Shadow and Grace

Early in the year I was invited by Tim Maclean to participate in “Shadow and Grace” a six person show with WOWxWOW online running August 10-31. I created four new pieces for the show, but as the opening grew near Tim asked if I would consider adding a few drawings as well, so I created three new sketches for the show too. Artists in the show include, ‚ÄčLioba Brückner, Hanna Jaeun, Archan Nair, Andi Soto, Nathalia Suellen, and of course myself. It’s a terrific honor to have been asked to show with WOWxWOW and to be included with a group like this is a real treat. Below are the paintings I’ve created for the show. Please see www.WOWxWOW.com for images of all the artwork and contact sales@wowxwow.com with any purchase inquiries.


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“Portrait of a Mystic”

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“Spell of the Mystic”

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“Captain Perilous Darke”

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“Thirteen Days til Harvest”

Reliquary of the Twilight Emissary

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“Reliquary of the Twilight Emissary” 24.5 x 25.625 x 3.75” Acrylic on panels, wood enclosure, wood beads, brass and polymer clay. The new addition to the Dankquart Collection series. Both doors open in the above photo and both closed in the shot below. The sun and moon symbols on the exterior doors line up with the eyes on the emissary portrait inside.

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twilight emissary one door open


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It’s a fairly time consuming exercise to create one of these pieces moving through the various steps from initial idea sketch to the completed artwork. Here are some in progress photos of a few of the stages. I began by developing a full size rough drawing based on an entry in my sketchbook. That was used to lay out the pieces used to create the wood enclosure which was built outward from the artwork and doors they frame.

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With the basic enclosure construction complete and the doors properly test fit on their hinges, I laid out the panels and put a basic drawing down on the gessoed surface. I rarely get very detailed with the drawing at this stage. Just enough to act as a solid guide. Then the drawing is sealed and the panels are given a glaze of burnt sienna acrylic.

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The lay in process continued with a basic monochromatic underpainting to establish value. Then I clamped a wood strip to my drafting table, tilted it to almost vertical, and used a few props to place the panels in position relative to way they would be when mounted to the enclosure. This allows me to work knowing how the subject flows from one panel to the next. I provide both for the distance from the central panel to the near edge of the doors and from the bottom of the doors to the bottom of the central panel. Turns out a couple of Derwent watercolor pencils were the perfect shim size to boost the central panel up to the right level.

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When the the painting was completed I moved to the bas relief panel that sits just below the doors. This is polymer clay built up on a piece of mdf. I used a round metal insert to act as a holder to hold the base of the tooth I would create later.

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With the sculpting done it’s on to the paint stage. This requires several colors and multiple layers of acrylic paints and glazes to develop a rich antique bronze patina finish.

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There is also a skull in flower sculpt between the doors. Here it is in progress. Part of the process is fitting the back of the piece to the molding on the enclosure so it will lay tight to the wood frame. As with the bas relief panel this little guy will be treated to a similar multi layer acrylic paint process, as will the wood enclosure.

Only when all of the various elements are completed did the final assembly begin. That procedure took several hours in itself as a few minor adjustments were made. Holes were measured and drilled to mount the wooden bead trim and antique brass ornaments were attached at the bottom of the enclosure. The central panel panting was placed, then the doors mounted. The very last step was to attach a hanging wire and felt pads to the back. Finished.

If you would like information about purchasing this piece please email me using the Contact page here.




The Origin of Deadalin Darke

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“The Origin of Deadalin Darke” 18x12.5” acrylic on panel, wood frame with polymer clay, is my new piece for Modern Eden Gallery’s current group exhibition, “Baby Mama: Portrait Invitational VI”. The theme of the show is an update of the mother and child paintings of the renaissance which fits in very well with the concept of my Dankquart Collection series. A bit of humor was encouraged when creating the work and as with many of the pieces from that series there is a definite touch of dark whimsy here. The show runs at Modern Eden from June 8 to July 6. Please see the Modern Eden website for purchase information and if you are in the San Francisco area stop by for an in person viewing.

