So I have a new schedule for the new year. I will be doing a dedicated blog post bi-weekly and I will be posting YouTube videos bi-weekly. They will alternate the weeks and this should help me to transition into doing more videos which I think people respond well to. (I know I do!)
This week I have uploaded a video on the process of making the Earth illustration I did late last year.
Here is the description on YouTube:
"I painted this planet called Earth in watercolor. It has been my home for the past... ummm... 32 years now. It's beautiful. Check out this watercolor and digital mix illustration. I used Winsor & Newton Artist Grade Watercolors (some white Gouache), Photoshop CC, and Artrage 4 to complete it."
Let me know if you have any comments or questions about the new schedule.
Click here to go to the video!
What is it with our fascination with apocalyptic scenarios? Maybe it's just me, but when I sit down and watch The Walking Dead I'm so enthralled, so enchanted that I can't stop putting myself into that scenario hours after the episode has ended. (Click here if you don't know anything about the zombie-filled TV series based on the graphic novel created by Robert Kirkman. Click here to see a behind-the-scenes clip of the making of the ultimate-zombie slaying Hyundai Elantra.)
Is it the fact that I would never have any more bills to pay? I mean that's really, REALLY tempting. Oh, just the mere glimpse of the thought that my student loans could be absolved... no more monthly credit card bill. Mortgage. What mortgage? I see, I take, it's mine. Give me a McMansion in some sleepy suburb where I can hide out for a few months, maybe more. I could do some hunting. I've never shot a [real] gun before but don't let that stop my fantasy.
If I remember correctly, though, I am a pretty damn good shot. At least, I was when I was ten. In the snow-laden woods with my friend Travis and his new Christmas present. Does shooting a 1996 Chevy Blazer through 50 yards of woods after an hour of coming up empty-handed mean I'm a good shot? Well, if it does than I'm pretty sure I'd still be alive if I was in The Walking Dead. I'm resilient anyways. And I can run pretty well through the woods. The owner of that Chevy slammed on the brakes and Travis and I just took off as quickly as we could!
Sorry Chevy-owner, we do stupid things when we're kids.
I guess as some sort of cosmic-karma, a couple years ago I was minding my own business in my driveway and I felt the sting of a bee-bee shot to the leg. I looked over and saw the neighbor's kid (and friends) try to cram through the back patio door all at the same time. I stormed over there and gave them a piece of my mind but resisted ratting them out to their parents. Life is funny that way sometimes.
Well... I'm a lot older and a little fatter... maybe I'd do better in some sort of nuclear bomb scenario. That seems reasonable. No guns needed there right? I can meditate. I'm pretty sure I could hang out in some bomb shelter for years on end if need be. Hell, I'm an artist. I make stuff. That'll keep me busy.
But then I don't get to kill anybody, do I? Maybe that's why The Walking Dead is so omnipresent in my mind. I mean sometimes, my phone AND my computer don't do exactly what I want IMMEDIATELY and I tap on the keyboard/screen aggressively and successively, in the hopes that maybe it didn't know my oily finger was giving it a command. IT SHOULD KNOW. IT SHOULD WORK. There's a moment, sometime after I've tapped 100 times... it's at that moment, when I realize it's just not gonna work, that I start rapping my finger on it harder and harder.
That's the moment that I really wish I was in The Walking Dead and I could just plow my fist through a walker's skull like it's puddy.
Maybe that should come with all computers. A zombie. Yeah, that'd be nice.
Alternatively, I could just set up a punching bag next to my computer so I can start working on my technique before the zombie apocalypse comes. 'Cause when shit hits the fan, I wanna be ready.
And if that doesn't work... I have long legs.
Happy New Year.
Here is a cat video I made for you. Enjoy!
It is the FIRST video I ever made. It is a video of my Manx cat chasing it's short, stub tail. It was just practice for me to help figure out the Sony Movie Studio software that my laptop came with before I edited my first art video. I didn't intend on releasing it but.... here you go!
I made this this summer but I somehow lost all of the audio in the original file and who knows what else. So I basically remade it over the past two days. It's amazing how it took me ten hours to make a one minute video! I have so much more to learn about editing videos...
