Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Something Old

While cleaning up my archives ( or piles as some call them) I came across this old piece I did in highs school. This thing is almost 32 years old! I think the assignment was to illustrate a word. Each figure is draw on a separate piece of paper and then it was pasted down and the work Comix was cut out of a sheet of yellow illustration board. I kinda' remember donig it and coloring this with those old Design markers, the kid that would get you high and give you cancer because of all of the bestine in them. The were inked with rapidographs and I think a 00 brush---what I was using at the time. I think you can see all of my big main comic influences at the time from Kirby to Adams and Buscema, I even put in a Captain Canuck head as I really like the book at the time. Looking on the back I bot a B+ I think because it's hard to read the word, which is really true.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Judge Parker

As they say, the plot thickens....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Eduardo Barreto R.I.P.

I was very saddened yesterday to learn from a fellow cartoonist that Eduardo Barreto passed away from a long illness. It's a great loss to his family and to all of us who worked with him and were big fans of his work. Eduardo Barreto was the artist I took over on Judge Parker two years ago when he was also slowed by illness, and like everyone else I came to know Eduardo Barreto's work first as a fan in the 80's when he was working on books like Superman and Atari Force for DC Comics. I came to become great friends with Ricardo Villagran at the time and through him I met many cartoonist from Argentina and south America like Jeorge Zaffino.

Ricardo Villagran and Eduardo Barreto from the san Diego Con a few years back

I got to meet Eduardo only one time, at the San Diego Comic Con along with my great friend and his one-time mentor Ricardo Villagran whom he assisted when he was younger. It was a good meeting and he was a very humble man about his work for a guy who was so talented and as we talked he very complimentary about my work. As a pro I was lucky enough to get to work with Eduardo when I got the chance to ink an Elvira job he drew a few years back a,one of the highlights for me in my career. His work was beautiful and professional and a joy to ink. You really get to see how good an artist is when you ink his work--and he was great! his work was so smooth and lush, so flawless you could have just shot the pencils!
Eduardo was one of many great cartoonist in a long line who hailed from South America, from the great Salinas who drew the Cisco Kid to Garcia Lopez, Luis Domingez, the Villagran Brothers, and another of their one-time assistants turned pro, the late Jorge Zaffino. These artists like Eduardo were all top flight draughstmen and gentlemen. When through circumstance I came to take over from Eduardo on Judge Parker when he became to ill to continue, I again became a fan of his work. He really hit a home run on the strip during his time on the Judge, and he set the bar high.A high bar for me or anyone to follow as soap opera strips require a lot of tough drawing and domestic set-ups that don't initially lend themselves to the drama of superheroes which both Eduardo and I cut our teeth on. He was the type of artist who did the hard things well and the great things great, his dynamic figures and inventive layouts, sexy women, bold blacks and brushwork added a dramatic splash to the often tepid comic page and revitalized the strip, he will remain an inspiration and he will be missed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The END--Fall Semester 2011

This lonely painting, discarded by some art student from PAFA at the trashcan near the former Occupy Philly spot at City Hall seems to pretty much sum up the fact that the semester is over and life rolls on.

The fall semester of my senior year has come to an end at PAFA, and with it also has come the end of my undergrad classes in the Certificate program at the school. I still have one more semester, Spring, which starts in January, but I will have no classes, just studio time and my three critics since I have completed all of my requirements for my drawing, painting and liberal arts classes. So in a big way "Schools out!" like the song. So from now until I graduate next May I will just be painting my arse off in the studio!

Peter checks his roster to see who has shown up for the last crit--and who's still a sleepy head somewhere-dragging ass to class.

As thr room heated up my fellow students drung themselves in, one-by-one to set uo their work done during the semester in class

My last class was last Friday in Life painting with Peter van Dyck and my last studio crit was yesterday with Celia Riesman. After my class on Friday I sat in on the last round of MFA crits at school on the 8th floor. Since I am planning on applying to the Masters Program I thought it would be good to see more of the work and the critique process and comments.

I thought there was some very nice work and frankly just some aweful work as well, but that seems to be grad school in my search around looking at schools. in fact I'd say there was 99% crap when I look at most grad schools, scribble and drips seems to pass for most when it comes to any form of drawing and painting, at least at the Academy we still have some real painters in the masters program.

