painting

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork 1

I’ve been working on two different series of artwork from the start using the new-to-me methylcellulose and chromatography papers, but both are very experimental and I’m not sure exactly what the finished products should even look like at this point. That’s why I’ve yet to reveal much in terms of production other than a couple early test images from the chromatography papers.

However, I started feeling anxious about how experimental I’m being - of course it’s good to experiment, but I wanted the comfort of completing a more traditionally “me” type of piece with a clear end point. Plus, I bought those artisanal handmade papers from Ato Menegazzo Papeles, and it would be a shame not to even work on some while here!

So while this isn’t the first artwork I’ve created here, it’s the first I am declaring finished! The painting is of a dwarf water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes. The common names in Spanish for this plant are (as per Wikipedia): jacinto de agua, flor de bora, camalote, aguapey, lechuguín, tarope, tarulla o reyna. I chose this plant in particular because I love how graphic and full of character it is, and the fact that it’s an aquatic plant means that the whole of the plant, including its root system, can be shown in a figure-ground relationship that also celebrates the handmade paper. Water hyacinth is an ornamental plant that is occasionally consumed and used medicinally, but is also highly invasive in warm climates and is often illegal to own or sell. An interesting dichotomy that inspired my current tentative title: Adrift.

More Magazine Publications - Arkana and Fearsome Critters!

Two of my pieces, Stool Pigeon and Street Smart, were selected for publication in Fearsome Critters Volume 2. Fearsome Critters is an arts journal originally founded in association with Northwest Missouri State University but now independently run.

I also don’t think I’ve yet shared that in December my oil pastel on panel Flight was chosen for Arkana’s Issue 5. Arkana is a magazine run out of the University of Central Arkansas. I had three or four publications come out all at once and I just realized that posting about Arkana accidentally fell through the cracks - until now!

New Artwork: Guardian

This toad, who I named Reginald, was one of the guardians of my porch this summer and fall. His presence was so regal and dutiful that I felt he required a portrait. He posed for it with the resigned tolerance and grace befitting of a conscientious public servant.

This is Guardian, acrylic on basswood panel, 16x20x1.5”.

New Artwork: Puffinry

I haven't actually added paint to this piece in a couple months, but I also hadn't decided it was done either.  I'm finally willing to call it and say it's officially finished!

This piece is acrylic on birch panel, 20x10", and is titled Puffinry.

New Artwork: Convergence

Here's a new painting I just finished; I started it during my La Pedrada de Noemi residency, but I didn't get a chance to finish it there so I've been working on it since arriving back home.  It's actually the first painting I began while on residency, so given that you might wonder why it took so long to complete - the answer is that the support is an aluminum panel, and I've never worked on aluminum before.  What I wanted to do on the aluminum kind of clashed with what the aluminum wanted me to do with it, so we had a prolonged battle.  I didn't want to prime or even sand the aluminum, because I feel like the whole point of painting on aluminum is the luminosity of the material.  But not priming it meant that the paint wouldn't evenly stick.  I feel like I eventually came out the victor, though!

The painting is acrylic on aluminum panel, 18x14", and is titled Convergence.  It features a luna moth (Actias luna) atop a barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo).

La Pedrada de Noemi Artwork 5

And another one - I've done a piece on a very similar frog in relief before (The Slightest Disturbance), and now here's a painting from a different angle of a marsh frog, Rana ridibunda and/or Pelophylax ridibundus, from the Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo.  This piece is acrylic on gessobord, 5x7", and is titled Comfort Zone.

La Pedrada de Noemi Artwork 3

This piece is rather quiet, even though it features a loud subject - the Ornate Wrasse, Thalassoma pavo.  I am particularly pleased with the background, which is in keeping with my overall style but also references the refraction patterns of the ocean.  I also think this painting shows that though the Ornate Wrasse is brightly colored, it can blend in surprisingly well.

It is acrylic on pastelbord, 9x12", and I'm still wrestling with the title.

La Pedrada de Noemi Artwork 2

This acrylic on gessobord is quite small - only 5x7" - and purposefully awkward.  To me it's simultaneously uncomfortable and amusing.  The subject is a redlip or horseface blenny, Ophioblennius atlanticus.  I'm titling it Stage Left.  This painting also uses iridescent gold in both the background and the eyes, so it too is more arresting in person than in photo.

La Pedrada de Noemi Artwork 1

Here's the first finished piece of artwork from my residency!  It features two Canary damselfish, Similiparma lurida and/or Abudefduf luridus.  There are a lot of this species in the Zoco Negro where I went snorkeling and had my scuba diving "baptism."  The males are territorial, and this species is occasionally called sergeant major (though the name more commonly applies to a different damselfish species).  I've decided to name this painting Reconnaissance.  It is acrylic on pastelbord, 11x14", and looks even nicer in person because the water and the eyes of the fish have iridescent silver and gold paint on them, respectively, and so they shine intensely depending on viewer angle and interior light levels.

New Artwork!

I just completed a new piece of artwork - the second companion piece to Pilgrim.  I had intended to do at least two from the start, but it took a while to find the studio time to devote to the second piece.