I did thirty-one ink drawings for the month of October. Or Inktober, as it has been made famous by illustrator Jake Parker. Thank you by the way! It's been a lot of fun and a great motivational tool to create something awesome.
It's amazing how quickly the weeks go by. I have a post on The Walking Dead in the works, but for now I'll just leave you with these video clips of me drawing and talking, in case you haven't seen them before. I still have 3 more Inktober videos to complete, so stay tuned for those.
I've also updated my website a bit. (It's been an ongoing process for the past few months.) I've added my Instagram feed so if you don't have Instagram you can check it out here and see all of the Inktober drawings as well as some short timelapse watercolors plus other random goodies!
Click on the pictures below to see the videos on YouTube. (The first picture will bring you to the first video in the series. I didn't do a custom thumbnail for that one so I just used the generic Inktober logo here.) Subscribe to my channel if you want, too!
First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who came out to see me at CWOS this year! I'm really glad I did it and am happy with how things turned out. It provided some good feedback, more opportunities and plenty of inspiration. In fact, I was so inspired, the next day I went to the Leitner Observatory with some friends...
It was open for a special White House event… whatever that was, we unfortunately never figured out. We watched the planetarium show, (pretty cool) and left after it ended. (We were told that the live feed from the WH was starting.) By the time we found a group of 4 chairs available and sat down, Obama had left the stage and everyone else around us got up out of their chairs and left the room lol. I still don’t know what the President talked about and why this was a special day. Ignorance is bliss, they say. However, I did get to look through a telescope for the first time!!
It was cloudy of course, but among those clouds were some small patches of the night sky and the MOON! It was glorious with its large swaths of smooth patches next to fields of craters all packed on top of each other. It was a bright, luxurious texture I’d never seen or felt before. I really wanted to reach out and run my hands across it.
So today is Halloween and here is a quick themed painting for all you fans of full moons...NOTE: I just painted a pretty bad werewolf. Maybe it's just cute, I haven't decided yet. Let me know in the comments below. It didn't turn out how I wanted it but sometimes you just have to move on!
I'm also attaching an old scratchboard drawing I did in college about 4 years ago. I figure this will redeem me if you don't like the werewolf, haha!
Hi, I just wanted to send a quick reminder out that I am participating in New Haven's City Wide Open Studios on Saturday Oct. 17 and Sunday Oct. 18. I'll be at 153 East St (3rd Floor) New Haven, CT. The studio will be open from 12pm - 6pm and I will have a SALE going on!!! ;) I will have the above image available for a #cwos special of $20. (Normally it is $30) It is printed on archival luster paper at a size of 13"x19" using archival pigment inks that are rated to last around 100 years (before noticeable fading happens).
I will also have individual 5"x5" prints of each planet available for $5 each. They are printed on the same (heavy) cold-press watercolor paper I used to paint the original planets. My #cwos special for these is going to be BUY 2 GET 1 FREE. They will fit into standard 5" matted frame from any big box store.
This special will only be for the weekend. If you're interested and have any questions let me know.
While you are out here don't forget to grab some of the world's best pizza and check out the other artists throughout the area. :D There are artists all over New Haven that are opening their doors just for you! Here is a link to the CWOS website. I just noticed they have my address wrong, but it is the same parking lot, I'm just on the other side; the correct address is 153 East St. It is on the 3rd floor. There are at least five other artists in the complex that I am at.
I hope to see you there! If not have a great weekend :D and I'll talk to you soon.
I've never actually seen an eclipse before, despite my obsessive relationship with the night sky. I guess my love of sleep (and equal hate of lack-thereof) usually wins in that tug of war. Rather than burning the midnight oil with my art projects, I decided to venture out to the beach. My wonderful girlfriend Julia helped with the needed motivation to leave the apartment ;) It's amazing how I can hole myself up in there, for days at a time... not withstanding going to my day job.
