Wednesday, December 17, 2008
In this world, this life, 'flow' comes to an end. The canvas is dry, the fugue is complete, the band plays the tag one more time and then resolves on the final chord. And, too, the book is finished, the service is over, the lights go up in the darkened theatre and we emerge blinking into the bright lights of the 'real world.' But what if the timeless, creative world we had glimpsed is really the real world -- and it is precisely its reality that gave it such power to captivate us for a while? What if our ultimate destiny is that moment of enjoyment and engagement we glimpse in the artist's studio?"
-Andy Crouch author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling
Monday, December 8, 2008
Step two. Try and help where you can. Sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut and take your punishment.
Step three. Say your sorry, again.
Step four. Make sure you take the ball point pen out of your pocket before your wife does a huge load of laundry. Especially after a busy weekend.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I suppose that is one of the many things I like about tempera paint. My wife and I have talked about the fact that I really need to either switch to matte acrylics or at the least start adding matte medium to my paint to make it more durable. As most of you know tempera is a water based paint and even when completely dry can still be re hydrated and manipulated.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
So....with that in mind I have been sketching out some ideas that will focus on abandoned or "vintage" playground equipment. I really like the idea of a single subject in a composition along with the use of large amounts of negative space. Just works for me visually. A few years back I did something similar using old metal lawn chairs. Any who, this idea was sparked by a photo I viewed recently by a photographer from the Kansas City area named Morgan Miller. She has a fantastic photo of a playground slide that is in front of an old drive in theatre. The composition is just perfect, except I would have cropped it a bit more. Anyway, Morgan has a photo stream on Flickr and you can find her work there.
I have also realized that I very much like color field painting. I used to think that Mark Rothko was a joke. Too simple, as if he was trying to pull the wool over our eyes. But there is much to be said about his use of color and the multiple layers he used to create such depth.
There you have it, I need to balance things out. I kind of look at it like the Sabbath. The mind needs some time to rest in order to be at its best. Although sometimes it is hard to step back, I feel it is vital and absolutely necessary for continued creative growth.
Onward and Upward.
So far the co-op's members are Jeff Ackman-drawing and stencil design, Erin Eveland-oils and watercolor, Dags Grossman-oils, Mike Cahill-photography, Kenneth Cox-mixed media, Lynn Trone-drawing and myself-tempera and screen printing.
Another meeting will take place in a couple of weeks and we have already begun planning our first show for the first week of December. This show will be a group show that will feature work from all of the founding members. I will keep you posted!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Local Connection - An Artist’s Co-op
-To foster professional, emerging and young artists by providing a space for them to show their work and gain recognition.
-To allow the public to see that the arts are alive in our community and surrounding areas.
-To encourage and support one another in the arts.
-To provide an environment where artists are able to network with other artists as well as patrons of the arts.
-To serve as an information, promotion and education resource for the visual arts and craft community.
Opportunities for Artists:
-Each artist will have the opportunity to be involved in group and individual shows.
-A web presence allowing the work of the co-op’s members to be viewed at any time.
-An opportunity to connect with prospective buyers.
-Demonstrations and Workshops.
-The co-op will sponsor a show/exhibit approximately every six weeks -opening, reception and closing all in one night.
-Each show/exhibit will feature one or two members of the co-op.
-Membership fee of $50 annually to cover costs of artists’ shows including refreshments, advertisement etc.
-All members would be invited to participate in an annual group show to be held either in the spring or fall. This show would include live music as well.
Sale of Art work:
-All sales would take place directly between the artist and the buyer. Any sales resulting from artwork displayed at a show would require the artist pay a 20% commission fee to the co-op.
-All commission fees would go directly back into the co-op to be used for co-op related expenses - i.e advertisement, food and beverage for shows, live music at the annual group show, rental space.
Submissions for Membership:
-A prospective member will submit 8-10 works via a portfolio, slides, or other samples of his/her work being approved for membership. Digital format is also acceptable. This could include images on CD or DVD. All work is juried by the current members of the co-op.
