BHS

Photobucket
BHS
Oil on Canvas
© 1999, Jeff Thomann
BHS is one image from a series of paintings I created for my BFA show back in College in 1999. It was based on a dream. BHS is the name of this since the background was sort of similar to a locker hallway in Boonville High School where I attended high school.

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.

a couple of quick little self portraits

8/3/2011 Self Portrait #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

8/3/2011 Self Portrait #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

a few new drawings.

Jackie's Rose © 2011 Jeff Thomann
Jackie’s Rose © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

Palm © 2011 Jeff ThomannPalm © June, 2011 Jeff Thomann

Palm 2 © 2011 Jeff ThomannPalm 2 © June, 2011 Jeff Thomann

Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann

Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann
Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann

This was created using an old car rearview mirror so I could only see half of the face without shifting location so it was a bit of a challenge. As you can probably tell, I was focusing primarily on the lower nose/chin/neck area more than the rest of the face.

It took me 29 minutes overall, and time flew by because I was so intently focused. Getting good greyscale gradation levels with a small drawing surface like a ball point pen is challenging, especially when on a timeline like I was with this. I did complete it in under a half hour though.

I can see some improvements already in the self portrait drawing skill vs the last self portrait like this I did. I use self portraits as sort of a checkup on my skills since the human face is a good indicator of art skills on a lot of levels. Drawing faces with glasses on is always a bit of a challenge too since it changes the lighting a lot and gives areas that need new details.

I did the glasses on though because I’m working on a color pencil drawing in the mornings that has Tekla with glasses on, and I wanted to study a little in these ballpoint pen drawings how the glasses affect the light and shadow on the face so I can do better in that and future drawings with glasses. The color pencil drawings are very tricky since I’m using a lot of different colors, layering techniques, and a lot of erasing and actual burnishing techniques – actually in some areas on those I’m using real print making etching tools to do scratcherboard type techniques in limited areas since I’m using gessoed hardboard. That is definitely something I would not be able to do if I was using paper for the color pencils. The color pencils are almost like mini-oil paintings. Now it’s after 6 Am so I better start on the color pencil as the time allocated to it is before 6:30 AM, lol.

19 Minutes – 6/7/2011 © 2011 6/7/2011 Jeff Thomann

19 Minutes - 6/7/2011 © 2011 6/7/2011 Jeff Thomann

19 Minutes – 6/7/2011 © 2011 6/7/2011 Jeff Thomann
Media: Ballpoint Pen on Paper

This is a quick little still life sketch I did last night.

17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011

17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011 ©

17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011 © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011
Media: Ball Point Pen

I almost skipped doing this drawing last night, but decided to stay up a little bit after doing the speed challenge in the last post to do it. I’m trying to work on color pencil drawing in the morning, and quick sketches like this along with the speed model stuff in the evening. Since I’m using ballpoint pen for these types of drawings, I really have zero excuses to not do one every day of the year! 🙂

5/26/2011 – 22 Minute Self Portrait

Image

5.26.2011-15/26/2011 - 22 Minute Self Portrait © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011

5/26/2011 – 22 Minute Self Portrait © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011
Media: Ballpoint Pen on Paper

I’m not too keen on the that big right eye and super dark area right below the chin in the neck, but that’s the sort of stuff that happens when you are doing a self portait. Actually, the eye kind of adds to that expression I think. I probably went in to too dark and harsh lines too quickly about 20 minutes in — easy to do in this type of drawing. Also, working near the edge of the paper is always a tricky thing to do, but an important thing to do.

Emotions play a big part in drawing. I had a pretty rough/stressful day at work, so I think that played in to this a little in the expressionism gestures in the line quality, etc.

I stopped it at 22 minutes instead of half an hour because I felt that if I kept going I was really going to overwork it way too much. Getting fine details in a quick sketch is always a tricky thing to do. How far is going to far. How much time is left. The clock starts to not matter much but I want to keep these below 30 minutes for now.

I ultimately want to do one quick sketch like this daily and then one longer work that takes a long time on the side after that. This is a transition in to that. Currently I’m working on some color pencil drawings for the longer drawing, but didn’t work on it yesterday or today. I want to make the quick sketches be done every single day regardless of how I feel or if I want to or don’t want to draw that day. If I keep them below half an hour, that’s a lot more possible and realistic then trying to do a masterpiece that takes hours daily, etc. Time management is an important and difficult thing to master.

