GOING LIVE

I’ll be live painting at the Kendall Yards night market tonight at five!

there’ll be a Livestream going on my Facebook for anyone out of town.

live painting Spokane

 

 

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100<100

for the Kendall Yards first Friday artwalk in February, we’re doing one hundred pieces of art, each priced less than one hundred dollars! prints, originals, mini paintings and full sized works. it’ll be a mix of works by Traci Manley, Anji Marth, and Beth Swilling.

 

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newest paintings; preparing for travel

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All oils. I’m nearly ready to go on my march trip- finishing up the new seminar materials, making prints, and packing up books and equipment. You can find all the info over at the events page.
I updated some things at the portfolio site, and I’ve also been doing some writing.
This landscape series was really enjoyable; I think I’ll be doing more of these when I get back from the tattoo tour.

this past week’s painting, process shots, and sadness

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I’ve been painting every day since I last posted. Here is my current favorite brush and some rags, in front of the cloud section of a painting I’m working on. No matter where you are, there’s always a storm on the way.

The day after xmas my elderly lady dog died. She had been sick, off and on, with laryngeal paralysis all year. She was 16. She died in her sleep after a long day of rough times breathing- We’d had the vet coming in the morning, but she was gone when we woke up. She was one of the best, sweetest dogs I’ve ever known, and I miss her. I’ve gotten a lot of condolences, so thank you guys, it did really help.

I went back to painting the day after that. These are the things I’ve been working on all week. (For solstice, I got an espresso maker, stretcher bars, and some brushes…it was a lovely holiday despite the sad time right after.) I also got a popcorn maker. I have been living on lattes and popcorn now for a week, by the way. It’s just fine.

 

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Here are the initial stage of the piece I’m currently working on. I’ll probably finish this one today. It’s an area near Ona Beach in Oregon, where a creek washes out to the surf, causing a little rift and depression in the sand. I made sketches of this just after sundown. The sky was far too crazy red for my taste in the beginning, but I think it’s better now. I kept messing with the clouds, scraping them off and trying again. I think  that it’s all right now.

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The next thing I want to show you is a painting that was really hard for me to finish. I liked the rocks, the low point of view, with the ocean at my back. Just damp puddles in the sand that had been churned up by people walking around. This was near Heceta Head. There were SO many people there that day, all my sketches say “too many people” in the margins. I also took a photo that day, for reference, because there were birds. Flocks of odd birds and the way they were flying around the people was what I really wanted to paint.  So here you see the beginning sketch in paint, then the landscape alone. Then…
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Then I used my reference to scrape out areas for the birds. As soon as I started painting them I was unhappy. They were difficult. I didn’t like birds any more. But I’d already committed, mentally, to having them there. I cursed the birds, I fought the birds, I finished the birds and they look all right, for little salty bastards that just happened to fly into the painting. You can see the finished image here, or buy prints. The original for this is spoken for.

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When the birds were done I did this small, quick study of a logging road on Rte 34 near Alsea. I had sketched this site from every angle many times, and it’s one of my favorite subjects. Always finding new little things to emphasize or change about it. The mood there was always damp, diffuse, misty. I started then finished this one in a great mood.

The original is for sale, as well as prints which you can find at this link.
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Then, going through my sketch pad, I realized that on my last visit to Phoenix I had done some sketching at roadside. I love roads, highways or side roads, I really enjoy drawing them and painting them. This was in Northern AZ. I stopped to mess with my GPS, pulled off onto a frontage road, and realized that the sky ahead was very ominous. VERY ominous. If you have seen this blog entry you know what happened about an hour after I made the sketches for this painting. I think I decided to stay a bit and draw just to avoid driving into this maelstrom.

I did still of course have to drive through it. I liked the way the road ended in a little hummock though, in this sketch- the road of course continued over that hill on along the way but it looked like the end of the road, like that would just be the end of the trip. I did another recent painting from another sketch I made that day, facing south. That one is here. This one was drawn facing north along the frontage, away from the storm. The light was very weird. It was near sundown but not quite.
On the left you can see it’s mostly turpentine and a little scrubbing with an old brush to start with. Then I went at it with very thick paint to finish. This one has been scanned now, and the varnish is drying. The original is for sale and prints are at this link.
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RIP Hildie, you were a good girl.

taking the day or three off for solstice, getting brushes and stuff ready for being idle

if I’m working every day, all I do is wipe down my brushes with regular turpentine and maybe plain veg oil at the end of the night and forget about it. If you’re using oil brushes every day, they don’t have a chance to dry out.

Since I’m taking a few days off for Solstice, I need to actually clean my brushes!

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there are good and fancy soaps for this. I just use oil-breaker dish detergent. this is a generic brand, but blue dawn works pretty well.

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again, there’s fancy and better suited soaps for this, but I use the cheapest bar soap for ‘oily skin’. I use the dish soap to get most paint and solvent off, then use this to really scrub all the way up to the base where the bristles attach. then I rinse it all out.

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I scrub pretty well. I don’t do this often so I try to get way up into it.

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I really dry the water out, squeeze em in a paper towel. I want them dry now.

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plain,cheap vegetable oil. I dip them into it.

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Then I wipe almost all of it off the brush. I leave them just greasy enough to hold their shape. If you use natural bristles you can use conditioner for this (like you’d use on your hair) but if you’re broke or cheap, this works fine.

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before I paint again I’ll use turp to wipe all that oil out of the brushes so it doesn’t end up in the painting. here’s all my stuff tucked in neatly out of the way.

