Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The "X" Paintings

I did these paintings around '98 or '99. I had a desire to paint but didn't have any ideas on what to paint so I just did some studies using the letter "x". It was actually quite fun. I used all types of mediums...even shoe polish.
I have a desire to paint again but I don't really have the space to do it. I've toyed with the idea of doing small cartoon paintings but I just haven't had time to play with it yet. In the future, it would be nice to have a studio where I could be free to do whatever without having to worry about getting paint on anything. That's the only way to paint really...with total abandonment and freedom.
I think my favorite of the bunch is the white one? What's your favorite?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Wise Men of Klimt

Once again, it's been awhile since I posted on here. I just forget about it. So, without further ado, here's another moment in Mart History.
When I was in junior college, I took a painting class and I found it boring. The only project I enjoyed was the pointillism or stippling project. You know, placing dots together that looks weird up close but super from a distance. Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is the most famous example. I wish I had a picture of that project. I think I eventually painted over it. Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that I didn't like the class so I didn't try painting again for quite a while. I dove into printmaking and the rest is Mart History.
While at the University of West Florida I decided to give painting another go. I took a class with a teacher who was all about you finding your own way. In other words, he didn't teach squat. So, I spent alot of time in the library looking at the different painters, finding the ones I really liked and trying to figure out what they did by copying. But before all that, I just tacked paper on the wall and started slinging paint around. It was quite fun and I came up with some really weird stuff. I enjoyed it so much that I neglected printmaking for a while. In fact, the only time I've ever lost time in the studio happened while I was painting. I went into the studio at 9 am and before I knew it, it was 5 pm. I had skipped lunch and suddenly realized I was hungry. It was a great feeling though...being in the zone like that.
One of the first paintings I ever did was the weird one you see above. It's scanned from a slide so it's not a very good image. Imagine the colors being more vivid and you'll be closer. At the time I was really into Gustav Klimt. I ended up zeroing in on a section of one of his unfinished paintings, turning it upside down and copying the patterns. The shapes started looking like weird heads so I created this weird little world called Planet Klimt. I called these guys The Wise Men of Klimt. I actually did several different takes on this design but I eventually moved on to other things.
I still love painting and hope to return to it someday. It's so weird to be confined to a tiny 5" by 7" space with my collages when I used to do these nearly wall sized paintings. I wonder if I'll have any trouble going big after working so small for so long? Probably, but I know how to get past that. Just sling some paint. That'll get the juices flowing again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Long Time, No Post

Gosh, it's been awhile since I've shared any Mart History with you all. Here's another cartoon I did on the computer while running sound for The Trial of Ebeneezer Scrooge at Taproot. I thought it looked interesting with the realistic castle in the background. That's the first time I've ever done that.
Here's hoping I can dig up some more stuff to share in the near future.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another Poster

Here's another poster from the Art on the Tracks days. Click on the pic for a better look.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Alien Surprise

Last Christmas, I ran the sound effects for The Trial of Ebeneezer Scrooge at Taproot Theatre. There were a couple of big breaks where I had nothing to do. The light board operator was reading a book but I found the light in the booth to be too low. Eventually I fell into doing these weird drawings with the Paint program on the computer. I did about 60 of them during the run of the show. I haven't had anywhere to post them so I thought I'd slap one up here for now. I kind of like this one. It's simple. I've thought of doing paintings based on some simple designs like these...I just have to find the time to do them. I should be able to squeeze them in there somewhere amongst the collaging, writing, reading, working, sleeping, and spending time with my wife. Yeah, right.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Alma Mater

Here's another exhibition poster from 1989. This happened right after I graduated with my BFA. A bunch of us took this Summer Workshop with Judy Heuler and it was pretty amazing. We just took over the painting studio for the summer. We each set up a space and left it up for the whole summer. Not having to set up and tear down was great. You just walked in and started working. A lot of good work got done that summer got an exhibition out of it. I have no idea which pieces I did that summer or which ones got shown. Chances are they don't exist anymore (due to the apartment fire in 2000) or they are in someone elses possession. Frankly, all I remember was a summer of comradery and creativity.
Just a few days ago I received an email from UWF. (University of West Florida in Pensacola) It seems they are having an Alumni Invitational Art Exhibition. So, I sent my stuff in and we'll see what happens. On the email list, I found one of the girls that was in the summer workshop with me. I emailed her just to catch up. I only know where a couple of these folks are. I just hope they are still doing art or at least in the throes of rediscovering their me.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Art for Aliens

This is the poster for a show I was involved in back in Pensacola in the late 80's. For the life of me I can't remember the piece I had in the show but it looks like it was a fun show. On the poster are names of people that I remember fondly but have no idea where they are now. Actually, I do know that one of them still lives in Pcola and attends church where a friend of mine is the minister of music. I've asked him to have her contact me but she hasn't. She did tell him to tell me that she still has all the art I left with her to store. She says she's keeping it. I don't mind because I don't want it back. I wouldn't mind seeing it (and her) if I ever make it back home. I really don't have a clue which pieces of mine she has.
I do remember the piece that Debra Bond had in the show. She was in several classes with me at UWF and she did this really cool piece with an alien looking guy in it with a lightbulb shaped head. I think I referred to it as the "Lightbulb Man" or something like that and she used it as the title. We all used to help each other name our pieces. It was fun. I still help Sarah name hers.
Anyway...looking back on those Art on the Tracks days brings back fond and weird memories. Maybe I'll come across some of those folks one day. That might be nice.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Award Winning

