Sunday, October 31, 2010

IF: Spent

zdepski's illustration of old lady brown's lawn

I spent hours of toil at Old Lady Brown's. She had a yard that was long enough to drive golfballs. She must have been 80 years old when I knew her, but she still wanted that huge yard mowed. It was the first time I experienced heat exhaustion, when the grass below my feet looked like rippling water, and was floating above my body as it slogged that mower through the knee-high grass. She never sharped the blades of her cheap sears push mower.

OLB often called on the phone without a "Hello" - she would bleat out my dad's name "Steve??!", forcing the person on the receiver-end to yank the phone away from their head with the sonic blast. My brother's reminded me of her constant interjection of "am I right?" after every statement, as her false teach clickity-clacked with the syllables.

She was a grand old girl. White hair from the age of 18 - timelessly old.

Oh yeah... after mowing for $2.75 an hour, I had to walk 5 miles home because my mom wouldn't pick me up.

My dad volunteered me to be her "mower"... years of obligation... thanks, dad.

Corporal Punishment Series - Old Lady Brown
pencil, photoshop, Cintiq. 11 x 17 inches

Saturday, October 23, 2010

IF: Racing

Officer Rabbit's New Bike, by Paul Zdepski - 2007
If you plan on Street Racing... Officer Rabbit will have to do his duty.
Officer Rabbit's New Bike
oil on oval panel in antique frame. 20" x 13" - Click the Pic to enlarge.

"I'm the Hi-way patrol, Hi-way patrol.
My hours are long, and my pay is low
I'm here ta keep all the speeders drivin' slow,
I'm justa doin' mah job, I'm the Hi-way patrol."
-- Jr. Brown.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up

zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up

Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos
I finished the piece and delivered it. The show's opening is on Friday with dancers and music from Mexico. I was able to work through some heavy stuff making this piece, including revisiting the poem I wrote when I learned of Steven's murder.

The final piece is made of the poplar box provided by the Shenandoah Art's Council, 1/8 inch birch plywood, silk flowers, 60lb fishing line, 3 springs and a modified paint brush. I used three colors of paint (pallet has more): white, purple and clear opalescent. The writing is with a sharpie and cut back in with paint. In the lower jaw, three paint tubes and two brushes are to be placed.

The hardest part was carving. Each bone had to be made and bound together with fishing line. The easel and bench are made just as doll furniture, tiny mortises and bevels - all removable. I tried to be as true to "hand-made" and Folk Art as I could, avoiding manufactured props.

Requiem for Steven Hornbaker

We painted in Spring, landscapes before us
Skull grinned back from your canvas
Rose thorns dripping blood, Houses of the Holy

Mommy left lives ago, her stomach wrenches
With news, eight hundred miles
“Baby’s now stillborn, sucking air”

The bullet entered your arm
You gaze heavenward like St. Sebastian
Porcelain doll face, ruby lips gasp

How you cough like your father’s cancer
No strength to clear the slop
Look at the shooter’s face

Swooping scythe separates you from little Brielle
Will she know your dreams, our dreams for you?
Dragon’s whisper, icy embrace

Staring at life dripping on Naugahyde
Steering wheel leaving the lines of Ash Wednesday
THREE, FOUR, FIVE shots shatter ribs, new shirt

Sleepy gaze, eyes half shut
Valkyrie carry you from the battlefield
Your side losing, Arrogance vs. Lead

Pierced lungs, drown your summer’s breath
Tearing your heart, you glimpse the heaven
You seek in smoke

Tuxedo, white shirt, bow tie, no holes
Die with your boots on, don’t cry
Grinning obituary, so happy to be dead

--paul zdepski

Oct 23, 2010
Winchester Star:
Paul Zdepski in the Winchester Star Newspaper with his Dia de los Muertos sculpture.

Friday, October 15, 2010

IF: Spooky

zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up

zdepski's day of the dead piece for steve hornbaker, close-up


zdepski's shrine to steven hornbaker
Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos
This is a progress shot of my shrine for a friend of mine that was killed 10 years ago during a drug deal. Steve Hornbaker and I were a couple of art geeks in high school. We often painted together for hours and dreamed dreams of being professional artists one day. I went on to pursue that dream, and Steve found a love of heroin.

He tried to scam a street dealer in North Philadelphia... tried driving away without paying for his junk. Six shots later, Steve was dead behind the wheel of his car.

I was given the chance to create this piece by Tracy at the Shenandoah Arts Council. She's putting on a Dia de los Muertos show by the 21st. I need to finish building the wooden marionette skeleton artist as he paints the portrait of Steve looking into the mirror 4"x5" acrylic on a mini easel that is still to be made. The entire piece is currently a black poplar box with three compartments upon which, the skull is to be mounted. The skull's eyes will show the two lower compartments with votive candles. The larger opening will show the skeleton painting in the studio. the entire piece is to be ringed with dried mums.

The piece is accompanied by a written piece of prose called "Requiem for Steven Hornbaker". I'll post that with the final photos of the finished piece within the next week.
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror
zdepski's steven hornbaker in the mirror

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sketchday DC

zdepski's watercolor sketch of a cafe in washington DC
The Illustrators Club of DC, MD and VA had our first sketch day on the National Mall yesterday, 10-10-10. A small group of nine started at the West building of the National Gallery and fanned out to sculpture gardens, coffee houses and various monuments. I was hanging with my friend David Labrozzi - which means "pencils down... I need coffee."

I did a watercolor at the Starbucks street cafe at 6th and Indiana. It was the first watercolor in a year. I was a bit stiff. My watercolor rig is Lucas travel pallet (12 colors) on D'Arches 140lb. 12x16 inch hotpress block and my lucky Ticonderoga 2B pencils. The watercolor block is great because it becomes its own drawing table and the waxed edges don't allow the saturated paper to buckle as you work.

The second in an amalgam of various pudgy guys on the street, waiting at the corner for the light to turn green. I looked at this one again this morning and thought he looks a bit like my dad... or ME for that matter.

zdepski's watercolor sketch of a cafe in washington DC


Friday, October 8, 2010

IF: Transportation

zdepski's painting of a tricycle

the base model, no frills, no bells or whistles. Like all well loved tricycles, the handlebars were askew. No kid was seen... possibly shoving a jelly bread into their face in the kitchen.

- small oil study from two summers ago - under a shady tree on a hot Blue Ridge afternoon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pug and Chihuahua

Zdepski's sketches of a Pug and Chihuahua
two drawings to seal the deal on my April 1st to October 7th sketchbook. My son brought home a new book of dog breeds. He's obsessed with animals, so there is plenty of photographic reference laying around the house at all times. This particular book has a few freaky closeups of some butt-ugly dogs. The bulging eyes of the Pug and Chihuahua made for a good pairing.

Pencil in my Canson sketchbook.
Click to enlarge the slobbering...

Friday, October 1, 2010

IF: Beneath

Zdepski's illustration of Professor Fyne in his underwater observation barrel
Professor Fyne is in his underwater observation barrel beneath the HMS.Duckwaddle, doing eleven knots. He's trying to snag a few new species in the name of science. His technology is rough, but a bit of steam from the boilers keeps the barrel warm.

Pencil and Cintiq with Photoshop.

Click to enlarge the picture