A few 5″ x 7″ doodles

These are a few 5″ x 7″ doodles on hard board. These works, among others, were presented to my brother in Texas as a Christmas present this year (we met them halfway in Oklahama City yesterday and drove all the way back last night getting home around 1:30 am – fyi – If you are looking for 435 in Kansas City, DO NOT TAKE 135 after the toll booth – take 35 instead! Also, there’s a nice little connector off of 435 that will let you hook over to just south of the Independence Mall that we found for the second time on accident last night – nicely done happy accident since that saved us some time – hard to miss that connector since it veers off to the right so it’s really an exit but seems to not be). Any work that is ‘from the imagination’ instead of depicting something like an illustration or drawing from life, I consider a “doodle.”

The color ones are mainly color pencil or color pencil sticks. The white one is china marker. There’s also a little China marker in some highlights on some of the color ones since I like to use china marker and prismacolor color pencils as top layers to add extra ‘punch’ to Crayola and Roseart (cheap color pencil) underlayers that get worked and reworked over and over. The white of the china marker can’t be beat nor can the pigment in the Prismacolor for the final touch.

Many artists use Prismacolor only and never use other brands. I think that’s just wasteful spending since Prismacolor color pencils average about a dollar a piece and on some really layered works I can rework an area enough to burn several pencils on one drawing sometimes. For underlayers expensive pigments in Prismacolor is not needed if you are going to work, re-work and then re-work again a few hundred times as I like. It is a nice touch for top layers, but for underlayers, it can get very expensive very fast for something that I’ll just essentially erase away and smudge to death so that the pigment itself isn’t visible anyways as it gets coated by layer upon layer of wax with more new layers on top.

In the upcoming year I plan to create many more 5″ x 7″ works. I love this size since it’s exactly twice the size of traditional “art cards”, exactly the same size needed for postcards or framed reproductions, and is just right for travel or hanging in a home vs larger works that work better in galleries that have tons of wall space.

I’m also starting to experiment a little bit with mixing color pencils and oil pastels with encaustic painting (wax painting that basically mixes oil color with a mixture of bees wax, paraffin wax and some manmade waxes to add more durability as bees wax and paraffin are both extremely brittle under certain conditions). I’m not sure I can do much with it since the encaustic doesn’t take the color pencils too well, but if the color pencils are the lower layers it might lead to some interesting potential as the encaustic can be layered three dimensionally much more than flat color pencils can by themselves.

I probably don’t have enough room for it now where we are currently located, nor will I for the next few years, but I’ve always wanted to experiment with mixing plaster sculpture and encaustic painting techniques someday. That’ll be many years down the road though. This upcoming year I really want to focus on the 5x7s and really ‘learn’ all the techniques and tricks I can about working on these small panels.

Pastel Figure Drawing

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Pastel Figure Drawing
Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

David Thomann Memorial Installation


David Thomann Memorial
Oil Paint and Collage on Canvas and Wood
© 1999, Jeff Thomann


I added the above youtube video to this post to help show the work in a way that is somewhat close to the setup it was originally intended to have. Unfortunately, I’ve never shown this work in a gallery or anything, so this was a quick video I took recently in 2014 before putting the work in to storage.

It’s hard to display this work for me due to the emotions involved… It’s difficult to talk about the work or think about it too much for lengthy periods of time because I begin to cry every time I think about it in too big of a segment of time. Many tears were shed during the creation of this artwork.

The installation is probably the biggest work of art that I’d ever attempted. I’ve been told that I try to put too many messages in to one painting many times, and this work is probably the epitome of that sort of thing. there was a lot going on. The work consists of 8 main panels, with the main images taking up two panels each. The panels are just stretcher bars with canvas attached, and they are connected with hinges. Each panel is approximately 3 feet wide x 6 feet tall, so the whole work, when all the panels are standing together is approximately 6 feet x 6 feet, and forms a sort of x if looked at from above. This is one of the few ‘installation’ works I ever attempted to create. I’ll try to add more images of this here in the future as I get more images uploaded to give a better idea of what it looks like from various angles.

Sorry if my rendering skills are not the greatest in the world. This work was created over the process of a semester in college, so I didn’t have an infinite amount of time to work on it. I could have reworked some of it later, but have chosen not to for a variety of reasons.

This work is a memorial installation that I created in honor of an uncle of mine that died due to leukemia several years ago. The reason, that our family believes, that he got leukemia was because he was a helicopter pilot for the United States Army, stationed in Germany, during the time that the radioactive clouds from the Chernobyl “accident” occurred. Around this time many chopper pilots, and other servicesmen in the air started getting symptoms very similar to those that he had… but, as usual the government denies that such a thing occurred.