You can see my line-up of paintings here to the right of Peter. I think I got two good paintings out of the class, one of which is in the current student show.
To break up the monontony of the average school final crit Peter had us pick a painting by each student and then do a sketch of it to try and analyze it and see if we could make the composition better.
Monday was the last class in the High School Art program that runs at PAFA. I have been teaching the Illustration class again this semester and we had a good crew turn out this time.I think I had the most ambitious class this time and they really worked hard doing comics and illustration. It's hard in one way since the class lasts only 2 hours but the students really came in and got to work and turned out some cool pieces. My two TA's Rob and Scott really helped too as we individually coached each student along the way. I'm impressed as some of the students had never done watercolor, or even comic before.
So with the semester done I am turning to cleaning up my house, catching up on chores and reflecting back on my time at school and I'm sure I will post many of those thoughts here, but I'll end by saying that going back to school and to PAFA changed my life in ways I could not have foreseen. I'm a much better artist and my life has been enriched by the friends and deep connections I have made there, I can't imagine my life without them and the experiences I've had, one is never too old to go back to school.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Fall Semester Week 16--Small Works

I've finished up my semester teaching at uarts and have one last crit in Life painting Friday and then my last studio crit Monday and the semester will be fully done. In the meantime I have been keeping busy by doing some small paintings as a way to keep the fires burning and to do some paintings of subjects I have wanted to do, so these may end up as studies for larger paintings. I guess with these tow paintings they are sort of a mini Blue Period. The sofa painting above is of the beat up blue leather sofa on the 4th floor in room 465, and I painted it the first class this year and it was in the last class painting last semester in Scott Noel's class. It's also made it into one of Scott's paintings as well as a few other students.
This painting is of a little blue house in Detroit I took a picture of when I visited last summer. It had a very forlorn character about it.When painting it I was overcome by the sense memory smell of Detroit from my childhood there. I was really working with that feeling and memory of how the city smelled when I lived there as a kid. I think this one for sure will be a larger painting.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Judge Parker

April seems very worried about the guy following Randy....

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Fall Semester-Week 15 THE END

PP> Yours truly pimping in front of my painting.

Yesterday day was in many way the end of my time at PAFA for my undergrad as it was the last official instructed class I will have at school. I still have one more semester at school with my critics, but I have completed all of my required classes. So when I return in the spring I will just be painting my ass off, working toward some shows and the next and final ASE for me at PAFA. It really didn't strike me that the end was here until Thursday night as I sat working on the Judge Parker strip and burning the midnight oil. My last class was with Peter Van Dyck, but since I had already completed the painting in that class, submitted it and had it accepted to the last student show of the year,I had nothing really to do in the class. I am the monitor, so I set it up and just kinda' chilled there and also worked on coloring this week's JP strip. I am glad to be done with classes. As much as I love the school, and my teachers, I am ready to just fly on my own and do my thing--to just get on with it. It won't be long till I will be applying to grad school, but I look forward to a nice long streak of just painting. I was also very happy that this last show in 128 had all of my Dirty Palette buddies and good friends in the show as well. William, Lexi and Alina all had work in the show, which was a nice way to cap things off.
Alina and her smart looking watercolors
<{> Will and his painting featuring Alina.
Lexi and her painting.
The show also opened as the same night as the annual Student Print Show opened. Ihat show was packed and very well attended and I heard that sales were good. Yester

Now all that awaits next week is the last three crits with my critics and then the winter break begins!

Monday, November 28, 2011

52 Breakdown

I have been asked by a few people to go a bit into my thinking process on the recent paintings I have been doing, so this post is about some of the process and things I think about when painting this commuter series. Now the first thing is of course the spark, the inspiration that grabs me and makes me want to paint whatever it is that I am seeing. I think that is different for every person, every artist, and I don't think there is anyway to exactly break that down. Even if I break down my taste into a play list, it won't be anyone else's exact play list--though we might like many of the same artists.

However, I do know that dramatic light events interest me very much as a painter. I love light raking across a zone, and area, be it a city block, grove of trees or still life, what have you. That morning I drove into the city on the way to school the light was so great that I just had to whip out my camera while driving and started snapping a zillion shots on the way down Market Street. I also feel strongly the better the photo the easier it is to work with the photo as a source for a painting. If you start with a photo with a great composition that starts you on the good path no matter what you do later or how much you use or discard from the photo. I should also go on record here as saying I have no issue with working from photos, some artists do, but I don't. My thinking and my way is to use the photo as the start but not the end and I draw from it as I would from life, I also work from multiple pictures when I can. All my years in comics and commercial art have given me plenty of experience working with photos so I think I can avoid the pitfalls the can bring. I am working for what works as a painting.

