• Chasing Ghosts Again

    I got back on the trail with a study this morning, I decided to make a timelapse to go with it. You can see a small bit of the process and layering that goes into the larger paintings I'm working on.

  • Illuminations

    If you've been paying attention to my dark trail studies and snippets (via instagram or fb) , you're probably wondering where my brightly colored Illuminations fit in.

    While the trail we travel can be ominous and filled with ghosts at times, there are bright spots along the way too. Sometimes, we're so enamored with the darkness, that we forget to look for them. They seem to appear in times when we need them the most. When we think our minds and bodies can carry us no further, they become a beacon to muster the strength to continue forward. A radiance that remind us, that even in our darkest hour, there's always a glimmer of hope awaiting our attention. Steeling us to remain on our path, by reigniting the fire of adventure burning in all of us.

    I will continue to paint and post these illuminations as I complete my dark trail series. These paintings are available in my store, if you're interested in planting one in your home.

  • Constructed Chaos 15

    Constructed Chaos 15

    I stepped up to the easel last night with the intent of creating another complex 3D piece in this series. What happened, was completely the opposite. Once I started working, the need for layers and simplicity took over. Since experimentation is one of the main aspects of the Constructed Chaos series, I let the work take me where it wanted.

    Although this one looks simple, there's actually a lot going on with layers of paint, paper, and charcoal. I drew/painted/glued paper to create the head a few times, painted over those variations, laid down more paper in areas, then sanded through paint and paper to achieve the look I wanted. While the other pieces in this series were about adding onto the subject, this one was about layering and digging in deeper. Uncovering things along the way that I didn't expect, and adjusting my course upon these discoveries.

    I debated about numbering this one as apart of the Constructed Chaos series, but I feel as if it's necessary. Even though this one looks a bit different than the previous pieces, it most definitely carries the spirit of this series forward. Without experimenting, this series wouldn't exist, this is just another one of those building blocks. Trial and error have been the key to my artistic journeys and I chalk this one up as another lesson in learning. 

    What do you think of this flat turn of events? Don't worry, I will be getting back to more 3D elements with the next one. 

  • Constructed Chaos Vs. Finely Forced

    Last night was spent experimenting with a couple of studies of the same subject. Although I was experimenting, I wanted to keep the spirit of the style I've been doing. Sculpting more in bronze casting class has inspired me to take my style further. I wanted to keep the expressiveness of my recent studies, but with a 3D spin. 

    Since I started painting, I've always seemed to favor paper, wood panels, cardstock, and chipboard over canvas. It's not that I don't like canvas, but these surfaces are a lot more accessible, not to mention a lot cheaper. Plus, I feel my layered style works better on flat surfaces, rather than the textured surface of a canvas. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to include these surfaces into my work more. This first study was a test of that idea. Not to mention, it takes my loose abstract style even further into abstractness. 

    At first glance, you may be asking yourself "Umm what am I looking at?", but I ask you to take a step back and reexamine this piece. It's exactly what I had to do when I finished it. At first, I was puzzled at what had been created. I had gotten so lost in the process of creation, that I didn't even remember some of the cardstock I had torn and placed, then gone over with paints. I had "Constructed Chaos" out of the subject. Even though this was loosely based on someone, the actions, layers, and feelings contained are mine. 

    Like an earlier experiment, "The Act of Creation" had taken over. During the process of creation, I let go and my subconscious took over. Creating the portrait from the deep well of abstraction without the worry of correctness. Where a nose can be represented as a bent piece of paper without question. Letting the mind create form from its raw elements. This study not only took me by surprise, it actually shocked and disgusted me at first. Yet, I didn't understand why exactly, so I set it aside to move onto the next study. 

    After my journey into complete abstraction, the need for structure struck me. I grabbed my old familiar friend, Apoxie Sculpt, and set to work. I wanted this study to encompass my loose painting style, but again, in a 3D manner. 

    I started off sculpting the nose, which expanded into the brow line and "eyes". From there, I added some extra epoxy to the cheeks and chin. Not too much though, I only wanted a slight rise from the flat surface. Giving the illusion that the paint had come to life and was rising from itself. Right from the start, this study had a lot more collected thought and execution. 

