Monthly Archives: April 2010

Moving Along…


Things are progressing well enough, and I’m reaching the point of over saturation with this piece.  There comes a time in every painting that the interest level begins to wane and you begin to start thinking about the next piece.  Well I’m there now with this and want to finish it by Sunday.  I think I have been working on this for nearly four weeks.  Too long!

I’ve spent considerable time on the watch, which proportionally doesn’t seem like much but it seems to consume a lot of my time and I’m barely half way done with it.  I’m also beginning to notice that the face seems lop-sided: being too narrow between what will be the six and nine o’clock numbers.  This of course was planned due to the viewing angle, but is seems I’ve overcompensated for the circular distortion.  I hope it is forgivable enough to not be noticed, I know it is beyond adjustment so I will have to live with it.

In addition to extensive watch attention, I have darkened the backdrop map with some more Naples Yellow and Cadmium Orange to richen it more and add a bit more contrast to the green of the book.  I’ll probably add another wash or two more and re-outline the map text before I call it finished.  I’ll need to spend some time blending out the book area south of the watch winder loop and get that blotch of green to look more like a faint brass reflection.  Last but not least I will finish the chain and then give this a long once over examination for details I may have missed.  Then I get to pull the border tape off and get her scanned in for prints.

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Reading Time


Reading Time: Watercolor Painting #8 18" x 24"

Reading Time is my eighth painting since taking up watercolors with a professional seriousness.  I must have close to thirty hours in this now, spanning right around three weeks.  Since this is closer to completion I will make no attempts to catch all of you up from the white piece of paper I started on.  What I will do is give you a short run down of this stage.

For the most part I have tried to work back to front, light to dark.  I do tend to wander around the painting and work on sections that seem to beg for the brush.  The watch is the central focus and I isolated it with tape and colorless masking fluid (Winsor & Newton) so I could drop in the big swath of green that is the book War of the Jewels by J.R.R. Tolkien.  After several layers and days of working the green, I pulled all the tape and masking off and went back in around the book deepening the values of the shadows and  most  of the lower left hand of the painting.

Finally I worked up enough courage to drop in the shadows of the pocket watch, using more Hookers Green mixed in with Indanthrene Blue.  I was worried about the reflected yellows I needed to get in over the greens just south of the watch and figured this would turn to mud if I made any attempt to lay in some yellows over the green layers. Fortunately I used Naples Yellow which is pretty opaque and had good coverage on top of the green.  So far so good there.

I will continue to build up the south side of the watch and darken the lines around it. I hope to finish that section and move back to the chain by tomorrow night.  Lastly the watch face and lid will finish this piece.  I will post more photos once I get to this stage.

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Earth Day


Another Earth Day is upon us, and for me it is a reminder of how delicate life as we know it is, or appears to be on our planet.  Yet for all the hype Earth Day generates, it quickly wears off and I seem to easily fall into the mindset of indifference.  It is not that I want to be, or don’t care about conservation or being greener, it is the fact that being green is not a way of life or a world view I possess right now.

So as the days roll by and Earth Day fades, I will move on to the multitudes of other things that occupy my life: work, family, chores, traffic, art, bills etc.  I won’t give much thought about tossing a can in the trash, or ordering a to-go cup in a styrofoam container.  I at least throw such things in the trash and don’t litter, isn’t that enough?  At the end of the day I don’t think the knee jerk recyclers will put much more of a dent into being greener than I will, especially if they buy a SUV that gets crap gas mileage.  I’m sure people well in the tree hugging/global warming/carbon footprint camps will scorn my words and tell me “doing your share does make a difference…” but in the end will it?

Look at the numbers going against my little contribution to being greener.  I’m a single individual living in a developed western nation of 306 some million? The far east has eight times as many people than the US alone and of that portion how many people are so informed about Earth Day and all the trappings that are associated with it?

Do foreign governments and corporations care enough to pay the higher price to be greener at the expense of profits, growth, gnp and their bottom lines?  Do they regulate like more developed nations in the west?  Not that the USA is by any stretch a role model, we do have regulatory measures in place and continue to push a green agenda upon ourselves, regardless of how diminished the impact will be considering this is not reciprocated in developing nations. We all know our consumption and waste per person exceeds everyone else’s on the planet,  so we should be taking the initiative and not pontificating the “greener” high ground when it suites our needs and ignore it when it does not.

With that said, in a world of six billion and growing, we are a thin slice of the population pie, a shrinking minority if I may.  Let’s assume we were to somehow completely eliminate pollution on American soil.  The pollution numbers would still rocket up, especially in developing nations and those without regulations, ability or willingness to make our presence here less destructive.  Is it fair to ask such things of nations going through the industrial growing pains we went through to get where we are today?

Either way time is not on our side.  How much time do we have left before something critical in the food chain breaks due to our hegemony on this planet? Maybe it will be the plankton in the ocean that will die off when the ocean temperatures rise 1.5 degrees F above what they are now and the fish that eat them lose their food source and so forth and so on?

I do believe we are standing on a precipice over a deep hole, held up by all that has been put here before our time as a species over tens if not hundreds of millions of years.  Yet we are unraveling the foundations of our existence because it is our nature to do so, and I doubt we will ever be a harmonious part of this planet.  Will we reach a breaking point in my life time? Will my children witness the fall of man? Who knows, I’m sure these same questions have been asked previously by those who have come and gone before me.

As arrogant a thought it is to think we can affect something such as the earth I honestly feel there is some truth in it.  We are helping certain processes along for better or worse, and the cycles of our climate, our solar system and life are going to go on with or without us.  We need to realize that we are along for the ride just like everything else living on this world, and we have to find a way to coexist with the other species before we make the journey itself impossible to sustain.  In the end, one way or another, a extinction event will occur and the entire surface of the planet will be ‘recycled’, plastic and all.

It would be nice to think others are contemplating what Earth Day means for them before the catch phrase fades away in the weeks to come.  Let’s hope that we can collectively figure out how to co-habitate our little rock in space in a way that is sustaining and benevolent, then we will at least not be guilty of self destruction by our polluting hand.

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Hello world!


To blog or not to blog?

Here I sit in a local coffee shop, a typical ‘plugged-in’ technocrat, latte in hand, headphones on, music going, hands resting on the keys of this metro macbook pro… wondering to myself; as if I have an audience, if anyone really cares about blogs?

I think this is what I would have called a journal back when I was a kid, or a diary if it was my sisters, except the intention here is quite the opposite isn’t it?  Perhaps down the road, days weeks or months from now, I will know the answer to blogging or not.  For now I will attend to this when I think of doing so and when there is something useful to add, which of course is subjective.

Moving on… Sam Madison is the newest edition to our family.  A 12 week old Australian Shepherd.  He is great and I am glad we made the decision to adopt him from our local humane society.  Already I am thinking of a painting I will be doing of little Sam.  Which brings me to my last point for today, Madison Art.

Madison Art is a comprehensive representation of my ambition to become a full time watercolor artist.  Prior to blogging today, I was posting updates and works in progress on facebook.  I do feel a blog is a more appropriate venue to discuss my art, offer some personal and reflective insights about my work and allow others to see some method to the madness that is art.   Hopefully others will glean something beyond the paint and paper.

John

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