Last year I went to my first rodeo in Utah and was amazed at how those cowboys were able to stay on the horses and bulls for more than a second. After the event I took some photos of people wearing cowboy hats as well as a series of just hats stacked up for sale at one of the keosks selling them.
I turned it into a painting and gave it to a friend as a birthday gift.
It’s the modern day way of having reference to paint from instead of standing there for a day and copying what you see.
The trick is to take a good photo and convert that into a worthy representation.
Did I do it justice?
A few weeks ago my friend Marshal and I went on a photo expedition (fancy works for just driving around with our cameras) and he suggested we go to a site where there was this fantastic Indian temple. He said, “you feel liek you’re in another country and not in LA anymore.
The afternoon light was going quickly so we needed to get there before it would be too dim for any good exposures. As it turned out the late light actually made the environment feel even more serene and it had an extreme calming affect on me.
Here are a few photos that were taken within a half hour that afternoon.
This is a photograph I took of a cactus flower that bloomed one day out of nowhere. We had a rather large potted cactus left in our side yard that the previous owners left behind for us. I hardly ever watered it and it seemed to “green-up” a bit and sprout another arm every two or three years. It took until our last year there for it to bloom like this. I was startled at it’s beauty. I’d never seen anything like this before. Especially from such an ugly old plant that never seemed to be surviving well.
I suppose my attention to it the final 10-12 months we lived there may have brought this on. What a find. In my own back yard.
Yes, I see contemporary art every day. An most of it is read and I look up at it. They are signs. Some of them are quite creative.
I used to work at a friend’s studio years ago and he had a painting hanging on a wall downstairs that I marveled at every time I saw it. It was a beautifully rendered acrylic canvas of a sign on a building. I don’t remember the name on the sign because that’s not what I liked about it. It was the letter forms and how well the artist painted them in a bright afternoon day lighting with a brilliant blue sky in the background and a brick wall for the building.
I was taught how to set type back in New York City in the 60′s by some real pros and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It taught me to enjoy how spacing in word and letter arrangement is everything. It’s a subject that deserves it’s own blog and at least a longer post than this and I will get to it at some point as I am the keeper of some very valuable technology that is what could be considered a lost art in itself.
Some of the best signage around is from the fifties diners and before that the 40′s and art deco type styles used in posters for airlines and ship cruises.
Here are a few examples of signs I photographed in Aruba and Curacaio.
This is the $65,000 question. When is graphic design or graphic art fine art or is it ever? I took a course a few years ago and fine art was more or less defined as art that the viewer could contribute to. What does that mean? Well, I took that to mean that the person could look at the artwork and find his own communication he or she was getting from it or what they thought it all meant without it being spelled out as it is in an illustration or graphic design.
It’s an interesting thing to me because as I’ve worked primarily as a graphic designer almost my whole life I’ve really had a problem with the idea that there is a line that separates the commercial and the fine in artwork.
Example number one; Andy Warhol was an editorial illustrator and art director first and became known as a fine artists after he illustrated (painted) 57 paintings of the Heinze 57 varieties of soups in their cans. Voila!! Illustrations that were heralded as fine art and even given a new category; Pop Art!
Then there’s the mondern day version of warhol in Murakami. His art is being used on hand bags for Louis Vuitton. This artist has a team of artists working on his paintings as he lays them out in pencil and writes inthe colors as PMS color numbers for his assistants to use. Now that’s pretty commercial to me personally but that may just be art in our time today as it is mass produced.
I’ve also seen many advertisements that seem like fine art to me as they are very simple and want the customer to fill in the message. Nike does that all the time. Guess Jeans. How about some of those beautiful photos used in makeup ads.
I think there is a line between the two forms of art, but sometimes it can be razor thin and sometimes a block wide. That’s the real beauty of art…it’s creative that way.
Case in point; A painting I did last year using commercial art techniques!
A few years ago I was walking in Venus California and there is a great building that looks like a pair of binoculars. I had my daughter and her boyfriend with me and I had the idea for a photograph.
I asked joe, my daughter’s boyfriend to go and run flat out past the front of that building and I would shoot the moment he is lined up with the front of it. I worked pretty well. Here’s a digital piece of art I made from it. It will be made into a painting soon.
I think there’s always a chance to create at anytime, anywhere. You just have to be willing to keep your eyes open for something.
Years ago I used to live in New York City. I always carried around a camera as I felt the city was so interesting and the people were great to take pictures of in really bizarre backgrounds or with the backdrop of the city streets.
Making art out of the moment in conversation is really an art. Some people are really great at that too.
For years I’ve wondered what most people prefer when it comes to hanging artwork on their walls. I went online and clicked around for days visiting various sites from framing to high end galleries and everything in between.
After days of research what I found was that the highest rated, most popular and most purchased pieces of art were landscapes.
Yes, landscapes. I’d completely forgotten about them as a subject to paint or photograph but when I thought about it remember being inspired by many beautiful paintings that were landscapes.
I’ve never been big on producing landscapes but I decided to give myself a project to photograph some landscapes and then either paint them or use the photos in a painting.
There is the mindset of the idea to paint what you, the artist wants to create and damn the public. A viewpoint I well understand, but I like the idea of doing it both ways. What I want to paint and also filling a need and want by the public.
Here are a few photos I’ve taken for possible paintings.
This photo was taken in April 2009 near San Diego, California. It’s on a golf course that for the life of me I can’t remember the name of. The tree at the bottom set against the almost perfect sky looks and feels very calming and I think could translate into a nice piece of work.
This photo was taken in June as I was driving up to Monterey, California an stopped to photograph the scenery. I think the back roads of California have some of the most interesting and scenic areas in the world.
This is a photograph I took on the same trip only coming back from Monterey in the late afternoon and saw this at Moro Bay on the Coast highway and had to stop for it. Notice the Maxfield Parrish coloring and the moon in the distance.