Duties of the Co-op’s Members:
-Participation in set up/take down and operation of shows.
-Being a voice for the arts within your community.
-Help with placement of advertisements - posters and in local news publications.
-Attendance and participation in monthly co-op meeting.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
We had to make the tough decision to let him go. It was not fun for either of us. You know you have a special pet when your vet cries with you at his passing. When you have a dog that weighs 165 pounds roaming around the house, well lets just say he is hard to miss. Now with him gone, things are a bit out of balance.
On a brighter note, Maguns' buddy Zhang, our 4 year old Pug has kept us more than occupied. They were quite the pair. Magnus, this giant harlequin Great Dane and Zhang a 20 pound Pug. Passers by our home would always seem to get a laugh seeing them together.
I know he is only a dog, but he was part of our family. He will be greatly missed.
Plans are finally underway for an artist co-op here in the big city of Rushville, IL - pop. 3300.
I have come up with a simple, yet solid outline for the co-op. A letter along with the outline will be sent out to those I believe would be interested in becoming involved with this venture. Like I have stated before, this is something I just can't shake. I really see it as something I have to do.
Lots of new sketches for paintings. I can hardly wait to get back to working on them again. The house is almost finished, and my glass work is pretty predictable for the next few months. This means that I can start carving out some time to get back into the studio.
I will do my best to keep you posted.
Onward and Upward,
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
The ideas I have been thinking of possibly elicit a very deep emotional response from people. I know the ideas have impacted me deeply.
Bridges, backpacks and baggage. That is where all of this stems from. Like I said I don't want to reveal too much. So there you go.
Also been sketching out several different ideas for new paintings and prints. Most of them seem to happen during sermon time on Sunday morning. Now this is nothing against my good friend and preacher, Mike Cahill. No, it is actually quite the opposite. His sermons typically trigger more thoughts than I have time to process.
And this is when my sermon notes become artwork notes and sketches. I suppose we all do that is one way or another depending on a variety of things including our current mood, emotional state, etc. My wife calls this type of thinking "rabbit trailin' ". Kind of like when you are reading something on a web page and the next thing you know you have clicked on a link to another web page. And then you do it again...and again....and again. You get the point. You are far removed from your original web page and the next thing you know you are no longer reading about how to put together the simple bookshelf system you bought at IKEA and now you are reading a blog written by a guy who is really unable to communicate his thoughts in a meaningful way, much less make a lot of sense.
Anyway you get the idea. I will try to keep you posted.
Onward and Upward,
Monday, August 18, 2008
I am painting my house because it is covered in lead paint. Yeah!!! Love that lead paint. Such a genius invention, ranks right up there with asbestos insulation. Anyway, wearing a respirator, scraping (not my first choice) priming, painting, clean up...and well lets just say its a slow process.
The option here was to make my own personal artwork or fix my house that has caused one of my children to test high for lead in a recent blood test. Of course, its a no-brainer.
I have been doing my best to protect myself during this process. Needless to say, it is not easy to stay clear of the lead. I have been spraying the house down with water to keep the dust down too.
Anyway...I have still been sketching out ideas for paintings and prints. I will certainly be back to work in a few months.
And to really mix things up a bit more, I am teaching two new classes this year along with the wacked out idea of starting a local art co-op/collective. I was talking to a friend of mine on the local arts council and mentioned the idea of starting a co-op and all my ideas for what I see it becoming and he just says "aren't you getting ready to go back to school?"
Of course I say, its a perfect time to add something else to my day. Well, we will see how it plays out.
Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Onward and Upward,
Monday, July 7, 2008
On one particular evening we had the evening off. Meaning no free dinner. So we were left to fend for ourselves and shell out some cash for a meal. A couple of my female colleges asked if I would like to join them and I said sure. Any chance to dialog with other art teachers especially those from New York and Maryland. Two places I have never been and have only seen in pictures. Anyway I agree to go to dinner and as I am heading back to the residence hall on State Street I notice two young ladies, twenty somethings, and their dog. Either they were homeless or backpacking somewhere. They held a small cardboard sign that said "Begging Sucks, Passion Doesn't" This of course could be taken many different ways, but it really struck something in me. First of all I had never noticed two girls traveling like this, especially since I live in a town of 3300 with few, if any homeless. Second, I felt an urge to talk with them, I wanted to know their story. But I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to my room and clean up for my dinner date.
