, April 4, 2014

geometry & girls, forests & fog, rabbit eaters & kings.

The thing I like about the notebook I've been using is that it allows me to quickly fire off smaller-scale projects. In the past, many ideas were relegated to a pencil-only sketchbook and never really got to evolve, or they were made into watercolors and then lost in the morass that is my art file in my desk. The notebook, though, allows me to keep everything in one place as well as create full paintings. All of these come from the same notebook. And it's spiral bound! That is a really, really big step for me. One of the things I was doing was collecting words and phrases I found interesting and creating images to go along with them. (Note: everything here is 7 in by 10 in, for size scale)

From the top: 
A Million Girls. I think the line might be from a Raveonettes song. It's water color and ink.  It was also featured in Inconnu Magazine's "All Things Roll In."

Rare Geometry. Watercolor, ink and acrylic. The name came from an article (that I sadly can't find now) on the structure of the universe, and this phrase really stood out to me. Also, interference paint. 

The High King. Acrylic, watercolor and gouache. This is actually the second incarnation of this title; the first is still in the works. The title originally came from the Disparition song of the same name. The first one matches the music a little better, but I still like this version as well. 

Rabbit Eaters III. Watercolor and goauche. I completely love these little guys. I have this whole little story about them in my head, where they are small, naked people who live in the woods and eat rabbits, and have white eyes and red hands and arms, and they like to wear twigs in their hair. The latter might just be rabbit blood, I don't know. But they're really cute. 

Interior Forest. Watercolor. It had been a long time since I did some weird ribcage stuff, so here you go. It's also rare that I ever make a female figure with light hair (that isn't me as a kid). There isn't, I suppose, much to say about this one, though I am working on a sister ribcage girl. 

It Came from the Bathtub. Watercolor and ink. I bought green gel pens just to make those little algae guys. I work very near an art supply store and resisting things like interesting pens and tiny notebooks is really, really hard. Anyway, this is a self-portrait! I thought of it while taking a bath. I normally don't take baths because sitting in bathwater grosses me out, but I was in need of some girl time so I was hanging out reading magazines and listening to Hole when I noticed that the bathwater was green. Not gross green--it was kind of pretty and interesting. 

Self Portrait in the Fog. Watercolor, ink, gouache and acrylic. Naturally there needed to be triangles somewhere. Here I am at the end of winter, in my plaid coat and my awesome boots and my general feeling of absurdity. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

demonology 101 and night vale

Okay! So I recently purchased a 7 X 10 inch notebook for watercolor projects. (It's spiral bound, which is a big deal for me because I typically hate those.) I wanted something for small projects and experimentation without having to use large or expensive pieces of paper. I also like that all the projects are in one place, both for practical ease and for reflective purposes. I have a few things going.

Above are portraits of two of the demons from the Ars Goetia, which is a list of all the demons of hell and frankly, they sound just adorable. Beleth is on the left, and he's known for looking scary and writing a book of mathematics (seriously). Naturally, he's modeled after Beastie. Paimon is on the right, and he's fancy. He just is. These were a lot of fun to do, because I had free range imagining them and their outfits, and how those would relate to their personalities. I did choose the more human-looking ones for this project. The curly symbols on Paimon's chest and Beleth's collar are their sigils--every demon gets one and you summon them by drawing the sigils and maybe saying some kind of recitation. So if I suddenly get fancy and my math skills improve, you'll know why. There are two more in the works right now. 

Here are some other projects I've been working on! This is some fan art for the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, which I listen to at work so that I can have an even more surreal time there. Seriously, it's great, and its utter lack of visuals makes it perfect fodder for art, since you can create the world completely in your own head, plus the writing is beautiful, as is the score. On the left is Erika, an angel who contributed to poetry week. She may have been conflated with one of the hooded figures, hence the hood, but that was the idea I had for her and I'm happy with it. On the right is Tamika Flynn, leader of the childrens' resistance against StrexCorp and slayer of librarians. I apologize if this all sounds rather esoteric, but that's really all I can give you. Both of these, like the demons, were fun to do because I had no visual reference other than some cursory descriptions, so everything was completely up to me. With Erika and Tamika, I tried to capture the feel of the characters as well as the feeling of the show itself. The text pieces are lines attributed to these characters, and selecting the style was also important in their portrayal. 

More sketchbook projects and inconnu illustrations coming soon. I've been carrying this thing around with me to work and taking 15-minute drawing breaks to keep myself from breaking down and crying all over my boss (again). It's also nice because I can jump back and forth from project to project easily without having ten million separate pieces of paper everywhere. Hooray for sketchbooks!