5/25/2011

5/25/2011
5/25/2011 © 5/25/2011 Jeff Thomann

20 Minute Sketch
Media: Ball Point Pen and China Marker on Paper

I’m not super happy about the results here. I got the proportion off a little on this and was a bit distracted too since the tv was on when I was drawing. I was going to skip tonight since I skipped working out tonight due to the weather (tornado watches and warnings earlier this afternoon) but really don’t want to do that. I really need to do at least one drawing a day to get in to the good habbits I need to develop. Ink is not a forgiving medium, but that makes me know that I need to work harder to get it right the first time.

a few more quick drawings.

I’ve been sketching after work for 30 minutes or less to just sort of work my way back in to drawing. I’m using ballpoint pen for these so far since they are easily scanned without a mess, and also are not messy. Here’s a few of the recent drawings. I’ll try to upload more of these as they are made in the future. I KNOW my skills can get better, and practice is the ONLY way to make that happen.

5/3/2011 – 5 minute drawing
5/3/2011 - 5 minute drawing

5/23/2011 – 25 minute drawing
5/23/2011

5/24/2011 – 25 minute drawing
5/24/2011

http://jeffthomann.t35.com – Jeff Thomann’s Online Portfolio

no longer use this t35 place since some idiot scammer ruined it for everyone else that was using the place for free hosting, so now scammer alerts show up an avast, etc. anytime t35 url is spotted anywhere online 😦

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I’ve started working a bit more on http://jeffthomann.t35.com over the last few days. It is starting to come together nicely. There are still several images on there that I probably will remove, and several more that I will add eventually, but it’s a nice framework that’s starting to come together a lot better then it was before now. I like being able to click on the images to make them take up the full width of the browser, even if the bigger image is just a resized copy of the smaller images. With today’s high resolution digital photos and scans, it’s sort of nice to be able to zoom in and see fine details individual brush strokes and things in paintings and drawings that our predecessors could have only dreamed about. The resume is finally starting to go online over there. I’m still not 100% comfortable putting that much personal information online, but since this blog is here along with facebook, most anyone could figure out all of that information anyways I suppose, so it’s a mute point to try to keep information from being free. I will probably not put a phone number over there or a real world address anytime soon, but the email link from the name on the resume should do a pretty good substitute. Would love to have someone give me some feedback on what I need to do to make it better…

spent some cash.

I spent about 20 bucks today on ball point ink pens. I got a cheap Wal-Mart Brand called Inc Discover Bold. Not sure if it’ll be up to the Bic standard that I used to always use, but maybe. Price was somewhere around 1.89 for a pack of 22 or so. Since I’m on a budget and am really loving looking at my old ink drawings with all of the scans I’m doing lately, I think I might get back in to doodling with ink pens. I like them more then color pencils for some things since they are fast, can literally have infinite levels of details and grey tones, cross hatches, stippling, etc. if you allow them to, and are really quick, easy, and non-messy to work with (at least if there is no ink leaks in the pens). Once the ink dries it’s even less of a mess then graphite pencils…

As far as the scans go, I have quite a few of the little bitty sketchbooks scanned now, but not all uploaded yet. I’m going back through the scans and cropping each page out since I scanned about 5 pages per scan in most of the latest ones.

The main little sketchbooks left to scan are mainly diaries/dream journals. Back in college, my Senior Project involved doing some oil paintings based on dreams. I’m not sure if I’ll upload the dream journals or not since those are some pretty oddball, hard to read, and private thoughts in some of them… However, I might since they are many years old now and some of the stuff is actually intended as educational or philosophical teaching material on some levels…

Need to edit my categories. I removed a lot of the tags that were not relevant yet, but may be in the future and moved them over to a google document mentioned a few posts ago. I’ll keep growing that list over time as I start honing in on various things to tie keywords to in my future image creations, whether in photos, 3d animation, or illustration.

