Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Commission

A few weeks ago I got a request from a co-worker about a gift for her boyfriend.  She wanted a cartoon portrait of their "children" to give to him.  This annoyed me greatly...because it had never occurred to me.

The three dogs and the cat are theirs...they just really like goats so I added one to their menagerie. I can upload it now because I saw her today and it was rousing success (and there's no possibility of ruining the surprise now).n

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vacation Via Sketchbook: Part II

NASHVILLE! After a lovely drive through Virginia and eastern Tennessee we came to Music City. Highly recommended if you are a fan of music and or/history.

One of our first travels was downtown to visit the Parthenon.

Originally built over a hundred years ago for their centennial exposition of 1897, it was rebuilt with more permanent materials in the 20's and 30's.

During our stay our hotel they served a free breakfast every morning. There was a lady named (I kid you not) Sunshine, who brought you mints every day and gave you a hug. She had MUCH too much energy for me to try and draw. She was flitting around like a joy spreading hummingbird. Our fellow hotel guests...not so much...

Speaking of eating, we had dinner at a place called Caney Forks restaurant. Inside were all sorts of taxidermied animals like fish, bear, feral hogs, and of course deer. This was the one next to our booth.

We did all the stuff downtown, like the country music hall of fame and the historic Ryman theater but we were moving pretty good so I never had the chance to sit and work out some sketches down there. Next time.

However, on our last full day we drove out to the Hermitage, former home of President Andrew Jackson. Here is a gouache and watercolor sketch I did of the front of the mansion.

It's not as complete as I would have liked but the ant hill I was sitting in decided it was time for me to go.

And here is the tomb of President Jackson and his wife Rachel.

This was the only way I could capture the tomb. We had forgotten the camera back in the hotel room. I would have liked to compare some photos with the sketches and maybe worked out something a little more finished. Ah well.

Thus ends our Nashville trip. The better I get at this the more I can hopefully document on our next trip. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vacation Via Sketchbook: Pt I

So we took a little vacation this week. Nashville! (With a quick stopover in Washington D.C. beforehand.) Normally we take lots of photos but as we get older, we spend less and less time photographing stuff and more and more time enjoying stuff. This does not mean we do not want tangible evidence of our trips however. And after my recent inspirations, I decided I was going to make more of an effort to sketch while we were out and about. Here are the results.

Our stopover in D.C. included a quick run in at the Smithsonian Museums of American History and Natural History. Weird, right? Me going into museums, particularly ones of the natural history variety? Anyways, in the great hall of the Museum of Natural History is a full grown taxidermied bull African elephant. He is a monster. It is also the only place in that joint where you can find a small corner to yourself and sit and work without being trampled. Here is my first effort in pencil.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you. I took along my watercolors for the first time. However, my on-site watercolor skills SUCK. So, when we got to Nashville I found an art supply store and got some gouache. Then I fixed this thing. Still rough but as you will see, I may be getting the hang of it.

So after the museums, we went to eat. "The Flying Fish" restaurant was not first on our list but it was first as to which we came to. (Do NOT listen to people in Alexandria, Va. when they say "It's about a mile away". They have NO idea what a mile is. Especially if you are walking.) So we sat down to enjoy dinner.

This little guy was swimming around by our table as we waited on our server.

Seated at the table next to us were four middle aged folks who were enjoying their conversation. This gentlemen seemed PARTICULARLY fond of the future of electric cars. He was quite animated about it.

Tomorrow: Nashville. More to come...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Tribute Too Soon...

...and if you watched the NL Wild Card playoff game you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you didn't, well, I'm not going to explain the infield fly rule because I'm not entirely sure I can. However, I did get the final stats of Chipper's career put on my tribute poster. I'm not putting it on here because I don't have it watermarked, but it looks like this...

