Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Watercolor: Ice Cat

zdepski's watercolor painting, Ice Cat
that story out of NYC about the guy that whacked his cat got me thinking about the kitten my dad brought home when i was 6 years old... my brother James was looking in the fridge, and the cat stuck his head in to see about the cold cuts... James slammed the door... cat didn't remember the rest. we cried and apologized to it... kid's don't know about curiosity killing cats. anyway, this is called Ice Cat. i inked one side of a sheet of velum, flipped it and used watercolor on the other side. i then scanned both sides and merged them in photoshop. i threw in one of my radial background experiments from adobe illustrator. here tiz... ice cat.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Watercolor: Overhaulin'

my old watercolor box was in really, really bad shape. you can see the years of crud, ceramic chips, other color bits and dirt and dog hair... I scrubbed each color pan, salvaging eight or ten of the original winsor newton colors, however i also bought six color tubes to fill the pans of colors that were too far gone. i have the set drying beneath the air duct in my studio, slow drying the tube color. i'm pleased to have spent the time to get this together. i feel like i have clean starting point to work from. i need a couple of new colors, hopefully those from Dennis Nolan's pallet... waiting for feed back from Hartford to find out how to get the list. each of the old color pans had a handwritten color title on the bottom of them, all in the hand of old Mr. Graff, the artist that my dad bought the entire studio from. Mr. Graff's auction was when my dad bought every last stretcher, tube, brush, canvas scrap, ruler, caliper and copper tack the old man had, and gave them to me. At the age of 15, dad let me know he thought my artistic talent was worthy of supporting. I now know how rare and wonderful that act was... thanks dad. I miss you.

UPDATE: Master Dennis Nolan just emailed his watercolor pallet:

All Winsor Newton tube colors to fill pans

Chromatic palette - all transparent, you should be able to
mix most any color with these

Winsor Lemon
Winsor Yellow
French Ultramarine
Winsor Blue (green shade) or Prussian Blue
Scarlet Lake
Permanent Rose

Earth palette - I like this more muted palette of completely
permanent colors, they can all be mixed from the Chromatic
palette however

Yellow Ochre
Raw Umber
Burnt Sienna
Indian red

I usually paint with the Earth palette and add French
Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, Permanent Rose, and Viridian

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debates and Last Words

zdepski's debate ink drawings of john maccain and barak obama
zdepski's ink drawing, lastwords 1
zdepski's ink drawing, lastwords 2
Last night was a disturbing night. I watched the debate, to witness nothing outside of either sides playbook. i sketched the candidates while they talked... here are the four pieces i came up with. each is on a different sketchbook page, but i merged them here for display.

i woke from a disturbing dream at 4 am. i was bound, blindfolded, and about to be shot in the head by an ak-47. i awoke, uttering my last words. i've never been that close to the edge in a dream before, but i wonder how much it has to do with the death of a client of mine's suicide... he's to be interned today. I utter the words, and prepared to cross... each of us has our own last words to utter. I couldn't sleep. i started drawing individuals uttering their last words... then children of conflict and ethic cleansing, uttering their last words. It's heavy, it's disturbing... it's on paper...
... i haven't anything else to say, but i feel like I'm looking at things a bit differently this afternoon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Watercolor: New Sketcbook Pages

zdepski's watercolor sketches of macac, chip and slacker
zdepski's watercolor sketches of his dogs
zdepski's watercolor and ink painting, Groomed for Success
Continuing my experiments with a long lost love... watercolor and ink on paper. My WN paintbox is a mess - i need to buy a new set. this one is ancient, busted color pans, chips of broken color from other pans embedded in what where clean colors at one time. the mixing pallet and lid are chipping their enameling, so flakes of paint are landing in the pan colors, and often has to be picked out of washes... I'd be better off with crayola colors at this point. perhaps a new Cottman box or higher end WN box is in order. You can see my washes are a bit muddy, but it's great to get all sloppy in my sketchbook again. the pages get all crinkled and looking like a real artists owns the book... not me. hahahahah. the pieces here are all sketchbook items from this week. The apes were while watching a PBS show on stress, dealt a lot with baboon society, some macac. the dogs are always around somewhere, and easily penned. the last piece came out after thinking of the elections and privilege in our society. the title is "Groomed for Success", which wasn't supposed to be a Kennedy, but certainly has the family traits. the ink was done on vellum, while the watercolor was washed over the original pencil study. I merged them back together in photoshop. i experimented a bit with changing the black ink lines to the background blue, which works well too. this is getting to be a real nice time of discovery for me. i look forward to trying the WC out on my book project sketches. They'll really benefit from the freshness, but only after I buy a new set of colors to work with... soon-like