As I have been doing all week when I enter my room on the 14th floor, I go to the windows to take a look and see what is happening on the streets surrounding my building. It just so happened that I could see the two girls sitting across the street with their dog. What was even more ironic was the fact that I had been sitting in front of the same windows reading a book by Shane Claiborne. (if you don't know who he is or what he typically writes about, look him up and then come back for the rest of the story, it will be much more meaningful)
I am looking down upon these two girls and thinking I would really like to talk with them. Maybe share some food or money with them or maybe just listen. But I didn't. How bizarre is it that I have been reading this book and I pass these girls and now I can still see them from my room?
But I don't have enough time to do both. Talk to them and go to dinner with my friends.
This goes on for several minutes and my stomach starts to ache. Finally I look back and they are gone. I get ready and out the door to the elevator and off to dinner. One of the girls I am with says there is a great steakhouse down the street. She also mentions that it is a bit expensive. Fine I say, no problem. I had planned on spending a bit more for at least one meal.
As we chat and walk we talk about all that has taken place so far during the course of our time in the studio and the museum. Finally we arrive at the steak house. As soon as we enter I realize what expensive means. My menu arrives in a wooden frame. Just like you would frame a piece of art and place it on the wall. Then I see the prices........by now I am trying to think of a nice way to leave. That would be beyond awkward. But I can't get the costs out of my head and I scan the salad menu and find something in my price range. Actually it more than I would usually pay, but it was my best option.
Then things become a bit more awkward when the two ladies I am with order steaks, wine and sides and I order a tomato and mozzarella salad and water. The waiter can hardly believe that I am not ordering a steak. With prices starting at about 40 bucks...well I just could not do it. I tried to move the focus of the meal beyond the food and more to conversation, which I have to admit was really quite nice.
Then the food arrives. To my amazement, the steaks are about as wide as they are thick. My salad was twice the amount of food. So much so that I could not even eat all of it. For me, this is certainly a rare occasion. The girls I am with try and give me some of their steak, and of course I try to give them some of my salad. We end up just sticking to our own food.
The waiter drops off the check and we divide up what we owe. I could not believe what the cost of dinner for three. My stomach, although filled with plenty of food, is still a bit uneasy. I can't help but think about the two girls and their dog.
There they were, right in front of me. A prime opportunity to show love, to be love. What was I doing? How did I miss the opportunity? Was my dinner date that much more important? How did I let it slip away? To be very blunt, God gave me a golden, magnificent opportunity to be his hands and heart and I abruptly said no. What in the world was or is wrong with me? By now you are probably thinking this is pretty screwed up. Don't worry I am way ahead of you.
I have been replaying this in my mind...the girls...the street...the view from my window...the Claiborne book...the ache in my stomach...the dinner...money...my stomach...That is really screwed up. I fumbled on the goal line. What a missed opportunity.
Now where it gets a bit messed up again. I made this sign/painting a while back and have been meaning to post it. It was pretty much a punch in the gut and face. Salt and Light...that is what we are called to be. But in Chicago, I shut out the light and dumped the salt on my own head. This will haunt me for quite some time.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
All of this is certainly not a bad thing. And often times I need to be pulled in different directions. It keeps things genuine. It keeps me on my toes and also slows me down enough to notice the often overlooked things in life. For example, yesterday as I was working on windows in my shop my oldest daughter comes up to my little "speak-easy-like" window and says, "Daddy, daddy, we brought you a present". As I turn around and look toward the window I notice her little hand holding a tiny white flower she had picked for me.
