Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Few More Quick Ones

Watercolor and ink in my watercolor Moleskine sketchbook

Mixed Feelings

Sometimes as an artist I create stuff I'm not so sure about.  Each composition is a journey, and at the end of the trip I may not know why I started in the first place.  That's why I usually try to make the trips short, and create the artwork as fast as I can.  In this way I keep my motivation fresh.  But sometimes a composition takes more than one stint to finish.  And at the end, I wonder what I was thinking when I thought it up.  But there is no turning back, I must finish it.

Above is exactly one of those images.  I was experimenting with texture, but I might have gone over board.  In any case, I call it the Duelist.

Watercolor and ink on 300lb WC paper.


Life in the Jungle

These images were made with ink (uni-ball waterproof pen, and pental pocket brush) and water color.  What I usually do is I make an initial sketch in pencil, hatch in some lines with my trusty uni-ball ink pen.  Then I throw on some water color.  It is really important that you use a ink pen that has waterproof ink.  Otherwise when you put on the watercolor the ink will bleed and the whole thing will become a mess.  After the watercolor, I might add another layer of ink because the watercolor suppresses the richness of the ink a little.  Now you try!!!


Last Saturday Nicole and me had a chance to go see the mummy exhibit at the LA Science Center.  The show was called Mummies of the World and I recommend you go see it if you like dead shivered up things that are really old.  But seriously, it was extremely interesting.  If you know me you know that I am really into archeology, especially Egyptology.  And at one point I considered becoming an archaeologist.  So, I really enjoyed seeing these mummies up close and personal.
Yet, I have some complaints (usually I do).  First, I thought the information provided about the mummies was a little light.  Alot of people were walking around the exhibit saying: "But why did they do it?"  Referring to the Egyptian mummification process.  The show made the mummification process come off looking like a great mystery, yet in reality the Ancient Egyptians had very good religious reasons for turning people into jerky.  Which they recorded in detail.  It had everything to do with providing a place for the Ka to reside.  The Ka is an individual's spiritual double, and as long as it has a place to live, (in a statue, body, or even a wall fresco) that person could live on for eternity.  That's why the pharaohs went crazy building statues of themselves, and had their bodies mummified after they died so there would be plenty of places for their Ka to hang out.  Now, unfortunately I have forgotten more then I can remember from my archeology classes, and the whole thing is a little more complicated then that.  However, it would have been nice if the exhibit at the LA science touched on some of the aspects of the Ka belief system.  The whole thing sorta came off like a freak show to me.  However, it was really cool freak show.  So at the end of the day: Who cares?

Above are some sketches I did of the mummies.  Since the show was about Mummies of the world, they had mummies from ancient cultures of almost every continent, including some Peruvian mummies found on mountaintops.  Drawing these corpses was a little creepy and I was nervous about unleashing bad mojo.  Especially the mummy heads (back in the day tourists could buy mummy parts, or even ground up mummy which was considered a "heal all").  The heads had a lot of expression, and seemed to be screaming from their bandages.  Very spooky.

Another thing that started to happen was I started to realize these dried up jerky things were actually human, and were walking around living their lives once.  Just like me.  I think most people saw them as movie props or something.  But if you stare at them long enough the idea gets driven home. 

As you can imagine the show was pretty busy, and the crowd was pretty thick around the coolest mummies.  That's when my sketchbook saved the day!  No cameras were allowed so recording what I saw was only possible through drawing.  Yet, there was a great side effect!  People would stay out of my way while I was drawing.  Walking around, or even ducking underneath my view, as if I was trying to take a photograph.  It was wonderful!  I could stand there all day in front of a mummy and the mentality of the people around me was: Don't block his view he's drawing.  So now I am going to bring a sketchbook to every important exhibit and ensure myself a good view.   


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bear With Me

Sorry about the low quality photo (you can even see my thumb on the left).  But I wanted to keep the full-res image off the Internet.
Enjoy a peaceful scene of bears in the wilderness.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cleopatra in Spaaaaace Tribute

I whipped up some fan art for Cleopatra in Spaaaace, a web comic by Mike Maihack.  Check out his comic at http://www.cowshell.com/cleopatra/

I hope he likes it.

Ink and watercolor on 300lb WC paper.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yankee Doodle Dandy

These are a collection of doodles I have made in the last three days.  Most of them were made while I was watching movies on Netflix instant play.  Netflix instant is probably the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me.  I love watching movies, but there are so many to choose from I cannot stop myself from trying to watch them all.  I keep a stack of paper next to me and doodle away, usually with some documentary in the background.  Most of the time these doodles never amount to much, but every once in a while when I feel like I have had a stroke of genius I take a simple doodle and turn it into a finished piece.  However, most doodles end up in a special drawer I keep just for that purpose.  Every six months or so I open the drawer and look through what I have done.  Then I dump the drawer into a box.  The box goes into the closet and I start fresh with a new stack of paper, and an empty drawer.  I think it is important to mention that these drawings are separate from my sketchbook drawings that I so often talk about in this blog.  I use my sketchbook when I am outside of the house.   

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July from Big Bear

Happy 4th of July from Big Bear Lake California!  It's been nice spending time in the mountains and getting away from some of the stresses of everyday life.  Made a little sketch with ink and a watercolor set I picked up at the local pharmacy.

God Bless America

Friday, July 2, 2010

John Baldessari Exhibit

I had a chance to go see the John Baldessari exhibit at LACMA with my girlfriend Nicole yesterday.  John Baldessari is a conceptual artist who got his start in the late sixties.  You can read more about him here if you're interested.

Yet, this blog entry isn't about John Baldessari, it's about people in art museums.  Drawing people in art museums is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One being people in museums are easier to draw because they are moving slowly while looking at art.  Also, they are usually better dressed than people in the street.  And thirdly, it's easier to draw people in an art museum because it is completely appropriate for me to stare and doodle away in my sketchbook.  It's an art museum, and people expect that kind of thing going in.  Whereas if I am in a tacobell sketching away, people start to figure me for a stalker and get very uncomfortable with the idea of being drawn while they stuff a bean burrito in their mouth. 

Sketching people in a museum does have drawbacks.  One is the security guards.  They hate artists who meander around doodling.  I think this is because they are often the subjects of the doodles.  This is because they hold very still and you know they aren't going to walk out of the gallery while you are looking down.  So the guards combat the artists by marching around very quickly, or by walking by very closely and glaring. 
The second kind of person that is a problem for sketch artists is what I like to call the "Look-at-mees."  Usually these are "cute chicks" who know exactly what the sketch artist (me) is up to (perhaps they once had a boyfriend who was an artist?), and instead of avoiding the dude with pencil and paper they will circle them like a shark.  Even following from one gallery to the next in front of the artist with the single goal in mind of being captured on paper.  After which their next goal is to get behind the artist to make sure they made it onto the page, and then they quickly walk away in disapproval thinking to themselves: "That guy is a creepy bastard and he didn't even make me look hot, what a jerk"  In the second image below, second from the left is one of those such girls.  I also believe "Look-at-mees" get extra aggressive if they know the artist is with his girlfriend.  Unfortunately, I always end up falling into the "Look-at-mees'" trap, but trust me, BEWARE of the "Look-at-mes" they can make an artist's life miserable.   And finally, the last problem with drawing people in museums is that you usually end up drawing the backs of people because everybody spends the whole time up against walls staring at pictures.  

The artist life is hard.

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