Oh, Chimp-Ciggie may become my new IM or Facebook avatar

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Teachin the Kiddies: Ian Gives 'em an Earful

My favorite poet-philosopher, Ian Svenonius dishes out a heaping helping of irony to the kids of Ponsonby Intermediate School in Auckland, New Zealand when the band played a free show for the students. Ian also does a kick-ass interview show called "Soft Focus", filmed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City- fantastic interviews from fascinating musicians and artists.

"Ian Svenonius is not only a lyricist and performer of unparalleled depth and intensity (in bands such as the Nation of Ulysses, Cupid Car Club, Make-Up, and Weird War), but also a secret custodian of rock lore and a theorizer of cultural connections that the rest of us, blind in comparison, tend to miss. For supporting evidence, see his recently released book The Psychic Soviet. He lives, like many of America's national treasures, in Washington DC."

Junkies: Every Junkie Has A Story

zdepski's junkie series painting, Every Junkie Has A Story
Got a call from SILA last night... said my entry for Van Toad was duplicating categories, and they didn't want to rip me off, or see me throwing money away... so I'm entering "Every Junkie Has A Story" under the Gallery heading. It's an experimental piece for me, starting as a simple conté drawing on a slab of cardboard while a Oxycontin addict was talking slurred to me in my studio... they babbled on as i sketched... the conversation kept going in the death spiral of the same points over and over... They left, and i then went crazy with piles of paint laying on with a knife, eventually ending with sandpaper to get back to the base colors I had used. This piece just came down from a show in Frederick, MD, and it got a bunch of comments to the gallery people. I figure if that's the dilly, it may get some recognition from the judges... who knows, it's always a crapshoot.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

20 Years Since: Ink and Watercolor

zdepski's ink and watercolor of charlie manson with a guitar
zdepski's ink and watercolor of art students
zdepski's entry group to the sila competition
I cracked open my paint box of crumbling winsor-newton watercolor pans during my lunch time on monday. the new fountain pen was part of my weekend experimenting while trying to loosen my stiff back from the accident. i drew a sloppy portrait of charlie manson as i watched a documentary on the history channel, then started thinking back to the last time i used the ink and watercolor heavily: the 1980s in philly - so i did a quick remembrance of fellow art students on their way to classes.

these aren't great, or meaningful or portfolio worthy... they are just what they are: Experiments in a very rusty technique. i think i will attempt to mess with some of my cartoons and dogbaby characters with this technique, relying less on cross hatching, and more on color. perhaps even doing the ink on velum, color on paper, then merging the two in photoshop.

Also, i finally got my entries to Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles competition. i'm entering Cy George, Van Toad, Uhané Stealing and Popper, the four entries are each entered in two areas, hopefully doubling my chances of admission at a cost of $200. i notice my portraits are shoulders 3/4 view, and my figures are roughly the same orientation... i gotta break that up a bit more in the future.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Christmas Card: Day 1

zdepski's christmas card image, faun yawn
A deerBaby, or Faun Yawn, preparing for a long winter's nap... I know... Deer don't hibernate. Tough.

the image is currently monochromatic, with a cool Prussian blue as the base. I think it currently has a nice Wedgwood feel. I haven't thought of incorporating other colors, and will have to test them digitally prior to messing it up. I just wanted to get this done and printed prior to the push to mail on Dec. 24th. Last year was relegated to a PDF download, never seeing ink or stamps. WEAK!

Getting on it as soon as I can this year.

don't think I like the texture from the watercolor paper, but i can try to override that with lighting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Air Pulp Cutie: Day 2

zdepski's painting of an Air Pulp Cutie, day 2 at full bleed
zdepski's painting of an Air Pulp Cutie, day 2 closeup
I believe I'm tapped out. I need to know if I can stop... stop me, please. I can noodle this to death if i'm not careful. This is session two of the project... three or four if you count the initial sketches, color sketches and side research. i'm spent.