In this one, I wanted to achieve a real sense of depth in my relief without being cartoonish.  My aim was to maintain the possibility of illusionism from some angles - particularly that of the shallower sections.  With Pilgrim, there is a relatively shallow relief over the entirety of the sloth's body.  In this new piece, the sloth's body contains an area that is solely painted with no relief at all and then extremely shallow through rather bold relief.

I'm considering titling this one Outreach.  It's Quick Cure Clay and acrylic on basswood panel, 12x6x1.75", 2018.  Due to the dimensions of the piece, it shows up quite large below; if you click on it though it will open up in an overlay that depending on your monitor and settings will probably be smaller and more of a gestalt.

Below you can see a couple in-progress photos of the relief work before I applied paint.

Intercambiador ACART Residency Journal 12 - New Artwork!

Seriously, I've been really hard at work here creating lots of new artwork!  

I went to see the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid a couple weeks ago, mostly because I remember it being huge from when I visited it ten years ago and with unusual access to some of the animals like the giraffes, bears, and wallabies.  They've tightened up some of their security since, though I still saw patrons feeding peanuts to lemurs and bears despite the signage (I saw that ten years ago too, but also saw a wallaby with an entire bagel and giraffes also being fed peanuts by the crowd!), and it still seemed big but not quite as huge as it did when I was younger.

I typically don't paint zoo animals; I prefer to paint animals that are local and/or native to the places I'm inhabiting, and I also don't think I get very unique perspectives on many zoo inhabitants unless the zoo is one of the few that has surprisingly close access to the animals.  However, this time around despite less access than I remember (though still on the more access side of zoos), a giant anteater had escaped from his enclosure and was having the time of his life in the green space between his enclosure and the public walkways.  There was still a small fence between him and the walkways, but honestly, the fence he escaped from was much more difficult to surmount so while he could've escaped full-stop, I believe he just preferred the green space to that of his desert-themed enclosure.  If I'd wanted to, I could've touched him, but I didn't - both because I'm a good zoo visitor, and also because he was a fighter!  Peahens, unaware of his escape, were pecking around happily when he ran over and began repeatedly charging them.  He did that until they hid behind some bushes and then he happily commenced wandering around the green space, digging and eating in the grass.  I watched him for a while and then went off to other parts of the zoo; I returned a few hours later and he somehow got his girlfriend out as well!  I think the Zoo must know they can escape, but I'm honestly surprised it's allowed since unwise guests could really cause a problem quite easily with the anteaters...

Watching him enjoy himself so much (and having an exceptional amount of access to him), it felt like I actually did get a real glimpse into his character.  I left wanting a souvenir of the experience, and in my mind there's no better souvenir than painting him.

Dominion, acrylic on canvas, 25x39 3/4".

Intercambiador ACART Residency Journal 11 - New Artwork!

I really like how this piece turned out.  A number of people have asked me about the background/paper, and yes, I did paint the background as well including the darker spots - the paper started off white.  But no, I didn't handmake the paper, though it is artesanal!  I bought it at Jeco here in Madrid.

The Ninth Hour, acrylic on paper, 11 3/8 x 15".

Intercambiador ACART Residency Journal 9 - New Artwork!

This painting of two sparrows I'm not completely happy with; I started the piece out with a composition I liked, but then some parts of it got away from me and I had to tear the paper down in size to correct it.  Tearing it down fixed those issues, but now the scale of the sparrows in relation to the overall paper size is out of whack to me.  So it goes sometimes - I think if I float mat it with a very large mat of maybe 2-3" it might turn out alright in the end.  In Their Own Minds, acrylic on textured paper, 18 1/8 x 13 3/4".

Intercambiador ACART Residency Journal 6 - New Artwork!

Here's my second fox kit painting.  I'm titling it Nativity in part due to the suggested mountainscape in the background which mirrors the homeland of this particular fox kit.  This piece is also acrylic on canvas and is approximately 22.5 x 32".

Intercambiador ACART Residency Journal 5 - New Artwork!

Here's my first painting featuring a fox kit I met while in Portugal.  City Solstice, acrylic on canvas, 14 5/8 x 22 5/8".  I'm not 100% certain, but given the very thin margin I left, I think I'll be framing it (ugh, the cost though!).

A Sneak Peek at My In-Progress Sloth Bas Relief

As I've mentioned before, I'm teaching an extra course this semester - Honors Seminar: Interdisciplinary Art.  The course is structured into a few different sections, with the first exploring my own interdisciplinary interests (science and art, particularly involving the fields of ecology, biology, anatomy, botany, and my collaborative work in chemistry with Dr. John Pojman developing 3P QuickCure Clay).  

For this segment, the students must use QCC and make at least one piece of artwork that explores the fields listed above that are interdisciplinary interests of mine.  Since it's such a personal-to-me assignment, I decided I'd join in on the project.  I'd considered doing a sloth for a while - I met and got to directly interact with one named Peregrina in Peru during my 2014 residency there - but I didn't want the piece to be too cutesy so I kept dismissing the subject matter until I felt ready to tackle it with a somewhat more complex take on the animal.   I decided the time is now, mostly due to finding this elongated panel (its dimensions are 6x12") which felt like a perfect match to the gangly nature of the sloth.  

I plan to paint it, so the end piece will look considerably different than this, but here's a sneak peek at the relief work before adding any paint.