Shimmer

Shimmer • 12" x 12"

Shimmer • 12″ x 12″

Continuing the tradition of creating new works to donate to the annual Works/San José benefit auction (see 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014) – here’s one that echoes some of the artful cropping of the Statement paintings but with a new subject matter. The translucency of the tail and the shine on the scales caught my eye most, and I decided to make those the focus of this painting. Check out the auction details here – silent auction completes on Saturday December 8th!

I started this one off at a Two Buck Tuesday at Kaleid Gallery, and painted a portion of it during Street MRKT (an outdoor evening event) which lead to some interesting color choices due to the yellow street lights. The background on my reference photo was very busy so I tried out a bokeh-style blurring. This may be my go-to technique now: small dots to soften edges, big dots to obscure details.

Sketch first

Sketch first

Yellow ochre

Yellow ochre

Burnt sienna

Burnt sienna

Burnt umber

Burnt umber

Outgrowth I

Outgrowth I • 12" x 24"

Outgrowth I • 12″ x 24″

I haven’t done many abstract works so this is a bit of an exploration for me. This is a painting I started a while ago – 2004 – and put on pause while I debated what to do with it. I got inspired to pick it up again and figure out what else it needed. It had the structure I wanted with the teal background and branching green shape. It was just a tad…sparse.

I decided it needed to propagate in two ways:

  • in a generative way, like an algorithm riffing on a repeating pattern
  • in a natural way, like the blooming of spores or moss

That guided the color and details choices I made to fill this in. I’d like to try more in this style so in the spirit of that I’ve given this a number. May it be the first in a series!

Earlier in the process: the "pause"

Earlier in the process: the “pause”

“10th Annual 50|50 Show” at Sanchez Art Center

For 50 days through June and July, I painted a series of gesture paintings. I enlisted 24 models (plus me, for one of these) for variety…and also to involve friends, family, and co-workers along the way,

Here are all fifty gestures. They’re each 6″ x 6″, and will be available at Sanchez Art Center on a first-come first-serve basis during the show. Go check it out!

Clap

Clap

Love

Love

Cupped

Cupped

Shaka

Shaka

Air Quotes

Air Quotes

So-So

So-So

Horns

Horns

Two-Finger Point

Two-Finger Point

Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up

Dog Puppet

Dog Puppet

Ballet

Ballet

Interleaved Thumbs Up

Interleaved Thumbs Up

Fingers Crossed

Fingers Crossed

Swoop

Swoop

Family

Family

Headpinch

Headpinch

Hidden

Hidden

Secret

Secret

Little Bit

Little Bit

Lizardhead

Lizardhead

Dance

Dance

Folded

Folded

Two Finger Guns

Two Finger Guns

Peace

Peace

Flight

Flight

Live Long & Prosper

Live Long & Prosper

Knuckles

Knuckles

Bird Puppet

Bird Puppet

Crawler

Crawler

Doghead

Doghead

Itsy Bitsy

Itsy Bitsy

Claws

Claws

Interleaved

Interleaved

Two Thumbs Up

Two Thumbs Up

Pledge

Pledge

Interleaved Point

Interleaved Point

Mockingjay

Mockingjay

Rock

Rock

Paper

Paper

Scissors

Scissors

Walking Fingers

Walking Fingers

You

You

Excellent

Excellent

Fistbump

Fistbump

Fistpunch

Fistpunch

Stop

Stop

Thumb Trick

Thumb Trick

Rabbit

Rabbit

More

More

Heart

Heart

Never Gonna Give You Up

Never Gonna Give You Up triptych • 8" x 8" each (x3)

Never Gonna Give You Up triptych • 8″ x 8″ each (x3)

Here’s a triptych of paintings I created based on the theme of the 2018 Works/San José member show: Infinite Memes. When I saw the theme I immediately thought of rickrolling and wanted to create something based on that.

I re-watched the video and couldn’t decide which look I wanted to show, so I picked three. I figured that had the highest likelihood of someone recognizing what they are in case they mostly remember one (for me it’s the black mock turtleneck and tan trenchcoat). These also gave the feel of the little back-and-forth dance he’s doing during the video.

I’ve done a number of paintings from less-than-ideal and low-res photos, and I like the challenge of extracting something painterly and interesting from them. These were screenshots from YouTube. While I wanted to preserve the look of each setting, I chose a limited color palette to unify them. I liked how the dark slate gray looked on it’s own so I left it flat, in contrast to the detail on the rest of the painting.