    Even though this study was going as planned, something felt off about it. It wasn't until I really started the painting process that I knew what it was, the study was "Finely Forced". Unlike my recent studies, this one had a defined nose, and brow. This took away from the spontaneity of the painting. No longer could the nose just be a beautiful stroke of multi-colored paint, instead, it was a nose with fragmented paint on it. The expressive life had become stifled with the concrete idea of the face. Whereas the first study was done completely in the spirit of abstractness and spontaneity, this one felt lifeless. As if I knew what had to be done and left my feelings out of it.

    Both of these studies taught me a lot though. They've shown me that I strive in the world of chaotic creation and when I start to overthink a piece before I start, I lose all sense of myself in my creation. This isn't what I want from my work, I would rather create a piece that people don't understand, rather than creating something calculated that doesn't speak to me. I will continue my studies, but I would expect to see more in the style of the first study than the second. 

    Until next time, keep creating my friends! 

    "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."

    -Pablo Picasso 

  • A Study Of Presence

    Before delving too far into my thoughts on the "Presence" studies I've been doing, I wanted to share this photograph from India K that I came across while writing this post. 

    Seven simple words that define who we are and how we got here. Yet, the search and evolution doesn't stop there. Some of us spend our whole lives wondering who we really are and what we should be doing. What started as just another portrait, morphed into something much bigger. 

    I began questioning myself about, what the faces I had been drawing/painting really meant to me. It used to be the expression that drew me to the subject, but as I kept moving forward, I discovered it was the 'presence' of the subject and the emotion they emit, that draws me in. This feeling goes beyond the surface, deeper than the displayed emotion.  

    I also started to question what 'presence' meant to me, and what it means in society as a whole. We as a people, seem to be growing away from one another. Rather than getting to know each other on a deeper level, we've become but a 'presence' in one another's lives. We're all guilty of it to a degree, there's always someone, somewhere, that we associate with their presence and what it brings to our lives. Whether it would be happiness or sadness, we tend to steer clear or pull certain people into our lives based on the mask they wear. Although, we never usually delve into what's really going on behind that mask.  

    This led me to my second study of 'presence'

    Inside all of us, is a bit of chaos, some of us are a bit more chaotic than others, but we're all trying to figure life out. We're told what we should be, by the media, celebrities, and each other. Constantly shrouding the chaos within, with a face or emotion that is pleasing to the masses. Those who can't carry a happy facade and speak what's really going on inside of them, tend to get pushed to the side or avoided by those who would rather pretend as if nothing is wrong. 

    With this series of studies, I'm stripping away the obvious emotions we wear and showing the true chaos within all of us. Even the most stoic face, can be hiding a whirlwind of emotions just below the surface. We often take for granted the happy faces people put on day to day, until something finally happens, that shows a crack in the surface as to what's really boiling underneath. That's when a lot of people tend to look away, until that familiar face returns. 

    For my third study in this series, I knew it was time to break out my paints. Charcoal and pastels can only express so much, but I needed my paints to help carry my emotions and thoughts into my work. 

    It was with this study, that I really started to explore and understand what these colors and marks meant to the emotions I was transmitting. It wasn't only the subject's emotional look that I was trying to capture, I was trying to capture what it stirred inside of me. The connection between the experiences that I have had, made the subject's expression so piercing. This also brought to mind, that I don't spend enough time doing this with some of the people in my life. I work in a world of email and most people are just @ symbols in my life. It isn't until an @ symbol has an emergency or something along those lines, that they become a real person. I know this may sound bad, but if you really question yourself, you'll see I'm not alone. 

    Our world revolves around the next great post, picture, meme, viral video, media propaganda piece, but never about ourselves and how we're feeling. Feelings these days are just a distraction, something to be remedied and ignored with a pill. This creates a society of facades protecting their true selves. It's time to break those molds and show what's really going on inside. 

