Self Portrait in Red and Blue

Self Portrait in Red and Blue © 2006 Jeff Thomann, Media: Oil Painting
Self Portrait in Red and Blue © 2006 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting

I created this work back in 2006 as a way of keeping my oil painting hobby going. At the time that I created this work I didn’t have the best studio to work in. We had purchased a house with a large basement that I was trying to use as a studio, but it was dark, moldy, and had a lot of dust and mildew in it. I did light up the place with some hanging lamps, but it still was definitely not the best place in the world to be doing oil painting since there was not much ventilation. There was a small garage door that I put fans nearby but this was still a horribly ventilated area. I fondly remember smelling the chemicals from the studio one floor up in the main living room several days after I created this work… that was something Tekla and Genesis didn’t care for too much. After that incident I went to trying to do works that require less fumes such as acrylic, color pencils, etc.

I believe that this painting was exhibited at the Columbia Art League the year that it was created.

Table from the BFA Exhibition

Table from the BFA Exhibition
Table from the BFA Exhibition © 1999 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting
This Work was one of several in a series I created for my BFA exhibition back in 1999. The BFA show was based on images from my dreams that I tried to remember via a dream journal/sketchbook. I’m not exactly sure what the symbol on the paper that the hands are holding means, but it was a part of the dream that I remember in detail, along with the composition of the painting including that window in the distance that sort of backlit the room, making it difficult to make out the details of the features on the individuals in the meeting room. The framing of the room is odd looking as the walls don’t seem to match up, but that too was a part of the dream.

In many of my dreams the architecture and location of images in a composition I see in detail seem to have some sort of deep and profound meaning to me. At the time that I created the BFA show I was studying Carl Jung’s theories on dream archetypes. I believe that both a location in a dream as well as the individuals can become archetypes. That is why we have dreams that are located in the same, or very similar settings multiple times throughout our lifetime.

I do not practice magic or the black arts (well at least not directly even though art creation itself is a bit of a magical act in some ways), but do sometimes read about these things as they interest me somewhat since they are sort of related to psychology and art history, both of which are topics I have a lot of interest in…

I think that new age ideas about astral kingdoms created via meditation practices are directly related to lucid dreaming techniques that we all experience at some point in our lives and that the architecture, objects, and figures (archetypes) we see and interact with in our dreams can play somewhat of a major role in the worldview and in that way can psychologically help us alter the world around us… but it’s not truly ‘magic’ – it’s psychological manipulation and self therapy techniques that can alter the way we think about the world as the objects, places, and things in our dreams are really our subconscious thought patterns communicating with our conscious brain, picking up patterns and connections that we may never have noticed before, allowing us to become aware of things in a new light that we have not seen them before consciously, etc. Dreams can and do play a role in our waking world realities every day whether we acknowledge it or not.

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/ – link to a little bundle of pics I uploaded to shutterfly tonight. Most of them are ancient sketchbooks from the late 1990s, but the acrylic paintings, encaustic paintings and photos are very recent stuff.

I might crop some of them and put them here on the blog later. Some of them are multiples of the same image because I like to shoot several pics of one work and pick the best of them with fewest blurs, bad contrast, etc. for various things. I’m not sure – I may have scans of some of these somewhere in the blog already?… Oh well, multiple images of the same thing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Lighting was not very good on many of these… I was using interior lighting and that’s never good for shooting art. It’s too cold to go outside, and I don’t trust the wind outside when shooting photos of artwork on paper since paper tends to catch in the wind too easily. A few years back (a couple of months before we moved out of Boonville) I did try to shoot a bunch of artwork outside and a lot of it got caught in a big gust of wind. The same day a wind gust knocked over the tripod and busted the screw connector at the bottom of the camera that was on the tripod at the time. That poor camera finally died on me about a month ago or so… it’s had a hard life. I haven’t thrown it out yet in hopes that maybe it will get some life again someday… (I think something’s gone wrong with the battery connection or something).

