EYES FORWARD! There’s no real reason to look back at 2017.
I will acknowledge, however, that after rectifying the technological issues that I faced from late 2016 into 2017, I managed to claw back roughly half of the following that I had lost before I went offline. I still have a long way to go.
The very next step in the growth of MOF will be to complete a new gap analysis for what I need to focus on achieving this year as a fine artist and commercial artist. That will be followed by developing a new Artist’s Business Model Canvas. Really, I should have completed the gap analysis in November or December but it’s not critical. January will do, and I can redo it by this year’s end.
One thing I am looking forward to for my personal commercial arts projects, is NASA making good on its launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in March. Although I can’t expect results from the mission to benefit me before 2018 is over, I am hoping that this mission will eventually help me advance my personal sci-fi and fantasy art projects. That work has literally been on hold since the Kepler mission proved unable to locate an adequate real-life Earth analogue that I might use as a setting for a fictional world on which to illustrate adventures. Looking even beyond 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launch could bolster my commercial artwork.
The Hammer Home Street Photography Project will continue, of course, and I will continue to post some on this blog, Twitter, Facebook and Viewbug. I’m on schedule to conduct another presentation on the genre to a photography club in April. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Apart from these, I can already see that my focus will be to continue refreshing my portfolio and inventory, and be more forward in networking. I already began adding items to my 2018 Preliminary Artist Action Planner last summer.
From photography equipment to computer software, there are also some technological gaps that I hope that I can fill before the year is out.
So, to all of you who have continued to follow me. I thank you so much for your interest and support. It really means a lot.
I wish you all a happy and successful new year, and thank you all so much for loving the visual arts.
None of us materialized out of thin air. We were all born from someone’s womb. For those of us who are truly blessed — which is most of us, those wombs belonged to mothers who love us with all of their might. For those of us who are doubly blessed, we are also the offspring of fathers who also have the highest hopes for us. All of this faith put into us from before we’re even born.
What do we do with it? All of that love and adoration. Even if we don’t turn out exactly how our parents wanted us to, which of us at least comes close to honoring our parents hopes in some way by making sure that we do decent and honorable things with our lives?
Which of us keeps this respect in mind as we go about day-to-day?
Which of us uses this respect as a guide?
What’s it like for those of us who don’t?
DRY MEDIA FOR FIGURATIVE ILLUSTRATION
Fundamental to illustration or the creation of virtually all other 2D visual art is drawing. The ability to draw reasonably well is still very important, even if most or all of your art is computer generated. Drawing is where I started all the way back at the nursery school age. Everything else came afterward.
Sketching and drawing reveals the ability of an artist to recognize form and texture, and develop creative vision.
As a toddler, I would use magic markers, biro pens; anything that I could get my little hands on, to mark and scribble on paper or the walls in the home. Mum kept a picture of me doing exactly that. Wanna see it? Take a look at my artist’s statement. Real drawing for me; however, began when I was old enough to use dry media.
Just as it sounds, dry art media includes crayons, chalk, pastel, charcoal, pencil crayons, metalpoint styli (goldpoint, silverpoint, copperpoint) — amazingly beautiful and expensive drawings can be produced with pure metals, and my all-time favourite graphite pencils. Associated dry media are erasers (plastic [white], rubber [pink], gum and kneaded), erasing shields, smudge tortillons, blending stumps and soft brushes for sweeping away eraser crumbs.
You can draw on any marking surface that will accept the chosen media. When working with graphite, I prefer white papers and show card stock. I prefer cold press stock with medium tooth. Say what?
During the manufacture of hot pressed stock (HP), as opposed to cold pressed, paper is passed between hot glazing rollers. Finished hot pressed stock is nice and smooth. It can even be a bit shiny. Cold pressing, on the other hand, is when stock is directed between cold polished rollers. Cold pressed stock can have varying rough textures to sight and touch. The graphite work I typically produce depends on a somewhat rough texture — medium tooth, in order to bring out visual textures like brick, hair and even smooth metal with gradated shading.
I like the look and feel of working with this media. It helps me to develop my artistic voice. Whether you’re reading this as an artist or not, you should choose some media, experiment with it a bit, and then try to express your thoughts through drawing.
