Friday, January 29, 2016

Death, Extinction, and Painting like your Mentors

I've spent some time trying to figure out what it is about extinct birds that has me so intrigued. For a little while I suspected that it had something to do with an environmental consciousness; sort of an extrapolation of the climate crisis that we aw experiencing. But to be honest, while I am very concerned with our climate, the effects we as a species have had on it, and most prevalent in my personal world, Maine's complete lack of winter thus far, I have to admit that this series is not because of sense of responsibility to the environment. It's the same sort of trope I would find myself falling into while I. Graduate school as for the reason that I prefer found materials. 

I realize now, coming off from a baseball season where the Mets made it to the World Series, and in my continual interest in the idea of race conflicts, and my perpetual views of land ownership, that I always cheer for the underdog. It is something deeper than that though. It is more this sense that I need to pay close attention to that which my fellow human beings may miss. I want to notice the insignificant, the under appreciated and remember the things that it seems we as a populace feel it may be better to forget. 

While it is true that many people when approached with the concept of species who are no longer with us will most definitely act the part of caring. I suspect that there is the idea of what a conscious, responsible, empathetic human must be; a sort of simulacrum of the ideal human being that so many of us aim to be. We put on that face as a populace. We are brutally affected by celebrity's deaths, terribly concerned about the welfare of the manatees, quick to throw up a #blacklivesmatter, but how many of us live the actuality of this "ideal human?"  I know I don't. I am anxious about my family, my job and my current lack of wheels. It would not surprise me if most people fell into this frame of mind. What I'm getting at here is that people don't pay attention on a daily basis. The extinct birds are as much a reminder of the fact that our planet has been through a world of change overseen by humankind as it is a reminder to hold dear to you the concept of life and a soul. It is fragile and likely to disappear. 

Today was a very good studio day. I'm starting to hit this stride with my focus. Like many people say, having a family and expectations at home will often make you more focused she you are at your work. I wasn't prone to believe this before, but now I am finding it to be true. 

I can't wait to get going on these panels. I have been doing simple portraits of Hawaiian birds that we have lost in a transparent acrylic style which I learned from an instructor at Syracuse, Trey Gallagher. I feel like these pieces pay a nice compliment to the work that feature bird and pattern. Also there are so many species that we have lost in Hawaii alone that it makes perfect sense to a mini series on the extinct Hawaiian birds. 

These were my jams today. Carted for life. Hope your day was amazing. 


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Insects, The Lagoon, and a Daily Creative Thing

Over the past several years I have watched many artists working on a drawing or painting a day sort of projects. They always seem so fascinating. The very idea of maintaining an idea or theme throughout the entirety of a year seems downright daunting to me, but here I am on day sixteen of doing a watercolor of an insect every day of 2016. 

It started with the idea that there is such a multitude of insects. I have been reading Armand Marie Leroi's "The Lagoon," a history of Aristotle's scientific observations on the animal kingdom. The book is fascinating, well written, and stresses an attractive idea of study through observation. (At least to an artist this certainly sounds attractive.)

Before I had reached a full week into the project, however, I became aware that it was not merely important in order to maintain a theme (which I suspect I may not be able to do) but also to set aside a half hour or so a day to myself and my own creative endeavors. As a father and husband, often my time is shared time. This is mine. I'm hoping I can make it through the whole year. 

Here are a few of the highlights so far. 

The project has been really fun and I'm optimistic that I may be able to make it all the way to December 31. If all goes well I plan on drawing mushrooms next year.