I just uploaded another progression file to my Patreon page. This one shows the steps I took in creating the cover for “Denouncer” for a friend of mine. I also posted explanations of how I approached the painting.
Whether it is a picture or a story, I am usually inspired by a single idea that is, more often than not, nebulous. The reason they are nebulous is because they spring from multiple directions and are accumulations of observations. Next month’s story “The Devil’s in the Code” sprang from my observations of the business world, the risks involved with genetic manipulation, and of course, good old human hubris. I also tucked in some historical information. Placing the story in the context of the Devil being called on the carpet by God just seemed appropriate. A story I will present later was an attempt to come to grips with the christian notion that if you just believe in Jesus you will go to heaven. For me, that has been a hard one to swallow given how unchristian so many Christians are and the thought that if an evil person repents on their death-bed that counts. Still not sure if the story helped me. “Trinity”, which will come up in March, was an attempt through symbolism to write my feelings about a world-changing event in our history. I also wanted to express my strong feelings about it, as well as, challenge the reader to figure it out.
My art on the other hand is an attempt to show through artistic skill the objects I find captivating. Again, what I try to capture is the essence of what drew me to the image. Be it the sharp contrast between areas on the subject or the reflective nature of a surface. In one painting I may strive to emulate the liquid gloss of an eye or the soft fuzziness of fur. However, there are also times when I am trying to express ideas such as in my “It’s all Connected” series. My goal was to show that everything on this planet is connected to each other, which is something that cannot be ignored in this day and age. When you push on nature, it will eventually push back because, no matter how big a head man gets, we are still subject to nature since we are nature. In “Quiet Strength – Silent Vulnerability”, I used Mars and Jupiter as the tiger’s eyes to express two aspects of their existence. Jupiter represents their size and strength, their power upon the human mind. Mars represents their death at the hands of and their possible extinction by man.
So, you can see that my mind is always looking for ways to express what I see in the world. Is that not one of the hallmarks of being human.
Well, things are as they are. I don’t like it because for all the religious backing of our current government, most of the actions and goals given do not fit the christian ideals preached by Christ. However, my thought is that protesting through violence isn’t the answer either. You just end up making them feel more righteous about what they are doing. Also, you draw out more violent reaction leading to further repression.
My answer, stop paying them. What? I don’t pay them. Ah, yes you do. Every time you go to the pump, every time you buy a gadget, every time you eat out, you feed the economy that feeds the 1% who feed and control this government. All along, you have cried foul at the things they were doing then turned around and paid them money to continue doing it. That is why I have said on many occasions we are all to blame for this. Since no one is willing to do without stuff they really don’t need, the ugliness continues to go on.
Why should they change when your money keeps telling them you don’t really mind what they are doing? That is how we lost jobs to Mexico and China. It isn’t because those countries stole them, it is because we bought the cheap stuff they made even when we were told it fed the machine of the people leading it. Our own petty greed for the next Iphone or digital camera gave CEO’s the incentive to continue outsourcing. Steve Jobs was a bastard in real life, cheating our country out of millions of dollars, watch the stories about him. Just because he made such a wonderful toy for you does not change the facts. Hell, Thomas Edison was a thief stealing movies from the first French director and making millions. As long as you fling wads of cash at them, they will keep getting stronger.
The only way to truly wake them up is to hit their pocket books. Cut back, do less, pay off your credit cards and debt, and live within your means. I know it sucks because I am already living it. I have mentioned my situation before and I am doing without a lot to remedy it. I would be so damned happy to be able to cut up the one credit card I have and pay with cash, because I am sick of how much power I am giving them with my interest payment. If you want to see the 1% brought to their knees, drop out of the economy as much as you can. If a half of the population in this country cut their spending in half the Government and Rich would be shitting bricks. We need to make them understand that without us building or servicing their products and, also, buying them, they would be nothing. We are the ants; they are the grasshoppers.
Will it hurt? Hell yes, you can’t shake the economy we have without jobs being lost. The 1%’s only response to a slowed economy is to fire people for which they praise themselves for making tough decisions (to me, keeping people and making it work is a harder choice, but hey). The other choice you have is to keep telling them that you don’t mind getting less and less out of your paycheck by buying more of their product. Your choice, risk losing your job or send yourself and your children to economic slavery to the 1%. Their plans are moving us in that direction.
