Tuesday, April 30, 2013

LGBT: Complete

I continue to publish images of the artwork I’m creating for The LGBT Pictionary.

LGBT (16" x 16") April 30, 2013, mixed media (digital/or not) distressed painting

I wasn’t sure about the pale orange I chose for the final layers on “LGBT,” but I’m really happy about the outcome. All the colors taken together, pinks, lavenders, and pale orange remind me of European/Western Caucasian flesh tones, making the work worldly and perhaps politically incorrect -because it is not inclusive of other flesh tones.  However it does relate to the struggle for equality (including all of us regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or sexuality) because, it actually grows out of our secular historicist tradition in the Western Arts to bring about an earthly paradise. And, that desire in the arts and philosophies is paralleled by the forefathers desire to bring about “a more perfect” democratic society.*

So, I’m extremely happy with the painting because I did get there, and because I’m (Oh so) tired of this Metamodern fundamentalist need to politicize religious practice – whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist - you name it - by dumping this earthly life and having jihad, Armageddon, or other human induced world-ending calamities.*2

It is finished. And, now I move on to the final 3 panels for this show.


* See Purgatorio, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Return to the Garden of Eden, Jan The Elder Brueghel, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and William Morris, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison among many others.

*2 I make note here that I count myself as Christian, though I doubt most evangelicals would have me in their churches.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Phase 3, LGBT, (16" x 16") mixed media distressed painting

 Phase 4, (16" x 16") mixed media distressed painting

 It’s not finished, but it’s almost there. Here are phase 3 and 4. I have some tweaking to do but it is almost done. Since the last journal entry, I’ve started two new paintings, 20” x 20,” and am finishing another 16” x 16” along with “LGBT.” I work from painting to painting so that areas of wet paper, paint, glue and varnish will be dry when next I return to LGBT.

At this stage, I’ve taken photographs of LGBT and then layered in set type, old photos of LGBT people, organizational logos, and other items using Adobe Photoshop. I printed these out and using dechirage technique tore the paper prints, then laminated these into the painting. Next, I measured and taped out areas of the painting so that I could create two new smaller distressed areas of paint. I printed out a photo of purple glitter, and cut it into thin strips in order to make an outline around the central square. Then I painted the orange square in the center, took a photograph of stage 3, and I’ll leave it there. There are several more steps in which I worked back and forth between camera, the virtual world of the computer, and painting at my drafting table in actual physical space.  Working back and forth between the virtual space of the computer and the actual physical space in my studio is the most fascinating part of the mixed media distressed painting technique for me.

 Next time I will post an image of the completed painting.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The latest in the LGBT Pictionary Series – in process - is a 16” x 16” square painted on wood, and is titled LGBT. (written while listening to Robert Prizeman, Sanctisissima, Beethoven Pianoconcerto no. 5 among others on 24/7 light classical (popular) music, a Holland/Dutch station on my computer)

Phase I, LGBT, April 8, 2013

Phase II, LGBT, April 19, 2013

I decided that this entry would show the steps involved in creating one of the mixed media distressed paintings. I’ve done so in the past, though not in a very organized way. As I am a type A personality such cannot be tolerated. So, this time I present the first two “phases” in the development of these artworks. Phase I shows the first three layers, actually five layers though two shall remain nameless so as to protect the artist from easy spinoffs. Layer one is a grand sized dollop of cadmium red acrylic paint mixed with a small squirt of Titanium white. The second layer is made of type set in Adobe Photoshop, and LGBT images that I took from my life and from LGBT Websites. These are printed and the ink made impervious to water based media, then laminated onto the first layer. However, the images may be pasted into an image of the first layers of paint while in Adobe Photoshop, printed, then torn in dechriage technique and finally laminated into the phase I surface. Layer three is another layer of paint, this time tempera that is allowed to dry, and then chipped and sanded through in order to show the layers below. The development of the work is an organic process because I do not know in advance where anything will go on the painting ground. The various elements are found and arranged based on the decisions of the moment, though there are rules of development that I do keep in mind. For instance in this particular set of paintings, all are square, and toward the end of the process each will be subjected to “the rule” of the square once again.

