Saturday, October 31, 2015

a halloween hike to bears den

The weather was too pleasant and the fall foliage was still too vibrant to miss out on the chance at taking a good hike to Bears Den, along the Appalachian Trail this final afternoon in October. There were a lot of people on the trail and on the rocks today, contrary to what the photos might portray, which made it a challenge to concentrate on working on a sketch. Still, I was happy to see so many people outside and enjoying nature in all of its splendor. I noticed I was able to eventually tune out all the chatter from the folks around me (including an overly excited group of college students), and I felt more confident than I ever had, drawing in public. Heck, I even got a few nice compliments. Most of all, it was good to have gotten some drawing, as well as hiking in again. It's been what seems like forever, since I visited this wonderful place that I've grown to know and love over the years, while living out in Northern Virginia for the past decade-and-a-half. It has provided me with so much inspiration, as well as peace of mind. Plus, when compared with the hike to Raven Rocks, it was practically a cake-walk, though it does have some minor challenges, and today was particularly slippery, after a few weeks worth of fallen leaves covering the forest floor. 

In the meantime, I will be taking a self-imposed hiatus from all social media beginning November 1st, 2015. I'm not sure for how long it will be, but I will be back on board, eventually, in the coming new year. As much as I love posting and seeing what's going on on Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram, etc, I'm looking forward to clearing my mind and opening up more time and (mental) space in my own personal life. Until then, feel free to browse the blog and have a good look around. Last but not least, my wife Kris and I will continue to have our paintings (many of which were inspired by this place) hanging up on exhibit at North Gate Vineyard near Purcellville, Virginia, through the very end of November. So, if you're in the area, do stop by!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

some magic bullet work, revisited

With Halloween fast approaching and Inktober 2015 well underway, I thought I'd post a few low res images of some past submissions I made to Magic Bullet, DC's premier comics newspaper. I don't think I posted any of these in their entirety, with the exception of the middle image, which ended up being chosen as the cover for MB #8, in full color. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

taking a hike

Sometimes there's nothing like a good hike to lift one up. Last Sunday I took the seven mile round-trip hike to Raven Rocks (also known as Crescent Rock) along the Appalachian Trail from Rt 7. It's been a while since I hiked this part of the trail - a part I used to hike on a regular basis when I first moved out this way. I tend to forget how beautiful it gets in the fall season. I also tend to forget what  a serious workout it can be, even for someone who has been working out regularly these past couple of months. It's incredibly rewarding, however, and even though I tried to keep the picture-taking to a minimum this time, I still managed to get some in, including shots of what appeared to be faces embedded in logs, trees and leaves - some of which where familiar, while others were new to me. 

One of my favorite parts of the hike is just as you're about to reach Raven Rocks, and the view that comes along with this part of the journey. Just seeing the clearing of the trees and the blue skies ahead was encouraging, after climbing some serious hills (above).

Of course there is the view of the valley, the best part of the hike. Lots of people were there, but since I was off to a relatively late start, most began to leave. The photo above is only a small portion of this breathtaking view.

I'm glad I brought along lots of water, a packed lunch, and my sketchbook and some pens. It was total meditation, doing some countour drawings of the trees and cliffs, from above. I seriously needed this. Hopefully I'll make more time for more of these types of adventures in the near future!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

autumn trees, lucketts, virginia

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and many of my recent landscape paintings reflect my love for the season, including the one posted here, simply called "Autumn Trees, Lucketts, Virginia". With only a few days into Fall, we're seeing more and more warmer colors slowly but surely appearing in the leaves of the trees. If you're in the area, I highly recommend taking a drive out to North Gate Vineyard to see this painting and more, on display through November 30th, 2015. Hopefully you'll also start to see some of the changing foliage on the scenic ride over!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

a visit from tunde odunlade

On Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015, my school had the pleasure of getting a visit from acclaimed Nigerian artist, poet, musician and actor, Tunde Odunlade. Tunde presented our school with the prestigious ICEHA's annual Global Impact Award for donating a considerable amount of school supplies to Africa. Tunde was such a warm presence and it was an honor to have him drop by the art classroom to present a print-making art lesson with one of my third-grade classes! He even brought quite a few of his art works to share with us, ranging from lino-cut and foam-block prints, to large-scale beaded batik quilts. The kids were thrilled to have a "real" artist come by in what was a truly authentic learning experience. Tunde will be returning to the DC area this coming spring to hold a print-making workshop at the Smithsonian Museum of African art, and he told me that he'll be participating in the creation of a steam-rolled print. Can't wait to see that! You can learn more about Tunde Odenlade HERE at his website.

