Dream Worlds Exhibition at the Canton Museum of Art

From the museum website:

“Dream Worlds: The Art of Imaginative Realism” (on view November 23, 2016 – March 12, 2017) assembles award-winning artists from around the country who play a pivotal role in the art of cinema, television, set design, 3D animation, gaming, and costume design—pushing the boundaries of contemporary realism through the guise of surrealism. Their creations are now a fundamental component of both the fine art world and the commercial art industry. This exhibition is certain to entertain and educate all ages with a journey through the art of imaginative realism, offering fantastic visions within the past, the unexplored future, and even the unseen present—a journey that may inspire viewers to explore their own creativity and storytelling ability through art. “Dream Worlds” is produced with CMA guest-curator and Canton native, Chris Seaman, an award-winning artist-illustrator.

With thanks to the aforementioned Chris Seaman, I am currently participating in this show--my first in an actual civic museum. The broader world of Imaginative Realism is extremely varied still, and this show runs the gamut. Some pieces hold down one end being very whimsical, while myself and a couple others are holding down the more serious end of the fort. 

"Glossai Pyros II" (L) and "Glossai Pyros" (R) Thanks to  Tom Kuebler  for the photo from the opening

"Glossai Pyros II" (L) and "Glossai Pyros" (R)
Thanks to Tom Kuebler for the photo from the opening

Both these paintings hanging at this exhibition, for the first and probably last time, since "Glossai Pyros" was sold to a collector before I painted the second piece, and is on loan for the exhibit.

"Glossai Pyros II" is available for purchase through the Museum. Please contact them for details.

Museum Studies, Pt.13

Awhile ago I was engaged in regular trips to local museums to sketch. I put together a monthly series of posts

regarding that for a year, then moved on. I hadn't really considered returning to it, but did recently on a whim. I mentioned that I had the good fortune of catching up with my friend, the talented Daren Bader (whose name you see get top billing in the opening credits of Red Dead Redemption) while in CA recently. Well, within a few weeks it was Daren's turn to visit. We had other mutual plans (it wasn't specifically a visit to see lil' ol' me, after all), but we did spend a couple of days together, during which we hit the museums.

At Daren's suggestion, we packed up drawing supplies and headed off to the American Museum of Natural History, where I'd done most of my sketching. We didn't have terribly long, and most of our time was spent wandering the top floor, where all the old bones, fossils and other large and impressive things are kept. It was surprisingly roomy that day--a steady stream of people, but not so busy that we couldn't stop to draw. So we did. We only had time for one drawing (well, Daren did 2 quicker ones), but here was mine:

Brontops Robustus 8.25x5.5" Ink and charcoal on paper

Brontops Robustus 8.25x5.5" Ink and charcoal on paper

This proto-rhinocerous sported this very cool forked horn, seemingly more for digging than ramming...although I still would not want to meet the business-end of this rhino's charge. It was modeled off the skeleton mounted directly below it. I found a place I could lean against a wall and be out of the way of passers-by and got to work.

One of the things I've most enjoyed about the series has been the freedom I've had to play with materials, which I otherwise rarely do. Towards the end of the series I was mixing my brush pen with charcoal in various ways. With this specimen, there was a nice play of light and shadow, but there were lots of nice, soft details in the shadow areas. So I began with a very graphic delineation of shapes using just the brush pen, knocking everything in shadow to pure black. Then, using a gray charcoal/pastel pencil, I drew in some of those soft details in the shadow area, smudging and redrawing until the harshness of the black shapes became smoother. The rest was simply gray and white accenting to establish the rest. It was a pretty effective technique, one I'll gladly use again.

Want to see past entries in this series? Cool, you can do that by clicking here.

Museum Studies, Pt.11

Moai Statue, 6x9" Conte on paper

Moai Statue, 6x9" Conte on paper

Tucked way at the back of the American Museum of Natural History, easily missed on a floor that doesn't get as much traffic as others, through some quiet "filler" spaces with birds of NY state, you end up in a hall which ends at...Dum-Dum. He of "Night at the Museum" fame. As a result, this hall--which I wandered into one time, lost--has become quite a popular destination, with kids running the full length of the room to see him, and with people constantly posing for photographs with the massive moai statue.

The day I went to draw him, too late in the year for many class field trips and right before school let out for summer, was comparably tame. Still, the number of people who posed, standing and sticking their arms up to put their finger/hand in his nostril (because he's that tall), was humorous. And most of these were solidly in the adult demographic.

I must say, that it took reminding by my wife to remember that this statue was even featured in that film (I only watched the first one, and that was before coming to NYC). That's how quickly details from movies flee my small brain. Movies are largely like pleasant breezes that pass over me. Little retained.

As a kid raised in the NES-era, however, this was my context for being excited about Dum-Dum:

Next up, while wandering the same room, which features displays from the island peoples scattered throughout east Asia, I came across this incredible mask:

Sepik Region Mask, 6x9" Ink, conte on paper

Sepik Region Mask, 6x9" Ink, conte on paper

I said last time that every culture seems to have found expression for its "fantasy artists." This was no less true in the region of Papua New Guinea. This particular mask I found to be incredibly contemporary from a concept art perspective. It has this heavy black/white contrast, the face markings evoke asian stylings without being typically anything, and those long, terrible barbs appeal to modern pokey sensibilities. I wish I'd designed it, but confess that it never would have occurred to me. Still, I instantly appreciated it and set to drawing it.

I lightly laid it out in pencil, then, since much of it was graphic black shapes, used a new brush pen to draw all the solid black areas, including the barbs and the face markings. Then I went in with white conte pencil and laid in the mask. Since the markings were in ink, I was then able to smudge the white right over the pen lines to lighten them without smudging them. This was an accident, by the way, it hadn't occurred to me that I could do that, but I'll remember from now on! Then I went in with black conte to establish the mid-tones, then lastly reinforced the forward/overlapping barbs with the brush pen and some final highlights. Fun.