Tuesday, December 29, 2015

1193 - Our Lady In Throne XI

I've picked up the pace working on this icon.  Our Lady's garments are nearly done, although I feel I missed on getting them to look authentic.  Chalk it up to the learning process.  I don't have the time to redo them again.  In the next hiatus, I will make the effort to learn how to write orthodox fabrics.  It's my New Year's resolution.  


Saturday, December 26, 2015

1192 - Spocked-up Fiver II

This Christmas, I Spocked-up another Canadian five dollar bill to make a present for a friend.  You can see my first attempt at Spockification to the right: I used it as a visual reference.  Mainly, I made a couple adjustments to the costume and lowered the hairline a little.

You can see my original Spocked-up Fiver by clicking here.

The black bars are because it's illegal to show entire dollar bills in currency online. However, it is completely legal to draw Mr. Spock on them. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

1191 - Fire In The Sky

By request, I am removing my Christmas-themed icon for today.  You will see it January 7, 2016.  In its place, I am using a photo I took of the retina-searing Miracle On Rae Street, which is within walking distance from where I live.  It looks like a NASA rocket launch except brighter, and the rocket (really a tree the size of a rocket) is festooned with wreaths, animals, and candy canes.  Rae Street makes Avatar look like a Charlie Chaplin film.  It makes Clark Griswold look like a boy scout holding a kitchen match.  If you need laser eye surgery but cannot afford the cost, swing by Rae Street at Christmas and don't wear sunglasses. 
This image makes a nice tribute to the Christmas season, one that I hope brings all JSVB readers the joy of the celebration and the wonder of the holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2015

1190 - Our Lady In Throne X

If you compare iteration IX to this one, you'll see I made wholesale changes to the blue robe.  Well, you'll sort of see the changes.  I used a ton of acrylic medium, which ended gave the robe a mirror shine that the camera picked up.  Making the change will set me back a few hours, argh.  I wasn't happy with the previous robe though, so hope springs eternal. 


Friday, December 18, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

1188 - O Holy (Jedi) Night

I thought it would be January or February before I got to see the new Star Wars movie.  However, if you're in some podunk town with a digital movie screen, you can see it in 3D on the opening night.

I should explain that I am kind of excited about this.  If I was to read the paragraph out loud, it would be in a shouted Bobcat Goldthwait voice and your eardrums would be bleeding.  I know it's just a movie, but it's also a ticket to nerdstalgia in the same magnitude as Starkiller Base would be to the Death Star.

Cranbrook does go up in my estimation, now that I will be among the very first to see Episode VII.  However, if you check out the Lonely Planet, you'll see this Kootenay city's entry as "a dull, workaday town".  You could even get coffee mugs from their Chamber of Commerce that have that exact quote.  They're sold out, unfortunately. 


Monday, December 14, 2015

1187 - Ode To My Holiday Bills

Poor soul, fled from the gingerbread plate,
Caught in rebel powers, crush'd in iron jaws;
Who naught but sees his consuméd fate
And considers not Nature's fatal laws?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading yuletide spend?
Shall in-laws, inheritors of turkey grease,
Eat up thine cookie dish?  Is this thy holiday's end? 
Then soul, live thou to pay off thine Avion Visa,
And on Boxing Day wait thee to get in store;
To buy terms divine and mortgage aneasthesia;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:

The squirrel Cairbannog feeds on ginger men
That we may know when retail season ends. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

1186 - Cookie Monster Nurse

This December the 13th is the last Ungood Art Day for 2015!  Every thirteenth of the month on JSVB, I present some Ungood Art.  No artist creates perfect work every time.  Monthly, I'll present something that went awry that ordinarily should just be junked.  

So here is the Cookie Monster Nurse.  I had it in my head to draw nurses in the style of Muppets, sort of like Sesame Street.  And since the nurses are jonesing for cookies, naturally I'd make them Cookie Monster nurses, since when I was a child the Cookie Monster was by far my favourite Muppet character.  

What happens when you make nurses into Cookie Monsters is that you get blue nurses with beards.  So Ungood.  