At the time that I made this installation I was trying to cope with the fact that my little brother had just joined the airforce… and was attending basic training at the same airforce base that my Uncle David died in (It’s in San Antonio, Texas). It seemed to me to be a very bizzare and vile cycle that fate had taken to lead to such circumstances… The weekend that my parents, my sister, and I went to see Danny graduate from basic was very eerie, yet beautiful in a strange sort of way…

On the picture of the panel above, in the lower register of this image is a portrait of my father’s mother, father, brothers, and sisters. My Uncle Dave is the one circled in red. The reason for this is to make his image stand out in a way, and it also sort of implies very bluntly that he was a ‘target’.

The images in the top register are metaphoric symbols of man’s stupidity in creating violence through technology. The people in this register are rendered somewhat icon-like, as they have become mythological icons of our day for the horrors which they have created. The ‘heroes’ of this register are Truman, the Manhattan Project guys, and Hitler. They stand together triumphantly in an eeire background plotting the downfall of man. The middle register is a not-too-well rendered replica of the army identification tags that my Uncle used to wear. Each of the main images are painted copies of photos that meant a lot to me and my family. One of the small images in the top register is a copy of the final photograph my father had of my uncle’s family before he died. I remember when the photo was shot as if it was yesterday. My parents said ‘wave good by to Uncle Dave.’ Tears come to my eyes even to this day as I reflect on that phrase.

One of the ideas/themes with this work was to morph words and stories in to a message that played out like a drama for the viewer. https://jeffthomann.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/img_20140612_093150.jpg?w=949

Brothers & SistersBrothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters
Brothers and Sisters happily together at home, but who is this circled?

David, Brandon, Tammy, and Bethany


Uncle Dave, here’s two thumbs up pal!

This is the type of helicoptor that Uncle Dave piloted.

We will cherish you always for all that you have given.
Cherish You Always

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Cher

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E=MC Squared

Does E=mc squared always???

Why on earth is that the the case? Why can’t things be less scientific, less destiny driven…Why does death exist??? In the upper register, not even Albert Einstein, Mr. Zeplin, the Wright Brothers, or Henry Ford, the heroes of our time, can answer this question. Remember the Alamo!
Ford - Remember the Alamo


Zeplin with Baloons talking to Einstein



E equals mc squared not here here sisters!!!
Our technology is made only for our destruction… Logic makes no sense to us anymore. The greatest accomplishment of man is the destruction of his own. Our walls cannot protect us from ourselves. Our true heroes will sacrafice their all for vain political purposes that our real heroes, the ones that we put in our textbooks, have created for foolish worldly greed, jealously, deceit, and lies…

Brother's Not Well



Brother’s not well.

Fair Well
Fair Well

Fair And Nobyl
Fair And Nobyl

Chernobyl
Chernobyl

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In the green striped areas of the painting where the words are there are some photocopied and typed out excerpts from a book that came out about a year before I created the painting which had a lot of information about how Chernobyl was not really as much of an ‘accident’ as it was made to be at the time that it happened. These texts are embeded/collaged in the painting under a layer of stand oil and linseed oil. The book these texts were taken from documents where many areas where corners were cut in regards to safety measures being taken. These were documents that were top secret and not released until shortly before the time that that book came out and became public knowledge.

Chernobyl Secret Documents

Lightbox is risky..

Well that lightbox does technically work but seems way too much of fire hazard for me to use a lot.  I figured out a way to rig up my studio easel with the plexi off of that and a spring clamp to draw on the back of a photo to get the interesting things going on I’m trying to do… I back lit it with lights from the studio and also just looking at light in the dining room on the ceiling while I lay on the floor with easel hovering above me. Finally went to the studio since some of the color pencil marks were falling off… that blasted gravity…  I really am interested in this sort of thing since it lets me combine photography, illustration, drawing, and painting all in one interesting and bizzare process that gets very neat results, or I am hoping will get neat results. 😉

Made a lightbox today! :)

Just made a light box today. Had several 11″x7″ hard board sheets that I was originally going to use to draw on or paint on. Still have many of those for that but 5 less now because they are now my new light box… amazing what duct tape, hard board, and an old light off of a broken drawing desk, and a sheet of old plexi glass from many years ago can do when used together. 😉

