The two accidents arising from the original design flaw in the Boeing 737 MAX are worth remembering for the terrible impact they had on the victims and surviving friends and family, and this piece is meant to honor their loss. Ongoing issues with production of this particular aircraft suggest it’s still not out of the woods.
Candidly, I’m not especially happy with the technical aspects of this piece, particularly the plane itself (which is not true to the proportions of the actual aircraft.) The victim’s family on the ground of one of the crash sites and the engine wreckage both have a bit too much ink on the page as well, and I wish I’d gone a bit lighter there. All that said, the overall look is decent, and there are some bright spots (like the duck/toucan, and the hidden moth) that are very redemptive and ameliorate my mild dissatisfaction.
This piece was created as part of my preparation for my exhibit with Michelle Carlson at the 20 North Gallery. It’s part of a set (along with Giant Sucking Sound) that’s designed to draw attention to the crushing long-term effects that free trade has had on blue-collar workers in the US: manufacturing work moving overseas has led to chronic underemployment and unemployment in the rust belt, which in turn has led to despair, disability, and drug abuse. This is reflected in the working hand, the idle hands, and the handful of pills.
As far as the technical aspects go, I’m thrilled that my ability to draw hands (which are notoriously difficult) seems to be getting better: I can see there’s plenty of room for improvement, but I’m happy with how these came out. The other elements in this piece also turned out reasonably well, and I like how the more whimsical elements, such as the distorted face and the striped-vs-spotted monsters facing off around the clawed leg, bring a bit of balance to the heavy subject matter.
This is the second piece (along with Hands Across America) that was created as part of my preparation for the Falling Into Place exhibit with Michelle Carlson at the 20 North Gallery. It’s meant to draw attention to the decimation of American blue-collar jobs resulting from the mass movement of manufacturing overseas as a result of free-trade policies adopted in the 1990’s.
There’s a lot about this piece that I like from a technical perspective. There are very few mistakes, and those that are there are not obvious. The face in pieces is that of a very close friend, and I like that shattered-mirror-like effect so much that I’ll undoubtedly use it again in future work. All of the realism elements came out really well, and many of the abstractions harbor traits requiring some intellectual effort to interpret, which is intentional. This one and its companion piece mentioned above are two of my personal favorites thus far.
This is an unusual piece for me, in that I deviated from my usual approach of first subdividing the page into sections suitable for individual micro-drawings. I instead opted to ‘go with the flow’ of the patterns and elements that evolved in the piece, and I think the results are handsome; I will likely repeat this approach in a future piece. It was also created over an extended period of time: I found it in my unfinished-works pile earlier this year, and decided it was worth pursuing. The earliest portions probably date back over a year.
There are a lot of fun aspects to this piece that came out well. I’m particularly pleased with the tree and droplet, which was non-trivial to do at such as small scale. The title comes from the brush at the bottom and to the right of center, which turned out to be serendipitous (I was struggling with how to title this one until I saw it and realized the potential.) There are a couple of stray marks I might clean up down the road, but I’ve received enough marvelous compliments on this one that I’m calling it a winner.
This piece is one I uncovered in a box of art supplies I’d left sitting for a while (as in years), so I don’t have a precise date of completion, however I’d ballpark it at 2015. It’s one of a series of small pieces I did to keep my hands busy while I thought about a problem. It has one or two very minor flaws, but the precision is very good to my eye, and I enjoy the humor of the squirrel in one corner and the nuts in another, hence the title.
This piece was created for the UNDISCLOSED exhibit at the Toledo School for the Arts. The exhibit is a fundraiser for the school in which patrons purchase tickets, then randomly draw a number from a fishbowl at the event that determines the order in which they can choose a piece. The artists sign their works on the back of the piece; hence the “undisclosed” part, which puts all of the artists on a level playing field in the selection process.
I did this one in a style that’s different from my signature black-and-white, gravity-agnostic, news-driven pieces for the purpose of obfuscating who did it, and I think I was successful. The blend of gouache at the bottom was a last-minute addition at the suggestion of my daughter, and I’m pleased with how that came out; it creates depth where there wasn’t before. The top was surprisingly demanding to create with precision (freehand is hard!), and the entire piece took a good eighteen hours or so. The foremost row of crystals are outlined with Gelly Roll’s Metallic pens and filled with their Glaze pens, which gives them a three-dimensional aspect and makes them glisten as the viewer shifts their perspective. Those in the middle are filled with the Moonlight pens, and the rear-most were done with the Derwent Inktense pencils, the marks of which were then ‘washed’ with a wet brush. The purpose of using the different types of pens and pencils was also to create a sense of depth in the crystal array, but I can’t decide how effective that was – What do you think?