Baby Mama: Portrait Invitational VI
Modern Eden Gallery
801 Greenwich Street
@ Mason Street
North Beach
San Francisco, CA 94133

Phosphorus for Arch Enemy Arts

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“Phosphorus”, a new entry in the Dankquart Collection series, was created for Arch Enemy Arts “The Periodic Table of Elements” show. It’s a mixed media work utilizing acrylic paints and mediums, polymer clay, glass vials, and wood. When I began the concept drawings for the piece I knew I wanted to have a connecting link between the exterior, with the doors closed, and the interior, doors open. So I created the small red character at the bottom of the enclosure who flows directly into the main portrait when the doors are opened. The enclosure also features a skull in flower sculpt, a regular part of this imaginary lost civilization’s artwork, and two small reliquary items, bones secured in glass domes. Although this piece is designed to be wall hung, it will also work as a stand alone piece on a tabletop or desk. More photos are available here.
Purchase inquiries through Arch Enemy Arts Gallery.

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Reliquary of the Enlightened Man

REMFrontLRReliquary of the Enlightened Man20.75x25.875x5” Acrylic on panel paintings, wood, acrylic, polymer clay. A new addition to my Dankquart Collection of faux antiquities. I designed this piece to feature painted panels mounted in doors that would work together with a base panel to form one image, whether open or closed. Each door panel painting has its own subject and center of interest, yet elements of the door panel artwork blend together to form a large sphere hovering over a landscape. When the doors are opened the narrative advances. The subject of each exterior panel “changes” and the landscape stretches out as the center panel is revealed.

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The piece developed from a sketchbook drawing of the center panel. Once I had the subjects in mind I began to layout the way in which they would interact, although I didn’t begin painting until the enclosure’s construction was far enough along to temporarily place the panels. That way I could draw (and later paint) knowing how things would line up. There are five paintings on three panels and I was often working on all of them simultaneously which got to be tricky at times.

The two beetles and bone at the base of the enclosure are sculpted from polymer clay. I used a rabbit bone from my collection as a guide when applying layers of acrylic paint and glaze to the sculpted bone. I didn’t want the banner to simply lay flat to the enclosure so I gave it a bit of a raised area toward the center and then curled the ends back around so that they almost resemble horns.

I’ve posted more photos with some details of the panels and sculpts here under my Dankquart Collection section of the website. I did a few in progress posts on Instagram as I worked on this piece as well, you can see them here, https://www.instagram.com/walkerbrushworks/ and please consider following me on Instagram if you’re so inclined.

For information about purchasing this piece please email me using the Contact form here.

Reliquary of the Acolyte

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Reliquary of the Acolyte34x25x4.5” Acrylic on panel, wood surround, polymer and Apoxie clay ornaments, resin, brass, cast iron. This latest addition to the Dankquart Collection further advances the narrative of the series’ lost civilization origin beliefs. My goal was to create a piece with extra depth, visually, as with the window within a window composition, and by building layers of content for viewers to interpret.

This piece began, as most do, with a sketchbook scribble. These are usually very rough but serve as reminders for me, indicators of where I was thinking of taking a project and some very basic directions, so that I can come back at a later date and pick up where I left off conceptually.

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From the initial sketch stage I develop a tighter pencil drawing. As you can see I don’t get into too much detail preferring to develop it further when I transfer the drawing to my painting surface. I am not using a model, this piece was developed nearly entirely from my imagination with little reference.


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Once I have the drawing down on my paint surface, in this case a prepared mdf panel, I rough in color usually working from back to front, large to small. Knowing the I might need to make alterations down the road, and I did, I premixed color for certain areas. I often mix these in small paper cups that will easily keep the color usable when stored in plastic bags.

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I wasn’t sure about the folds in the drapery so I taped down a piece of plastic wrap so I could quickly lay down strokes of color and design the area to work with the foreground. I snapped a quick photo to use as reference later if I needed to.

