23 August 2009

The Soundtrack of My Life This Far

Heroes, David Bowie. 11"x14". Pens and Watercolor on Paper. 1998.

Zorba The Greek: Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass
I’m Only Sleeping: The Beetles

Green, Green Grass Of Home: Tom Jones

Hey Jude: The Beatles

Oh Darling: The Beatles
Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet: Henry Mancini and His Orchestra

The Prettiest Star: David Bowie
Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head: B.J. Thomas

Knock Three Times: Tony Orlando and Dawn

I Can See Clearly Now: Johnny Nash (Listed twice on purpose)

Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Jim Croce
I Can See Clearly Now: Johnny Nash


Love Will Keep Us Together: Captain and Tennille

Sir Duke: Stevie Wonder
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart: Elton John and Kiki Dee

Solsbury Hill: Peter Gabriel (hot year)

Love is In the Air: Paul Young
David Gilmor: David Gilmor*
Heart of Glass: Blondie
Sweet Talking Woman: ELO
Groove Train: Heatwave

African Night Flight: David Bowie
Crazy Love: Poco
(Train in Vain) Stand by Me: The Clash

Shining Star: The Manhattans

Up the Hill Backwards: David Bowie
Watching the Wheels: John Lennon
Radio Free Europe: R.E.M.

Photograph: Def Leppard
Blue Eyes: Elton John

Every Day I Write The Book: Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Reel Around the Fountain: The Smiths
Take On Me: a-ha

Raspberry Beret: Prince
Careless Whisper: WHAM!

The Boy With the Thorn in His Side: The Smiths
Kiss: Prince

Girlfriend in Coma: The Smiths

Everyday is Like Sunday: Morriessy

Fight The Power: Public Enemy
Pretty Hate Machine: Nine Inch Nails*

Freedom ‘90: George Michael

Whose Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses: U2
Diamonds and Pearls: Prince
Under The Bridge: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Philip Glass and Foday Muso Susa: The Screens*
Creep: Radiohead

Daughter: Pearl Jam

Hallelujah: Jeff Buckley

Kronos Quartet performs Philip Glass*
Outside: David Bowie*
Wonderwall: Oasis

Ready or Not: Fugees

Bittersweet Symphony: The Verve

Do Wop: Lauren Hill

69 Love Songs: The Magnetic Fields*
My Name Is: Eminem

The Real Slim Shady: Eminem
Yellow: Cold Play

California: Rufus Wainwright
Crystal: New Order

Without Me: Eminem

Go or Go Ahead: Rufus Wainwright
Hey Ya!: Outcast

"i": The Magnetic Fields
“The Art Teacher”: Rufus Wainwright
Mr. Brightside: The Killers


Crazy: Gnarls Barkley

Killing the Blues: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Snow (Hey Oh): Red Hot Chili Peppers

Halo: Bloc Party
Lovers Day: TV on the Radio

2009 ?

The list was made after Twittist jminni twitted,

"Listening to old depeche mode and wondering what your favorite 80s band, song or video is... (via @terrybean) the one @charliecurve sings?" 7:01 AM May 30th from Tweetie.

The wondering got me on to a day of picking a song for every year since my birth. It was a rainy day, and by the end of it, I was exhausted, but it was completely worth it.

I complied the list by looking at http://www.acclaimedmusic.net/ and various other online sources that included hits from the U.K. Also, I sometimes chose the whole album noted with a *.

Some years I just couldn't decide on one, so I picked three or four. Other years like '74 and '05, were so mediocre I couldn't even choose one.

And then there is 1977, the Golden Year. But I love Solsbery Hill so much that I couldn't match it with any other song. And the equally Golden Other Year, 1978, where I keep finding songs to list.

The links included are for the most part, an original clip of the artist singing. Clips like Johnny Nash are so incredibly precious, he is so fantastic.

Some songs I chose purely for my personal historic reference. For example, Reel Around The Fountain, was chosen because it was the first time I heard the Smiths and I was in my first apartment. Pure love.

My main criteria was: does it make me sing, dance, cry or smile. The nostagia of many of the songs has worn off, now that I have re-played them again over and over. The sublist of this list is:

Most Likely to Make Me Sing
Oh Darling: The Beatles
California: Rufus Wainwright

Get My Groove On
Groove Line: Heatwave
Kiss: Prince

Unable to Hear this One With Dry Eyes
Killing the Blues: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Don't Go Breaking My Heart: Elton John and Kiki Dee
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown: Jim Croce

21 August 2009

When Old Ideas Won't Rest, Various Sketches, (1998) 2009.

My career as a comic book artist, was well, never really a career. It started with the love of drawing and writing and when I first began making pictures to go with stories, I honestly had no idea what I was doing and this drawing is proof.

It is the first image of a storyboard, on poster board, with felt tips and sharpies and maybe crayons. The big spot on the back legs of the character at the bar is a water stain.

Little did I know, while having the opportunity to work on this some-how-never-abandoned project this summer, I sketched this same scene. Only later did I realize exactly which scene it was and where it had taken place in the original story.

The original story was first a play (finished), a novel (only a few chapters), six pages of my first attempt at comic book pages which were sent to Vertigo who did not reply on the reply card I sent with stamps (I am over it, really). On to a screenplay, only about 30 pages. Then back to the comic book idea, which I picked up again last semester and finished three pages, which I don't really like. My patient mentor calms me assuring that it is my life's work.

