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.

Gaia for "Flower Child"

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Gaia 12.5x11.5” (16x15.75” framed). Acrylic on panel, artist created wood frame.

The Summer of Love, 1967. Hippies, psychedelia, great music, “happenings” and flower power. And the epicenter of this social movement in America was the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love the city of San Francisco is celebrating with a series of events including Modern Eden Gallery’s group exhibition, “Flower Child”. I’m a huge fan of the era’s music and art and thrilled to be participating in the show.

My contribution is, “Gaia”, an acrylic on panel painting with a custom created frame. The piece is a riff on one of my masked figures accompanied by my flaming skull and embryo characters, with a tinge of psychedelia for good measure. In fact the piece came from swirling thoughts of that era’s incredible album cover art, hence the squarish format. (How I would have loved to been able to work on one of those album cover commissions!) The lettering at the bottom is a tip of the hat to the incredible typographic treatments and hand drawn lettering that became so popular during the period. The embossed wood band running across the top of the frame was selected because it reminded me of one of those Painted Lady victorians in SF. A few floral style flourishes were added around the frame’s edges to tie the entire piece together.

“Flower Child” opens at Modern Eden August 12 and runs through September 2, with an opening reception on the 12th from 6-9pm.

New Painting- "Pledge"

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“Pledge” 20x16” acrylic on canvas mounted to panel.

After spending quite a bit of time drawing and working with some experimental layered drawing techniques, it was time to get back to painting. Although I’m not working with multiple physical layers in this piece as in some of those recent experiments I did use many many layers of veiled glazes. The subject is also inspired by the mask drawing series I’ve been working on lately and I hope to continue the series. I almost named this piece, “Princess” or “The Princess’ Promise” or something along those lines, since I see her as some type of royal promising something. I’m not quite sure what she’s promising but I assume it has something to do with loyalty or being faithful to the cause. Maybe the answer will become clearer as the series progresses.

“Pledge” is available through Arch Enemy Arts gallery, please contact the gallery for purchase information.

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This is my starting point, a quickly drawn sketch that I wandered away from a little as I painted and became aware of what was working and what could be improved. And a couple of detail shots below.

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Experimenting with Layered Drawing and "The Sleepers in the Earth"

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“The Sleepers in the Earth- Red Beetle” 12x12x1.5 Graphite, gouache, colored pencil and acrylic on paper mounted to a cradled panel.

I’ve been doing several pieces lately that explore the idea of layered drawings. These have all been experiments in using different materials and techniques with the aim of creating a piece that has multiple “applications” of drawing and I’m sure there will be more to come. “The Sleepers in the Earth- Red Beetle” is one of my latest pieces in this experimental series. Actually I’m tossing a few ideas and themes into the mix, such as my attempt at combining beetles with portraiture, and the use of brighter color. I think that last one might be coming from too many hours spent listening to the tie dye soaked music of the psychedelic era with its complimentary trippy artwork, maybe the former too, but I digress.

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This is my finished graphite drawing, done on paper that had previously been toned and mounted to a cradled support. It had a deep sienna color, perfect for an idea I never got around to but which wouldn’t work for me now, so I recoated it with a mix of acrylic glazes before the drawing began. I’ve worked out a pretty good way of applying the acrylic so that the surface doesn’t get too slick, always a danger if you are repeatedly painting glaze after glaze. I used a piece of tracing paper overlaid on the artwork to draw a quick beetle sketch atop the subject so I had a good idea of how the two would interact.

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And now the layering action begins. This shot is after a pass or two of acrylic glaze and then a few applications of torn pieces of the same sheet of tracing paper I used to sketch the beetle placement layout on. I used some additional strips of that same paper with beetle drawing on them to build more of the layering effect I was after. The sides of the portrait drawing are fading off into the background, what I was shooting for. The tricky part is deciding how far to bury the drawing. Too many layers and it’s lost forever.

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More and more layers of acrylic glaze and then it was time to draw the beetle in place. The beetle drawing has all the same detail as the portrait drawing did. The portrait drawing is becoming obscured but as the second drawing is executed over the first the dark streak down the central part of the face, nose and mouth, is suggesting a figure and I accentuate the shape by playing dark off of light value. The lower third of the drawing, or maybe painting at this point, has all kinds of interesting shapes emerging. I decided I want to give them some delineation and refine the shapes to suggest figures and or animals, the “sleepers” of the title.

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Now I begin to amp up the color with more intensity. I decided the portrait would work better with an overall cool color and wanted to simplify the shadows of the face and keep the values in a narrow range. This is where the psychedelic vibe come on. I’m also working with graphic shapes and strokes, looser versions of the elements that make up the initial drawing. This picture shot with a raking light gives a good indication of the texture I create that allow dry media like graphite and colored pencil to work well.

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The figure is simplified and some of the initial portrait drawing’s passages are highlighted with color. The cad red light really pops off the painting especially against the pthalo blue and green in the background. A majority of the initial drawing becomes obliterated with all of the subsequent layers of paint and pencil but original pencil lines show through here and there most notably in the cheeks an around the eyes. Easier to see in the actual piece than in a photo.

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I had a great time tweaking the sleeping figures, picking up shapes of bones and skulls. And if you look closely you’ll see I’ve indicated vertebrae depending from under the chin of the subject as well. The title of this piece is inspired by a line from Emily Bronte’s novel, “Wuthering Heights” by way of the Genesis album, “Wind and Wuthering”. From Wikipedia:

"Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers..." and "...In That Quiet Earth" are two linked instrumental tracks. The titles refer to the last paragraph of the novel which inspired the album's title - "Wuthering Heights", by Emily Brontë:

"I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."

“The Sleepers in the Earth- Red Beetle” Sold.