Friday, August 30, 2013

The direction of my artwork

In all things of life, there is change. People who fail to realize this, often have difficulty coping. Life moves from one season to the next, and so do we. Our own lives change. We have internal struggles, personal conflict, and as radio host, Warren Ballentine states, "Humans were built for struggle." This is so true. For several years, I have posted my artwork as I go along - you know, In Progress photos. I do this for several reasons. 1. I get very positive feedback and emails from people thankful that I showed the creative process behind the artwork, and 2. if for whatever reason my computer crashes and I lose all my files, at least it's online as a backup. This will not change.

My artwork is slowly going in a different direction. For the most part, I love doing portraits, I really do. There's nothing like taking the human face and putting it on canvas or paper. My passions for it however, have changed. I will always do portraits, as this is my first love. However, there's nothing creative about doing a portrait. I know, I know, you hardcore portrait artists out there will disagree with me, and I expect you to. Composition, lighting, etc., all of those things do force you to be creative, but that's not what I'm talking about. I love to take a blank canvas and create something that never has, nor ever will exist. I've completed several, I guess you would call them "fantasy" paintings, but will not post them for awhile.

I will continue to post some of my traditional artwork that I've completed over the last year, but in about another month or so, I will begin to post photos of some of my newer paintings. My artwork is taking a different turn, and I really like it. It doesn't pay nearly as good as portraiture, but it does pay. For an oil painting, I can easily charge a minimum of $3,500. For a fantasy style painting, not so much. It's harder to do a portrait, not because it's difficult to capture the person, but I have to please a specific client. For a creative painting, I'm only doing it to please myself. If it sells, great ... if not, I could really care less. I paint now for me - things I want on my walls and that move me. These paintings tend to bring excitement, joy, and contentment to my life.

That is the direction my artwork is going. As stated before, I will continue to post my murals and other completed works here. But in a matter of maybe two months tops, I will begin posting different works. Please, do not hesitate to contact me for my usual work - murals, portraits, design work. Those things will NEVER change. I will always accept commissions. It's just that I want to truly explore the creative side of me that I've never really entered. I just hope you like it as much as I do.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Drill Sergeant

This is a painting of a Drill Sergeant I did right after September 11, 2001. I forgot it even existed until I found it hanging over my Father-in-Law's door. I did this in acrylic and my how things have changed. The Army no longer wears those bold BDU's.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Italian Villa

Oil painting of an Italian Villa - well, not really a villa. It's more like a fantasy Italian shopping center. Personally, I thought Italian Villa sounded better than Italian Shopping Center on the Lake.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Unfinished Mural

Everyone at one point or another has seen the Edward Hopper painting 'Nighthawks.' This is one of my favorite paintings of all time. The mood that Hopper sets in this painting where, even though everyone is in a social setting, there's no interaction between the patrons. Even the man and woman who sit beside each other, have nothing going on between them. I've always felt that if you were in this scene, walking down the road and were to get shot and killed right outside the window, they wouldn't even notice.

This mural is unfinished because I was painting it on the side of my shed when that tall tree you see behind it, was knocked over in a thunderstorm. I really wanted to finish this mural, but nature saw fit to knock it over. Just thought I'd share it with everyone.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Corporate Mural 4

Sorry about the length of this. For you to get a good feel of the size of this mural, I had to do a panorama. Some things were left out of the photographs for sensitive reasons, but I hop you get the gist of it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The hardest thing

This posting has nothing to do with art, but is more or less a thought of sorts. The hardest thing in life to deal with is the realization that everything you've ever been taught, believed in, and convinced to be true, was not only a lie, but never had any ground to stand on. What's even harder than that is you're convicted that nobody you talk to can fully understand the impact of what you're going through. There's an island of loneliness ... and it's isolated from everything and everybody.

Corporate Mural 3

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Latest Mural

Tomorrow, I will begin posting the images for one of the largest murals I have ever completed. I actually did this mural last year, but didn't post the photographs to it for a variety of reasons. For the most part, I was not happy with this mural from beginning to end. I want to go on record to say that I absolutely hate this mural. The concept behind it is interesting, but the execution was botched. I do not mind it when someone asks me to recreate a painting, as I have been asked to do this throughout my career. What I do hate is when someone commissions me to reproduce one, and they ask for me to make an exact copy of that piece of work. I think it's insulting, degrading, and disrespectful to the artist who originally made that piece.

Julie Mehretu is an Ethiopian artist who at this writing, lives in New York City. Personally, I am not a fan of her work. I believe in criticizing without degrading an individual, and Julie is one of those artists who, I just can't get into her work. Maybe I'll go in detail about that later on, but not today, as this posting is not about Miss Mehretu.

The individual who commissioned this mural wanted me to copy Julie's work down to the letter. I let him know from day one that I would not copy her work, but would paint or produce something similar in value. As an artist, there are times when we mess up - whether we spill paint, don't live up to expectations, or just ruin a piece. All of these things happened in this commission. Not only was the owner extremely difficult to deal with, but he just could not be pleased no matter what. I've worked with him before and noticed his difficult behavior, but for the most part, I kind of back down when it comes to professional dealings. You give the customer what he/she wants. The customer is always right ... until they begin to cost you money. He would complain about some of the things I would paint, and then when I would redo it, he would complain about that. There was never any pleasing him. I want to say that I will never work with this business owner. I am not innocent in any manner, as I was at fault in some of the failure of this project. I did spill paint from time to time, and I took way longer than anticipated. However, when you have a business owner who, most of his staff is new every single time you see him, you have to wonder the integrity of his operation. This is not to bad mouth or put him down, but in the 3 years that I've known him, every time I've walked into his operation, people have either been fired or quit for the insane amount of micromanagement and unprofessional behavior. In a 3 year span, not one person who was there when I met him, was there when we parted ways that I can remember. I was not a member of his staff, and yet, he never had anything positive to say about any member of his staff. This let me know right away, if he was badmouthing members of his staff to me, he was most likely badmouthing me to members of his staff. According to him, in the failure of this project, it was never him ... it was always me. The difference is that I can admit that I was a cause of some of the contention.

At first I wasn't even going to post these images because I didn't want to give him any publicity in any manner. However, I've removed anything from his business (mentioning his name, stating what his business does) that might cause any contention. I do not wish him ill will or anything negative. I do honestly wish his business success, but in doing so, I never plan to work with him on a professional level again as I'm sure, he'd prefer not to do business with me.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Saddam's Palace

If you look up at the top pic, it's a photo of Saddam holding a sword in the Falcon Palace on the Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Baghdad. There's a specific reason I'm posting these images, which you will see in another month or so. The bottom three images were photos I took at the palace when I worked there from 2008-2010. All of the motifs on the wall are carved into the wall, and the doors are hand carved. I found the image of Saddam the other day from a story that yahoo did on a sword that was returned to the nation of Iraq. I found it interesting that Saddam used to frequent the same palace that I ate in every day.