Friday, July 3, 2015

landscapes and summer studio time

So, this past week I've spent some quality time in the basement studio, breaking in a new easel I got last Christmas, and painting some landscapes on canvas. I promised myself that I would spend at least four days a week in the studio and work on acrylic paintings for an upcoming show at a local vineyard. The vineyard tasting room is pretty spacious on the inside, so I feel some pressure to get a lot of work produced in a very short period of time, as the exhibit will be taking place this September. It's a good pressure, however, and I was greatly inspired by watching the David Hockney documentary, "A Bigger Picture". I love his approach to landscape painting, quickly and confidently applying color almost intuitively to the canvas, sometimes producing a big beautiful piece within the course of a few hours, outdoors, on site. Ironically, I've worked indoors so far, using photos I've taken locally over the past decade or so. Still, it's a good place to start, and I'm enjoying mixing acrylics again, and experimenting some with color. I also promised not to get too caught up in the details or going for exact visual replicas, which I couldn't, or wouldn't want to do anyhow. Now it's time to take a break for a few days, refresh my brain and enjoy the Fourth of July Weekend with friends and family.

Monday, June 29, 2015

new work for magic bullet 11

I'm excited to have finished and finally submitted my latest comic art page for the upcoming summer 2015 issue of Magic Bullet. I included a sneak peek of my work in progress, while spending a rainy Sunday afternoon at the local Kinkos. It was fun getting more experimental with this one, while retaining a panel and story-based piece, though the term "story" can be loosely applied. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

ready for wlast2015!

Just finished setting up for the 2015 Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour at The Round Hill Arts Center (stop 20). Even made a few sales during set up today! The tour officially starts tomorrow, Saturday, June 20, and runs through Sunday June 21, from 10am - 5pm. I’ll be selling Splotch Monster art, along with many more excellent artists at the RHAC. Hope to see folks there this weekend! #WLAST2015 #WesternLoudounArtistsStudoTour #art #watercolor #drawing #SplotchMonsters #SplotchMonsterIsland #RoundHillArtsCenter

Thursday, June 18, 2015

audio/visual delight: the kurdles, by robert goodin

Today I decided to begin a new series at this blog, featuring books, records, CDs, audio cassettes, and artwork that I have collected throughout the years, primarily with a focus on the visual aspect of the work. Why not share my love for aesthetically pleasing audio and visual artifacts, both new, and not so new, with the rest of the world? For my first feature, as part of what I'll simply call the "audio/visual delight" series, I chose a very recent book release by Robert Goodin (American Dad fame) called The Kurdles.

While browsing through my local comic book store the other day, I honestly found myself kind of bored with the usual glossy super hero fare lining the shelves, then something caught my eye and drew me in like a moth to a flame. What was this curious-looking, large hardbound book The Kurdles all about? I was immediately drawn to the book's lovable cast of oddball misfits, as well as the general plot, but the drawings, and those rich, gorgeous colors, all done by hand with watercolor. How incredibly refreshing.

There is something that feels very classic about The Kurdles, even though it's a brand new title, and there's a sense of innocence, reminiscent of films like E.T. and Goonies, that is all but missing from most comic books today. The adventures of the book's courageous main character, Sally Bear, and her new friends, which include a macho, no-nonsense unicorn named Hank, an intelligent but fearful scarecrow named Phineas, and a friendly, color-changing creature with terrible allergies, simply known as Pentapus, tell a story that both kids and adults can relate to, and those with a liking for lush, hand-drawn comic illustration, and wonderfully imaginative characters will thoroughly enjoy a trip to a magical place called Kurdleton. I personally enjoyed my visit so much, I ended up buying two books for myself.

You can purchase your copy of The Kurdles through Fantagraphics HERE. You can also follow Robert Goodin's blog HERE, where you'll find updates on The Kurdles-related artwork, and more. "Like" the Kurdles on Facebook as well! If you're in the Echo Park part of LA, be sure to drop by Stories Books and Cafe on Saturday, June 27th for a Kurdles book signing with Robert, as well as a look at some original Kurdles art work on display at the store!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

summer plans

The photo above shows a "monster mash doodle" I worked on, on and off last Saturday, while tabling next to my wife Kris' booth at the first ever Another Damn Craft Show event at Art Enables, in DC. We both had an excellent time selling our artwork and meeting lots of fun and friendly people. We also ended up spending some of that money we made, on the work offered by other local vendors. If they decide to hold a second one next year, I know we'll both sign up again!

