Sunday, May 31, 2009

IF: Adapt

zdepski's watercolor of a hippie number 5
zdepski's watercolor of a hippie number 4
zdepski's graphite sketch of a hippie

Fellow Hartford MFA'ers... no, it's not Murry Tinkelman!

Clean house, welcome to the new century! Mr. Hippie is trying to adapt to his new surroundings and consumer culture...

If he really wants to Adapt, he should toss all that crud on EBAY! I see an original Iron Butterfly album, Chairman Mao's Lil' Red Book and a few other Metaphysical gems!

This is my Hippie study for the dogbaby spread, "Logan's Lava Lamp", so this is "Larry Lugging LSD Leftovers"

Top is my choice... much less confused color.
very bottom is the sketchbook page.

Color is WnN watercolor on Fabriano Paper
Graphite is my all-time favorite pencil... EVER, the Natural Cedar, Ticonderoga HB #2 on the Strathmore sketchbook page.

Click'em to seem'em much larger.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Equipment Failure

photo of a New Holland LS55 tractor
zdepski's photo his LS55 New Holland stripped down
zdepski's photo of the destroyed Kohler motor
zdepski's photo of a WW2 jeep
When New Holland tractors become Old Holland Tractors... My poor old blue bomber threw a bolt in the crank case a few years ago, and the cost to replace it was beyond my pain threshold. I have since found another option, with a few more horsepower on top, so I rolled the beast out from under it's tarp and started tearing pieces off the frame to reveal the gooey center... You can see where it blew the crank case apart, with daylight showing from one side to the other.

Well, now I have to pony up the bucks to get a crate motor replacement for a Kohler Twin... Note the Kohler motor housed in a Kohl's Bag on the brick wall... poetry in so many places.

Other fun, I shot the heck out of the GI encampment in town... Look at all the crud they tie onto those Jeeps! Holy cow! They popped the 30cal machine gun and holstered a couple sweet Tommy guns a bit later, so I also got shots of them fully dress for battle. It was a rare opportunity for reference photos. Glad I was thinking when I saw them.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

IF: Cracked - How 2

zdepski's painting of thomas jefferson with cracked surface
zdepski's painting of george washington with cracked surface
zdepski's slide of crackle materials
zdepski's slide of process steps


I thought this may be a good time to explain one of my tricks for "Instant Credibility" - or antiquing the surface of a DRY painting to give it the aged and cracked look. The pieces shown are my portrait of Thomas Jefferson and a detail of George Washington beating someone with a cherry tree branch.

This is an OLD technique, used in furniture making and counterfeiting. You can try the Crackle stuff sold by most craft stores, or home centers, but this is the old way.

The process starts with a DRY painting ... I can't emphasize this enough... These were oil, and I had to wait weeks for all gummy and tackiness to leave.

Gum Arabic (water-based) is applied over the entire piece. Once it dries to the touch, coat the entire piece with Damar Varnish (oil-based). The two different rates of contraction during the drying process create a crack in the Damar surface. You can stress the cracks further by flexing the canvas, paper or board. If you use the face of a hammer from the back, it will create a bull's eye crack... experiment.

Now, once it's dried over night, open your OIL-BASED browns and grays, Burnt and Raw Umbers, Siennas and scumble with a dry brush, straight from the tube, no medium...

Wipe ALL of the surface with a very very lightly damp Turpentine soft cotton cloth, cleaning the surface, but leaving the paint in the cracks...

It really works, but remember... The first time I did this, in 1998, I was doing it on the final Jefferson piece - due on a deadline...

I really risked everything in hopes that it would work. Therefore, I would ask that you test this on a piece you don't care much about, until you get comfortable with the process.

Good Luck!

Click them to make them larger.

