cartoon anatomy by Hyungkoo Lee / Korean

Bugs Bunny skull

Bugs Bunny skull

Image lifted from imgur

Pond at Cold Harbor / oil

Here's a camera shot so you can see what it really looks like.

Here’s a camera shot so you can see what it really looks like.

When I started to work on this painting a couple people who live there stopped and asked me why I was painting the pond when the water’s 4′ low. They think it looks bad. It’s fed by rain and been mostly dry for a while. I said, “It’s still beautiful.” I think they stopped worrying about it after I said the water won’t look like that anyway. Maybe I can make it deeper.

If I worked from a photo instead of painting in plein air my painting might have come out looking far away and browner. When I started the background trees last week there was still some green showing but now a lot more leaves have fallen.

This is my underpainting with glazes started on the background.

This is my underpainting with glazes started on the background.

This is how they wanted the art students to paint at York Academy of Art. Start with the background and work to the foreground. Start dark and build up your lights on top with more opaque paint. First do a detailed underpainting, but you can change it later if you want to with this way of painting by building up layers of glazes. I may as well stick to this method of painting. I think I’m still seeing an improvement in my paintings

about those trees standing in the water -

about those trees standing in the water -

but I always think I can do better next time

Can you see the texture of the bark on your computer? The computer doesn’t show the painting like the naked eye sees it. The background is loud so I had to make the foreground trees loud too. First I blocked them in with a black that I mixed some red into. Yes, I like to mix black in. Make black by mixing Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue. If you need a warm black use more brown. If you need a cool black use more blue. This makes a black that isn’t dead to start with. You can mix black into any color on your palette then use it in your glazes and you won’t get a muddy color. If you ever see muddy colors in my paintings , please circle it and send it back to me. Sometimes I put glazes of green and red in on the same day over top of each other. I’m not mixing the paint on the canvas but on my palette. Your eye blends the colors without mud showing.

After the red / black dried I mixed my grays for the bark and painted over the dark glaze. Then scratched through it with my palette knife to show lines of the dark color showing through. It’s fun to scratch off paint to make skinny lines. It shows up best if you use the right values of your colors. That is dark to light.

Barbara told me those dead trees standing in the water are Gum trees. They live a long time standing in water then take forever to fall down when they finally die. Strong trees!

Where Do Your Steps Take You?

Create Envelope 3

CREATE – Mail Art

Working on Mail Art feeds my soul. I have always been the person who eagerly awaited the arrival of the mail every day. Holding an envelope in my hands gave permission to my imagination to meander. Who wrote the letter? How far did it travel? Where did it stop along the way? Did anyone else wonder about this letter as I did?

So being a part of a Mail Art Challenge was exciting for me. I enjoyed producing and giving away the Art as well as experiencing the anticipation of receiving beautiful Art in my mailbox.

I found this quote torn from a magazine:

“Art is a Journey. Embrace Each Step.”

It was perfect for the Challenge. I thought of how Art has shaped my life. From childhood to the present, Art and Life have intermingled…so much so that I can’t separate one from the other. Nor would I want to. Art has opened door to possibilities I never dreamed were available to me. Art has welcomed so many wonderful people, with so many distinctive points of view, into my life. It has made it richer, more enjoyable, and at times, incredibly challenging. But Art has, most of all, allowed me to be my authentic self…to accept each step along the way to becoming the Artist I am today.

Again, the substrate is a craft envelope. I surrounded the image of the woman with art and handmade paper, wax infused paper which I rubber stamped, postage stamp, clippings from magazines, and joss paper. I finished the envelope by rubber stamping and stenciling with acrylic metallic paint. Then off to the Post Office it went with my hopes that the recipient would be intrigued when it landed in her mailbox.

Are you like me…putting one foot in front of the other passionately following the steps wherever they may lead? Where have your steps taken you?

Flea Trap / nontoxic / art installation

You might say, "But, Chris, is that art?" I made it and I'm an artist so why not? ;-)

You might say, “But, Chris, is that art?” I made it and I’m an artist so why not? ;-)

Are you a Mom with pets?

