All content copyright 2011, 2012, and 2013 by Keith Russell.

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31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

The year 2012 is rapidly winding down. Although I didn't get everything done this year that I wanted to do, I did accomplish some cool things, and I am hard at work--and making progress--on several new projects!

So, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year, and I'll be back with new posts, and new stuff, in 2013!

26 November 2012

The End of Lead (Flake) White?

Several fairly-common oil paint colours are becoming scarce. Safety and environmental regulations have caused many European countries to ban the production of lead carbonate (pigment PW1), the main ingredient in oil paint colours like Lead White, Cremnitz White, Silver White, Naples Yellow, Lead Tin Yellow, etc. (Winsor-Newton recently moved their operations from the UK to more-highly regulated France, and recently announced that it may suspend production of their genuine cadmium oil and acrylic colours, in addition to colours containing PW1. I'm not aware of any acrylic paint that incoporates PW1.)

Colours containing admium are considered less harmful than colours containing lead, but cadmium is still considered toxic.

I bought my first tube of a lead-based oil paint on the advice of a college classmate during my sophomore year: Winsor-Newton Naples Yellow. Having any lead-based pigment on campus was against school policy (but, what they didn't know, didn't hurt them!)

I loved using the colour, especially for skin tones. I use Naples Yellow for skin much less these days, preferring Yellow Ochre (or glazing transparent or semi-transparent colours) for flesh, but there are still times when Naples Yellow comes in handy.

During my juniour year, I puchased a tube of Flake + Mica from Robert Doak, and it's been my "go-to" mixing white for several years--esepcially for skin tones, where it's semi-trasnparency is superiour to the chalky opacity of Titanium (PW6)--and flake doesn't have the potential delamination problems associated with zinc (PW6).

I'm currenly into my second 150ml tube of Doak's Flake + Mica.

Using toxic pigments like cadmium and lead frightens many painters, but the dangers of these paints can easily be managed. Following a few simple rules. like not eating in your studio, making sure to wash your hands frequently (and every time you get paint on your hands) and/or wearing protective gloves, will virtually eliminate the health risks of using lead or other toxic pigments.

I don't wear gloves when I paint, because they adversely affect my grip on brushes, paint tubes, palette knives--and especially airbrushes. But, I do wash my hands frequently, and I don't eat in my studio.

Some oil paint manufactuers--namely Michael Harding in the UK and Mr. Doak in NYC--have vowed to continue offering lead whites as long as lead carbonate remains available. Old Holland recently increased the prices on their lead whites; a 40ml tube of OH lead white can retail for as much as $25.00, or more.

I've been stocking up on flake white (photo) buying paint from Winsor-Newton, Williamsburg, and Holbein. I'm hoping to place another order from Robert Doak in the Spring, and hope to obtain at least three or four more 140ml tubes of his Flake + Mica.

Lastly, owning paintings that were made using PW1 is not a problem; lead white is toxic primarily when eaten. The danger from lead paint in Chinese Toys and lead-based house paint is that kids peel off chips of the paint--lead-based paint flakes taste sweet. Children eat the chips, and get sick.

I haven't heard of any instance where a child was injured from eating paint flakes from a painting, and I can't imagine any collector letting a child get close enough to a painting to peel and eat the picture!

Anyway, I've been working hard on The Presentation of Spiders this weekend, and the four figure has been drawn, and painting will begin soon. Also, I have an idea for the image that will go on a four foot by four foot panel I've prepared over the winter, too.

So, new stuff is on the way.

Thanks for reading.

18 November 2012

Looking back--Looking forward.

Yesterday, I found out that my website is down; I'm going to call the hosting company tomorrow, and get the site back online.

I can't believe it's 18 November, already--only six weeks (or so) of 2012 remain.

I'm always torn, as a year draws to a close, whether to speed things up and try to finish as much of the not-yet-completed projects from the year before the year ends, or keep steadily working (with the attitude that whatever does or doesn't get finished now, can be completed next year)--

--or whether it's best to start work on some new projects, and worry about finishing the older stuff after the first of the year.

I actually began a new piece today, with the smallest beginning of a sketch. I have a 48 x 48 inch panel built, and I've been wondering what image might be best suited for a large, square panel, and this afternoon, I thought of something that I think will be amazing!

