Thursday, June 7, 2018

Decoration Dazzle in the Dark

Much of the time when I'm painting one piece, happy accidents trigger an idea for another piece. For example, when I'm painting the trappings on a carousel horse, I've frequently gotten the colors or values too bright. While I do like the garishness, I frequently opt to rein it in--no pun intended. The inadvertent misfire, however, has me pondering the "what if" of another image where I just run with the exaggerated color. So, rather than play it safe, I've dabbled in some of these "discoveries." I even thought, "Heck, if I juxtapose the adornments on a darker backdrop, maybe the trappings will look like they are radiating light themselves."

Thus, I get...

Carousel Horse Silhouette
6" x 6"

Of course, a picture like this is now the springboard for other related ideas...fireflies around the horse, Christmas lights somehow in the mix, and so forth. I'm eager to try a bunch of ideas. And no, I don't think there is any deep meaning in artwork that I make like this. I just enjoy marveling at these serendipitous depictions.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Breaking the Colt

My expertise (*snicker*) in horse training is derived largely from the movie The Man from Snowy River. Actually, back when I played piano a lot more, there was a sister--who did work with horses regularly--of an ex-girlfriend of mine who would frequently request that I learn (and later play) "Jessica's Theme (Breaking the Colt)"--from The Man from Snowy River. Eventually I saw the movie. While I can't honestly give it a stellar review the song is actually very good. The sequence of breaking in the horse was enjoyable. I like to think that the idea of "breaking a colt" simply lay dormant with me for years, waiting until I was ready to merge it with the carousel art ideas I love so much.

"Breaking the Carousel Colt"
12" x 12"
oil on canvas

I sketched out a simple line drawing on paper with (graphite) pencil and then transferred that to the canvas with oil pencil. I relatively quickly drew over this contour work in acrylic paint (raw sienna). This was another painting that then came together rather fast. I painted directly, tending toward a dark-to-light approach. I modeled the carousel trappings after one of the horses on the carousel at the Santa Monica Pier. Interestingly, I "messed up" the fence when transferring the drawing to canvas (the tilt/perspective was off). I took a chance and just painted the fence in directly, figuring it was needed simply to support the "story of the scene."

Of course you're invited to take another look--and get yours (?)--here

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fresh Airless

My son saw me painting all these astronauts in scenes--that I found amusing--on the moon, and it occurred to him that an astronaut should be cast in my role--as the artist. Upon hearing that, contrary to how we grown-ups are reflexively inclined to dismiss children's "silly ideas," I paused and thought, "That's a good idea!"

Now he's beaming, and I have another image rendered.

I remember reading in art magazines of artists painting en plein air in unusual locations all over the world. For example, painting in Antarctica stands out as the most extreme and is seemingly the most analogous to what I'm depicting here. Like most of my art ideas, this one, too, just seemed possible.

Painting Outside
8" x 13"
oil on canvas

I took pictures of my son, simulating the pose of painting outdoors. I then sketched in the scene with burnt umber, onto an "umber-stained" canvas. I then proceeded to paint in the sky (i.e., space), Earth, moon, and astronaut--in that order, in a kind of rough, kind of flat, way. I mention that I paint "in that order," so that each major component is "on" the previous component, making the scene blend together. After these layers were fairly dry, I went back over them with greater detailing. Much of the work going into a picture like this is invented, as it were, on the fly. That is, how Earth is "supposed" to look, how the lunar landscape is "supposed" to look, and so forth are what I think of as idealized ingredients, so as to keep the attention on the main idea. The craters are always the most difficult, what with the ellipses and reasonably believable shadows. By contrast, whenever I paint Earth, I always expect it to be a chore and to be difficult, but it's surprisingly fun--painting the swirly clouds over the picture's deepest blue. Oh yeah, I also throw in stars to enhance the aesthetic and complement the scene. I like to think stars don't draw attention away from "believability," despite the fact that they generally would not be seen. 

If you'd like to get even closer to this picture (*ahem*...☺), you're invited to click here where you can see it (and more).

Friday, October 20, 2017

Just Thought It Was Cool

Very simply, I love fusing two ideas together such that the result is engaging, clever, compelling, and, dare I say it, cool. Yeah, I know my use of the word "cool" might be a little presumptuous, buuut, when you inject the Bride of Frankenstein--and monster--into the dance scene of the iconic powerhouse that is Pulp Fiction, it's hard not to pat myself on the back for coolness.

"Pulp Frankenstein"
10" x 20"
oil on canvas

In making the piece, I simply took some of the most famous poses of Uma Thurman's character Mia Wallace and John Travolta's character Vincent Vega in the dance sequence and superimposed the classic horror movie characters. I sketched it out on paper and then projected this drawing onto a canvas, drawing with an oil-based pencil. I proceeded with a basic underpainting with acrylic paint. The color I used was raw sienna. By "basic," I mean I painted in the contour elements and did a very rough depiction of values--largely just to hold my "road map" in place. After maybe an hour (to let it dry), I proceeded in a quasi-alla prima rendering, taking a couple days to get it done. 

And by all means, I invite you to get a closer look at Art by Jason Marsh.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Just in Case

What if an astronaut got so wrapped up in his hunt for moon rocks his team left without him? Could he say, "Wait! Come back!"? Maybe they ought to put a phone booth on the moon...ya'know?...just in case. It certainly would make being on the moon feel a smidgen safer. Imagine if they could....

"Just in Case"
6" x 6"
Oil on Gessobord

This piece is a little painting I completed alla prima. It took about two hours before I felt I could stop, having "said" what I'm trying to say.

Feel free to check it out--or perhaps own it, among other works, at Daily Paintworks or Fine Art America.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Saturn Hula Hoop

So we're gonna say Saturn is the "Hawaii" of the solar system. That's because Saturn does the hula. Wait, what? Okay, more precisely, Saturn does the hula hoop.

I had this funny idea that an astronaut might stand on some celestial object, say, the moon, and do a "Saturn impression."

To help realize this vision, for reference shots, I had my son put on an astronaut Halloween costume and took pictures. Then I had to get him "trained" to hula hoop. 

Here's one of the dozens I took:

Then I painted this picture: of a hula hoop duet with Saturn. 

I tried to paint it fast, taking about two hours to get to a point at which I felt I might stop.

Oil on Gessobord
5" x 5"

Naturally, you're invited to check it out at Fine Art America or Daily Paintworks.

Friday, July 14, 2017

In Space, No One Can Hear You Sing...

...but wouldn't it be cool if they could?

I just love taking two visual ideas and fusing them together such that they almost seem possible. My "for instance," in this case anyway, is music on the moon. I mean, I know there's no air, but doesn't just seem like you' could hear a strumming guitar? Someone could serenade the new arrivals off the lunar lander, music wafting through the, uh, what? Air?'d be wafting through the...vacuum. The vacuum? Well, playing guitar on the lunar surface should sound strikingly similar to playing air guitar. And of course, compounding ironies, even playing "air guitar" on the moon wouldn't even be possible: It'd have to be "airless guitar."

Anyway, getting back to the fantasy, here's a picture implying possible moon music:

"Hitchhiker With Guitar"
Oil on canvas
14 x 11

Oh yeah, and if he can hitch a ride, maybe he can make it in the big town of...Earth.