I plan on having ink pens nearby no matter where I am during the day or night. I want to get in to the habbit of doodling, drawing, writing down ideas, and sketching more as I used to do but have gotten out of the habbit of doing for a variety of reasons.

http://www.marshallarisman.com/

http://www.marshallarisman.com/ – Marshall Arisman is an illustrator who’s works I have liked for quite some time. His works are somewhat simple, but also are rather disturbing. I think his original theme/idea was mainly to combine the human form with metal or robotic type of images.. a sort of bionic illustration genre, really sci-fi type of thing. I like his works because they deal with our humanity… and the ultimate issue of death, and what death might mean, both now and in the future. His use of bold color schemes like black and red makes his works really pop out and catch your eye. The images are so strange and wonderful, they tend to haunt you. That makes you think. All great works of art make you think…

Illustration Tutorial Site List.

I’ve decided to start reading up on Illustration more and figured I may as well share some of the links of sites I’m visiting here with you. I’m also posting this stuff here so that I won’t have to remember which sites I visited and/or which computer and which browser I was on when visiting to get back to the Favorites or Bookmarks. I can just come back to this post and know where the sites are.

http://www.khulsey.com/student.html

More sites will be added to this posting later. I’ll also put a link to this posting in the Links Tab of the blog.

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″

http://www.zazzle.com/jeffthomann

I’m going to start using Zazzle more. It’s similar to Cafepress, but also different. I will likely go back to each of my artfolio images and re-upload them to Zazzle eventually, putting a new link to my zazzle account in each of the posts that I’ve already created on Cafepress. That way my products are in both Cafepress and Zazzle. I am also probably going to do likewise for Createspace, and Lulu. Additionally, I’ll likely move some of my images that are on Turbosquid over to Zazzle and Cafepress so that the good photos are on all the markets out there. I’m also investigating a few places that let artists sell their real world artwork directly and not electronically. I might use one of those places to sell originals of some things eventually.

My Zazzle shop is located at http://www.zazzle.com/jeffthomann

Studio Tip – Keeping pencil shavings, and other things…

I love keeping the shavings off pencils as I sharpen them. Sometimes there is just enough color or graphite left to allow for one or two more uses of the leftovers on there that might come in handy someday. Additionally, the shavings are handy for doing interesting things such as creating brush strokes with paint that would be impossible to create with normal brushes, blending color on paintings or drawings by using the shavings as blending stumps, or they can be useful to just have around, sitting in a plastic bottle or jar to look at for inspiration since they various colors and shapes can sometimes give me compositional ideas.

Similarly, I love keeping paint covered palletes and clothing that I’ve used over the years. The splatters on the clothing of various material, whether it’s plaster, paint, tar, or something else mix to create interesting forms and shapes. I think Jim Dine used to keep his studio clothing as seperate pieces of artwork in and of themselves. This is a very good idea. The various materials I see on the various pieces of clothing that I’ve coated with artistic make me think about what was done to create each splatter, and shape, and form. Lately, for palletes, I use paper or stryofoam plates since my latest easel is made to hold those – that makes it a lot easier to keep the pallettes after the painting is done than it used to be when the palletes were expensive items that I typically ended up damaging as I tried to clean them off. It’s a memory jarring thing for us artists. My wife just calls me a pack rat, lol. I might take some digital photos or scans of some pallets and painted clothing sometimes, and create digital works from that. That’s what’s very nice about art – you can recycle ideas, shapes and forms, or elements of various artwork over and over… Infinite possibilities…

I also like keeping old paint brushes. The shapes they can create are likely unique. The same applies to any art instrument or some non-art instruments that can be converted in to art instruments. I love using various items as paint brushes sometimes… Some of the various items I’ve used in the past as a paint brush or brush to apply ink to paper or canvas are tooth picks, old tooth brushes (only use my own for that though so I don’t get a lot of other folks germs, lol), pieces of fabric, sculpey, thumbtacks, branches off of pine trees, pine cones, feathers, blades of grass, nails, screws, and broken light bulbs just to name a few.

I also like to keep a few oddball items around just to play with or to get ideas from… I don’t smoke, but keep a ciggarette lighter in my drawing toolbox sometimes – burnt edges on paper can look neat. I also keep a small handheld mirror or two as well as a full length mirror in the studio to play around with. Knives can be useful for digging layers off of paintings too… or just be neat to look at and draw…

I have one really wicked looking hunting knife in my drawing box that I used to keep in there for protection purposes, not that I ever had to use it. You never know who might come up to you and start bothering you if you are an artist out in the wilderness somewhere at a park or something and are trying to do a pein air painting… I don’t condone violence, but I hear about rapes, murders, and theft in the news way to often to just be out there in the woods by myself on the side of a hiking trail to not have some sort of protection nearby, even if it is just an old cell phone that can be used to call 911.