Ended up taking the sharp edge of one of my many chisels since I used it as a plexi-glass cutter. It worked well though and I have plenty of other chisels. Hopefully the 60w lamp won’t melt the plexi. As long as I don’t make my sessions using it super long I don’t think that’ll be a problem. If it is, plexi is easy to replace. I probably should be using glass instead of plexi but since I’m planning on using a lot of pointillism techniques that will require a lot of banging a pencil against it I figure plexi is better since it’ll hold up where glass would just break. Thinking about using crayon/color pencils on this and then using that as carbon paper sort of to transfer the image on to the boards as base layer/underpainting for the encaustic panels, burnishing the back of the paper as it lays on the encaustic, etc. I tried testing a little today with a transfer bit on my wood burner but that didn’t work at all since the heat was too hot and caused the wax to actually melt in to the paper, so got to do this cool on cool, no heat applied. In theory it should work, somewhat. Still not sure if the encaustic and color pencil waxes will merge/melt together well but in theory they should I think. I think wax pencils have a parraffin type wax in them. If it doesn’t work well I may have to use crayons/wax pencils instead of the color pencils. Not sure I like that idea though since I want pigment in this and most crayons have way more wax than pigment. Color pencils are more leaning the other way a bit.

I made the light box since I think it’ll be easier process of photo to paint surface transfer that will work better than the crazy poke holes in pictures technique and pounce afterwards that I was planning on using. Still may use that sometimes, but it’s a really non-drawing type of thing so I’m not sure it suits my style/technique so well.

encaustic

I’m over on http://encausticart.ning.com/ now as I’ve started to take up encaustic painting a little. Bought a wood burner yesterday to help out with that a bit. http://www.walnuthollow.com/23906creativeversa-tool.aspx Got it at Michaels. There’s a lot to it, but I think I love encaustic because it’s possible to do lots of layering, lots of reworking, and it has potential to be just as complex if not more so then oil painting but the stuff drys instantly so much can be done in a short amount of time.

I like the creative versa tool (link above) because it does the same that the enkaustikos pens do with the temperature control, but for about 1/3 the costs, and a lot less on shipping since we only live a block away from Michaels.

(I will probably get the Encaustikos Flow Pen someday though since I’ve not seen anything else like it on the market yet… but maybe not since it costs so much if you add in the cost of the temperature regulator — why don’t they just add the regulator to the pens like Walnut Hollow did with the versa tool?)

Galveston Harbor

Galveston Harbor, © Jeff Thomann, 2011
Galveston Harbor, © Jeff Thomann, 2011

Media: Watercolor Pencil, Color Pencil & China Marker

I still don’t think this image image is ‘done’ but it’s getting close to where I want it to be. I’ve reworked it many times. I’ve been technically working on it about 2 or 3 months, but most of that time I was just looking at it. Since I started The Artists Way again this week I’ve been working on it an hour or two every morning and night, every day.

I have no idea how many real working hours have been put in to it, but there’s been a lot. I’ll put multiple layers in, erase them out, scatch out highlights with a burnisher, add more color, erase out some with an electric eraser, add more color areas, rework, etc. The gesso in the foreground has probably lost most of it’s tooth, as has most of the ‘water’ area to the left, but I keep adding new marks to it all the time, so I may have another few hundred hours of work to put in to it before all is said and done?… I’ll probably move on to some other artwork for now so I don’t really overwork it beyond a point that I can’t fix it any further. The scan was taken without any fixative added. I hate how shiny color pencil glare causes an image to really get a lot darker looking in the scan then it is in reality. The image is based on a couple of photos that I’m putting together in to one image in the drawing. I’m trying to be careful to leave some of the white of the underlying gesso. Most of the cloud area is almost pure white from the gesso with very little color pencil. I probably need to rework the middle ground and the ship in the background a lot more, but maybe not since some atmospheric perspective isn’t necessarily a bad thing here.

8/2/2011 Rose Study © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/2/2011 Rose Study #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

8/2/2011 Rose Study #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/2/2011 Rose Study #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

Redbud and Maple leaves in Fall

I uploaded a few scans of maple and red bud leaves that I took this fall, just before the first heavy snowfall. I just did not get them in a product in Turbosquid until last night/this morning.

Here’s a small summary image that shows what part of the bundle looks like:
scans of leaves
scans of leaves
scans of leaves

Turbosquid

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Levitt in Color, New at MoMA

There are no installation views of the Projects exhibition in which Helen Levitt first presented her color photographs to MoMA’s public, for one simple reason: all forty pictures were projected onto the wall, fading as quickly as they appeared. The year was 1974, and Levitt was in the midst of a creative outburst—unusual not only because […] http://bit.ly/aWjbvq

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Books by or about Helen Levitt

Mixing colors… It’s not what you think it is.

