Welcome, Blogophiles!

Welcome, Blogophiles!

Or is that Bloginators, or Blogostines? And why am I doing this?
Heck if I know. But, I'm an artist of sorts, and LOTS of artists have their own Blogs, so why not me? I get to talk about myself and show some of my occasional (and I do mean Occasional) train art. I'm also gigging regularly with a great tribute band called Close to You, which covers the Carpenters. Thanks for visiting, fellow Blogians!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Train Wreck (the band)

I joined this band about 5 months ago. This has been a fun “gig” for me, and as I mentioned, the band's name is pure coincidence! Train Wreck has an established group of locales where it plays in the Sacramento area up towards El Dorado Hills and Auburn. We play a lot of classic rock, as well as the occasional tune from this century. The Train Wreckers are a good bunch of guys, and I think we're starting to sound pretty tight. Since it's been about 15 years (yikes!) since my last band, I really look forward to playing these gigs.

Playing the drums is pretty physical, and perhaps a little like running a marathon in respect to endurance. I may practice an hour 2-3 times a week, but that hasn't prepared me for playing a 4 hour gig! That's something you have to work up to, just like running distances. I've had cramps in both forearms AND my kick drum leg at various times during gigs--usually in the 3rd set. (Very difficult to play one-armed!) Perhaps this is why you don't see too many overweight drummers: it's a good workout.

Shown here is a poster I put together using an image of a French train that perhaps had an inattentive brakeman (this image is in the public domain, BTW).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Colorado RR Museum Quadtych Poster

IN A PREVIOUS post I showed my 4 Colorado RR Museum engine oils in progress. Now they are completed (though not yet varnished) and plunked down into a poster layout. I'm reasonably happy with the way they turned out, but I'll admit I'm not very keen on painting a quadtych again. There are many issues of design, color and lighting continuity to keep track of on a "piece" such as this. Perhaps next time I could try a single-point perspective viewpoint. Yikes-my brain is exploding!

This 36 X 16 inch poster is available direct from yours truly for only $25 plus shipping. Other sizes are available–please inquire.

My challenge now is to get the museum in Colorado to take some to sell in their store. How can they refuse? (Plus, no roosters were harmed in the production of these paintings!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Revenge of the Sleepless Man

ANYONE who thinks of the strongly evocative Rural Idyll might include in their rumination a lovely rooster and it's crowing that begins the new day. Picture it- a pretty farm setting where the sun is slowly rising over the pasture, and in the distance a rooster announces the glorious new day with a proud “cock-a-doodle-doo”. Yeah, right. How 'bout an unbelievably loud screechy crowing starting at 4:45 AM and continuing NON-STOP until well after you've left for work? Oh yes, this neighbor with the rooster also placed their coop against the property line as close as possible to our bedroom. During summer with the windows open, the crowing has been loud enough to keep ME awake, and in my sleepless state, insidious courses of action start to form in my groggy brain. How 'bout chemically-altered chicken feed? Nope–don't want to hurt innocent chickens. How 'bout a blow gun with– no, wait, I wouldn't do anything like that. BUT, it has inspired me to obtain a bit of cathartic release by creating some art of a different sort. So, here's my preparatory “sketch” for my next oil, “Revenge of the Sleepless Man”. Thanks go to my daughter, Katie, for her help with the title.

It's MY dream, so I get to have a nice train and a giant bug-eyed rooster. Don't forget the comfy floating bed. The canvas, 48 inches wide, is in the early stages.

I could show this to my neighbors, but I KNOW they wouldn't get it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

de Young and de Restless

TWO weekends ago I attended the "Birth of Impressionism" show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. I really don't have words (c'mon, use your words, Gary) to describe how excellent it was to see some renowned art "in the flesh" (canvas?). Monet's La Gare Saint-Lazare was certainly a highlight for me–hey, it's a train station for crying out loud!
Discovering some perhaps lesser-known artists is always fun. I loved Tarbell's Blue Veil for his beautiful brushwork and use of complimentary color.
The following day, we saw more Impressionists at the Legion of Honor Museum and it's exhibition, "Impressionist Paris". I'm embarrassed to say I didn't recognize the artist Jean-Francoise Raffaelli, but I was stunned by his large canvas Boulevard des Italiens, Paris! All in all, this was very inspiring stuff to see. Now, back to the old easel. Next up–I begin my new painting inspired by my neighbor's "lovely" rooster, entitled "Revenge of the Sleepless Man." (I'm not kidding...)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That's One Loco Locomotive