I still have three other paintings in various stages of completion: a small piece that's nearly done, Presentation which still has a long way to go, and a third piece that's about one-third complete.

Lastly--believe it or not--I've actually started working on the drawing for the next painting in the "Invented Faces" series!

So, what I've been feeling as a sort of "slow-down" during the third quarter of 2012 has ended, and I'm feeling really good about picking up the pace, once again.

There will be some new stuff posted here, soon.

02 November 2012

Life Drawing from 2010

This is an "older" life drawing I found the other day. (I've been reorganizing my studio. I have the "large" 37 x 72 inch drafting table in place now, and I've moved lots of stuff into other rooms throughout the house, and have many of the things I need in more accessible places throughout the studio. And, I've found a few things I'd forgotten about.)

This is about 11 x 14 inches, charcoal pencil on paper. I don't remember the model's name. This was probably done in a bit less than 2 hours.

Now that I have it photographed, I think it should be dry-mounted, to get rid of the creases. Then, I'll probably frame it.

Hope you like it.

17 October 2012

A new life drawing...

Last Thursday night, I attended a local life drawing session, and made a pretty decent drawing (if I may say so, myself!) The group meets weekly, but I haven't been in several months.

I would like to get in the habit of attending at least once a month; it's great practice, and I think it's important to support groups like this. There are at least two other life drawing groups in Kansas City, and most major cities probably have at least one group like this.

So, you can probably find one near you...or, start one, if there isn't one nearby already!

04 October 2012

CD Review: Emily Autunn: "Opheliac"

Most people are familiar with the list of topics that shouldn't be discussed in polite company: politics, religion, and money. To that list, I would probably add one more, "music".

During tonight's Presidential debate (and that's as close to politics as this blog gets, I promise!) I was driving home from a local art organization's monthly meeting (where I had just given a presentation on airbrushing), and instead of the debate, I was listening to Opheliac, a 2006 CD by Emily Autumn.

From time to time, I have purchased music based on a review in a magazine, without hearing any of the music prior to buying the CD. From King Crimson's Discipline, Kazumi Watanabe's Mobo Club, and Danielle Dax' Blast the Human Flower, to Lustmord's Heresy, Faith and the Muse's ankoku butoh and Amy X Neuberg's Utechma, I haven't chosen poorly, yet. (Honestly!

This CD is no excaption.

Now, Emily is probably an acquired taste (though, as a long-time Tori Amos, Bjork, Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush, and Amy X fan, it wasn't hard for me to acquire it) but anyone who enjoys Lady Gaga, shouldn't have too much trouble enjoying several of the tracks on Opheliac. And the CD as a whole is worth repeated listening.

The opening (and title) track begins with harpsichord (which doesn't sound sequenced), and quickly transitions to a combination of orchestral chords, distorted vocals, and a driving industrial beat.

Autumn's vocals often channel early Kate Bush and Toyah, but much of the album reminds me of no one more than early Amy X Neuberg--especially the second track, Swallow, with its lilting sequenced trills, and upper-register vocals.

Liar ventures into full industrial territory, ala NIN and KMFDM, and shows off the lower register of Autumn's versatile voice. The track does suffer from the repetition of one lyric line--which reminded me of the too-many-times-repeated "I love him" from Bjork's otherwise sublime and beautiful Pagan Poetry.

The Art of Suicide is another harpichord piece, this time with subtle drum-machine clicks and whirs providing the 3/4 signature, and laced with (given Autumn's violin chops) what are probably (mostly) real strings.

I Want My Innocence Back takes us back to hard-edged NIN territory, while Misery Loves Company combines strings, drum machines, and the full range of Autumn's voice, for a song that Laga Gaga might have written for Pat Benator (or vice versa).

God Help Me starts out with a driving beat, similar to much of the rest of the album, but ends with another harsh repetion, this time of the title phrase. Shallot is an upbeat anthem to eagerly-awaited death (!), and until Loreena McKennitt and The Crystal Method actually collaborate, this is as close as we're likely to hear. Gothic Lolita, Dead is the New Alive, and Let the Record Show finish the album nicely.

Although this album isn't as lush as Hounds of Love or quite as polished as Utechma, these are thirteen mostly strong tracks, and I think Emilie Autumn is interesting enough to watch.