They say that any cell phone has to legally be allowed to call 911 regardless of whether you still have service on it or not – might not hurt to keep one in your drawing toolbox, basket, book bag, or whatever you use carry around with you to hold your brushes, pencils, or sketchbooks, especially if you are female. In the worst case scenario it could save your life. In the best case scenario it can be useful to call your spouse or significant other to come and pick you up, or to call for a pizza delivery or something. Most cell phones these days have cameras on them – so that is a useful art tool in and of itself, and makes carrying one around with you at all times something you should really think about doing if you are not already.

scanning paintings.

I have not tried this yet on paintings that are larger than the width of my scanner, but I might give it a try.

http://www.susansavad.com/t_scan.html

It’d have to be cheaper than trying to get a professional camera studio together, trying to buy gigantic flatbed scanners, or taking paintings off of the stretchers to have some place like Kinkos scan them in their big roll scanners (cost of doing that is like 7 bucks just for getting a digital scan – no printing cost – tha’d be extra, and then I think only flimsy paper stuff works.. and I doubt they’d put charcoal type stuff in their scanner, but I could be wrong?)

On the other hand…
Some of the arguments against flatbed scanning mentioned over at http://photo.net/photography-lighting-equipment-techniques-forum/00Tl26 are pretty good ones…

Color Pallette… Color Blindness… When is a something done?

I have mentioned color pallette in a few postings already, but don’t think I’ve gone in to a lot of detail about my personal preferences in my own color uses, why I have those preferences, etc. so I figured it might be time to post a little bit about that here, even though most of the stuff that I’m uploading to the artfolio is not color yet – It’s mainly black and white or blue and white sketchbook scans for now, but I’ll get around to uploading the color works later, and at that time, it’ll be good to know a little about my use of color.

For those of you that don’t know this yet, I am partially color blind. Greens and Reds that are medium toned or darker tend to look alike to me, which appears to be the same color as a grey color (just black and white) tone of the same value. Luckily, I’m not fully color blind, or else this little issue would have a much more major impact on my artwork than it does now. Bright reds, and greens are very visible to me. It’s only the darker tones that are usually seen in shadows that make things a bit difficult for me.

Because of this, I have a tendency to drive myself towards pointillism type of styles, or similar types of styles that use visual color mixing instead of real color mixing, at least in this part of the color spectrum. That way, I can move in very close to the canvas, and look at what is going on with the color blobs up close and personal to try to resolve issues and create a plan of attack to figure out what move to make next in this chess game of creating art.

Eye strain headaches does come to me after a while of doing this sort of stuff, especially since I’m near sighted… because I’m constantly looking at different areas of the painting, or color drawings at a distance, and then up close, and then at a distance, and maybe upside down to check composition, etc. I did not even realize I needed glasses for my near-sightedness until after I graduated from college, but I really should have probably gotten glasses a very long time before that. My dad loves transitions lenses and got me hooked on using them since they keep me from having to constantly buy sunglasses only to lose them. However, the transition lenses do cause me problems when making art and viewing art sometimes since they put a dark tone on everything I see through them. Because of that, I have to take off my glasses to view things in museums, galleries, or as I paint sometimes so that I’m not making major color/tonal mistakes. That causes even more eye strain on occassion. I do like the transition lenses since my eyes are pretty sensitive to light, and they make staring at a computer all day at my 40 hour a week job more tolerable. However, I hate that they cause me to not be able to see a lot of true colors at a distance… All through school, I remember squinting a lot in painting classes and drawing classes. I just assumed that this was normal at the time since I had never thought to check with a vision specialist. I knew that I was color blind, and just sort of assumed that the squinting and headaches were a normal part of the process of creating art. I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I had glasses way back in elementatry school….
Strangely, all of this does not have a huge impact on viewers of my work because a lot of artists use green to muddy down red and vice versa to get shadow colors and tones as they are on opposite ends of the color spectrum.

My favorite colors are somewhat bright and intense. As mentioned in another post, I love the color pallette that folks like Remington use, where there’s lots of vividness to the work and it sort of brings a positive cheery mood in to play.

