Seems weird to slam down a lot of ink, only to wash most of it off again, but that’s what I’m doing! Only a little predictability in it.
The first picture (above) scares me! You too?
It sort of feels like I’m painting every ant! Didn’t expect to be stuck on these peewees so long, but I’m just going with it. I’ll tell you what too – I’m constantly amazed at what can be done with just a ragged brush and black ink.
These are only quick studio snapshots. I’m about to start another big round of scanning. Hopefully soon(ish), I’ll be able to upload 150 – 200 new hi-res images of the year’s work to this website!
If you make enough pictures of ants, their heads start looking like little skulls! Makes sense really – they have exoskeletons, so their skulls really are on the outside, and the basic mechanics are pretty similar too, except for side mounted mandibles.
Oh, and it’s pretty fun to make ’em look scary. THEY ARE – or would be if they weren’t so peewee.
You KNOW how much I like messing with a picture, but do do it, I often must start with a much more straight forward version, just to sort out basic moves.
I didn’t use to like these beginner images that much, but now I’m beginning to realize just how hard I can lean on no nonsense mark making too. There is power in these, without too much viewer challenge.
Don’t worry – more odd ants are on deck, so you’ll see them soon too!
When my brush sort of wanders off on it’s on, as happened in the next two pictures, I’m left trying to catch up and thinking, ” It’s so weird that it’s going like this!” Good moments – want more of ’em!
Between now and next Spring, I’m gonna switch back and forth between more bugs, Norway and perhaps some Montana views. It should keep me busy!
Been looking at earlier work. Well, not that much earlier – these two are just a few years old. Below is the last picture in a series I did of Mt. Haynes (Yellowstone National Park). Those big trees are as I remember them before the huge 1988 fire. Their trunks still lie on the ground, and I leaned against one as I began the picture above, which was the first one.
I’m not sure I’ll paint that mountain again, but I still visit it every time I get back into that country!
CLICK EACH PICTURE TO SEE IT MORE CLOSELY – WORTH IT!
So simple – yet it’s not! I wish I understood this stuff better. Would like to know how or why something turns out especially nice.
Quick studio shots this morning of my latest round of ants! They’re going strange places. Wonder how many I’ll end up painting?
Not so sure about the next one, but there’s something going on in it, so I’ll keep it around until I figure it out – – –
And this one looks SO MUCH BETTER upside down! Hey, I’ll take it – I’m a picture maker, not a purist!
Have had no time to post – and very little for painting either. Just an hour or two, here and there. No time to waste – or even wonder what to paint! So, more ants, slammed down and they work or fail fast!
Worked hard and too long yesterday, so I ate too late. Didn’t want to go to bed on a tummy that was still working, so I did a little more ink slinging instead.
Late night rounds – especially when I’m really tired – can be pretty interesting. If I’m too pooped to care much about how things go, the unexpected happens. That can be good – – – or perplexing.
The first image (above) fell off my brush so fast it left me stunned. Wow – THAT was fun! The 2nd one (just below) is also pretty wonderful, though I feel it might need just a bit more? Maybe antennae or an eye? Was too pooped to risk more last night, and this morning I’m still wondering if I should just leave things be.
The last picture is weird. Started out incredibly well, but then the front end went astray. Too much so? Is it a keeper, or close but no go? Input welcomed.
Here are quick studio snapshots of a large ant(?) and two smaller studies. All were done in furious outbursts, punctuated by periods of perplexed assessment. Kinda fun, aren’t they? And kinda weird too.
Where are these coming from? They’re a lot like fossils, but also look a bit spray painty – like street art. Thats a complete surprise – about as far away from my work and sensibility as I would have thought you could get. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m certainly headed – – – on?
Done this past summer in Montana. The view has such distance out there – you can see whole storm systems trailing their rain skirts across the plains. AND in the picture below, the accidental ink drip became the PERFECT black lightening bolt!
– – – Quick snapshots of pictures underway – – – two dragonflies that look sorta fossil-like and artifacty, a Norwegian Mountain that must be finished – AND another monster ant. But I think I’ll turn my back on Mr. Monster today; he’s giving me ‘tude, trying to make me take his legs all the way to the floor. Not set up for that. Well, poop.