Anyways, it was well worth the effort. I think I was more amazed at how many other people were watching this celestial event than the actual eclipsing of the moon! I felt like I was apart of something very special. We sat down among a grouping of large rocks that crept into the sea ever so gently. At about 9:45, there was a bright white light shimmering off the waves. When I looked at the moon, it was just like staring into a 100 watt bulb. (I know because I do that sometimes, I don't recommend it) It was truly brighter than I had ever seen it before. After a half hour it disappeared into the shadow of our Earth. It was white no longer, but a red-orange glow remained. I imagine that's how Mars looks. (At least in all the movies, it does.)
It's just a rock out in space, but it's OUR rock, and that's what makes it special.
P.S. I just did that paint sketch quickly (maybe an hour at most, probably more like 30 minutes though) in the ArtRage program. I am spending most of my time on this planet project lately. I am doing watercolor paintings of all 8 planets and organizing them into a poster for sale at the City Wide Open Studios in New Haven. I have a watecolor of Jupiter in the ArtSpace gallery downtown, the reception is Friday at 5pm. If you're in the area I'd love to see you! I will have all of my paintings on display (as well as works and prints for sale) the weekend of the October 17th and 18th. I'll be at 153 East St. New Haven. Check out the flyer for more information and click here for the City Wide Open Studios website.
Sorry for the delay in posts. I've had to play landlord for the past month or so. Evicting people sucks. You think I'd learn my lesson on picking good tenants but sometimes circumstances are out of my control.
Here's an illustration I did to show you how I found the room after the eviction. (It brought up some feelings I hadn't felt in a long time, so bear with me.)
I think I have compassion for people who have problems, me being one of those people. I was doing nearly the same thing in the same house as the person I had to evict, not seven years ago. Only I was doing cocaine off the bathroom sink. Different drug, still the same never-ending cycle of self-loathing followed by five, ten, or sixty minutes of... happiness - no, that's not the word... joy? No. Just feeling normal. Follow that with ten hours of severe depression. Try that everyday for a year, five years, ten years... You get the point.
I'm a recovering alcoholic and drug addict if you haven't guessed it yet. (I don't really count the days or years but I know I haven't drank since Halloween of 2007. That's the easiest date to remember! All drugs were shortly thereafter.) I don't tell this to many people because believe it or not it isn't the best icebreaker and society hasn't actually made it easy for me to move past... my past. It's amazing how the ripples of my past keep disturbing the peace and serenity that I have come to enjoy since then. Here's an example: job applications asking me about arrest records and whatnot, yet only leaving the smallest box to explain my entire life story.
Dear Employer, yes I was arrested for drugs. Yes, I got a DWI. Yes, it was over 8 years ago. Since then I have become an upstanding member of society. I managed to buy a dilapidated house, renovate it myself with no experience, and be a landlord/property manager for the past 7 years. I also got my degree in 3 years while commuting to school 2 hours everyday, 5 days a week, and maintained a full-time job and a GPA of 3.8....
For the next year and a half I struggled to find odd jobs to keep paying my mortgage because Starbucks wouldn't hire someone with a record. [It's many more than Starbucks, but that was the best example... I still love your double espresso Starbucks, I ain't that mad at ya ;) ]
So... I just told you my deepest, darkest secret... and while it's taken me awhile to get to this point, I am okay with putting it all out there now. You can love me or hate me, I'll deal with either one just fine. I just know it has always helped me to see and hear about addicts coming out on the other side okay so maybe this will help someone else out there pull themselves out of that hole to see what life really has to offer them.
And it truly is an amazing life!
I take joy in the smallest things now. Just last week in Upstate NY while laying on a dock I saw the Milky Way for the first time! It was way up there millions of light years away, just like it always is, just a couple of small patches of sky a slightly lighter shade than the sky surrounding it. But seeing that was all it took to give me an awe-inspiring feeling. To think that we as humans are just the tiniest fraction of a fraction... and so on.. of what is actually out there in the universe and to know that we are apart of something so much bigger than us that we truly wouldn't' even be able to comprehend exactly what IT is if we saw IT.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
It appears that I've been doing something wrong. I hope you're use to that by now ;)
The last two emails were missing two videos. It looked pretty stupid to me so I'm sure it looked even weirder for you that I was referencing something that wasn't there... so I'm trying it again. This is just the two videos that didn't make it into the last couple emails... fingers crossed it works.
