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 consum├ęd 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.