Monday, December 31, 2012

Can't wait to meet ya lucky #13.

Startin' off the new year with a clean slate - 2013, let's do this!  Sayonara 2012!  Above is the prepped and pristine beginning of what will be the third self-portrait in line to the two below.
Self-portrait #1 - cap gun and apple toy, self-portrait #2 - can phone, what ever will self-portrait #3 have in store?
What good would a new year be without beginning a painting of a moose on a cart?
 Moose. On. A. Cart.
Specimen Landscape is done and dusted.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Interior Specimens

This Specimen Series biz is leading somewhere...not sure of the destination and I haven't been able to perfectly articulate it's reasoning, but I'm riding this thing out.  Interior Specimens is just another step down the path.  A few thoughts swimming in my head in regards to this painting:  animals as objects, the need and passion for collecting, desire of ownership, intrigue with the exotic, and marrying interior and exterior. There's an odd romance about it all.
Interior Specimens, oil on wood, 48"x32", 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snakes and a Deer Baby.

What is my idea of fun these days - creeping around in off-display specimen collections.  So that is how I spent my Tuesday this week...cruising through countless drawers and cabinets of animal skins and insects, taking pics of super rad stuffed mounts to use for reference, sketching, taking notes, and generally being in awe of my surroundings.  I even faced one of my most major fears...swimming snakes.  I didn't really see 'swimming' snakes per se but I saw tons of jars filled with snakes in liquid.  Same thing.  So I chose the gnarliest one and stared at it for as long as I could.  I even touched the jar but they jiggled around inside and I bailed.  Welcome to my snake-mare... 
Hey, you wanna see the opposite of a jar of snakes? 
 I named her Dalylah.
 I sketched Dalylah and forgot about the snakes.
The inspiration from visits like these follows me to the studio.  It's not just the specimens themselves that I find so fascinating, it's how they are arranged in these collection spaces that I can't seem to fully wrap my brain around.  It's what they are placed next to, the carts and cabinets that they are rested on or in, the overall oddness of their new existence that is so intensely intriguing. 

Below are the two works in progress I've got going.
 I still haven't figured out the allure of animal skin rugs.
I swapped out the jar of fish (although it was totally looking like a jar of baby birds) for a beetle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tiger. Skin. Rug. Who the hell thought of that?

 This is the beginning stage of a painting when...
you add this and....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Specimen Landscape In-Progress

The exploration of science continues...current topic:  preservation, conservation, and our obsession for collecting.  Below is stage one of what is now deemed, Specimen Landscape but that title may change to something snappier like Untitled #2...wait, make that Untitled #3 (no way am I having #2 in any title).  Like Untitled (Specimen Table), the subject matter is from the collections of Tulane's Biodiversity Research Institute and FW Museum of Science & History.  Sprinkle in the inspiration of 17th cent. Flemish dead game still lifes, Rare: Portraits of America's Endangered Species by Joel Sartore, the work of Lucas Johnson, and about one million hours of nature documentaries and you have yourself the workings of a goddamn science painting. 
48"x32", acrylic on wood
 TBRI, New Orleans, LA
 FWMSH, Fort Worth, TX
 study from FWMSH's collection
 TBRI, New Orleans, LA

Untitled aka Specimen Table - Finito!

Untitled, oil on wood, 32"x48", 2012

I referred to this painting as Specimen Table but it has now been christened, Untitled.  I was kicking around the idea of Skull Skunk Flower Ammonite Shrimp Jar Feather Rabbit but thought that to be too wordy.  Don't know how I feel about this one exactly.  I think I killed it a bit - lost all of the freshness that was there in the beginning.  It's a highly manipulated and sterile space which I find bland or cold or something but so is a table of once living beings that now act as objects.  Untitled is just another bridge to attempt to mesh my idea of art and science.

This book is a thing of beauty and a major source of inspiration.  It's goddamn delicious.  The Discovery of Nature...could there be a more overwhelming and head spinning topic?  Nature is the core of it all and wrapping my head around it and attempting to make art about it, even if it's tackling the tiniest branch, is wicked humbling.