Friday, September 25, 2015

new comic artwork

Here's a sneak peek at a small, 5.5" x 8.5" comic story I made for an upcoming book to debut at the MLK Library for the 2015 DC Author Fest. I can't say too much more, other than this will be part of a compilation of work from local comic and cartoon artists from the greater DC area. I'm really happy with the story and the approach I took with this one, and I'll reveal more as more information comes my way, so stay tooned!

Monday, September 21, 2015

more from "love nature" at north gate vineyard

Here are some more paintings I've got on display at North Gate Vineyard, in Purcellville, Virginia. Our show, "Love Nature" will continue to be on display at the vineyard up through November 30th!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

tycho, live at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden

Last Friday night I attended a live, sold out concert featuring Tycho, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. It was part of the newly reissued Hirshhorn After Hours events. A regular ticket costed $35.00, while VIP tickets were $100. I was able to get access to the museum, which had plenty of security that evening, starting at 8pm. It was cool visiting the Hirshhorn at night, as the place takes on a very different presence than what I've experienced during daylight hours, and Tycho's set, which began at 10:30, and ended by 11:59, looked and sounded spectacular. The perfect outdoor weather, which was where the show took place, didn't hurt either. Scott Hansen, the founding member of Tycho, said the show was the highlight of the year for him, and as a well-known graphic designer, I'm sure the Hirshhorn's overall visual aesthetic contributed to some of this enthusiasm for playing in DC last Friday night.

Hopefully The Hirshhorn continues to do events like this, as it definitely brought the crowd, and I'll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more After Hours programming in the future. In the meantime, a Tycho favorite for your enjoyment.

Monday, September 14, 2015

transmorgrifications art exhibit at the fridge, washington, dc

Last Saturday night, Kris and I went to the opening reception of our friend Jeff Herrity's art exhibit, Transmorgrifications, at The Fridge gallery space, in Washington, DC. Jeff had been posting process shots and sneak peeks of his latest work from time to time, and as cool as it all was to see in photographs, it was far more exciting to see the work up close and in person. It was amazing to see these delicate sculptural works, made from plaster molds, composed so carefully, playfully even,with subtle and occasional use of color applied to reveal differences and complexities in the individual characters, despite their similarities. The artist chose the theme of Transmorgrifications to reflect how people in our modern society go at lengths to change, many times altering themselves in hopes of altering the perceptions and opinions of others, for better or worse.  We love how Jeff transformed the space that is The Fridge, as the exhibit takes on more of an installation art presence,  as the sculptures, which stand strongly on their own, also easily work together as a bigger picture, much like a surrealist dream. Transmorgrifications will continue to be on exhibit up through October 11.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

some shots from the "love nature" show at north gate

I didn't get a chance to post any photos of my work from the Love Nature art show at North Gate Vineyard, like I promised, until now, that is. Don't know where the time went last week. Most likely I'll post them in batches from time to time. So far, here are six of my paintings from the show, and I'll post more soon, including works by kris as well. The show will be on display at North Gate Until the end of November.

Monday, September 7, 2015

"love nature" artist reception at north gate vineyard

Last Sunday, Kris and I held our opening artist reception for our show, "Love Nature" at North Gate Vineyard in Purcellville, Virginia. It was always a small dream tucked away in the back of our heads, to have our art hanging in this beautiful space, run by some wonderful people who make and serve some of the best wine in the area. About four years after we first started visiting North Gate, the dream became a reality, and it was pretty darn cool to see our art hanging on the walls, side by side at our favorite Northern Virginia winery. 

The folks at North Gate did such a top notch job of getting the word out and giving us free reign of their space, not to mention hooking us up with a fantastic spread. Plus, so many friends came by from both near and far to celebrate with us - it was unbelieveable. Kris and I couldn't be any more grateful for such kindness and support, and it felt as if all our hard work, putting this show together, truly began to pay off. In the meantime, our work will be on exhibit at North Gate up through November 30th, 2015, so if you're in the Purcellville area, plan on stopping by! Here at the blog, I'll try to post one or two pics of pieces in the show each day(some that had sold, and some that are still hanging), so stay tuned and drop me a line if you have any questions about our work.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

audio visual delight: secret frequency crew: "underwater adventure hop secret treasure"

