Category Archives: Art

Artistic Endeavors

Clowns and taxes

While doing taxes, (of course at the last minute) I always end up meandering over things I’ve done over the last year. This one was kind of cool. At the height of that idiotic media-invented “clown hysteria” last October, the good folks at Good Morning Washington reached out to the experts of Washington DC’s Clown Cabaret to get a more educated perspective. Check it out. I’m the blond. The one wearing pants. 🙂

http://wjla.com/features/good-morning-washington/clown-cabaret-joins-gmw

As GMW mentions, you may find more information about Clown Cabaret at our website.
www.clowncabaret.com

37, 38, and 39/365 Goat, Ding-Dong, Universe: Catching up with God

I’m behind on my blogging by nearly two months, so I’m strategizing a solution to catch up. I can put it off longer, decide not to continue, or just f**ing do it.

On the plus side, I have been sticking to my guns, doing my #ALittleArtEveryDay #365Project, every day since July 19, 2016, but I have had roadblocks to getting the blogging done about it. So I’m endeavoring to double and triple up on the images per blog post, to see if I can tie a block of them together with a unifying concept. This group is from August 26-26, which was just a week before bringing my “God: The One Man Show” to the New York Clown Theatre Festival, so my mind was running wild in that vein.

Since my original idea with this 365 project was to “do a little art every day, to see what develops,” I do from time to time try to illustrate something I feel I’m not very experienced at. I’ve shied away from drawing things, or learned to “fudge” things to make them look recognizable, since photorealism is so bothersome. Nobody can tell you that you drew a stick figure goat wrong.

In any case, one of the prominent items on God’s “to do” list in the show is to create goats (and gravel). I have never sat down and said, “I’m going to learn animal anatomy.” Convergence of ideas, so here. Here’s a goat. Like the God in my show, I have created … GOAT! (scroll down for more bloggishness)

Day 37 Goat and Gravel. Fans of God: The One-Man Show, (Nov. 10-13, 2016 in Baltimore) might be amused by the reference.
Day 37 Goat and Gravel. Fans of God: The One-Man Show, (Nov. 10-13, 2016 in Baltimore) might be amused by the reference.

 

38 Ding Dong

I have always kind of wondered about the relationship of God and Lucifer. I mean, they once were friends. They had a spat. God never forgave him. I’m sure that’d be kind of tough for both of them, evidenced by the 6,000 year silent feud, only broken once by a wager over poor Job.

If I were Lucifer, I’d probably occasionally do something passive-aggressive as is illustrated below. It was fun making the Pearly Gates.

Going along with the "God" theme, though "Satan" or "the devil" never appear in the show.

Going along with the “God” theme, though “Satan” or “the devil” never appear in the show.

39. The Universe (1)

What says, “God” more than amorphous, undulating nebulae, billions of light years away? Really, I was just playing with watercolors. I find them to be aggravating and a hell of a lot of fun. I did intend to paint the Universe on a 5″x9″ piece of watercolor paper, but personally, I’m not entirely pleased with this first attempt. Many people have offered positive feedback. It’s somewhat frustrating as an artist to find people resonating with things I really don’t like. Not that I hate this one; I just don’t love it like some people seem to. I have learned to just smile and say, “I’m glad you find enjoyment from my art.” It’s a tough lesson to learn.

More calibrating my brain for my New York run as God. I do feel that playing with the visual concepts does help me better embody the character.

More calibrating my brain for my New York run as God. I do feel that playing with the visual concepts does help me better embody the character.

 

 

36/365 FML: Jazz and Disaster

Day 36/365. FML. Not a commentary; just busy relaunching a show in Brooklyn NY a couple of weeks from now and don't have the time and brainspace to do a pretty pretty picture. So back to my ink-first quickie-simple style which fills so many sketchbooks.
Day 36/365. FML. Not a commentary; just busy relaunching a show in Brooklyn NY a couple of weeks from now…

Day 36/365. FML. Not a commentary; just busy relaunching a show in Brooklyn NY a couple of weeks from now and don’t have the time and brainspace to do a pretty pretty picture. So back to my ink-first quickie-simple style which fills so many sketchbooks.

In doing so, I find the pleasure of the simplicity of communicating an idea with as few lines as possible. I find that penciling first makes the playground the paper, but with ink first, most of the work takes place in my head, as erasing is not an option.

On the one hand, I can make a bolder statement with a more complex idea by drawing it out first, then laying the indelible ink (and colors) on afterwards; on the other hand, the more simple image that was thought out first has the more iconic feel.

I guess it’s similar to music: you can painstakingly write out your notes and create some amazing stuff, or you can internalize your scales, open yourself up to improvisation, and play Jazz. it makes sense in words, but I’m not sure a viewer will immediately look at this image and think, “Jazz.” (Interestingly, R. Crumb, known for not using pencil, is also a great Jazz aficionado.)

