Sunday, August 30, 2015

Johnny Depp Canvas: Part III

Johnny Depp Is Finished

Finally! He and Madonna are ready to go to our Goddaughter’s restaurant, Characters Pub in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to be installed across from the bar in the Banquet room, Windows on Queen. I’ve also begun work on the Julia Roberts panel, but that won’t be completed in time for our October visit to Lancaster. I’m pleased with the intensity of Johnny’s expression, dark and brooding, part of the public persona he so often displays. This dark brooding aspect and another, that slightly cuckoo twist are what make him so appealing to so many people. Of course his acting talent is huge, and that contributes to his appeal as well. There is no denying that he is a “Character.”

The panel is 4 feet by 3 feet, so the two together are 8 by 3 feet. When all 3 panels are finished, the triptych will be 12 by 3 feet.* I am pleased, I just hope I can finish Julia before we leave the north in November. That way the triptych will be completed and installed for parties and receptions at Characters this winter and spring.


The inference to historical triptych's in Catholic Christianity makes sense as the worship of film/theater personalities (icons) in the 20th and 21st century often reaches an almost religious fervor. These characters are our Modern, Postmodern, and Metamodern gods, the equivalent of ancient Roman and Greek gods with all their human foibles and characteristics.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Art Cards IV

Update, August 22, 2015

I’ve decided that I should have been taking photos of the dropped off Art Cards on location, and I’m telling myself that I should have realized that at the beginning of the project. I know that I can’t possibly shoot them every time I leave the cards as this is supposed to be a surreptitious operation. It would be just slightly obvious if I whip my phone out of my pocket and start taking pictures of a store counter, restaurant tabletop or museum kiosk.

Above are two of the photos of cards left in Rehoboth Beach, DE., one at a friends pool club house, and another of cards left on a locker room bench at Any 1 Fitness in the Rehoboth Mall. I use that gym 3 to 4 times every week and plan on leaving them there often until we leave the area in November.

I did keep a log of all the cards dropped since march of this year including our travels in Turkey, Greece and Italy during July and August. I have one photo of the cards on a restaurant table from the trip. I will publish that photo with another entry about the cards at some point in the future. I will also publish the log (to current date) as an entry on “The Art of John Bittinger Klomp” in September, and again at the end of the year as a New Year’s Eve entry.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Storm Tower

Storm Tower (32" x 40") pastel painting

In honor of our return to Delaware, I am posting this image of one of the two WWII Observation Towers located on the edge of the North Shore beach in Cape Henlopen State Park. . It is almost obligatory that every local artist draw, paint, sculpt or photograph these towers at some point in his/her career, and I did a series of pastel paintings of the towers in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This particular pastel was made with my old mark making technique - "a travesty" - according to most pastel aficionados because the artist is supposed to rub and smear the pastels together with a chamois or other blending tool. Instead I used the pastels themselves to rub and blend the colors together, and that meant I had to make thousands and thousands of marks with the different colors to make them blend together. It was a very time consuming technique and I later learned to use the sides of the pastels to do the same trick after layering some smoother lighter layers blended the old fashioned way. I especially altered the technique because nobody seemed to understand what I was doing or why I wanted to do it. But, that's another story.

The “Storm Tower” was painted on 32” x 40” museum board, and was sold from an exhibit of the pastel paintings and digital prints of photomontage artworks in the fall of 2001 at the Blue Moon Restaurant on Baltimore Street In Rehoboth Beach. That particular exhibit was hailed by many who saw it as prophetic because I had used “Tower #1”, and “Tower #2” in the titles of many of the pastels and had also put images of airplanes in all of the photomontage prints of the towers.

Tower of the Pyrenees (28" x 18") 2001, photomontage

Folks were wrong. If I had possessed such knowledge, I would have at least tried to warn the appropriate government agencies of the possible attack. Anyway, I especially liked this particular pastel image of Tower #1 because my husband and I often placed our towels near the base of the towers when sunning and swimming at North Shore Beach. This was the view I had as I lay on my back in the summer sun looking toward the top of the tower, though I invented the stormy sky behind the tower in this pastel painting.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Johnny Depp Canvas: Part II

The slowly evolving saga of the Character’s Triptych of Madonna, Johnny Depp and Julia Roberts has taken one tiny step forward. The central panel, that of J. Depp is about 2/3 completed. Now that we are back in Delaware, I expect to be able to complete it by the end of August. Then I can move on to the final panel of Julia Roberts, which probably will not be complete when we leave Delaware in November. Thus, only 2 panels will be installed at Characters Gastropub in Lancaster, PA in October.