I hope you like them, they should provide a few laughs :)
Click on the images to be taken to the videos.
Here is an illustration that Julia and I collaborated on for her brother's wedding card. It's always fun to do something handmade like this. I made another time lapse video of the work-in-progress. Some of it was cut out as I haven't decided if I want to buy the software to record my PC screen yet. I've started using Screencast-o-Matic and the free version only allows you to record in 15 minute clips, which it then renders automatically, forcing you to stop working until it is done. We were pressed for time, to say the least, lol, so we missed recording some action but I think you'll like this video as I talked over it, as opposed to playing music.
Get ready to enjoy the sweet melodic tone of my voice as it puts you to sleep... Those that know my monotone voice should survive the five minutes without being lulled to sleep ;) I did TRY to add some inflection... not sure if it came across though!
Congrats to the Two Winners of my First Print Giveaway, Dan S. and Tyson G.!!!
Thanks for entering the contest and following my art!!! It's nice to give back to people who have showed support along the way. Dan reminded me that I did a good amount of work on the Earth, Moon, Space print at Foxwoods, my old workplace. I was commuting two-plus hours everyday to college, in class 6 hours everyday Monday thru Friday, and working 30-plus hours a week at the casino.
I don't miss that!
All of my classmates were worried to leave school and I couldn't wait to get it over with, lol! It felt like I was in a fantasy world when I was there... I'm glad to be back in the real world now, despite the growing pains I felt the first year and a half out of school.
After Dan jogged my memory, I flashbacked to myself standing at the podium scratching lines into a metal plate in between parking cars at the casino. Then I would bring it back to school in the morning, give it a bath in acid and do it all over again that night! Thanks for the reminder Dan! :) All that hard work is starting to pay off.
Tyson, thank you for your encouragement and I hope to see some of your drawings soon!
There's less than 24 hours to go before I raffle off two prints to a couple lucky followers! If you still haven't entered, click here, enter your email address or Facebook login in the widget and you will be prompted to select an Instagram entry or Email entry. Good luck everyone!
I had a great opportunity to do a commission recently for an officer in the Navy. Being a Navy brat myself, I was pretty excited to do this! I enlisted my Dad for some expert advice on submarine design. Thank you Dad! Take a look at the speed drawing video I made, it's my first one so be kind ;)
I didn't want to move my drawing to shake off the excess charcoal dust that accumulates. It took me hours and days to figure-out/perfect my studio set-up so as I could film from the top-down with decent lighting. That's what necessitated me using a vacuum. I'll just say here that I sucked up the drawing on more than one occasion. Ehh, what are you gonna do? I sure the hell wasn't going to do it a different way, I was already committed!
So here is a look into my (digital) sketchbook. I had fun doing this baby hippo painting in the ArtRage program. I love ArtRage for quick sketches. It's easy to flesh out different styles.
This is a spaceship taking off. That's about it.
This actually started as a landscape photograph I snapped. I painted over it in ArtRage, changing it to a more other-worldly setting, but still relatable to what we as humans know. The train is "Mars Express" and maybe in a hundred years or so... lol, Mars will be a habitable place like this!
With all the gun violence in America I wanted to make something quick that didn't take a side. I took about 30 photos of the inside of my pocket with my cell phone. How could I possibly let those beauts go to waste? So I used one of those photos as the background of this sketch. (The pants were not purple, by the way, all though I do own purple pants.)
I wanted to do something to show my support for the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. I'm glad to see equal rights for all! If you've ever printed out a test/calibration/alignment sheet on your printer, you may recognize the pattern/colors here. I drew the people in ink on the paper then scanned it into the printer and fixed it up in Photoshop.
On a side note, I have been working on editing a timelapse video of a recent commission. I have no idea what I'm doing. Look for that in the next week or two.