Or maybe it’s more like juggling fire torches: you practice with them unlit. You can do much more crazy things when they’re not lit, to experiment and find your parameters. That way, when you light them, you can do less crazy things, but operating in a lower threshold of difficulty to please an audience while not causing a disaster. Ink first can be one stroke away from disaster.

35/365 Getting in Shape

Day 35 Getting in Shape. I actually sketched this out the other day but wanted to do something different with the background, and splicing two images together is easier on the computer, hence the computer coloring.
Day 35 Getting in Shape. I actually sketched this out the other day but wanted to do something different with the background, and splicing two images together is easier on the computer, hence the computer coloring.

Day 35 Getting in Shape. Part of the brainthought that brought about “Whoa, Dude!” (Day 28) and “Eternal Beauty” (Day 29) … just imagining what life would be like with our body parts configured differently.

Because I didn’t like the original background, I drew a new one onto a different sheet and spliced the two images together digitally, and decided to color by computer. It’s actually more fun to color by hand, I am finding. The allure of the “undo” makes you sloppy. I got aggravated after a while. I’m clearly out of practice with coloring in photoshop. Photons behave very differently from waterborne pigments on textile.

Maybe I’m a dinosaur, but I really like the feel of Nature. I’ll do digital art, but a stylus on glass is missing that drag of the pencil, or brush across the texture of the paper, canvas, or board. One thing that bothers me about acrylic paints is it’s really just air-dried plastic. Of course, that means your art won’t biodegrade, and maybe that’s a good thing.

I really miss the organic feel of the watercolors. Funny; I’ve done so much computer-colored work in the past because it’s “more versatile,” but it’s amazing how old school brush and pigment just … is easier, and it feels more real. It would probably help if I pulled out my Wacom tablet, but still, ugh — it just feels unnatural.  (Get off my laaaawn!)

So Tired (32/365)

Day 32. The best-laid plans. I wanted to do something else. This happened instead.
Day 32. The best-laid plans. I wanted to do something else. This happened instead.

I really wanted to do another thing, but at the point of the evening where I was about to set pen to paper, I realized just how tired I was. I really need to start this stuff earlier in the day. Of course, in the quiet of the night is really my favorite time to create. The stillness of the world around me is crucial to finding those crevices of the imagination where the ideas lurk.

Reverting to a much more minimalistic style, I was able to convey my exact state of mind yet still appease the seductive pillow-goddess.

365 New Art pieces!

Well, not 365 yet. This is the first 30. I was hesitant to make any public claims about a 365 project till I had a solid foundation. A month is pretty good. So this is 30/365ths. The rest are in my head, somewhere, to be revealed as the year unfolds. In 2009-2010, I did 365 acrylic paintings in one year. It was grueling, rewarding, made many mistakes and produced some beautiful works of amazing art.

Now it’s 2016. I have just completed my first month of a new art project. This #ALittleArtEveryDay is a bit simpler as some are finished pieces; some are chipping away at a larger piece, and some are “I just threw this Hail Mary off my pen under deadline.”

I hope you enjoy this journey as it develops … I’m still writing the rules!

Being a winner

imageI have a blog. “Big deal,” you’re probably thinking. “Anyone can get a blog,” right?

Well, do you have a blog? No? Ha! Score one for me!

Having a blog is one of the best ways to get the world to think you are important. I know this to be true because I said it. And I am important. Because I have a blog.

Oh, sure you could get yourself a blog, like on blogger or wordpress or whatever else place you can find online and then write thoughts down for people to read so they can make you feel important. Sure, you could do that. But even if you do, and you are important, whose blog are you reading now? Huh? Whose?! Ha! Score two for me!

Don’t get me wrong; I really appreciate you taking time to read this blog, but I just wanted to gloat about the fact that if you don’t have a blog, I have at least one more reader than you do! Wahoo!

Suppose you are a person with a blog. Perhaps you think that makes you important. You are correct. That is true. But again, where are you? Reading my blog! Ha! Three points! Score!

Now it is possible you have a blog that has more readers than mine. Hm, I haven’t thought about that. Good point. Three-one. My lead.

But wait a minute, if you have a blog and it has more readers than mine, then it must be interesting, pertinent or useful. With fewer followers, I need not be confined by such constraints. Game, set, and match! I am invincible!

More Celebrity portraits #37-48

#40 Salvador Dali
#40 Salvador Dali
More paintings for this batch here

The last couple of weeks have brought more struggles with anatomy, lights and darks, colors, and sleep schedules. I paint late at night and have to keep work moving forward to the next stage if I don’t want to be up till 5am. I have ADD in the rest of my life, but if I get into an art project, I don’t need sleep, food or coffee.

