Saturday, January 19, 2019

Two-Part Harmony


During my SNOW DAY back in 2018, I put down the first little bit of color on Two-Part Harmony.





Even though I painted the majority of the bottom register red, you can still see areas where the brown under-layer peeks through.  Since red and green are complimentary colors, the painterly red area contrasts nicely with the flatter/smoother green on top.




Sketching out a few possible scenarios for the first layer of imagery.




Actually applying the line work.








I'm fairly content with what I have here.  I do think there is a 90% chance of a 'PEW PEW PEW cluster' being added...

Monday, January 14, 2019

Breathing Some Life Into Veldt


Here is how Veldt looked in last Spring when I stashed it in an out-of-the-way corner of the studio so I could focus my efforts towards other pieces for Pop Culture Palimpsest.


Time to get back at it.

Since there is an underlying theme of technology fostering interpersonal detachment, I thought it appropriate on the first layer to add a reference to one of my favorite video games on the Atari 2600 (back in the day), Adventure.  I spent a ridiculous amount of my childhood happily playing that game.

 If you've ever read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline or seen the 2018 movie of the same name (based on the book), then you'll know that Adventure was one of the first known video games to include an Easter Egg.

Here's how it goes: If you found the 'secret room' inside the black castle you could pick up this black dot which you had to transport to another part of the world/realm (watch out for that damn bat...) to be able to move through this wall (line) and into another secret area.  That 2nd secret area had the the words "created by Warren Robinett" running down the center of the space.  It looked something like this:


This was a big deal back in the late 1970s/early 1980s for at least two reasons: 1st) video game companies didn't want their game programmers becoming famous/notorious/more expensive, so they tried to keep them anonymous -this was the first time a programmer sneaked their name into the game so we actually knew who made it, and 2) this rewarded video game players for scouring the digital worlds in which they were playing looking for other bonuses/goodies.  If you like hidden rooms/ bonus levels, or secret stashes of weapons in your video games, crack open an icy cold cold-one and thank Warren Robinett.

So back to Veldt.  I've added a couple of the mazes from Adventure (with a few modifications) and 2 of the castles (neither castle has its appropriate color scheme) to the base of the image.  I even have the secret room in the black castle and the location of the message/programmer's name as a bonus.


Now some of the relief areas (sandwiched in between the mazes) get their first wash of color.


A few close ups (before I add any kind of line work).




Now it's time to start adding some line work to help give definition to select areas of the composition.




Obviously I need to add the three dragons, a few keys, and maybe even the sword.  I may even develop a protagonist character other than the little square that was in the original game.  Back in 1981 we moved a little square around the screen for endless hours of fun.  Nowadays, a square isn't so captivating.

One key.  Two key.


Three key.


Sword.


Some frightening dragon action.


Years ago, I swear I saw an interview with the actor John Lithgow and I remember him saying something to the effect that "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing".  I've not been able to verify this, but his words have stuck with me for decades now.

With that expression in mind, I decided that to in order to sell 'my' roar, I should overdo the Rs.


I decided to paint as many Rs as I could in a 30 minutes.


30 minutes later I'm forced to question the wisdom of my actions...


Some notations on the map.



Our protagonist battling the dragons for the chalice.


Here is how everything looks before I dive in with any kind of color.  If the image is dense enough for my liking, I won't add anymore line work on this layer.  If it seems a bit anemic, I'll have to hit the sketchbooks again.


Time to let Veldt sit and hang out for a bit.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Early Stages of Arena

One of the many pieces I am working on in the studio right now is Arena.  I fabricated the actual stands of the arena about a year and a half ago, and was keeping it as a potential piece for either the In/ConFLUENCE show at Quad City Arts or Pop Culture Palimpsest at The Figge Art Museum. As it turned out, I didn't have the needed components around the studio to spark any ideas on how to finish it (or at least any ideas I was remotely excited to pursue).

So, if I have learned anything over the years, it is to not push a piece that isn't ready to be pushed/explored.  That is why I keep several pieces active/ongoing in the studio.  If I'm stuck on one project/idea, I just move to another one.  Somewhere in the process I will learn/see the thing I need to learn/see to move forward.  Sometimes that window of waiting until I learn/see what I need to learn/see can take years (or even over a decade for another piece I will talk about in a future post...).

Anyway, what Arena needed was for carved faces/masks/spectators inside the four windows, something for them to stare at (spectacle), and perhaps an outside entity providing the spectacle/distraction.  So here we go...







That's all well and good, but I need to have something to be the recipient of all of the gazes from the stands.  I need that spectacle/distraction I just talked about.  How about a lollipop?


The crowd.





That hot lollipop action.



Now for the first wave of color.


Time to contemplate options while the color dries.