Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Fisherman

I've been re-watching interviews with Jeff Koons and John Baldessari over the last few days to reexamine comments each of them made which I've found inspirational. Jeff Koons states, an artists focus should simply be to follow their interests. By that I understand him to mean, don't try to please others above yourself and don't be fearful of not getting approval when your done. Having that permission to do basically, whatever you like is at once comforting and ultimately liberating. I'm sure there are those born without the need for external validation but for the rest of us, that little vote of confidence, given at some remove I must admit, can be the spur that's needed.

John Baldessari was raised in a religious home which he felt gave him a great sense of moral obligation and from that point of view, couldn't see much practical value in art. At one point he wanted to be a social worker. During his teaching career he realised that his art and his teaching were fundamentally the same thing, a way for communicating ideas. At that point perhaps he reconciled himself with his desire to make art and felt validated in pursuing his own interests.

I've been wondering about my fish paintings and you know...whats's the point? But I've let myself go where my interests take me and pursued ideas without prejudging their merit. It started with those squid which I've wanted to use in my art for a while. Reports over the last few years speak of an explosion of Humboldt Squid off the west coast of Mexico and California, devouring anything in their path including prize table fish and the odd Mexican fisherman. Which leads to stories of the global depletion of fish stocks. I heard a recent report declaring that there won't be enough fish left to eat by 2060. I'm not really much of  a conservationist but I am interested in the stupid shit that people can't seem to help but do.

Jeff Koons also expressed a belief that an artist should use all the tools available to them, so I got some practice in with Inkscape to make these little vector graphics of "The Happy Fisherman", soon to swap his tuna catch for a hold full of calamari!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Portrait of a Fish 3

This is my third painting of a fishes head to go with the last one and the first one  and again it seems to be the background that's critical. This one started orange which looked wrong, despite the protests of my colour wheel. So I changed it to a mid yellow tint. Still too strong, I washed it out further to off white.

And when I catch it just off the centre of my vision, that eye just bulges right out at me which is really cool.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Portrait - Billie Bird

A couple of months ago I visited my wife's Grandmother so I could make a sketch of her. I figured it would be good practice as I've not done a great deal of life drawing. We had a good afternoon and I was happy with my drawing.
But when I tried to make a painting from the sketch it went all wrong. The more I worked on it, the less of a likeness it became.
So I painted it all out. The background was black so it needed several coats of muddy grey and white to make it go away. Yesterday in painting class I had another go, this time working fairly quickly with a muted palette. From any distance, the painting looks almost white but up close it's yellow and pink and violet and ocher. Considering it's history I'm disinclined to touch it any further.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DJ Tone Broker plays Chamonix

I decided to repaint the portrait of DJ Tone Broker on a decent substrate. This one is acrylic paint on board, 60cm X 60cm. It looked like he needed to be somewhere cold so I painted some random alpine peak behind him. Warm nights in the ski lodge, crackling fire, snifter of brandy and some smooth tunes on the turntables. Cool.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Drawing in 2point5D

I've been experimenting this week with drawing and painting  on clear acetate. It's really like cell animation which I have no experience of at all so I'm probably reinventing the wheel a bit here except the idea is by using these little wooden frames I made, I'm introducing an element of physical depth.

I painted the squid with oil paint, which of never used before. Four days later and it's still not dry. A little net research and it turns out recent 'old style' animators used acrylics anyway so the tyres are painted with reeves acrylics and that worked just fine.

The acetate is clear film for overhead projectors. Turns out is has some kind of goo painted on the back of it. Not sure why, must be something to do with laser printers. Anyway, it's water soluble which I only found out when I tried to fix my tyres. What a mess.

Still some issues to resolve with this process but there's something about it that I like.