Friday, September 19, 2008

While on Pain Meds - Look for Old Skatedecks

my good buddy Nate Rhodes (see photo on righthand side) sent a link to my dear ole Santa Cruz board that bit the dust under a porsche 911 on the streets of philly in 1986. it's a reissue, but it's cheap nostalgia. i was clicking around and saw a number of cool old decks. don't feel like jumping on one right now, but the artwork is usually something interesting.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Emergency Room Test of the New Pen

Friggen jerks in cruddy cars with religious license plates NOT stopping at stop signs, ramming into the rearend of Hondas waiting for pickups to drive by...

SO... I spend the day with a slow burning in my lower back, neck and shoulders. Off to the emergency room by noon to make sure I'm checked out before I find out I'm leaking blood from a place I shouldn't.

The jerk wanted to leave the scene until I yelled at him like a Ho to stay where he was... got his info, license plate, name, insurance, and rolled 1000 feet to the State Police barracks to make a report... WELL... In VA, that's leaving a scene, so the cop can't make a report. FUGG! This jerk got off because I thought i was saving the cops, and fellow commuters a few minutes by moving off the road. live and learn. next time i sit there and whine like a baby until the cops show up.

the new pen, blue ink for now, got a workout... sketched myself in the hospital gown, waiting for the Dr to return. Signed my hospital papers with the pen too, wow what a way to try it out! Man, I'm still pissed off, and it was nearly 12 hours ago. I had to pay 100 deductible, and for meds to knock down the inflamed back muscles and neck pain... I hate this. No doubt I'll be dealing with Insurance companies for the next few weeks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Air Pulp Cutie: Day 1

I'm rolling along on the larger final format at 22 x 34, having purchased a roll of medium tooth canvas... don't think i like the surface, cut it to size with 4 inches for bleed and stretching flaps. I think the airplane yellow needs to be less green, more in the red/orange range so it will pop correctly off of the sky. I may also look into some of those old silver Vega racers from the 30s and see how the surface was on them. I don't know if I'm all that juiced with the yellow. Secondly, the prop on the airplane needs major work. I roughed in where it needs to go, but i didn't get too into messing it around since all of the surfaces are equally wet, and the scumbling needs to work wet over dry. The girlie's face has changed a bit. Murray suggested a larger head, lower windscreen. I ditched the windscreen entirely, and boosted the head's size in the picture. She's looking much more tough in this configuration than in the color sketch.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MFA Beard and Burwell-Morgan Mill

I mentioned a few posts back about my MFA beard... I don't know how committed I am, but it's something I've started since August. It's started under my nose... my wife thought i looked Amish with my standard goat beard. I had been in a HOBO stage, with my salt and pepper graying for 3 weeks, but it's now to the point that I look like Gabby Hayes, the grizzled old prospector. I need to think on it a bit... especially since I do work in an office by day, in my mild mannered webdesigner persona.
Saturday was supposed to be my rescheduled opening at the Blue Elephant, which I was unable to make, due to the Prelude acting like a 16 year old car. I was forced to pop the hood and mess with the cap and plug connections while in the parking lot at work.

Prior to it's crapping out, I made a drop of my 5 accepted works to the Burwell-Mogan Mill in Millwood VA. It's a good venue, as an restored and operating gristmill that was restored by proceeds from art sales. I like their setup, which is in the midst of VA's horsey country, and usually turns out buyers for their spring and fall shows. Photos are of the main floor shot from the stairs, which doesn't have any art hung...YET, and the upper main floor which is beginning to hang the entries. The tip-top floor houses the pieces on reserve, of which my two goats on the hay-bales will be one, and the very lowest floor is the wheelroom, with the towering waterwheel, slowly turning. The show runs from October 4-19, with and artist's reception on Sunday, October 12, from 2-5 pm. My pieces hanging are Vincent van Toad, Popper, Goat and Shed, Red Pig and King of the Bales on reserve.

Friday, September 12, 2008

H.R. Giger - Sourced by Paul Oakenfold videographer

Alien artwork by H R Gigeri like Oakenfold - HOWEVER the visuals are lifted directly from Illustrator H.R. Giger. The cold light, industrial constructions from anatomical forms... it's all there, only NOT... I'm sure it would have been much better if they involved the master in their project, instead of doing a poor rendition - just look at the form of the cars: human foot, the "Aliens" head in profile. Poke around Giger's site, you'll see the babies, the bones, the tech... I'm just bumming that he's not even acknowledged in the final credits, or obvious hat-tippage. I know... six years too late, but i just dug this out.

and just cause i like tough chicks like Elastica:


Dear Aspiring Artist:

Here is my advice. Think of it as a five-year plan:

Take whatever courses you find the most interesting.

