Last night I decided to get back into painting again. It had been a few years since I went through a brief but inspired landscape phase, and I’ve been itching to break out the acrylics once more. I’ve had some ideas brewing for a while now, and wanted to try them. One thing I found myself doing was thinking too much. Making art definitely requires a fair amount of thinking, but overthinking can lead to a lot of frustration and doubt - something I experienced for several hours into the piece. Then something happened. After trying this approach and that approach, and not being remotely happy with the results, and frankly wanting to throw the painting into the trash, with nothing to lose, I tried a different method of applying the paint. I also tried abandoning how I initially wanted things to be, and go with a more intuitive, almost stream-of-consciousness approach. In a very short period, things seemed to flip 180 degrees, going from complete disappointment, to pure joy. I’ve been wanting to explore abstraction for quite some time, but never seemed to figure out how -it’s not as easy as most people may think. Last night however, felt like a breakthrough, and I couldn’t wait to wake up and see the painting in natural sunlight. Who knows what will become of this, but it was definitely a positive experience. I always say the path of art is not for the faint of heart - there are always a multitude of trials and tribulations that most people never see, whether it’s composing a painting, setting up an exhibit, or selling your work, it’s no walk in the park. Yet, we continue on this path to create, sometimes with no solid explanation. I’m thankful to Kris for her honest and constructive criticism - it can make a world of difference in my own artistic choices. As for the piece, it’s still not completely finished, needing a clear coat of gloss varnish. For now, here’s a sneak peek. #art #artwork #artisticprocess #painting #acrylicpainting #abstractpainting #abstractart #artistsoninstagram
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Animals Altered opening night reception was a great success! It was amazing seeing the Takoma Park Community Center come alive with so much incredible art this evening. It was so good to see my Splotch Monster Island art exhibit alongside the work of Susan Hostetler, Kyujin Lee, Marta Gutierrez, and Ghavuri Kumar, and I am so grateful to Shanthi Chandra-Sekar and Brendan Smith for putting this show together, and to all the wonderful people who came out to see the show, and purchase artwork! The exhibit will be on view until September 9, 2018.
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Got some new Splotch Monster art over at the Splotch Monster blog . There’s more of a rule and less of a theme this month - all splotches must touch at least two sides, or edges of the paper. There’s some vague symbolism going on as well, but it’s all mostly up to how the viewer interprets it.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Here's a gift I made, done in a similar vein as the Endangered Kingdom series, though this fella and his kin are far from endangered. I made it as a dedication to a wonderful kindergarten teacher named Dixie, who is finally retiring after 33 years in the profession. I had the pleasure of working with Dixie during all seventeen years of my professional teaching career, starting a new school with her in Northern Virginia in 2001. One of the props she uses often while teaching her young students, is a little raccoon hand-puppet named Rascal. Rascal has become such a common staple with Dixie's teaching, the two almost seem inseparable. It will be bittersweet to see her go, leaving a big gap in our faculty team, and even bigger shoes to fill, but her retirement is well deserved, to say the least.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
The great part about being married to someone who works at a local art gallery, is getting a sneak peek at all the work submitted for the next exhibit. Myself, and many other artists from the northern Virginia region will have work in the show, as well! Mark your calendars for Friday, June 1st, for the opening reception of Rear View Mirror, as well as Kim Richards’ solo show, at Tryst Gallery, Leesburg!
Monday, May 7, 2018
I'm so glad my wife Kris agreed to collaborate with me all through the month of May, adding her watercolor flowers to my Splotch Monsters! Check out the Splotch Monster blog to see some of the process.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Monday, April 23, 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
So much of my art work is inspired by nature and my natural surroundings, and through my work, I try to understand this world we call Earth, in some small way. Such was the case with the Endangered Kingdom series, as well as the one that proceeded it, called Thirty-six Views of Trees I've Known, inspired by Hokusai's thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji series, as well as by an archive of tree photos I had taken over the past decade or so.
I recall talking to a gentleman at the "Love Nature, Too" artist reception at North Gate Vineyard, a couple of weeks ago about having a mutual appreciation for "gnarly knotted branches and tree stumps". The gentleman, who with his wife and daughter took some of my wife Kris' watercolor classes, runs a national park, and naturally had a love and affinity for the land, but said that since he had taken some art classes recently, his appreciation for nature grew even more so than before. We had a spirited discussion about how drawing and painting, especially from observation, actually heightens your visual perception, and as a direct result makes one more attuned to their surroundings and their world. In the near future, Kris and I are going to try and figure out some ways to incorporate our work with the park he runs - something we're very much looking forward to. What made the day even more special was that his daughter purchased a couple of the signed giclee prints from the series (pictured above), which I was able to wrap up and deliver to her mother over the weekend.
It was great to hear how this family decided to make more time in their life for art, whether that involved the creation of it, or the appreciation of it - life becomes all the more richer, and the world in which we live is far less taken for granted. On that note, please take some time out to care for the Earth - this unique and precious sphere we live on in a vast and mysterious universe - a planet we are absolutely, completely, one-hundred percent connected to and dependent on in every possible way, yet so sadly disconnected to in so many ways. Make Earth Day every day, and if you're in the Purcellville, Virginia area, stop by North Gate Vineyard, Virginia's greenest winery, to have a glass of wine and to see the show, which will be up through early July, 2018.
