Category Archives: General Posts

Great Ideas Never Die….(they just get copied)

Haunted Arkham Asylum by ArtistAbe (Courtesy of DeviantArt)
Haunted Arkham Asylum by ArtistAbe (Courtesy of DeviantArt)
I have to thank my wife for finding this great piece of work on Deviant Art, otherwise I would never have known about it. Now how awesome and creative is this? The artist has taken the Batman universe and thrown the characters into the familiar settings rendered by Disney Imagineers for the Haunted Mansion – I mean that is just sweet. Upon examining the artwork let’s first start with the characters. Everyone knows about Batman and Robin and the Joker, but the artist chose to include some lesser known names (lesser known to people who are not comic addicts of course). I love the fact that the artist added Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, and Clayface to these images. The layout is so creative and yet it holds to the settings laid out in the original haunted mansion paintings. Let’s talk about those paintings – they’re classic. If you have never been to Disneyland or Disney World then you need to find a way to get there because both my wife and I feel those places are two of the most relaxing and fun places to go. Sure they’re tourists traps but they also happen to be a great destination. Disney is known for their imaginative artwork and the Haunted Mansion attraction features some of the best works. The long portraits of some of the Mansion’s “guests – as they appeared in their mortal state” offer an idea of what you are in for when you walk into the mansion – spooky fun. My favorite portrait is the business man missing his pants and reading a letter while standing on a barrel of TNT. Yeah we all can relate to that can’t we? I hate it when I have to read something and I end up losing my pants while standing on a powder keg that is ready to launch me into orbit. What the artist did here was great. He kept the same setting – the TNT, the pants-less legs, and the pompous pose – and replaced it with the most popular Batman villain: the Joker. The facial expression is a great mimic to the original figure. Even the color scheme is on par with the tones used in the original although somehow they also manage to reveal their own identity. The artist has in fact taken two ideas that he was familiar with and created a derivative work that is all original. The Characters are strong resemblances to the animated series but just different enough that you can sense the artist license embedded in the canvas. I love this kind of art. I would hope the original Disney and DC Comics artists would not be offended by these works because this is simply a tribute to two great franchises that we are all familiar with.

Jump in the Wagon

My Radio Flyer Wagon circa early 1980's
The subject of my next painting is my radio flyer wagon from my childhood.
Well paint my wagon red – this studio easel is a real gem. It has been so easy and convenient to raise and lower the easel at will to accommodate my posture. Combined with my mahl stick, I find it easier to perform detailed work on my paintings. If you’re a serious artist then I suggest getting a studio easel for all of your creative needs – that’s all for the plugs.

The New project is due for release towards the start of April. If you have already seen the videos then you know what I am painting – an old Radio Flyer wagon – yeah I thought it was time for another still-life. Although in this case the still-life is being combined with a bit of landscape work.

So why an old child’s toy? Well this idea has been in my head for about a year. I was thinking about my childhood wagon and it was just rusting in a shed so why not immortalize it? I may restore it someday to let my unborn kids play with it, but if I can’t then this is the next best thing. I mean I’m really not all that great with tools anyways. Now I could paint it as a new wagon, but I really think wear and tear adds to the character of the any object – heck it adds to the character of anything.

This project has been a real test of hand-eye control. While I don’t need hyper-realism here, I really want the viewer to see and feel what I see and feel about this wagon. So in order to get the correct look and feel, I find myself using my old mahl stick to steady my hand throughout the process. The background was loose, but once I hit the wagon the progress slowed down. It simply requires a lot of attention to detail and a quick hand would fail to realize. Important subjects tend to take more time as they have a personal connection with me and this wagon is another symbol of a happy childhood that my Brother and I enjoyed so I want to share those good memories with the viewers. Patience and a steady hand are what’s called for here.

In my next post I should be finished with the wagon and talking about the final results. In addition to that I will be discussing my next project. This has been a busy month for me. At work I have been swamped with paperwork. I still need to do my taxes. Oh and most importantly….baseball is back! So yes I am playing on Sundays again! I love the springtime. I hope you can get outside and enjoy the warm sun wherever you are too. And now I am stepping outside for some spring air……

still life paintings teddy bear art

Great Things for a New Year

Happy Painting in 2013!
Oh Baby I can't wait to paint in 2013!
A very happy new year to you all! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. I always enjoy them myself, but I confess that I’m very happy to be done with them. I feel as we get older, the holidays seem to get more stressful. I’m worn down from all the running around from visiting people and shopping and moving living quarters. Wait, what was that last part?

Yep. I spent the last month moving into a house. I am now in larger quarters and I have a dedicated room for my painting endeavors. It really is a bad time of year to move – the holiday season, but we found a lovely place to move into and jumped on it. I cannot wait to start painting in my new studio. With my new studio easel. Wait, say that part again?

Oh yeah, didn’t I tell you? I ordered a new studio easel. This will be my first experience with a full fledged studio easel and I have to say I am bursting in anticipation of using it. Of course I have to get in the house first. I ordered it a couple of days ago and it’s due for delivery towards the end of the month. So that means there will be no new painting projects for a couple of more weeks. But alas, I due have my next painting in mind – a still life. I want to paint my Radio Flyer Wagon from my childhood. I actually have the original wagon I played with as a kid and I plan on painting it – rust and all. Should be a blast, but more on that in my next post. Back to the moving part – I will also now have my own taboret. What is a taboret? It’s a cabinet or dresser-like piece of furniture used in painting studios that holds supplies and can have an easel attached to it. In my case I am using my old baby dresser. No easel attached, but the drawers are long and deep and perfect for storing my ever-growing supply of art gadgets. My plan is to set up my studio with all of my new utilities and show you my photos. Will this improve my artwork? Well it won’t hurt that’s for sure. I now have space to walk around my painting and see it from different angles to better evaluate the process. I also have more lighting which is always a plus. So if my art doesn’t improve then it simply means I have skills that are lacking.