Study closely the work of the Old Masters.

Stop making art that originates only from your own imagination.

Stay with one technique until you perfect it.

On any given day, always be in the middle of reading a book. When you finish one, start the next. Fiction, nonfiction, biographies, autobiographies, history, science, psychology, or how to build a kite. Anything but go easy on the comic books.

Buy and read the first 6 pages of newspaper every day and also the editorial commentaries. Skip the entertainment section. Su Doku is fine. Do the crossword puzzle.

Fill up a sketchbook every month with pen or pencil drawings of the world around you, not from your imagination.

Buy a book on figure drawing. It's the only art book you will ever need.

Until you can draw an accurate portrait of someone, you donít know how to draw.

Stay away from the airbrush. You'll never master it, hardly anyone ever has.

Visit every museum in your city. Often, until you have seen everything in it. Every kind of museum. Not only the art museums but, of course, those as well.

Forget about contemporary art by living artists, at least for the next few years.

Stay away from most art galleries. Go to art auctions. That's where the real action is.

Learn to play chess.

Take a business course.

Talk to you mother or father at least once a week.

Stop going to the movies until you have rented and seen every film on this list. http://www.time.com/time/2005/100movies/the_complete_list.html

Do not watch television unless itís the news or documentaries.

Do not use an Ipod.

No video games, either.

Learn a foreign language.

Learn to cook.

Spend 8 hours in a hospital emergency room.

Save up money so you can travel to a foreign country within the next five years.

Do not litter.

Avoid politically correct people.

Vote in every election or never dare to utter a political opinion. You are not entitled to one.

Buy a digital camera and take photos every day.
If you see nothing interesting to photograph, you will never be a good artist. Keep only one photo of every ten you take. Delete the rest. It will force you to learn how to edit the garbage from your life, to make choices, to recognize what has real value and what is superficial.

Visit an old age home.

Listen to classical music and jazz. If you are unable to appreciate it at least as much as contemporary music, you lack the sensitivity to develop into an artist of any real depth.

Go to the ballet. Classical or Modern, it doesn't matter. It will teach you to appreciate physical grace and the relationship between sound and movement.

Wake up every morning no later than 8 AM, regardless of what time you went to sleep.

Learn to play a musical instrument.

Learn to swim.

Keep your word.

Never explain your art. People who ask you to do so are idiots.

Never explain yourself. Better yet, never do anything that will, later, require you to explain yourself or to say you're sorry.

Always use spell check.

Stop aspiring and start doing.

This will keep you very busy but it can't be helped.
In my opinion, this is how you might, possibly, have a shot at becoming a good artist.

Hope this helps,

Les Barany

Thursday, September 11, 2008

mfa student profile: Jay Lincoln

zdepski's photo of Jay Lincoln in Hartford CT, July 2008
Jay has an extremely strong grasp of caricature, zeroing in on naturally occurring facial landmarks and pushing them into new, but logical placement. Jay's style has all of the elements sought by editorial and entertainment outlets. His application of line is assertive, his subjects are spot-on, his composition is bold. His demeanor is laid back, ...observant. He reserves his comments for the right moment, which is often a good assessment of the previous conversation, or a well placed quip. I'm very impressed with his ability to turn work out. He is prolific, like a slugger in a batting cage, knockin'em out, one after another. See for yourself, HERE!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dennis Nolan Reaction Paper: Hartford, July 16th

Zdepski's Dennis Nolan Lecture Reaction Paper
I'm a bit late to post this reaction paper. I had knocked it out a week or two after getting back from the Hartford summer session. I thought it turned out alright... no great revelations, mostly observations. I really like and respect what Dennis is doing, although my own skill and energy levels are hovering a bit lower down on the scale. I posted my Vin Di Fate paper a few weeks ago, and didn't get much feedback... It makes me question the validity of my comments... I kind of hate the web for these reasons... it's like playing a tuba solo and all you hear are the crickets chirping in the audience.

