Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Surreal Mexico Tree

As a documentary iPhone picture of our trip - taken from a moving van on our way home from the Occidental Grand Xcaret Hotel near Tulum in Mexico – this image is a photographic disaster And, our trip wasn’t that wonderful either. Suffice it to say that these days Mexico has gotten really good at squeezing and shaking every spare penny from the weary tourist taking a break from the Gringo rat race to the north.*

Never the less, the tree with its roots was suspended in a hole through an overpass that we had passed beneath a half dozen times in our tiny rented Ford "cucaracha" going to and from the hotel. This was the first time I was not in the driver's seat, and I pushed the shutter icon several times as the crowded hotel van approached the amazing apparition. The image displayed here is the best, and I do like the reflections in the glass despite the dark finger blob over the lens, and the blurry out of focus window surround. The various bent glass distortions in the image also add interest, and since the tree itself is an absurdity all the obfuscations add to the mystery of the impossible thing happening before the eyes. As I look at the photograph taken in a Spanish speaking country I think of Magical Realism in Spanish Literature, and of course the Surrealist thread woven through so many of the arts during the past century.* Rene Magritte's painting, The Castle of the Pyrenees comes to mind.

Accordingly I view the iPhone photo of the floating tree as successful artistic expression.*1


* Magical Realism – The imposition of impossible magical elements given in a matter of fact way into a realistic narrative about the real/natural world. Magical Realism includes Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ seminal One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits among many others.

*1 Magritte, Rene, "The Castle of the Pyrenees," (1959) oil on canvas. See Wiki Images, copyright information below viewed 11:01 PM. EDT, Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fair use rationale: it is a historically significant artwork the image is only being used for informational and educational purposes the image is readily available on the internet the image is a low resolution copy of the original artwork and is unsuitable for commercial use More… allows unlimited copying, distributing and displaying of the images of public domain artworks solely. We use here Copyright term based on authors' deaths according to U.S. Copyright Law, that is 70 years. In other countries, the duration of copyright term may differ. Please check here copyright length according to your country's legislation before you consider reproducing images borrowed from Artworks protected by copyright are supposed to be used only for contemplation. Images of that type of artworks are prohibited for copying, printing, or any kind of reproducing and communicating to public since these activities may be considered copyright infringement.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fungus Amongus

No, it is not a creature from another planet; at least I don’t think so. Neither is it a bizarre little poisonous snake from The River Styx.

Instead these weird things will grow around the base of our Crepe Myrtle end of this month, beginning of September. I took these photos of the creepy things last year, and I really would like to know what they are. I’ve never seen them before in my life.

I doctored the photographs with Adobe Photoshop, made 2 layers, darkened the exposure in one, and then erased over the fungus thing exposing the lighter version on the bottom layer. Finally I painted where necessary in the background, and merged the layers. The original images are much larger than these I’m displaying, and could be printed up to 6 feet square and still look detailed at that dark head like part, I think. At that point the yellow-orange and black fungus would definitely look like an invader from planet Xarcon.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

New Character’s Restaurant Portrait

Meryl Streep

After much deliberation over a new character for the banquet room at Goddaughter Meghan’s restaurant, Character’s Gastropub in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we decided on Meryl Streep to reside opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.  I documented the image deliberation in May of this year. More recently Meghan was concerned that the great actress must appear as her younger, more glamorous self so as to fit with the majority of the restaurant's clientele. However, one of Meghan's favorite choices was this still image from The Devil Wears Prada, 2006, only 8 years ago.*

I posit that this elegant and glamorous image of (at the time) a 56 year old woman demonstrates that age can be worn extremely well and that Ms. Streep does so. The photo also goes a long way to demonstrate that Meryl Streep is capable of becoming any character she wishes, witness her performances in such diverse motion pictures as Out of Africa, The Iron Lady, Julie and Julia

and Mamma Mia!.

In any event, I cannot just copy the photograph and call it my own, no matter how large I make the image. The finished painting will be extremely large, 5 x 7 & ½ feet. Never the less, I must make other drastic changes to the image using Adobe Photoshop as the instrument for change. Just as in the Leonardo DiCaprio painting I made last summer, I have begun by cropping the photograph in various ways, and choosing one. I have reversed the image, and played with the colors. The image shown below is the final flipped, cropped and posterized image, with colors I have chosen from many trial runs.

I am mixing the colors for the panels now, and will begin painting tomorrow. The application of the paint with Impressionist like brushwork will be one more change to the image, thus removing it 6 times from the original photograph, more than enough changes to make the finished painting my own creation.

Notes and Credits

* “The Devil Wears Prada, by Omar P. L. Moore in Pop Corn Reel ( Posted June 29, 2006, viewed 11:30 PM, EDT, Friday, August 1, 2014.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mixed Media Distressed Painting Commission Step 4

In order to help unify the panels, I must work still another layer of distressed paint of various colors here and there. I will also add another smaller image to the telescoped distressed image in the center of each panel, and perhaps a line or 3 across them. At any rate, I am one week away from being finished. I will post an image of the finished product hopefully before the ind of the month.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Butterfly World Photo

I save thousands of digital photos in my “morgue” for possible future use in artwork.* These photographs can be of anything from zebras to alfalfa. This photo was taken in Butterfly World several years ago. If you visit Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I would recommend a visit to this, one of the worlds largest butterfly conservatories. You will be provided with a fabulous photographic opportunity, and a wonderful aesthetic experience.

* morgue – an artist’s alphabetical file of photographs to be used as aids to drawing, painting, or illustration. If the works are the artist’s own photographs, they may be used individually as artworks, and or incorporated into mixed media artworks in their entirety.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mixed Media Distressed Painting Commission in Process Continued

Step 3

Because each step in this process changes the paintings drastically I've purposefully arranged the panels in a different sequence from my last blog entry. Can you match panels across step 2 and step 3?

Step 3 looks very different from Step 2, and is made up of 7 critical stages without which the entire process would fail. First, new images were laminated over the varnished layers beneath, 2) next the entire surface was covered with oil crayon, 3) a new color of tempera paint was applied, and 4) after drying the surface was distressed so that parts of all the layers beneath would show through, 5) several coats of pastel fixative were sprayed on the surface at 5 minute intervals, 6) The entire surface was coated with a satin UV protective polymer varnish and finally, 7) new digital photographs were taken of the panels at this stage of production.

In the next and final step, I will use Adobe Photoshop to place opaque and transparent digital images of the painted and distressed panels as they were at the end of step 3 onto a final layer of photographs. These will be carefully torn and laminated onto the surface so that the image of the painted surface will match perfectly with the actual painting creating the impression that painted surface and torn paper photographic images are one and the same, an ironic and redundant toying with reality.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mixed Media Distressed Painting Commission in Process

Step #2

As promised, I am tracking the progress on the commission for friends’ master bedroom. Step #2 actually includes 7 different processes; 1) varnishing, 2) tearing photos, 3) laminating photos onto the paintings, 4) varnishing again, 5) waxing, 6) painting, and 7)distressing. I am 2 weeks ahead of this image now. However, I want the progress charted. The color of the triptych is now much lighter and brighter, and there is more text and many more photos buried in the paint. The darker colors are still there, but not so strongly pronounced. As I progress the paintings will become more centered with strong points of visual interest. I will post new images 2nd week of July. I hope to be finished by July 20th, and will post images of the finished paintings then.