Looking ahead, I'll be selling original Splotch Monster works, along with prints and such at the Round Hill Arts Center, this coming Saturday and Sunday, for the 10th annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. I couldn't be more pleased with my location and space - a big, air-conditioned room that I'll be sharing with one of my favorite local artists, Penny Hauffe. There's also a great winery right next to us. This Friday will be my first day off from the school year, and thankfully I'll have a chance to get my display space at the RHAC set up, that day. 

I'm greatly looking forward to my free time this summer, as I always do, and I'll be making a concerted effort to work on my art,working in my newly set-up basement studio space at least four times a week. I'll even have a "sign-in" sheet, to log my hours, getting up early each morning, and finishing by late in the afternoon. It might seem tedious to do such a thing, treating art-making as if it's a job, but that's exactly the plan, and rather than seeing it as some kind of forced obligation, I'm treating this with great anticipation. While I'll still be working on the Splotch Monster-related art from time to time, I'll also be shifting gears, focusing on painting on canvasses, working on some subject matter that has always been close to my heart. Stay tuned, and hope to see you on the tour this weekend!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

studio ghibli film fest at angelika film center, fairfax, va!

Thanks to a tip from Matt Dembicki at the ComicsDC blog, I recently learned of the upcoming Studio Ghibli film fest at the Angelika Film Center & Cafe at Mosaic, in Fairfax, Virginia. I just purchased advance tickets for multiple showings this summer, as I'm a big fan of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. My one small complaint - no showings of Nausicaa, the first and perhaps one of the best of the SG films. In the meantime, don't hesitate to see these modern day animated classics on the big screen, as they are visually awe-inspiring works of art! Find the complete listings HERE.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

kris loya art love

Above is a photo I took recently of a detail of one of my wife Kris' many gorgeous watercolor paintings. Her work never ceases to amaze me, both literal and abstract at the same time, drawn from reality and pure imagination - it makes me happy beyond words. You can view more of her work at her new blog as well. So go on and check it out!

Monday, May 18, 2015

delaware beach scene

Kris and I hit up a couple of beaches in Delaware for our sixth wedding anniversary, over the weekend, including Rehoboth and Bethany Beach. Without much explanation, I chose a handful of photos I took while there, originally uploaded via Instagram, to post here. We love this little part of the world, and it makes us happy to know it's only a short, three-hour drive away from our home in VA. Enjoy. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

two for june!

 June will be a jam-packed month for Splotch Monster Island. First off, at Art Enables, in Washington, DC, I'll be selling Splotch Monster art prints, books and more at the first annual Another Damn Craft Show event. It will take place on Saturday, June 13, from 11am to 4pm. Art Enables is a wonderful space in the DC region, and I've exhibited in a handful of shows at their Off-Rhode Studio in recent years, so this will be a lot of fun, and the vendor line up looks pretty awesome.

The following weekend, on Saturday, June 20, and Sunday June 21, from 10am until 5pm (both days) I'll have original Splotch Monster art and more available for sale at The Round Hill Arts Center, in Round Hill, Virginia. This will be part of the tenth annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour, which is an incredible showcase of local talent throughout the LOCO, VA region. 

Both events were juried and I'm beyond delighted to be a part of them. Please mark your calendars and hopefully I'll see you in June!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

my "peaceful survivor" is a winner!

I found out today that the piece I entered into the World Animal Protection art contest won the 18 and over category, chosen by Harry Potter actress, Evanna Lynch! How cool is that? World Animal Protection is one of my all time favorite charity organizations, and I've been donating to them for a few years now. My wife Kris loves the Harry Potter films, so she's pretty thrilled about the news as well. This isn't the first time my "Peaceful Survivor" piece has been mistaken for a sea turtle however, but it makes total sense, judging by the background color and the angle of the turtle's foot, making it look somewhat like a fin. I made the drawing based off of a photo I took at a local animal park, of a giant tortoise. He seemed to be well taken care of, but I felt kind of bad for the big guy, who was visited by little kids who would go and pet, and basically bother the big fella, at certain times of the day. I got the feeling that he would have much rather have been left alone, to graze peacefully with his own kind, far far away. Anyhow, as a result of the win, I'll be getting a new book about animals by J.K. Rowling, signed by Evanna. You can learn more about the contest below!