Monday, August 06, 2012

Bois de Belleau

Today, I was able to produce another monotype print, utilizing some reference photos I'd taken a while back, of a Marine wearing the WW1 uniform...

It honors the fight at Belleau Wood in 1918, and depicts a Marine in the tangled woods, firing his Chauchat machine gun:
The inking and de-inking of the plate through rubbing and blotting can give some interesting atmospheric qualities...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Good Afternoon, Chesty, Wherever You Are...

As you know, I've been utilizing the Monotype process I learned while at my MFA session at the Hartford Art School...

Here's a monotype portrait of Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, a legend in Marine Corps history (and an interesting face for a portrait artist to try and tackle!):
I'm pleased with the variation in tone and texture that the monotype process gives, and its sort of "controlled looseness". And though the portrait here is not perfect, I am pleased with the piece as a whole (notice the fingerprint lines in the black tones, especially in the eyes, which look a bit like engraving marks).

WM Rockin' at MOUT Town

Last year, I had the opportunity to go out to TBS (The Basic School) here in Quantico to a place they call, "MOUT Town" (MOUT= Military Operation in Urban Terrain).
They let me roam around with the instructors and the referees (I think they're called "Coyotes") and take photographs (and sketch if possible) as the young Lieutenants "assaulted" with squad and platoon sized elements into this "town" especially made for this kind of training.

I got the best, most expressive shots when the combatants were inside the buildings.

This is a monotype print I did today based on those photos. It is of a female Marine officer rockin' her M16 out the window of a building (she also had an anti-armor weapon over her shoulder...). 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

More Monotypes

Here are two monotype prints I did today-- portraits of Marines.
I did both of them as a combination of two runs of the plate, the first being the color(s) and the second being the black tones and lines.

Though they're not perfect, I feel these monotypes stand fairly well on their own as expressive images.

Homage to the Marine Infantryman (and David Douglas Duncan)

Here's a monotype I did yesterday, after the photo of a Marine in Korea, taken by the famous photographer David Douglas Duncan.

His series of photographs of Marines in the Korean war will live forever in our country's consciousness, as an indelible tribute to the raw courage and will of the American fighting man.

To create this print I used two color passes of the plate-- the first one was a green tone and the flesh tone with highlights lifted out; the second one was the black tones pressed onto the paper over the first color.
After the second pass, I took a brush with the dark ink and touched up a couple spots directly to the paper, using my finger as well to shad and blend the tone.
Considering the difficulty and risk inherent in the monotype process, I'm pretty satisfied with the results.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The More You Sweat in Printmaking....

I crafted another monotype on Friday,  utilizing some of the mental software that Gary Kelley gave to the MFA students at Hartford the week prior. To see his wonderful monotypes, click here.

I think I'll title it,  "The More You Sweat in Peace..."
It's inspired by a Mojave Viper training event I was once involved in-- the Direct Assault Course-- after which we were all sitting around, sweating and resting.  

What is a "Monotype" you might be wondering?
 A monotype is a one-of-a-kind print in which the artist makes an image by manipulating ink or paint on a printing plate, and then transferring the image to paper by either rubbing the paper with a wooden spoon or running it through a press. The unique challenge with a monotype is that one never knows how the print will turn out, and cannot repeat the image once the paper is applied to the plate. It's all or nothing. The unique value of the process is that, if it is successful, it produces a one-of-a-kind image that has a looseness that regular printing has difficulty achieving.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Moving Along on the Trail to Higher Learning

Hello, all--

Thought I should give you a  SitRep on the goings on here.

I've been away lately, working on my masters degree, through the Low Residency MFA in Illustration at the University of Hartford.  It's a high-intensity program geared to the working professional, which allows him to pursue an MFA while still maintaining a career. For details, click here. I've got only a few sessions left, and one year from now, I'll be a "master" in the art of illustration. The Professors are world class illustrators, most of whom are legends in the biz.

Here are some photos from recent session, held in Hartford, Connecticut:

Chris (C.F.) Payne talks to us during "crit" in Advanced Illustration 2 class (my work is on the wall, far left-- the caricature of Chesty Puller and the monotypes of  WWI African American soldier...)

The monotype they liked--

Also a sculpture update--

I've made a bit of headway on the Mule and His Marine sculpture and here is the latest photo:

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Even More Like a Mule

Here is the latest progress on the mule in the A mule and his Marine sculpture.