Later I went through the pictures and selected the ones that I thought worked best for making a good composition and painting. The ones I shot at the corner of 52nd street and Market came out great and I thought the light event outside vs the underworld of the EL and the stores was great. Cool vs warm, light vs shadow and the riot of detail was seducing and would be a challenge. I also looked at the big shapes, the abstract shapes of the picture to see the strength of the composition and to see if I could push it, play with it and make it stronger, to not be a slave to the photo ref, but to use it as a reference but not an empirical source to slavishly copy. I had been studying artist like Rackshaw Downes and Richard Diebenkorn. Both men are great painters and have aspects to their work I admire, I admire Diebencorn's sense of design and composition and the fact he makes every corner and space vital and well considered. I enjoy his landscapes and the earlier the better, the later more abstract works don't interest me.

One of the weaknesses of a lot of painters is the bottom or edges of their paintings,sometimes they are just rushed off or not as considered-- they just trail off or suffer because the artist is so in love with just the center of interest that the outer realm of the paintings just doesn't get the love--- but a great painter makes every corner or edge as great or as considered as the primary interest of figure, etc., there is no lessening of the charge of a great painting from corner to corner.

This is one of the things my critics and I have discussed more this year as this is such an important part of painting. To consider everything. Everything is important. So I spent many hours in the past year studying my favorite painters and looking at the way they dealt with the corners and edges of their paintings. It did cause me to think about landscape painting in very different ways. Two of these artists were Richard Diebenkorn and Rackshaw Downes. The RD boys as I call them. Now I much more of a narrative realist than Diebenkorn, but maybe not as literal as Downes. I am searching and think I'd like some place in between where I can nail some things down and then allow some things to become more abstract and allow the viewer to participate, this of course is all a big flow, a big process that goes from one painting to the next as I explore these ideas in each work I do. I have learned one thing about myself as a painter--I have no desire to spend months on a single image like he does or years like Lopez Garcia or Downes. I think that would drive me bonkers and I'd just lose all interest.

Now while I don't think you can break something as complex and highly personal as painting down to a formula, there are little 'check lists" I think I can make, a series of questions I should ask myself as a painter when working on any painting. Somethings as simple as, "Are all four corners of the painting the same?" "Are there more than 4 values in this paintings?" "Can I simplify something--is that detail really vital, or that, value can it be pushed closer to another value, and does that work?" "Am I being too literal?"

So with those ideas in my head my process was to break down the painting into the abstract design you see in my illo. I pasted the Diebenkorns in to show how I was trying to use his way of considering shape in the design and entire space. Even if i don't love everything about these paintings I do love how he uses shapes, and my thinking is i can take something froma painter who's work I don't love if I feel it works for me.
This overlay is to show the eye flow of how I hope the painting works. On top of this I am always thinking about color, paint handling, trying to use more paint in some areas and thinner paint in others to vary the textures, to not get too seduced by details too fast and often will paint over things if I get too busy or picky too fast. Sometimes these thoughts are very conscious and sometimes I am cooking and the ideas are all part of the flow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

1000th POST! Judge Parker

The Derek-Sophie guitar lesson fallout continues...and its my 1000th post on my blog. Seems like only yesterday I started this blog, and my, how its grown!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fall Semester-Week 14-Thanksgiving Break

As the paint is drying on this painting as it hangs on my studio wall from my life painting class with Peter Van Dyck the oven in my kitchen is warming up for annual cooking event known as Thanksgiving. Today as I finished this painting up you could hear, see and literally feel people rushing about and getting out of town for the holiday break. I know I am looking forward to at least one or two days of just eating and sleeping like a big bear! The painting above grew out of my quandary and boredom of painting the typical classroom painting where the model is sitting on a box or chair and you nibble away at the painting as best you can with the amount of time you get per session or pose. For me the academic paintings or drawings can be beautiful, but too often I felt I didn't like the pose or lighting or both and didn't have enough time to get the painting to the point I wanted. Being in my 4th year and having produced these types of paintings from my first year I just found them boring to to and mostly unsatisfactory and frustrating in completion. Having been so excited about doing my commuter and landscape paintings I wanted to find a way to feel the same way about these classroom works. So what I did was wait until everybody set up and then looked around until I found a bigger image that captured my interest the same way I do a landscape and went for that. We now have just two more weeks till the semester is done and the winter break starts--I don't look forward to shoveling snow, but I will look forward to some more pure painting time and some downtime at home and the studio. Well it's time to get Tom Turkey ready for the oven--happy Thanks Giving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Judge Parker

Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Semester Week 13 Mash-up

The last week has been really busy. i know i say that every week, but the last week was the reception of my show along with my buddy David Golas at Home Fine Art in Mount Holly, NJ. Then Saturday I hit the Brandywine River Museum to see the exhibit of the Treasure Island paintings by NC Wyeth and the exhibit on Howard Pyle as a teacher. I realized while driving out there with my DPC buddies Will Sentman and Lexi Thomas that I have visited the museum almost to the same week for the last three years. This I believe was the second trip this year alone. I just love going there, it's my Mecca. It's the root of just about everything I love as an artist and painter and the place that holds the heart of what I find great in American Illustration and painting. NC Wyeth made me want to be a painter and seeing those works is akin to a religious experience for me. Every year I grow as a painter and every year going back I see more and can learn more by looking at the great works in the museum's collection.
Here is a picture of several of the students working away in the after-school illustration class. Meanwhile back in the home studio I keep chugging along with Judge Parker while I still have to keep the front end of my week loaded with teaching the Illustration Class at PAFA and the Storyboarding class at Uarts. We are coming down to the last few weeks of both classes and the high school students in the Illustration class are starting to get close to finishing up their comics and illustrations they have been working on this fall. It's a good class and there are some really talented students here. I'll post some of the final works when they are done. At Uarts the class is on to the final project which is their animatic for the junior piece which they will be animating next semester. In the studio at school I am trying to get back to working in the last few weeks of the semester. Everything except for the class work is in a gallery at the moment.
I started this small still life last night to just get the juices flowing. I want to gear up for some heavy lifting in my final 3 weeks after the Thanksgiving break. It will actually be easier once classes are all done and I can put my head down and go over the winter break.
Here is a quick figure study done one week in class with Van Dyck.
Here is a pic of me along with the whole crew who came out to support Dave and myself at our opening.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Judge Parker

Sometimes phone calls come at exactly the wrong time!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

James Gurney Uarts Lecture and Demo

Thanks to one of my students at Uarts, I found out that James Gurney of Dinotopia fame was coming to the school to do a lecture and a demo in the Illustration Dept. So after burning an all-nighter to get the Judge Parker Dalies in, I grabbed a bit of shut-eye and shot down to the school, arriving just in time to see a great talk by Gurney and a demo as well. I missed Gurney's talk the last time he came to the school and would not be able to make the talk he is doing down at the Delaware Museum of Art on Howard Plye as I have the reception of my show in New Jersey on this Saturday as well.
Gurney started off with a great talk about color which ties in with his book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter. It was a great power point and he really dug into the subject well for illustrators and painters. Gurney is a great speaker and has his Rap down. He should, as he seems to always be traveling and visiting art schools and places all over the world as you can see on his blog. I have been following Gurney's blogs for a long time and visit several times a week, its a great resource for illustrators,painters and students of all levels and always fun read to see what he's up to and where in the world is James Gurney.
After the first talk he took questions from the students and then set up for his demo portrait of Mark Tocchet the head of the illustration dept using Niji water pens which he filled with various inks and watercolor pencils. Gurney also brought along a few sketchbooks and a few originals to show the students. They were all quite handsome and it was great to hear him talking about the same things I talk about to the storyboading class, including one of the assignments I have which is the reverse storyboard, where you pic a film and storyboard out the film to study the compositions, camera moves etc.
Gurney working on portrait of Mark the head of the illustration dept using caran d'ache watercolor pencils and Niji water brushes filled with different inks.
Here is the final portrait, it was great to listen to Gurney as he talked while he worked fielding question and keeping the audience informed and entertained at the same time,not an easy feat and something many artists can't do--talk and work and explain their process!
Gurney was a dynamo,after the demo he gave another great talk on composition with another great power point. I have to say along with the talk by Robh Ruppel at Illux Con this last week a lot of students are really getting the "Golden Nuggets of Wisdom"of painting,film and illustration. I'll be giving my report on Illux Con 4 this weekend.
It was great to see and meet James and I hope we can get him to come down to PAFA and do the same thing.