Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 11

True story:

I was near the end of a painting job at my parents' house today, when I was stepping backwards down a ladder. I reached back with my right foot to locate the floor, instead finding the top of a paint bucket. Luckily the lid was sealed tight, but unlucky for me my foot caught the very edge of the bucket . . . which tipped. And I went down. Hard. Flat on my back. As I hit the floor, a very loud "UUUUHHHHHHHH!" came from my body and I could almost immediately feel all of the wind knocked out of me!

Generally speaking, I hate for anyone to worry about me. Since both of my parents and one of my daughters were in the next room, I instinctively yelled a breathless "I'M ALRIGHT!" in what seemed like the exact moment that I hit the floor. Long story short, I'm appreciative that my mom rushed to make sure I was fine. My daughter Katey, on the other hand, sure enjoyed the laugh that I gave her!

I love the fact that art is such a powerful storytelling device. This very quick sketch is a nice document of an event that we've gotten some good laughs out of as the evening went along. But I've gotta say, my butt hurts from landing so hard on it!!

#11 October 31, 2010,  Ebony pencil, pencil
Sounds: Gremlins (Special Edition)
on TV (Halloween night!)

Day 10

At this point, I suppose it goes without saying that I love Halloween...

#10 October 30, 2010,  Ebony pencil on paper
Sounds: Murderdolls, Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 9

"The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I won't say just how I found my inspiration today, but I absolutely love the feeling that I get when an idea comes to me. This "A-Ha!" moment is pretty moving, when you just KNOW what an artwork will look like before you even start it. Ironically, I did make some changes while the creative process played out, but that might just have left me with another idea for a future portrait...

#9 October 29, 2010,  Ebony pencil on paper
Sounds: Black Sabbath, Greatest Hits 1970-1978

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 8

Other than my art and the people closest to me, the one thing that has consumed much of my time in the past several months has been running. In fact, in this calendar year alone, I have ran more miles than I have at any time in the past. I thought it was fitting to document that passion in at least one of my self-portraits.

This portrait also marks a huge departure from the previous works in this project. It's obviously the first one in color, and it is the first in which I intentionally went abstract. For inspiration I looked to one of my favorite sources: the illustrations in childrens books. In this case, I specifically looked at the work of someone I consider to be one of the best: Jon Scieszka. While my finished product is really nothing like his illustrations, sometimes it's nice to look at other artists' work, just to have a place to start.

#8 October 28, 2010,  Mixed media (spray paint, acrylic, collaged items) on bristol board
Sounds: The Dead Milkmen, Death Rides a Pale Cow: Greatest Hits

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 7

Today's drawing was a lot of fun. As I looked through some of my older nonrepresentational drawings, I was "drawn" to (pun kind of intended) the loose, sketchy, almost agressive style of these pieces. They were made with charcoal and a great deal of erasing, and the style could best be described as "stream of consciousness." Obviously a self-portrait has a subject, which is prohibitive of simply drawing what comes to mind. While this drawing is more controlled than those that were my inspiration today, I did strive to keep this drawing fairly loose. This is a concept that I will definitely revisit and expand upon as the project continues...

# 7 October 27, 2010,  Charcoal, conte and eraser on paper
Sounds: The Beatles, 1967-1970 (Blue) Remastered


As I stated in the post for Day 2, I am a huge music fan. If you notice, I have been listing what music I've listened to while making each day's drawing. These are also links which lead to where you can listen to samples of the music and even purchase your own copy if you like!

Day 6

I'm a big fan of drawing on various toned papers. For today's portrait, I used a common brown paper grocery bag with charcoal and conte crayons.

To provide a basic definition, any art material that comes in stick form is called a crayon. Most people automatically think of children's wax "colors" when they hear the term crayon, but it's actually very inclusive of many different types of drawing materials. I generally compare conte crayons to charcoal, with the main difference being that conte is a harder material, therefore it's less messy - and this makes the medium much easier to control.

#6 October 26, 2010,  Charcoal and conte on brown paper bag
Sounds: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 5

I used another of my favorite drawing tools on yesterday's portrait, and the experience led me to today's piece...and two thoughts.

First, I am a strong believer in serendipity: things happening as they may. Because of my work on the drawing from the day before, I was prompted to do the one today. In a sense, "nothing comes from nothing" because it seems like more often than not, one thing really does lead to another.