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When I create these pieces I work on both the frame surround and the painting at the same time. This allows me to better marry the two together and keeps me moving ahead as I can jump from one to the other as glue or paint needs time to dry.

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When the painting is complete, or nearly so, I begin to work on creating some of the ornamental elements for the frame. Sometimes by waiting until the painting is done I have a better feel for what I want to make and how it should work. The skull was created in a multi step process first building out Apoxie clay over a wood form, then applying layers of polymer clay to flesh out the final dimensions. The finished sculpture was given a three color four step painting process for a mellow aged look.

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It wouldn’t be a reliquary with out some treasured remembrance, in this case there are two. Left and right of the elongated ancestor skull are small relics created from polymer clay and set in resin held in a brass cup. On one side is a bone fragment, the other the foot of a tiny bird.

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I’ve taken advantage of the depth created when using applications of gloss craquelure varnish and played the shiny surface of the varnished painting off the matte “substrate” surface, the area that appears to be exposed as if part of the painting has fallen away with age. Much easier to see in person the result produces a convincing trompe l'oeil effect.

Also see: Link to Reliquary of the Acolyte in the Dankquart Collection.

Small Wonders 6 at Arch Enemy Arts

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“Memories of a Gardener” 6x5.25” framed. Acrylic on panel, distressed wood frame.

“Small Wonders 6” at Arch Enemy Arts Galley in Philadelphia PA, is a show dedicated to smaller, very affordably priced work. I’ll have three new miniature pieces in the show, spun off from my Dankquart Collection series including, “Memories of a Gardener”, “Memories of Ancient Spirits” and “Spiny Embryo-Fresco Fragment”. The show opens November 3 from 6-9pm. For more information, a collector preview, (if you are reading this before the show opens), and photos of all three of the pieces I have available see www.ArchEnemyArts.com.

Artist Talk at EAG

EAGpromo1I will be giving a presentation at the Elmhurst Artists Guild on October 19, at 7pm. I plan to discuss how I began working in my current imaginative realist style by combining traditional portrait and figurative painting with other interests like sculpting and woodworking. I’ll show some of my earlier pieces, illustration and airbrush work, and talk about how bringing all of these various pursuits together resulted in an entirely new body of work. I’ll follow up the presentation with a quick demo of my acrylic painting technique.

I’m also planning to have one of my latest pieces, “The Conqueror” on exhibit during this time as part of the fall EAG members show which will run from October 24-November 3.

More information about the Elmhurst Artists Guild can be found on their website:
http://www.elmhurstartistsguild.org

Looking forward to the evening should be a lot of fun!



The Conqueror

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The Conqueror31.5x24” (37.38x31.5” framed) acrylic on panel, artist created wood frame with faux leather side trim panels.

Most of my work has a story to relate, although I don’t veer into the political realm all that often. But, like so many people, the current political climate has me spending a lot of time considering the current state of the world and so I suppose it was only a matter of time before that concern overflowed into my painting. And so this piece has emerged. It’s a commentary, in broad terms, about the “takers” of the world and the what is left in their wake. There are all kinds of symbols and allusions here for the viewer to ruminate over and I hope the painting spurs many conversations.

I custom built the frame for this piece as well. It has a kind of Empire style to it, appropriately enough, reinforced by the faux leather panels running along the frame’s vertical rails.

I plan to show “The Conqueror” at the next Elmhurst Artist Guild show at The Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst IL, and the painting will be available to view when I make a presentation to the guild on October 19. There will also be an opening reception for the show, details will be posted here and on my social media accounts.

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The Genesis Shrine

genesisshrine3Genesis Shrine27.5x32.5” Acrylic on panel, wood frame, polymer clay, brass, steel, composition gold leaf, votive glass candle holders.