    With each one of these studies, I'm pushing myself to feel what my subject does. What do these feeling look like? How do they make me feel? How many people feel that I am just a presence in their lives? What does hate, fear, confusion, etc.. look and feel like? All of these questions and emotions are are a thing of beauty, to be displayed and discussed with those around you. 

    I apologize if all of these thoughts don't fully connect right now. I'm still discovering what each of these pieces really mean to me as a whole. A lot of this was written off the top of my head, trying to decipher what I'm truly feeling about this series. What I can say is, that I've done a lot of portraits so far, and these pieces ring the truest with what I've been trying to convey. So if nothing else, take the time to really look them over and see what you find for yourself. That's the beauty of abstract, I can't tell you exactly what to see, you'll need to experience it for yourself.  

    Stay tuned, I'll continue to write about this series as it grows. 

  • Colorful Inspiration

    Colorful Inspiration

    Today's post is all about inspiration, more importantly, COLOR! These super talented artists are bringing the intensity across different mediums, but they all feed my need for oversaturation.

    The picture above is one of Nick Cave's many Soundsuits, I haven't seen these in person, but I hope to one day soon. An amalgamation of found objects and fabric, bringing color to life. 

    Next up, we have Aaron Curry's sculptures and paintings. Aaron moves from 2D to 3D with ease and sometimes leaves us guessing where one starts and the other begins. 

    Lastly we'll wrap up with Xu Zhen's amazingly textured paintings. His use of color and texture, blow me away. Such clean mixtures and execution. 

    That'll do it for this post, but I'll try to make this a regular thing. I highly suggest checking out the links to these artists for more eye candy. If you have any artists that you think I'd like, please leave them in comments. 

  • Artrocities


    (All of these "Artrocities" (I would like to thank my fiance for that name) were done on 8.5"x11" pieces of chipboard.)

    Recently, I read an interview with abstract extraordinaire Pia Fries and she discussed her method of working in multiples, and how it allows her to explore a certain look or feeling further. Putting aside my 'one at a time' method, I taped up three pieces of chipboard, mixed my paints, and set to work. 

    I wanted to tap into that uninhibited 'freeness' of creation once again, and working on a trio of paintings at once elevated that exploration. I was no longer hindered about the usual 'what ifs' posed to me during single piece creation. If I liked the way my brush moved with a certain color, I was free to jump to the next piece of chipboard and continue that feeling. Learning what two colors did in a small area on one piece, could then be exploited into a larger area on the next. What was a straight green line on one, was a green zig-zagged blob on the next. Before I knew it, I was layering colors on top of one another, that I wouldn't have dared to try before. This process continued until all the paint in the tray was gone. 

    I did these studies over a couple of days with varying palettes of color. Some colors were left-over paint from another painting and some were colors I don't use often and wanted to mix and try. As I've discussed in previous posts, I'm really trying to push the color use in my work. All the while, I want to capture the spontaneity and energy of creation. Working in a trio method like this, really helped me reach further into that realm of painting. Empowering me to let go of my second guesses, and allowing me to act out with what feels right instead. 

    Again, like other pieces I have shown here in my blog, these may appear to be wrecks of art, but in actuality, I learned a lot from these studies. Each piece, upon further inspection, has something special to share, you just have to give it the time to explore what it's trying to show. I was going to write an excerpt for each one, to tell you what I see, but I figured there's no fun in that. So take a deep breath, relax your eyes, and explore what these pieces have to share. 

    After studying these Artrocities and working with a rainy day color palette on Saturday, I put the colors and methods to use on this 19"x40" WIP. As you can see, these studies have played a big part in this new creation. While I'm still using the methods I was using before, I've started to integrate the color and line usage I explored in the studies. I'll be getting back to work on this one tonight, so I'll have finished pics of it soon. 

  • The Act Of Creation

    The Act Of Creation

    I dubbed this experiment "Blue Deconstructed" after I finished with it. I had some leftover blue paint (from a larger painting, that I'll have pics of soon), a panel I wanted to paint over, some card stock, inks, and a new idea I wanted to try. I had a general direction, but I really wanted to see where my hands and mind would take me without over-thinking the process. Hence the title of this post, I was interested in the act of creation, rather than the end result.