Saturday, December 12, 2015

1185 - Our Lady In Throne IX

There's a scene in Steven Spielberg's motion picture "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" where Roy Neary struggles mightily to understand the alien imagery in his head.  It's the same feeling you get when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, only with images you feel it more in your forehead, your gut, and in the back of your throat.  The only place you don't feel it is in your hand, where it's supposed to be.  

So work progresses, but I can't help, like Neary, to feel like I've missed some fundamental step.  I even had a dream or vision about it the other day, but I don't know how to express it.  Maybe the icon is simply too dark.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

1184 - Spiral Staircase Of Eclecticism

A draft of a spiral staircase. Not my design at all, it's by Geoff Packer.  I just rotoscoped it.

Today, I had my art collection appraised as "eclectic".  Trust me, when I'm finished with this drawing, it'll put the "ec" into "eclectic".  


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

1182 - Hostesses With The Mostesses

I'm making a thank-you note for the masquerade ball I recently attended, and I thought to include a sketch of our gracious hostesses as part of that.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

1181 - This Day In History

Today is the anniversary of the massacre at L'Ecole Polytechnique.  I discuss this event in today's JSVB post.  You may or may not agree with my views.

December 6th is a black day in Canadian history.  On this day in 1989, Marc Lepine walked  into a classroom  at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and shot 28 people, killing 14. All were women.  Lepine committed suicide.  His notes showed a strong hatred towards women and a desire towards violence. 

Since then, Canada has enacted stricter gun laws and has stronger safeguards to try to prevent this kind of action.  Perhaps the lessons learned at Polytechnique averted a similar tragedy in the Dawson College shootings of 2006.

For me, personally, these events are distant, unpleasant memories.  I had a teaching job in the early 2000's, and one of my students was the sister of one of the women killed by Lepine.  We had a number of sobering conversations, I recall. 

The other day, I received a phone call asking if I could quickly supply some artwork for one of the many local campaigns for National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. The artist they hired had neither the time nor the grasp of the event to make proper graphics.  By proper, I mean that the images had to show women who had been assaulted, which is not a commendable thing to render.  The original artist had no concept of what to do, and what he provided failed to evoke any real response.

As an artist, I do deal with violent issues.  It would be so nice to say, "I don't promote violence, and I am not a violent person."  I imagine I am less violent than some, but I do have my savageries. I enjoy violent movies and books.  I play violent video games.  I draw and write using violent themes. Sometimes I show my temper, although that's just shouting and swearing.

I had no trouble creating a concept for the artwork, and it took me less than two hours to complete the task.  I found myself wondering how it could be so easy.  I guess I've seen enough violence to be able to draw it.  I envy the other artist who had no concept. 

These images are life-sized so that they could be printed that way using a large-format printer, and then cut out like victim chalk outlines at a crime scene.  I shrank them to fit into JSVB, but you can click on them to read the text, all of which comes from the Status Of Women Canada commemorative website provided by the Canadian Government:

Saturday, December 5, 2015

1180 - Off To The Masquerade Ball!

I snapped our photo on the way out to the masquerade ball!  By thunder, we're glamorous!

UPDATE:  Well, we're back from the ball.  Hung over, but still glamorous.  It was one hell of a party.  Everyone had a great time.  The food was fantastic, the venue was beautiful, the music was fun, and the service was great.  We could tell that the staff were amazed at the gowns and the masks.  They seemed jealous to the point of wanting to join in the party themselves, usually the sign of a remarkable party. Wearing a mask for a night proved to be pretty wild for the Vancouver crowd, but it was still incredible fun and a unique experience.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

1179 - Queen Of Winter Mask

This is the completed Queen Of Winter mask for my wife.  It's more ornate than my mask, heavier, and also fitted with prescription lenses.

Having visited Venice myself, I have a small familiarity with their masks.  I remember their mask shops and seeing a factory where they are made.  The history of Venetian masks is founded on folktale, so it's hard to grasp exactly why these masks exist in the first place.  They are traditionally worn at the Venice Carnival between Christmas and Lent.  They offered anonymity for various ventures, some legalistic, some practical, some criminal, and some that are purely romantic.