ABOUT a year ago I completed a 36 X 24 inch oil on canvas of a totally cool geared locomotive that I saw at the Railroad Park Resort in Dunsmuir, CA. This one, a "Williamette", is on static display, and there are maybe only 1-2 left in the Pacific NW in working condition. I had never seen anything like it– all 3 wheel arrays (called "trucks") have power to them via a crazy drive shaft that has gimbals and articulated gears and other cool moving parts that I have no idea about. All this enabled the engine to navigate tight curves up steep slopes in a logging operation, and that's why they were built. They were like the 4WD Jeeps of steam locomotives.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sketches from China

IF I were teaching someone to paint, I'd first make sure they had a good foundation in drawing. I really ought to heed my own words. But it's so much FUN to smear oils on canvas! Nonetheless, I got an opportunity to do some drawing recently while traveling in China. I'd forgotten how satisfying it can be. A word of caution: don't try to do fine pen and ink work while the cruise ship you're on is rolling in seas near the Aleutians. You tend to draw odd, meandering lines...
These 2 pieces were based on photos taken, and were drawn free-hand style while referring to the photo. I inked directly without any pencil rough, using sepia tone ink with various quills on a good hot press paper. I forgot my brushes, so the tones were applied with a good ole number 8 right index finger (you know-smudged!) I used to do a healthy business in my old freelance studio in pen and ink, before Macs came along with decent software and pressure sensitive tablets. "Analog" pen and ink requires a certain steadfastness on the artist's part: once pen hits paper and ink flows, well–you're truly committed! There's no beloved command/control-Z; that lovely undo command that digital artists use regularly.

Friday, July 2, 2010

CO Engines Quadtych-In Progress

LAST year during some free time after a trade show in Denver, I visited the Colorado State Railroad Museum in Golden. It's a great museum for a train buff! I took a series of separate frontal shots of some engines on static display, and later realized there was a sort of chronology there. So-voila! My very first quadtych. (Now there's a word for you.) This has to be one of the most difficult things I've ever attempted. Although each canvas is only 12X16 inches, keeping the same "feel" between all of them when you only paint 3-8 hours a week is damned difficult, I must say. As noted, these are in progress-perhaps about 85 per cent complete. Notice something missing? No steam is coming from the 3 engines on the left–yet. That diesel-electric on the right might get some some nice blue exhaust smoke, too. Eventually, I plan on producing a poster to sell in the CO museum (assuming they'll take 'em).

What's this other stuff I do?

IN case anyone cares, my day gig is working as an "Art Director" (whatever that is), for a cool little company near Sacramento called Music Interface Technologies. They make the world's best/most advanced audio cables for really demanding, nerdy music lovers and the recording industry. The listening room at this place is Eden to the musically discerning, absolutely loaded with amazing components and gear. (Can you imaging dropping $100,000 on a similar 2-channel audio system in your home?)  When I listen to music in there, the sound is SO good I usually hear some nuance I hadn't heard before. I mean, even Britney Spears sounds good on that system (just kidding-we don't have any of her sh__.) 
And part of my job is understanding the products we sell, so I'll bring in a CD occasionally and listen. Nice.
Oh yeah–shown above is one of a series of posters I created for an ad campaign a while back, with thanks to Auguste Rodin, of course.

Some Earlier Train Art

SINCE many of the dozens, nay, hundreds of you who are new to my blog might not be familiar with my work, here's one of my favorites. Titled "Oiling the 28", it's a 48 X 36 inch oil on canvas of the engineer at the Jamestown, CA railroad museum oiling the gears on Engine 28. (The same engine that starred in "Back to the Future III", BTW.) This piece made the juried cut for the Roseville Arts national show last April. I think I like the close-up aspect of this where I can depict more of the oily, pitted and discolored metal. Me thinks I must paint more close-ups!