There are two color spectrums that are important in the arts. One is real light and how it mixes in the real world. The other is reflected light and how it works in the real world. Real lighting is visible in Stage Lighting, Computer Screens, TVs, and just about anywhere that there is a real light source – light bulb, sun, window, etc. The primary colors of real light are red, green, and blue.

The primary colors of reflected light on the other hand are red, yellow, and blue. In the print world, black is also added to that to arrive at a spectrum that is abbreviated CYMK – Cyan (Red), Yellow, Magenta (Blue), and BlaCK – CK is used for Black so that it’s not confused with Blue.

Mixing primary colors in real light results in white where the colors overlap. This is easily demonstrated in stage lighting by simply aiming 3 lights at the same area, where each one has a filter on it that matches the 3 primary colors – red, green, and blue. Where the three colors overlaps on the stage or wall or whever the lights are aimed together, there’s white that shows up in the middle.

Painting and other forms of art where color is placed on an object utilize the reflected light spectrum since the paper, canvas, or whatever else is typically not a light source itself. What is really weird about reflected light is that the science behind it does something completely different from what you think it’s doing. The color we see on an object is really what’s reflecting back at us off of that object when the real light hits the object. In other words the “colors” we see in everything that is not a real light source is really an absence of that particular color in the object itself – all the other colors of the spectrum are “absorbed” by the object, so what we see is really the opposite of the color that the object really is. We see the color that bounced back at us and was not absorbed.

Because of that weird way that things work, mixing primary colors with paint usually results in a muddy brown mid-tone color with low intensity. That’s completely different than what happens when real light’s primary colors are mixed.

That means that most stuff that you see on screen will usually look a lot darker than it did in the computer when you print it, especially since printers add more than the primary colors, and throw black in too.

It also means that when you go to mix colors as a painter, you have to think completely differently than when you mix colors with real light, like when you are thinking about interior design issues in stage lighting, or just picking out lights to put in to your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, or living room.

What gets very interesting is that some sculptures and other forms of art mix and match both light spectrums through backlighting, integrating tv screens in to the artform, adding lights to sculptures, etc. Sculpture is actually a whole different baseball game all together since it can incorporate time and space in to it through relationships of shadows in the real world, locations of the sun at various times of the day and year, etc. Video and painting can do that too on some levels depending on where the painting is placed, what the environment the painting is in, and of course one of the primary elements of video is time – the 4th dimension to 3 Dimensional works so to speak.

With painting, drawing, and other reflected light art forms, there is also a lot going on with how elements of the painting work with one another. Layering colors together is sort of one of the main things painters do. We create depth and dimension to a 2 dimensional plane by placing brush strokes, and other elements next to one another, on top of one another, underneath one another… There’s literally a ton of work that goes in to this sort of stuff sometimes to make a “realistic” artwork. What’s sad though is most viewers of these things that may have taken hundreds of hours to put together typically only view the work for 3-10 seconds at the most unless something in partcular catches their eye or interest in the work.

Big sculptures and video have a little bit of an advantage over painting in that regard – the viewer is forced in to watching looking at those types of things for longer periods of time, leaving more time for the work to create an impression and message. However, painting has a “presence” that exists longer sometimes, in some works. It is a visual thing that can haunt you over time as your brain echos seeing the patterns on the image over and over.

Creating works of art is a bit like wandering through a maze. You have tons of decisions to make, and each one creates subsequent decisions to make. The painting with the most “potnential energy” might well be the blank canvas… just as the work of music that might create the most interest and cause you to think about things is complete silence…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUJagb7hL0E

Art is life. Life is art. Neither are a reflection of one another because both just are. They exist not in parallel to one another, or as a mirror to one another, but coexist, sometimes peacefully, other times in chaos. Out of chaos comes creation many times, and creation usually does eventually lead to some form of chaos.

The entire universe was created with a major big bang explosion of chaos, and from that came the beauty that we call life.

Smoke Stack at Night

Smoke Stacks at Night
Smoke Stack at Night
Copyright 2010 by Jeff Thomann
Media: Photography
Original Status: Original is Digital Photo
Print/Purchase Status: This digital photo may be purchased online at http://www.turbosquid.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/512311
Themes: MU, Mizzou, Tigers, Columbia, Smoke, Smoke Stacks, Tower, Towers, Columbia, Missouri, Lighting, Night, Scene, Photo, Photography, photos, Jeff, Thomann, stack, fog, light, downtown, outside, atmosphere, mood, building, beacin, airplane, warning, city, urban, color, 2009

Genesis – The Golden

Genesis the Golden
Genesis – The Golden
Copyright 2010 by Jeff Thomann
Media: Color Pencil on Gessoed Hardboard
Original Status: Not for Sale at this time
Original Size: 5″x7″