Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"time traveler" complete, process documented

Last night I put the final touches on what I now call the "Time Traveler"piece. Unfortunately, the light in the final shots is not true to the original and it was too early this morning before I had to leave for work to get a good natural light photo. The piece will be for sale and exhibited for a little over a month at the Round Hill Arts Center at the Gateway Gallery, right off of Rt. 7 west, beginning this Friday, with a reception on Saturday, May 3rd from 3-5pm. It's all part of the center's third annual Mother/Earth exhibit. It's a great place to spend a Saturday, with lots of local art, a winery, food, music and some great surrounding nature. The weekend is supposed to be a beauty too, finally after all this intensely wet weather we've been having out this way.

Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to document some of the process of this watercolor piece since it was the first time I formally painted with watercolor in years. Plus, it was the first time I used my Gold Class Mission watercolors I got last Christmas. So, the pressure was on, but I felt up to the challenge. The initial drawing part wasn't too difficult, and I started by basing the giant tortoise image off a photo I took a while back of one at the Leesburg Animal Park. The actual visual concept was still a bit foggy in my mind when I began, but much of the time I work with a vague idea for something then see where things lead me.  I ended up settling with an image of this giant tortoise as an ancient being who has stood the test if time, as other animal species have come and gone, and as human progress rapidly spoiled her world. Believe it or not, there are actually three tortoises pictured in the image, as our main character is perched atop the shell of another. It's supposed to represent an endless cycle, and the small young one on the top of her shell seems to be breathing life into the tree, still sleeping but ready to be awakened in time for spring. The butterfly is a sort of messenger, as we sometimes see butterflies perched atop of turtles' snouts and heads and shells, more for practical, scientific purposes than mystical. With art, however, everything can hold some type of metaphoric symbolic status. That's what separates art from scientific illustration. I do like to keep some meaning open to the viewer, even to myself, in the end, however. 

Is the piece finished? For now I think it's as finished as I would like it to be, though it has potential for more. If it sells, then it will indeed be finished. If not, perhaps I'll do more with it, as well as get it scanned to make prints from, which I regret not being able to do due to lack of time. 

Finally, those watercolors - wow! These Gold Class Mission paints are advertised as "colors found in nature", which is certainly true. Plus, painting with them felt like getting into a very fast sports car and going from 0-60 in a couple of seconds. You only need to use a little bit at a time, and they layer nicely. I'm by no means a watercolorist, but I've worked with them long enough to have some understanding of how they operate. Highly recommended, though you'll spend more on them than most other brands, and for good reason.  As you can see, I'm going backwards in this post. Hopefully it'll give folks some insight as to how this piece evolved. I thoroughly enjoyed working on it but only wish I could have slowed down and put another week into it, rather than cramming it into a few days. The results were pretty encouraging though. 

Hope to see you at the show!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

some pics from delaware

Looking back at these photographs, it's hard to believe it's been two weeks since Kris and I got up and hit the road at the crack of dawn to stay for a few days and a couple of nights at Dewey Beach, in Delaware. It was how I started my spring break and it seemed like I had to wait forever until this little trip happened. It only took us three hours to arrive, and as soon as we got there we checked into the infamous Fractured Prune doughnut shop for our obligatory fried doughnut experience at 9:30am. Not something I'd recommend on a daily basis, but absolutely necessary as a place to go when visiting the area. Since our check in at the new Hyatt Place on the beach wasn't until about 3pm, we had some time to drive around, hit up an outlet mall or two (found a good deal on some much needed new shoes), etc. More than anything, we needed a change of scenery and a break from the hustle and bustle of LOCO-land. So, a short trip to a nice little beach was all that was necessary. 

We stayed at the Hyatt Place six months ago when Kris treated me for my birthday by booking a stay, and we were glad to stay again, as it's an excellent hotel in the heart of Dewey Beach. I found we kind of lucked out with our last two visits weather wise, with October staying nice and warm, surprisingly, before getting cool again, and earlier this month warming up for the weekend before a week of wind and rain. We also missed the crowds both times, and I counted about five other people on the beach when Kris and I visited last time (as seen in the uppermost pic).