Sometimes I look at the artwork at the end of Phase II and think that if I were really smart, I would call it finished. The painting would remain much more abstract, bordering on non-objective, allowing the viewer to read more of their own ideation into the painting. I would have much less work to do, and perhaps the artwork would be more easily sold in galleries that handle such work. However, being the Type A that I am, it is impossible for me to leave the works alone at this stage. The looseness must be manipulated, cajoled and processed through many more phases until it becomes much more of an “illustrative” artwork. And, yes, gallery personnel have criticized all my work of the various genres as being “so illustrative.” However, remaining true to myself, I work through many more manipulations before any of these paintings are finished, and the next journal entry will show phase 3 in this process for “LGBT.”

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Dyke, a new entry in the LGBT Pictionary

"Dyke," (8" x 8") mixed media distressed paint, March 27, 2013

In this painting I used an image of the nameless boy plugging the dike sculpture in Madurodam,  the Netherlands.  However the image became so buried in layers of paint and paper that it is completely lost with the exception of the water grasses in the lower right hand corner of the small artwork.  I also used an etching of Hans Brinker putting on his sister's skates from the French publication of Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge, first published in 1865.  Vestiges of that image are still visible in the upper left hand corner of the painting.  I also used 2 historical images of lesbian women from the Weblog, “Homo History: Reclaiming Our Past and Ruffling Some Feathers."  The composition, paint, torn paper, layering, scribbling and set type are all mine.  Barely visible in the center lower portion of the painting is the word, levee, synonym for dike.  The words “dike,” and “dyke” while spelled differently are pronounced the same, and I play with them in a way similar to Jaques Derrida's discourse on difference and differance - except that here the text is composed of visual images both visible and invisible, some partially visible, buried in actual paint and/or computerized virtual distressed paint.  All of this is my way of postponing a completion of the meaning of dyke as lesbian.*  

Why do I put the definition of dyke as lesbian at arms length?  Historically it was a derogatory term used to defame and put gay women down.  In our contemporary culture, lesbian women have deconstructed the term and repossessed it as a positive statement of their sexuality.  The very nature of the distressed painting process helps to illustrate the historical dichotomy between the negative and positive aspect of the word, "dyke."

*See Wikipedia, "Differance," at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DiffĂ©rance.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day, Monday, April 8, 2013

Paragraph 175

Paragraph 175 (8" x 8") Mixed Media Distressed Paint, March 28, 2013

"Paragraph 175" is my visual interpretation of the destructive German law that allowed the prosecution of approximately 140,000 gay men from 1871 until 1994.  Additionally, in 1935 the Nazis broadened the law to once again allow the death penalty.  That change allowed the Nazis to kill thousands of gay men and lesbians along with millions of Jewish and Slavic peoples, the disabled, mentally retarded, and Jehovah Witnesses, among others.  It is particularly important that we remember these people and the evil that can and does live in the hearts of men on this day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Monday, April 8, 2013 in which we memorialize those lost in the Nazi death camps. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gay Dog

Once again I return to the Gay Dictionary.  And, I’ve decided to broaden the dictionary to the category LGBT Dictionary, phase one of which is “Gay Terms.”  I have just begun to work on Lesbian terms, and will in the future be working with bisexual and transgender terms as well.

"Gay Dog," Gay terms from the LGBT Dictionary, (8" x8") mixed media distressed paint

A “Gay Dog” according to the Miriam Webster dictionary is a gay man prone to immoral hedonism.  However, historically the term depicted a heterosexual hedonistic male, a libertine.  In the visual arts there is William Hogarth’s 18th century antecedent series of paintings“ The Rake’s Progress,” a moralistic visual parable that describes the dissolution of Thomas Rakewell, a straight heir to fortune who ends up in Bedlam.   Also, "goggle' the term and you will find window after window of entries literally about dogs that are gay, including "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride," the forth episode from South Park.  In that storyline, Stan's dog, Sparky humps a rival dog, Stan tries to force Sparky to be more masculine, and as a result Sparky runs away to Big Gay Al's Animal Sanctuary.  Life imitates Art (sort of) in the Web based article "Owner Sends "Gay' Dog To Be Euthanized." * 

In the distressed mixed media painting titled, “Gay Dog” I have buried definitions, images, magazine articles, web pages, set type about any/all of the above. 

* Sleczkowski, Cavan, "Owner Sends "Gay' Dog To Be Euthanized,"  The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/gay-dog-euthanized-tennessee_n_2590537.html.  Posted 01/31/13 at 12:14 pm, updated 02/01/13 at 1:27 pm EST.  Viewed 04/01/13 at 2:41 am EDT,