Shooting photos of art is much faster than trying to scan them. I also scanned a bunch of my ‘morning pages’ today from the last year or so. I have not consistently done that every day, but there’s still a heck of a pile of paper. I probably won’t publish that to the public since there’s a lot of private thoughts on it… but might upload it somewhere secure for a backup like in email or google docs. Scanning those is not super time consuming since I’m going on very low resolution of 100 dpi or so for the scans since there isn’t any real big drawing/painting to it even if there’s a sketch or two here and there from dream scapes I tried to outline the architecture of, etc. Many of my dreams have a very architectural feel for them… various locations tie in together in various ways with hallways, placements of architectural elements, etc. It can sometimes get intricate in how I try to detail my ‘morning pages’/diary or whatever you want to call it because of that… Jung had archetypes. I have archetypes and architecture that those archetypes act in. All the world’s a stage…

Painted a little…

I went in to the ‘art room’ and painted a little today for an hour or two. I will probably do more of this in ‘spare time’ from time to time. It’s going to take a little while to get my skills back up to speed, but I can do it. I also have decided that eventually I probably will add learning to play my midi keyboard as a goal/challenge for myself. I’ve had the thing for years, but never have done much with it. The first few months I had it I got to the point I could play jingle bells, and then quit. I pound a few keys on it here and then, but haven’t done much. I have ways to record it to the computer that I didn’t have a few years back due to low computer specs/speed even though I had the software and connectors to make it happen. I originally got this thing thinking I’d go in to making my own music for animations I put together, but I let that goal of making animations die slowly and let the goal of making the music sort of fade away over time. Now that I’m challenging myself to live better, I want to make these goals a little more of a reality in my life. I may never become Mozart or whatever, but I would like to learn the basics a little more than I can do them now. Even if I never do an animation, the background music for still images in videos and/or slideshows could have some potential. Closest thing to doing some artsy video like that way back several years ago was this little thing I threw together… not very good, but it’s catchy tune, at least to me, lol…

and these little annoying things…

In the future, I might try to do more of this type of stuff… I wanted to back then but didn’t have the time, nor really the computer power that would allow me to do much since putting this sort of stuff together would max out cpu/gpu back then and/or ultimately cause computers to crash if the machines got too hot. Nowadays, this sort of stuff is nothing on the cpu usage… so more can be accomplished. Now just got to get myself to work towards the ‘work’ part of making those accomplishments become accomplished realities.

David Thomann Memorial Painting

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David Thomann Memorial Painting
Oil on Wood Panel
© 1998, Jeff Thomann

This is a work that I created about a semester before I created David Thomann Memorial Installation

This work was created just before the time that Photomosaics really became popular. The painting was basically a bunch of photos that work together to create an portrait of my Uncle Dave. However, I painted the photos individually. The images are from a variety of sources.. family photos, and a variety of other scenes, some which were not actually derived from photos, but were scenes I had lived through in person or had some knowledge of… The inability to really tell the whole story that was behind my reasons for creating this work led me to create the Installation later. I might try to get a better photo of this painting later since there appears to be some glare on this one.

BFA Show – Comic


Comic
Oil on Canvas
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

This image was one of the 3′ x 3′ works I did for my BFA show. This, along with the other images in the show were derived from dream imagery. I had started several dream journals in college, and the images for this show were painted versions of some of the images from those journals.

Capturing dreams in a journal is not always easy. I ‘cheated’ a little some of the time that I was doing these images since I had to come up with some of the dreams to put in to the paintings. I did this by sleeping with the lights on and covering my eyes when I slept, and I kept the sketchbooks and journals next to me within an arms length of where I was sleeping, and would start writing as soon as I awoken from a dream. Covering the eyes while the lights were one forced me to remember the dreams as I awoke when the light hit me eyes. However, I had to work quickly to put the dreams down in the book as quickly as possible before my conscious waking mind took over the subconscious train of thought and started putting too much ‘real world’ left brained stuff in to the images and cause/effect relationships and stories beyond what the dream actually contained that I was trying to capture. You have a very short span of time to do that sort of thing if you dream journal as the waking mind sort of takes over within 5-10 minutes or so after you wake up.

There is a lot I learned about dreams in doing this. My dreams are very much based on architectural ideas and archetypes. Many times multiple people in real life will join in to one being in a dream… creating a construct of sorts.. and these archetypes/constructs play roles. Dreams really do have a meaning and reflection that comes from the waking world, and there is a method to them. If you every try to dream journal, you can learn this methodology and the meaning behind the dreams. Most dream interpretation books are way off. It’s much much more personal than any of those can every really get to the real reality of because every person’s personal archive of images that they draw upon from their own waking lives is unique to them… I might make more posts about this in the future. There is a LOT to dream journaling.

