Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On the scanner: Mexican chocolate bar wrapper

The first in a possible new series of blog postings where I scan something interesting, artistic or otherwise: my daughter was recently on vacation in Mexico, & among the gifts she returned with was this chocolate bar, which I thought was worth the time to scan. On the right of the image is Spanish/English text which describes the imagery better than I could. Click on the image to zoom in for more legible text.

Mexican chocolate bar wrapper

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fun with Glitches

I was just playing around with a glitch generator on this web site: http://jkirchartz.com/Glitchy3bitdither/GlitchCruiser.html
Basically, glitch art mimics various "errors" that can occur on computer & video screens, for example when interference, scanlines, noise, ghosting etc. appear in digital images. It's an interesting way to corrupt & destroy your artwork (virtually) & can bring out all kinds of random characteristics that might possibly be beautiful in themselves and/or lead to other creative ideas (or not). Here are a few I created...I could have gone much further, but felt that I wanted to retain something of  the original image (Asleep in the Abyss). Enjoy.

Asleep in the Abyss, 2002, brush & ink on paper, 6" x 5.5"

The Veiling of the Bride

Two versions of a new drawing piece—the first was done on a circle of cardboard that came in a frozen pizza packet (waste not, want not), the second, more worked version is on actual drawing paper. The first one is simpler, the second much more complex—I like both for those reasons.

The Veiling of the Bride, 2017, ink on cardboard, 10.75" diameter approx.

The Veiling of the Bride, 2017, ink on paper, 24" x 18".

Sunday, January 15, 2017


I was in Saugerties today (nearby town across the Hudson River from here) in a used bookstore...there is a very nice one there called "Our Bookshop", where I found this large Bruegel book. The book is from 1987, so the printing quality is a little dated, but it seems to be filled with wonderful images. I've always liked Breugel, with his drawings & paintings packed full of interesting, beautiful & grotesque detail, so I'm preparing to feast on this. And it was only $12. Bargain.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Rocks of Oblivion

A fairly densely drawn new piece, pushing the number of brushed-in lines to some kind of extreme. I was wondering if it would be too much, but perhaps not...

The Rocks of Oblivion, 2017, 24" x 18"

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Isle of the Cyclops

Continuing the island theme (see postings below), here is a small tondo of the fictional Isle of the Cyclops...inspired in part by Böcklin's Isle of the Dead, but with my own twist.

The Isle of the Cyclops, 2017, acrylic on plywood, 6.5" diameter approx.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Medusa 2017

Ink drawing from this morning of a Medusa—a recurring theme in my work. Kept it simple, which is usually best. Third drawing of 2017.

Medusa, 2017, brush & ink on paper, 24" x 18"

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Island of Winter (drawing)

It's customary to do a drawing first, and then a painting later. I sometimes, such as now, reverse that process. I did the little painting The Island of Winter a few days ago (below), and tonight I did the much larger drawing of the same name & idea. Maybe at some point I'll do another painting, but larger still. Also, my second drawing of 2017.

The Island of Winter, 2017, brush & ink on paper, 18" x 24".

A World Made of Dreams

My first ink drawing of 2017, featuring the god Morpheus (lord of sleep and dreams). Not a bad start to the year, not a perfect drawing by any means, but a good omen, I think.

A World Made of Dreams, 2017, brush & ink on paper, 24" x 18".

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Island of Winter

Inspired by the Isle of the Dead (below), here is a meditation on winter. Painted on a small piece of plywood from the craft store, the wood grain is very visible, which gives the piece a very strong texture. I've also uploaded a digital version, done in Photoshop.

The Island of Winter, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 5" x 6".

Island of Winter, digital edit

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Small Monochrome Medusa

I was going to use this small (6" x 6") gesso panel from the art store, the last one I had left in this batch, to make something vaguely festive to put up here. That didn't work. Instead, I found myself with this Medusa painting, which came out quite well, I think. One of my rules of painting/making art is that if you keep on going long enough, something worthwhile usually appears. I also did the microwave oven trick to dry the paint quickly, but I don't really recommend that—on a small piece that I don't care too much about it's OK. With a small work like this, it doesn't take that long to paint in the areas available, so rather than waiting 10 minutes or so for the paint to dry naturally, 30 seconds in the microwave cuts the time down a lot. I've heard of art bursting into flames with excessive microwavage, but 30 seconds seems safe (for me) on a piece this size. If you're going to do this (& probably best not to), proceed with caution. Happy Holidays!

Festive Bonus Link: More Medusas

Small Monochrome Medusa, 2016, acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Isle of the Dead

After the Maximilian Pirner-influenced The End of All Things, here is my version of Böcklin's Isle of the Dead. This is a very small painting (5" x 7") done on hardboard last night. To accelerate the process, I gave each coat of paint 30 seconds in the microwave oven to dry it out. I don't necessarily recommend this (I've seen other artists use hair dryers to speed up an artwork when on deadline), but it worked out pretty well in this case, as far as I can tell. If, years from now, the painting disintegrates, that will be sad. But unlikely. I did this from memory, and I omitted the boatman, as you can probably see. It came out quite well, and retains something of the air of mystery of the original(s)—of which there are four still in existence (one other was destroyed in Berlin in WWII).

Return to Böcklin's Isle, 2016, acrylic on board, 5" x 7".

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The End of All Things Redux

Inspired by the Maximilian Pirner painting of the same name, I decided to create my own version (homage) of the piece as part of my series, A Warning (which can be seen in its entirety at the link). My version is much simpler & monochrome, but I think it retains at least a little of the power and energy of the original. I don't often quote other artists this directly, so this is a little bit of an exception for me.

The End Of All Things (homage to Pirner), 2016, acrylic on board, 14" x 11"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Favorite Paintings: The End of All Things by Maximilian Pirner

This is a painting I stumbled across recently by a fairly obscure (to me, at least) Czech artist, Maximilian Pirner (1854-1924). Pirner, like Böcklin (whose Island of the Dead I also greatly admire), seems to be something of a "one-hit wonder". As far as I can see (& maybe I'm wrong), his other work was not as impressive as this piece, with its epic yet intimate scale, dramatic otherworldly (apocalyptic) lighting & sweeping composition. Pirner also uses themes that I myself utilize—apocalypse, mythology, medusa, angels(?), and Death himself makes an appearance. At once dark & illuminated, heavy and weightless, filled with death & filled with life, this is a one-of-a-kind work (I'm tempted to say 'masterpiece', but that might be overdoing it) that should haunt the world for eternity.


Finis - The End of All Things, 1887, oil on canvas, 100 x 130cm

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Blinded By Rags

Another new monochrome acrylic painting, from the new series tentatively entitled "A Warning"...more to come. Watch this space.

Blinded By Rags, 2016, acrylic on board, 14" x 11".