Monday, December 27, 2010

SCIENCE! The textbook is getting into the more complicated of its arenas, and I'm getting a crash course in all that stuff I should remember about the building blocks of the living universe. Fortunately, there's a wealth of illustrations of these processes out there, so I had a good time rummaging through them and finding what works well, or horribly, about each.

The trick seems to be expressing the ideas clearly as possible without being misleading about their complexities, which simply can't all be delved into in this book, due to limitations of time and space.

So! This is what I ended up with for the structure of DNA.

Looking at it now, I'm thinking a background color may be in order....but that can wait, for the moment. I did have fun playing with backgrounds a bit while I finished putting the pea pods together.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The new painting I've been working on! A little bigger than the last, but still small, 15" x 20".

Silly to show a blank canvas, but I'm going to do it anyway! Because this is where it starts.

Next step was a flat terra-cotta-colored undercoat--not something I always do, but I think it will be useful here because there will be so many white-against-light-blue juxtapositions (an airplane and white bonnets, against lots of sky) in the image. Ideally, letting the orange show through a little will separate those elements without the drastic contrast of an artificial dark line.

Then I blocked out the major elements:

Since I am going to be painting sky and ground around these characters and objects, it might seem unnecessarily time-consuming to be drawing them out now. Wouldn't it make more sense to work fast and loose with the background, then paint the figures over it? Yes, in all ways, except for one: when I'm working in tight detail, I work in thin layers, so those areas with the most subtle detail--usually faces and hands--get messy fast if I don't minimize the texture of the layers that go underneath. Blocking out the areas where things like that will go keeps me from overworking them prematurely.

I'm excited to do the next bit, which will be loads and loads of basalt rocks underfoot. Not a texture I've ever done before. Frankly, I'm excited to be painting at all! Illustrations are well and good, but painting time is luxury time for now.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas! We made chicken and dumplings, drank a little Asti Spumante, gave the dogs baths, and all that other stuff that generally only happens once a year. In addition, I painted many, many horses.

Here's the fruit of my most recent labors: illustrations showing the predicted results of the crossing of two palominos:

(cute, no?)

...And the potential offspring of a chestnut and a cremello (both of which are the products of palomino parentage).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Illustrations. Here's some preliminary work for a model of Mendel's experiments with pea plants, which will illustrate the distribution of dominant and recessive traits in the species he studied.

Having painted these four, I've scanned them into photoshop, and can now manipulate them to look like a few different ones, adjusting the colors and flipping them. That won't fool anyone who's looking for it, but at a glance it will take away the cut-and-paste feeling that so often happens on charts like this.

Soon I'll add grid lines, arrows, and text; then three tiers of background color to more clearly identify the three different generations. Then fact-checking.

After it's complete, I'll follow up with a series of four illustrations showing the projected progeny for four horse pairs with a variety of coat colors. Nothing better than having an excuse to paint lots of baby horses! But for now, peas it is.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Illustration time. Check out the Pleistocene, newly completed!

It still needs a few more trees, and a pack of wolves, back on the knoll between the mammoth and bison. Then on to some science-y stuff like genetic probability and DNA and amino acids and the like.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Painting progress. This one's a wrap, which feels GREAT.

Aaaaand finished:

(You can see that the color is a little different on the shot of the final piece--that's because I documented it in my studio with cloudy ambient daylight--as opposed to propping it up on the back of my couch next to a lamp, at midnight!)

In case you are curious: the setting is a combination of spaces I experienced in Utah: some of the massive warehouses left empty on the airfield in Wendover, and one of Nancy Holts' Sun Tunnels. My friend Lauren Greenwald plays both characters.

Now...on to the next.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

They're here! They're here!

Show catalogs! Fifty-five of them, to be exact.

...And now, to distribute.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A new painting is well under way!

It's 10" x 13", rather small compared to most of the work I did for the last show, which is always kind of a nice change.

I've been planning pieces for a while, working on layouts and doing studies--totally necessary steps in the process, and ones that can't really be rushed--but finally putting paint to panel is satisfying in a way that plans aren't, and it feels excellent, excellent, to be physically working.