On the Road

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On the Road
Oil on Canvas
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

For a while in college I was fascinated by the idea of driving and the metaphor of how the car becomes a part of one’s self – an extension of the inner self in a variety of ways. Much of my art since that time has revolved around the idea of the journey, and seeing the landmarks on the road we see daily both in cars and outside of them. Roads that parallel highways and exit ramps and overpasses – tunnels to new places, and exits and entries on the highway of life fascinate me both visually, spiritually, and emotionally. We are all on journeys every day. Do we take the time to see what we are passing or just let it pass us by?

Self Portrait with Cabin in Background

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Self Portrait with Cabin in Background
Acrylic, Watercolor, Pastel, and Charcoal on Cardboard
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Draped Figure Drawing

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Draped Figure Drawing
India Ink, Colored Ink, and Charcoal and Tea Stains 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

Bottomless Self Portrait


Bottomless Self Portrait
Acrylic on Canvas
© Y2K, Jeff Thomann

This was an acrylic painting that I created when I was entering my ‘bottomless paintings’ phase. I was really interested in trying to figure out ways to create compositions that had no one right side up. I still get on that kick sometimes.

BHS

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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.

A few scans…

A few sketches and acrylic paintings I’ve started the last while. I don’t consider Drips an Acrylic Landscape done, but do consider Bottomless Landscape Done, and the pen and ink sketches are just doodles.

Live
Live

Drips
Drips

Bottomless Landscape
Bottomless Landscape

10.25.2011
10.25.2011

10.24.2011
10.24.2011

Acrylic Landscape
Acrylic Landscape

11.21.2011
11.21.2011

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.

New goals…

I’ve been procrastinating on things a bit, but no more! I’ve decided that I want to start getting up at 4 AM instead of 5. Up til now I’ve been trying to get up at 5, but usually ended up going back to bed til 6 sometimes, or more often got up and just wasted time online on forums, etc. Going forwards, I want to change that… I have no idea if I’ll be able to do this or not but think if I can I’ll see some major improvement in my art, in my attitude, etc.

Goal is to do more art, do it in a way that suits me and gets things accomplished, and make time to live life a little too more than in the past. No more wasting time…

so… tentative schedule is…
Up at 4 AM. Do 3 pages of Morning Pages for The Artist’s Way/Journaling/diary type stuff… Then eat breakfast (probably a bowl of cereal, maybe fruit on occassion) In theory, that’ll take up til about 4:30 ish… maybe 4:40 or 4:20 sometimes?

4:30 AM – 5:00ish (maybe earlier depending on the above) do a 10-30 minute drawing… probably with ball point pen since it’s a speedy thing, but maybe other stuff like charcoal or color pencils sometimes?… maybe even graphite even though I hate the shine graphite produces. Number one reason I hate acrylic too unless lots of matte medium is used – also why I love oil paint and have decided on encaustic as painting medium of choice…

5:00 AM – 6:30ish = Work on 3d Modelling. I’ll probably do speed modeling for now… then go back and redo the fine details as needed later on. Maybe do a whole week of work without going back in to finish it up til the weekends?… I’ve been on Turbosquid for a very long time, so am at the level in there where you can get the keywords for free, so those keywords will be my subjects for these 3d models since that’s stuff that is known to sell, etc. I’ve been trying to copy/paste the keyword lists in to an open office file every morning, and will continue to do so and then will pick the subjects that interest me… I may sometimes stray from that and use my own ideas or keywords/topics, but there’s lots of ideas in there, so I think I’m going to focus on that a bit.

6:30 – Take a Shower, Make Lunch, Get ready for work, etc.

7:00ish – Head to work…

At work, walk with my Aunt on my morning and afternoon breaks (assuming I’m not on hold with blasted insurance companies when she takes a break)

11:00ish (my time for lunch varies) Eat Lunch and Read a page or two out of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain or The Artist’s way… Maybe other books on kindle, etc. Possibly do a 5 minute doodle session at lunch, but probably not as there’s not really much time since I only have half an hour lunch.

After work – Start up the Encaustic heating up as soon as I get home… Maybe draw for a few minutes while it’s heating up and the wax is melting. Paint after it’s hot with the encaustic til Tekla gets home.