Perhaps the greatest effect of the mask is that it allowed the citizens of Venice to mingle socially.  Considering that historical Venice featured a society that has very strict boundaries of wealth and status, mask-wearers were often allowed a certain flexibility when choosing those with whom they could consort. Certainly today Venice is still divided along lines of wealth and power.  There's something very deliberate and exciting about prowling the fog-shrouded canals at night and seeing across the water a cloaked individual in a white mask.  For good or for evil, the status quo is about to be shaken, if only until the rise of dawn and the fall of the tide. 

Social mingling is the reason I made these masks.  I know at the party that I will be with a fair number of people who are of a higher class than your humble artist.  Normally, that kind of thing stops me cold, at least until I've fortified myself with a stiff drink.  I'm thinking that the masks will show my artistic flair, and ought to make for some interesting conversation with the glitterati.

Of course, Vancouver is far from Venice, and I figure that people will be perplexed by the masquerade in general.  Those who keep their masks are likely the ones I'll get along with the most.  It ought to be interesting!  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

1178 - Harlequin Mask

My harlequin mask is complete.  I'm going to wear it to a masked ball in a couple of days.  The eyes are a little strange  because they are precription.  I cannibalized an old pair of glasses, removing the lenses.  Then, I attached the lenses to the inside of the mask, solving the problem of how to wear a Venetian mask with glasses!  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

1177 - Our Lady In Throne VIII

Our Lady gets more colour.  I've made repairs to her face, moving her mouth upwards. I've also started laying in the colours for the garments.  They are too dark for my liking, so I am hoping that another pass or two will make them brighter.  The althernative is to darken everything else.  


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

1176 - Tie Master

A list of bow tie devotees reads like a Who's Who of rugged individualists.
— The New York Times, 2005

Now I know how to tie a bowtie.

Until today, all I could manage was a vile clip-on.  Now I join James Bond, Clark Kent, and Dr. Buckaroo Banzai in the league of men who can rock a bowtie.  Of course, there's minus style points for rednecks in bowties, so not all men can, will, or should wear one of these things.  But let's face facts: it takes skill to tie one, and not every man has that skill.  

I find the bowtie quite a bit more comfortable than the necktie.  A bowtie will size itself to fit a man's neck precisely, without too much tightness or slack.  It refuses to fly around in the wind, and you won't stain it while eating soup.  Tying the perfect bowtie only tells the world that you are wearing a clip-on.  A little skew in the knot seems to make it sit better somehow.  


Friday, November 27, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

1174 - Venetian Mask II

The lady's mask has a graduated underpainting.  I'll next add some decorations and filigree to make it more festive.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

1173 - Our Lady In Throne VII

The seventh pass at this icon fixed a few things and made a few other things more complicated.  I smoothed out some of the rough details in the throne and in the gilding.  Christ's halo looks less like a "deflate-gate" football.  

I added detail to the faces, but they sure do look strange.  Mary is contrary, and here eyeless mask looks disturbing.  Jesus looks like a Klingon trying to imitate Justin Bieber in a karaoke bar.  I don't have the skill yet to keep the bits and pieces of the face from floating around unpredictably.  I suppose if I painted more slowly, I would not run into this problem.   Next week, I will fix it as best as I can.  There's still many coats of paint that need to be applied.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

1172 - The Cookie Nurses

A pair of Muppet-style nurses gaze upon a pile of cookies.  The cookie came from my sketchbook.

Monday, November 23, 2015

1171 - Venetian Masks I

Rolling the dice against the odds of the Universe, I have somehow been invited to a masquerade ball.  It's a true masquerade, where gents wear tuxedos and the ladies wear gowns and all wear masks!  I know there will be some gorgeous people  attending, and so will I.  What artist would not want to go to one of these, even an antisocial introvert like me?  Behind my mask, I can pretend to be rich and worldly and nobody will be the wiser.  Regardless if my tomfoolery manages to flutter coquettish hearts - or not, as my tomfoolery is definitely in need of an overhaul... does anyone even use tomfoolery anymore?  - I have the opportunity to astound and astonish all with my hand-made masks!

There are still today master mask makers, and I am not one of them.  I've never made a mask since probably grade school.  But I do have several painting techniques gleaned from iconography, so I am confident in my approach. 

The first stage to making a mask is the most daunting one.  I managed to sidestep the manufacturing of a mask by purchasing blank paper masks from our local dollar store.  This was truly lucky, since the quality of the papier-mâché was surprisingly good.  It's not strong papier-mâché like you would get from the mask makers in Venice, but it should hold up for one night of revelry.  