The Deluxe Edition of Opheliac includes a second disc with eight additional tracks.

Her new album, Fight Like A Girl, has just been released.

27 September 2012

A word (or two) about donations...

I considered not writing this, but I think it needs to be said.

Artists are often solicited to donate their art to fundraisers by various organizations, and although there is a reward in the simple act of giving alone, there may be reasons why it's not always a good idea.

I heard a presentation by an organization recently, and decided to donate to their annual charity art auction. I chose to donate a "good" piece; a spider painting that had been featured on the postcard advertising one of my recent shows. I figured that folks who saw the piece at the auction, if they later ran across my work at a future show, would recognize the work as mine, even if they didn't remember my name.

I've donated to a few art auctions over the years, and I've usually found them to be a positive experience. First, my work is "out there" in front of the folks attending the auction (who might be a completely different audience than the folks who come to one of my shows); the auction determines what someone is willing to pay for the work, helping me to establish (as much as possible) it's "true value"); and I get another name for my mailing list--someone who already owns one of my paintings!

This particular auction, though, chose not to provide donating artists with the contact information for the folks who bought our work. Although I received the donation form, for tax purposes, showing that I donated a painting, having a way to contact another person who liked my work well enough to pay for it, is really important to me.

One local organization actually provides each donating artist a complete contact list for everyone who makes a purchase at their annual art auction. The name(s) of those who bought work from the artist receiving the specific list, is circled.

Although I don't regret the decision to donate work to this particular auction, I think that--given the fact that there are always more organizations looking for donations than I have work available to donate, I will not be donating to this particular auction, again.

26 September 2012

Vacation, and Perspective...

We arrived home around 2330 Sunday, after nine days on the raod. We had driven to Detroit to visit Liora's family for a few days, then to Loraine, Ohio to spend some time with friends, and to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland.

Detroit was fun, and mostly relaxing. We spent Tuesday at the Henry Ford Museum, seeing (and "riding" in) the bus on which Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat, and the chair Abraham Lincoln was occopying, when he was assasinated. (Who knew the Henry Ford could be so dark? And that's not all! We also saw JFK's Presidential Limousine. Yes, the one he was riding in when he was shot.)

We ate dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant, and Linda's favourite BBQ restaurant (my second favourite; my number one BBQ place is in KC.) We did a bit of shopping, and had ice cream at a streetside bakery.

Cleveland was fun, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was awesome. I saw several of Jerry Garcia's custom guitars (including the one he played the only time I saw the Dead, in Kansas City, front row, in '85).

We stayed in a beautiful Bed & Breakfast in Loraine Thursday and Friday nights, enjoying a delicious dinner outdoors on the terrace (also lakeside) Thursday night. Friday afternoon was spent walking along one of Lake Erie's gorgeous beaches. (See photo.)

We had dinner with friends in Akron Saturday evening, before a bit more shopping, then back to our hotel.

It was a wonderful trip, very relaxing and refreshing.

Back home, the woodworking project continues. I delivered the first display shelf the Monday before we headed out of town. I'm nearly finished with the second one, but I was told last night that the client is not pleased about some of the details with the first piece.

I worked out a schedule to address the problems, and fix them, but today I was told to "hold off" on working to finish the second unit. (Yeah, never a good sign, right?)

I've spent a great deal of time on these pieces, working from a basic schematic that the client changed after I'd already started buying the materials, and doing some basic construction. Because the project was for a store where a friend of mine works, I didn't insist on an up-front downpayment, so all the materials that have been paid for with my own money.

Considering all the time I've spent woodworking over the past month, I haven't had as much time to paint as I wanted. I'm not going to have the painting done in time to submit it to the Gamblin contest, by the deadline.

I feel like I should be more discouraged than I am; honestly, I'm feeling all right. The painting is looking good, and I'm focused on getting it done, right. (It's more important to have a good painting, than crank out a mediocre piece on time.) I'm also working on a couple ideas for a other new paintings, and I feel good about them, too. I think they're going to be really exciting.

If the client decides not to buy the displays from me, I'm going to use the wood to build some bookcases I've needed for several years, and perhaps a sewing table for Liora's studio, as well.

And, I will have learned a valuable lesson--again; don't make unfair compromises--not even for friends.

