"The Imperialist"

The Imperialist 30x22” Graphite on Stonehenge toned paper.

One of my goals for 2016 is to work on more large scale drawings and “The Imperialist” is my first of the new year. The image was drawn using a few different graphite tools like pencils and graphite sticks in various degrees of hardness and a piece of cotton cloth that I used to gently blend areas like the cloud background. I love the working qualities of the Stonehenge paper. It has a hard enough surface to stand up to indignities, like light scrubbing with a cloth, without any noticeable deterioration and stands up well to repeated lifting with an eraser and reworking with pencil. It seems to me to feel softer than bristol though and so there might be less opportunity for radical erasing and redrawing.

I began with nothing more than a mind’s eye concept of where I wanted to go- no preliminary sketches or layouts. I knew he would have that imperious glare with a barrel chest and military style dress. But I also wanted to show him as being tattered and torn, a hollow failure filled with references to a corrupt past. I began drawing by quickly laying down a few light, rough marks on the paper which defined the outer reaches of the image. I added another series of rough lines to very broadly define some of the inner spaces and from there I simply worked my way through the entire piece.

Freaking Out with "Unexpected Rhythms" April 2016

Unexpected Rhythms 36x36” acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.

Opening April 15 at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, “Freak Out” sponsored by ArtistsPoets, is a national exhibition featuring an incredible array of artists. The show has a disco music theme, and while I was never much of a disco fan, I loved the idea of creating a piece centered on music. Now I’m one of those people who never quit spinning vinyl, and have a huge appreciation for the incredible artwork on so many of those vintage albums. So I decided to create a piece that recalled the era by painting my version of what an album cover from an imagined band may have looked like, if rediscovered years later.

I’ll have more info about the piece and details about the show in upcoming blog posts and on my social media sites.

Self Portrait with Moonflowers

Self Portrait with Moonflowers 8x7.25” graphite on bristol
The new year kicks off with this new self portrait done with graphite on Strathmore bristol paper. I’m planning on creating many more drawings as finished work this year so this is a good beginning. Bristol is a great surface to work on for a fully toned drawing like this one. It has just enough tooth to pull the graphite off the pencil but not so much that the texture becomes a feature unto itself. It also has a nice degree of “hardness” which allowed me to pull out some of the lighter areas and highlights.