When Tekla gets home, we’ll head to the Arc to workout. This is something I’ve neglected doing way too long, and is really why my sugar’s not under better control at the moment, even if it’s not too hugely bad yet.

After that we’ll have supper, and enjoy the rest of whatever is left of the night spending time with one another and enjoying our time together.

Go to bed around 10 or so since that’ll give me 6 hours of sleep. If I can get myself off of caffeine, I think 6 hours of sleep is enough… Going to be hard to do, especially at work since it’s free there and they have a huge thing there that keeps 3 pots going all day every day… they usually have one pot of decaf, one of regular, and one double strong – I usually try to mix half decaf with regular but half of the time the decaf is gone… need to drink water more, coffee less… very difficult to do, but I think if I can and can excercise more, this crazy schedule might work…

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

Sunrise @ Galveston Bay © 2011 Jeff Thomann

Sunrise @ Galveston Bay © 2011 Jeff Thomann

Sunrise @ Galveston Bay © 2011 Jeff Thomann
Media: Pastel, Watercolor Pencil, & Color Pencil on Gessoed Hardboard
Original Size: 5″ x 7″

 

http://allartists.wikispaces.com/

http://allartists.wikispaces.com/ is a new wiki I started today. I plan to add more to it on a regular basis, and grow it to be a gigantic list of artists both future and past, both greats and lesser knowns. Since it’s a wiki anyone can edit it. Feel free to add to it at any time. This is growing a project I’ve started because I think places like wikipedia, and most art history books are a bit biased in what and who they include and do not include.

The point of this is to create a list of every artist that we can find anything about. Since visual arts is my thing, I’m starting there, but over time it might be highly possible to add musical arts, and other art types there. I want this thing to be come a hugely comprehensive list that will be usable by the masses for various purposes. Art students and art historians doing research papers could use it as a starting place for doing research. Art collectors could use it to find up and coming artists. Art galleries could use it to find artists and ways to contact them. Artists themselves can use the wiki to link to their home pages, study trends, get inspiration, etc.

Jeff’s Zazzle Shops.

My Zazzle Shops can be found at http://www.zazzle.com/jeffthomann. Like the Cafe Press Shops, I have not put a lot of new stuff out there as I’m in the process of digitizing a lot of various old works before starting working on a lot of newer stuff. However, over time, I’ll be adding more as it’s created.

http://www.fineartpost.com/harmon/

Contacted Mark Harmon a while back along with a lot of other Truman Alumni and stuff. Finally got an email back from him today along with a link to his awesome website… http://www.markharmon.org .

I’ve been a bit out of art but am probably going to get back in to it real soon. Things are starting to settle down in the living arrangements now that we are in the apartment. Now if the floods just stop (waterlogged carpets and floors the last few days have not been fun to deal with — hoping landlord can figure out what the problem is and fix it), things will be getting back to normal… Been watching a lot of movies lately. It’s sort of nice having cable again. We didn’t have it when we lived in Boonville since we were spending so much on commuting daily and also because I was in to fta satellite reception. I did some doodling in lightwave the other day… will probably do a lot more of that sort of stuff, drawing, and photography. Things are starting to get good again. I might be posting more here eventually, but it might take a while since a lot of the paintings I wanted to take photos of and post on here are in storage at my parents house for now. Little 2 bedroom apartment is not enough room to store tons of huge paintings, especially since one of the rooms is mostly a storage room now, filled with boxes from floor to ceiling. Downsizing is hard to do. We did get rid of a lot of stuff, but there’s a lot more that we find it hard to part with since we might use the stuff or need it later. That and memories are hard to part with. I even have one box marked “sentimental crap,” lol. About half of the store room could be named that on some level.

working on folio

Slowly working on portfolio website (see link on right). This weekend I put together a few of the pages over there. So far the Charcoal and Ball Point Pen sections are starting to shape up.

I have not put together the other sections yet completely since those require shooting digital photos of my works. Not being the greatest photographer in the world doesn’t make getting the quality that I like out of the camera the easiest thing in the world. Also, it does not help much that I’m shooting outside when I do the shots, and it’s been fairly windy the last several days. The other day I shot some of my brother’s old artwork from highschool and the tripod fell over with the wind while I was swapping drawings with others in the house. The part of the camera that attaches to the tripod flew off of the camera when it hit the pavement. I luckily got it back together, but have not tried to attach it back to the tripod since then. Note to self – add weights of some sort to tripod the next time I try to use it.