Typically glanced over, not so with Ella. She finds beauty in some of life's most simple gifts. Simple. Beautiful. Eye-opening. It's times like these that I just stop and take a deep breath of life. It's times like these that I certainly become more aware of my surroundings, especially the people I love that make my days complete.
Anyway, I have also been working on series of Nursery Rhyme prints along with my regular order of art glass windows. Currently I am working on the final glass design in a series of eight that has been ongoing for the last four years. If you are interested in seeing them just go to http://www.fairoak.com/ and click on Art Glass Prairie School.
I suppose I need to back track a bit hear and give you a bit more information. I am married to my wife Christy and we have two daughters, Ella and Paige.
I am a full-time high school art teacher. I also run a small business called Schuyline Art Glass in which I make art glass windows in the Prairie School, Arts and Crafts, Bungalow and Art Nouveau styles. I also am a print maker, primarily screen prints and sometimes block printing.
I also do design work as well. I have designed candle votives, stationary, pottery, tile and furniture. On occasion I do sign painting and t-shirt design.
And most recently I have been working on cardboard with tempera. Creating artwork that challenges me in ways all the others have not been able to.
Finally, when I refer to the "shop" I mean my glass shop located in a my garage. When I say "studio" I mean the basement workspace that I paint in. Just trying to avoid further confusion. Whew.....
Anyway......................to get back to the title of this post. I am going to begin posting pages from my sketchbooks for all to see. These will be the working ideas of paintings, prints and possibly sculptures. Some of these sketches will be new and some will be from months back. But all of them will be from ideas I am using or have used in recent work.
So check back tomorrow and see what's new. Until then, onward and upward.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Planning on using some of my existing work and reworking it for a print version. For those of you out there who love the look of cardboard and tempera, well, don't fear. I will still be working primarily in that medium. I can't quite describe the feeling of painting with a child-like medium like tempera. And then add in the cardboard and well, I just love it. I know, I know it sounds corny but, well...it is corny. I admit it. Deal with it.
I have been thinking through some new concepts and ideas. Praying that God will continue to guide me....scratch that, I know that God is guiding. I need to pray that I will listen and respond to that guidance. That's better.
Birds, bottles, snow globes and water are just a few of the images drifting through my head currently. Trust me, I will make them all come full circle someday.
I have been reading quite a few blogs and articles on the web along with watching quite a few youtube videos. As always, people keep me on my toes with new thoughts, rehashed old thoughts and of course plenty of questions...it keeps me thinking.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The two profiles are of me. The rooster symbolizes not necessarily the outward denial of Christ, but more along the lines of a lack of reliance on Him. The sheep/lamb is symbolic of many things, most importantly, the fact that I am not in charge and He is.
On the left I'm on top and in charge, and on the left, Christ is first and above me. The hearts are reflect both of those times as well. The dark, gray heart belongs to the rooster and the red one belongs to the sheep/lamb.
Sounds simple enough, but there is much truth here. I don't know about you but there are those times when I put me first, I put my desires and wants above others. More importantly, I realize that I often leave Jesus out of the picture completely.
It is during these times that something takes place, some type of trigger or something inside or maybe its a kick in the teeth that jolts me back to where I need to be. And where do I think that place I need to be is? Seeking guidance and direction from the lamb instead of the rooster.
There you go...take it or leave it. Any thoughts from the thousands, if not millions of people who read this blog...well...maybe not millions.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The first one, Gossip, is tempera on cardboard and measures 24"x50" It pretty much approaches the idea of gossip from the standpoint of birds. Pretty straight forward, the only thing that might not be so obvious is the fact that all the birds have their backs to the viewer. Much like gossip, these five birds are discussing something with the intent of shielding their conversation from others, specifically those being gossiped about.
The second, What is Peace?, is tempera on cardboard and measures 50"x30". At first glance one might think this is some sort of political statement or a form of propaganda. That is really just the bait. Often times when discussing war, specifically the war in Iraq, I have noticed that many people feel that if we can achieve peace - the idea of no more violence - things will take care of themselves and we Americans can go back to our normal lives. Then I started to think about the question, "What is Peace?" and "What is a normal life?" Seriously what does that mean, specifically to the Christian?
