Avatar of Hope

“Avatar of Hope” 6x8” oils Sold

“Avatar of Hope”
6x8” oils

Certain years seem particularly bountiful for children in one’s life. Some years, no one you really know well is having kids, the next you get 2-3 and a handful of pregnancies besides. This year is one of bounty around me.

I’ve always thought, and this is by no means an original feeling, that having a child is about the single most hopeful thing someone can do. It is trusting in the future—not the far future, just the future some decades beyond your own life. The moment the child enters the world, you are concerned with its safety and well-being, and just placing it in the world is a bet that this world will be safe for them in the future. Thus, those who have children during particularly hard times are in essence believing that those hard times won’t be forever. I think that is wonderful, especially if the having of the child begins to move the parent towards improving that world in the ways they are able, to help make their optimism real.

So here’s to the parents in my life, particularly the new parents. Make the world good.

In progress.

In progress.

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

Recent Small Works

While this blog was laying fallow, I continued producing a number of small works, which were featured over at Every Day Original. Let's catch you up, shall we?

"Taraxa" 6" x 8" oil on canvas Original sold

"Taraxa" 6" x 8" oil on canvas
Original sold

"Taraxa" is the last of a series of four small paintings, each with a seasonal motif, and I can't decide if it is my favorite, or "Arctis".

While working on it, I took a few in-progress shots which I posted over at Instagram. You can check them out here by clicking this link and then working backwards.

While I still do post up other things over at EDO like last month's still life painting, increasingly I'm zeroing in on smaller black-and-white pieces, as they seem to have had the best response there.

In that sense, EDO functions a bit as an idea lab. Much earlier in the year I posted a figure study which I mentioned was for a larger painting, but as yet that painting hasn't been started. Some of the other pieces I've done I also envisioned as being potentially preparatory for larger paintings, and as I look for holes in the schedule to do more uncommissioned studio works, I will continue to simply put ideas down.

"Drown" 4" x 6" oil on canvas Sold

"Drown" 4" x 6" oil on canvas

The thing is, as I spend more time simply putting down concepts, two things will happen: I will generate more personal concepts, and I will create a larger gap between the number I put down and the number that become fully-realized paintings. In fact, I know a number of these concepts will not ever be paintings, because the amount of time I spend doing these personal works only allows a couple of slots per year currently, on a larger scale.

There is almost a sense in which by putting down these concepts, I am ensuring they don't get painted, but that's not the correct way to look at it. Since I do so few of these as full-realized works per year, they don't get painted anyway. But, before, the ideas would never even see the light of day in any form; they would just stay in my head or disappear even from there. Now, at least, I'm getting these visions out into the world in some form, and maybe I'll double back and further develop a couple along the way.

"Glossai Pyros II study" 3.5" x 5" acrylic and graphite on paper  Available at Every Day Original

"Glossai Pyros II study" 3.5" x 5" acrylic and graphite on paper
Available at Every Day Original

For this month's offering, available today, we have a different approach. This study for "Glossai Pyros II" was actually done earlier this year, while concepting what would become the larger painting. In this case, I just Googled some sleeping babies and used one to make this small study.

Convinced by the overall concept, I then went out and created the full painting. Of note of course is that the pose is totally different. There are a few reasons for this.

First, I wasn't going to straight-up use someone else's photo for a full painting, even if I'd have changed the lighting and context entirely. Second, I didn't want to fake the lighting, as it was key to selling the vision. And third, once you commit to using your own reference of an infant, you have to understand that the odds that that infant will assume or hold any particular pose are about none. I worked with the infant I used for awhile as she was quite tolerant, and I also greatly enjoyed that she was holding onto the string-light LED I used to create the lighting. There are aspects of this pose that I do prefer but as it was not a possibility, I am content to have created this alternate vision and put it out into the world, and that it spurred me on to create the larger painting at all.