The ball point pen drawings are mostly some of the mall small scans I took. I tried to limit it to about 30 or so images for each section. That way a nice little navigation bar table fits well in most browsers. It’s still a little too wide for the smallest screen settings, but I really don’t think most folks use the smallest screen settings usually. If so, sorry folks… I am trying to get this thing looking good, not optimized for your super low res screens… It’s tricky using the floating navigation bars I’m using because Internet Explorer is tricky. If you don’t put the dtd type up at the top of the html, it doesn’t float the css navbars where they belong, and just sticks them at the top of the page where they scroll with the rest of it.

It’s slowly coming together. I’ve been doing some cleaning around the house this weekend since we’ll likely be moving before too long… found a bunch of ol floppy disks and that reminded me that the last time I tried to put together an online web portfolio like this I was doing it on floppy and zip disks on Campus because it was like the year 2002 and I was using the free modem pool that the University of Missouri had back then… a whopping speed of 28k! No wonder I got frustrated and quit putting together the website last time, lol.

This time, things are coming together a lot smoother, and hopefully this blog will help make things work out a little better. I’ll add more to the website as I get more images put together and organized. I really like this click the image to get a bigger copy of it idea. I also like the floating nav bars with transparent backgrounds that makes it nice, clean, and easy to maneuver around in.

Got any pointers, tips, or ideas on how I can improve portfolio? Shoot away and give me some comments. I like listening to what people have to say. 🙂 😉

Walking the dog in the morning.

In the mornings when I walk our dog, it is a peacefully quite and serene time. The rest of the world is not fully awake. Some lights are always on though, even if the sun is not up yet shining in it’s glory. In many ways I feel as though I am walking through an Edward Hopper painting. It’s a peaceful calm, yet there is still some movement – some signs of life.

There are many small shops in the town we live in, and I walk past the display windows. Some businesses keep their lights on to deter crime. Others are completely dark. It is interesting to peer in to the windows of these closed shops as I stroll by with my four legged companion. I sometimes take a digital camera with me to shoot the display windows and various interesting patterns that the street lights create. There is an an artful beauty to it all, which many will never witness. That is why I take my photos. There is an entire interesting beauty to it which I’d like to show the world. I see myself, both as a painter and photographer, as someone pointing people in ways that will open their eyes to the beauty around them. Observation is a powerful thing – and it can bring you to recognize your place in the world. It can help you understand more of the connections between a variety of things and mankind.

It can help you see the small things that you don’t always notice as you rush past in a fast paced hurry to get to the next thing so that you can sit and wait, sit and wait, sit and wait until it is time to hurry again to the next pointless thing you will do, whether it’s sitting like a couch potato listening to the bobble heads on TV tell you various myths of their false stories which has very little eductational purpose to it other then to fill your head with useless knowledge, going to work daily to do other people’s jobs so that they will pay you money that they obtained in ways that are typically not really honerable underneath it all, or rushing home along paved highways that destroyed the beauty that was once there so you can sit in your house which will not be carried with you in to the next life and watch the 10′ o clock news about the angry protesters fighting a war against a war that should never have been started in the first place but was because no one stood up for the rights of life and compassion at the beginning and just let things rush on and on and on til they got to where we are now as the mindless masses listened to the shouts of the arogant ignorant who were rushing and rushing, never taking the time to stop and think, never taking the time to realize what the powers of creation could do, and instead chose the path of destruction, which has caused entire nations to be destoyed throughout the course of history over and over and over again… Why is it that people like listening to John Lenon songs after a war, but not before it? Something to think about…

I don’t mean to be a pessimist, but it just seems that many times we rush around doing things that ignore our basic essential needs to connect with one another and the world around us. We should make it more of a priority to listen to the birds chirping, watch the river flowing, study the patterns of the tree bark growing, be in awe of the things our ancestors have created that are still visible in the old parts of our cities, see the squirrels running and jumping, watch the grasshoppers, see the ants crawling in the grass that we miss when we walk past this hollowed ground daily, constanly being in a hurry to rush past as fast as possible… constantly hurrying to get to the next place to sit and wait – slaves to our society, obeying the rules that others set up for us, not thinking about how to live our lives the way we want to live them in harmony with nature and our neighbors.