For my latest commission I decided to get a little fancy. I got inspired by a filmmaker named Casey Neistat (he actually went to the same high school as me). Check out his YouTube channel here. Here are two videos that you definitely should check out, Make It Count and Bike Lanes by Casey Neistat. He has a lot of gratuitous time-lapses of NYC that are addicting to watch. (I say gratuitous because they are almost cliched at this point... how many times can you see the Empire State and Chrysler buildings at sunset, etc., etc.) Yet I can't look away! MUST SEE PRETTY COLORS AND TALL BUILDINGS NOW...
I wanted to make a time-lapse with the equipment I had already and record me drawing this commission from start to finish. My materials: a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera, a couple of work lights, a package of wooden shims and 4 clamps. (All of them became apart of the project at different times, I certainly didn't look at them all and I say "Hmmm. I can make an overhead rig out of this")
Here is how it started, the camera is hanging perilously above the desk from a tripod on the right and a work light on the left. I bought a small grippy tripod (advertised for trees and such) from Staples and that is how it is attached to the light. I quickly realized that unless I wanted a broken camera I needed to fix this setup.
I organized a lot tools and studio supplies after watching a video about Casey's studio, but couldn't find a place for my tapes (Black Duct, Blue Painter's, White Artist's) so I use them as a pen holder on my desk! (Work's fine until I need the bottom tape)
ALRIGHT!!!! NOW WE'RE TALKING!! I have some scrap illustration board propping up the front of the camera, a shim holding up the right of it, and four clamps holding it all in place. Also, notice the tracing paper taped on the two lights to diffuse them and the sheets of foam core to the left and rear that help bounce the light (relatively) evenly across the drawing. Not the prettiest looking but it worked more or less!
Next time I hope to have figured out how to use the movie editing software on my computer and see if all the gigabytes of video I have will actually make a movie to show you... fingers-crossed.
I rode my bike (bicycle - I really wish us cyclists could take back the word bike from motorcycles) to the Devil's Gear Bike Shop for a rack to put on my bike. I bought said rack and tried to install it outside of the shop as I did not have a rack on my bike to strap said rack to the bike so that I could ride without holding it in my hands. They conveniently have a bike stand and tools outside of the shop for anybody to use.
I spotted a dumpster with a full load and decided that would be the best place to rest my kickstand-less bike. (I was too stubborn/anxious/embarrassed to try and figure out how the bike stand worked.) I'm sure the guy sitting next to the rack (on his lunch break from another store???) enjoyed watching me struggle with my bike trying to hold it up and install the rack at the same time. The dumpster had a nice lid for a shelf though.
Naturally, the cafe employee needed to throw garbage into the dumpster while I was all setup so I had to move temporarily. Needless to say I installed the bike rack wrong, brought it inside, was told a much better way to do it, and then setup next to the bike stand... I think my thought process was if I am a little closer to it I can examine it on the down-low while no one is looking and possibly use it. I didn't. Another half hour later and I was finally on my way to the prison show!A another half hour later and I was finally on my way to the prison show!
It was at the John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art (that's a mouthful) on Trumbull St in New Haven. They have an exhibition from the Prison Arts Program.
Mark Despres - Whirlygig I thought this was interesting probably because I have an obsession with airplanes.
Works by Nicholas Clark. Here's a link to Ayn Rand's Wikipedia page in case like me, you had no idea who Ayn Rand was, other than knowing that she is always mentioned on Fox News. (One day I will read Atlas Shrugged, just not TOday.
Nathan Campbell - Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder This was done on a cloth fabric, not sure how it was painted on?
Works by James Taylor. Loved the texture of these!
Carlos Ortiz. I like the graphic-ness of these. Beautiful line-work, too.
Carlos Ortiz - Art is Cool. No better way to finish up this post than with a pink panther. Art IS cool.
Above is a development sketch. My nine-plus years of service in the valet industry have got me stuck on this idea for a space valet comic. This is me trying to flesh out some ideas. The central globe is an interstellar rest-stop. The ships enter the empty central area and are then parked out on the "flats" orbiting the rest stop.