I like mixing colors on the canvas itself visually more than a lot of other painters do. I do mix colors when I can but like using paint staight out of the bottle when possible so that it’s easier to come back to an area and re-work it or balance it out with similar colors on opposite ends of the canvas if I need to… Stuff that comes out of a bottle is usually mixed fairly closely to other stuff that comes out of a bottle that has the same label and is made by the same company. That makes it easier to not have a lot of worries about painting an area and then needing more of that same paint mix later, but not being able to find it because you cannot figure out the exact proportions of which paint you mixed to arrive at that color, especially when, like me, you are color blind so physicially mixing the paint is a very difficult chore. That label on the bottles of paint helps ease my mind in making decisions since I know that the green in that bottle is the same green that I got out of that bottle an hour ago. Pointillism type effects can be used to help mix and match just about any color that exists, at least at a certain distance.

My favorite oil paint colors are usually Cadmium Red (for bright bold red intensity), Crimson Red (for darker red tones and colors), Currealean Blue (for highlights that are in blue – lots of artists are afraid to use blue in highlights, which is a huge loss to their works), Cobalt Blue (for mid-intensity blues), Prussian Blue (for really deep dark blues), and occassionally a very bright yellow, and maybe something strange like violet, which can be very bright and noticible if applied thickly or almost unnoticible if applied thinly with the rest of the colors mentioned above, either scumbled on or put in to small dabs in small pointillism type fields of color on the canvas. I also use just about any other color out there that I can on occassion in small bits, but the colors listed above are the main ones that I usually end up utilizing the most. Most of my works usually end up heading toward red/blue side of the color spectrum because of that. There’s just something about Purple/Violet combinations or near-purple violet that is reached by visual color mixing that I really love – it’s a deep passionate, and dramatic color scheme.

I have a bad tendency to sometimes fall in to the elementary color trap that many artists fall in to on occasions, thinking of blue as dark/cool, red as bright/midrange, and orange for brighter areas than that, and yellows for highlights, instead of really looking at the way things are in reality and trying to match it as closely as possible – where all areas of the color spectrum exist in both bright and dark areas. I do try to balance out that fallacy, which is not always a true representation of reality when I can, but it’s usually a lengthy process since I try to put more and more color range in to both shadows and highlights as I proceed throughout a color pencil drawing or painting — many times I fail horribly and overwork the artwork. It’s hard to know when a work of art is “done.” There are defintitely “levels of doneness” as I like to think of them to any work of art…

Simple abstract forms with simple lines is the first level. The second level takes that and adds more tones or patterned areas to break up the light and dark more. The third level balances things out more and more, making the really complex patterns more worked out with brush stroke placement becoming one of the most important aspects of the work – a small line that’s the wrong color in the wrong place can unbalance everything and cause compositional balance to completely dissappear. Then, on the next level, things really start getting complex… as Professor Bohac used to say, that’s when it’s time for an artist to “fight their way out of a paper bag…” because a simple little thing that’s as wide as a centimeter or smaller can unbalance the entire work…. and as paintings start coming to a level of “reality” that is almost near photo-quality things get even more complex, and the “living elements” of the work start dissappearing more and more… The more realistic a painting gets to be, in terms of photo-realism, the less gestural qualities the work has… Artists, especially those that work with narrative, portrait, or landscape subjects can find themselves in hard to get out of places with their works as they get in to internal conflict about “how realistic” to make the work… since each level of realism requires more work on the entire canvas…

A simple line drawing done in 30 seconds or less can be thought of as a final work of beautiful art just as a photo-realistic painting that took thousands of hours to create can… Any and Everything in between these two extremes is where most artist live. It’s a very dangerous rocky terrain with a lot of smooth valleys full of beautiful smelling flowers. It takes a true artist to know how to balance it all out and make sure that the level of realism is right for the work in question, and each individual area of each work’s composition in question. There’s a different answer for each artists and each individual work.