feet drawing…

I’ve been thinking about this a little… every one of us has legs. Legs typically move a lot daily. I’m thinking it’d be possible to create wonderful abstract, or not-so-abstract paintings and drawings using our legs and feet daily… just put up something to draw/paint on on the floor and randomly move the legs as normal throughout the course of a day and see what happens. Most people are not coordinated enough with feet to hold a paint brush, pencil or ink pen, so I need to create some sort of thing on a shoe that will hold the drawing instruments aimed downward. I have used those spike things before to walk in the snow that you strap on to shoes. I’m wondering if something like that would not work. People let animals create abstract art sometimes. Why not let the limbs that just sit there doing nothing all day do it too? Paper would probably not work well, but boards like hardboard or plywood would probably, unless the crinkles caused by the feet are part of the work… actually sometimes crinkles can work to your advantage in things like this, so why not?

worked on cleaing a bit…

Worked on cleaning up the basement a bit over the weekend. It still has a long ways to go, but I did manage to free up some floor room that can become the beginnings of a painting studio again, and also might work out as a dance floor/workout place for using workout videos. I’m thinking it’ll be smarter to do that sort of stuff down in the basement where the floors are concrete…

Walnut oil any good for oil painting?

I posted a couple of delicious links about walnut oil – it’ll be visible at
http://www.mastermesh.wordpress.com within 24 hours or so. I’m thinking about starting to get in to oil painting again, but am looking for a healthier way of doing it then the typcial way since the area that would be the studio does not have a lot of ventilation, actually NO VENTILATION unless I open a door and turn on a box fan. If Walnut oil is safer then oderless turpentine, or other types of oils, I think I might have to look in to using it… I don’t necessarily like shiny paintings, which is why I used to never put damar varnish or any varnish on top of paintings, so that they kept the matte look to them… or mixed the matte look with shiney look via use of oil in certain locations on the picture plane. However, if it’s safer to go shiney with stuff like walnut oil, I might have to try it out. I’m not sure how the heck I’ll scan or photograph the stuff since the glare will be awful in the mirrored surface reflections, but it might work out?!?… Anyone out there tried to oil paint with Walnut Oil yet? I’d love to hear how it worked for you.

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.

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 – Get Rechargable Batteries – And use them!… Also get organized…

If you have a digital camera, mp3 player, voice recorder, or even a cell phone, you probably already realize how important it is to have batteries that work on hand at all times. If you ever get in to creating stock photos or just using a digital camera or video recorder to give you source material to work with in whatever form of art you work with, this becomes even more important.

I can’t tell you how many times when shooting digital stock photos that I was out clicking away with a camera in a park or downtown somewhere and the camera I had on hand quit working because I ran out of battery power. That is a huge annoyance, especially if you like shooting clouds like I do, and you are in a time when the sun is either rising or setting, so each second lost that you did not get a shot of is gone forever because the clouds shift on you constantly and/or the “magic hour” changes dramatically as your big lightsource, the sun, is moving quickly under or over the horizon. “Magic Hour” really is not an hour. Twilight hours of sunset can cause dramatic changes in the light and way that things look on the horizon, and everywhere else outside in literal minutes or seconds.

My advice is that you have a lot of rechargeable batteries on hand and a couple of rechargers for them, and use the rechargers often. Some people say that rechargeable batteries have some sort of memory thing in them and remember how long each recharge took, so it’s bad to put the batteries in to the recharger before the battery is completely worn down. For some batteries, that may be true, but for most regular AA and AAA rechargable batteries, I don’t think that’s really quite the truth. I typically recharge my batteries when the camera shows that they are about down to one quarter power and have never really had a lot of problems. Of course, I am constantly recharging some batteries, so it’s hard for me to tell if that is an issue…

I have two rechargers. One of them holds a lot of batteries and I keep it at home, the other only holds four batteries, but it has a plug in that folds down. I keep that one in my camera bag, and carry it with my camera so that I can plug in at any time, anywhere. The bigger recharger is too large to do that with. However, I keep the bigger recharger full a lot of times and rotate out batteries from there often. I basically try to keep a handful of batteries charged at all times. If some of the the batteries sit unused for a few weeks, I go ahead and recharge the pile anyways so that they are ready when I need them.