Despite the decent quality of the masks, they both fit very poorly. They both had sealed mouths and noses, which would make eating at the banquet difficult, let alone breathing, which is also important.  I cut and reshaped the masks.  They still fit shabbily, but an insert on the inside will make them comfortable.  In comparison, Venetian masks fit beautifully and are extremely comfortable to wear for long durations.  That's likely the hallmark of a Venetian mask master.  

To make the paint bind properly to the mask, I primed them both with several coats of acrylic gesso. This is what you see in the picture above.  I should have used soy-based gesso, since the acrylic stuff has a smell to it.  I figure the masks will air out by the night of the party.  In subsequent JSVB posts, I'll be sure to update my progress on these masks!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

1170 - Our Lady In Throne VI

Some days, my fate is not to be able to paint in straight lines.  Those are the days I end up painting the straight lines, adding detail into the throne.  The colours are correct, the lines are sloppy.  That can be fixed, as always.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

1169 - Futuristic Panamax III

I'm presenting another iteration of my futuristic Panamax freighter.  This one is based on a liquid natural gas carrier, a common enough sight around here.  It's also pretty close to the final design I'd like to achieve.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

1168 - "Interstate 10"

I cannot believe I am finally holding this book!

I was expecting a package from Amazon yesterday.   Instead, I found a package sent to me by my Uncle Thad.  Breaking open the seal, I found some old used books he'd thought to send me.   Most of them were art reference books, the kind of volumes I like to collect for my personal research.  A couple were novels, cheap, pulpy, yet well-read. 

Then, I had to sit down.  I was holding a copy of Interstate 10 by E.J. Enalerty.  I've been searching for this book for I have no idea how long anymore.  It's been out of print since the 1970's, and it can't be found online or in bookstores.  I mostly believed it was a figment of my imagination. 

Nobody has heard of this book.  From what little I recall about it, it isn't supposed to be very good.   The only reason that people want a copy is that E.J. Enalerty was the alter-ego of Steve Kaiser, who penned a few pulp action novels before he turned to writing horror and became an international celebrity for it.  Interstate 10 is a collectible book for Kaiser completists.   I will place it on my bookshelf in a place of honour. 

"I know you like that Kaiser fellow.  What you don't know was that Phil Dick was the direct inspiration for I-10.  This was Kaiser's first full-length novel.  I thought you'd like it since you love all that scary stuff.   It's not scary, though.  Maybe you'll like it enough to read some PKD for once."

The yellow note fell from hiding under the paper cover of the book.  Way back when, Philip K. Dick wrote a bunch of long-hair science fiction fables that Uncle Thad appreciated.   A lot of drugs, hallucinations, and the fog of San Francisco Bay at night.  A pointed, repeated question turned over and over in all of his books on what it was that made human beings really human.  That was what I took away from my talks with Uncle Thad on the subject. 

I read Interstate 10 in one sitting.  it wasn't a complicated story, but it was a lot different from what I was expecting.  It's one of a hundred thousand novels that were published in the 70's that prove the law where you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

Everything in the lurid, exploitative cover illustration does happen in the book.  There's urban cowboys, kung-fu fighters, a supercharged Volkswagen Beetle, a deadly ninja lady warrior, and yes, even a silverback gorilla wielding an AK-47 assault rifle plated in gold.  But all of that happens within the context of maybe five pages out of the entire novel.

Most of Interstate 10 is just a long road trip across (you guessed it) Interstate 10, the southernmost transcontinental highway in the United States.  The full and proper title of the book is Interstate 10: A Jake California Novel.  Jake California is the urban cowboy on the front cover.  His real name is Johnny Culliford, but everybody calls him Jake California.  He's set up as a Hollywood stunt man who specializes in fast cars. 

That's where most of the action comes into play on the front cover.  The introduction of the book is a big, provocative fight scene where Jake performs stunts in a massive movie set piece featuring - wait for it - kung-fu fighters, a deadly ninja lady warrior, and yes, even a silverback gorilla wielding an AK-47 assault rifle plated in gold.  After Jake gets paid out for his work on the film, he's set loose on Los Angeles in the late 1970's.

