Friday, December 8, 2017

In/ConFLUENCE: A Peek At Phil Laber's Work

For over 20 years now, Phil Laber and I have been saying "We should have a show together sometime.....".  There is a reasonable overlap in our work.  We both love color and texture.  We frequently explore social and political ideas.  We both work in several media.  How hard could it be to put together a show........?

20-some years later we finally put together a show called In/ConFLUENCE.

I want to take this opportunity to give you a sneak peek at Phil Laber's work.......

Digital collage on shaped canvases.  The last time I taught at Northwest Missouri State University, Phil was working on these pieces.

He made a whole series of these roller-based pieces (inspired by the image left behind on a print roller).

Here are several pieces from his 'House of Cards" series.  In/ConFLUENCE has several of these prints in it.  Even with nearly a half-dozen pieces from 'House of Cards', we're still only able to show about half of the series.  It's big, and it's cool.

Check out one of his sculptural prints.

Here are a few images of Dawn Wolford-Metallo and I setting up In/ConFLUENCE at Quad City Arts.

Starting to get things hung....

One of Phil's rollers I had mentioned earlier.

Here's Dawn trying to stay focused on hanging the show while being harassed by unseen/unnamed entities off camera.

Her focus pays off!

Come check out In/ConFLUENCE at Quad City Arts Gallery in Rock Island.  If you want to see more of Phil Laber's studio work, check out:  (I've really only scratched the surface of his oeuvre (That sounds worse than it really is.....)).

Next time we'll explore how to be a carved frame of leisure.....

Friday, December 1, 2017

Mystic Guru Becomes Spent Youth and Two Nuggets For Your Consideration

After years of hanging around my studio, I think Spent Youth (formerly Mystic Guru) is nearing resolution.  It will be one of the pieces in the show In/ConFLUENCE at Quad City Arts.(check out their website by clicking  I just need to finish painting in some detail areas.....

This area with the wording is going to get hazed over with a fairly thick wash, so it will be subdued in the final piece.  I already have plans to reuse this image in a carved frame for another piece I'm working on called Bro Kin.  It's rare that I have anything that resembles 'a plan', but this time I actually do.....maybe.  You can read about Bro Kin in an earlier post by clicking HERE.

.....and haze layer (c'mon, you knew it was coming)......



With some brownish-black outlines to accentuate the relief shapes.

I need to go in and give the relief shapes more attention/paint so they visually pop out.  The warm colors on top of cooler tones was not visually working as well as I had hoped.  Time for something slightly different.

Two nuggets for consideration:

Nugget 1.  In my previous POST about painting Los Reyes, I was doing some color mixing of yellow and cadmium red on a palette.  My brush wasn't nearly as clean as I thought, so I had to get rid of the first brush load of paint because it was contaminated with a brownish-green sludge.  So I grabbed a 'idea starter' canvas that had been lying around for over a year, and smeared all of the contaminated paint on the canvas to get it out of the brush.

The takeaway from all of that exhaustive brush cleaning was that I am way more intrigued about working with whatever this 'idea starter' piece/thing is.  A reasonable person's takeaway lesson probably would have been they need to take better care of their brushes/equipment.  But as a wise man once told me, "Nobody learns their lesson....".

Nugget 2.  I have mentioned a couple times now about the upcoming show In/ConFLUENCE at Quad City Arts.  What I haven't mentioned is that I'm going to be showing with my long-time friend and former mentor, Phil Laber.  He's a force of nature in the studio.  I will give y'all a sneak peek of one of his pieces here.

Pretty cool stuff.  Anyway Phil's and my opening is for In/ConFLUENCE is Friday December 8th at Quad City Arts (It's part of GalleryHop!).

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Los Reyes Gets 'What Fer': Part II

Ok.  Let's land this plane.

Recently, I drew this three-headed 'angel figure' with a few nearby architecture elements.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but while thumbing through one of my notebooks, the drawing caught my eye .  It might be the right thing to add to bring Los Reyes to some kind of satisfying resolution.

So I painted the line work for part of that drawing onto the canvas.

One of the challenges with Los Reyes (in all of its various incarnations) has been trying to unify the top portion of the canvas with the bottom half.  In many respects, it is almost two different pieces.  The bottom half has more relief elements and is far more textured than the top half -which is almost exclusively just paint on canvas.  I think what I need to do is bring some of that texture (and relief structure) up into the top register to help unify the piece.

More paint to the 'paint portion' of the show isn't going to unify the piece the way I had hoped, so it seems the answer lies with bringing some more of that relief quality to the top register.

The first step is tracing and creating a template on a sheet of plastic so I can maintain the same size/proportions.

I then transfer everything over to cardboard, cover it with fabric and then a layer of canvas, attach it to the surface of the canvas, and prime it.

Then I put down a base layer of gray (along with touching up a few areas in the bottom half with the same gray).  This gray will probably show up in the frame as well to help tie things together.

Time to start laying some brick.

Once that line work is in place and dry, time to add my muted color scheme.

Touch up a few areas.

Once I have a few base colors in place, I need to add a few more passages of line work.  Specifically, I need to add the repeated motif of one king putting his finger in another king's pie while not realizing his own pie is being violated by a separate king.

Like this....

Here are a couple images before I complete any touch-ups.

Now it's time to go in and clean up a few areas.

Usually, I mix a batch of colors before I start to paint, and treat the whole business more like a paint-by-numbers kind of affair.  This is a rare instance when you can see me actually mixing colors on a palette to get a rough approximation of what color I'm trying to duplicate.  The original Los Reyes is so old, that I hadn't become so 'paint-by-numbers- yet.

Fine tuning the color scheme so both halves of the piece form an active visual dialog with each and with the carved frame.

Painting the frame is like putting icing on a cake, yet totally different.....

A few more areas/colors....

You can see the finished piece at Quad City Arts for In/ConFLUENCE this Winter.  The opening reception is in conjunction with GalleryHop! on December 8th!