I will go into the details of my easel in a later post. For now the only thing I will mention is the model. It’s a Best University Easel. You can Google that and learn more about it. It looks slick and it was the best deal for the money I was willing to spend. The prices attached to some of these studio easels is staggering.

Alright, that is all from my world. Let me know how you are spending your new year. Also, if there is something you would like to see from my website or the youTube channel then please let me know. I want to entertain and educate whenever I can. Is the delivery truck here yet?

The Eyes Have It

Early Grisaille Painting of Joker and Doc Holliday Playing Poker
Early Grisaille Painting of Joker and Doc Holliday Playing Poker
Whoa….eyes can really grab your attention can’t they? They are such a confrontational part of the body. They reveal intentions and they hide motivation. So what better way to grab YOUR eyes than by painting some dramatic eyes in a portrait?

Say hi to the Joker. Yeah, that guy has a few screws loose. Heck he has a few screws, a dozen bolts, and a score of clamps loose. But what is behind that pasty white makeup and lime green greasy hair? He’s always smiling but is he really happy or just burying some deep torment? I think we know the answer to this one. He’s just freakin’ nuts and that’s about as far as you need to go with the psychoanalysis.

This is a midterm expression of the current painting that I will be wrapping up this week. The final product has changed slightly which you will soon see in full color. This is simply a side trip to gain another glimpse into how I approach a painting. Most likely when looking at this painting, you are immediately drawn to the eyes of the Joker. Yes, this was by design. With his crazy makeup and manic expression, what better way to tell the audience that this is no typical portrait. This is a journey into the darkness with a twist of just plain goofiness.

Contrast this with the eyes of Doc Holiday. What is he telling us by looking at us? He’s visibly annoyed to be sure. But perhaps he is also just a bit scared. I mean he is playing poker with…ahem…the Joker. The whole idea seems riddled with slapstick. But that is the intent here. To take two personalities with essentially nothing in common and shove them together into a scene of pure farce. It’s one of my new ideas: the movie mash-up.

Why mash-up movie characters? Well why not? We all watch them. We all love them. Why not bring together the characters we love and observe them in a “what if” scenario? I like to equate it to the idea of an all-star game. Let’s take baseball’s all-star game. The game is just an exhibition of the best of the best that satisfies the fan’s fantasy of what the best team on earth would look like. In reality you would never see such a juggernaut of a franchise. In this same manner, you will never see this collision of characters in a film or any other media – except on canvas. It satisfies my curiosity of what a universe that features a gun-slinging outlaw and a eccentric deranged clown would look like. I simply look for a trivial commonality, in this case: cards, and I bring them together in an arrangement of derangement. How do I get the derangement? The eyes have it.

The final product will be revealed next week and a new episode of Brushes and Bytes Video Blog will follow that. Though the updates have been sparse of late, that does not mean I have not been working hard to finish this piece. I also have new ideas coming down the pipeline so keep coming back for more updates. Time to wrap up this baby. Until next time…

The Time Monkey

I’m engaged in a new battle. It’s an epic battle we have all fought at one point in time. You’ve sensed him hiding in the shadows. You turn – he’s out of sight, but giggling in the dark. He wants to control you. He wants to rule you. He is persistent. He is relentless. He is…..the Time Monkey.

The Time Monkey
"You will never paint again!!! have a banana?"

Yes this rotten villain delights in grand theft. He wants to rob you. He desires not your money or your car. What he wants you cannot touch and yet you can feel it. What he wants you cannot see and yet you know it’s there. What he desires is your precious free time. I have met the monkey and I can say he is tenacious. He’s stealing my precious painting time from me. I have had less time to work on my projects these last few weeks and I am trying to organize my time better so I can continue to paint and complete my current projects. I want to complete the current works so I can move on to more ideas that I have in my head. When did this Time Monkey walk into my life? – when I started a new job last month. The newly found employment was a blessing but it has also become a challenge to figure out my time to paint.

I used to paint in the evening and into the late night. But my job requires me to be up earlier so I really cannot afford to paint too late anymore. That’s really a bummer because I’m a night owl and my creative energy comes out at night. As the situation is now, I can only paint late on the weekends. This isn’t stopping me from coming up with new ideas though. I log my best ideas in a notebook for future consideration.

I have a targeted date of completion for my Joker and Holiday painting – July 16th. I’m not sure if I will make it though. This date represents the time it will take for the painting to fully dry before submission into an art show here in Sacramento. If I cannot make it then this painting will have to be my entry into another art show in October. Sorry for the teases on this painting but it really has been a difficult project. Portraits are unforgiving. If the face doesn’t resemble who you are capturing then the painting just doesn’t work. I’m feeling now that I may finally be on the right track now. Please stay tuned for more updates and a video on the creation of this work.

Now I’m off to throw that Monkey out and get back to work. Happy 4th of July!