Category Archives: Paintings

Drip


Drip

Many things in life come one drip at a time. When that drip lands in the same spot, over and over, as most drips do, that spot is changed. If the landing spot is organic in nature, it will become enhanced by the addition of constant water. If the spot is inorganic it will become reduced by abrasion, rust or corrosion.

spigot-_web

45 years ago, when acrylics were still emerging as a “new” medium I felt compelled to paint an acrylic memory of a water spigot from my childhood front yard in Arizona. Over the years since, one drip at a time, I have built and eroded and added and removed, often without notice, so many things made of small drips of divergent materials. some made of time, some of effort, some drip dripping ideas yet to be acted on.

The water spigot (faucet to us now-a-days people) became an allegorical encouragement to me over the years, reminding me that both time and my efforts were ever flowing.

Somehow as time flows out and away, progress and accumulation, in both materials and experiences, drips in. Some things become corroded, some become nourished. As I age, many things become easier to grasp and harder to carry. Ideas are like that, projects are also. Relationships become more nourished and more abraded as well.

As long as there is pressure in the pipe there will be the possibility of a drip, no matter how good or new the gasket, it will drip sometime. It will add to life, it will subtract too.

The more we lean to the natural side of things, the more the drips nourish.

This little painting has reminded me of my childhood one drip at a time, and now of my many years passing since I painted it. Drip drip drip.

 

 

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Broken Promises


Princess-of-heart_web Mixed media-watercolor-felt tip marker-dip pen & India Ink-gouache-Process black on Canson illustration board 15″x20″

Mixed media, mixed metaphors, mixed emotions, mixed vegetables, neopolitan ice cream, all are great, but vanilla is a favorite.  Many times the question comes up, “Why not exotic flavors?”  There is a difference between mixed flavors and exotic flavors.

An article was published, a decade ago, that explained how, many creative people prefer bland food and desserts, because their mind is busy with creating and with their own thoughts.  Exotic foods challenged their stream of conscious thoughts and interfered with the ideas they were producing.  How lucky for us artists, someone wrote that article, really creative people like bland food – let’s go with that!   We artists produce the exotic, but we consume the bland.  It went on to say that many people who exhibit exotic tastes and behaviors, do so for the attention it brings and though they may be artists, the vast majority of famous and productive artists go mostly un-noticed but produce the most art work and eat vanilla ice cream (I supposed that part).

Most of us love exotic art work, abstractions and experimental stuff, even though myself, I have been mostly a traditional conservative painter, I am also interested in painting in mixed styles.  The longer I paint the more I am interested in doing more experimental and expressive subjects.

In the painting above, the use of process black (water-based) is an illustrator’s choice for a medium.  I have stated before I am not a fan of black medium in a painting unless it is an illustration, so here again is an exception to my own rule (or is this an illustration?).  Process black is used where no color reflection is wanted, especially if an image is to be reproduced.  It goes on flat and black and gives no trouble in reproductions.  Tempera can get close, and so can gouache, but if you want black black, use process black (art stores carry it). They also carry process white, and process blue and process red and process yellow.  In the computer these are called CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black, the screen is the white).  In light projection, it is RGB, red-green-blue, the black is no light, and the white is all the colors projected together.

What has all this to do with the painting above? Nothing, really, except for the black. I thought you might find it interesting.  As for the picture, like all art, it means whatever you think it does.

jmc/emc

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Spring Thaw


spring-thaw_web

Watercolor on Illustration board 15″x20″

               Spring Thaw

There are places

      Where the melting snow flows

      Where beside a stream grows

      The wild tree

Random glances in open spaces

      Where the searching eye goes

      Where the sunlight shows

      The unlocking key

Earth warming traces

      Where new reflections pose

      Where all life knows

Spring ….. is breaking free

—John Michael Cook

All paintings unfold from a frozen state into a visual thawed state.  Much like spring, they were planted sometime before, awaiting the warming light of inspiration to bring them forth.  An idea comes into mind by some form of germination, or experience, or suggestion, from some stimulating moment.  Even the simplest of images are born this way.

This image is a mixed process watercolor.  Done with wax paper resist. Salt over the watercolor washes, and gouache white line brush stroke and drafting pen stroke.

jmc/emc

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Mermaid and Bubbles


Mermaid-and-Bubbles_web  Gouache and watercolor on illustration board 15″x20″

Unless it is a graphic or an illustration, I never use black paint.  This painting is such an exception to my rule; I used black and it is not meant to be a graphic illustration image.  This is actually a mixed media painting.

Black is the absence of all color and causes a painting to go flat if great care is not used.  When used in other media, as watercolor or oil or even acrylic, it will take the life right out of colors, even a small amount.  It is great for contrast in illustrations for print however, and in this one I used gouache black and tempra black to get a good flat effect.  The difficulty comes in trying to keep any black pigment from getting into any of the colors.  So when used, I keep it as a separate paint, not mixed and used last after all other colors are dry.  A good bit of prep and preplanning is necessary, but it can add greatly to contrast and effect in an illustration or graphic.  I wanted the mermaid to cross from fore-ground to mid-ground across the edge of the black seaweed, so this area was masked after it was painted and before the black was added. Also, the bubbles were masked before the water was painted.