Just took my new studio set up for a BIG picture test drive today – IT WORKED!
Did this weirdo ant – but does it maybe have a little bit of a cow skull for a head? Hey, this is HUGE for ink – over 3′ x 5′! Oh man, the logistics and physical effort required have certainly scaled up too. Fun challenge though. I’m oddly thrilled with this picture.
HEY WAIT – I never told you about my major studio re-fit! Wow, okay, we need to chat – – –
The goal was to adapt my modest workspace so I can tackle large work, hopefully up to 8 FEET in length. To manage it, I had to identify space that was either overlooked or that could handle overlapping uses. Here’s my construction mess at the beginning of day 2:
Now, check out the photo below, of my new studio – – – isn’t my loooooooong worktable wonderful!
There’s ALWAYS plenty of unused air space in any room. That tower of shelves in the middle is on casters, so it can be easily moved around. It also has a small foot print for the great amount of paper and work it can store. The table that butts up against it is now totally free! And do you see my printing press? When in use, the bed actually rolls through and hangs over that same table. See what I mean by overlapping space?
In addition, I’ve added several new shelves, including two wide ones on which I can stack big work. There are three ways to back up in the room, so that I can look at and assess pictures underway, and the lighting is adjustable to any situation.
It’s a pretty cozy studio, but it’s also highly functional. I’m happy in it!
Recently rediscovered this fragment of a Yellowstone picture I discarded 9 years ago. So glad I kept it. I’ve come far, but I see that even then I was headed this way!
Particularly fine moves in this one!
It’s wonderful when a mark fresh off the brush has real character, and then I manage to add even more – like in the big, black, loopy petal at top. Did it with a beat up, split brush. Then, as the ink was drying, I pressed and ground into it to create gritty-gray patches.
Here’s a closer look:
I did quite a few storm cloud & rain studies this past August. Somehow, this seems like a quiet picture, yet it has an ominous undertone! I like that. Want to do more ambitious pictures of this sort – perhaps over the Winter?
I may have shown you a quick snapshot of this, but here’s a hi-res scan of one of my best Montana storm cloud paintings. Done in my motel room because, well, how can I paint with ink in the middle of the rain?
Am still in the midst of my big studio retrofit, but new ink slinging is not far off now. Gonna be showing you stuff, so keep an eye out!
These things are exploding outta me! It’s thrilling and exhausting, because it’s frantic and fast – no time to think, barely enough to keep swinging!
AND IT’S BIG WORK. The b’fly (above) is almost 5 FEET WIDE! Not set up for this ink slinging on this scale, although clearly, I better change that.
I won’t touch the one above – it’s done. Will try to finish at least the first of the moths below. The 2nd one may not make it. We’ll see.
I’m always getting better at creating the illusion of surface character. The mountain view above went a bit nuts on me – yep, it sure did. Geez, you might not even be able to tell what it is, but even so, I’m kinda thrilled by it. And all that seeming texture you see is actually painted or printed. You wouldn’t think it, but the picture’s surface is utterly smooth.
You can’t say that about the next picture though! The surface of that grainy, crumbly old mountain in the mist is horrifically beat up. I’m not certain the sheets would stay together if I hung ’em up! For the version I’m showing you, I’ve digitally mounted them on a brown, deckled edged sheet (did it in Photoshop). I’ll probably have to something like this for real to keep this picture together.
If you spend a little time looking close at my pictures, you’ll discover that their surfaces are often very complex – a world within the world I’m portraying. I like altering my paper. It’s as if my pictures end up being as much in their sheets as on them!
I’m pretty much always at work somewhere within a long line of paintings & drawings. This was the one I did right after the mountain view I showed you yesterday. You can tell it was the next step. That’s how it goes with me – one picture leads to another – and ever on. No wonder there are stacks of work all over the place up here, in various stages of completion or crisis!
I’m learning all the time. Now I know that textures/marks/movements that you can see through are beguiling. Being able to look into the stacked up layers makes a picture seem more real to me, as if I’ve got it right all the way through.