Ahhhh... Post it anyway. EFF Yahs... Dennis Nolan Reaction Paper, July 16, 2008, University of Hartford, West Hartford CT

Monday, September 8, 2008

Princess Leia - End of the Leash

What, exactly, where her duties on the end of Jabbah's leash?

1. Scrubbing the flab
2. Trying to prevent bed sores by shifting the lard around.
3. Popping alien puss-filled zits.
4. Emptying the Crap buckets over the side of the ship.

These are the things we, as a family, talk about while rolling along in the car to openings two states over... Well, it's what I talk about while my wife and daughter are yelling at me to stop, while my son is laughing his head off...

more in the works... until i get my cease and desist from Lucas

Saturday, September 6, 2008

at the end of it all...

i finished setting up the show with Chris and Deb at the Blue Elephant... geeeze my work is dark (emotionally). it's quite a contrast to Dave Heatwole's work, which has a airy, tapestry feel... not mr. bringdown at all. i'll add pics to this post showing the setup pics once i get them off the fuji.

famous rhetorical question:
"...at the end of it all, who says they wish they could have spent more time working?"

not so famous answer: "ME!"

I can't get enough studio time to satisfy my need. i'm eyeball deep in client commitments on the web for the entire month of September and first week of October, with a minimum of 3 hours on the box each day, with an average of 9 during the normal work week... i had worked through the holiday weekend last week... pissing me off to no-end, while trying to get my show together... i'm not pleased with my main client or current 8-6 lifestyle. i need to focus and keep my eyes up and scanning for opportunities, rather than letting this crud wear me out. Sure, the web-work is draining (daily eyeball fatigue by 11am), but the painting and illustration infuses me with energy - i just have to believe this negative energy is going to add to my knowledge and character... otherwise i would have walked away from it back in march (very bad month)...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

pauliez in the news: Frederick News-Post


it shocked the heck out of me that they ran Giselle... i think it's a love it or hate it image, so the folks that show for the opening would want to be there. i haven't seen the actual paper, but they said it's the cover of the entertainment section... IN YOUR FACE!!!.... Wheeeww.... gonna make enemies.


Four into One

Four into One, painting group by Paul Zdepski
This is a framing job i did for Saturday's opening at the Blue Elephant in Frederick MD. These are 4 individual paintings that hung as a small wall group in 2007 in the Middletown and Warrenton Lord Fairfax shows. I decided they looked good as a configured group, so i took each of the individual framed pics, screwed their frames together and then framed that structure as a single piece. I'm calling it 4 into One, but they're still individuals, Balanced Begging - Huh? - Neon Glow - Balanced Begging 2
My wife thinks it looks a bit Warhol, but i BEG to differ... these aren't the same image repeated with the same color, or even painted with the intention of relating to each other.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Air Pulp Color Study: Red Stripe addition

zdepski's airplane pulp with an additional red stripe arrow down the side
Prof Vin asked for a red strip down the fuselage... well, here it is. I was going to go all out with a heart overlaying the stripe, along with checkered tail rudder, but Vin thought it would be too much... i know i'd be crosseyed painting those little checks on that tiny tail. I can't wait to work larger... this is killing my eyes, but it's easy to flip around while working.

the theme for this project has been NEW ORDER: TEMPTATION from the 1981 wayback machine... recently heard on the Trainspotting soundtrack. i get into this idiot mode where i loop the same song over and over, repeatedly in iTunes or on my CD player. I picked this up from Hiroshi Murata, who in his genius decided to loop "All My Ex's Live in Texas" by George Strait on both sides of a auto-changing cassette, in the theory that "time would stop since the same song is still on the radio." - insane... but it works for me.

Hiroshi is a friggen genius - i looped this song repeatedly for the last four days, and i think my MFA beard is growing IN, not OUT.

-MFA Beard... that's another story.

Freedom Boarding - Abu Gomer gets some color

zdepski's abu gomer color studyGomer is getting information about Louanne's new boyfriend. The Vietnamese tiger cage didn't break his down-home disposition... all smiles and yuks. Gomer's got a bit of payback to dish out...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Air Pulp Color Study

zdepski's air pulp color study
well, here's my color study for professor vin. it's much smaller than i usually work. this is 8.5 inches wide by 11.5 high. i executed it in oil on watercolor paper that had been prepared with clear acrylic gesso over my initial line drawing.