Monday, January 26, 2009

Late breaking...aka current events

I'm trying to get this whole art thing off the ground...again. It was up for awhile and then I realized 'hey...this whole furry art thing is expensive and difficult to compete with the likes of Dark Natasha and Michele I won't. I'll do my own schtick for awhile and see how that pans out. So far, not bad. Not making any decent money at it but it keeps me sane.

I'm trying to branch into the kids art market, though lightly. I don't do cartoony stuff well. I try to make my stuff as accurate as I can (under it all, I am just a nerd) but not uber intense so that it doesn't have a broad audience appeal. These ecosystem pieces I've been doing are a great test for that. I'm forced to step outside my comfort zone of cats and draw other animals (oh god, ungulates, no!) for a change. Each piece is very research heavy. Don't let an art teacher or anyone EVER tell you photo reference is a BAD thing. There's no way to see all of the species in these pieces in real life or in a stuffed collection, even at the American Museum of Natural History, which is by far my favorite museum. I'd rather someone research the hell outta something than it look like a mishmash of ignorance (like this stupid mural in downtown Laguna Beach with a whale shaped like an Orca, but colored like a Grey Whale. I mean WTF?!) Now, I'm not saying go copy a pose of a bird right out of a book. Chane a foot or wing, or flip it. research doesn't solve for talent either. *eh hem*

So, in light of that, so fun stuff I've been working on:

I finished the "Arctic Circle Ecosystem". I'd have to say the Aurora Borealis gave me the most trouble. Everyone knows what the Northern Lights look like (I haven't actually seen them for real) but you go to paint them and they fall flat. So, once I was home on a day off (I painted on my lunch again) I sat at my art desk with a great photo of the Aurora to paint from. I used some gouach (gouche?) on this piece in the lights and the iceberg and the Belugas. Nothing is to scale, but it's a great 'whimsical' painting. One of my illustration teachers in college used to say 'whimsical' like it was a bad thing.

Next is the secondary line art for my next 'ecosystem' piece: Africa! It started as the savanna only, then as I was doing my research (there's that buzz word again) I discovered, there are so many different animal species in Africa, more than we really think about. Africa really is a big continent, but it is dominated (lucky for me) by 3 MAIN ecosystems (please don't kill me real scientists): grassland, desert and tropical forest. These are what I chose to highlight. Not every creature exists alongside every other, but I threw as many animals in as I could for the sheer joy of challenging myself. Africa is land of the mega big freaking animals. It's difficult for me to find fish species and insects, but images of elephants, lions, gazelles, cheetahs, apes, giraffes, hippos, crocs, fish eagles, etc. abound. With so many species, it was hard to do a vertical composition since there are primarily two leaves of sub-ecosystems: land and air (water makes 3 as in rivers). I decided to make it a horizontal composition. After finishing my thumbnail sketch of the savanna piece, I realized I wanted to show more, so it's a triptych. 3 compositions in one. It's going to take and very long time to do, but I'm up to the challenge! Each piece will be a separate 10x16" piece, that will be digitally joined into one. This way I can still work on ONE AT A TIME during my lunches at Daly's. I have my next one planned too: the Everglades. Knowing me I'll do one inspired by Australia. I'd like to have Africa done before I leave for Aussie on Feb 25th, but if not, it'll be there when I return.

I hope you all enjoy what I've been working on. One day it'll payoff I'm sure.

More to come.

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