    I started off slathering light blue paint over the old painting with a palette knife, then I added card stock over that to give me a base layer to build from and to cut into. After these first initial movements, I began to lose track of the process. I was tearing, brushing, swiping, splattering, dripping, adding globs of raw color into cracks and crevices, then covering that up with the next layer of card stock. I grabbed my X-Acto and started cutting into the layers I had been painting and covering. This started to give me results, not the kind I was initially planning on, but the kind that felt fantastic at the time.

    This was the mind and hands working together, to create what they wanted without my interference. They knew exactly where they wanted to place the next ripped square of card stock, and which parts could use another splash of color. As I peeled back layers, it produced waves of Rorschach tests. Each piece that I added, felt like it's own small painting in itself.

    When I was finally out of paint, the elation of creation started to fade and my ego/editor began to kick in. It's first thought was "What is this?!?" to which my 'in the moment mind' responded "This is creation!"

  • Art And Artists Of Juried Show

    Art And Artists Of Juried Show

    I'm happy to announce that my diptych "It's No Easier On The Other Side" was accepted into the first Arts And Artists Of juried show being held at Tacocat. The opening reception is Sunday, April 6th from 6pm to 9pm. I definitely plan on being in attendance, so mark your calendar and join us for this great show.

  • Overcoming Chromophobia

    Overcoming Chromophobia

    Main Entry:    chromophobia
    Part of Speech:    n
    Definition:    a fear of colors; also called chromatophobiapsychrophobia
    Etymology:    chromo- 'color'

    "What the hell is that?" Might be your first thought when looking at the painting above, but let me explain what I see. 

    Although I'm not in love with this piece (I wasn't even going to post a picture of it) like I have been with others, it did teach me a lot. What's presented here is, an inner struggle being played out in color. This 3'x4' piece and I battled the past couple of evenings. It started with a green background that didn't match what was in my head, then progressed into the colorful madness it stands at now. I fed it all the paints in the tray to see if I could convince the beast to cooperate, but it still triumphed. It ended in chaos, because it was created in chaos. 

    Each new abstract piece I've done recently, has slowly taken me out of my comfort zone. Even though I strived to incorporate more color into my portraits, they still felt safe in the end. The large portraits I did with acrylic and charcoal were intended to pull in more color and expressive marks, but the color was still lacking from what I wanted it to be. I orginally was intrigued to start painting because of color exploration, but once I got comfortable using a certain palette, everything else felt off and wrong. That spark that started me down the path had dimmed, and I wanted it back.

    I decided to abandon form and let the paints fly as they may. Letting them collide with full force into once another and hoping for the best. I know this can end disastrously, but my return to abstract works showed that this idea could work. Then the green monster showed it's face. 

    The day after I painted this panel green, Andrew Salgado (amazingly talented artst) posted a paper by David Batchelor titled Chromophobia: Ancient and Modern, and a Few Notable Exceptions. It explores the fear of color use throughout art history. I won't go into all the details here, I'll let you read it yourself, but it brought to light how I've been feeling recently.

    I didn't like the green because it wasn't 'me' I thought, but in actuality, I was scared of this new bright color I had never created. Once I got past that, I was ready for round two and I mixed up more non-me colors to go with it. That's when I really lost control, I had no idea how to control these newfound hues, tones, tints, and shades. Yet, with all this going on, I wanted to push forward, I wanted to try and control the beast I had awoken. I swung with all my might with my brushes and knives, but in the end, I still couldn't get what I was seeking.

    When I was finally out of paint, I stepped back and looked at what I had created. A mess to most, but a new and amazing color spectrum I had never created before, to me. Even if I didn't love the end results, I found comfort in the fact that I embraced this unfamiliar path.

    I've learned a lot in the year or so that I've been painting, but this week's discovery really brought me back to why I started. I wanted to explore the color spectrum and how it evokes the emotions that it does. Not to always mute it and bend it to the will of the line, but to let it go wild or be as calm as it wants.

    Even if you create something that you would consider trash, take a step back and take away the small things you learned from it. It'll make those paintings you deem worthy a lot more special.