I remember browsing the many CD isles at the Tyson's Corner Tower Records (RIP) in 2002, hungry for new sounds, as always. One of the great things about "crate digging", as vinyl heads and (real) deejays call it, is the element of surprise. What kind of music might an album with a certain type of cover art yield? Sometimes it was nothing you'd expect, while other times the artwork conveyed precisely the sounds of the product at hand. The latter was definitely the case with Secret Frequency Crew's "Underwater Adventure Hop Secret Treasure". Futuristic and forward-thinking, "aquatic", epic and awesome are a few ways to describe this mimi-album masterpiece from out of left-field. It's instrumental hip hop at its finest, with an IDM soul - something that would be right at home on the Merck Recordings roster, but instead was released on the lesser-known Counterflow Recordings.

The group, a collective trio of deejays and electronic music producers, kept information about themselves on the downlow.  According to Last FM:

Secret Frequency Crew are Matthew Brown, Matt Friedman, and Adrian Michna. Etablished in 1995 in Upstate New York. They were originally a mail order business and used profits to build music studios and travel. SFC's first EP dating back to 2001 Deep Blue EP (12") followed, in the same year by "The Underwater Adventure Hop Secret Treasure" both on Counterflow Recordings. After a sporadic series of EPs released on Counterflow Recordings and Mass Transit, the trio released their debut album in 2004, Forest Of The Echo Downs, on Miami-based Schematic. In 2005, SFC released The Black Moss EP (12") on Touchin' Bass. The group maintains some secrecy and has not released much promotional information other than their music.

SFC still produce music, mainly available in digital/MP3 format, and one of the founding members, Michna, releases music via Ghostly International. As for Underwater Adventure Hop Secret Treasure,  I originally purchased the CD ep version, which came with a great fold out poster. Still, I was glad to find a vinyl copy via Ebay, in great shape, for a decent price. 

Underwater Adventure Hop Secret Treasure will always be one of my all-time top surprise finds, purchased solely based on the cover art, I discovered a world of sound equally measuring up to the spectacular visuals. Below is a sampling from this release, as well as the subsequent, equally excellent LP from 2004, Forest of the Echo Downs. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

finished installing art at north gate

Three hours and 39 pieces later, Kris and I finished hanging our work at North Gate Vineyard in Purcellville, VA. If you're in the area Sunday, September 6th, come by the vineyard and celebrate with us from 2-5pm!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

north gate artists-in-residence

I received this message via e-mail from North Gate Vineyard the other day, and it made me smile. Looking forward to our art opening, at North Gate Vineyard, September 6th, from 2-5!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"love nature" art exhibit press release

Above is the official Press Release for the "love nature" art exhibit that will be happening at North Gate Vineyard very soon. Kris and I will be heading out to the vineyard mid-week next week to hang our work, and the opening will happen next Sunday, September 6th, from 2-5pm at the tasting room. Always a mix of a little nervousness and excitement for these kinds of things, but always optimistic that it'll work out just fine. Can't wait to see our work hanging together at North Gate! In the meantime, simply click on the image for a better look.

Monday, August 24, 2015

audio/visual delight: hang-ups - paintings by jonathan winters

It's been too long since my last (and first) Audio/Visual Delight feature post, and this time the focus again will be on the visual, namely a book released by Random House some time ago, featuring the art of the highly influential Jonathan Winters, who was known mostly for his comedy routines. Now, I'm no expert on Winters, and honestly, he was a little before my time. I actually found this book on sale at an antique store while visiting North Beach, Maryland. The artwork inside grabbed me immediately - strange, unique, and pretty darn amazing. Then I learned it was the artwork of THE Jonathan Winters, whose comedy, and life in general was also quite strange, unique and amazing. 

There is a definite Native American influence to both the visual aspect of his paintings, as well as some of the messages in his work, however, he tends to shrug off some obviously deeper meanings in his pieces, for somewhat light-hearted, almost trite verbal explanations. His art also could easily be lumped into the "visionary" and "outsider" categories, if it were not for the fact that he did attend art school for four years, mostly with a concentration on cartooning. Perhaps his stay at a couple of mental institutions around 1960, something which he refers to in some of his stand-up routines, could qualify his art as the work of an outsider or visionary, however. Whatever the case may be, it is far from fluff, and there is some true, genuine genius at hand throughout the pages of the book. 

The pages are well-sized for viewing and all in vivid, full color, thankfully. It is also, thankfully hard-bound and surprisingly, easily available for a reasonable price on Amazon. Definitely a must for any serious art book collector.