Dim Stars: FIGHT!

The day before Thanksgiving, I received a copy of Spectrum 25. A beautiful book of art. I was nominated for a medal. The fact that I lost was not a surprise but still being represented in the book is more than I ever expect. The other nominees in my category are incredible artists.

Spectrum 25 Annual

Spectrum has always been one of those books to me that was an honor to get in because I live and work on the outskirts of those sorts of genres. Also, since it was playing D&D and being heavily influenced as a kid by the art in those books, the medal nomination is an incredible honor.

The next day, on Thanksgiving morning, I woke up to an email from the Society of Illustrators letting me know that this same piece was accepted into the Annual show. Another incredible honor!

Thank you to everyone involved with Spectrum and at the Society for having such respected annuals and thank you everyone for your support.

The work will be displayed at the Society of Illustrators Museum in January 2019.

Dim Stars: FIGHT! | 11x17”

Dim Stars: FIGHT! | 11x17”

Botticelli - Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Botticelli - Virgin and Child (Madonna of the Book) 1478-80

Botticelli - Virgin and Child (Madonna of the Book) 1478-80

I am not a Botticelli expert nor all that incredibly knowledgeable about the Pre and Renaissance art movement - but it's that very work that influenced me early on during my first year at School of Visual Arts. With that, this post will be relatively brief.

The Boston MFA had a wonderful Botticelli exhibit recently. I am a little behind putting this up. The show just closed a week or so ago but hopefully these images will be inspiring. It was the largest show of his work and his predecessors ever in the United States.

Through my instructors and required trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the History of Art class, I was introduced to this art period and the first things that I was attracted to was the flattened perspectives and the basic color palettes. The colors, while advanced, did seem very 'out of the tube' to me. The work I did throughout college and a little after had its base in this work.

At the time, while I was interested in some of the work, I was more attracted to contemporary illustrators of the time. That was the 120 year old me more interested in what was happening 'now' than 500 years earlier. The influence was there but I didn't pay too much attention to it or really its history at that time.

Visiting this show, I noticed within myself my appreciation of art history and the work has grown. Especially in the craft of the work itself. I think this likely has a lot to do with being an instructor and discussing history and artists from all time periods fairly regularly. I can't say that it will alter my own working methods now, but as most shows are to me, it was incredibly inspiring and all I wanted to do after I left was draw or paint.

Below are some photos and brief notes of things that stood out in the exhibit.

Antonio del Pollaiuolo - St. Michael the Archangel Killing the Dragon, 1465-70

Antonio del Pollaiuolo - St. Michael the Archangel Killing the Dragon, 1465-70

This painting above was particularly interesting to me. Del Pollaluolo's work actually help shift Botticelli's work in that his figures became a bit more athletic in physique that previously.

This work interesting because the subject matter is kick ass but what jumped out to me was the incredible amount of visual tangents in the piece. The first visit to the show, I was with a student and they know that I am one to make sure that the piece doesn't have tangents because it really distracts the viewer. 

I am thinking during this time period, these tangents were created as a compositional element to keep the eye moving around the piece. Maybe we've gotten more advance with tangent use a few hundred years later?

I challenge everyone looking at it to see how many tangents you can find. There are tons!

Still, it's a cool piece of art.

Sandro Botticelli - Madonna of the Loggia, 1467

Sandro Botticelli - Madonna of the Loggia, 1467

This was one of Botticelli's earliest Madonna and Child paintings above. This is a bit surface-y, but I love the frame.

Botticelli - Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist, 1505

Botticelli - Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist, 1505

The foliage and ground in this painting above just blew me away. It is likely one of my favorites in the exhibit. The minute details, composition, color and mood are amazing. He did this one later in life and during the pinnicle of his abilities.

Botticelli - The Nativity, 1482-85

Botticelli - The Nativity, 1482-85

The alter-piece painting below was interesting to see because I was able to see the wood structure it was painted on. It might be somewhat present in this first photo but when looking at the painting, you can really see how the wood curved over time. 

Still, the art is in stellar condition being over 500 years old.

Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Sebastian, Lawrence, John the Evangelist and Roch (Altarpiece of Montelupo), 1499

Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Sebastian, Lawrence, John the Evangelist and Roch (Altarpiece of Montelupo), 1499

Detail

Detail

One of the centerpieces of the exhibit, is Botticelli's study for 'The Birth of Venus'. It is an incredibly tall painting. I had to stand back quite a few feet to take this photo so it doesn't look warped to give you an idea of size.

Beautifully rendered and a sneak peek into what will become one of the best known pieces in the history of art. Unfortunately, The Birth of Venus wasn't at this show.

To finish off this quick post, something jumped out at me going through the show which amused me. It was the blatant similarities of how Botticelli painted feet in his paintings. Even though the paintings were created many years from one another, it seemed like he used one set of feet. Did he trace them? Did he have a master sketch and just flipped the drawing as needed? They appear to be the same elongated feet and toes in every piece.

Keep Abortion Legal Poster

PURCHASE POSTER HERE.

In between work, I've started creating various social justice posters. I am not creating them for any specific show but just to get the ideas and issues I am concerned about out of my head.

In this case, within a couple of hours of posting this poster, I was asked to have become part of a poster show traveling the world called 'Women's Rights are Human Rights' curated by Elizabeth Resnick. As of this month, it is being exhibited at the 360 Gallery at Northeastern University and in April, it will be going to the Warsaw Poster Museum in Poland. More exhibitions will be coming up.

