Saturday, August 13, 2016

summer's end

Last week I was in Leesburg, Virginia for a little while, and decided to hit up some old stomping grounds. I always get a case of mixed feelings around this time of year, as I'll miss the free time, but not the heat - something I didn't seem to mind so much as a kid. In fact, we had a long, extended wet and rainy spell earlier in the spring this year, with temps in the mid-to-upper sixties. Everyone around me seemed to be complaining about it in one way or another, but I was loving it. Autumn is right up there with springtime for me, so I'm definitely looking forward to that crisp, cooler weather, where it's actually enjoyable to spend time out of doors. As a teacher, I always thought Autumn break would be a much better idea anyhow, with beautiful weather and festivals galore. It makes total sense. Still, I decided not to complain about the heat and embrace the season for what it is, and even take a walk and make the most of it. Last year was full of complaints, after getting a nearly month-long bout of nasty, unrelenting poison ivy. So far, Ive been spared, and have been extra-cautious. In the meantime, enjoy some of the pics I took, mostly along Harrison Street. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

process post over at splotch monster island

I've always enjoyed seeing posts where artists show some behind-the-scenes process, to give viewers some insight into their work. As I've done in the past, in previous blog posts, I emphasize the word, work, because as enjoyable as it might be, it's still work. Sometimes people wonder how an artist "just whips something up like that", which despite being well meaning, can also be kind of insulting, as nothing was ever simply whipped up, but rather hours, days, weeks, months, years, even decades of work went on behind the scenes, beforehand, contributing to the present work at hand. It's all a gradual, developmental process. If neglected, you can get a little rusty. Anyhow, not to trail off too far, the point is to somewhat demystify the artistic process and give credit to the actual work that went into it. Not to say there wasn't a little bit of magic involved, or whatever you want to call it, but that's only a part of the equation. In the meantime, I made a little step-by-step process post, to show how I've been putting together my current Splotch Monster Island meets Endangered Kingdom series pieces, which you can see at the Splotch Monster Island blog.  I'm having fun with the merging of different concepts, taking one that I began posting about here at the Go Flying Turtle blog, and branching it out in a new and challenging direction. Stay tuned for more to come soon!

Monday, August 1, 2016

endangered kingdom series, 14: chinese giant salamander

Normally I don't provide any text along with these Endangered Kingdom series posts (with the exception of my first post), mainly to simply draw attention to the name of the animal and the visual aspect of the art. I figure, it's easy to research an animal online, as there's plenty of information out there about each and every species I post about. In this case, however I wanted to make note of and point out a somewhat pleasantly strange occurrence involving the Chinese Giant Salamander drawing (above pic), and the pre-painted surface (below pic). It just so happened that I had scanned some pre-painted surfaces ahead of time, such as in the case with the one posted here. It's not something I've done with all of these, mind you. As always, I've got zero idea what I'll draw on top the the surfaces beforehand, which consist of loosely painted watered-down acrylics on watercolor paper. All that I do know is that an endangered animal species will eventually be drawn in archival Sakura Pigma Micron pen, on top of the paper's surface, once the surface is dry. Anyhow, I just so happened to grab this piece of prepared paper and started searching for an animal to draw on top of it. I had wanted to work on rendering a Chinese Giant Salamander for a while now, since I haven't yet worked on an amphibian, let alone one that was essentially a living prehistoric survivor whose very (ancient) existence is severely threatened by human activity. What struck me as strange, upon looking at a variety of visuals, was how, after rotating the pre-painted paper a few times before settling on an angle to work with, the animal's face seemed to match almost perfectly with the way the paper was painted. This isn't even something I could have planned, not even remotely. I guess this is what they call serendipity? Things like this have happened before with my art, but never to this extent.

See the Splotch Monster Island version HERE

Sunday, July 31, 2016

studio ghibli film festival at angelika at mosaic

Yesterday I watched Tales from Earhsea at the Angelika Film Center, in the Mosaic District in Fairfax, VA. The film was part of the annual Studio Ghibli Film Festival, which happens every summer. I was fortunate to learn about this seasonal event last year, allowing fans like myself to view their favorite Studio Ghibli movies on the big screen. As in the case with yesterday, it was the first time I saw Tales from Earthsea, a film that is absolutely stunning on the big screen. One of my all time favorites - a Studio Ghibli classic and early Miyazaki film, was Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind - one I own on Blu Ray, but was able to fully appreciate after seeing and hearing it in a movie theater earlier this summer, at Angelika. It's good to note that last year, they didn't show Nausicaa, so I'm glad they decided to mix things up this time around!

As the schedule goes, each week they'll play a Studio Ghibli film twice, once on Saturday mornings at 11:00am, and again on Wednesday evenings at 7pm. On Saturdays, they'll show the English dubbed version, and on Wednesdays, for a film's second showing, they'll show the original Japanese version, with English subtitles. So, if I wanted to see Earthsea again, I could go this Wednesday evening and watch it in its original, Japanese form.

Sadly, this summer's line-up is almost done, however there a still a few more to see through August. If you're a fan of Studio Ghibli films, or great animation, or great movies in general, then get on over to the Angelika Film center at Mosaic before it's too late!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

the politically inclined experiment

Last night I attended the late July Takoma Park city council meeting as part of the "Politically Inclined" project, inviting artists who are currently on exhibit at the Takoma Park Community Center's "Stylized Notions" art exhibit, featuring works from local, DC-area cartoonists and comic artists who participated in the Cartoonists Draw Blood blood drive events. In addition to myself, Bill Brown, Art Hondros, and Eric Gordon participated. Unlike Eric, Art, and Bill, all residents of Takoma Park, I drove out from Sterling, VA, and it was interesting to participate in some small way, and contribute something to the democratic process that is a City Council meeting - something I've never done before. In addition to being in good company, and hanging out with some great fellow artists for a little bit, I also wanted to try something slightly new and different with my Splotch Monster art. You can read more about it HERE, in the meantime!