Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yah I should be working...

Just felt like adding some more noise to your I am working in an office building in Burnaby a neighborhood in Vancouver BC. So the cool thing about this neighborhood is that it is one of the central spots for movie production companies. I LOVE movies and TV shows especially science fiction!

So I just found out that they are shooting the new FOX series Almost Human in the office complex next to ours. The Executive Producer is JJ Abrams...freakin JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek...Star Wars :) Even cooler I'm peepin out the window watching them prepare for some shooting and I swear I see JJ himself! I am such a scifi nerd that I am pretty sure I swooned :)

I also found out that they are shooting the new season of Falling Skies under a bridge near my hotel. I am thinking that I might have to apply for some extra work! Wouldn't that be cool? Just thought I would spread some noise...will keep everyone updated with more of my Vancouver BC adventures as they happen.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

More photo blogging in Vancouver, BC

Some of the Totem Poles at Stanley Park
- Vancouver, BC

Totem Pole details at Stanley Park - Vancouver, BC

Totem Pole details at Stanley Park - Vancouver, BC

Lighthouse on the sea wall - Vancouver, BC

Photo blogging in Vancouver, BC

Out the window of my hotel. The cruise ships were coming in. The Disney
Cruise line is to the right - Vancouver, BC

One of the paths through Stanley Park and the remnants
of Redwoods - Vancouver, BC

The monument to Mr. Stanley and his
wonderful park - Vancouver, BC

Near Stanley Park and heading back to the hotel - Vancouver, BC

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's all in the way that you look at it...

The Grand Canyon via iPhone and Camtastic App
I was remembering my recent family trip to the Grand Canyon this summer. The first time we as a family gazed upon the immense beauty of the canyon it was a spiritual moment we all shared. I was thinking this morning how it must have been everyday for Jesus appreciating the wonders of the Father's creative expression found in nature. The more I thought about it the more it hit me that when Jesus looked at nature he most likely didn't see creation in past tense but more as an ongoing experience. A lot of times we look at the world and think, "Wow! Look what God created". The reality is that God continues to create 24-7, 365 days a year–a continuing cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. If Father God ever decided to turned his loving gaze away everything we know would wither and turn to dust. So the next time you find yourself awed by nature take a step back and realize it is a beautiful work in progress–it's all in the way you look at it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Diary Comics of Dustin Harbin

It has been way tooo long since my last post. I just got out of the habit and then it was hard to get back into the grind. So what brought me out of the darkness? Well, it is actually a couple of things. The first was discovering Diary Comics. If you haven't heard of them before, and you are a frustrated cartoonist, or just like cartooning, then keep on reading (I think even if you aren't a cartoonist you might enjoy this one).

I am not sure where I came across this link but none-the-less I came across the wonderful work of Dustin Harbin. Dustin is on his third series of Diary Comics (am I suppose to capitalize "Diary Comics"?) and I happen to be a late adopter so I purchased "Diary Comics 3"online. To my amazement (mostly because I am forgetful and forgot I had ordered them) they showed up in the mail! First off, I paid a l'il extra and got a version that included an original toon by Mr. Harbin (Is it Dusty or Dustin? Just let me know and I will edit it!) Sweet! Dustin's presentation was awesome (see cool pictures included). I really dug how his four panel strips captured a moment in Dustin's life and presented it as a visual diary entry. After reading the whole book I felt I would love to hang with Dustin and drink a few beers and maybe draw a few cartoons (Fear not Dustin I am not a stalker just a fellow cartoonist who likes beer).

One of the biggest issues that kept me from pursuing tooning was my fear of writing funny or relevant stories in a three to four-panel format. I attempted this throughout high school and into college but ended up pursuing design instead. As any of you who know me know, I haven't given up cartooning I just call them "Sketchnotes". So, I want to give a big "Thank You" to Mr. Harbin for opening my eyes and mind to another awesome avenue for enriching my love of toons! If you would like to see more of Dustin's wonderful work check out his site at I also recommend that you buy a few of his comics because they are pieces of art and unlike me he can write!

Dustin is published by Koyama Press and if the featured comic is a good representation of their work THEY ARE AWESOME!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Creating a Swirling Eddie for the Henderson Art Project

I was recently asked to partner with Scott Trent of the Henderson Art Project to create a 2D work for the traditionally 3D event. The final piece "Breathe–Swirling Eddie XXIV" was created for the 2011 event. I myself have benefited greatly from learning how different artists think and create. I think I have blogged in the past about my love of the PBS series Art21 and the documentary Painters Painting where we get to look at art through those creating it. With that in mind I decided to document my recent work for the Henderson Art Project so that I could exercise my blog muscle. The Swirling Eddies series is a series of paintings I have been working on for many years. I really enjoy this series because it encompasses all that I love about painting.

Since this piece of work for the Henderson Art Project will be displayed outdoors for many months it needs to be made of something that can withstand the ever changing weather in Texas. Therefore, the substrate for this painting is 4'x 6' premium plywood primed. Plywood is definitely something that I haven't painted on in quite some time. The cool part of this project is that Scott provided a real nice grade of plywood with a real smooth and clean surface. Another bonus was that he delivered it pre-primed! I was excited about this project because it was going to be the first art project where I would be able to collaborate with Scott Trent. The Henderson Art Project has traditionally been a sculpture only event, but with the use of Scott's awesome uber easels now 2D artists can also get involved. If you are not familiar with the project you can learn more at their Facebook page or their Website. Scott has done a wonderful job at organizing and evangelizing the project, as well as providing encouragement to those artists he meets along the journey (I being one of those :). This is one of Dallas' premiere public arts projects and a lot of that is due to Scott's dedication and leadership.

