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.

Painting hard feelings.

The piece I am featuring today was curative.

It let a lot of sadness out of me.

It was done right around when my father was dying, another relationship that I valued very deeply was falling apart, and another (that persevered) was greatly challenged by all of that suffering.

Like with most of the things I create, I let the feelings come out through my hand.

Artistically this one is different because I don’t do a lot of still life, nor do I do a lot of flowers. I don’t have any negative opinions about either type of painting. I just don’t like doing still life in general, and well I seldom feel like a flower is done justice in my artwork.

I do intend to challenge myself with flowers in the near term, in my personal journey I have learned to see them differently, and I am curious how that will translate through my hand.

That said, todays image is …

The Dying of the Roses

This 18×24 oil on canvas board currently hangs in my office. While it could be sold, I would have to be enticed to part with it.

Currently it reminds me how good things are, by reminding me of the darker places I have been.

If you wanted to acquire a print of it, they are available in my Etsy Shop, “Art by TSOTA” in both 5×7 and 8×10.

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

Erotica

Today I want to talk a little bit about what is probably the best (skill wise) painting I have done. It is a piece of erotica entitled “Helga S”.

Helga came from my desire to do something intensely erotic without being graphic. After a bit of thought, it occurred to me that the best way to capture that was through a woman’s face in the throws of passion.

Wanting to make the image anonymous, so as not to embarrass anyone who had the poor taste to sleep with me, I did a web search and found what I considered to be a excellent model (which is how I find almost all of my models, although most of them are an amalgamation of several rather than an individual), and started playing with the sketch.

Helga is not the woman’s name and while there is some resemblance, this follows my common theme of not being directly representational. I only focused on capturing her being lost in rapture.

The name is corny, and even cornier when you realize that Helga S is a play on words for hellgasm. Sorry I really am that much of a dork.

This piece is a 20×24 Oil on canvas board. I would love to sell it to you but I gave it to a good friend who I don’t see enough anymore.

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.

The Madonnas

Like most artists of various stripes, I have favorite subjects.

One of my very favorite things to do is Madonnas.

This is strange for me, because as you will see as this blog fills out and continues on, most of the things I like to draw are weird, non representational, and dark.

Madonnas are also about the only time I draw specific people and to date I have not drawn a non representational Madonna. They are also the most joyous and “light” subjects I draw. So they are a real niche inside of my artistic spectrum.

Currently I have completed 4 Madonnas. I will discuss each under their image.

Lamore d’ Madonna

What makes Lamore d’Madonna interesting and especially endearing to me is the subject of it.

It started out as me working from a black and white picture of my mother holding me. During the process of painting it, some kind of Oedipal lizard brain shit took over and the painting turned into my wife holding my youngest son who was a toddler at the time.

The pose and the dress are so obviously from the image that my mother of course recognized it, an I feel like she was probably offended by the change.

But when I look at it, this painting encompasses everything that a non religious Madonna should. A mothers love for her child. And frankly I don’t think that could be captured better than through a morphing of those two women.

For the technical minded, this is oil paint on 20×30 inch canvas board and while I don’t have great records was somewhere between my 25th and 30th oil attempt.

I am guessing that there are 12-15 of those that you will never see here. If you have self taught with oil, or worked with it you will understand. Some of my of my oils are good, none are great masterpieces, but several of them are terrible.

At any rate, the second Madonna I did is next.

L’Enfant Madonna

L’Enfant Madonna was one of the last oil paintings I did, is representative of my best technical work with oil, and is one of my very favorite paintings from my work.

The mother is my oldest daughter and her first born. The title reflects that she had this beautiful little girl a teenager.

This oil is also on a 20×30 canvas board.

The third Madonna that I did is a pencil drawing of one of my grandsons being held by his mother.

Madonna Schizzinosa

Madonna Schizzinosa is the accurately named and the image is mainly focused on the look of content that my grandson had in this image.

It is drawn on 9×12 bristol board with water based colored pencils (dry).

The most recent Madonna I have done currently is another favorite.

Premier Sourire de Madonna

Premier Sourire de Madonna was a truly precious moment, and I am happy we captured the sheer power of the love between a mother and her son.

This young lady has struggled with depression and anxiety most of her life, and prior to this moment I don’t think we had seen a real smile from her in years.

I can still remember the hope for her I felt when we got to see her come back to life as this little guy joined all of ours.

Don’t get me wrong, babies don’t cure depression and she still struggles. But new life can be extremely inspirational, and in this case it provide a foundation to build a new life on.

This got a little more personal than I intended, but I suppose any honest conversation about ones artwork will do that.

At any rate that is my current body of work with Madonnas. I am sure there will be more as time moves on.

This particular subject is one of the very few that I will accept direct commissions for. Just so we don’t waste each others time. Pricing will be based on the media I am working with at the time and the size of the image desired. Payment will be in advance and there will be no refunds or reworks. If you commission me to paint your Madonna image you will buying my interpretation…not whatever image you thought you wanted.

Currently the best way to contact me will be via Facebook. Facebook.com/rlsii

Eventually I will create and assign an email to this site and endeavor.