The two-panel diptych of Johnny and Madonna will be 3 feet by 8 feet, and it will not be transformed into the 3 by 12 foot triptych until 2016, sad to say. Other than my slow progress on the painting, I am extremely satisfied. I placed the finished Madonna panel and the 2/3rd completed Johnny Depp panel side by side in the Florida studio and they looked wonderful. The position / attitude of the two heads in relation to one another works extremely well as do the colors. Now I just need 2 or 3 days when I can work continuously for 7 to 8 hours in order to finish Johnny. Easier said than done, and the reasons why will be revealed in September.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Joy, 3 and 1/2" x 2" (front of card)

My new “Art Card” is ready to go, though I’ve only managed to surreptitiously distribute about 30 of the “Love” and “Peace” cards to date. I decided early on that the cards must be distributed in a way that does not create any fanfare, and over a long period of time. That means I cannot be seen placing the cards. I cannot ask anyone to display and distribute the cards. The cards cannot be overtly displayed and distributed through any businesses including art galleries. At the same time I am keeping a log that shows locations and dates of card distribution.

Joy, 3 and 1/2" x 2" (back of card)

I carry a few of the cards in my wallet, and I put them any place I happen to be, when I think to do so. Quite often I forget, so it is a random process. If I am to increase card distribution, I need to buy a cardholder of some sort so I can carry 50 or more cards on my person. The “Love” and “Peace” cards have been distributed in south Florida locations, but I will be in Delaware and Pennsylvania in the next few months. “Joy” will join “Love” and “Peace” in those states.  Ultimately I hope to leave these and other Art Cards behind in locations outside the United States.


I have written two previous blog entries about the cards; 1) “Love,” May 14th, 2015, and 2) “Art Cards,” April 23rd, 2015.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Doing Laps In the Pool, the Universe and God

The Waterverse (printed version 8" x 10")

I get a glimpse of God and the universe when I do my laps in the pool. I’ve said so before. The rhythm - kick, stroke, and breath – repeated has something to do with it, as well as the patterns of sunlight reflected through the water to the pool bottom. I describe my best swim as being like an infinitesimal mote floating on a feather on the breath of God. I’ve even come to see that the patterns in the shimmering water reflect patterns in our expanding universe, as in the photomontage I made for this entry.* Do I find meaning in the similarity? Yes! Can I express it? I’m not so sure. Suffice it to say that I know God because when I swim I am able to suspend all of the other sparkling refracted and reflected images of my life for a brief moment in time.

* The image was made by overlapping a photo taken from “Science Blogs” ( with a photo I took of wave patterns in the lap pool. I viewed the Science Blog image on Monday, June 15, 2015 at ll:30 AM, EDT. Adobe Photoshop was used to meld the two into one.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Gay Pride Month 2015

In honor of June 2015, Gay Pride Month, I’m posting an artwork from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pictionary.  It is the actual mixed media distressed painting based on the acronym, LGBT.  The painting was finished and signed June 1st, 2013, and is 24” x 24” square.  I’ve reported on the mixed media distressed technique in the past so I will not go into detail here.  It will be sufficient to say that I work back and forth between photographic images of actual things and people, in some cases historical, in others, images I shoot myself, painted surfaces, and digital images of the work in progress, printed, then torn, sometimes painted over again, photographed again, saved on the computer, worked in Adobe Suite, printed again, torn, painted and so on.

The intent of the series is multiple. 

First, to reclaim words once abusive and instead to make them badges of honor. 

Second, to make a visual record of current terms that denote various populations within the category gay as used on a daily basis in the vernacular. 

Third, to focus on the history of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) folk.*

I had an exhibition of the LGBT Pictionary at Camp Rehoboth, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware during Gay Pride Month, 2013.  However, it is an on going project, and I hope to both publish a book of the images and do more exhibitions of the artworks.

* The category “Queer” subsumes all the others including heterosexual persons who identify as positive toward LGBT people, and who actively work toward a society/culture that has become “Queer” tolerant.