Now back to the painting...When starting out on Swirling Eddies I like to create a an interesting foundation of color or pattern. In this work I knew I wanted to create a color field of cool colors. So I used another one of my painting for a reference and created a base color palette. I took this palette over to the local hardware store and had them match the colors (we decided since this was going to be outside I would use latex house paint on the painting). TIP: I had them all made into sample sizes. Since I new I was going to gloss varnish the final piece to protect it from the elements I wasn't as concerned with the finish of the paint and budget is always a consideration. Once I started painting I realized that the consistency and weight of house paint is no where near what I was use to using acrylic paints. Although on this stage of the piece I was more interested in blending the background colors. Since I wasn't sure how long the drying time might be with the latex paints I decided to add a bit of dishwashing soap to the paint to extend the drying time (I actually learned about this trick while watching a home show on TV-Heh!). I was pleased with the way the blend actually turned out.

So, just a sidebar, from the picture you can see that my studio is carpeted. No need to call foul! When we bought our house one of the big selling features was the area upstairs that would workout to be a wonderful studio. The only issue was that the house we bought was already carpeted. So in the future there will be another flooring more suitable for the studio but for now I have been given permission to get paint on the floor! That's why I LOVE my wife! She's awesome like that! I haven't told her that I want to pour the new floor and that will mean big hoses full of some foul-smelling resin or some-such coming in through the front door and stretched up the stairs...we'll save that for another day. So back to the painting...

For the next phase of the work I get to use one of my favorite brushes- The pin-striping brush. These brushes were what originally created the Swirling Eddie painting series. I have always loved the "mystic spiral" and once I got my hands on one of these brushes I felt set free! I know this will sound a bit kooky but these brushes are almost mystical. There is something very primitive and cathartic about creating the swirls. Almost like the time back in college where we spent a night filling our studio with "ensos" (but that's another story entirely). I tend to almost always use either Burnt Umber or VanDyke Brown Hue when creating the swirls. I think the main reason for this is that in some ways they feel rooted in nature and the brown tones help link the swirls to the earth and soil. In earlier works I use to use a lot of black but along the way I moved away from black to browns. There seems to be an antiquity of presence and a deeper connection with the organic that comes from the use of browns.

Very much like the background color fields discussed earlier, the swirls become another anchor or foundation for the painting. Just like concrete and rebar the color-field background anchors the swirls so that they can support the color, symbolism, and allegory of the final work of art. Due to the randomness of the swirls the artwork emerges from some primal and often subconscious actions. Thus the foundation of the work is rather automatic.

The next layer in the work involves adding and blending the shades that make up the middle-ground of the artwork. This is often a very laborious yet important aspect of the work. Using the foundations created by the background and swirls, color is added to strengthen the aesthetic and compositional structure of the work. Weaving light and dark tones in and out of the swirls–carefully bonding color and pattern to the existing substructure of the painting. All in an effort to unify the many layers and colors existing within the work of art. It is also within this layer of the painting that an antiquing or stain effect might be added. This effect allows for more richness in tonal values as well as adding a more earthy antiquity to the work. Often color is rebuilt over the stained paint to increase color balance and interest. In many past works in this series this is where the construction might end, but in this case more layers of symbolism, patterning, and visual noise were added.

Upon completion the work of art was covered with many coats of MinWax Helmsman varnish to help aid in it's protection against the outdoor elements. I traditionally don't varnish my work but I must say it turned out pretty neat!

You can view the installation of the work on the Henderson Art Projects Facebook page. I want to give another shout out to my lovely wife Sammie who assisted Scott and I during the install by documenting it in its entirety on digital film. She is blessed with the ability to take awesome photos–a gift I do not possess! I hope you enjoyed reading about my process. If you are a 3D or 2D artist who would like to no more about Scott Trent and the Henderson Art Project 2011 please check out there Facebook page.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Walk the walk, talk the talk...

It is one thing to be able to create art, it is quite another to be able to articulate clearly one's feelings and meanings about the art. I for one really struggle with the process of communicating my fine art. Subsequently, I do not have as much a problem discussing the other interests in my life (ie., design, information architecture, usability design, and music). "What's the deal?"

Well, I've done a lot of soul searching and research and I think I have come up with an answer. My fine art (the art I do for myself and not for others) is very personal. Unlike my commercial work which I consider more of a creative service, my fine art is a process for communicating my pure thoughts and visions. Unlike commercial work which uses my creative talents as a tool to solve clients creative needs (thus the service), my fine art is self involved and self motivated. Those of you who know me realize that I am made-up of  many layers; and most of those layers I am not comfortable, through my art,  sharing except through metaphor and symbology. Metaphor and symbology, while valid forms of expression, they are not always the most intrinsic forms of communication. More clearly they are more like their ancient dionysiac counterparts–masks, which allow the artist to adeptly move between characters.

I have become enthralled with the PBS series ART21. For those of you who have not discovered this series it is a must watch (or must own). In the series established artists present and discuss their work. I mean truly, intellectually discuss their work. You are often given insight into inception and technique. Some of the work you may love, some you may hate, but what you learn about the art and artist is presented in clear, thoughtful dialogue. What sets these artists apart is their ability to clearly communicate their art and their reasons for creating their art, and this is what sets them apart.

Thus one of my highest goals has become to alleviate the boundaries that I have created around my fine art so that I can thoughtfully and clearly communicate the processes and meanings to those who are interested in my work. This blog is one of the first steps. From here I will try my best to highlight the "whys and hows" of my work. Please feel free to comment, critique, and discuss as you feel led because communication is never a one-way street.

NOTE: I mentioned ART21 but way before this series I was blessed to come across an independent documentary entitled Painters Painting by Emile de Antonio. In this film Emile interviews all of the Abstract Expressionists and asks them to define/explain their work. Before ART21 I watched this film over and over; it is brilliance and a peek into one of the most magnificent times in American art.