As I post more artworks in to this blog, I’ll try to explain my own individual tendencies, techniques, and ways of doing things to get my works to where I want them. It is often said that an artist is his/her own most critical judge. I agree with that somewhat. However, that judgement is what makes us who we are, and makes us strive to do better in the future, or to strive to make horrible and hideously disgusting works that cause fear in the hearts of mankind…. It’s all about figuring things out and making them work… knowing the messages you are trying to communicate and trying to find ways to make those messages clear. For me compositional balance is a very important thing. For others, maybe not so much. I’ll try to post more artwork here in the blog later this week.

Fort Worth…

Last weekend, I went to Forth Worth, Texas to visit my Brother, Sister-in-law, and my niece. They live down there, and this was really the first time that I’ve had a chance to visit there or see them for over a year. It’s a great cultural city to visit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Worth,_Texas

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has some outstanding works of art. The entry fee is a bit steep compared to some similar Museums elsewhere (that’s bad because it puts off a lot of would be Museum goers in the general public – such as my sister and parents who I was staying in a hotel room with, lol.), but when we were there, the fee was half off as half of the Museum was closed (Warhol Exhibit was in the process of being put up, so they had a lot of rooms blocked off), so it was not too bad.

Kimbell Art Museum is literally across the street from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It’s definitely worth a visit, especially now that they have Michelangelo’s First Painting back on display.

Michealangelo's First Painting - The Torment of St. Anthony

We did not see the Private Collection of Texas there unfortunately (as mentioned above, my parents, and sister don’t like spending too much on entry fees to museums since they don’t always understand art and find walking around in museums to be boring sometimes – Hey, like I said in previous posts, part of the reason I’m uploading scans and photos of my artwork is to protect it from mishandling by those around me, lol. Luckily, if I ever do die, my artwork will likely end up in the hands of my loving spouse, Tekla, who has a much greater appreciation of the arts than some of our other relatives…)

While in Fort Worth, we also had time to see the Amon Carter Museum which is only about 2 blocks from the other two Museums mentioned above. The view of downtown from the Amon is amazing. I might upload a photo of that that I took here if I can find it…. The exhibits on display were amazing. I loved the photo exhibit, and the Remington and Russell exhibit. I think of Remington as one of my favorites art inspirations in the wide world of illustration. His drawing technique, use of forshortning, and vivid and bright color scheme are some of the many things that I try to emulate in my own paintings and illustrations when I can. That sort of bringing the world of the painting to life in color and form is something I find very inspiring, even if some of his themes and subject matter eventually turned fairly cliche.

While in town, we also wandered around the stockyards a while. There was a major livestock show going on at the time, along with a carnival and there were horses all over the streets down there. I didn’t know this sort of thing happened regularly in the middle of January. I guess the 60 degree weather justifies it. It was sickening to come back to Missouri’s 30 degree weather and massive amount of fog…

History of Caligari… and a little 3d industry history.

This is all ancient news to those that pay attention to the 3d industry, but I’m posting here anyways just for folks that may not be aware…

http://www.caligari.com/company/timelinenew.asp?Subcate=Company&SubV=Timeline

1982, Roman Ormandy defects from Czechoslovakia and spends three years in New York. Starting in the shipping department of a suitcase factory making Apple suitcases, he breaks into the PC business.

1985, Roman attends Siggraph ’85 in San Francisco. He admires the SGI workstations, but buys an Amiga PC and the trueSpace vision is born!

1986, Video tape of Caligari prototype is displayed in Commodore’s booth at 1986 Siggraph which generates tremendous interest. Octree Corporation is founded, setting out to revolutionize the 3D marketplace.

1988, Caligari1, one of the first 3D visualization products for the Amiga is released. It does not do much yet but it has a novel interface and integrated workspace.

1990, Caligari2 is released for the Amiga. Positioned as a design and video production tool, it supports photorealistic rendering and “real time response to all user actions”. (2Mb of RAM required)

1991, Caligari Broadcast sports animated deformations, sweep tools, interactive spline based hierarchical animations, a visual time editor and resolution up to 8000×8000.

1992, Caligari24 is released with upgraded features such as 32Bit color, organic deformations and further improvements in perspective interface. It soon becomes clear, however, that MS Windows would become the standard operating platform.

1993, Octree moves from New York to the Silicon Valley. Leaving the East Coast behind, it designs a new software architecture and changes its name to Caligari Corporation.

1994, trueSpace, powerful, usable 3D graphics and animation for Windows is released. It changes the landscape of the 3D market with the first integrated 3D animation and modeling package.

