Learning in Oil

So todays image is another early oil, and this one had some good education to it.

I was struggling a lot ,which is a common theme of the entire time I was working with oil, or it was working me over, however you see it. Anyway, I was trying to learn to blend so I wanted to sketch something in black and white to get a better grasp of it.

So decided to to draw a caricature modeled after a junior high science teacher who I always perceived as being a mean old lady.

I should note here that I was a shithead pretty much from my early teens through my mid twenties, and by all other accounts she was a pretty typical Jr high science teacher that was actually leaning towards nice. But that isn’t what I was drawing.

I did decide to make the background pink to kind of demonstrate that.

So here is what ending up coming of that.

Evil Old Bag in Pink

As you can see it is not a great painting, but I still smile when I look at it. I am sure you can also see that I worked some things out with oil blending and highlights…..and left some other things to learn and develop.

This oil is on an 18×24 canvas board and is for sale. Just $50 and you pay to ship.

Early oil work

The painting I am putting up today is one of the first ten or so oils I painted.

The style is undeveloped, and I still had not (not that I ever excelled at it) learned to show depth with color and shadow.

What I did know how to do was conceptually explore my mental state and where I was at a particular time in such a way that just a glance at the image reminds me of where I had arrived.

Discarding Old Idols

This painting is emblematic of part of my personality and personal philosophy that makes most people uncomfortable. It is a traditional oil on a 16×20 stretched canvas.

At an early age I figured out (by rough experience) that the people or things you idolize and/worship are not only seldom worthy of even your adoration, let alone being placed on a pedestal; no, most of them are not even worthy of being in your life.

And once you recognize that they are not, they should be removed. In this case by pushing them far away on a space bridge and then into a giant hell furnace while the moon smiles on.

So make the moon happy, analyze your idols and get rid of the ones that don’t fit. Be careful though, it is addictive and at a certain point purging gets lonely.

Pro-tip for that- there are 9 billion people on the planet, they can’t all suck, and you don’t have to idolize them.

Exploring ideas.

The painting I am posting today was done towards then end of my experiments with oil. It is a piece that is based in my personal exploration with philosophy. It is a nod to mathematical beauty, and to important art that my work does not measure up to. It hangs in my living room, and probably always will.

The image is named Vitrunacci Vortex.

Vitrunacci Vortex

Vitrunacci being a made up compound word from the roots Vitruvian and Fibonacci.

Vitruvian is a reference to Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”. His famous study of human proportion and symmetry. This was used to represent the “everyman” and was intentionally drawn as the four major races to emphasize that.

And Fibonacci is the mathematician and the numerical sequence (which the first recorded discovery of was actually in India) that is named after him. The series is created by starting with 1, and adding the two most recent numbers together to get the next. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. That sequence is the basis for the golden ratio, or in the case of this painting the golden spiral.

The last core element is this painting is the blending and ebb and tide of the four seasons represented by red, white, blue, and yellow spirals. They symbolize life’s repeated patterns of growth, work, harvest, and death/birth/bardo (spring, summer, fall, and winter respectively). This is overlaid with the black spiral that represents one mans path through time.

So basically this painting is (one of many abstracts that) represents my view of the order of the universe, and is in a visual shorthand that is probably only useful to remind me when I am struggling to stay on my particular path.

Vitrunacci Vortex is a 4 foot by 4 foot oil on stretched canvas. I would consider selling it, but it would take a dear offer.

An older oil painting

Todays image is one that I did several years ago.

Its theme is pretty simple. It is all about feeling like everything about you is being exposed to scrutiny. It doesn’t matter if you are innocent of what is being looked for or not. That invasiveness feels like a spot light.

Or at least it does to me.

The good side of that feeling is it generated an oil painting that I still like and am proud of.

Exposed to the light.

Exposed to the light is an oil on a 20×24 canvas board. I still have the original and would sell it.

In addition prints of this piece are available at my etsy store.

“Exposed to the Light” prints in 5×7 and 8×10

An abstract piece

Since the last piece touched a bit on mental illness, I figure we can take a look at another one of my oils that has roots in the subject.

The abstract piece in question is titled, “BiPolar: Darkness eating the light”

BiPolar: Darkness eating the Light

I want to preface this by saying the number of people around me who are medically diagnosed with some level of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder has lead me to believe that all of us are somewhere on that spectrum. Some people are better than others at integrating that type of mental function into their lives and some people have brain chemistry that doesn’t allow for it without treatment.

Living close to someone who is on an end of the bipolar spectrum that does not allow any behavioral control mechanisms to work, and is disruptive even when they are medicated (and is anyone with bipolar disorder really ever properly medicated?) can be challenging to say the least.

To watch someone whose inner light shines so brightly part of the time, hide in the very shadows their light creates, and actively work to destroy themselves is emotionally crushing. I can only imagine how it feels to them.

And after living with someone who was severely bipolar for a short while, I did this painting, that I don’t imagine the visuals need much explanation beyond that narrative.

As for the subject of this painting, I hope you are out there doing better. I also hope our culture adopts a better attitude towards mental health. Our current structures and approaches don’t begin to match the challenges people face.

This piece is a 24×12 oil on canvas board. It is for sale, but I have yet to put a price on it as I feel its value to me may be a bit rich.