Are you a person with bugs in the house but you don’t want to expose yourself or your family to toxic poison bug spray?

Did you just move into another apartment where corporate greed prevented the complex from spraying for fleas when the previous dog owning tenant moved out?
Did you then raise HOLY HELL with the apartment management over the fleas?

Here’s how to solve the flea problem yourself without the poison spray.

Fill a shallow baking pan half way with water and dish soap.
Hang a light about 8″ above the soapy water directing the light on the water.
When the other lights are turned off at night the fleas will jump to your flea trap light and land in the soapy water. Fleas can swim in plain water but they drown in soapy water. It takes a few days to kill them all. It still works when the bubbles are gone. Add more water as needed.

Enjoy counting your dead fleas!
The trap also catches other kinds of bugs.

The Temptation of St. Anthony / Bosch and follower of Bosch

One or both of these paintings was done by Hieronymus Bosch.

One or both of these paintings was done by Hieronymus Bosch.


One of the plaques at the museum says the painting was done by a follower of Bosch. I don’t see a signature. I think the bottom painting is the Bosch, and the top one is his follower, but feel free to correct me if I got it wrong.

As soon as I saw them I said to myself “Bosch!” That boat with the naked lady inside a giant cherry is crazy, isn’t it. The plaque says the Medieval view of life was that the world is the Devil’s playground and only faith can save you from it. St. Anthony managed to not give in to the temptations by praying all the time even though there were naked slutty girls all around.

What do you think that one person in the pink dress is carrying on their back? It looks like a potato with legs.

I’ve always been fascinated with Medieval art and history. Just think, all of us with European ancestry had ancestors that survived the Black Plague. Mine were probably hiding in the mountains somewhere.

What is Essential to You?

Hans Richter's Dada XYZ

Hans Richter’s  Dada XYZ 1948

As a creative person, what is essential to you?  “XYZ”, an Artist Trading Card call from the Carlisle Arts Learning Center in Carlisle, PA. had me thinking. My Muse was on hiatus. I felt stranded when I opened my book on the Dada Movement, and received inspiration from Hugo Ball’s Sound Poems.

It was what I needed to kick-start me into action. So it felt natural to explore the world of Dada through the eyes of other members. And what could be more appropriate than to read Hans Richter’s “Dada XYZ”.  The piece opens with “I never understood Hugo Ball very well.”

I photocopied the photo of Hans Richter and attached it to illustration board. The text in the background is Richter’s thoughts written in 1948. It is published in Robert Motherwell’s anthology of Dada writings, The Dada Painters and Poets. I finished the card with sponged metallic acrylic paint. At the end of the exhibit this card will also be traded.

Inspired by the Dadaists, not understanding is the essential quality I look for in Art and in Life. Not understanding keeps me thinking…keeps me investigating…keeps my lines to my Muse open. And when I do finally understand, even if not fully, it can lead me to some very interesting, unexpected and inspiring places.

My question to you is…what is Essential to You?

Ganymede and the Eagle by Bertel Thorvaldson

Danish 1815

Danish 1815

The plaque at the museum says Ganymede was the prince of Troy and the eagle is Zeus in disguise. Zeus then carried Ganymede off to Olympus to be cup bearer to the gods.

Do you think Ganymede wanted be cup bearer to the gods? Is that all Zeus wanted from Ganymede? I don’t remember this story, but it sounds kind of fishy to me that Zeus had to disguise himself to get Ganymede to go with him. I remember Zeus disguised himself as a bull and became Europa’s pet so she trusted him enough to go for a ride on his back. Then he abducted her. Ganymede, who probably had a nice life as a prince was another good looking victim for Zeus. Did ancient Greek parents tell their children if a wild animal wants to be your friend RUN! Because it sounds like Ganymede might be Zeus’ slave. And I was surprised Zeus went after a boy because I thought he only went after girls. Those ancient Greek gods had a bad reputation. Zeus was the worst and he was the boss.

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