This is a piece I was honored to have been invited to create for the Undisclosed 2018 Art Show, a fundraiser to benefit the Toledo School for the Arts. TSA is a non-profit charter institution based in the heart of downtown Toledo that provides a rigorous scholarly curriculum within the context of an arts-intensive environment, and Undisclosed is an annual event that regularly raises over $10,000 for the school. (Disclosure: My daughter is a student.)
The unifying theme from which this piece draws its name is a celebration of the explosion of African American influence on the mainstream pop-culture of America denoted by the release of the film earlier this year. I’m thrilled with many aspects of the end result, notably the depiction of the Black Panther costume; Wakanda as it appeared in one of the original comics; and the roaring panther. I’m also especially happy with some of the abstract elements, such as the five-pointed star-like shape near the bottom, and the factory/tree combination that’s a passing nod to the intricate relationship between our work and our world. The leafy structures near the center are a depiction of the leaves of the Umbrella Thorn Acacia, a plant that’s native to the African savannah in which the mythical nation of Wakanda is placed. (If I’d had more time, I might have spent some extra effort sharpening those up a bit.) It was also great fun creating the ‘Wham! Pow! Oof! Bang!’ bubble, especially considering how often I saw those in the TV shows of my youth.
The sharp-eyed viewer will notice this piece is not signed! That’s by design, in accordance with the rules of the show. The event attendees get to choose pieces without knowing by whom they were created until their selections are made and they can see the rear of the piece. Another subtlety is this piece is mounted to a wooden base which allows it to be hung any-side-up, at the discretion of the owner.
This piece is the second in a series on the theme of leaves, which I mostly produced to test the Fudebiyori pens I acquired recently. This one was a lot of work to create, especially as I had to go over most of the white lines twice (and then do the typical back-and-forth cleanup), however I think the end results are solid. I really like the Black Black paper – It’s amazingly uniform in color, especially compared to the Strathmore, which is one of the reasons I left bits of it showing through. I also minimized over-use of the colored pens on this one, to try to preserve more of the sheen of the metallic additives in the ink; that was largely successful. I still haven’t gotten the time to set up high-quality photos of my work with truly accurate colors the way I’d like, but I’m hoping to get that issue resolved soon.
I finally got a chance to do more art! Since I took a position last fall as a consultant for Improving, my evenings have been almost entirely occupied with user’s group meetings and technical events, which has severely constrained my drawing time. My apologies that the blog has gotten stale as a result.
This was a piece I did to test my new Fudebiyori pens that I picked up at the Art Supply Depō last weekend. The title is Leaves I, because I’m planning on doing a conceptually similar piece on a bigger, blacker piece of paper next. I learned a few lessons that will help with the next one. For example, using multiple coats of the Fudebiyori makes the color more intense, but takes the shine out of the ink (I’m guessing that the mica particles, which is what’s usually in these things that’s responsible for the metal-like sheen, sink to the bottom layer, but I don’t have a microscope for a closer look.) And the Uniball ink will melt some of the Fudebiyori colors, which makes it surprisingly hard to maintain the integrity of the white border lines. Overall, though, I think this one is technically decent and has a good balance of colors. I also suspect it will look really snappy once it’s framed, which I intend to do.
This is the second piece in the Swamp Things Collection, which I created in response to a call for artists from the Art Supply Depō in Bowling Green, Ohio. All of the creatures pictured in the collection are native to the Great Black Swamp region, and are not drawn to scale relative to one another. I’d originally planned three pieces, but I ran out of time before the deadline, so only the first two were submitted. I’m still planning on creating the third for posterity.
I wasn’t initially happy with this piece. You wouldn’t necessarily know it just by looking at it, but it’s production fell well outside my normal approach. Aside from there being no abstract components, I (mostly) drew the frames to fit the flora and fauna, so I could draw the entire corpus. Usually, I start by creating a series of frames in arbitrary shapes and sizes, then fill them in with material (which is why, in other works of mine, many of the realism elements are trimmed to fit.) It was surprisingly disconcerting to work this way, and led me to make a number of substantial mistakes. They are disguised to the best of my ability, but aren’t completely invisible, and might require further work. There’s also far more unused white space in the frames than I’d normally like to leave available. And to be be candid, I added the title at the last second in an effort to meet the submission deadline, rather than draw another animal in the corner. I probably won’t take that approach again in the future, though it works reasonably well here.
However, on balance, I think it’s decent overall. The individual plants and animals (which were mostly chosen based on the delightfulness of their names) are about as good as I can make them, at least at this point in my drawing career, and that’s pleasing to me. It was exciting, if a bit nerve-wracking, to be creating pieces to submit to the judgement of artists for whom I have a great deal of respect. I don’t know if my submissions will get accepted, but I don’t have any regrets about putting in the effort.