Never Gonna Give You Up I • 8" x 8"

Never Gonna Give You Up I • 8″ x 8″

Never Gonna Give You Up II • 8" x 8"

Never Gonna Give You Up II • 8″ x 8″

Never Gonna Give You Up III • 8" x 8"

Never Gonna Give You Up III • 8″ x 8″

Self-Portrait with Untapped

Self Portrait with Untapped • 8" x 8"

Self Portrait with Untapped • 8″ x 8″

I created this sketch for a self-portrait show at the Art NXT Level / 33 Contemporary Gallery space in Chicago. This opportunity popped up in the middle of my 50|50 efforts and I was feeling a bit overloaded with painting – hence the ink.

This is the first time I’ve drawn on mat board, which is usually used for framing. As a drawing surface it’s much “thirstier” than I expected. It absorbs ink pretty quickly and can get saturated easily so it starts degrading the paper itself. The texture also catches the ink in ways that can be unexpected. Tricky!

I started this during Caltrain commutes to the city to force myself to keep it loose and not get too precious about the lines. The art in the bottom is a pointillism rendering of one of my paintings, Untapped (which itself references the Mona Lisa).

50|50 Sneak Peek

Since May I’ve dived headlong into a few projects: showing at ZeroONE (an art fair/street market), prepping for (and now waiting on) the 100 Block mural project, and ramping up for the 10th Annual 50|50 show at Sanchez Art Center. Here’s a few work-in-progress pics of my theme, gestures. 50|50 is a little different as a show because it’s a benefit and is cash-and-carry – which means all works are available for purchase and can be taken home immediately.

There will only be one chance to see them all together: the opening night of August 31st, 2018. The first two hours are a preview fundraiser benefit for Sanchez Art Center (tickets for sale on Eventbrite – they often sell out!) and then it’s open to the public for the rest of the evening. I’ve been posting them in batches of 5 on the various social networks, and will post the full set in early August or so.

Stack of 50 boards

Stack of 50 boards

The first 10 paintings

The first 10 paintings

Boondocks Triptych

Boondocks Triptych • 23" x 13"

Boondocks Triptych • 23″ x 13″

While thinking about new art to make for a comic-themed show (“Ripped from the Strips” at Psycho Donuts), I remembered The Boondocks. It ran from 1996-2006, originally on Hitlist.com and The Source before it got picked up by national newspapers in ’99 when I discovered it. It was political enough that some papers would relegate it, Doonesbury-style, to the Opinion page. I enjoyed the comic and most of its animated incarnation. However, the cartoon shifted in tone from the comic quite a bit…enough that creator Aaron McGruder eventually cut ties with it. The opening theme song by Asheru still gets stuck in my head though.

I figured if the comic were going today, Huey and Riley would be Black Panther fans so they’re doing the Wakanda salute here…or trying to. After I inked it I realized I reversed it on Riley, which is incorrect. It kinda makes sense that Huey would get it right and Riley’s being a punk about it, though. Maybe he just wasn’t paying close attention to the form and would get pissed off if you pointed it out. Or it might actually be a partially-completed “up yours” gesture. Either intent works! I couldn’t bring myself to draw Granddad as anything but grumpy; he’s not pleased to be here.

Flaming Carrot

Flaming Carrot • 5.75" x 5.75"

Flaming Carrot • 5.75″ x 5.75″

I think every artist has a go-to character/style/theme when they’re feeling stuck…here’s one of my go-to’s when I want to draw a comic character.

This past weekend was Silicon Valley Comic-Con and we’re less than a month from Free Comic Book Day (first Saturday of May), so in honor of those, Psycho Donuts in Campbell is hosting a “Ripped from the Strips” show. It’s been a little while since I’ve drawn in a comic style, so I decided to go for one of my standbys: Flaming Carrot.

Flaming Carrot is an indie comic character created by Bob Burden in 1979, published in some form up until 2006. He was one of the “Mystery Men“, a superhero group also created by Burden that was made into a movie in 1999 that’s a pretty fair (though much flashier) representation of the oddity of the comics.

I like the combination of things to draw for Flaming Carrot – the giant carrot mask, on fire, on a guy in a kinda rumpled button-down shirt. Superhero costumes are usually spandex or armor so it’s fun to draw something different. I flipped through a pose reference book to find something suitably epic to base his pose on for exclaiming his battle cry, “Ut!”  I sketched it in pencil, filled it in with watercolors, and inked the linework once it was dry.