Discovering new places and making friends with these places is always fun, and I feel like we've gotten a little more familiar with the area now. A highlight was The Point Coffee House and Bake Shoppe - a charming, classic little coffee house with great food and coffee and a welcoming atmosphere. Last October we visited nearby Nassau Valley Vineyards and couldn't wait to visit again. Kris and I were the first to get there on Sunday at noon, and we got some peaceful quality time in tasting, talking, dreaming and drawing before the crowd started rolling in a couple of hours later. This was probably THE highlight of our visit.

There's something about early spring, right before everything begins to bloom and the air begins to warm. This could be my favorite time of year, and I'm so glad we got to spend it here. Until next visit!

Friday, April 25, 2014

sketch dump: 4/13 - 4/19/2014

Whew, what a week it's been and I'm just glad Friday is here. It's about time I posted last week's sketch dump. A lot's been going on, but a lot of good things at least. It's been good getting back to drawing from life again, and I actually branched out and used a variety of drawing materials last week. I'm going to keep this one short and sweet this time. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

a visit to an old friend today

I can't think of a more appropriate way to celebrate living and loving this amazing world we are a part of.

Monday, April 21, 2014

magic bullet #8 on the news

Well, sort of. I got this cool screen shot of my cover art for Magic Bullet #8 on yesterday's Fox 5 news segment about this year's  Awesome Con event in Washington, D.C. I wasn't there myself, personally, but it was great to see this, and the DC Conspiracy/Magic Bullet Comics crew get a little recognition in some way in the news. Big thanks to Mr. Rafer Roberts for sharing this on my Facebook wall!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

kris' mail me art 4 submission

Like me, my wife Kris works on art when she can, because like me, she has a day job that can take up lots of time and energy. When she does make art, the results can be inspired and pretty amazing. Lately she's been doing lots of watercolor work, which has been improving greatly each time she sits down to paint something. I'm so glad, however to see her return to her classic doodle style of drawing for her submission piece for the upcoming Mail Me Art 4 book and exhibit, to be released through the Little Chimp Society. While she was working on this today and last night, she said how she wasn't even thinking and almost felt as if a force beyond her control was moving through her. When she finished, she was so humble about it, shrugging it off as just another doodle. I digress! Anyhow, I dropped it off in the mail today and we will be eagerly waiting for the word on its arrival in England. Fingers are crossed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

wild ocean book and art exhibit about to surface soon!

To coincide with the release of Wild Ocean (Fulcrum Publishing), Off-Rhode Studio will be hosting an art exhibit featuring original artwork from the book, now available for a discounted pre-order at Fulcrum. The show will feature art work from Brooke Allen, Matt Dembicki, Andy K., Steve Loya, and Russell Black. Opening reception will take place on Saturday, May 10, from 1-4pm, with a free storyboarding workshop by Matt Dembicki. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"amazing marvels" ends soon at off-rhode studio

Yesterday I finally was able to catch the Amazing Marvels circus and sideshow-themed art exhibit at Off-Rhode Studio/Art Enables in Washington, D.C. I was there both to see the show as well as drop off some art for the next exhibit there, which I'll blog about very soon here at Go Flying Turtle. In the meantime, I was so glad to catch this truly amazing show in person, before it ends this coming Saturday, April 19th. As usual, the folks at Art Enables have done a fantastic job putting this show together and getting the word out, as more and more people in the D.C. region and beyond learn about this fine arts establishment and what they do.  Also, this show could not have happened without all the artists who exhibited their wonderful works, ranging from sculpture to photography, and paintings to prints, this show had it all, and you can see more HERE at my Flickr stream. On a side note, I was so happy to have learned that my two submissions (bottom two pics) that were accepted into the show both sold within an hour of the exhibit's opening day. I hate to seem like a braggart, but man, if that's not something to be happy about and remind myself of, each time I have my doubts about being an artist. Not to say you have to sell your work to justify yourself as an artist, but it can't hurt. If you make /sell your work, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Anyhow, if you're in the area, please catch this show before it ends this Saturday, Saturday, Saturdaaaay!