Tesla. Lennon. Einstein. Wilder. Ball. Dali. And Monroe. It’s a relief to be this deep into a year-long project because now I’ve built up a momentum and a practice: kind of like winding a ball of string. At first, it just feels like an amorphous glob of string, but after a few wraps, it’s starting to look like a ball, it has form, and you see where it’s headed.

That’s how I feel now: I’ve got a month and a bit worth of paintings. The first few I called drawings, but I’ve stopped using lines. They are now paintings. Strange to think I’m using the same medium, but the new work is something different now — even the river, whose water is constantly changing, is still called a river. At this point, because of multiple requests, I’ve put some of these paintings up for sale on FineArtAmerica.com — you can order any size you want, up to 18″x24.” (30″x24″ for some)

It does require additional processing on my part to make it ready for the printmaker, so if you see something you like but it’s not yet for sale, let me know and I’ll make it happen for you!

Get punched into productivity

I tend to do better when other people suggest something cool and new, or echo one of my ideas, making its value greater than my other ideas that only I have liked.

So I’m still trying to figure out what this blog is about. It might seem aimless, but stick around; I might learn something.

Are you stepping forward or standing still? Even one baby step in the right direction is closer to your goal! What baby step can you take to get started? Do it now! Not because you want to — do it because I told you to! We can work on self-motivation later! Post your results in comments, if you dare! 🙂

So far, I’ve been writing what I wish someone else would write for me, and that’s in the area of productivity. I’ve been told I give great advice, but I realize I suck at taking it myself.

Recently I wrote about the necessary sucking you have to get through on your path to success. So I guess I have to start taking my own advice, suck at it, and eventually suck less at it.

My afflicted mind is often a cluttered jumble of dozens, if not hundreds of ideas/directions to go in. It becomes a kind of white noise. When someone outside my head suggests something, the novelty often fuels my motor. The human brain is attuned to novelty; the ADD/ADHD brain is especially drawn to novelty, whether it’s a shiny pretty thing, an adrenaline rush, or an impending deadline. Today, I found a shiny, pretty thing: an outside (novel) message that spoke above my normal noise:

Marie Forleo interviewing Stephen Pressfield (Legend of Bagger Vance) about his books on creative success. I hope you can take the HUGE time commitment of a half hour (even the first 10 minutes could be helpful!)

The interview, which says your creativity and opportunities really take off when you engage yourself in it daily. I should know this after my 365 paintings in a year project, but creative exhaustion and procrastination set in. This interview is a great punch in the crotch to get restarted with a daily practice, to create something every day. Sorry if the “punch” metaphor sounds painful. Sometimes a punch in the arm, or even punch in the gut isn’t enough to get my attention.

Novelty.

Do you need a punch in the crotch? Find a novel source of inspiration outside yourself in the next 60 seconds, and act on it today. 

How to not suck

Tonight, I drew my first drawing in months, while waiting to buy grapes and carrots at Costco. Where and when can you dedicate 4 minutes to breaking through your fear of failure?

I’ve been waiting for months to gather the brain-power, the wherewithal and the inspiration to write something profound. I really want to have a blog, but have identified my fear of “not doing it right” as a primary obstacle.

As with anything new, I am filled with trepidation. I don’t know what to say; I don’t know if anyone will care; I don’t know if it will be “any good.” Self-doubt is pervasive in most of my creative efforts. Fortunately years ago, I gave myself permission to be “no good” when I start something new. The beginning carpenter may cut crooked planks, the beginning mechanic may crease a gasket, and a toddler sucks at walking as s/he takes their first steps. We all suck when we’re new at stuff. It’s essential in the trial-and-error process of becoming an expert. So I call that “getting the suck out of the way.” 

This has been a touchstone in many of my creative projects. I have used this technique/attitude to improve my painting. And to create performance pieces. And to perform guitar in front of people. And now, to write a blog. Surely there will be supportive people out there who say, “hey, this post doesn’t suck!” — that’s not the point. The key is: I want to make this thing happen. I want to write. I want to get better.

What is one of my main obstacles? Worrying that I’ll suck at it. So I give myself permission to suck. I tell myself it is normal to suck at something new. I fully expect that after a few entries, after I’ve gotten my feet wet at this, I will be getting the “suck” out of the way.

Whenever I talk to people who tell me they wish they could be “artistic,” I ask them why aren’t they? “Oh, I’m just not talented!” I call “malarkey.” I had an interest, I took classes in high school and college. I pored over art books. I spent many formative years trying to get the “suck” out of the way. When I look back at my old sketchbooks? I sucked. When did that change? When I started to take classes. When did my art start really getting better? When I started really doing a lot of it.

When I guide people to access their creativity, I recommend they just do it. Whatever it is, just do it. It may suck at first; it may not. But you will NEVER get to the good stuff if you don’t get the suck out of the way. So give yourself permission to suck!