04 September 2012

Airbrushing in the "Digital Age"...

I know several illustrators who used airbrushes for the majority of their illustration work two decades ago (or more), who now use only digital tools. Many "former airbrush artists" see little reason for anyone to bother with clunky ol' airbrushes that require constant cleaning, maintenance, and replacement parts.

But, there are reasons--good ones!

Just last week, I was asked to repair an arcylic (mostly airbrushed, with some "traditional" brushwork) painting for a fellow artist. She had a 40 x 40 inch painting that had a small tear in the canvas, and she needed it fixed, so the painting could be exhibited.

My first step was to "patch" the tear. I cut a small piece of unprimed canvas (from a scrap piece I keep on-hand for exactly that purpose) and attached the patch to the back of the tear using acrylic matte gel.

Once the patch was dry, I applied gesso into the "tear" from the front, sanding it smooth once it, too, was dry.

Then, using the airbrush, I touched up the "fixed" area, matching colours to the rest of the painting.

Lastly, a bit of "traditional" brushwork, and the repair work was done, and the painting looked like there had never been any damage to it at all.

When you have a project that can't be easily fed through a printer, or when you want to retain an original photograph, document, or painting (rather than ending up with a PhotoShop corrected copy), airbrushing is one good way to go about "fixing" original pieces.

I'm going to be using airbrushes quite a bit in my next several paintings, probably with both acrylics and oils. I need to figure out a good formula for an airbrush oil-paint medium. (I have a few ideas...)

26 August 2012


Here is the latest photo of my progress on The Presentation of Spiders. I've been busy working on a couple carpentry projects over the past three weeks, basically doing everything but painting.

Still, I think it's coming along nicely.

Slowly, but nicely.

As I've posted before, this piece is being done as a black and white "underpainting" (a black, white, and grey underpainting is called a "grisaille"), and I am going to really try to have this finished, and photographed, in order to be entered into Gamblin's "Torrit Grey" contest.

The deadline for entry is 1 October.

I'm going to keep my September schedule as free from other freelance projects as I can, so I can really try to have this done on time.

This is the most involved, complex painting I've ever attempted, so far.

31 July 2012

Please Stand By...

I'm still here, still drawing and painting--though Ive had a couple "side projects" that have kept me away the studio a bit more than I would prefer.

I've built a couple frames for a local artist, which really helped me develop my woodworking chops--a good thing, because there is another woodworking project coming up that is even more complicated, demanding even moe precision than the frames. And, I have four or five more frames to make...

I have been thinking about the new work, of course, and I've been out taking reference photos, and working on the drawing of the second "child" for "The Presentation of Spiders". (And the third child has begun, as well.)

I'm hoping to start painting the second figure this week, weekend at the latest, and I'll post pictures as soon as there's something new to see.

The painting is being done in black and white--the technical term is "Grisaille"--for the Gamblin Paint Company's Torrit Grey Contest's October deadline. Once I have a high quality photo of the finished Grisaille to submit to the contest, I will "colorized" the painting using glazes of (mostly) transparent oil paint.

A lot of work still to go.

Thank you for your patience!

10 June 2012

Ghostly Children are Forming...

I'm working on a new version of an old, never-finished painting: The Presentation of Spiders. (Oils on shop-made panel, 20x40 inches). I'm sure I've mentioned this piece here before. (I have; see the photo accompanying my blog entry from January, 2011) I began working on this painting at the beginning of my first semester as a seniour at the Kansas City Art Institute, in the Fall of 2007.

I'm changing quite a few things in the new version, with the most obvious change being that this new version is being painted in layers. This first layer is a black-and-white grisaille (grey-toned underpainting), which will be "colourized" with transparent oil paints once the grisaille is complete. There is actually going to be a background to this version, too, instead of the rather flat blue "sky" beh8ind the figures in the earlier attempt.

I have several freelance projects in ths works right now, so it may be a couple weeks before I can make any substantial progress on this, but I don't mind taking my time, and "doing it right", this time.

Stay tuned...

02 June 2012

First Carved Spider Begins...

