Hearts for Hardware: On the Go

 "Mobile Gaming Lv.1" 9x12" oil and acrylic on panel sold

"Mobile Gaming Lv.1"
9x12" oil and acrylic on panel

For many, it is probably hard to imagine not being able to play video games on the go, but for some of us older gamers, there were many years of waiting for this innovation.

Sure, there were attempts before, including early LCD-based machines where you could swap out games, like the Microvision. But between too-primitive technology (Game & Watch) and onerous game changing (Microvision), it took awhile longer before we could fulfill our childhood dreams of gaming anytime, anywhere.

And so I included "Lv.1" in the title of this painting, because really it was here that what we now call mobile gaming got going. 

The original Game Boy was of course behind the times at release too, evidenced by the fact that the backlit, color, 16-bit Atari Lynx released only a few months later.  But power consumption (and Tetris) probably won that battle, especially as Nintendo was coming at the end of a very successful home console start, whereas Atari was already an also-ran by 1989, after nearly a decade of domination.

 "Mobile Gaming is Evolving!" 9x12" oil and acrylic on panel sold

"Mobile Gaming is Evolving!"
9x12" oil and acrylic on panel

Before too long, the hardware began to evolve, first in greater portability then by finally adding color. During this time, handheld gaming became a major business, and the meteoric rise of the Pokémon franchise provided the first major franchise launched on a handheld device.

With my paintings of these, I sought to call back to Tetris, which powered the initial rise of the hardware. I don't like showing game graphics on handheld screens in this series, and prefer not showing game labels, but the Tetris shapes provided a great compositional element.

By the end of the Game Boy Color era, Pokémon had become a major force, and the cartridges themselves began to change, introducing colors and then clear varieties, which I included here to show the evolution of the entire product line.

Though I didn't paint the interim Pocket hardware at this time, you can easily see where it might fit in this series given the way the images have incorporated on these evolutions.

The titles of these two paintings also call back to Pokémon, evoking the constant finding of primitive creatures and over time watching them develop into more powerful forms. I can't always find these kinds of hardware-to-experience hooks, but when I can they are some of my favorite aspects of this series: using the paintings to evoke these other aspects of gaming that are tied to the hardware.

See more from this series at Hearts for Hardware.

The Same, But Different

While my work has shown changes over the past few years, notably in a spreading out of subject matter, it is also true that I tinker a lot behind the scenes. Most of these experiments are not game-changing ones, and most are not even really intentional. But sometimes, at the start of a piece I'll just decide to do something different for no reason in particular.

 "Pine Cone" 6x8" oil on panel

"Pine Cone"
6x8" oil on panel

The last time I did a couple of still life paintings, I did them in a limited palette, as discussed in the videos that resulted. I don't always work in limited palettes, but have done so more often in the past year or two.

When I painted this still life at the very end of 2016, for no particular reason I decided to choose a limited palette: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Perylene Red, and Ultramarine Blue. I hadn't used that Red much, and wanted to experiment a bit more with it.

Happy with the result, when a few days later I did another small painting, and my first of 2017, I took my palette out of the freezer (where I store it between sessions) and, noting that I had quite a bit of paint left, decided to just continue using it, albeit with a very different overall color cast.

 "Concha" 6x8" oil on panel sold

6x8" oil on panel

So this second piece uses the exact colors as the prior one. It's been fun to do this from time to time. I don't know if it'll stick long-term or just remain a way of working on occasion. What I do know is that following this piece, I then worked on a larger 18x24" landscape piece for my Times and Seasons series, and what do you know: I just kept on working with that palette, although in that case I did add Cadmium Yellow Pale because Medium did not have the punch needed for some of what I was doing there. I look forward to sharing that with you soonish.

From there, I took a few days away from the easel to do an event and start working on taxes and stuff, so that paint won't be usable anymore next time I sit to paint. So it's off to a different thing.

Cards Signed By Mail and Artist Proofs

Update February 2018: New instructions

Artist Proofs:

I am not presently offering a shopping cart-style method of buying whiteback cards, but I do have a list which will live here. I'll update it at this link, so if you download a fresh copy, it's always the latest.

Inventory and instructions in the PDF here!

Card Signings:

In-person signing fee: $1/card. The best way to know what events I'll be at is to get on my once-per-month mailing list. You can do that here.

By mail, in USA: $2/card, no minimum
International: $2/card, no minimum + $10 for return shipping

If you write on each sleeve what color you'd like the card signed in, I'm happy to oblige (I have every Sharpie now). I'll reuse your packaging and send your cards back to you. Just click this link, increase the Quantity and Pay (and add $10 for shipping if International). I'll send you the address to ship to when I receive payment. Include your receipt in the package and send them off and I'll return them promptly in your packaging on my dime. Please do your fellow players a favor and don't post the address online--if people start sending me cards without following these directions, their cards will go into the Bin of Earbuds and AAA batteries. Maybe the trash, eventually.

Get your cards signed!

I also work with a couple of go-betweens for artists who have signing services. Neither Jack Stanton nor Mark Aronowitz are my agent, but if you use either of their signing services I've worked with them both, so you can go that route if you prefer.

Futile Thoughts

 "Futile Thoughts" 8" x 10" graphite and acrylic on illustration board

"Futile Thoughts"
8" x 10" graphite and acrylic on illustration board

I recently have switched to an every other month schedule over at Every Day Original. I have appreciated the push to produce some new smaller works, but doing so on a monthly basis among my other work has sometimes been a bit much, but I think this new schedule is about perfect for now.

I've done a few types of things on that platform, but I seem to be zeroing in on black and white works--with a price ceiling of $500, it's been hard to create paintings that I can sell below that. As well, while some of these monochrome pieces can stand on their own, they also can serve as studies for paintings if I feel like dipping further into any of the concepts.

There is also the threat that having expressed a concept once, it loses some of the internal urgency that forced it out of me in the first place, so that when it is time to produce a painting, these images are less likely to get painted. But I have become convinced that it is better to get these images out there at all versus waiting for the 1-2 times per year that I might produce a full studio figurative work, the rest drowning in the depths of my subconscious as so many other unrealized images have done.

So here is a piece that might not have existed otherwise. I'd love to paint it, but if not, I'm happy with it as it--that it--exists now