Secondly, I should probably mention which art material it is that I love so much. It is the eraser. Far too often people believe that an eraser is nothing more than a "mistake fixer." In reality, MOST of today's self-portrait was done with an eraser. It is a challenging process because the artist has to work in reverse by removing darker tones to reveal the lighter ones, but the finished product is more than worth it!

#5 October 25, 2010,  Charcoal and eraser on paper
Sounds: Butch Walker, Sycamore Meadows

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 4

As I wrote yesterday's post, I immediately had the idea of what today's portrait would look like. It's a pretty fabulous feeling when an idea strikes you like that. I often say that art and art-making meets various needs for individuals, and one of the most important to me is experiencing the rush of creating something that didn't exist before. To put it simply, sometimes it's like an addiction that needs to be fed - the NEED to make art. And I felt like I NEEDED to make this drawing.

I made this drawing with Ebony pencil and graphite stick, which are two of my favorite drawing mediums. Although it's far too soon to predict, I would make a bet that I'll use the Ebony pencil more than any other medium for this project - it's so versatile that an artist can create many very interesting effects with it.

#4 October 24, 2010,  Graphite stick and Ebony pencil on paper
Sounds: The Rainmakers,Flirting With The Universe

Day 3

I think it's interesting how occasionally we start with one thing and it becomes something else. Today's drawing started simply as a few marks with a blue ballpoint pen on standard printer paper. One thing led to another and I quickly realized that I was doing this day's self-portrait!

It's probably important to note that I am a strong believer that a self-portrait does not have to be an exact likeness of the artist. I didn't use a mirror or photo reference to do this drawing, but it is most definitely me. A self portrait can be, as this entire project will demonstrate, any number of things...

#3 October 23, 2010,  Ballpoint pen on paper.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 2

I know it’s a cliché for an artist to say this, but I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t make art. I started with the same kinds of drawings that every other kid does, but became more focused as I got older. I think it’s one of those things where a person is kinda good at something, so they do it more and more, thus making themselves even better. In the culture that is elementary school, there’s always the kid who is the fastest runner, one who’s the best reader (kids care about strange things sometimes!), and there’s always the best artist or two. This is a place where I was able to shine, and it continued as I grew older.

Music is and always has been a major part of my life. In fact, I had big plans to pursue a career in music – hell, let’s be honest: I wanted to be a rock star! Those plans came to a grinding halt when I suffered the unfortunate realization that I have little to no musical ability! Therefore, I make visual art, but I continue to have a great deal of musical influence on my subject matter. I find loads of inspiration from song lyrics that paint amazing pictures in the mind. My favorites are well-known song writers such as Tom Petty and Jackson Browne, but I find myself even more drawn to fringe artists such as the Avett Brothers, Jeff Black, and Butch Walker.

Regarding the visual arts, I am influenced first and foremost by the art of Rene Magritte, although I cannot overlook the influence of Salvador Dali. I am also influenced greatly by many of the so-called low-brow artists of today such as Mark Ryden, David Stoupakis, Shepard Fairey, and on and on.

Most of my art is left open to interpretation by the viewer as I rarely provide meanings behind what I do. I would much rather the viewer decided what my work means to them instead of force-feeding an interpretation to them.

I undertook this project as a means to continue my exploration of the self-portrait in a more focused manner. To paraphrase Magritte: “Life obliges me to do something, so I make art.”

#2 October 22, 2010, Pen on paper

Sounds: Allison Moorer, Crows

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 1

I have always been intrigued by the self-portrait simply because there are so many facets to them.  Take Rembrandt: he made over 300 self-portraits in his lifetime.  When viewed together, they create a fascinating document of not only one artist's career, but also the physical changes of one man as he lived his life.

Often times the layperson will say that the self-portrait is the product of an egotistical or self-centered artist, and I suppose sometimes that's the case.  But if an artist is interested in capturing the human form and emotions, I ask what better model is there than ourselves?  We don't have to ask the model to alter the pose (because we ARE the model), we can control the facial expression, and we don't have to pay the model!

Taking all of this into consideration, I decided to undertake this project.  The self-imposed guidelines are simple: in a year's time, I will create a self-portrait every day, which will be defined as midnight until the following midnight. The portrait from one day will be posted the next day.  The art media is unlimited and will be used at my own discretion.  Simple, yes?!

#1 October 21, 2010, Ebony pencil on paper.
Sounds: The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You
_ _ _
This project begins on the day of my daughter Katey's 15th birthday.  Although it's merely a coincidence, I think it's a good day to start this off.  Happy Birthday sweetie - I love you!