Hieronymous Bosch

November 25, 2016

It seems that Hieronymous Bosch was the goofiest painter of the Renaissance. He single-handedly brought the grotesque to the highest level. Along with his hard nosed moral depictions and allegorical forays, Bosch brought the ugly every-day burger into his work. Even his renderings of Christ have a dopey schlubb kind of expression. There is almost nothing contemporaneously written about him and little else known, but, he has always been one of my favorites.

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The Junkman

October 20, 2016

The Junkmen that I saw were older Black Men with beater junkyard pickup trucks slowly wandering through the alleys of inner-city Milwaukee. The way they piled up the junk was a sculptural miracle, far better than any preacher’s art car. The radiator would pour out a little steam, the tailpipe a little blue smoke, mismatched fenders and wheels, pulling a homemade trailer. Somehow he reduced the waste while making a living in scrapping it all. The invisible infrastructure every city needs. So, if you have something decent to get rid of don’t take it to the for-profit Goodwill store, put it in the alley for the Junkman. 4-color Lithograph, 9 x 12.

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Unexpected improvement

September 19, 2016

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Like the drummer who started out hitting pots and pans on the kitchen floor as a child, the artist remembers drawing pictures as soon as he could hold a crayon. I am no exception, drawing family members, houses, pets, cars, soldiers, spaceships, monsters, aliens, and every comic strip in the newspaper. In Junior High school I started on the typical path drawing caricatures of teachers, friends and politicians and eventually trying to master chrome.

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It was in High School that entirely original drawings dominated my output, including surrealistic worlds, and every kind of counter-cultural experience. It was drawing for the sake of drawing, spending endless hours listening to FM radio and drawing. The elapse of time had no meaning.

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Forty years later, I now spend a few hours each morning drawing in my little moleskine sketchbook. I alternately copy from the great artists and also draw whatever comes to mind each day. I do not have any plans but I do try to compose each page and finish every drawing. I feel like a kid again, time whips by, and I can see a marked improvement in skill and speed. I’m able to jam more and more complexity into these tiny pages. If I can do it, you can do it. The hard part is starting. You can view all the sketchbook pages HERE.

 

 

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The Daily Sketchbook Habit

August 24, 2016

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Old dogs really can learn new tricks. I have always kept a sketchbook since the 1970′s, but I’ve never made it a daily practice. When I came across artists who did in fact draw every day – I was in awe. Their sketchbooks were loaded with everyday scenes, doodles, designs, patterns, notes, and quotes. I sporadically used the sketchbook for doodles and quotes from books I read, and ideas for future prints.

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One day I decided to start practicing drawing characters for a graphic novel, and began filling up all my sketchbooks. I was getting a little burned out so I pulled out a Gustave Klimt book, took a cup of coffee and my tobacco pipe out to the balcony and began to copy Klimt. Next morning I copied Frank Stella, Next morning Max Earnst, then Max Beckmann, Aubrey Beardsley, Giorgio di Chirico, Oskar Kokoschka, Modigliani, Marianne von Werefkin, Fred Stonehouse, Tony Fitzpatrick, Enrique Chagoya, Alfred Kubin, Danny Lyon, Franz Marc, Dali, Daumier, and several obscure Russian Futurists.

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I was on a roll and needed more sketchbooks, I was hooked and the Summer weather beckoned me to my tree surrounded balcony. I started to actually compose my tiny moleskine sketchbook pages as little finished works. My original drawings were getting better and I started to use color and more complex crosshatching. Now I can honestly say daily drawing in the sketchbook has become my habit, I wonder if I can do same thing with exercise? I have scanned these pages and created a new category in Gallery called Sketchbooks, see the complete works HERE.

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A slight shift in direction

July 26, 2016

If you have ever been to Burningman in the Nevada Black Rock Desert, you will remember that the very best and most impressive art works were burned with fire to the ground at the end of the event. I often relish the courage it takes to part ways and destroy works of art. The idea of a “clean slate” is very appealing; a fresh start; drawing a line in the sand. For me it means trying to forget every creative impulse that seemed forced, or lazy, or without concern for the viewer for whom I am making the art. C. S. Lewis quoted Horace in his essay “Good Work and Good Works” roughly paraphrased, “Art is to delight and inform the public.” As a Post-Evangelical Left wing Christian Sympathizer, I still feel the duty to serve the public as an artist – to delight and inform.

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A Slight Doubt
2016, Rubber stamp, found paper ephemera, and gouache.
9 x 11″

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Elegant Drudgery

July 21, 2016

Looking at the elegant golden gowns of Gustave Klimt led to a little diptych painted on recycled antique book covers. Cooking and cleaning marked my mother’s generation as the measurement of a good housewife. These terms have become vile and insulting to post-modern generations, but there was a certain elegance to domestic work that is worth considering.

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Elegant Drudgery I
2016, Gouache, gold leaf, and ink on found book covers
6 x 9″

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Elegant Drudgery II
2016, Gouache, gold leaf, and ink on found book covers
6 x 9

 

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CMYK process painting

If I were a painter I’d blow up famous paintings from art books, crop them, and paint them using a halftone screen in cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

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Napoleon’s Horse
(after Jacques-Louis David)
2016, Acrylic on panel, 29 x 35

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Hare
(after Albrecht Durer)
2016, Acrylic on panel, 29 x 35

 

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Comics Blown-Up

If I were a Pop Artist I would take a magnifying glass to the color Sunday Comics, crop my favorite characters, and make acrylic paintings using an ellipse halftone screen using just four process colors. L to R: Powerhouse Pepper by Basil Wolverton, Popeye, Batman, Little Nemo, Lois Lane, Olive Oyl, Superman, Flip, and Krazy Kat. And a healthy nod to the late Roy Lichtenstein.

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Comics Blown-Up
2016, Acrylic on panel, each 15 x 15″

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Flip (From Little Nemo)

March 11, 2016

This is a study for a new series of paintings concerning pivotal comic strips that have influenced my work. I am one of many Pop-based artists trying to deal with Warhol and Lichtenstein. If I was a painter in NY around 1963 (instead of a 4 year old child playing with matchbox cars in Wisconsin) I think I would have taken a magnifying glass to the Sunday funnies. I attempt to find a slightly abstracted beauty in the ephemeral quality of the disposable newspaper. The characters are abstracted and cropped yet still recognizable. The commercial printing process is a CMYK system which I would bring to painting. I lay down yellow, then magenta, cyan and black on a wood panel using projected color separations. The Ben Day dots are simply individual brushstrokes. This is a turn from bringing painterliness to printmaking, instead I bring printmaking to painting. The images refer directly to the iconic comics masters: Herriman, McKay, Segar, etc. as well as the styles of Lichtenstein and Sigmar Polke.

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Flip
2016
acrylic on paper
15 x 15

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ARRRRGH!

March 04, 2016

Gearing up for the Membership Exchange Portfolio at the upcoming Southern Graphics Conference in Portland OR. This lithograph will be my entry for the required 13 piece edition. Superman gets advice about love from two knuckleheads.

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ARRRRGH!
2016, 4 color lithograph
11 x 14

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