Interestingly, it's quite far from our own 1970's, as Interstate 10 takes place in a fictional alternate universe.  America won the Viet Nam war.  A younger Jake was a conscript who saw action overseas and then was discharged back into civilian life.  However, victory in Viet Nam has not translated into prosperity for the United States.  The government has become increasingly reclusive and dictatorial.  Massive funding is required for an eventual assault on Communist Russia, so Americans are working harder than ever yet seeing less of their pay coming home.  Congress repealed the Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution, removing term limits for Presidency.  Richard Nixon was assassinated by John Hinkley III at Berkeley.  Nixon was replaced by Mallett M. Milton, who is serving his third term and is campaigning to be re-elected for a fourth.

Science in Jake's world is well in advance of ours.  The space shuttle is common enough that citizens can book a flight to an orbital space hotel.  The Americans have a military base on the Moon, and are pushing for a flight to Mars.  Computers are similar to what we enjoy after the year 2000, but their miniaturization has not been improved. The people are actively wiretapped through their comlinc phones and interactive televisions.  It's speculated that Mallett M. Milton may even be a clone, that the original may have died in a helicopter crash some years ago. 

In this dystopian world where the American government tries to rule the world with an iron fist, Jake is the farthest he can be from the cold, echoing marble corridors of power in Washington.  He's happy as long as he can drive cars fast.   Out of work from the movies, he answers a want-ad in the paper for a test driver needed in Daytona Beach.   This requires a road trip across the United States, the route being Interstate 10. 

Not far into the trip, Jake runs into a girlfriend of his with whom he had lost touch some years ago.  Named only Dolby, she's sullen and mysterious company for Jake; she comes along for the ride to Daytona Beach.  In fact, most of the chapters in the book go into the uneasy relationship between Jake and Dolby, turning the story from a simple adventure into something else.  It's the picture of blue Dolby that dominates the front cover of the paperback novel.

Dolby is attracted to Jake, but not in any way that could be described as  romantic.  Likewise, Jake comes to realize he needs Dolby, but she's too detached and emotionally broken to be his partner.  The efforts of the government to win world domination have left the American people disenfranchised and suspicious of each other.  As a result, the dialogue between Jake and Dolby is either evasive or abrasive as they relive their previous break-up. 

Still, and this I find interesting, there's an undercurrent of deeply-felt empathy in the relationship between Jake and Dolby.  Not only between the characters themselves, but also empathy coming from the author E.J. Enalerty.  I got the sense that Jake was hiding from the horrors of wartime by living high and fast.  Dolby was attracted to Jake's intensity, but was also easily burnt by it.  She's too sensitive to survive in post-Viet Nam America.  However, she does possess a profound bough of strength within her that keeps them both from becoming as feral as the rest of the nation.  E.J. Enalerty probes into this relationship very deliberately and carefully as the road trip progresses.

Eventually, Jake and Dolby reach Daytona Beach where they fall in with the enigmatic quasi-military operation known as FIST.  The nature of FIST is left as a mystery, but it seems like at the end of Interstate 10, E.J. Enalerty simply ran out of ideas to explore with Jake and Dolby, and decided to write his finale as an espionage military thriller.  It's powerfully campy.  It is kind of fun, though.  Jake, as test driver,  takes possession of the OS-CAR, which is the first automobile to be fitted with a fully-functioning artificial intelligence, and it can talk!  A strange choice in make and model, the car is a supercharged shiny black Volkswagen Beetle, just as promised on the front cover of the book.  

Dolby is outed by OS-CAR as a FIST operative hired to make sure that Jake makes the trip to Daytona.  Jake holds no grudge against Dolby, but she is unhappy with herself and her duplicitous deal with FIST, which she believes is a secret military go-squad working directly for President Mallett M. Milton. 

Jake and OS-CAR become fast friends.  The book promises that they will have some incredible adventures together.  However, this never really happens in Interstate 10, which just sets up the sequel Runway Man written by E.J. Enalerty a few years later. That's the one that got made into the movie by Schwarzenegger.  That book is nothing like the movie, and Runway Man has little to do with Interstate 10.  I've heard that editorial arguments with the publisher were the source of problems with Runway Man, which in turn caused E.J. Enalerty to abandon his nom-de-plume and adopt his true name, Steve Kaiser.

