Been about a year since I was totally bent on Brando's intense gaze. High time I got back to it.
When the extraordinarily talented woman who owns the floral company you've been freelancing with for the past two years (what up Studio Posy!) has an upcoming birthday and her husband asks you to do the flowers, you start dreaming up all kinds of fun things. I'm a big fan of floral curtain installations - always say yes to floral curtain installations. Spilling greens, floating flowers, what's not to love? Here are a few pieces from that insanely fun party. (& yay for finally having some photos of flowers I've put together. Whoops on it taking years. But I've remedied that with a what-will-hopefully-be more updated portfolio page.) The level of gratitude I have for being a part of such a creative and fun family of friends here in Norfolk is absolutely not able to be put into words.
(& for size reference, no one's head even reached up past the middle of that curtain.)
One of the artists I adore the most is having an exhibit open this week at the Chrysler Museum, so of course that got me in the mood for a drawing. Under the influence of Toulouse-Lautrec.
There's just something about wheat paste graffiti in a foreign city that I've always gravitated to. I especially love to see them in an advanced stage in their lifecycle because it lends an air of mystery for me. What did the whole piece originally look like? You can't just go online or look up the artist and see the piece in its original conception (most times). What was its message? Did it anger someone and that's why they tried to tear it down, or did they just see the art not as art at all but a defacement of property? Or was it just the weather? I plan on doing many more of these as I love the idea of street art put out in the world, left alone to the elements and the public's interaction with it, and then the recreation of a stage in its existence in to be brought back inside, put on a wall, a bit of permanence and presentation that is kind of the antithesis of street art. It's a continuing dialogue with - even a glorification of - street art, in which I think more than a bit of irony can be found. Either way, I just like the look of its fleeting impermanence.
I love being able to paint outside on site. Studio work allows me to chase down and explore ideas, but all the energy is found outside. The swaying of a leaf in the breeze, the musky scent of soil, it helps enliven your brush stroke and creates a flowing conversation with the subject you're painting. Nothing will ever be as wholly engaging to my senses and enjoyable as the experience of plein air painting.
It's always a good thing when the first piece you finish in a new year turns out to be something you absolutely love.
What I really enjoy about this series is that truly the most risqué part of it is your own thoughts. I give the suggestion, but your imagination has to do so much of the work. It can be as daring or tame as your thoughts allow. On the surface, it's just botanicals and abstract line work, but if you take the time to really look, you get a sense of what's going on, and if you take the time to become immersed, you create the story.
There's nothing like creating florals for a weekend packed full of weddings only to get trapped in an art museum while a flash flood mote surrounds you and nearly takes your car with it. I'm not complaining though, there are much worse places to be stuck than with Monet's, Van Gogh's and tons of flowers. & in the end, the team I'm a part of headed by the seriously indomitable Marissa DiGirolamo of Studio Posy pulled it off beautifully and everything looked incredibly gorgeous - in spite of all the chaos. Here's some behind the scenes shots. (Eventually I'll get around to having a floral work gallery here on my site. Sooner or later.)
Now it's back to art. My holiday commissions are filling up crazy fast and I'm ready for snow. Who's with me?
After a summer so hot there was really no way for me to get out and paint (I salute you who did, you're nuts) I'm finally able to start my plein air work again. Starting small with a little wildflower patch at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.
This series took a turn out of the meadows and into the tropical. Just in time for fall (my brain makes decisions even I don't understand.) P.s. Have I ever talked about how much I loathe photographing my work? In case I didn't, its my least favorite thing of anything ever... ever.
Sketchbook experimentation leads to new things. Rolling with it.
& I turn up a bunch of work I guess I'd been hoarding, tucked away in all sorts of places. Finally decided to let go and put them into my shop. Here are two pieces recently added. Click here to see more.
Sometimes (most times) I really miss the Aegean Sea. This is Livadia beach (thanks Jun!) on Anti-Paros. Gouache watercolor on Cartiera Magnani paper.
Italy has a strong, well documented history of graffiti (my personal favorites being what can be found in ancient bath houses), and when I was last in Rome I guess I was really diggin' what all the modern artists had to say. I keep looking back to my time in Italy for inspiration and in doing so came across an entire stash of photos of Roman graffiti circa 2010. This one that I chose to paint, I just have so many questions. For starters, what the hell is happening here? Did the person who ripped it down dislike it simply because it was graffiti or because of the message? Who was the artist? What are those little flying heads all about? Guess I'll never know, but at least now I have a piece of a Roman wall hanging on my wall covered in another artists handiwork and that's enough for me.
You make dozens of drawings of Marlon Brando's eyes. Because when things in life are not going your way there's nothing like a smoldering gaze to make things all better.
Haven't drawn in a while. It's making me happy so I'm rolling with it. These are a few of my favorites. Click any to enlarge. All are charcoal pencil on paper.
This piece was a big turning point for me in terms of subject matter, style, and personal honesty in my painting. Despotiko is a small area of a small island in the middle of the Aegean Sea where you can see shards of sixth century BC pottery poking out of the ground. I visited there while studying art in Greece and there's something 'other' about this place on the planet. Some energy coupled with an absolutely gorgeous land/seascape that you can't help but respond to from a place deep within. It's stayed with me ever since I left and this is a piece that was a catalyst for me getting to a more meaningful place in my art. Despotiko is magic.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a complete architecture nerd, so when the opportunity to illustrate two buildings for Sentara Hospital within the Eastern Virginia Medical School campus here in Ghent presented itself I was super enthused to be chosen for the work.
Here are the two pieces that will soon be hanging in the entryway of Kaufman Pavillon next to artist Casey Holtzinger's illustrations depicting historic and retro views of other hospital buildings. It's definitely an honor to be the artist picked to carry on with the illustrations Casey started for the hospital and I hope I did the collection justice with my two additions.
Click any image to enlarge
Another plein air piece from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in preparation for an upcoming spring show. This one was a serious challenge with the composition and the tricky lighting that was changing so rapidly as I painted, but it was well worth the effort.
A fever dream of purple cacti. Missing the west coast a lot lately.
My first plein air piece since last fall - the Renaissance terraces at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. (Wanted a shot at some snowy scenes this winter but that requires snow, something Virginia, or at least Norfolk, lacked this season).
It was a gorgeous day, I met some rad people, wore a silly hat... can't be upset about any of that.