...only with his correct career stats. If you would like one, feel free to get in touch. Same deal as the Bulldogs calendar. 10 dollars for the poster, 4 dollars for shipping and handling.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mural Update

I thought I was done but not quite yet. One of the Mongolians who helps put together the exhibit came and asked if I would adjust one detail on the gers.

I had to make this...

...into this.

I apparently forgot the chimneys for them.  He also asked if I could add the ropes that go around the ger and across the roofs.  I said that would be no problem.

This is the only one I painted in like this. I just made it so there was a small hole in the top instead of a built up chimney like structure. Apparently they have both kinds.

Now I think it's done. But who knows? There are other emissaries coming so they may have differing opinions on my mural, too. We shall see.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heroes & Friends

I used to be afraid of meeting people I admired out of a fear that when I met them, then they wouldn't live up to whatever huge ideal I had created in my own head. As I've gotten older I realize that people are people no matter what and if you live your life that way you will miss out on meeting some wonderful folks who make this planet much better for sharing it with you. I got to do just that today. I got to meet James Gurney and his lovely wife Jeanette.

 You will most likely know Mr. Gurney from his Dinotopia series of books.  Or from his many illustrations from National Geographic.  Or from about a hundred other equally impressive things.  He came through the southeast this week giving lectures at various schools and fortunately for me, one of them was in Atlanta right down the street from work.  SCAD Atlanta hosted the Gurneys (his wife is quite an accomplished artist, as well) and a group of three of us from the museum made the trip down Peachtree Street to hear the lecture.

And it is a great illustrated lecture.

This is the book that the lecture is a very short version of.  Basically, he tells you how to paint that which you can't see.  Everything from dragons and monsters to dinosaurs and cityscapes of ancient Rome.  I cannot recommend this talk enough if you are at all interested in art and the process.

When the first Dinotopia book came out I was in college and therefore missed it for twenty years.  I started following Mr. Gurney's blog last year and it is a HUGE source of information as well as inspiration.  In the course of reading his blog ( I finally picked up the books and they completely re-define what "children's" literature can be.

I know I'm gushing but today really has been a great day.  No longer will I have a fear of meeting people I look up to and respect.  Both of them are ridiculously nice people.  I had sent a message through Facebook to Mr. Gurney several weeks ago to invite him to the museum if he had time.  He sent back a very nice response (politely NOT pointing out my schoolgirl fawning) saying he would love to if they had time and also a nice little note about art in general.  It was a very...serene...response.  Which sounds weird but that's the only description I can come up with.  Through that and his talent for teaching through his lectures and blog postings, I have decided to dub him "Art Yoda".  ("Art Buddha" seemed a little too...religious-ey.  Plus Yoda fits into the Imaginative Realism  theme we have going.)

(You can purchase their books from Amazon, but if you buy them off of their website, you have the option of getting signed copies.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fun With Camouflage

So I did this at work yesterday but I didn't want to add this to my mural posting. The head of IT asked me awhile back if I could paint over some wi-fi routers they were installing in the great hall. He wanted them to be hidden somewhat since they are white plastic boxes and would stand out quite a bit from the brick. I told him that wouldn't be a problem and he asked me Monday if I could go ahead and get that done for him.

After I got my hands on a lift and gathered my paint together, I turned this...

...into THIS.

And then I continued with the other two.





It was pretty fun, but it wasn't until I got to the third one that I realized I was exhausted from clenching the lift with my frikkin' toes! It kept wobbling and while I was painting I was subconsciously freaking out. Neat! But the best part is that the client (i.e. the head of IT) LOVED them. Always a plus when you can make the bosses happy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mural: Day DONE!

I was correct.  I was done.  But I got it cleaned up and it looks lovely with the ger pushed into place.  I really like the way it turned out.

So here is the long shot of the finished project...

More detail of the right side...

...and the left side...

I did tone down the glaring brightness of the green on the grass.  It was just too eye popping for my taste.  And I added some Przewalski's horses in the background of the thing.  I added them as they did NOT want my camel in the foreground, therefore I do NOT like them.  They are not part of my original idea and do not fit.  But they are okay.  And when I moved the ger, two of them got covered up.  HA!