(Well, there are really no rules in painting, just good ideas to use or avoid).

jmc/emc

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Kaleidoscope Butterfly


Kladiscope Watercolor on 90# paper (1995)

I have always drawn and been drawn to butterflies, as most artists.  It is not only the colors, and patterns, it is that we share a moment, transient in its perception.  They are there, now they are here, now they are gone. Like the fleeting images of entire painting collections, filled with color, don’t touch, can’t catch, can’t even really own.  We reach for the art of the moment, flit from here to there and then we must do it again.  To those who observe artists, they might as well try and catch a butterfly. We flitter willy nilly about, we show and hide our colors, basking in the sunlight, hiding at the least attention, trying out our wings, seeking appreciation of any viewer.  Our days are brief.  We crush easily. Everyone reaches for us, no one reaches for us, and there is no safe place to land. Sometimes it seems better to be a butterfly than an artist, or maybe we already are.  So whenever I sit and doodle, often a butterfly will appear on the page. They symbolize a similar peaceful response in most everyone who is not going so fast they see nothing.  The image of any butterfly conjures up a paragraph in the mind that includes childhood, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and story, coupled with the wisdom of that transcient moment of how frail our lives are, in which we all share.

butterflys group

jmc/emc

Dye and watercolor stain on paper

What does a Butterfly see? 14″x18″ water dye on illustration board

THIS WEEK’S STORY POST:  So what does a butterfly see?  Do you know what you think you see?  If I paint a butterfly, should I paint what I see or what I feel about it?  But when you look at the painting, it should remind you at least of how you feel about butterflies, or if not, maybe you get how I feel.  Must we paint what we think some one else might want to see?
A butterfly probably doesn’t have an opinion of how it should appear for its portrait.  There are no pictures of people hanging in butterfly houses . . . oh wait, there are no butterfly houses!  Don’t think I am being silly, I think this is at the core of all good art. The ability of this little creature to feed, flash color, reproduce and flourish, avoiding extinction long past the dinosaurs, has more to do with its collective beauty than it does with it’s brain (it doesn’t have one).
Collective beauty because: The Native American Indians did not speak of bears, they spoke of “bear” as if all bears made one creature called bear. Grass was not blades of grass, it was grass, one thing; the trees and flowers were all known as grass, as we call it flora; they call it grass, one thing with one common life.  One entity, living as many things from many places, as trees, as flowers, as weeds, it is all grass.
Bird meant all birds as one entity, fish the same thing, one fish.  To give honor to the one thing was to ask for a single bear or a single fish or bird to be taken from the whole as food, and because they, too, were part of the whole, living in harmony of the one thing, it was acceptable to take from self.
The collective creature is somehow sentient with the ability to exist in a collective world where most every other creature would see a butterfly as food, we see it as inspiration worthy of decorating our lunch boxes, stationery, t-shirts, and bed sheets.  In the end, we study, protect, cultivate and will probably make sure this time to get it on the next ark, (unlike the unicorn which missed the boat).  Like the stripes on a tiger, there is a reason for decoration and style.
There is a good book about this effect called the
Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, TED talks
So, why be shy in painting a butterfly?  it represents our highest hopes for our own societies.  It is like the rainbow, or the four leaf clover, or even the moon.  Celebrate your love of design and art, paint this beautiful bug.
jmc/emc

What does a Butterfly See?


Dye and watercolor stain on paper

What does a Butterfly see? 14″x18″ water dye on illustration board

So what does a butterfly see?  Do you know what you think you see?  If I paint a butterfly, should I paint what I see or what I feel about it?  But when you look at the painting, it should remind you at least of how you feel about butterflies, or if not, maybe you get how I feel.  Must we paint what we think some one else might want to see?

A butterfly probably doesn’t have an opinion of how it should appear for its portrait.  There are no pictures of people hanging in butterfly houses . . . oh wait, there are no butterfly houses!  Don’t think I am being silly, I think this is at the core of all good art. The ability of this little creature to feed, flash color, reproduce and flourish, avoiding extinction long past the dinosaurs, has more to do with its collective beauty than it does with it’s brain (it doesn’t have one).
Collective beauty because: The Native American Indians did not speak of bears, they spoke of “bear” as if all bears made one creature called bear. Grass was not blades of grass, it was grass, one thing; the trees and flowers were all known as grass, as we call it flora; they call it grass, one thing with one common life.  One entity, living as many things from many places, as trees, as flowers, as weeds, it is all grass.
Bird meant all birds as one entity, fish the same thing, one fish.  To give honor to the one thing was to ask for a single bear or a single fish or bird to be taken from the whole as food, and because they, too, were part of the whole, living in harmony of the one thing, it was acceptable to take from self.
The collective creature is somehow sentient with the ability to exist in a collective world where most every other creature would see a butterfly as food, we see it as inspiration worthy of decorating our lunch boxes, stationery, t-shirts, and bed sheets.  In the end, we study, protect, cultivate and will probably make sure this time to get it on the next ark, (unlike the unicorn which missed the boat).  Like the stripes on a tiger, there is a reason for decoration and style.
There is a good book about this effect called the
Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, TED talks
So, why be shy in painting a butterfly?  it represents our highest hopes for our own societies.  It is like the rainbow, or the four leaf clover, or even the moon.  Celebrate your love of design and art, paint this beautiful bug.
jmc/emc

B-tween Acts


Clown napping on circus car G awaiting the next performance.

B-tween Acts

Napping Between Acts. Oil on canvas 12″x16″. (1973)

I painted this back when I still made my own stretcher bars and hand stretched the raw canvas, prepped it with gesso and marble dust, sized it with rabbit glue and primed it with lead based white oil. It is a layered painting (old traditional style process).  I wonder how many oil paintings are out there with lead based paints today?  They are only dangerous if you eat them!  You are not supposed to touch them, either.  For whatever reason, back then clown paintings were a favorite of mine.  I only have three or maybe four of them still around, I will post the third known one next week.  If I find the fourth one, I will probably make a set of prints of them.

 

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