I drew out the basic shape for the "front part" of what will become the first carved spider, and traced it onto a block of basswood last night. This afternoon, I cut the shape out with the bandsaw, and now it's ready for the actual carving. This is bigger than I originally planned it to be, so the finished spider will be larger, as well. I do plan to make some spiders using exitic woods, and I'll leave them ufinished so that the wood-grain will show. But, given that the basswood isn't terribly interesting to look at, this one will be primed and painted (probably using airbrushed acrylics!) I have no idea how long this is going to take, as I have several other projects that need to get done (including building several frames for one customer, and building a couple wooden displays for a local shoe store) as well-- --but this is a start!

18 May 2012

Welcome to the 21C...

Last Wednesday I bought an iPad 2. I'm in the garage typing this blog entry using it, right now. It's quite a useful little device, and does most of the things I wanted from a touch-screen device. It has a much better notebook feature than my cell phone (I'm a compulsive list maker), and the calendar feature is also much larger and more versatile than the very limited calendar on my cell phone. It stores music, books (I downloaded the Kindle app along with several books already) and its really cool to be able to surf the 'Net at a restaurant or the DMV (which I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing this afternoon!)

But, its music I wanted to talk about, tonight. I own around three thousand music CDs. (I'll post a photo soon...). Theres no way the iPad can hold even a fraction of my entire collection. My computer is nearly full, and I haven't copied all of my CDs onto its drives, yet. I am going to buy a terabyte of external storage next month, but even if that's enough memory to hold "everything", I'm still not going to be getting rid of the actual CDs, for the foreseeable future.

I have some friends who sold fairly large CD collections after buying really large hard drives for their desktops, and I suppose that's not a horrible thing-- if you aren't too attached to some (or most) of the music you've purchased over the years. Or, maybe there isn't much music in your collection at all.

I still listen to damn near everything in my collection. Most of my favourites come from the 80s: Peter Gabriel, OMD, Simple Minds, XTC, Kate Bush, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Thomas Dolby, Cocteau Twins, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode...but there's music I love from the 60s, 70s, 90s, and the 00s (along with classical stuff going back to the 14C.) Cause, sooner or later, the hard drive will crash, and all that carefully collected music will be lost. I simply cannot bear the thought of that, so I'm keeping my CDs, all 3000 of them!

13 May 2012

Down Time

The May show came down last Wednesday. It feels good to have my paintings back home and safe; the spece where I had exhibited since April is coming under new ownership, and I was not sure if the space would remain secure during the transition. Anyway, the artist who invited me to exhibit in this show would like to exhibit again right away, but I'm really not feeling it. I am looking forward focusing for a few months on several new paintings and carvings without the pressure of a looming deadline. I have two paintings under way, and they are somewhat larger and more complex than most of my other recent pieces. Several artists I know are going in "the other direction"; because things are tough right now, they feel that it is more prudent to concentrate on smaller paintings--which, for them, seem to sell well. For me, though, while I have sold some of the small spiders, they haven't sold any better than some of my medium-sized pieces, either. I think it's a good idea to create pieces in a variety of prices, so nearly evebryone can afford to buy something. Some artists offer prints; I have the small spider pieces priced just over $100.00. So, if I'm not selling tons of paintings in any case, I can't see it much difference whether I am not selling three thousand dollar paintings, or not selling thee hundred dollar paintings. So, there will be some new paintings, but it may be a little while. Please don't go away...

22 April 2012

The Walk...

I found this image the other day as I was removing some old images from my computer. This was a piece I installed at the Kansas City Art Institute, along the ceiling of a hallway in one of the lecture buildings, probably somwhere in 2006. I started with one spider on Monday, and added another spider every day for the rest of the week. Several times, I watched students walking down the hallway, only to jump noticibly as they realized that there were several large spiders above them. I think all five of these spiders have been lost. Oh, well. There will be more...!

06 April 2012

Another Month, Another Show...

This has been an absolutely crazy year, but I think the craziness may be coming to (a bit of) a close.

I really need a chance to rest!

Over the past few weeks, I've been busy with some "side" (freelance) projects. I was asked to build a 48x48-inch panel for an old painting by a friend of mine; the canvas had been rolled up in her garage for years. Mounting the canvas onto a panel will help keep in in better shape--and if she wants to do some restoration (re-painting some of the most-cracked areas) it'll be easier to do on a rigid support.

