Friday, March 30, 2012

Final Semester Week 11

The weeks are cooking down to just a month left so I'm spending every moment I can painting away for my ASE wall. This painting entitled Altoona Red was taken from a pic I snapped while in Altoona, PA at last fall's Illux Con. Like so many cities of former industry, Altoona is one of those places where you can feel time sort of passed it by. It has a very Hopperesque feel about it, especially the downtown where things looked liked they stopped the clock in the Mercury Program. There is a very permeable feeling of melancholy in places like that. I love places like that to paint.
I the one class I have with Scott Noel we started on the last pose for the semester and my last class painting of my undergrad career as a student at PAFA. Scott set up some crazy sprawling Edwin Dickensonesque tablo with three models and a bunch of the stands and props--with Scott himself in the middle. The pic above was from my first session which was only 20 minutes as i was running late that day. So I only got to bust down this quick rough-in.
Scott came into the uninstructed class this week so we could get more time with him in the setup. This was my second go at it and in h end of the session I took a big brush and sort of went back in and knocked it down a bit and mushed things together. On Tuesday I'll hack at it again. This weekend is the annual Susan McDowell Eakins Figure Painting Competition, which I won last year. Its a two-day event, 9-4 and sponsored by the painting dept and open to any 2-4th year Certificate and BFA student. So off to clean my palette and get ready to paint away this weekend.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Judge Parker

Well it seems all's well that ends well.....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Final Semester Week 10

Another week down into the history books...and the next one ready to fire off! This weeks was busy with many tasks, like building new supports for paintings, in fact one id drying now as I type this. I finished another painting, the one above entitled "Going Home" which is 1o x 20, oil of canvas. With only a few short weeks left I have to keep the fire burning bright. When the model didn't show up for class, Scott decided to take the class to his show which is currently running at Gross McCleaf a few blocks away from school.
Scott is always a dynamo teacher and it was really great to have him walk the class through the show and discuss his work and process. he described his way of painting as Slosh and Cut. He sloshes in big big areas of the painting and then cutting the shapes in the wet paint, in what he describes it as building a shape mosaic. Wet into wet paint paying very careful attention to the placement of the shapes and the percison of the shapes. and their opacity. He paints on a lead ground with no glazing or underpainting. he starts in directly working as fast as he can to block in the whole image. He feels that paint is most beautiful when you don't use a lot of medium, often scraping down entire sections or the entire painting at the end of a session and then attacking it all fresh the next sitting.

The painting above was done directly, all in one sitting

Scott believes that great paintings are as clear as the stripes on a flag, and by compressing the contrast between the lights and darks he ends up with more and bigger shapes of colors in his paintings. he feels that paintings should have a sense of coming into view before you can name specific things. He likened this to knowing a friend blocks away walking on the street by the shapes of their features before you can see their face and specific features clearly.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Final Semester Week 9

This is the painting I finished this week in the studio. It wasn't the next painting i had planned on making but it's funny how things happen that way. While in the studio on Tuesday during a break in Scott Noel's class I was back in the studio getting some more paint for my palette and turned around and saw this scene on my work table. Its what i call one of the 1000 incidents of beauty you see every day. i have a folder on my facebook page full of these type of pictures or fleeting moments we all see or pass every day if we stop to notice them. Since I was in class I just snapped about a dozen or so pics with my iphone and went back to class. After class I reviewed my pics and really liked the light event happening so much i started a painting that night. None of the pics were excatly the right anglge so I worked from several of the pictures to get the drawing right and I could look right behind me to check things as that set-up was right behind my chair. then i blocked the painting in and had to wait till Friday to finish it as i ha to catch up on the Judge P strip. One of the things I was really working on in this picture was the whites, using a lot more zinc, which is more translucent for the cooler whites in the background and the plastic bag and the Brisk bottle. I used the titanium for the bolder and warmer light on the table, and mixed in just a little touch of yellow ochre to warm it up. It was one long marathon painting session to finish it up, I stated Friday at around 6 and finished Saturday morning at 7am. I love to work this way and all the years of long deadlines doing comics and storyboard have given me the endurance to stay in the chair painting. I think I not only get more done but also get more intense concentration and that gives me better results. I know, its all based on your endurance, you concentration, and for some people their way is to work in shorter bursts. It's all what works for you. While I was painting the annual PAFA Drawathon was happening across the street in the old Historic Building. I didn't attend the event this year or help run one of the sessions like last year, I painted instead as the weeks are counting down fast and I need to spend every second painting I can. I did slip over a few times to stretch the legs and grabs some free pizza , which went quick. Free and students always go together well!