1995, trueSpace2 is released to receive critical acclaim and industry awards. It is the first 3D software to support 3D acceleration, alas no 3D accelerators are shipped at the time.

1996, Pioneer is released as the 1st VRML authoring tool integrated with a built-in browser. Wins critical acclaim but VRML fails to live up to user expectations.

1997, trueSpace3 builds upon the excellence and ease-of-use legacy by integrating VRML, inverse kinematics, physics, metaballs, 3D paint and collision detection. More awards follow.

1998, trueSpace4 – Born to Accelerate. 8th generation and a major step forward in 3D authoring, trueSpace4 closes the gap between high end and ease of use.

2000, iSpace – a web graphics tool that enables the creation of stunning 3D graphics in HTML and Flash format. It delivers photorealistic web sites and uses simple drag&drop interface.

2001, trueSpace5 – Reality Designer, providing designers access to an affordable and powerful 3D design tool for all stages of the creative process including conceptual design.

2002, trueSpace6 improves workflow and professional design tools like layers and deform tools. It also reduces repetitive tasks through arrays, mirror modeling and more, making everything from modeling to final render, faster and simpler than ever before.

2003, trueSpace6.6 – introduces non-linear animation, and improved physical simulation. Workflow and modeling are further enhanced, keeping trueSpace the ideal choice for animation, design, illustration and game creation.

2003, gameSpace – 3D content creation for game development software and game engines, based on the trueSpace6.6 core and providing tailored modeling and animation tools, import and export, at a realistic price point. 2006, truePlay – free application to allow anyone to enter the shared 3D spaces, for collaboration with colleagues, friends and peers.

2006, trueSpace7 – introduces a whole new software core, which includes the first ever collaborative workspace that allows people to work together in the same shared 3D space. V-Ray renderer, new DX9 real-time view, and new scripting, physics and procedural objects also introduced.

2007, trueSpace7.5 – expands on the tools introduced in trueSpace7, adding better character animation, and more tools in the new workspace aspect of the program.

2008, Caligari and Microsoft join forces – Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, Caligari is able to release trueSpace7.6 for free. With further expansions and improvements to the tools, now anyone can make professional 3D at no cost

It’s been interesting seeing this company come to life, and die by being bought by one of the biggest companies around. Caligari was a neat startup. Unfortunately, a lot of neat startups get gobbled up by gigantic corporations. This is just one of the latest examples of this in the 3d industry…

Autodesk and Adobe are too other giants that eat their competition like Microsoft did with Caligari, and other companies are too to various degrees..

Alias bought Kaydara in 2004. Kaydara had created some awesome software called Motionbuilder, and they actually were selling it to individual artist very cheaply. Go check out the history of it on the forums at 3d buzz… Back when I got my personal edition from Kaydara itself it costs about 100.00 or 200.00…

Autodesk bought Alias in 2005 thereby taking over both Motion builder and Maya…

and looky here at what happened… Now the personal edition is long gone and Motion Builder costs $3995.00!

Adobe did the same thing with Flash a long time ago (originally owned by Macromedia).

It is nice that what used to cost a lot (TrueSpace) is now free… I originally bought version 3, then upgraded to 4, then 5… and quit upgrading after that because I switched over to Lightwave around that time… but it is sort of sad to see a company get gobbled up… especially one that was nice to new users and had a very good interface that helped developing 3d artist learn the ropes.

If you like the fact that trueSpace if free since you are an artist or want to become one, you might check out http://www.wings3d.com/, http://www.anim8or.com/, and http://www.blender.org/since Wings, anim8or, and blender are also free. Other freebies are out there, but these are the main ones that I know of that a lot of folks use.

Gmax is also free, but it’s several years old and is really just a dumbed down version of 3d Studio Max, which the big corporation Autodesk owns and wants you to pay a lot for…

It’ll probably just be a matter of time before Microsoft execs figure out some way to make Caligari’s trueSpace and gameSpace technolgy become massively expensive toys for the rich.

(If you can’t tell by the tone in this post, I’m not a huge fan of Micro$oft. I can’t tell you how many crashes have killed my artwork and other creative endeavors because Windows 95, 98, and XP all were pure junk. Vista is not far behind, but it a little more stable… Also, as someone that plays Entropia Universe a lot, I have a little bit of a grudge against Microsoft for when they tried to kill of Project Entropia in it’s early days by falsely accusing them of being pirates.)