I'm also working on refinishing an old frame for another client, and two weeks ago I helped another client hang some paintings before a bridal shower she was hosting in her home that evening.

And I'm also doing some airbrushing on a painting that's being restored by a conservationist I've worked with on several projects, already.

All this has meant some (much-appreciated/much needed) extra money--but it has also meant that I won't have any "new" work at tomorrow night's opening of the April group show.

Oddly enough, I'm not terribly bothered with that; I think I probably made more money from the side projects, than I would have from any paintings I might have been able to complete, if I hadn't been working on the side projects instead. (In the short term, at least. Eventually, those paintings would have sold, and brought in more money, but there's no guargantee they would have sold at this particular time, this particular show...).


I'm re-doing the preliminary drawings for The Presentation of Spiders, as I'm starting the painting over--from "scratch".

I'm doing this piece "right" this time; starting with a full (tonal, as well as compositional) drawing, which will be followed by a full (probably airbrushed, possibly in oils!) grisaille, then finished with an overpainting in transparent and opaque layers of oil paint.

Stip-by-step photos coming soon.

26 March 2012

Lost in the Clouds

8 x 12 inches, oils and airbrushed acrylics on GessoBord, 2012.

This new painting made it into the March "openeing" (which turned out to be a "closing", actually!) at APEX. It's a bit of an "in-between" size--larger than 5x5 (most of my "smaller" spiders are 3x3, 4x4...up to 6x6) and not as large as most of the "major" spider pieces ("White Widow" is 24 x 36, for example) this didn't seem to attract as much attention as I'd hoped.

I think it's a good painting, and it will be in the next show, which opens April 6th, at the ArtScape group show, inside Performance Furniture, 222 W. 29th Street, in Kansas City, Missouri.

19 March 2012

Honesty and Mixed Feelings

Liora and I took down the show at APEX a little over a week week ago. It is nice to have my paintings back home, but I wish we hadn't had to bring them all home! I did sell one small painting, but I am a little disappointed (all right, maybe a little more than a little!) that more of them didn't sell.

The February and March openings at APEX were well-attended; the March attendance was best. I figure 300 folks (my best guess) saw the show during the two openings, mostly people who (I think, anyway) hadn't seen my stuff before, which is always cool.

I always try to spend a little time listening to what people are saying when they don't know I'm the artist, and the comments I overheard about my work were good, very positive. People did seem to like the newer paintings better--which I take to mean that I'm "headed in the right direction" with my stuff!

So, I'm starting the "next bunch" of paintings. I have five panels prepared, with three more "in the works". Five of these panels are rather large--bigger than any of my (finished) pieces so far.

Of course, I'm still going to make more of the smaller paintings (since I always want to have work to sell across a range of price-points, and the small paintings are quick to make, and lots of fun to do!). But, in the new paintings, I want to focus on creating "more elaborate" paintings than I've made up to now; I really want to push myself, to see what I can really "do".

After the April group show, I have no other shows "planned", which has me thinking--seriously--of taking six months or more, and just work on new stuff, without any pressure (or expectations) of sales, exhibits, or publicity. Then, when I have fifteen to twenty new pieces that I feel really good about, then and only then should I start thinking about where to exhibit them.

For several years now, I've thought that I would prefer to have a show scheduled, then work to create stuff to put into that/those show(s).

But, coming off of three shows right in a row, and the pressure of trying to have new work at every show, I think (at least for the forseeable future) it would be best to simply produce a bunch of new stuff (whatever I want to make, however I want to make it, however long it takes me to be satisfied with it) then worry about what to do with it, only after it's done.

15 February 2012

I've never been prolific, but...

...that may be changing!

This is the first layer of oil paints on a new painting, a continuation of the "theme" of the "lace-web spinning" spiders. (The first layer of paint applied was the blue of the sky, painted using airbrushed acrylics.)

The spider is going to be shown "ballooning", something spiders actually do (but mostly when they're newly hatched). To leave their nest (and get away from hundreds of hungry siblings) spiderlings let out a strand of silk that catches the wind, and they're off. Spiders have been carried thousdands of feet into the air, and may travel for hundreds of miles before landing...

I've actually completed three paintings so far in 2012, and this will be the fourth. I hope to have two more pieces done before the March 2nd opening of my (ongoing) show at APEX.

