Spring, or just the usual art

Spring is here, then it's not. Rain, fog; some summer weather with long bike rides. So cold you see your breath. May in Chicago. But it makes for productive time in the studio... It's nice to now (occasionally) have the windows open in the studio while painting. I'm gearing up for my solo gallery show opening July 24 at Firecat Projects in Bucktown. I'm currently working on about a half dozen cityscape paintings and always taking photos and making sketches to use for inspiration. I'll be showing these new pieces along with some other older works.

Oh, and there's the Cornelia Arts Building Spring Open Studios happening on Friday, May 29, 6-10pm.

So needless to say, I've been slacking off in the blogging department. I missed posting in April (the first time in 7 years I didn't make a monthly post).

Here are some images from my sketchbook, studio, and the poster for the CAB show...

IMG_0956 IMG_0953 IMG_0954 IMG_0955



Animated iPad drawing - Loop Tracks

I have been playing around with the iPad Brushes application. It's now a free open source app. Basically, you can draw/paint on the iPad and mimic various brushes, textures, etc. The app can also record your brushstrokes which is both pretty cool and creepy. But it's a great way to create a time-lapse video of the painting process. I mirrored the iPad animation onto my laptop using Airplay and then used AirServer to record it and export out as a video file. Then post to my Youtube channel. Hopefully, future functionality will have video export built in to the application.

Here's the final image:


Cityscape - work in progress + drawings

With the holidays and some traveling I haven't been to the studio much lately. But, need to get back to this cityscape work in progress which is based on one of my favorite views of the skyline from the Brown Line CTA train. trackswip

I did make it in to the studio on New Year's Day for a little bit and worked on some drawings - oil bar and acrylic on record album cover:


Heatwave + new commission painting

We have a late August heatwave happening here in Chicago. A perfect time to start on a new commission painting in a studio with no AC! Part of my process for creating custom paintings is doing a lot of sketches and taking photos. Once I come up with a composition then I start painting. Here's a photo I shot yesterday while walking around in 95 degree heat.

Heatwave, digitally enhanced photograph, 2013

And a couple of sketches that I'll base the painting on:

Sketch for commission painting

Sketch for commission painting

Paintings and sketches

For the last couple of weeks, I've been doing a lot of drawing - mostly of architecture. Even doing just a quick sketch or two a day at home or at the studio keeps me in the creative groove. One afternoon I also went downtown to draw Marina Towers and the bridges along the river. The sketches have informed some new paintings I started. They're loose and a bit more minimalist than some of my more recent paintings - more immediate like the drawings.

Here are some sketches:

And here are the paintings I have going right now:

Experimental Drawing Techniques - Week 4

The last week of the Experimental Drawing Techniques class was spent creating Exquisite Corpse drawings. For those not familiar, Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative drawing/painting technique where you continuously create a piece of art based on what was created previously. This technique was originally practiced in the 1920's by the Surrealists, who combined mind-altering substances with intuitive and improvised art making.

For this particular exercise, we folded pieces of paper into quarters and then each person created a "panel" and passed it on to the next person. The next person didn't know what you made but was able to play off of some colors, shapes, or lines that bled onto their panel.Then they created something in response to what you created, and passed it on...and so on...

Here are some example panels I created:

And here's a finished piece of one Exquisite Corpse drawing I started:

Finally, here are all the Exquisite Corpse drawings from the class:

Overall, a very good class that I got a lot out of. It brought on some new creative ideas but also loosened me up and helped me develop ideas and create in different ways. Particularly, I had fun experimenting with ink and drawing objects from different perspectives while giving them unusual textures.

Experimental Drawing Techniques - Week 3

This week's class helped me break free more than expected but also helped me focus. We were assigned to bring in an object - something mundane that might evoke an emotion or personal meaning.

I chose to bring in a rubber door stop from my studio:

We sketched the objects during various warm-up exercises:

Then added textures, rubbings, masking and more media that created some interesting abstractions:

Experimental Drawing Techniques - Week 1

Last week, I started an experimental drawing techniques class. A lot of the theories and techniques are based on Surrealism. It was a fun first class -- learning some new techniques and playing around with different materials. Below are the results of the first class.

Acrylic ink, watercolor, and conté crayon art sticks on Bristol paper. The last one is on Yupo paper - a smooth, translucent vellum material.

I'll be posting more images from each class for the next few weeks...

Inspiration from Northern Michigan

We visited Glen Arbor, MI and the Sleeping Bear Dunes with my wife's family over the long Labor Day weekend. Staying in a house in the woods about 4 miles outside of town was relaxing, active, busy, and rejuvenating all at once.

This is the house we stayed in:

There were bike rides through hilly towns and bike paths, kayaking along the Crystal River, boating and tubing on Glen Arbor lake, and being the only people swimming at a secluded Lake Michigan beach.

What stuck with me was being surrounded by beautiful nature created after the last ice age was inspiring. It felt good to be out of the city and in a new place to think and clear the head.

I even had some time to create some sketches.

Looking forward to see how the new inspiration influences my art.