Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Free Range Tea Pot of Sanity

"...To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
An by opposing end them?..."

Alright, hold on Willy. There is another option.
Get yourself a "Venti".
A Roman Empire sized coffee.
If that doesn't quite arm you against a sea
of troubles, then
Try engaging in a "Venti-Fest".
Perhaps a creative activity know...vent.

I don't seem to be able to help myself from painting these "Venti's". It works so well for me that my subconscious sometimes shoves me over and sits in the driver's seat. As it were.

I enjoy making them because I discover so much about Color. Line. Energy. Shape. Shape~Shifting. Mood. And stickin' it right back to "outrageous fortune".
It is a way for me to slay the dragons of the mind. But also to befriend some.

Under the surface of the mind thoughts convect like magma. What surfaces may be new or ancient. The image above made me remember aboriginal art that I had seen in Australia seven or eight years hence.

After I painted this I realized that it was inspired by a hike I took a couple of weeks ago with dear friends up on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains. I added a couple of strokes to further suggest the mountain range.

Funny how things can simmer and make a nice tea. Or build in intensity for a proper and inevitable venting. What do you do to vent? How do you cope with stress, and other bogeys.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Can't Keep a Good Man Down

My son, Jesse, always liked to dress like a wild man, and imagined himself running through jungles in the tropics, eating weird exotic food and doing something important. Hopefully with a spear.

Jesse did indeed find himself in the tropics a couple weeks ago eating goat brains out of a goat skull. He didn't have a spear to my knowledge, but he did have a beautiful book to share which has taken on a life of its own.

When the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti this January, Jesse wanted to help. There has been a tremendous outpouring of support from around the world, but Jesse said, " As I sat at my easel and thought about the future of Haiti, I was sure of only one thing: we will forget".

He wrote and illustrated this remarkable picture book, HOPE FOR HAITI. The story is set in the tent city which was erected inside Port Au Prince soccer stadium. I am so proud of Jesse for creating a book that is beautiful and full of compassion.

Jesse is working with We Give Books, and his publisher, Putnam/Penguin through book sales is giving a generous donation to Save the Children's Haiti Earthquake~Children in Emergency Fund.

The earthquake killed over two hundred thousand people, and left thousands injured. Here's Jesse gettin' down with his pals at a health care and education compound. These are kids at risk, many of whom are orphaned. Jesse brought over loads of deflated soccer balls and pumps for the children. Needless to say, they were stoked.

Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere before the earthquake. Now the battle against chaos, violence, sickness and despair is intensified in ways most of us can't even imagine.

Jesse is also working with the World Vision ADP center in Hinche, and Artists for Peace and Justice, NPH, and St. Damiene's Hospital in Port Au Prince.

Here they are distributing food and supplies spearheaded by Bryn Mooser who has put his life on the line to help the Haitian people. Check out his inspiring and heart-breaking blog, City of Dust.

Here Jess is reading his book to the youngest orphans.

Jesse said that in spite of the crushing poverty, he sees hope for Haiti in these children. You can't keep a good man/woman/boy/girl down.

"You see, love is my foundation"--Jimmy Cliff

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Left Brain/Right Brain~The Odd Couple

My friend and fellow illustrator, David Hohn is teaching a class at the Art Institute of Portland. He asked me to share with him and his class, my method of design using overlays on a few of my illustrations. Okay Left Brain, try to make some sense of Right Brain...on three, two, one...

Here goes: For this painting from The Magic Rabbit, I took the Golden Mean and shot it like an arrow from my Golden Bow. The blue splots indicate where I used numbers and the pink doinks show where I scattered playing cards. In this book I was playing with concepts of time, space, magic, The Big Bang, and The Big Bang in reverse.

This illustration from One Wintry Night was intimidating to even begin. We had gone to the Middle East to do research for this book, and I had so much reference material that I was short-circuiting. I didn't want to drown in a terribly difficult painting--every concept sketch felt too complex. My son, Jesse, saw my frustration and doodled a rough sketch for me showing the two heads in opposition. "Isn't it a power struggle?" he asked.

Yes, it was. Big time. So the "stand off" solved my design dilemma. Thanks, Jess.

In this illustration from Bronwen The Traw and the Shape~Shifter, the girl hears a tapping at her window. Her world is about to be turned upside-down.

The picture pulls in two directions--the top half flashes a play of light between the girl, the flying squirrel, and her gardening "traw". The bottom half reveals her toys falling away from her secure embrace, tumbling out of the picture itself.

In The Legend of Saint Christopher, I painted this illustration of The Dark Knight by first painting a "Rorschalk test" type pattern with black on red and red on black.

Since the Dark Knight was a metaphor for the Devil, I attempted to show his turmoil and chaos by a tearing and push/pull against the otherwise centered composition. His sword forms an "X".

In The Boy Who Went Ape, written by my son, Ben, Ms. Thunderbum is a teacher who doesn't like little boys, especially when they act like apes! I patterned her after my second grade teacher and my piano teacher, both of whom hated me, or so it seemed at the time. No they actually did hate me. And all boys. And life.

DDDZZZzzzzz≠–¡!¡!¡!¡! See the negative energy zapping the poor chimp who acts like an ape because he is an ape? Ape, boy, ape, boy, same difference. Agree? Her presence bows out the room itself.

Here is Her Royal Significance ordering the little lambs to obey her every command.

I had so much fun developing her character. She is a force to be reckoned with. Notice the black broken glass jewelry.

In the same book there is a bank robber. I first used Jesse as a model, wearing a hoody, shorts, and flip flops, and carrying an Al Capone style tommy gun. The book was at the printer, when the Virginia Tech shootings happened. The book was postponed. We decided to do a more comical bank robber. A nut-job with a plunger and bunny slippers might give one pause, but is not so much of a threat.

I used DaVinci's Golden Belly Ratio as my design format.