Pandemic Painting: Reduction

One good thing to happen from the stay-at-home order is that I’ve renewed my passion for paining. As in the previous post, I’m trying new techniques and one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is self-control; don’t let yourself work to the point of destruction.

That said, I’ve now begun to call the series, “Reduction.” (This time, on canvas)

Top Instagram Posts of 2016

At the end of every year, I like to rewind and reflect on the year that is coming to an end. Since we are all accustomed to year-end lists, I figured I would populate a list of my most popular Instagram posts of 2016 (based on likes and comments). One of my goals for the year was to take more photos. I’m not sure I shot more, but I was more selective with the photos I did post. So, here we go, my top ten Instagram posts of the year.





















There you go, my top ten Instagram posts of the year. Feel free to follow me on Instagram.

My Inspiration Lately, Prose Supersedes Imagery

Lately, I’ve been increasingly inspired by writings much more so than imagery. This is peculiar to me as I’m normally a very visual person. Anyway, I wanted to share some prose that has inspired me in the last week. These works have, for some reason or another, really struck a “chord” inside.

    Me I’m just a waitress she said.
    I went and bought a new head she said.
    I look at you and I believe in you she said.
    Screaming into the eye of the lens.

*Karl Hyde, Rick Smith

    Remember when I caught your eye?
    You gave me rainbows and butterflies.
    We did enjoy a happiness.
    When our love was over, I was such a mess.

    I smiled at you and you smiled back.
    That’s when I knew, there’s no turning back.

    You said you loved me and I did too.
    Now though it’s over, I still love you.

    You’re in my mind, you’re in my heart.
    I wish I knew right from the start.
    All my friends said you’d break my heart.
    A heartbreaker right from the start.

    I tried to fight it, I tried so hard.
    And everyday, I prayed to God.
    That you and me, were meant to be
    But you had another, you had a lover.

    And now it’s dark, I don’t know why.
    I feel like crying, just want to die.
    I can’t look at you and you know why.
    Though I tried so hard, to catch your eye.

*Jesse F. Keeler, Alex Puodziukas, John Legend

Painting: Chicago Creativity Explosion

Twice now I have gone to Chicago and had a creative explosion. No, I’m not talking about meeting up at creative expos, meeting creatives or even taking photographs. I’m talking about painting.

Most times when I’m in Chicago, I like to visit with one of my closest and most cherished friends. She is creative person by nature, as am I. So it’s no wonder that we sometimes just hunker down and start painting.

Painting, for me, is an emotional release; an exploration into myself through color and shape. Since most of us are busy all the time, we really don’t stop, paint and enjoy the process and the outcome.

It’s always a great time seeing her and so amazing to spool up the old creative energy and lay waste to canvas. So, with that said, I have some pics here to share with you.

An item of note: I didn’t actually finish any paintings, but that’s fine. Also, in one of the photographs is one of her paintings. I feel like I should say that so as not to take ownership of her creativity.

Recap: National Gallery of Art – East Wing

This last weekend I went to visit my sister who lives outside of Baltimore. Last time I went to visit, we took a walk around a few museums in Washington DC, one of which was the National Gallery of Art. We spent most of our time in that amazing building, so much so, we couldn’t check out the East Wing which houses Modern Art. This last visit was different. We started out in the East Wing. I have to say, it was one of the more impressive collection of Modern Art I have seen.

I am a massive Mark Rothko fan. I feel in love with his Abstract Expressionist art back in college. When I look at his works, I become engulfed by them. I can stare at his attempt to find emotion through paint and color for days. Naturally, the East Wing had a Rothko in one of their exhibition rooms. But, to my surprise as we moved through the museum, they had a few more. One such room had three Rothkos. Three Rothkos from his vibrant color period, with such amazing color, feeling and size. That is another aspect of Rothko’s work, I love the size of his paintings. He painted on such a grand scale, you get consumed by the work. It overpowers the room, takes your attention away from everything else. I just sat there for a while to soak it all in.

We moved further into the museum and we came across Rothko El Dorado. Yes, they had, what must have been, nine Rothko paintings on display from the Rothko Chapel in Texas. They were all situated in one room, on the top floor of the museum in their own chapel if you will. Indirect sunlight was coming through the ceiling that illuminated the works perfectly. Just two benches for viewers to sit on in the massively solemn room. There was a sense of spirituality in this minimalistic approach to his work. It was simply amazing. While I sat in that room, taking Rothko’s last step toward a transcendental enlightenment, I started to feel what he was going after. I started to understand his spirituality and at the same time, was understanding my own. It was an amazing experience and I didn’t want to leave.