Storing a bunch of batteries in a camera bag is a major pain, especially since most of the time, when you buy batteries they come in boxes that are meant to be thrown away after being open. For storage at home, I keep the clear plastic part of the boxes that the batteries came in, and might cut that down to size, and fit it inside of a Altoids box. Those little metal boxes that Altoids come in make fine battery holders since they are just big enough to hold a few AA or AAA batteries and still allow the lid to close. You would think the metal boxes would shock me since I’m putting batteries in them, but so far, I’ve never had any shocks or anything, so I guess the paint or ink they use on the box must not conduct electricity. Even if it does, I’m putting plastic liners from the boxes the batteries came in between the actual battery itself and the metal of the box, so that makes it all work well. To keep the Altoid boxes closed, I simply rubber band them shut.

I used to keep at least one of those Altoid boxes in my camera bag, but lately, I’ve gone to not keeping those in the camera bag since they are a bit of a hassle to mess with out in the field, especially as the rubber bands age, get weaker, and break, leaving the batteries to roam free in the camera bag, where all sorts of potential problems could happen if the acid ever did leak…

Now, in the camera bag, I keep the two batteries in the camera that the camera requires, and keep two batteries in each of the two voice recorders I carry in the bag, for a total of four spare batteries, or two battery swaps between the voice recorders and the camera in case the camera battery charge runs down. I find this ideal since the batteries are stored nicely away in the recorders, and if I do feel the need to use the recorder to record my own voice for notes or just feel like recording something out and about, like a bird chirping, a motorcycle whizzing by me, or whatever, I can just pop out the recorder and it’s ready to go. The reason I have two recorders is that I bought one, thought I lost it, bought a second one, and then a few months later, discovered where I had put the first one… It’s funny how that happens sometimes with little gizmos and gadgets.

If you don’t have a vocie recorder, but have some other tiny gadget that uses the same sort of battery as your camera, you might look in to getting something like that to hold your batteries so that you don’t risk having the batteries just jubmled in the camera bag or case, ready to give some nice acid burns to your camera or whatever else is in there. I’ve only seen a battery leave an acid burn on something one time – it was an old plastic mug that I used to store non-rechargeable batteries in many years ago before I started using rechargeable batteries. The marks it left as the acid dug in to the plastic of the cup were horrible looking. It’d really suck to see something like that happen to a digital camera.

Other things I keep in the camera bag other than the camera, the voice recorders, and the little battery recharger are the top part of a big tripod that actually attaches to the bottom of the camera, and a mini-tripod. I also keep a couple of thumb drives and spare digital camera chips in there to make it easy to store things. The thumb drives are attached via a little stretcy cord that the casino gives out with it’s cards for people to use to remember to not leave their casino cards in the slot machines. I like that because it keeps me from loosing the thumb drives as they are attached to the camera case.

I actually have 3 camera cases. The first one is a little one that holds my little bitty camera itself and came with the camera. It’s very flimsy, but I keep it on there to cover the lens. I put the camera and that little case in to the second case, which is a big bigger and is what I mainly use to carry the camera around my neck when out and about. The third is a Polaroid camera case that I keep the other case in. I use it because it’s big enough to hold the littler case and a few other odds and ends – the tripod top and voice recorders, mentioned above.

I have an entirely seperate bag that I use to keep color pencils and sketch books in the car. At one point in time, I tried to avoid using the Polaroid case, and just put the little camera case in that bag, but that got to be too much of a hassle. Now I just leave the color pencil and sketchbook bag in the back seat of the car, and take the Camera in and out of the car, and with me wherever I go so that it’s handy, and does not get left in the car during hot/cold temperatures that could damage the electronic equipment inside.

At home I have a few toolboxes that I use to keep other things around the house/studio organized. I love the big tool boxes with different slots in them – nice way to organize pastels, pencils, ink pens, etc.

