Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New art by Joe

Finished up a couple of new things. The first one I decided to call "Convergence." This piece is 24 X 24 inches and was done on really thick professional grade, cold press illustration board (i.e. with some texture) using watercolor, Rapidograph pen, and pencil. I really love this illustration board. With its nice thickness, I can apply multiple washes of watercolor. In this case, as I often do, I use the watercolor for multiple reasons. First of all, I really like to draw, and I don't always want to draw on a white surface. So, why not paint the surface first? And, if I am going to go to the trouble to paint the surface, why not paint it in random patterns that I can later use to pull ideas from? So, yeah, a couple or so washes of earth tone colors and some random blotting with crumpled paper towel here and there, and its time to start drawing. I probably don't use the paint right, I am not a painter really. I throw some water here and there, slap some wet paint into it, mingle colors freely, blot things when I feel I should, then let it dry and repeat. In a case like this, I sometimes start the procedure with some vague shapes, mostly in an attempt to break up the space a bit. The blotting of wet paint is very important, because it is in this step that micro textures are created that can be explored later. I usually don't use pencil for preliminary drawings, but in this case, I did actually slightly outline a couple of things that immediately popped out to me. Started adding some ink with my Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen. This step takes a long time because I use a fairly fine nib. As I am working on something like this, I periodically place it on a vertical surface where I can view it from afar. This really helps.  Sit back and look at something, see what needs to be done, see if some strangeness jumps out that was not seen up close, and stuff like that. Of course, because this sort of drawing/painting takes so long to do (as in weeks or more), how I feel and what I am thinking when drawing it changes drastically. I tend to draw these things in a similar manner to how I plan my landscaping in my yard. I start with individual elements scattered here and there, then I look for ways to connect them. Tricky sometimes. Does not always work out. As I am drawing, of course, sometimes the background color does not entirely work to fill out the images I am creating, so I often go back and add some more color. Its a back and forth deal. Eventually, I get to a point when I feel that I am done. In this case, I decided to leave some areas ambiguous, slightly unfinished. One point I was trying to make with this piece was the idea of different things that usually occupy the same space at different times, suddenly occupying the same space at the same time. Or least in part. Partial temporal shift. It kinds of freaks me a out a bit when driving as I realize that just a second earlier another car was exactly where I was. Trippy man. Ok, yeah, and the idea of multiple parallel universes has always sounded pretty weird. What if, in our very own space, but in another parallel world, various organisms where floating about, moving freely. Do you ever get the sense that some presence has brushed by you? Anyway, here is the result. 

"Convergence", by Joe A. MacGown

closeup of guy in middle at a prefinished stage
Because this was not a planned piece of art, there are some rather incongruous elements present, which might annoy some people. But on the other hand, without the unplanned randomness of this, some of the interesting characters present would never have come about. Several things that I really like are the little egg-shaped dude in the bottom right corner, the main guy in the middle with the split torso, and the crescent shaped guy on the left with the face on his torso. The face of the ovoid shaped head in the lower left tends to come up quite often in my art. Or, at least something quite similar. Not sure what that means. It tends to fill a space I see. Maybe its the boogie man? 

The second piece I called "Henry's Fantastic Undersea World." This piece was done with acrylic paint and oil pastel on heavy weight BFK Rives printing paper. Overall image size is 20 X 30 inches. This was something that I started years ago, but tucked away because I was not sure where to go with it. I originally painted the entire surface with various colors of acrylic paint. I may have even used some spray paint. Probably. But, dang, I ended up getting the thing really dark. So, I put it away. One day, I was looking through some old slightly finished projects when I came across this thing. For some reason, I had an epiphany. "Its dark, but paint also comes in light colors." Go figure. So, using the patterns in the background as well as completely ignoring them, I painted some things. Then, I grabbed some oil pastels and added some more details, highlights etc. I like the way it turned out. Definitely one of those piece that look better in real life. Ha, real life? Well, it looks better for the viewer to see it in person. Some nice textures and colors. I have included an earlier version below it, which is lighter in color. Maybe I ended up getting the final one too dark? Well, maybe its not final after all. I can always go back and lighten up some areas again. Art is cool, and malleable. Cool. Ever changing, like people .

"Henry's Fantastic Undersea World" by Joe A. MacGown
Early version, lighter. Maybe I liked this version better? 
Check out the texture...

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