Ideals to Action

Seated figure (study). Conté crayon, charcoal on heavyweight paper. 14" x 17"
Seated figure (study). Conté crayon, charcoal on heavyweight paper. 14″ x 17″

Finally finished this figure study I started ~ 14 weeks ago. This work captures the naked likeness of my favorite model, hanging out in the sunny corner of my makeshift studio space. Since completing the study, I have moved on from this composition to a few other rapid figure drawings/paintings, which has been great practice in formal figure drawing skills. During a recent chat with the model pictured here, the topic of school words came up. I have not the faintest idea about my university’s motto(s) or words; in the past eight years I’ve attended six schools and feel decidedly disconnected from any alma mater. In contrast, his school experience was more Hogwartsian, and part of the university’s legacy is in its words: ideals to action.

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Returns

Base painting for Returns
Base painting for Returns

Another semester of nursing school is slowing down, which means I’m finding oodles of time to catch up on my oft-neglected creative projects! I’m celebrating my return to art with some abstract work in this playful piece.

This is a re-worked old abstract piece that I got sick of (see left), looking at it for a few years hanging in my bathroom. The colors were too muted, the paint accumulation too thin. In the end, I let remnants of the old piece peek through the new one.

Study: Eros Bendato Screpolato

Study. Charcoal on heavyweight drawing paper. 14 x 17"
Study. Charcoal on heavyweight drawing paper. 14 x 17″

This monumental cranium, titled Eros Bendato Screpolato (Bandaged, Cracked Eros) by Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj has rolled onto the front lawn of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (now referred to as “The MEE-yah”). Our plan to sketch a naked human in the drawing studio fell through, so we spent an afternoon on the wet museum grass, sketching Eros’ bandaged cranium in bronze instead. Continue reading

Life Drawing in the Home Studio

Study, Pregnant Woman. Charcoal and conte crayon on drawing paper. 14″ x 17″

First live model session in my home studio setup was very successful. I kept thinking this must be one of the only occasions during which one can acceptably sustain eye contact with another human for more than a minute. Or even several seconds.

A Sense of Place

In-progress Portrait. Acrylic on canvas. 11 x 14

Truth: it is hard to find time for painting in the crush of full time work and full time school. Fortunately, another truth exists: the harder it is to find time to paint, the more I want to do it, and I fantasize about long hours with my easel, surfaces, brushes… Knowing my capacity for hedonism, I shouldn’t worry about losing my craft. But starting this piece, I was more than a little wobbly getting back to the process. For now, this is just an under painting, and I’ll be working on layering in richer color, more exacting line work, a truer depiction of my friend in the foreground. The stiff, scary Chucky Doll face I unintentionally rendered will need to be worked over. The distinctive bridges in the background create movement and ground the portrait in Minneapolis and the Mississippi. Continue reading

One From the Vaults: Seated Figures

Imaginary Figures. Acrylic and charcoal on canvas. 36" x 48"
Imaginary Figures. Acrylic and charcoal on canvas. 36″ x 48″

A larger painting from the same time that I was working on “Man With Drapes” and other figurative work inspired by Egon Schiele and some other artists I was thinking about a lot at the time. In this one, my approach was high energy but I admittedly wasn’t thinking through the content, and was not referencing any real models. I think the goal of this piece was more or less to figure out a way of working.

Untitled (Absence Study)

Untitled (Absence Study). Acrylic and charcoal on canvas. 16" x 20"
Untitled (Absence Study). Acrylic and charcoal on canvas. 16″ x 20″

After all these years
Does the ocean seem any wider?
Can your thoughts go back that far
Across the tracks and shorelines?

And all the times you crossed
Did you make the crossing for me? Was it real?
I guess there is no difference now, where the water’s so deep, and
Your feet can’t touch the sunken sand

Mega Kicks!

Er qi jiao
Er Qi Jiao. Acrylic, ink, graphite on canvas. 8″ x 10″

O Feiyue shoe, how can I express my love for you? These paintings are about the ubiquitous canvas and rubber martial arts shoe. My goal is to have four of them to arrange in a set. I have gone through so many pairs of these things since I started martial arts training, wearing holes into the soles on cement, replacing material with duct tape and random extra shoelaces, clumsily teetering around while wearing a fresh pair.

I suppose these qualify as a type of still life, but the Feiyue shoe does not like to be still. No, the shoe demands the dynamic! In accordance with the shoes’ wishes, the paintings recall Kung Fu kicking techniques. An appropriate set title is thus, Mega Kicks! These shoes were made for kicking, and that’s just what they’ll do. And, one of these days, these shoes are going to kick all over you. This post is done.

Xuan Zi. Acrylic and graphite on canvas. 8" x 10"
Xuan Zi. Acrylic and graphite on canvas. 8″ x 10″