Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pastel Wave Painting #3

In January I decided to make a new 32" by 40" pastel wave painting. So this week I searched through my photo morgue to find candidates for the painting. *

New Wave Photo #1

I searched through several hundred photographs taken over the past 10 years. I have at least two thousand more, though I won't search through them all. I can use them for future wave paintings, and I will also shoot more photos of waves during the next several months.

New Wave Photo #2

I’m showing two of my choices here including one set of photos that zoom in closer and closer to isolate a small portion of the breaking wave. Now I just have to make a decision as to which photo I will use.

Wave #2, close up #1

The viewer could help by voting here or on Facebook for the photo of his/her choice.

Wave #2, close up #2

I will provide a hint as to my thoughts on the matter - the closer, the better!


* A "morgue" is an artists file of photographs to be used as aids in drawing and painting. My morgue is made up of all photographs I have taken myself.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pastel Paintings of Waves

Wave #1

I conceived the wave paintings as an experiment in photo realism with one caveat. I wanted my process (the way I use the pastels) to be visible.

Wave #2

The first two wave paintings were done in 2012 and 13. It’s time I got back to that series. I have taken hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand photos of breaking waves over the years. I will begin the search through my morgue for new photos to work from this weekend. * The two paintings shown here are 30 by 40 inches and 32 by 40 inches respectively. I cropped the original photos, looking for a small section that was in perfect focus in order to freeze the water’s motion completely. These were then copied meticulously, but still using my direct application technique with the pastels rather than rubbing, blending and smearing as most pastel artists do. *1 Because of that technique, the paintings appear to be photographic upon first examination, but break down into individual chunks and strokes of color upon the viewer’s closer approach. I use the pastels themselves to blend one color into another. That makes the color lie on the paper surface allowing the white paper to show through rather than turning the white paper itself into a darker color.


* Morgue – a visual artist’s file of photographs used as an aid to drawing, painting and/or sculpting.

*1 Experts have told me that I use a contrary and actually improper technique. Too bad! I achieve a depth and intensity of color that it is impossible to achieve by rubbing, smearing and blending, the traditional pastel technique. That is why I call my large pastels, paintings!

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Blast From the Past

Isaac At Rehoboth Beach (circa 1957)

The journal entry is for November 22nd 2005. The entry is one of several written by “the professor,” in Isaac’s Family Photo Album, and was part of several alternate realities I created to illustrate psychological, sociological, and philosophical aspects of my doctoral dissertation (Isaac Stozfuts: Images About Male Sexuality and Culture). After completing the doctoral degree in 2000, I extended and elaborated these aspects in the virtual reality that is the Internet. I have since removed most though an abbreviated version of the photo album and a good portion of Isaac’s journal still exist out there in the “cybervoid.”* If anyone is interested the title page of my own journal, “The Art of John Bittinger Klomp” includes the links to “Isaac Stolzfuts’ Journal” and “Isaac’s Family Photo Album.”

* cybervoid – a term I invented in 1998 to describe the vast space - seemingly infinite and often vacuous though filled with information - that is the Internet.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Beach Walk

This is an updated version of an older pastel painting (2010). The newer work (February 2015) has additions that contribute to my (the artist’s) and hopefully to the viewer’s awareness of the natural theater present at water’s edge. I made it for the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida art auction to be held this month.

The young man walks by the light foamy aqua to deepest dark blue ocean waves that gently flow onto the brown sand with shells scattered on a low tide beach. Above his head pelicans fly, a full moon floats low and hazy in the daytime sky, and a sailboat cruises slowly in the sea breeze near the horizon. It is one of those perfect days, the wet sea sand glazed and reflecting a blue-mirror at waters edge, lambent zephyrs tugging at his hair and gently wafting cross sun warmed skin. He pushes grains of sand into small aqueous dents that disappear as he drifts through the picture plain, the sand grains scouring flakes of skin from the soles of his feet.

Never the less, he is unaware, cloaked in his virtual aural iPod reality. How easily he accepts the temple of sea and sky, not aware of God’s presence within or in the actual world that surrounds him.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Super Shadow Selfie

I have never taken a cell phone selfie and will not. However, the shadow selfie is an interesting variation on the usual (Ho-hum) selfie, and the slightly less common selfie in the mirror I see posted on Websites everywhere. On Christmas day I stood at the edge of the surf in south Florida and shot a series of photos of my shadow as the water rushed in, over and out. I then assembled 5 of these in a horizontal progression in Adobe Photoshop. The result is the Super Shadow Selfie. Interestingly, I was not aware of changing the position of arms as I shot the photos. The photos demonstrate that I did. I like the way the actual slight green tint of the water changes the overall color of the brown sand in the frames as one views the series from end to end. Also, though not very revealing as to my exact looks, the Super Shadow Selfie demonstrates a great deal about the way my thought processes work when making art, and probably the way I relate to the world around me on a daily basis.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Playing with a Christmas Theme

Mixed Media, Distressed Paint, Digital Camera and Computer

I ‘googled’ “Master’s paintings and Nativity," chose some favorites, and printed them in different sizes. Among them were works by Correggio, David, El Greco, Rubens, and Costa. I covered a 12” square board with a mixture of aqua and white acrylic paint, laminated some of the prints to the board with a solution of Elmer's Glue and water, waited for all to dry, and then coated with oil crayon. I painted over these images with pale bluish tempera paint. It took 4 coats of tempera to cover over the oil crayon. After those coats of paint dried I chipped through the tempera paint with a knife, and finally I put a coat of varnish over all. I’ve decided that I need at least 6 more layers of images, paint, oil crayon and varnish, and then I’ll have next year’s Christmas card. Part of the fun of this process is photographing the mixed media work at various stages. Loading the photographic images into the computer, printing them out, taring them in pieces and laminating these back into the art work.* Of course, the finished painting will look nothing like it does now one week before Christmas 2015. That is why I like this technique so much. Each step I take changes the image drastically. It is as though there are 5 or 6 paintings buried within the layers, but only one final image is complete though it is made of bits and pieces of all the others.


* The correct art terms for this part of the process is d├ęchirag and d├ęcollage.

Friday, December 11, 2015

What Can I Do About All This Fear and Hate in the World?

Or, I’m about to take my own advice.

Not a damned thing but fill myself with love!

Let me explain. I know deep inside that I can’t change the world, or any individual in it. If Jihadists fear the West, and hate and kill – if some Christians fear and hate me because I am gay – if some black and white folk fear and hate one another – if Republicans and Democrats fear and hate one another – if Trump fears and hates all Muslims – if – if, on and on – there is nothing I can do about any of their fear and hate. *

The prophet Mohammed said, “To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil.”

I look at the Dali Lama, and I’m amazed that he is reconciled to not finding a new Dali Lama. He will be the last in his line. He isn’t sad or angry, only filled with the knowledge that this world has no place for an independent Tibet with a Dali Lama as it’s religious and political leader. It is remarkable that he expresses only kindness and love.

I ask what Jesus Christ would do or say if he were here today, and the answer is ready made. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: “38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

It is not easy, but I can only work at not being fearful and/or hate filled myself. Instead, I must fill myself with love, and I must express love whenever possible, and by whatever means possible. I must hope that by being filled with love, something of that radiates to those around me.

And, I know that making art is an act of love.

*And, don’t bother to argue that banning all Muslims from entering the USA (which is an imbecilic idea to begin with) – doesn’t express fear and hate.