However, when Trotter Khan wants his camel...

Trotter Khan GETS his camel.  (I didn't have a robe, but we did have some of the hats...NONE of which fit my gigantic head.  Still funny, though.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mural: Day 4

It would be "Mural: Last Day" but the boss was busy and we couldn't get a final judgement on whether or not it was done. But I think it is. I just haven't pulled off the painter's tape and pushed the ger back into place. Tomorrow then...

So here is what it looked like at day's end today.

Right side...

...and left side...

I should be able to get a final photo tomorrow and be done with this bad boy. Onward!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mural: Day 3

...technically Day 2 1/2. I didn't spend ALL day working on the mural as I had regular paperwork and such to do but I did get a bit more covered. On we go...

First, here is a peek down the wall of the right side to show (sort of) how far back it goes.

And here is a more straight on view of the right side...

Down behind the left side...

And a more straight on view...

I may go over the grasslands bit with an umber wash because it turned out a touch too...electric green for my taste. I think a nice overlay of a light brown will tone it down just the right amount.

I also picked up paint for the clouds today so hopefully on Monday I will be done with this project. Again I am a lot happier with this than I thought I would be. I seemed to be concerned for nothing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mural: Day 2

Coming along...coming along...

Here is the left side...

...and the right side...

Hopefully I should have most of the grass done by tomorrow and maybe some of the clouds.  It is progressing MUCH faster than I thought.  I'm pretty pleased so far.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mural: Day 1

So my design was approved and we are moving ahead with the mural!  (Well...MOST of the design.   Apparently there is some problem with my camel.  Don't ask.)

So today, I got the wall taped off and the drop cloths down and got down to business.  (See last post for the mock-up I did that is the basic design.)  Unfortunately, I didn't think of documenting until I already had the sky blue laid in.  Ah well, the best laid plans...

This is the left front of the mural is a replica "ger" (think Mongolian tee-pee)  that our good friend Tim put together.

And below is the right side...

And then this last one is the last shot of the day.  I got the painted gers covered and started on the mountain range.

Hopefully I will be able to finish this by the end of the week, but cheese and crackers!  I am exhausted tonight.  Apparently climbing up and down ladders and standing up painting for eight hours is tiring.  Strange...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mural Design

So at my day job, we are bringing in an exhibit on Genghis Khan.  This is going to be a very impressive exhibit with a lot of weapons and and tons of information about a very influential warrior.  Most violent Buddhist EVER!

But on the fun side for me is that in the store, we (and by "we" I mean "the guy in facilities named Tim") are putting together a replica ger (think Mongolian teepee and pronounced gair) and behind this we are hoping to put in a mural of life on the Mongolian steppes.

So I decided to whip up a quick little painting to get across the idea of what we have envisioned.  Okay, what I have envisioned...

And this is it.  It will probably be lengthened a bit as we started doing some measuring and getting a more definitive idea of what we need today but this is my overall idea to get us started.  This is a quick acrylic painting on illustration board.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?

Well, that doggy is 10 dollars plus 4 dollars for shipping and handling.

Send a message to the Paintmonkey's Facebook page if you're interested!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Still here...

I've been working quite a bit lately, but again it's stuff I can't share just yet.  I WILL show you the one I finished inking today, however.  This is one of the pages from the children's book I'm working on that is taking up so much of my art-ing time.  I am really liking the results.

Obviously with color it will look much different but I am really having fun with it now.  For the most part it is completely plotted out and I only have a couple of pages to still figure out the compositions but mostly it will be inking and painting from here on out.  Enjoy!

(P.S.  Bulldog fans, keep an eye out.  I will have a special surprise for you coming up in the next week or two.  Stay tuned...)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

High and Inside

My latest little fiddling with acrylics.

"High and Inside" acrylic on board 10"x11"