Judge Parker

A stand-off----or is it?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary--Judge Parker!

Today is the second anniversary of me taking over Judge Parker and the beginning of my 3rd year on the strip.
The strips has really moved all over in the two years and I am really enjoying the current storyline by Woody Wilson a lot since it gives me a chance to draw some action, assassins and sexy gals with guns--lots of fun to draw for sure.

I think this year I grew into the strip as my own after the first year of getting used to the characters and the flow and frankly just getting my feet wet. I had to hit the ground running and get used to the flow of a comic strip instead of a comic book and that did take some ajustment. I still think even though I love the classic strips I am a comic book guy and sometimes feels a bit cramped on the strip.

Unlike characters I was very familiar with like Batman or Spider-man, or even X-9, JP and crew were really new to me and I had no pre-existing indeas or feelings about them, they didn't live in my imagination yet. They do now and I feel I know them and that the strip is really mine to take in the direction I want artistically--although Woody told me that from the beginning. So off to year three and the winding road and endless run that are the comic strips.

Draw! 22 is Shipping Now!

Draw! 22 hits the streets today! You can catch a preview of this issue right here. This issue is crammed cover to cover with great interviews and step-by-steps by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Jim lee, Danny Fingeroth, Jamar Nicholas and myself. Grab a copy right now in print or digital from

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Final Semester Week 8

The last few weeks have been a huge whirl---blur between my solo show, regular work and spring break. With the show hung and running till the end of the month I have now turned my attention toward my last run in the studio for the ASE and graduation. I have been accepted into the PAFA MFA Program, but for the next 8 weeks I will be totally focused on my last painting and keeping the Judge Parker Strip going.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Judge Parker

Will our team be in time to warn April...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Big Show

last night was the opening of my Solo Show at Rodger LaPelle in Old City. I posted a blog about it over on my michaelcolemanleyblog. It was a great night!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Getting Ready To Show!

Yesterday was the big move in and set up for my show at Rodger LaPelle which opens tomorrow night at 6pm. Of course the one day I have and must move my work from studio to gallery is exactly the day it decides to pour rain here in Philly!
But the show must go on a despite the bit of a slow-up at U-Haul and the rain I got my paintings all out of the studio and moved into the gallery with the help of my buddies Davis Golas and Will Sentman. I had blankets from U-haul covering the big paintings.
This was my first time with setting up a show in a gallery on a pro level, I've done it at school, but here most of the major decisions are mine to make, where and what to hang in what order and what to put of certain walls. The "cheek walls" in a gallery, a term I didn't know about before, they are the mini or little walls that stick out that are just enough width for a small painting in a gallery but cane be viewed 15-20 feet away. Here I was told to put some little gems to catch the eye.
When I arrived Rodger and his wife Christine were taking down and moving all of the work from the previous show and that gave me the whole gallery. I had 31 paintings to hang in all and to be honest, even though I don't think I could have actually painted any more or any faster I initially felt like "Crap! I don't have enough paintings done!" But after spreading them out and a bit of arrangement I think I had enough and the show will feel full but not overcrowded, nor underfeed. I also went about touching up the gallery walls here or there and in a way wish Rodger had let Dave,Will and myself repaint the whole gallery, but I went about hitting the trouble spots to my eye.
Lastly I had to make my final numbered check list with prices and then we were done, the paintings were in place and would be hung by Lapelle, and I could finally go home and catch a full nights sleep.