Runway Man was a cheesy action film that skirted the bleak, dystopian outlook of that book.  Interstate 10 would be very difficult to film along the same lines.  The long relationship-based passages in Interstate 10 just don't lend themselves well to film narrative.  I thought it was a good albeit irregular attempt by E.J. Enalerty to explore what could happen to a man and a woman cooped together in a stressful situation.  The resolution is far from the typical sentimental ending.  Nonetheless, both Jake and Dolby discover within themselves the measure of what it is to be fully realized individuals in a world where your worth is measured only by what you earn in government-issued banknotes. 

The author's notes at the very end of the book are short and not very enlightening.  E.J. Enalerty does mention spending time on the West Coast gathering research for his book, of purchasing and listening to a complete collection of Linda Ronstadt record albums which he used as a "soundtrack" for his writing (and I have to admit: Ms. Ronstadt has a phenomenal  singing voice!) ,and very briefly of spending an afternoon with PKD.  I would have loved to find out more about that meeting, but Lorrence Soutin, Steve Kaiser's biographer and likely the leading expert on all things Kaiser, says nothing at all about E.J. Enalerty getting together with Phil Dick.  A  true shame.  Now that I've read Interstate 10, I think I'll try e-mailing Mr. Soutin to see what he has to say.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

1167 - Our Lady In Throne V

Unthinkable, yes, but then here we are.  One of my religious icons makes an appearance on Ungood Art Day, traditionally the thirteenth of every month on JSVB.

What happened?  Well, I managed to spill a pot of black paint directly onto my icon.  If that isn't Ungood, I don't know what is.

Well, it was an accident, and not a designed move, like most of my Ungood Art.  This image is just a simulation of the event, though.  I wasn't so dense as to go for my camera after I spilled black on everything.  

Painting is about chemistry and physics as much as it is about art.  It turns out that black acrylic, when it sits for a while, tends to separate out into a heavy pigment layer and a lighter layer of liquid binder.  The binder mostly spilled on the icon and the pigment flew out onto the woman who sat next  to me.  I was able to scrub off the black acrylic binder fluid from the icon using wet towels right away.  If I had stopped to take a picture, the stuff would have stuck to the icon and I really would have been in trouble.  As it was, I did manage to remove some of the gold, so I hope I can fix that later. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

1166 - Three Kung-Fu Kings

I found a source of very handy martial arts poses.  The reference pictures were all silhouettes, so I took the opportunity to freehand sketch in colours and a few details.  I know I have a use for these guys somewhere.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

1165 - Martial Arts Lady

From a Freudian perspective, I think it's a bad idea for a woman to wield a sword.  As far as practicality goes, if she wants or needs to carry a blade I'm not going to be the one to stop her.  However, women and swords make an uneasy combination if you are planning on objectifying both for the purposes of cheap thrills. 

I rotoscoped a composite image to create this fake lady ninja.  It's going to be a very small part in a larger piece I will finish later.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

1164 - Our Lady In Throne IV

The weird, mask-like underpainting fills the faces on the icon.  Some iconographers stop there, since it makes the subject filled with the sorrows of our sins.  You end up with very dark icons.  


Saturday, October 31, 2015

1163 - Hallowe'en Video Horror

The topic of discussion ran to what three films would make for the scariest Hallowe'en viewing.

My list, in this order:

The Hottie & The Nottie
Kate & Leopold

Three things are scary about this trio:

1) I own all of them on disc
2) I own all of them on disc
3) Hugh Jackman, his honeyed Hollywood voice creeping into your very brain... Fresh... Creamery... BUTTER!!!

... too scary? 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

1162 - Donenfeld's Folly

Irwin Donenfeld, the son of the founder of DC Comics, was the first to notice that when an ape was pictured on the front cover of a comic book, the sales of that issue would spike dramatically.  
So now I have a gorilla I drew.  There's a few things wrong with it.  For one thing, it's a gorilla and not an ape; I don't know if that makes any difference for primate appeal.  Another thing wrong, morally anyways, is that the gorilla has a gun.  A golden AK-47, to be precise.
I had no idea that gold-plated AK-47's were a thing, and was dismayed to find that they are in demand.  The most infamous are the dozen or so commissioned by Saddam Hussein's family, which have since disappeared.  Still, if you really need a golden gun, Versace will sell you a gold-plated AK-47 for $9,000.  A little overpriced for a gun you'd likely never fire and then just leave on a shelf somewhere.  
Unless, of course, you happen to be a gorilla soldier.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

1161 - Watney's Up, Doc

This Hallowe'en, any kid that comes to my door dressed as Mark Watney gets a potato and a packet of catsup.  

