explorations in limited palettes and fan mail

 Well, hello!

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

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





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














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






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


winterkins

Finally some oil paintings! Being separated from my oils is rough, I tells you. 

These two are painted on 4inX4in wood panels, which were coated in gloss medium so the grain of the wood is still visible. 

These are my Winterkins, created initially back when the weather was colder, and they're sort of like the embodiments of winter. I was inspired by the recent fashion trend that involves a lot of cultish, quasi-spiritual and occult elements, and the results have been sleeker, starker fashion choices for my figures. As well as a lot of triangles. It's a combination of ancient and medieval symbolism and designs, 1970s-style fantasy illustration, and the more naturalistic elements from my older work. The result is a lot of natural, complex details combined with larger areas of flat, geometric space, and is something I find really aesthetically pleasing. 

They're also portraits. The figures are the same as those in The Universe, and are basically me, in black, and Beastie, in white, along with the things I've come to associate with each of us: trees and crows for me, bones and rabbits for him. 

As for the process, painting on wood is fun. It's nice and smooth. The only downside is that because it's so smooth, it's easy to wipe the paint back off during the painting process if it gets built up too thickly. So these were made using a lot of thin layers and glazes. The other things about very smooth surfaces is that dust and debris show up really easily, so you have to be diligent about keeping them clean. 

I'd like to do another pair for summer (the Summerkins), but I still have to work out their details. They will remain with the same color schemes, though some of the elements may change. 

triangles, occultism and water media


I've been listening to a lot of witch house, can you tell?

Here's some of the watercolor stuff I've been doing. I've lately been very into triangles, as I may have mentioned before. They started showing up on the throats of my figures, and I like how it looks, so we'll be seeing more of it. I've also been into occult symbols and the like. I've worked with them minorly before, but I really like what they add to an image--something like esoteric writing--and so I'll be using more of those, too. 

From the top:

Priestess is the earliest piece here. She's pretty simple, done in watercolor, India ink and gouache. Her design was based on a combination of occultism and '70s-ish graphic/fantasy illustration, which used a lot of solid areas of color for a look that's simple and linear so it's at once streamlined and modern while still evoking traditional fantasy. So that's what she is

The Universe is a double portrait, and done in a more detailed, traditional style. This was made using the usual mix of water media as well as some acrylic paints, which were watered down to the point of behaving like watercolors. I also used some interference paints, which add some nice iridescent detailsI had a lot of fun making this one. The sky was made my wetting the paper and basically letting the paint go wherever (not too much, though. I'm too much of a control freak for total abandon) and then forming cloud/nebula shapes by shading and highlighting the resulting forms. The costuming was probably the most fun. I used to draw costumes all the time--when I was a kid I would have reams of paper with these bizarre fashion innovations on them--and then somewhere in college I started painting nudes because SERIOUS ART or something. But there's so much you can do with clothing. From a conceptual standpoint, it adds to the characterization of figures. From a technical standpoint, it's a great way to practice a lot of textures. Here, I got to play with sheer fabric and fur, as well as metallic surfaces for the accents. Oh, and that's a dodecahedron on his brooch thing there. Hooray for Platonic solids!

Finally we have, um, this guy. Drawing a scantily clad man with a come-hither expression and a big fucking gun just sort of made sense one day, so here he is. This has more acrylic in it than The Universe, specifically the fluorescent colors that like to cause retinal damage but are fun anyway. I don't know where this came from, to be honest. I just wanted to do something uncomfortable on several levels. A friend came over and said that this picture "creeped him out." I said that if it creeped him out, then I did my job right.