Currently in the shop now, is an 18"x24" version in an edition of 100 for sale. Each poster hand numbered and signed. Profits from this poster will be donated to Planned Parenthood. Please visit for more information.

Society of NYC + Society of Los Angeles Annual Awards

The Universe! for Nautilus

The Universe! for Nautilus

Over the last month, I've gotten two notifications from the Society of Illustrators (New York) and the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles that I a total of seven pieces in these annuals including that I will be receiving a Bronze Medal from the Society of Los Angeles for this piece below.

It's an honor to have work selected for these shows. 

The Judge for The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles - Bronze Medal

The Judge for The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles - Bronze Medal

Virtual Reality - Portrait of Gwen Jorgenson

Virtual Reality - Portrait of Gwen Jorgenson

Portrait of Jan Hus for Liberty Magazine

Portrait of Jan Hus for Liberty Magazine

Opiates for Benefits Pro Magazine

Opiates for Benefits Pro Magazine

The Day I Tried To Live for the Society of Illustrators

The Day I Tried To Live for the Society of Illustrators

Sterilization - Personal Piece

Sterilization - Personal Piece

Visiting the Maine College of Art

I visited the Maine College of Art not to do a lecture this time, but I was invited to review the illustration program. It is a small but incredibly vibrant school. The students are quite dedicated and I loved seeing their work and the program.

Once in a blue moon, I am invited to review an illustration program. It's a lot more busy work and not as satisfying because I don't get to spend as much time with students as I would if I was doing my usual guest speaking thing.

Still, being an educator, it is always interesting to meet other faculty and dig into programs to see what makes them tick and how they operate. Of course, the discussions usually go to curriculum and how to educate to make the best illustrators possible.

I was there for two days and unfortunately, I can't go into detail but it was a wonderful time. The students I did meet and had lunch with were incredibly kind and self-aware. The teachers are also very dedicated at this school. The facilities throughout the school are pretty amazing. If I had no life and unlimited funds, I'd cycle through all the programs just to use the equipment they have.

If you have a family up in Maine, I wouldn't pass up taking a look at the facilities if someone is thinking about attending a small art school in a very small town. For me, it would be too small but for someone used to living in very rural areas, this might be perfect.

20161104_143638.jpg

I stayed an extra evening to visit the Portland Museum of Art and see the Matisse exhibition. I took a few photos but you can visit the website and see more of the Matisse work available there.

The ease of expression that comes from Matisse's work is amazing and effortless.

A nice surprise while I was there was a show dedicated to whale art called Of Whales in Paint that seem to have a hub with Rockwell Kent. There were quite a few Kent's on exhibit. I stole this photo without being caught because photos aren't allowed in the exhibition. It's rare to see original Rockwell Kent's out in the world so I was delighted. The sharpness, clarity and weight of the pieces are brilliant. More so in real life.

If you ever are thinking about Maine, this was a good time to go. There weren't very many tourists around and the city is manageable.

Dim Stars: Fire | Helikon Gallery, CO

Dim Stars: From The Core (Fire) | 15" x 15.5" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: From The Core (Fire) | 15" x 15.5" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Opening November 3rd at the Helikon Gallery in Denver Colorado is the Muses of Mount Helikon IV group show! My series, Dim Stars: Fire will be exhibited in its entirety at the show.

I actually started these drawings about 2 years ago. The original versions were just the characters doing what they're doing on a blank field. I finished those versions a long while ago and they sat in the flat file for at least a year before I thought about them again.

I took them out and realized I could convey so much more about the world they live in and the stories I want to tell. In between client work, I spent a good part of 2016 drawing in the environments.

I don't normally do rendered graphite like this but I have been finding myself incorporating some sort of visible pencil work it into my client work. I thought I would go full-on with these pieces which was incredibly therapeutic and fun. Doing these pieces reminded me of Elementary and Junior High school where I tested myself on how well I could render.

Sometimes, all you need is a pencil and a piece of paper.

As I continue to develop the Dim Stars projects, you can visit the dedicated website dimstars.com and subscribe for new information as it becomes available. The site is a work in progress as well as how I am going to further develop the process. If you subscribe, you'll get a free limited edition sticker pack sent to anywhere in the world!

Dim Stars: Defense (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Defense (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Escape (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Escape (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Solemn (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Solemn (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Joy (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Joy (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Basking (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Basking (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Sly (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Dim Stars: Sly (Fire) | 8.5" x 11" | Graphite on Vintage Paper

Drawn To The Music - Society of Illustrators, NY

The Day I Tried To Live | 17" x 11" | Mixed Media

The Day I Tried To Live | 17" x 11" | Mixed Media

I created this painting for a special exhibit at the Society of Illustrators called Drawn To The Music. The exhibit is about artists interpretations of their favorite songs.

Exhibit: October 25 - December 23, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, November 4th, 2016

The song I chose to paint is The Day I Tried To Live by Soundgarden. It is likely one of my favorite songs of all time but found it difficult to create art for. I probably could have done 10 different versions of this painting yet it just wouldn't seem right.

This painting comes at a good time because I took August off from taking on client work. I needed some time to work on personal projects and other creative things I've been mucking about with. While I've been off, I've been thinking about my work lately and I've noticed that I have been losing the looseness in the work that I had so much fun with. I think that is due to the more perfectionist part of my personality. Over-rendering, over-painting...it seems to be killing an energy in my work that I used to have.

I think this piece turned out to be a good balance between the two - the loose and the graphic and tight.