Peace is not found with the absence of violence or war. Peace is not the result of winning or overthrowing a government. As a Christian, peace is found in Christ. The world is constantly turned upside down. Conflict, war, death and destruction are part of our lives. Not that I enjoy that but, those things are here and don't seem to be subsiding very soon.
So where do we find peace? There is peace knowing that Jesus Christ is in charge and I am not. There is peace knowing the picture is far more broad than my own little slice of the universe. Despite what is going on in the world, there is peace knowing that our lives will not always be like this.
And finally, this last one is tempera on cardboard and measures 30"x50. This is a self-portrait. The explanation is not that complicated but, I want to think about the best way to describe it to you. I will come back, maybe tomorrow, and try and do that. Enjoy.
Let me know what you think, I am always curious to know what others are taking away and adding to my works.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Anyway, the show was fantastic! We had over 75 people sign our guest book and there were plenty more that didn't. The atmosphere was perfect. A little bit of music, some good food and plenty of conversation. Of course there are always things you wish you would have planned a bit better, but so it goes. My oldest daughter Ella was pretty excited to see some of her paintings displayed as well. Just like her ol' dad, she paints with tempera on cardboard...what can I say.
There were plenty of opportunities to talk with people one on one. That is what we had hoped for. I had the chance to explain the process for many of my paintings. The reason or purpose behind them became even more evident as the conversations developed. And of course the viewer always brings something unexpected to the work. Views, thoughts or ideas that I had maybe not even considered.
It was very encouraging to say the least. It just reinforced the fact that we are doing the right thing. That God is opening doors just as quickly as he closes others. That is beyond words.
There are quite a few people who helped out and made the show possible. I am not going to give an Oscar speech here but I do want to recognize them. Here they are:
Christy, Amy, Claire, Erik, Gail and Hallie and of course my brothers, Jeff and Joe. I am sure there are others, please forgive me for not mentioning them. Thanks does not do really express how greatful I am. Without these folks, well...it just would not have worked as well as it did. I am very greatful for their help.
Plans are already underway for another show this summer. Crazy huh?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I will continue to show and discuss work on this page as always. Hopefully this added feature will help those looking for specific art works.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Onward and Upward.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Jeff and I spent most of the day today working on the space for the show. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, building supports for the art work and just taking a chance to step back and take it all in. It still boggles my mind that we started throwing around this idea a little over a year ago. This idea to have a show where we could display art works of our own. And to add to that, neither one of us had been painting regularly for quite sometime! So we started with an idea, just like paintings do...and here we are, two weeks away. It's pretty cool to think about.
What happens when it's over? What happens when the last person leaves, the lights are shut off and the door is locked? I can't answer that question but I honestly believe this is just the beginning of something significant in our lives.
Soooooooo???? You might be wondering what this has to do with anything...well it does. Here goes. I ask myself this question to keep myself in check. The art I am creating right now asks some tough questions. These questions are not just aimed at the viewer but, right back at me as well. Can I answer them? Of course I can't answer all of them but I try to at least address them. If I didn't what would be the purpose? Why would I even be asking them?
More importantly how do people view me through the questions my art works ask? I can't say for sure. I suppose that I hope they will begin to see a genuine person who doesn't have it all figured out. A person who is willing to become a bit vulnerable. A person who is willing to ask questions or entertain ideas that are not part of our everyday dialog. A person who is willing to ask the question and not have the answer.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Both of these works are as you guessed it...tempera on cardboard. Plus a bit of acrylic and some marker.
The two hands (ripped off of Michelangelo) represent how often times homeless people are viewed as less valuable, less important by our society. The idea is that, just like in Michelangelo's Creation of Man, God is reaching out to us. Reaching out regardless of our current place in society. I believe there is still more to come with this painting. I would certainly not call it finished quite yet.