When I was in college, I used to haul a lot of big sketch pads, drawings, and some paintings in a plastic portfolio that I carried around campus to class. That was a major hassle since the classes were in various buildings scattered around campus and my apartment was several blocks away. Carrying big portolios is a tough enough job by itself since they are big and bulky… That only gets worse as you get more and more things in there to carry. You would think paper, being as thin as it is would not be heavy in big bulks, but you would be wrong… especially on humid days when the paper absorbs a lot of moisture just to make itself heavier for you. To make that walking around campus more handy, I ended up taking a duffel bag strap and attaching it to the portfolio handles. That made it much easier to handle the bag and still carry other things like books that I needed to take to class. I have NO idea why porfolio making companies have not made it an industry standard to put shoulder straps on portfolios yet. It’s something that really is needed to help make it easier for all those art students and aspiring artists everywhere be able to carry their stuff. Some Art Directors might like the neat little polished look of the little bitty handles on portolios, but I suspect that they would like the portfolios a lot more if the artists were more comfortable actually walking around with the portfolios so that they could bring them in more often, and have a descent amount of work in the portfolio to show off. I know a lot of artists aching backs and shoulders would be thankful if big art portfolio started getting made with shoulder straps.

Getting organized, and able to transport your art making supplies, is one key to creating great art. A tool such as a camera, voice recorder, pastel, conte crayon, paintbrush, or color pencil is not very useable if it’s buried in the back of a closet in a box underneath of a lot of other things. Each individual artist has to come up with their own organizational strategy that fits their own personalities and needs. If you are not organized yet, you might look at ways that you can start getting that way in the near future. It really can help you be creative when you have tools that are handy that you can grab any time and just start using. Digging around for stuff is a major hassle.

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.

Inspirations – Dennis Blagg

When I was at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, I saw Dennis Blagg’s Passover.

photo of Dennis Blagg's Passover on Flickr

I love this painting, and think that Dennis has a color palette that is similar to the color palette that I try to go after with my own works. The darkened purplish sky in the horizon sitting right next to the yellow wheat in the foreground that breaks up the landscape is an intense visual image that is hard to forget, not that anyone would ever want to forget it. It burns an amazing sensual one-ness with nature in to the viewer’s brain. It is not just a landscape, but a landscape that you feel as if you are a part of. There is a harmonic balance between the hills on the right and the weat on the left. There is a lot of invisible triangular compositional balance going on, but that intense splash of yellow on top of a darkened sky is something that can truly be called beautiful.

I have seen prints of this work before and loved the piece at that time, but it is far more amazing to view in person!

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…

Interesting Reading – Making a light box… and/or using 1000 watt lights…

Here’s an interesting link I found with info on how to create a homemade light box.
http://www.pbase.com/wlhuber/light_box_light_tent

I’m not sure if I’ll do something like that or not. I need to get a setup to shoot some descent quality photos of my paintings to get them in to a digital format to have for my own portfolio as well as here on the blog. I do have a couple of pricey 1000 watt lights I bought from Orchelens a couple of years ago for doing this sort of thing, and never opened them yet… I got them because I read online somewhere that some people were using these sort of things to do sort of a photography studio lighting setup on the cheap by cutting the wires off of the front of those suckers. I think the 1k lights are mainly used by construction workers to light up places that they are building that does not have actual lighting installed in them yet, or maybe for farms for some reason since Orchelens main customers are farm folks…. etc.

I am honestly afraid of those things since I suspect they put off a heck of a lot of heat, and also they have this warning label that I didn’t notice at the time I bought them that says something about they having lead in it so it’s a health hazard!… I also have no idea if 1k lights would work too great for this sort of thing, or what sort of lifespan they have – or if you can even replace the lightbulbs in them?!?… Anyone have any ideas on this stuff? What’s your suggestions on how to get images of paintings in to a digital format via a camera? Normal indoor lighting, even with 100 watt light bulbs usually won’t do the trick.

I’m on a budget so can’t afford the expensive lights that real photo studios usually use… although that would be the best bet, obviously.

I’ve read a lot of places that suggest using real sunlight, but I find that sunlight blows things off the charts in light balance sometimes unless it’s positioned perfectly in balance with where the sun is… Also it’s a major pain in the butt to work outside doing this sort of thing because of wind, bugs that are attracted to bright stuff like drawing paper and brightly colored paintings, and then you also have to worry about clouds and rain… clouds can change your lighting almost instantly outdoors. The bug problem is also a problem if you ever create artwork outside. It’s a major pain to try to paint something outside, walk away from the canvas to get a glass of water or something and come back only to find a bug embedded in your paint.