And it's only February.

05 February 2012

Grey on Grey, detail...

And, the hits just keep on coming!

I have another new painting in the show at APEX, this one was started and finished over the past two weeks. I haven't completed an entire painting in such a short span of time in a while--

--and it definitely feels good!

This was done in two layers, with no preliminary drawing whatsoever.

Grey on Grey
Oils on wood panel
10x30 inches

I exhibited this piece along with two others painted on panels of the same size (10 x 30 inches, displayed vertically). They looked great, and I plan to make at least three more panels this size, and try to create a "set" of paintings on theses, rather than three different paintings, which is what the current three are...

White Widow Complete!

White Widow, 2012
Oils and airbrushed oils on aluminum panel
24 x 36 inches

31 January 2012

Moving Pictures...

Once again, the walls at home are (more or less). We took the art to Apex Gallery on Sunday afternoon--those paintings that were ready to hang, anyway.

I have at least three more paintings that...





...but which should be done in time to hang them on Friday. One of them is, so far, the best spider painting I've done! Another is the 8th in my series of "Invented Facts". There will be seven of the "Invented Faces" in this show, which (I think) is more than I've ever exhibited at one time in one place.

I was nervous about having my solo show in February, 'cause the weather here can turn pretty nasty this time of year. But, this week in Kansas City it's been amazing; sunny, upper 50s during the day. If this continues, the opening Friday might be much better attended than I had dared to hope.

So, if you're in KC, and going to be out and about this Friday, stop by the Apex Gallery at 1819 Wyandotte (inside Crossroads Dentistry), have some wine and chees, and say "hello".

26 January 2012

Show Don't Tell...

I'm starting to accumulate small, unfinished paintings--which is a good thing!

It means there's a good chance of having several new paintings at the February opening, which takes place one week from tomorrow. (No pressure!) I'm installing the show Sunday, though I'm going to keep painting. It's very possible that I'll have more new paintings needing to be put up Friday afternoon--right before the show opens.

That's the way it goes 'round here!

But, after the opening, I'm going to "switch gears", and get to work on two or three larger, more elaborate paintings. My goal is to finish those in February, and install them in time for the March opening.

Then I have March to continue working on larger, more elaborate stuff which will "debut" at the April opening.

I have lots of new ideas, and I'm fairly pleased with the new paintings--large and small--so far.

More photos coming soon!

I mean it.

Meanwhile, here's a "teaser". You might recognize this, and you might also remember that I promised not to post it until after the February opening. Well, I haven't broken that promise--this is only a "detail" shot, and even this section of the painting is not (quite) finished.


And, if you can get to the APEX Gallery, 1809 Wyandotte, Kansas City Missouri, next Friday evening between 6 and 9 PM, you'll get to see this piece in all its glory...

13 January 2012


The year stretches before me like an unpaved pathway; it is up to me to choose where it will lead, and how to build it for ease of travel, etc.

I have lots of ideas, and I've tried to keep focused on the ones that will advance my art in the right direction.

Time-management has been the thing I've complained about most in this blog, so far. I (think I'm finally) at a place where I won't have to keep making those complaints. Most people make their New Year's Reolutions as (or after) the year starts, and then they have to figure out hwo to make big changes in their lives as the year is already passing.

I started work on the stuff I wanted to accomplish this year, while it was still last year. I'm already watching less TV, spending (wasting) far less time online, getting more exercise, eating better--and I'm getting better organized every day.

I believe I have some really good ideas for my next several paintings. Once the January show is set up, I'm going to spend February working on two new paintings that I hope to have ready in time for the March opening. Then, I'll spend March working on the next two paintings, to have them ready in time for the April opening!

If all goes well this year, I will:

1) Paint only on panel (no more paintings on canvas!)

2) Learn to airbrush using oils!

3) Assemble my hand-made panels using dove-tail joinery, as well as routing or hand-caving their edges (so I won't have buy frames)

4) Hand carve the spider "sculptures" from now on

5) Build a better bookshelf for under my drafting table (something I've been wanting to do for years)

6) Schedule at least one exhibit of my art somewhere not in Kansas or Missouri

I think these are reasonable goals, and they'll keep me heading in the right direction.

What are your plans for 2012?