It's really starting to look like a mule, though still a bit rough in certain spots. I have now put the wax on all parts of the legs, torso and head, and even lengthened the ears a bit to begin that "muleness" that's so important to the piece.

Little by little, we're making progress towards the finish-- just like out on the trail!

Friday, April 20, 2012

More Like a Mule

Here is another progress report on the sculpture of the Marine guiding his mule-- A Mule and his Marine is a more realistic title...
Yesterday I worked on the figures' heads, adding muscle and skin to the skulls.


 Adding a fleshed-out head to the sculpture certainly gave the mule a spark of life... I hope that one day soon he may even look stubborn!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fleshing Out

Well, friends, I finally began putting wax onto The Mule and his Marine (!)

I began by stuffing the open areas (the guts, basically) with aluminum foil. I continued by stretching metal screen over the form in order to hold the foil guts in and give the surface "tooth" for the wax to adhere to. I then secured it all with wire.
I slowly added hot wax to build up basic shapes which will eventually become muscles and hide.
(all that stuff behind the figures above is what's on the shelf in my home studio) 
The torsos are now covered with a basic layer of wax. Tomorrow I'll begin on the heads and legs of the figures.
Wax on!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Mountains Made

More work from yesterday and today on the Mule and Marine armature:

 To the base I added some wire screening, on which I'll add plaster cast strips to keep the form.

  On the dry, hardened plaster form, I added wire mesh and sculpting wax...
The wax has been added, to make the basic mountain form. Soon I'll begin adding wax "rocks" and other mountain-typical objects, to make the base read "Mountainside"...

The difficulty with sculpture "in the round" is that one must take care to make a pleasing composition from several angles-- basically from each point around 360 degrees of the compass.

This particular base must be large and wide enough to hold the weight of the large mule figure and its load, but also must be visually balanced and yet seemingly unstable (like a mountain with talus slopes)
. No pressure, eh?!

UPDATE 4/15/2012
Friday's work on the base:
 Tomorrow, I begin to put "flesh, clothing and gear" on the figures.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A mule and his Marine-- Making a Mountainside

Today I finished constructing the basic shape of the armature which will hold the "mountainside" under the Marine and mule figures.

I had started a few days ago on the slope, using wood and nails to block it out:
Then I used wire screen and staples to make the form upon which the sculpting wax would be applied:
Finally, I applied melted wax to the screen and thus fleshed out the armature mountainside.

Next, I will add some girth to the base of the armature, so that the final cast bronze will not be top-heavy with mule... but I want to make sure it's not too heavy-looking and that the base has an uplift and a lightness to it. This may be a stubborn task-- perhaps just as stubborn as the subject itself!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mule and Marine Maquette

Today I got the basic maquette worked out for the upcoming "A Mule and his Marine" sculpture-- it's of course an homage to Frederic Remington's Mountain Man, but will have a fully-packed mule being led down the slope of a mountain by his Marine packer.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today's Work

Today I got in the equine and human armatures, for use on the Mule and Marine sculpture!

A company makes them anatomically correct in several sizes, for ease of posing and to take away hours which otherwise would have been taken up by the artist having to correct and re-correct the proportions of the skeletal armature.

In a related subject, here's today's graphite wash sketch of Marines and a mule in the mountains of the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pickel Meadows, CA:

Here also is an oil sketch I did several weeks ago, based on an experience in Afghanistan--

The subject is a group of Marines playing cards after dark at FOB Delhi (the same group of guys who I'd seen playing during the day) At the risk of over-featuring the subject of such Marine leisure activities, I decided to paint this scene because I've only done one nocturne before, and the lighting here was dramatic and gave for a loose brushwork I find interesting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Art Update

Here are some of the drawings and oil sketches I've done lately.

They cover everything from Afghanistan to Haiti, and are in a variety of media.

From Bridgeport and environs, I have a couple sketches in graphite wash as well as an oil study of a column of Marines going down the road in the desert near Hilton Ranch
From Afghanistan, there's a figure study in oil of Chaplain Roberts doing his laundry at FOB Delhi, and a composition study in oil depicting Marines and interpreter talking to a local Afghan farmer.

From Haiti, there's an oil sketch of a sail boat I saw just off shore near Carrefour.
From VA hospital in Richmond, there's a portrait of Wounded Warrior Zach Stinson