Reject pile for Natural Conclusions

Total paint rejection. On the other hand, acrylic binds pretty well to itself.

Total paint rejection. On the other hand, acrylic binds pretty well to itself.

When I came up with the idea for Natural Conclusions, I knew it was highly dependent on the kind of artwork I’d find in thrift stores. I had a vague idea that landscapes or still lifes would probably be the easiest subject to find for original paintings. They were…but I also came across a lot of other stuff too. About 15-20% of what I came across ended up working for this particular project. Here are the various reasons why pieces were either non-starters or failed along the way:

Colors too unrealistic. I found a few with background/skies that were so far beyond any natural color (hot pink) that any interpretation I’d make would bear no resemblance to the original. I was a little leery about whether Cherry Blossoms \ Shae and City Sunset / AP would work out for this reason, but the subjects were too interesting to pass up and it worked out.

Lighting too unrealistic. I came across lots of bizarre lighting for moonlit scenes. I decided that it was okay to have an unnaturally large moon (always a full moon…no love for the waxing/waning out there) as long as the scene was even a little realistic. That’s how Winter Forest \ Anonymous and Night Mountains / Brooke P made the cut.

Far too busy. I found some good candidates that I later realized had too much conflicting detail to clearly show what the landscape was. If I found myself thinking about how to simplify it – rather than how to fill in detail – then it was too busy. Since only a slice of the original would be showing it needed to still look like a landscape, and these would just look abstract.

Words. Paintings with words are popular home decoration but didn’t really fit this project. They might make for an interesting Jasper Johns-style collage. I’ve seen some fun uses of frames-with-words, like this awesome one with Skeletor.

Good enough. I really wasn’t sure if I’d find enough to work with, so sometimes I bought paintings that I later decided were pretty reasonable on their own. When I had this change of heart, I donated them back.

Material failures. I had two promising paintings that were either oil or had some kind of coating that eventually rejected the acrylic: one was a Victorian house, and one was a barn in the snow. I had practically finished the Victorian one when I removed the tape, and the layers of acrylic I’d painted lifted right up along with it. When I start each painting I always put a base isolation coat to seal them, and that lifted up too. I checked the barn (which I’d taped off but not started painting) and sure enough, the isolation coat lifted off that one too. Very disappointing.

Huge moon, wiggly plants, what?

Huge moon, wiggly plants, what?

Too busy. Branches and boards?

Too busy. Branches and boards?

Wordy. Kinda liked the popsicles

Wordy. Kinda liked the popsicles

On second thought, good enough as is

On second thought, good enough as is

The barn that wasn't meant to be

The barn that wasn’t meant to be

“Natural Conclusions” show at Kaleid Gallery

Natural Conclusions reception (photo by Jillian Cocklin)

Natural Conclusions reception (photo by Jillian Cocklin)

My solo show, Natural Conclusions, is now up at Kaleid Gallery in downtown San José from now ’til March 30th. Beyond the official description, I thought I’d say a little about what these are and why I did this.

This show is the culmination of two years of collecting amateur landscapes in need of a little love. This idea came to me based on two ideas:

• remembering what it’s like to get “stuck” on a painting, knowing I wanted to improve it but not sure how (one in particular I did finish years later)
• thinking about “paint night” paintings and how they can only go so far in a couple of hours

I aimed to preserve the intent of the paintings as much as possible while “finishing” them. About half were signed so I’ve left those visible and noted them in the titles. The frames are unfinished pine that I also “finished” in the same areas as the paintings. I hope you enjoy them!

Bay Bridge \ Anonymous

Bay Bridge \ Anonymous

Lake Sunset \ Chausett

Lake Sunset \ Chausett

Underwater \ Anonymous

Underwater \ Anonymous

Cherry Blossoms \ Shae

Cherry Blossoms \ Shae

Winter Forest \ Anonymous

Winter Forest \ Anonymous

Pumpkin \ Anonymous

Pumpkin \ Anonymous

Amaryllis \ Anonymous

Amaryllis \ Anonymous

Heartwood – JH

Heartwood – JH

Burnt Forest / Anonymous

Burnt Forest / Anonymous

Tropical Sailboat / Annie M

Tropical Sailboat / Annie M

City Sunset / AP

City Sunset / AP

Night Mountains / Brooke P

Night Mountains / Brooke P

Ocean Arches / Leslie

Ocean Arches / Leslie

Ocean Sunset / Anonymous

Ocean Sunset / Anonymous

Snowpeak Lake / Tammy

Snowpeak Lake / Tammy