The slides represented here are from my process PowerPoint lecture, FREE and available from my site downloads area

Friday, May 22, 2009

Everything's Been Said

zdepski's moleskine sketch of an older couple waiting for the check

After 40 years of dinner out, they burned through every topic of conversation... now they're just waiting for the check. My composition seems stiff - I really hate profiles. The look naive and lazy, but I had to bang it out without them catching me, while I yakked it up with my bride and kiddie. low light was tough to deal with too. the feature of the couple were muted... very "Angela Lansbury"

graphite in my moleskine sketchbook - click to enlarge

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Printmaking: Potato Petals

zdepski's potato prints of flowers in color
here are my potato prints all cleaned and adjusted in Illustrator. These are staple in the Sponge Bob reality. I need to have quite a few variations of the flower to pull off the "homage"....

... Did I hear someone whisper "Ripp-off"?

There are a few items in my sketchbook that are in need of scanning and import into Photoshop... progress, one dumb idea at a time.

click it to see it bigger.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Printmaking: Bamboo Vectors

zdepski's ink bamboo stamps
zdepski's ink bamboo stamps

Last night, I spent a good long time cleaning up my vector files generated from my pine-block prints of the three segment bamboo. here are the six individual prints, colored and snugged up together on a mauve background. I'm liking the texture and hand-done feel to this, even though they are fully a copy and paste item at this stage... they retain their sloppy studio beginnings.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Printmaking: Potato-style

zdepski's ink bamboo stamps
zdepski's ink flowers
zdepski's ink gradient fade
zdepski's flower potato stamps
I need to build a library of source vector textures and objects to recreate a Sponge Bob Square Pants feel to my portrait of Ernest Borgnine. I spent a bit of time on Sunday using sponges, toothbrushes, stippling brushes and liners with some Japanese woodworker's layout ink. The ink isn't waterproof, and is meant to wash away with the rain as the carpenters have moved on to new work, which made my own clean up very easy... i was up to my elbow in ink at one point.

I split a large Idaho baking potato and carved two 5 petal flowers, as seen in many SB background textures. I then took a cut-off piece of pine from my last round of framing and carved a 3 section piece of bamboo... SB uses a 4 section piece, but I didn't want to go toe-to-toe on the rip... I just want the feel.

These are all printed on a big figure drawing pad of Strathmore cream colored paper. I photographed last night and then Posterized them in Photoshop after a bit of brightness and contrast adjustments. This is just the start... many more items to be made, but this is how I'm starting it all. I need to bring all source material with me in July, but I hope to have more than not enough.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mayfest in Strasburg

zdepski's photo of Zhana in Flags
zdepski's photo of Niki with a Shake
zdepski's photo of a RatBike
zdepski's photo of Tubbies on a Scooter
zdepski's photo of the lone ranger and poo bucket


my small town America... full of undersized marching bands, motorcycle cops, dairy princesses waving from the back of old cars, fire trucks and the occasional gold medalist in curling or step aerobics.

Here's a smattering of the day's events:

Darling daughter is the blond in the center of the flag circle,

son Niki taking a needed break with a chocolate shake,

the Warlocks MC parking a few bikes...

the Tubbies on the scooter were nearly scraping the frame on the ground!

let's not pass over the Lone Ranger... in lieu of Tonto riding along, he has a street sweeper to catch all poo the horse may shoot out in a bucket... that guy didn't do any waving, since his hands were occupied at all times.

click the pics to make them bigger

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ernest Borgnine - My CT Hero

Zdepski's sketch of Ernest Borgnine as Mermaid Man
Portrait of Ernest Borgnine from Wikipedia Bio Page
Spongebob Squarepants Character, Mermaid Man

The MFA classes are already gearing up for summer session. We have a San Francisco reaction painting to complete, as seen in previous posts, but the new assignments have begun to roll in. Nancy Stahl and Jean Tuttle are teaching a class on digital media, where we get to create a poster piece in the big three of digital authoring: Photoshop, Illustrator and Painter. I own all three, but can use some serious tutoring on many of the capabilities. Both instructors are fully digital, having switched from traditional media in the 90s.

Their assignment: Choose a famous Connecticut son or daughter to portray in a themed illustration: Not a straight portrait.