Do without. Give to the poor. Learn to play cards and fix up your house. Re-find family time. Stop giving the 1% the money and the power that goes with it. Yeah it sucks to do without, just ask those who lived through the Great Depression and WWII. Let’s try to be like the Greatest Generation instead of what I have come to see as, the Worst Generation, the Generation that could not live without even if it had meant bringing our sons and daughters home from the middle east wars earlier.
As I have said before, as a writer, I try to be very descriptive because of my artistic background. By descriptive, I mean I use a lot of words and sentences to strongly suggest or lead the reader to visualize the scene I wrote in their head. However, I do not use this only to paint a visual in my reader’s mind, I also use this to paint emotions as well.
To paint an image for a reader you have to find references that most can grasp through life experiences, which is why some books can mean so much more upon rereading. Once you have seen similar images to those the writer had, the story becomes much more alive to you. The same can be said for emotions. If you read a densely written book in your youth, where lots of emotional events are explored deeply, you may say it is slow or drags on. Read the same book years later, after living through many life changing dramas, suddenly the story is gripping and insightful.
With my writing I try to paint the reader an image of the emotion. For example in “Sanity”, the first story I posted here, I wanted to express what it feels like to be an obsessively clean person thrown into a situation where grime, filth, and disease cannot be avoided no matter how hard they tried. I wanted to make the readers skin crawl when filthy unwashed hands caressed the main character, give them the sense of revulsion he felt. In addition, the nature of the story also dealt with the loss of control. I wanted to convey the feeling of control loss for someone that control means everything. My method was to use multiple senses; sight, touch, and smell, to express the growing panic of the character. I also used metaphors. In one scene I described the feeling of sensing some vast predatory shark swimming beneath the surface to express fear and loss of power over the situation.
Basically, I wanted to say that descriptive writing is not only about spending extra time and words to convey an image to the reader, but about conveying anything you want to them. Whether you want to set a visual scene or emotional feeling, you need to be descriptive. However, there will always be a balancing act between description and pace. Please let me know on both accounts when you read my stories.
Sorry for not posting the other day but I caught the bug going around and my drive is about at zero. Heads up to anyone who gets regular allergy shots, when they say don’t get your shot when you are sick, don’t get you shot. The shot knocks down your immune system. Anyway, lets talk about simple things.
Some artwork can be full of details and ideas, while others are busy with a riot of colors. However, sometimes it is the simplest aspects that can really make an image. I have moved away from working on Carrie Fisher’s face to work on her dress a bit. I have always enjoyed working on folds in clothing because there isn’t much to them, but when done correctly they look really great. The use of contrast makes all the difference. Dark tone below light tone then a medium tone above that, where the dark represents the shadow under the fold and the light is the area directly above the fold that blends into the medium tone (semi-shadow). Simple. The hardest part is trying not to over think it.
When simple aspects of any painting are done well, most people won’t even notice them because they add to the overall painting. But when they are done wrong, they stand out glaringly. For me as an artist, little things like a well done fold in a piece of fabric can be more interesting than all the detail work in a complex painting. Take a look at the clothes on the figures in the next painting you see. Do the folds look good or slapped on? Have fun.
There are so many times when I am working on a drawing that I know just isn’t going to work. I am putting a lot into it but it isn’t giving me a lot back. The image frustrates me. Other times I have that feeling until something clicks and the image begins to improve. The hard part is understanding whether it is my own impatience to see a finished product or a case of an image grander than my hands can create. That tenuous link between the hands and brain can seem like a vast gulf at times. This reality is what separates artists from non-artists. We understand this gulf, yet we continually strive to cross it.
Here is the progress I have made on my Carrie Fisher tribute. A lot of my time has been spent trying to get the darkness around the eyes right to bring out the intensity of her stare. As I noted before, the look of her eyes was the major selling point for using this image as a tribute. Another part I have worked hard on is getting the skin tone transitions smoother. I think I am making some headway in that area. Let me know what you think.