It feels like my life's work.

One of the places that the character's hang out, is a restaurant called "Surgeons". It is set in the future, when the medical industry has become a thing of the past. All of the equipment formally used by the medical industry is a plenty and somewhat still useful and the restaurant uses much of this old equipment as a theme. Beakers for drinks, bed pans for potted Aloe Vera plants and other medicinal herbs. Waitress' wear vintage nursing outfits, chefs in scrubs and so on.

This is the watercolor and pencil sketch of this character sitting at the Elixir Bar at Surgeons.

Using the technique of making transfers that I learned from Andrea Granchi during the Florence in Fresno course this summer, I created this decorative image meant to adorn the Elixir Bar. I wanted it to look like a fresco, however, I couldn't quite get the look that I wanted on the acrylic painting so I painted over it but will attempt the same affect at a later session.

The botanical were sketches made from photos on a Google Image search. I thought the plants would look good in the interior of Surgeons. All selections have medicinal properties, the poppy for calming the nerves, Indian mint for headaches and lady ferns for treating stinging nettles.
More sketches to fill up space. I laboured over the ideas of this scene to the point that I became driven to make it look less simple and more complex without fixed perspective. The end product became more like a piece of cover art and less like a panel from a story board.
I had a conversation with one of my instructors about the work when it was at around this stage:
She commented that it "was not a place that she wanted to be" that perhaps, "something bad was about to happen". Which, is well, somewhat true, however, I really took her comment to heart and thought long about my color palette. I hadn't put much thought into the palette or the mood of the piece. I was totally wrapped up in the composition and the content. So, I mixed a bunch of pastels to nice it up.
When the soft colors became too sweet, I did what I had to do. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the quad (it was at least 104 degrees, pure insane art frenzy) sanding down the picture. It was a real thrill to take this rather violent stroke on this small 11" x 14" canvas that I had lovingly spent serious time with over the passing two weeks.
Although uncertain as I was in the days after, the work is now on my wall.

13 August 2009

Abstract Painting, Acrylic on Canvas, 34 1/4" x 45 1/4", 2009.

I have been making drawings every night, or trying to anyway. Mostly, they get done while on the phone, or before bed if I have watched something totally unpleasant on TV. So out of about 30, this is the only one that I like. Someone commented that it looks like two birds.

But it doesn't look like anything to me, that is why I decided to use it as a preliminary drawing for abstract painting. It does have these images of leaves that I am obsessed with in drawings. I often think they look like I am drawing a part of the female body, and I then I get self-conscious about the drawing and I try to make it look like leaves, which is what I think I am doing. I mostly think it’s just a drawing of the olive branch. However, the sketch, is more like a leaf on the top of a blade of grass, which I have never seen in nature, that’s why I chose it for an abstract painting assignment.

I spent about 3 class sessions, that’s over 9 hours, experimenting with different materials as suggested by the T. Stanley. I tried crackle paste, absorbent ground, and a texture medium. I only really liked the absorbent ground. The crackle paste is pretty awesome, but I didn’t really like painting on top of it. The rest of the time I spent figuring out what color palette I wanted to use. I decided on copper, light moss green, periwinkle, brown, and purple. I even messed with the colors on colourlovers.com:

And I messed with some pattern designs also,

I assembled my canvas one day while having a conversation. I know better than to talk while I am working, as I am unable to talk and work, but I was in a talkative mood. Unfortunately, I wasted all of two hours because I put the canvas together wrong and had to spend a Saturday taking it apart and putting it back together.

During my first actual session with the absorbent ground covered canvas, I constructed what looked nothing like my sketch. I also added in an additional doodle taken from my class notes. I thought they might go together. But I didn’t want to think about it too much because, it seems anti-abstract to think about what I am doing.

I initially used a grease pencil and when I added water to the sketch, the pencil acted sort of like water color and created really dark, and deep lines that I immediately loved. However, none of those initial lines are still present.

Then, I started adding colors. I like to use synthetic bristle brushes and cheap Chinese bristle brushes that are either flat or round with lots of water.

I have started collecting glass jars from home to put my paint in, as I don’t like to waste any paint. And I don’t really like plastic, and I realize this is a big contradiction because acrylic is really plastic…but I prefer glass jars because they are air tight. Although, at times I can get careless about cleanup and then a jar will be unable to open, due to drips and such. I used to paint right out of the tub, but got the idea to use jars when I started mixing with gloss medium.

Absorbent ground really allows the paint to grab onto the canvas. It acts like nothing I know to compare it to.

After using all the colors in my carefully chosen palette, I decided to try others, like orange. I am not really fond of orange in paintings but I like the way that it breaks up space. I mostly ended up painting over the orange though, so it was really a waste of time. Sometimes I just add in random colors, and then cancel them out later. This can go on and on for hours. This is why I am not really fond of abstract painting. It’s like getting caught in my own algorithm.

The lab tech Fern took Teresa’s place in class on Thursday and suggested I take a 50 foot look at the work. We took it outside and scaled the stairs and looked at it. She was right, it gave me a whole new view and I was able to see that it needed a lot of black. I was avoiding using black. No real reason other than, black is a great value, it’s the best for almost everything. Black can become an addiction.

Source material
  • Bird field guide
  • Colourlovers.com
  • Dear Science, TV on the Radio.