Saturday, January 31, 2009

Drinking and Drawing and Jamming

Friday before last I was at one of the Borrego Springs night spots (is there more than one?) and this group was playing.  Their name is TNT.  An excellent bar band and a very nice bunch of guys.  As they were playing, I was sketching, and then we got to talking during the break and then they even let me sit on the drums for a few songs!   A big thank you to Tom, T.J., and Michael for a fun night!

To Borrego people:  February 20 they will be at Carlee's.  9 o'clock.  Check em out!

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Sketchbook Dump

Some color portraits I found.  These are all from photographs.

Charles Mingus.  2003

Some Lady With A Hat.  2003

Black Francis.  2003

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Obama Day!

Recently released footage: President, Vice President, Secretary of State and First Lady departing from the inauguration ceremony.

An award winning animated gif. Not mine.

Happy Obama Day!

Obviously I'm happy about this day. And more than that, I'm happy that my country is happy about this day.

Our country has been in a wilderness for so long. Today feels like a homecoming.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, R.I.P.

As long as I've been studying art and painting I've loved his work.  He was one of the greats.

And while I've admired his work for a very long time, and I'm very much aware of his artistic beginnings and his famous father, only now that I'm reading the obituaries am I aware of some of the 'controversies' of his life.  He apparently was not universally beloved by the art critics of his day and apparently when Helga was undressed she did more than just stand still for Andrew (or did she?).  Regarding the former, the average art critic wouldn't have a single bad word to say about a painter like Wyeth if it weren't for the fact that millions of dollars are riding on various artistic trends and it seems that in the art world a new movement can't be pushed forward except at the expense of an old one.  And as for Helga... so what?

The real question is...

Who was the last painter that anyone cared about enough to get the cover of Time magazine?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Movie Club: The Duellists

Occasionally, I'm going to write about movies I watch and I watched a good one the other night. Ridley Scott's first feature, The Duellists, from 1977.

The plot is adapted from a Joseph Conrad short story where two officers in Napoleans army challenge each other to a series of never ending duels. Harvey Keitel is Feraud, a being of unstoppable rage, and Keith Carradine plays D'Hubert, a man of unmovable honor.

Harvey Keitel is such a fun actor to watch. He has a very interesting face and his physicality is tremendous. When Feraud is not dueling he is dead, lifeless but when he sees his rival he comes alive. You can almost hear him begin to salivate.

Keith Carradine is equally strong as D'Hubert a man who cares nothing for dueling but whose honor will never allow him to reject a challenge.

According to the dvd special features the budget was 900,000. Even in 1977 this was not much money. No sets were built, they couldn't afford it. Luckily Europe is old and beautiful and Ridley Scott and his cinematographer found some old and beautiful locations and photographed them with an extraordinary eye for light and shadow.

The elaborate costumes of period films can sometimes keep me at arm's length if it feels like the actors are just playing 'dress up' but here the amazingly detailed costumes really pull you into the world of an army officer in the age of Napolean, with all of its customs, rules, and fashions. And as the story progresses, so do the customs and the fashions, showing us a world that is alive and changing along with the characters.

The story is crisp and compelling and it poses some great questions about the nature of honor. The duel scenes are just as exciting as you'd hope and yet different from any other swordfights I've seen in movies. And as you can see from these screen caps the whole thing is just gorgeous. Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Entering The Borrego Art Scene

Been in Borrego four months now and major objectives are beginning to be fulfilled.

Before I arrived I knew I wanted to teach a drawing class and last week I finished my first set of six classes.

Here's me with three of my students. From left: Sandy, Lucy, and Marjorie. I couldn't have asked for better partners in my first adventure in teaching than these three and all the others who attended.

Here are some samples of class work from Sandy and Lucy. Before this class Sandy had a little bit of experience with drawing. Lucy had no art training.  They (and I) were quite pleased with what they were able to accomplish in a relatively short period of time.

Sandy.  Contour drawing.

Lucy.  Negative Space drawing.

Sandy.  Negative Space drawing.

Sandy.  Interior.

Lucy.  Profile portrait (of Marjorie)

Lucy.  Tonal Portrait.

Sandy.  Tonal Portrait.

Another goal I had before I arrived was showing my work in the local gallery, The Borrego Art Institute. As of tonight, I've done that too.

Two of my acrylic landscapes were accepted to the Annual Borrego Springs Community Show which will run until the end of the month.

This one is there right now.

This one isn't there any more.  It sold at the reception tonight.

I'm so thankful I've had these opportunities to practice my art in the community and its all because everyone I've met has been so open and welcoming. By the end of the month I'll be teaching more classes. The next art show is in February. I hope this is just the beginning.