Because, you know.

Although, really, it would be super-cool to be Mark Watney for Hallowe'en.  

Still: potato and catsup, no exceptions.  


Sunday, October 25, 2015

1160 - Fashion Cowboy... 3

I am starting to believe that the honour of my JSVB Post That Just Won't Die Award will go to The Fashion Cowboy.  This is my third try at documenting him, and I really don't know why he's so ready to be drawn.  He's completely not my type.  

The background is a placeholder, which is why his edges are so rough.  I composited him out of a number of references, some photographed and some drawn.  Then, I painted over everything in a hurry to get it done.  

If you dare, see the original Fashion Cowboy way back in JSVB Post #120 by clicking here.  I'm amazed that a five year old sketchbook figure has so much traction.  


Saturday, October 24, 2015

1159 - F.I.S.T. Logo

Are you the arch-enemy of all that is good and decent, and also happen to be the fearsome leader of a mysterious international cartel?  Do you need a logo?  As long as your nefarious organization is called F.I.S.T., then please feel free to use this logo I have just designed.  Your cadre of evil lawyers can probably win the lawsuit required to register this piece.

I thought it would turn out better, but since it's just a quick concept I don't feel the need to substantially improve it, either.  

The artwork is based on a clenched-fist logo used by Howard Stern in 2005.  In turn, his art department likely copied the famous Berkeley protest fist woodcut designed by Frank Cieciorka in 1965.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

1158 - Jake's Lady In Blue

This is an iterative piece, meaning that I intend to put this portrait into another, larger work of art as a compositional element.

Still, as an exercise in palette control, I think it turned out well.  It seems good enough to be able to stand on its own.  The whole left side seems a little unbalanced, though, with the vivid flowers and the very unfinished hair.  I will fix that later. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1157 - My Homemade iPod

Turns out even I can make a homemade iPod.  In your face, dead guy Steve Jobs! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

1156 - Our Lady In Throne III

I've blocked out more colours on my icon. I've carefully separated out the red clothes from the blue robe.  Or is it the other way around?  Somehow, I've  created red highlights on blue cloth and blue highlights on red cloth and it all looks like a dark cloud.  That's all right, though.  The darkest colours  will form the shadows.  All the lighter colours will lay on top of them.  You'll see! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

1155 - "Giggety In A Pan"

Hello and welcome to Ungood Art Day on JSVB.  Ungood Art is a collection of projects that I have attempted that started out well and then for whatever reason failed, and sometimes that failure is spectacular.  Ungood Art Day is the 13th of every month on JSVB.

I like to cook, and generally I'm pretty good at it.  Every once in a while, though, a dish goes awry.  For the first time, I'm including a finished dessert as Ungood Art.  

What I wanted to do was try a variation on the popular "Sex In A Pan" dessert, so named that way because the dessert is at least as good as sex.  What I got was more like a rampaging bacchanalia in a pan.

Cooling the dessert turned out to be its undoing.  I guess there were liquid-y parts trapped under pressure between the solid chocolate layers.  Cutting the thing into squares turned out to be impossible.  The servings came out in awkward chunks.  

The worst part, though, was that putting a knife into the dessert caused a fair amount of milky fluid to erupt from the sides of the thing and spatter all over the top.

"Seamy," commented one of my friends, choosing the precise word to describe the gooey discharge.

Then, as you can see in the picture, a flood of white secretion oozed out from the bottom of the dessert.  