This is a page right out of Art in America magazine in January of 1990. (to see it more clearly, you can click on the image) I was chosen to represent UWF in this art competition. I sort of remember one of the profs telling me they were going to nominate me for the award but I didn't think too much of it. It floored me when I won. It's too bad they didn't award cash but I did get $500 worth of art supplies. That's a cool thing for an art student. I still have some of the brushes that I use even now. They held up pretty good.
And, just in case you were wondering, I was in another magazine. Actually, I was on the cover. It was in October of 1995 and the magazine was Facts and Trends. It's a magazine of "News and Information from the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention."
Yeah, I know. Nobody's ever heard of it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Nekkid Women

Yep. That's right. I had to draw nudes when I was in college. All you Southern Baptists...look away!
I can recall the first day I had to draw a nude. Not only was she naked but there was a lot of her. (C' know what that means) For the first few seconds I paused, not sure what I should do. I finally began to draw. I can't tell you when the transformation from uncomfortable to comfortable took place but I can tell you that after a while, you just sort of view them as you would a still life. It's just something to draw. Heck, during breaks, we'd all just hang out and chat with the models. We got to know the ones that did it alot. It was no big deal.
For some odd reason, I only had to draw a male once and he wasn't nude. 99% of the time we had females. The first girl I drew was the big girl I was talking about earlier. She modelled for us so much, we got used to her and we could draw her blindfolded. Our instructor figured that out and threw us a major curve. She brought in this very athletic gal and it totally threw us all for awhile.
I do recall that I did get uncomfortable one other time. We were drawing the girl that is pictured to your left above. Well it was all going fine when out instructor brought out a ladder. The model put one foot on the floor and the other she planted way on the 4th rung. Well, as you can imagine, it afforded some of us quite a unique view. I had to move my easel to the other side of the room.
The only other time I got uncomfortable was during my first nude photo shoot. The instructors brought in a model for the class and for a while she posed in various costumes with props. After a while, she asked what we wanted next and someone suggested nude. (I'm sure it was one of the guys) She stripped and we all began to take pictures but after a few minutes I sensed that the atmosphere we a little too sexual. The guys in the room (except for me and the male instructor) were giving the model instructions as if it were a Playboy shoot. I started packing up my stuff. The female instructor asked if I was leaving. I answered in the affirmative and explained that I thought things had gotten out of hand. The next day I found out that she stopped the session right after I left.
I really miss figure drawing. It's great exercise. It keeps you limber and your chops fresh. If I had the time I would find a class in town and try to go once a week. Perhaps when I move beyond the collage stage that I'm in now, I will pursue a class. It would certainly be a good way for me to get back into top drawing form.

Monday, March 05, 2007


I did this painting in college. I believe it's called Neo-Plastodon. It was named by a fellow student because it looked to her like a dinosaur rising up out of rocks or something. To me, it's one of my most successful paintings. There's alot going on that you can't see here. The entire canvas is covered with gauze and then painted with bright colors. Then I painted over all that with the white and black. Up close, you can see all kinds of subtle color peeking through. The geometric patterns were governed by what the gauze did naturally on the canvas. Someone actually donated a large amount of gauze to the school and no one else wanted it so I decided to experiment with it. I ended up doing several gauze paintings. I sold one to a girl in Pensacola. I hope she still has it. I believe a couple of others are with another old friend in Pensacola. I asked her to store my paintings for me because she had the space and I guess I never asked for them back. Last I heard, she told a mutual friend that she still had them.
This picture of it is pretty terrible but it's the only record I have of the painting. When I lived in Birmingham, I met a fellow artist named Antjuan and we traded paintings. He got this one. The last time I saw him he told me that someone had stolen it but that he knew who did it and he was going to get it back. That cracks me up because the painting is about 6' X 5' and pretty heavy. It's not like you can tuck it into your coat and make off with it.
I really long to paint like this again. Not so much the imagery but just the freedom that a large canvas allows. It's like having a big field to run around in. It's so much fun. Unfortunately, apartment life doesn't allow for these types of expressions so I'll just have to wait until we can get a little more elbow room.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sincere Comics

Way back in the early 80's, I used to buy comics alot. Somehow the owner of this establishment, Dave Sincere, found out I was an artist (I probably told him) and asked me to do a flyer for him. I did and here it is presented in glorious black and white. I later did some other stuff for him...a business card and I can't remember what else. He was a nice guy. Everytime I went to the store he would tell me I was wasting my life...that I should be a comic book artist instead of going to college. Heck, maybe he was right...I don't know.
I remember going into his shop one day and he introduced me to this strange fellow who had a comic idea and wanted to find an illustrator. I talked to him and found him to be from the planet Huge Geek. I still remember his idea too. It was something like "Mr. Sound Effects and the Unknown Mind." I think it was a telepath and a guy who could make sound effects. Wow! What a super power.
I also remember meeting Dave Dorman at the shop one day. He's a famous artist especially well-known for his Star Wars renderings. Look him up.
Anyway, I eventually moved away and stopped collecting comics. I don't know if Sincere Comics still exists in Pensacola or not but I hope it does. If so, thanks Dave, for giving me a little bit of work.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Popeye's Anaktomy

I did this drawing in college. The assignment was to design a skeletal system for a cartoon character. I got so excited about the assignment, I did two. (I'll try to post the other one another time)
I'm quite proud of this drawing. It still looks pretty good to me. I think if I were to do the same assignment today, I would tackle it with some other medium besides pastel. But the pastel gave a softer look to the cartoon figure of Popeye and helped the illusion of depth. I tried to shade the figure so that he would seem 3D. I'm not sure I'd make the wall behind the blackboard brick but, at the time, it seemed the most strikingly visual thing to do.
Forgive the reflection of the photographer. This drawing has been encased behind plastic since the early 80's and I'm not about to take it out. That's why it's lasted this long without damage.