Inspirations – http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/

Clarissa left me a little comment over at https://jeffthomann.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/mall-small-19-drawing/ talking about her friend’s website at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/ so I figured I’d visit and do this Inspirations posting about it. I have not really done many (read any, lol) inspirations postings up til now that have to do with anyone’s art that I did not know about before now. Time to change that, and start exploring the art world in these here intra-web tubes.

As indicated at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/page8.php wordsaroundtown.com is owned by Kevin McCartney Studios.

Kevin appears to be a very good photographer.

The words around town site seems to be made of various pictures that Kevin has taken and converted in to fonts to spell out words.
He’s using the forms he finds in his compositions as letters.

As stated in the site, Kevin has a real enthusiasm about this obscure typographical artform…

The challenge of finding objects around us that we normally pass by everyday without a second glance which look like letters has been exciting and fun!

Finding the hidden beauty in everyday things that we often pass by without a second glance IS, in my opinion one of the great things that exploring art does for people that get in to art.

Finding the invisible forms as Kevin is doing and making it visible is sort of a theme that has run through art for many years. It is an obscure idea that can be traced back to the Surrealist movement, especially in Salvador Dalí’s paintings… but the idea actually goes back a lot further than that.

Trompe-l’œil means “fool the eye” and that phrase is what is best used to describe or categorize this form of art. Actually, almost every form of 2-dimensional work that goes back to the earliest known cave arts is somewhat in this to some degree – since after all making a window out of something that is not a window as paintings do is fooling the eye so to speak.

It’s all about hidden messages or meanings, and really being a keen observer of the world in order to see the form and the way that simple basic design principles can allow multiple things to happen in the same plane.

The idea of bringing the reality of the 2-dimensional canvas of a painting or photograph in to the viewers plain sight so that it’s simple beauty can be observed in and of itself outside of all other rules and principles of creating illusion is a very modern idea that is seen over and over and over again in 20th centrury art. That’s why I say that genres like Cubism, Op-Art, and a lot of other genres that focus on the 2-dimensional existence of the plane in an artwork are MORE REALISTIC than simple little paintings that pretend to be windows showing pretty landscapes or cityscapes that most other people classify as Realistic…

Is it realistic to pretend that the 2 dimensional surface on a wall is something other than a surface on a wall? Sure there can be little pictures in there, just like there is on that flat plane you are looking in to to see these words, or that you will view tonight as you watch Prime Time TV… but isn’t it more realistic to acknowledge that what you are looking at is really a 2 dimensional flat surface?… as Kevin has done by seeing the letters in his photographs?

Some folks even take this sort of idea in photography to a whole different level in the form of Photomosaics… After all, if a photograph is really just a bunch of dots made up of 4 colors, CYMK (Cyan Yellow, Magenta, and blacK), it makes sense that each photo is balanced more towards one of those 4, so it makes sense to use an entire photo as one small element in a larger picture… Actually, given enough time and photos, photomosaic technology could go to a whole new level and allow an infinite amount of images to exist hidden inside of a set of photos… the first level would look like something from space, then as you approach it to the airplane level it would phase and each level as you get closer and closer could phase in to a new image, hidden… only to dissolve as new ones come in to play. The hidden typography that Kevin is searching for is a little different than Photomosaics, but not completely. There is a lot of similarities there – searching for what is hidden in plain view.

It’s strange but all language and all these ideas that get thrown at us daily in these little windows that are not windows are something that connects us all as a society. People from 200 years ago would think we are crazy staring at computers and tvs and spending as much time as we do daily on these devices that are really 2 dimensional boxes producing light. Works like this make people think. They can become kitsch or cliche sometimes if overdone, but they do start to open the mind, and let people begin to question reality itself on some level, which, in my opinion is what all great art should do.

Keep looking for the hidden meanings Kevin. Your typographic photos are amazing. Keep spreading the Love.

Wow. Truman does have illustration again.

It’s been a LONG time since I visited Truman State University’s website. Looks like they have an illustration class again. For a long while they did not have one. Not sure when they got it going again, but it’s there…
http://concept.typepad.com/art219illustration/

Almost makes me want to head go back to school and take some more classes, lol.