Morning Painting

I’m trying to paint every morning.   

All the paintings are oil studies and started around 6am. The scene is facing west toward the Whitestone Bridge and Manhattan. I adjust the horizon depending if I want to paint the foreground water, which is especially challenging. The short term goal is teaching discipline, and, in a couple of months, have enough to fill a really big wall. Long term, I want a better grasp of the medium so I can dump 50 hours on a painting (a maze?) and not be overly disappointed!

The panels are gessoed hardboard, 8”x12”

Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

In April, I visited the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Florida. Winding paths through palm gardens and monumental sculptures- it’s perfect. I took many pictures... Norton’s towering Gate sculptures loom out of the foliage or are revealed around bends of the path.

This summer I made a maze based on the gardens. Here is a detail.

FullSizeRender.jpg

You can see the full puzzle on my Twitter!

Collaboration Part 1

I find making circular mazes a challenge. I have  designed a few flat circular puzzles and then redrawn them as steps and buildings, but the results are unsatisfactory. The final work feels heavy and burdensome. They are overly complicated. So when I discovered Henry Cheung’s Instagram feed @henryscheung I was inspired! He photographs the circle mazes he has elegantly doodled in coffee shops adjacent to lattes on warm surfaces of wood, tile, or stone.

After liking a bunch of his photos, Henry and I chatted about mazes. He was cool with me trying to convert one of his puzzles into my style! I printed out a few and got to sketching. The first one was a little lumpy. For my second attempt, I laid down some guidelines to keep the isometric under control. This was better.

 The guidelines help me translate Henry’s lovey shapes better. I loathe rules, but some structure in the beginning can really help. You can see me marking off parts of the original as I go.  

The guidelines help me translate Henry’s lovey shapes better. I loathe rules, but some structure in the beginning can really help. You can see me marking off parts of the original as I go.  

 I’m happy with the puzzle, but I’d like more detail. My original is only a few inches wide, so the stairs are especially gnarly. Upscale the old-timey way!

I’m happy with the puzzle, but I’d like more detail. My original is only a few inches wide, so the stairs are especially gnarly. Upscale the old-timey way!

I drew my version too small. I wanted more detail, so I scaled it up to ink onto larger watercolor paper. I will eventually paint it, but for now I’m happy with the digital coloring. This way I can play with color choices before laying down the real thing!

 Collaboration between me and Henry Cheung. The foundation is totally his puzzle. See if you can match how his fits! 

Collaboration between me and Henry Cheung. The foundation is totally his puzzle. See if you can match how his fits! 

The final result is great. Collaborations are awesome! Follow @henryscheung on Instagram, your feed will be more beautiful.

Visit My Instagram

Want something new almost every day? Follow my Instagram! It’s much less formal than this blog. Sometimes I post mazes, but often I post other projects I’m working on. Here are my last three posts: 

 I made this especially for IG, you can tell because it is exactly 2:1, taking advantage of the panoramic feature. It’s simple but fun. The statues are based on IG NYC folks I follow.  

I made this especially for IG, you can tell because it is exactly 2:1, taking advantage of the panoramic feature. It’s simple but fun. The statues are based on IG NYC folks I follow.  

IMG_1938.JPG

Ballpoint practice with White House chief of staff John Kelly. I’m not a fan, just think he has an interesting face.  He reminds me of the cop played by Richard Burgi in the Firefly episode “The Message”. 

IMG_1969.JPG

Also getting into relief print. I was totally into woodblock as a younger man and have been carving again. You can see that my skills are a bit rusty, but my work translates well. Follow my progress on Instagram! 

Postcards

Last year I printed promotional postcards to share at signings and with bookstores and contacts. I used the online company, Next Day Flyers. One of the folks at the company liked the cards so much, they wanted to do an interview about the book, my work, and why I chose Next Day Flyers! Check it out —>

postcards_IMG_1453.jpg

Next Day Flyers did a great job. I had not had anything printed for a while and settled on them based on rating and price.  Since I had plenty of time, turn-around was not an issue. It was important that the card felt like a traditional postcard to be saved and not like a throwaway advertisement. I did a little research on card weights, sizes, and finishes and found just what I needed in their inventory. I designed my cards in Photoshop and uploaded my art into their template. The template is straight-forward with layers, guidelines and font choices. The cards arrived on schedule.

  I’m glad I did my research and the final product turned out perfect!

Oh, if you want a postcard, just send me an email. Be sure to let me know if you want it with a message or pristine in an envelope. 

Ballpoint Practice

Here’s a little maze I did in ballpoint pen. Unusually, I didn’t lay it out first, just started in the uppper left and worked across the page. Real iRobot plotter style.  

 The squiggles at the top are cleaning my pen. I still get globbies though. I’m not sure how the pros avoid it.  

The squiggles at the top are cleaning my pen. I still get globbies though. I’m not sure how the pros avoid it.  

I’ve been playing around with ballpoint for a few weeks now, practicing patience and control. I’ve posted a some on my Instagram, but most I will hide until I get better. I have a ways to go!  There are several artists I follow who do ballpoint work, like Nicolas Sanchez and Guno Park

IMG_1685.GIF

Watercolor and Ink

Still playing with ink and watercolor.

I'm really into the artists Cinta Vidal and Sadi Tekin right now. Vidal paints beautiful multi-perspective buildings and interiors. Like my cube mazes, but intimate and fully realistic. Tekin is a very clever illustrator with great line work and often gentle colors.

IMG_0350.JPG

So here, the maze is simple, but I wanted the paths to be on every visible side with the steps connecting them (Vidal). I also tried to use the least amount of pigment to emphasize the lines and space. (Tekin)

I quickly added the labels digitally for posting with one of my favorite photo apps, Halftone.

Non-Digital

Opening the ink and paint for the metrocard project has made me excited to continue the non-digital stuff for a bit. Before trying to paint an entire piece, I made some tiny watercolor studies. These are a little shaky, as I'm still adjusting to the different pen widths. Also, watercolor is WAY out of my comfort zone.

It is very fun though!

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

SingleFare4

  These are tiny mazes I made for SingleFare4, a fundraiser for the New York Academy of Art. Artists from all over contribute small scale paintings on NYC metro cards. I will also be attending the opening, to show my support and pick up some great work.

  It has been a while since I've worked with real brushes and ink, and it is a joy! Also, the work is SMALL! I'm still adjusting to the scale. Some of the miniature oil paintings submitted are quite amazing. Some color ballpoint work is just insane. It is open to all, but the deadline is August 23. 

  You can see more on Instagram -@singlefare and #singlefare4

IMG_5506.JPG

Acrylic with Micron pen. I gessoed the cards first.  

New Spaceship Maze

I am very happy how the inking came out on this one! It resembles the intricate line work of Star Destroyer illustrations or Möbius ships - a little. I was able to use some of the concepts I played with on Orbital, like stacked paths and staircases. I'll probably do the shading in mostly grays, but may check out some old SciFi (John Berkey) book covers too. 

IMG_5204.JPG

Making Adjustments and Notes

This is a color test print. Seeing the colors on paper gives me a better idea of what the final piece will look like. The print also helps identify areas that are mis-colored or the line work is weird. Here I noted where I want to add some buildings. The long walls of trees at the top don’t really work. Highlighting the solution now will help when I make that page later. I like seeing the solution in a bright pink line… It makes me happy. Eventually, I will have clean prints for an entire second book. I will organize them in a way that is pleasing while also increasing the difficulty as the book progresses. Someone runs all the mazes for difficulty, clarity and enjoyment.

IMG_5059.JPG