Monday, April 9, 2018
Kris and I want to thank everyone who came out on Sunday to say hello and show their support for our work, and to North Gate Vineyard for having us back for a second round! We had such a good time talking with friends, we didn’t get a chance to get any photos except for before the reception. The show will continue through June, so if you’re in the Purcellville, Virginia area, stop in, have a look and try some of their award-winning wine.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Looking forward to the artist reception at North Gate Vineyard, for Kris and I tomorrow, Sunday from 3-5pm. I only shared some of what I hung from the Hokusai-inspired “Thirty-six Trees” series, though there will only be 35, since I gave one away as a gift to a couple celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary the day we were hanging our work. They were so kind and funny, and would occasionally lend us their eye and advice during the install process. Kris has plenty of beautiful works at the vineyard as well, but you’ll have to be there to see them, so hope you can make it!
Saturday, March 31, 2018
I'm happy to announce a new exhibit that my wife Kris and I will be featured in at North Gate Vineyard, starting in April, 2018. This will be our second exhibit together at North Gate, since the first one, called "Love Nature" happened in the Fall of 2015. Continuing with the nature theme, Kris will have more of her amazing, intuitively painted florals, and maybe some abstracts as well. Unlike the acrylic landscape paintings from a few years back, I'll be featuring framed and singed giclee prints of the "36 Trees" series, first seen at the 2016 Alchemical Vessel show at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. The series was inspired by Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji series of prints, and it'll be good to see them all out in the open and on display on walls, along with Kris' work.
The opening reception will take place on Sunday, April 8th, 2018, at North Gate Vineyard, from 3-5pm. We hope to see you there!
Friday, March 30, 2018
This year's Spring Break from teaching art didn't involve a vacation or a nice getaway, but more or less consisted of getting a lot of boring, mundane everyday things that needed to be done, done, or as I like to call it TCOB. Got the taxes taken care of, the car serviced, dropped off and picked up lots of art to and from shows, did a lot of spring cleaning, the list goes on. That said, I was able to escape a little bit by visiting a couple of great art exhibits in the greater DC area. The first stop included a trip to the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, where I saw the latest, 2018 Alchemical Vessel show. I was honored to to be a part of this wonderful exhibit and event for three consecutive years, from 2015-2017, and am always astounded by how people create something so extraordinary from a simple object or concept. This year's theme was "Our Common Thread", and this time around, artists were given a flat, round wooden surface to work from. The three pieces seen in the photo above, at the right-hand side were made by, from top-to-bottom, Spencer Dormitzer, Cheryl Edwards, and Wayson R. Jones. The show will continue to run through April, 2018!
While I was very familiar with the JHHAG, I had never been to the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, in the Hyattsville, Maryland Arts District. At the urging of my friend Eric Gordon, I decided to finally make the trip out to see a show he' s currently in at the center, called Not Too High, Not Too Low. All I have to say is everything completely surpassed my expectations. The center itself is an artist's dream, and I only wish I didn't live so darn far away from it. The exhibit was a fantastic display of the variety and approaches to art that six local artists working in the cartoon/comics/zine vein, explored. Both the show and the space have to be seen in person to truly appreciate, and the exhibit will continue to run through the month of April, 2018.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Here's a commissioned pet portrait of a beautiful, rescued pit bull/terrier mix, for a kind woman who purchased the Virginia Big-eared Bat piece from the Endangered Kingdom exhibit. She mainly bought the piece because her son loves bats, but also because their beloved dog, whose name is Jane, has big, pointy ears, similar to a bat! I loved working on this piece and found it to be a good challenge due to the very dark tones and tiny hairs in Jane's face.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
As with springtime, there is new life appearing on Splotch Monster Island. The Splotch Monster a Day project continues, and a new Splotch Monster art exhibit is in the works for July, 2018! I'll keep folks posted about the show, as it draws closer. In the meantime, stop on over to the Splotch Monster blog to what these monsters looked like before they were brought to life!
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Over the course of a month, I worked on and completed a mini-series focusing on the red fox. It was made for a small exhibit at a small and very charming public space called the Middleburg Library, in Middleburg, Virginia. There are fourteen pieces altogether, six in a vertical format (18" x 12") and eight in a horizontal format (12" x 18"), featuring a total of fifteen foxes, in various poses. I used 140 lb cannon archival watercolor paper, and covered the papers first with various abstract watercolor washes and designs, to be drawn over. Much like the Endangered Kingdom series, I sketched the foxes out in pencil first, later going over the pre-sketches in black marker and brush pen. Since I had not yet gotten a chance to get the works scanned, I decided not to put any of them up for sale.
I've always loved foxes, and I love how they've grown so much in popularity over recent years. I decided to embrace the cliche and style of Middleburg, VA, with its fox decor all over town. Sadly, there has been a history of fox-hunting in the area - a dated, barbaric and painfully antiquated "sport". Instead I decided to celebrate this beloved small beast, and foster compassion through art. I also continued the crown concept, as each and every red fox in the exhibit adorns a king's or queen's crown, to honor their place in the animal kingdom.
Compared with the Endangered Kingdom series, this was a far quicker, looser, and spontaneous artistic endeavor. I've received so much positive feedback for these drawings already, and I'm looking forward to selling them in the form of larger-scale giclee prints, in the near future.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity to display my art at this charming, historic space, and am so very thankful for my wife Kris, and her good eye and hanging expertise. I don't know how I'd do half of these things without her, sometimes! In the meantime, the "Fox Love" exhibit will be on display at the Middleburg Library, in Middleburg, Virginia from now, through the end of April!