Look, the whole confection tasted great.  It's one of the best tasting desserts I have ever made.  But presentation counts for high marks in the culinary arts.  A few of my friends refused to eat it based on its... seaminess... and the one most squeamish refused to be in the same room as the pan.  Thank goodness for my brother-in-law who unselfishly took the remains and finished them off in the comfort of his own bachelor pad.  Giggety, giggety... giggety goo.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

1154 - Khreem Smith Jersey

Here's a picture of my wife wearing the jersey from football player Khreem Smith.  It's a real game-worn uniform complete with grimy spots, tears and mends, and some tailoring to make the shirt sit correctly over body protection.

It turns out that Mr. Smith is six inches taller than  my wife. Even so, the jersey fits her better than it would fit me: she's svelte. 

I'm going to wish my wife a very happy birthday a couple of days early.  Her birthday falls on Ungood Art Day, but I believe I'll be too busy to blog for the next few days.  I'll post for Ungood Art Day retroactively in the next while.  I know my wife wants to see this picture, so I am posting it now.  If you see this in time, make sure you congratulate her on another trip around the sun, and please to note how every year she seems to be getting younger.  I mean, check out this picture.  That is one young, young birthday girl!


Saturday, October 10, 2015

1153 - Our Lady In Throne II

Slow progress on an icon is still progress.  The gilding turned out reasonably well.  There's a number of rough edges, but those are easy to repair.  

The dark green represents the darkest shadows of the skin tones.  I've also blocked out the robes with a wash of burnt sienna.  While the robes will be red and blue, neither pigment lays down very easily, so a base coat will knock out the white and make the dark parts of the cloth be shadowy and deep.  


Thursday, October 8, 2015

1152 - Futuristic Panamax II

This is a pretty good drawing, but the design has gotten out of hand.  It's sketchbook fodder.  Still, there are things I like about it that I might use in something else in the future.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

1151 - Futuristic Panamax Sketch

On again - off again work on the shipping lines of the future.  I'm retrofitting an older Panamax freighter with cargo pontoons in a tri-maran configuration.  Pretty snazzy, huh?  It would never fit through the Panama Canal, not without shedding the pontoons. The sketch needs a lot more work before it is done, but it's just a sketch so it should go quickly. 


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1150 - Our Lady In Throne I

People have been wondering if I would start another icon.  Now that we are into Autumn, and I normally produce one by around Christmas, this photo should answer the question.  Every week, more or less, I will post some progress on this icon.

It's called "Our Lady In Throne", and it has the figures of Christ and his mother Mary seated on a religious-orthodox throne.  This icon is a bit larger than twice as large as the ones I have been attempting before.  

I took this photo after laying down the gold leaf.  You can tell by the lines and the ragged edges that the gold is still in a rough state.  I'll carefully brush away the excess gold and flatten and seal the gold in place.  People wonder how much gold goes into an icon.  The market price, give or take, is around $1113 USD per ounce.  I believe I've used around a tenth of an ounce, so I am estimating that the gold in my projects costs $120 to $150 dollars, making "gilding night" an expensive enough way to spend a couple of hours in the service of creating artwork.   Of course, larger icons require more gold, and likely it costs more if I used a more advanced technique than laying gold leaf.  

Some people gild for a hobby or even as a profession.  I'll need  many more tries before I could be that good at it. 


Monday, September 28, 2015

1149 - Get Well Soup

Fortunately, I had some leftover broth in the freezer from the last time I smoked a whole chicken.  I added onion, celery, carrots, and meat to the broth to make soup.  I had alphabet pasta, too, so that when you stirred the soup, it spelled "GET WELL SOON".

Saturday, September 26, 2015

1148 - The Fat Elvis Realization

I wasn't too sure I wanted to post this picture, but JSVB is short on posts.

It's a photo I took of my wife eating a snack called a "Fat Elvis".  It's chocolate ice cream, crunchy peanut butter, bananas, and strawberry jam fried inside a brioche bun.  A couple of days after taking this photo, she got really, really sick. It's debatable whether the Fat Elvis had anything to do with that.  

In 1965, The King recorded a single called "Hard Luck Blues", which I suppose would be the intersection of his music and our luck right now.  He had a fantastic voice for the blues, it would have been amazing if he had made more music in that genre. 


Sunday, September 20, 2015

1147 - Ladder Poem

wisdom's ladder climbed
seldom has the same number
of rungs descending

Friday, September 18, 2015

1146 - Under A Cartoon Sky

A cheery cartoon sky that took less than five minutes to render.