This piece is one that’s been kicking around in the back of my mind for quite awhile now. The idea was to create a painting that would depict the creation myth of the lost civilization of Dankquart Collection fame. It’s this culture’s attempt at leaving a visual record that would communicate to its people their belief’s about how the world came to be.
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I drew up the basic sketch for the painting first and after doing some initial sketchbook designs exploring various design options for the frame, I did a smaller, “finished” pencil.
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The pencil would serve as a guide although it was really more a suggestion of where I planned to go with content elements as opposed to a full rendering. Much of the detail work is executed in the final painting from ideas I have in mind that don’t get locked in at the drawing stage. The drawing does give me the proportional relationship of the main compositional elements. I also planned to use a large, curved, wooden piece of trim from a piece of discarded furniture, in this case an old baby crib. That’s it running along the top of the frame. So I began working backward, or maybe sideways, since it was a matter of building the frame while at the same time making sure to allow for the proper proportional opening for the painting to fit into.

Once I had the frame face and painting panel size and shape worked out I did my usual painting panel prep, first sealing with GAC 100 and then gessoing. The painting’s design was transferred to the panel and I began a monotone underpainting to establish basic values.
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In between painting sessions I often work on the frame. That way the frame can be glued and set aside to let the glue cure as I go back to painting. Less time wasted. I routed the face frame so the painting would be able to “drop in” then routed the cove on the front side.
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The recycled crib also yielded the half round moldings running vertically on the frame sides. They were cut from the crib’s “jail bar” slats. Having extra depth on the frame sides gives it a more substantial, architectural look, so side pieces were added.
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As I continued to work on the painting I had to do some planning knowing that the areas of transparent fabric, the neck and veil for example, would have to be done in the correct order. It’s much easier to paint say the branches and tendrils of the neck area first, then glaze the green transparent neck material over the top. I also had to get the background set the way I wanted before the wings could be painted transparently. Not difficult, just requires some thought and planning so that things proceed in the right order. The area atop the figure’s head and her body were both painted very loosely with thin acrylic. Working this way I get little indications or suggestions that can then be developed into skulls, bones, etc. It’s always fun discovering all of the things that you never knew existed, right before your eyes.
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All the little design elements were added last, the tadpoles, arcs, geometrics, etc. Some of these were kept very subtle, others stand out.
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After working on the figure’s hands for a while I realized they were just not working. Out they went with a coat of “sky color”. A new hand pose was worked out, transferred down on the board and repainted. Compare the initial block in photo with the photo above to see the change. Much better. Although exaggerated due to the raking light in this photo you get an idea of the texture I create on the panel at the prep/gesso stage.
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My original idea was to have some small sconce type candle holders mounted on the sides of the frame, but as the work developed it became obvious that that was not a good solution in this case. As I was kicking around alternative designs a dusty memory surfaced of the old church we attended when I was a kid. On either side of the altar were statues, one side Mary, the other Joseph. In front of each were tiered votive candle holders made of brass. That gave me an idea. A trip through my pile of discarded brass pieces, (from an old brass bed), yielded an end cap perfectly sized to hold a glass votive candle holder. I mounted that to a small bracket which fit on the frame’s side as if made for it. Nice when that happens. The candle brackets were finished off with hanging “skull in moonflower” polymer clay sculpts.
claypartsI created an eye ornament to mount at the bottom center of the frame and then painted all three pieces with a patinated bronze look.

When the painting was complete I added the composition gold leaf border. There are a few areas of cracking and I left some “leaf loss” to indicate age. These cracks carry over from painting to the gold border on the frame opening. frame2The frame’s finish was now applied. This is a multiple step process of sand, prime, sand, paint, glaze, sand back, etc using metallic and no metallic paints. Details and accents are added like the red circles and gold flourish surrounding the sculpted eye. When the color and details are complete the frame gets a coat of varnish. The blue tape in the above photo is masking off the area that will be covered in gold leaf. When the varnish is dry the masking is removed and gold leaf is applied. The painting is mounted in the frame, hanging brackets and wire are installed, and then the final assembly can take place. The candle brackets are mounted and eye sculpt attached. Done!litcandlesA shot of the shrine in dim studio light with the led candles lit. I like that.

I have a few more shrines sketched out, just rough scribbles at this point, but I plan to further explore these ideas further in the coming months.