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little bonus , thumbnails of things I’m planning to work on soon.

some works from the archives.

These are the more popular things I’ve made available as prints over the last few years. They’re not all my own personal favorite pieces, but they’ve gotten the most attention and love from you guys. I think collecting them together here might give me some clues about what you all like so much, maybe.

Also I won’t be posting for a few days as we’ll be celebrating solstice here, but I’ll be back right after, on the 23rd. xox

“Down with the Ship”
This was a piece of tattoo flash I did as part of a series, and people really seem to like the sideways lighthouse in it. I did it at 11×14″ in watercolor, and did the linework with a nib pen and ink. The original sold and the prints have sold a lot too, I don’t often draw ships but I think I did a decent job on this one. You can still get some sizes of prints of this, here.

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“Einstein”

I did a little contest on my facebook asking people to tell me the funniest story about someone falling down. My friend Tiny told a great story, and was the winner. The prize was a portrait of anyone famous they liked, they’d get to keep the original art. He chose Einstein, and man was he fun to draw. Lots of people seem to like this one. I tried to give him nice gentle eyes. Yes, there are still prints of him. I did this one at 8×12″ in colored pencil.

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“Red Highway”

The original of this, I gave to a collector of my work. It was a 10×13″ watercolor. Of all the landscapes I’ve done, people seem to be most interested in this one. Maybe it’s all that hot dawn cloud color. I’m not sure.

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“Dahlia with Dice”

Of all my still life work, this one gets the most attention. Maybe it’s the format, that high vertical? It was originally a 12×16″ watercolor painting. The prints of this one are popular and I’ve made a few handmade runs of it, as well as the open edition prints.

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“River Otter”

A lot of you guys love the animal totem series, and this guy is the crowd favorite. He’s a little more simple than some of the others, so I think a lot of people just really, really like otters. Colored pencil on handmade tinted paper, 8×12″.

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“Weeping Doll”

I’ve done handpainted prints of her. The original sold as soon as it was finished. I’ve redone the entire image twice and both reproductions by hand sold immediately. And the open edition prints…people really like this beat-up old doll. She’s pretty melacholy. It’s originally a 10×13″ watercolor on hotpress.

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Then, there’s “Shy Owl”. The most popular of them all. Due to the buyer of the original schmoozing me out of open edition printing, (I was an idiot and won’t be doing that so cheaply ever, EVER again) there are only cards available of this guy. Every print I did make of it, that limited amount, sold instantly. People email me asking for a print all the time. I’d be at least a few hundred dollars richer if I’d never said I’d only make a few prints of him.
An expensive lesson.

I'll never give up my reproduction rights so cheaply ever ever again.

I’ll never give up my reproduction rights so cheaply ever ever again.

 

Mandala, or mandorla?

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I want to talk a little about why I paint and work with mandorlas rather than mandalas.

A mandala is a circular pattern, sometimes used ritually, which is built on radial symmetry. Each section of a mandala will be the same, drawing the eye into the center.  The eye moves into the middle distance, being drawn past the paper or surface and off into what it perceives as a distant center. This is subconscious and happens because of the radial symmetry. We’re accustomed to seeing lines of perspective radiating from the distant horizon in art, so our eye interprets the center of a mandala as being far away (even if the artist has used every means to make it come forward at us, visually).

I think this is all fine and dandy. But-

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Mathematically speaking, a mandala is based on the circle, a single-edged shape. They are often meant to represent wholeness or unity. A triangle has three edges, a square four, and so on. Each of these shapes, symbolically speaking, have their own meaning- their own particular use. For example, the pentagram has been used as a symbol for humanity. Arms, legs, head- making a five-pointed star. The symbolism of triangles with fertility (mother, father, child) or some kind of trinity of gods, is common. A square is often used to represent a church, an institution, the law. The circle, used as it is to represent oneness (since it is a shape constructed of one line) is well known among many religious traditions.

The mandorla? It’s really only used as a backdrop. As a containing symbol for other objects. I think, though, that it can stand on its own. It’s less often used, less the subject of an image, than a circle or a triangle. Hell, even seven-pointed stars are more common than a two-sided shape. Why is this?

Calendars!

totemsThree new calendars available. Nicely enough, you can pick your own starting month for these!

Totem animals, serial killer portraits, and tattoo flash calendars up now.

On a more personal note, I am getting all four of my wisdom teeth removed later this summer (Thanks Obama! Seriously!) and I will post throughout, about that experience.

I’ll tag those all “medicine” and “personal” in case you want to avoid them. I have serious, long-standing dental phobia as well as never having had the money or coverage to get them removed. So this is a HUGE step for me.

I went in and had my teeth cleaned, and only had a few cavities after twenty or thirty years of no dentistry, so that was pretty amazing.

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Anyone with serious dental issues, you’re not alone. It’s embarrassing as hell but if you find a good dentist they wont judge you. The place I went, they were kind as hell about everything, very gentle, and sweet,

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framing works to bring to Seattle.

CAM00408I’m bringing a few paintings to Seattle with me to hang at Laughing Buddha; these pieces will be for sale there after this weekend. They’re originals. I only sliced my hand once framing and matting them!

I’ll be tattooing there, one more guest spot, from the 7-16 of June, too. I’d love to do some floral work, birds, or op art this trip, so if you are interested in getting some work done by me while I’m there hit me up by email (there’s a link to contact me at the top of the left sidebar on this page!)

 

 

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