Just a Bit About Graphite Pencils
I don’t want to get into any big explanation about graphite pencil types. That’s been done before by many artists. Quite simply hard graphite, a form of carbon with a silvery-grey luster in certain light, is given an H grading by manufacturers. H to H9 is the softest to the hardest of the hard graphite grades. They produce light silver-greys to very light silver-greys in that order. Between the H (which I tend to think of as 0H although it should probably be thought of as 1H) and 2H there is a hard F grade graphite. I prefer to think of F as 1H but in spite of my preference, that’s not what it is. F is F!
On the other side of H, is the intermediate grade of HB that pretty much everybody who doesn’t do everything by computer or smartphone is familiar with. The first of the soft graphite grades start at B, which I think of as 1B. The softer the graphite, the higher the number in the grade all the way to 9B. 9B doesn’t really look all that grey but black.
I’m most likely to use everything from HB to 4H in my work. Rarely do I use graphite outside of this range.
Another type of graphite pencil that I enjoy using sparingly is aquarelle or water-soluble graphite. It’s great for rendering leather, the skin on a dog’s snout or an eagle’s talon.
As we’re nearing the end of 2017, I thought I’d summarize my year, and make a sincere request. Well, I’ve been entering a new educational, creative and marketing phase in the fine art aspect of my career. One that’s a bit more forward in the art community where I live. I have a lot on the go right now. Maybe too much but it’s a welcome challenge.
Creatively, one of my projects is putting together a photography series of sepia and similarly toned photographs. So far, most of the work consists of landscapes but I’m not sure if that will remain the case. I’m keeping developments somewhat spontaneous. Every now and then, I’ll post one of these “experiments”; like this one above (which is a reworked oldie), and some drawings and paintings.
An artist should always be confident in his or her work but it can be useful to receive critique. A long time ago, I used to ask for some but well-intentioned people seldom want to give you that constructive criticism when it’s requested and deserved. So, I stopped asking. I’m trying again.
I’m certainly not inviting insults. Just real and helpful feedback. If you’re an artist, art collector or art critic then great. I definitely want to hear from you but you really don’t have to be any of these. You just have to know what you like from what you don’t, what you can use from what you can’t and be willing to share your honest opinion. I can take it!
If you don’t want to comment openly on a post, certainly contact me discretely through my About page. I’m very much into conversations about the visual arts and artwork — mine or someone else’s, so whether your response is directly on a post, through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or whatever don’t be surprised if I even have questions for you.
Do not fear, it will be of great benefit to me. I’m always looking to grow.
Frightened, the girl began squealing, crying and protesting as the cops stormed the bus shelter and struggled to get handcuffs on her.
While sitting in there just before the officers seized upon her, the girl only saw the ambulance that pulled up alongside the street in front of the shelter with its emergency lights on. No siren. The two-man crew exited their vehicle and casually stood on the sidewalk outside the shelter.
The girl was transfixed on the vehicle lights; probably puzzled why the ambulance was even there. It wasn’t the kind of bus she was waiting for. There were other citizens around waiting for public transit but it was obvious that none of them needed medical help. The woman also didn’t see that three police cruisers had quietly pulled up behind the shelter through the shopping mall parking lot to her back. They had the element of surprise.
The officers got out and sneaked up to the shelter opening. The girl was cornered. The struggle was lively but brief. The cops had her in manacles and sitting on the shelter bench without an increase in the risk of danger.
It all started when the young lady had entered a store in a big box shopping centre to purchase several cans of spray paint. Even before leaving the store with them, she began huffing. That is, inhaling the toxic paint fumes in order to get high or euphoric. Someone dialed 911, and a concerned and curious patron followed the woman out of the store and into the mall.
The girl made her way to the western mall entrance, and sat between the double-glass doors for a while. There, she continued to anesthetize herself against whatever she didn’t like experiencing about her life. A short while later, in a daze, she left that position for the nearby bus shelter; completely abandoning all of the cans of paint that she had purchased there in a plastic bag.
This is a middleclass suburb. In this city, many people associate this sort of thing with the poorer and older inner city. Every now and then; however, something happens to remind folks that substance addictions are pervasive in modern society. It impacts all demographics, and always adversely so.
Cuffed and in tears, the girl now knew why the ambulance was there on this soggy, foggy, heart aching evening. She understood that the paramedics had actually come for her.
12 pictures to make this portrait of the southern live oak in the front yard of the First United Methodist Church on North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC.
2D visual artist specializing in illustration, photography and graphic design.