Despite not knowing really where to go with this idea, I got this undeniable urge to paint! What a wonderful feeling! This is watercolor on watercolor paper.
The rest-stop is brightly colored with lights and such. I feel like it would have a casino at the top and the employees live in the bottom. (Although there isn't really a top or bottom since it's a sphere... but I haven't figured that one out yet.)
Finished sketch after I added some gouache, an opaque watercolor, to make some darks in the background.
If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or email me!
Last month I went to the Yale Art Gallery. Last month was before this month. This month I haven't had a day off from my day job(s) PLUS I've had a logo project that had a very tight deadline. That's my excuse for not posting anything to the blog lately. I'm definitely looking forward to Sunday where I will probably vegetate on the couch. Now that, that's done. Here is some art!
PENCILS ONLY!!! No water media is allowed in the galleries... I scoped out this beautiful scene with sunlight cutting across the room. Unfortunately, after I inspected all vantage points of the room and finally decided that the bench in the center offered the best place to sit and view, a young couple beat me to it by a couple of steps!
Apparently they didn't know I was an artist and should be treated like a celebrity in museums. (It's so vain, lol, but it's kinda true.) I wish I could bring red velvet ropes around and cordon off areas so that I could have my own little VIP room and keep all the riffraff at a safe distance.
So there went 15 minutes of precious drawing time I'll never get back.
Naturally, at the end of the day I noticed literally one hundred artist stools conveniently located at the main entrance...
I'm using water-soluble pencils from Derwent. Check out the awesome sunlight action!
I made an escape to Jojo's for some much needed espresso. That gave me some time to wet the paper a bit with a water brush.
I added a couple more quarters to the parking meter and then hustled back over to the gallery for another go at it with the pencils. The light was a lot less dramatic after my little break... But it still helped me to solidify some of the shapes with a better value structure.
Here's the final image after I added more value to the background to get the busts in the foreground to stand out more.
If I were to do it again, I'd remember to bring a pencil! That way the original drawing is good as possible. (I would have liked more detail in the faces.) It's hard to paint over a poorly drawn image!
Please indulge me and imagine Chris Farley saying the title of this blog post. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here to see the Fat Guy in a Little Coat scene from the nineties movie Tommy Boy.
With 15 minutes to kill at Starbucks, this guy's active and somewhat frantic demeanor while he was talking on the phone captivated me.
I started with basic shapes also trying to get his overall posture correct. The slumped "wise-guy" kinda look was what I was after. I'm picturing Marlon Brando as Godfather.
Julia was sitting across from me and he was directly behind her. Every time he glanced at me I pretended to be looking at Julia. It was a bit of a cat and mouse routine for me. I'm not sure that it was working but he seemed much more interested in who ever he was on the phone with anyways.
His left hand was only up near the window initially. I had to do it from memory and that is why it looks funny. Next time I'll spend more time on the face, too, and not bother with the fingers; just leave it as a hand shape. 15 minutes just isn't enough time for that kind of detail.
Check out this beautiful pamphlet made by Primacy, with help from my lovely girlfriend Julia. Check out her website at julialovemiller.com. Primacy is a creative marketing and technology company that works with universities (among many other clients) to boost their overall performance whether it be via website redesign, rebranding, marketing materials, etc. I really love the design of this "field guide" which is perfect to be handed out to prospective students to get a lay of the land at Regis University.
Here's some of the thumbnail sketches Julia did to help shape the final illustrations.
That's a Jack-a-lope up there. It was my understanding that it was a special request from the university. A Jack-a-lope is "an American mythological creature that is a mix between a jackrabbit and an antelope."
I like this VW bus a lot, too. We ended up going to Langan Volkswagen dealership in Glastonbury, CT. It is a pretty special place, with old VW's strewn throughout the showroom and [airbrushed] hoods with awesome artwork hanging on display. Just a ways up the road, in this unassuming building was a bona fide VW museum. It was so unassuming that it took us three times to drive by it before I got out of the car, peered through a dusty window and saw 20 tons of shiny (and rusty) metal behind it.
Great illustration! Great design!
Landon R. Wilson
Welcome to my blog.