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!

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!