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