The second one is pretty much a look at myself. Often times our gifts and of course our hearts become closed off by money. I will tell you more later. Right now I'm pretty tired and can't quite produce the words that would best describe this.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Anywho, just thought I would post a few new paintings this weekend. I will try and have photos up by Saturday sometime.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Milk it does not always do the body good.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
As an artist I am constantly looking at other artists work. Constantly seeking inspiration and purpose from work created by others...and of course comparing how well my work holds up with theirs. Am I not confident enough to be happy and content with my own creations? At times, more so than others, but not all of the time. Of course the macho manly answer would be to say that others have no impact on how I work...if they don't like it, well I could really care less.
I wish it were that simple. I'm human, of course what others think and say has an impact on my work. I want people to like it. To say otherwise would be untrue. That does not mean that I am not confident in what I do, it means that I have a heart. It means that I desire to connect with people through the messages and questions in the art I create. And I suppose at times that connection can still be made even if the work is not well received. So in the end, does it matter what others think of my work? Not really, but it sure is nice when they do.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Anyway, the dark, money focused person, which I can be at times, is focused on the use of the gift (whatever that may be) with just themselves in mind. The other side is the person who can balance that out with an eye on how the gift can be used for others. I am sure that I am not the only one who has this "push-pull" type of relationship with the use of a gift. Not that it is by anymeans wrong to use your gifts and talents to make money, to make a living...duh, that is not the point. I am talking about when the use of the gift for the benefit of others is lost or burried. I call this the we and me type of view.... more to think about.
Monday, March 3, 2008
These two paintings were painted by my younger brother Jeff. The first painting, with a detail shot, is acrylic on MDF(pretty large and heavy!). The second is acrylic on a stretched sculptural canvas. Very sculptural and abstract. Jeff is much more abstract and non-objective in style but is still trying to get a message across to the viewer. Hopefully that does not sound too confusing. Work is coming along for our show next month...can't believe we only have about a month to go! Jeff will be showing approximately 6 pieces and I will probably have 12. Just a reminder that the show at the Good Book in Rushville is on the second floor with stair access only. Sorry no elevator or lift. We will be having refreshments and possibly some music. Everything is still in the works...kind of a whirlwind right now with my teaching job right now. We are preparing for our spring musical and I am the set and stage designer....just add it to the list. I will do my best to keep the page up to date over the next few weeks.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Here are two versions of the same idea. What do you take from them? The one in green in yellow is tempera on cardboard. The one in brown and yellow is oil on luan. I started out using oils but quickly changed my mind. One was cost and two was the amount of drying time between layers. Although I give my students a hard time about being impatient with their projects, I too fall into that catagory sometimes as well. I suppose I am a victim of the culture. Instant gratification...stupid dial-up connection....when can I get high speed?
This is the image that started it all. After reading the book True Faced I began to look at my surroundings in a different light. I started to slow down a bit and take more in. I started thinking about symbolisim and how it could be used to convey purpose and deep meaning. I also wanted to use some of the most simple, basic and inexpensive materials I could find. This painting (6'w x 5'h), which was created using tempera on cardboard, is my first attempt at a new type of art for me. It deals with the two sides of a person. Not going to go into a detailed description right now. So just take a look. Interpet it. Let me know what it says to you, the viewer. As far as titles go....I have yet to decide.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Our work does have a few similarities. Both of us create work that focuses on our Christian faith. And hopefully both of our works will entice the curious viewer to ask questions. Not only questions about the art work itself, but about themselves personally.
One thing I have been struggling with is the poster for the show. Currently the poster makes no reference to Christianity. It is somewhat of a push-pull relationship with this issue. Although I create Christian themed art I don't want to be placed in the Christan Artist box. I don't want to alienate people either. Why you may ask? Well.....my work is not just intended for the Christian audience. If it were than I feel I would be doing a disservice to the art I am creating. The work I create (which I feel is totally guided by God) is meant to challenge the Christian and seeker.
Chalk this one up in the category of "yet to be determined".
Friday, February 22, 2008
So now I need some time to think as well.