The rest of the works in the museum were magnificent as well. A Barnett Newman room of paintings, much in the style of Rothko’s Chapel works. The museum also had a significant amount of Roy Lichtenstein paintings, Jasper Johns paintings and prints (the prints were pretty fantastic) and Robert Rauschenberg works, including my favorite silk screens. What a deeply religious experience to be had in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. I cannot wait to return!

Recap: The Marriage of Figaro

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to go see the Skylight Opera Company’s rendition of The Marriage of Fiagro last week with my friend Matt. I have to say, what an amazing performance across the board.

First off, the opera was performed in English. Yes, different from the original Mozart composition, however, having it performed in English really helps out in the overall understanding of what specifically is being said during the performance. English did not really have that much of an adverse effect in the performance. There were a few points where you could tell the performers had a difficult time saying an English word instead of the original Italian, but they pulled it off admirably.

The orchestra was comprised of woodwinds and a piano. Going into the show, I didn’t know how this would play out, musically speaking, but it seemed to work very much in favor of the performance. Not too loud, not too soft; just right.

Art direction was pretty well executed. The costumes and make up were brilliant and historically accurate. Stage design was adequate to fit the needs of the performance, however, I think the painting could have been a bit better. Stage lighting was excellent. Great mood setting blues and yellows.

The performers were excellent, all of them. I would like to point a few out. Diane Lane who played Cherubino, Alicia Berneche who played Susanna, and Tanya Kruse who played Countess, all have some of the most amazing operatic voices. And last, but certainly not least, Susie Weidmeyer, who played Barbarina, has a stunning operatic sound and a great solo in the second half.

Overall, the performance was amazing, the night perfect and the company fantastic. I highly recommend you spend some quality time taking in one of Mozart’s greatest operas at the Skylight. Act quickly, for they’re only performing it until Valentine’s Day.

Artwork: Discovering the Past

So, yes I have neglected this blog a bit in the last few days. Sorry, it wasn’t my intention at all. Been sort of busy lately.

One thing that I have been doing, is transferring all my Zip discs to my MacBook. I thought there would be a lot more information on them, but it turns out, all the information on the 15 Zips totals 600MB. Laughable today, but by the standards of yesteryear (yes, I said yesteryear) it was a ton of information.

Needless to say, it was a walk down memory lane. I saw projects from early on in college, typography experiments, party invitations and various other assignments. But, the gold medal find was my work from high school. There is a lot of junk in there, but I think some of the work shows progress. Or at least, a desire to learn more about the graphic arts. I guess, early on, I knew where I wanted my life to go…

Let me know what you think. (Keep in mind, these are from 1999 when I was only 18.)

Recap: Gallery Night – Winter 2010

I just got back from a whirlwind tour of Gallery Night in Milwaukee, in the Third Ward. First off, my friend Bridget and I got a late start to the evening. So, we were a bit rushed right off the bat. No bother though, we knew where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, which helps a lot during a Gallery Night evening.

Our first stop was to the Milwaukee Public Market for some letterpress prints. Very cool prints, however, they were few and far between. Color was spot on, although, I wish they were a bit larger. Overall, cool prints.

Our second stop, after the Public Market and Starbucks, was Cranston in the Marshall Building on Water Street. It’s one of my standard stops during Gallery Night it seems. But, out of all night, it proved to be the most fruitful. I didn’t get a chance to see who created the prints, like the one you see, but they were amazing. So beautiful were the colors, the aesthetic, texture and imagery. These prints were simply intoxicating. What a great find tonight!

After Cranston, we head over to (Shoo) for some beautiful, vivid landscapes. I guess there were custom Chuck Taylors, but I didn’t see them. After which, we ran over to the Dye House for a Bob Marley photo exhibit. Standard portraiture, nothing that hasn’t been done before.

Unfortunately, time was not on our side and we had to head back. It was a cold night and the coffee’s that we got, helped out a great deal! I would like to throw out a personal thanks to Bridget for being an amazing companion on the whirlwind Gallery Night tour.