Ernest Borgnine, I Choose You!--- "Peekapeekapeekka CHOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

So, Mr. B is an Oscar winner, 70s Thrill movie player and Spongebob Square Pants voice actor for the character, "Mermaid Man". This is my first sketchbook crack at him, but I have a pricing request into a Movie photo house for some better head shots than the free-bee over on Wikipedia.org (seen here). I'm still hashing out the concept, but I think McHales Navy will be making an appearance in there somewhere.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Smokin Monks, A Slight Return

zdepski's watercolor painting of a Proboscis Monkey smoking a cigar
I found much better reference on Proboscis monkeys. I like the pore holes on the nose meat... really gross. Did this during my lunch hour today... Lucas watercolor on Fabriano. click to enlarge it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Smokin Primates

zdepski's watercolor painting of a Macaque smoking a cigar
zdepski's watercolor painting of a baboon smoking a churchill cigar
zdepski's watercolor painting of a proboscis monkey with blunt
Round two or three. I had terrible reference for the Proboscis monkey, but the profile is pretty silly. I like the Macaque... the Baboon has possibilities. These were all done on Strathmore sketch paper... really buckled. not the best ground for heavy wash styles like mine. The color is my new Lucas set of 24... some colors are a bit chalky. I'm not sure if I would ever be happy with a full set from one single manufacturer. I tend to pick here and there to make my pallet, but these are my first fully Lucas pieces.

I needed new Avatar material for my various web presences... smoking primates are my moniker.

click to make them bigger.

Friday, May 8, 2009

IF: Parade

zdepski's sepia study of Chinatown San Francisco festival
zdepski's moleskine sketch of chinatown SF dragon celebration

Not a cop-out, this is Serendipity... It's really something I'm currently working on. Impromptu Parade in Chinatown, San Francisco

Finding that the Cable Car is reminding me of the old cartoon strip "Toonerville Folks" and the Toonerville Trolley. Really excited about where this piece is heading.

Top: Nutbrown W&N Ink on Strathmore, 11 x 14
Lower: Pencil on Moleskine sketchbook spread, 10.5 x 8.5
click to enlarge

Sunday, May 3, 2009

San Francisco: reaction piece in sepia

zdepski's sepia study of Chinatown San Francisco festival
zdepski's sepia study of Chinatown San Francisco festival
This is my Chinatown dragon piece in the works. I'm debating if the final shouldn't be within my new toy, Painter 11. The other option is to make it a classic watercolor, but I need to get a bigger and better printer to output my drawing to the paper. This piece is in my 11x14 Strathmore sketchbook done in Winsor and Newton Nutbrown ink. This street doesn't really exist, but you get the SF Chinatown vibe. I'm putting many of the derelict signs I had photographed on the sides of many C-town buildings... many are from the early days of neon, and quite beautiful as art objects. The SF Bay, Sausalito and Rodeo Lagoon regions are visible on the horizon.

The other Nutbrown ink drawing is part of the dogBabies project - Although it IS very Haight-Ashbury. Larry's owner is schlepping some old Hippie crud to the curb. Notice the tubular object in the front of the box... looks like paraphernalia.

"BOOK 'EM, Danno!"

Click the pics to make them larger.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kazu Sano Reaction Paper

link to zdepski's PDF of Kazu Sano lecture

Click the pic to download my reaction paper to the Kazuhiko Sano lecture of March 19th, 2009 at the Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA. I struggled with themes and artists for a while, but kept fixating on the theme of mentors and teachers. The paper focuses on two of the biggest influences on my life as an artist; my father, and Hiroshi Murata. Sano's story was uncannily similar to Hiroshi's early upbringing, so I leveraged that part for this paper. I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think. I can use the input.

caught two typo's already... too late for the printed version... it's in the mail. the pdf will get the revisions within the week.

IF: Hierarchy

zdepski's oil painting of pope john paul
Ole John Paul in his decline... top of the heap, lookin' up. This piece is owned by Oronde Kairi of Philadelphia PA. I hadn't meant any disrespect to him when I painted it.

O.Kairi got a chuckle out of it, so it's his now.

oil on canvas. click to make it bigger