Friday, December 6, 2013

in which we finally have a new oil painting

Okay, so! Look you here! It's a real live oil painting! I started this, oh, some months ago and finally finally finally finished it a few weeks ago. It took me some more time to photograph it, since all the lights in my house are yellow-tinged and I never see the light of day anymore thanks to work and the early night time of the Northern Hemisphere's winter. But I worked from home today, so I got to take this out to the alley and photograph it. The lighting was perfect, too (brightly overcast) and I didn't get hit by any cars. Success. 

This is What Double Vein, 36 x 36 inches, and I think it's about inspiration but I'll get back to you on that. I'm beginning to notice that the Home and Medieval bodies of work are beginning to merge, resulting in these patterned, foresty places full of mysterious crowned and robed figures. Back when I established the concept of three separate bodies, I always had the hunch that they would, eventually, merge into one. I'm beginning to see the Medievals also absorbing some of the characteristics of the Trash body, which has been turning up in a lot of watercolor pieces. So this is all very interesting to me. 

Lately I've been liking incorporating geometric shapes into images of more organic elements, so we have some trigons happening here, as well as some headpieces--I'm particularly pleased with the one on the left. 

By the way, you can check this blog out on my sweet new website in the blog section. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

explorations in limited palettes and fan mail

 Well, hello!

This is what working all the time and taking a class and trying to have a social life does to you. That, and the lack of sustained attention that unfortunately comes with the Internet. 

Here are some new(ish) things! The first three explore a limited color palette, using ink and a bit of watercolor. At the top we have a forest spirit of sorts, and evolution of Beastie. Lately I've been liking headdresses, and his has typically been the bones of small animals. He's also been clearly affected by the aesthetics of Sword & Sworcery, with his trigon. This was done using India ink, red watercolor and some black gel pen for the details. 

Below is a painting using much of the same materials, although I think there's some Payne's gray in there in addition to the red. The circles are vaguely Mucha-esque, and were created using a compass. The figures are a take on the medieval figures with their big black robes. 

Next is something I thought of while listening to Grimes' "Visiting Statue" off the (perhaps aptly named) album Visions. I actually had a whole music video mapped out, but as I lack the funding and the willing victims participants to make music videos, I had to make due with a still image. The challenge of this one was to lend a thick, opaque, sculptural look using water media, as well as working on a gray ground. I started by coating a piece of (white) paper with a mixture of white gouache and Payne's gray watercolor, and layering more of that mixture until I got a good ground. Then I painted in the figures and the landscape, and finished with a mixture of white gouache and yellow watercolor for the constellations and circle shapes. I also emailed a copy to Grimes' fan mail, just for fun. 

Finally, we have a painting with a more traditional palette. This came from the idea of the Manitou, an Algonquin concept of an innate spirit present in all things, including people, animals, plants, rocks and even machines. Specifically, it's a reference to Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron off the coast of Ontario, which means "spirit island." The image is just something that sort of popped into my head, of a big sleepy creature-island supporting lots of nature and people. It looks a bit sad, but it's really just sleepy. I'm really happy with this one, and I'd like to find a nice frame for it. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

illustrations at inconnu

So, wow, it's been a while. Things are fine. I've been doing more illustrations for inconnu! Here are some of them.

From the top, we have an illustration for a break-up playlist,  one for a piece on horoscopes and other pseudosciences, one for the magazine's "Hamlet week" of Hamlet being a creep (because I think he's a creep I don't care about his melancholy), and finally an illustration for a piece on digital aesthetics.

And look, circles! Circular compositions that actually work! Crazy! Although I maintain that circular pieces work best when small (these are no more than about 4 inches in diameter).

The Hamlet one was a lot of fun to do. I really enjoyed working on the faces. Because it depicts the play scene, I had to work out how to make it clear that the actors are, in fact, acting. So the sleeping king had be be a sleeping king but also a very conscious actor playing the part of a sleeping king. The false beard was fun, too. It also made me think about Hamlet as a play and Hamlet as a character. Like, what if the plot against his father was actually because his father was a bad ruler and bad husband, and his mother and uncle were actually in love, and his uncle was a better ruler? And then Hamlet, in his blind devotion to his father, ruins the rule of Denmark and ultimately paves the way for Denmark to fall under Norwegian rule. What if everything was actually going fine and then  HAMLET RUINED EVERYTHING? 

You'll have to forgive me. It's been a while since I've been able to discuss literature. Regarding the art, though, Hamlet seems to be an evolution of the blond-haired men in the "medieval" body of work. 

The last one is actually the original draft of an illustration. In the accompanying article, it has an iPhone text background, so the final result was something of a collaboration between me and the editor. Also there are cupcakes--everyone likes looking at cupcakes and using them as a desktop or as decoration on digital devices is not uncommon. Who doesn't feel better looking at cupcakes?

All of these were created using varying combinations of watercolor, gouache, acrylic, ink, and gel pen. Gel pens are severely underrated.