2012 #1

January 9, 2012

Home (grace B-side)...8x10 acrylic on canvas and paper...09 Jan 2012

Here is another B-side from the Grace album.  This is Home.

2011 #17

December 30, 2011

Nativity…(3) 4×12 acrylic on paper and canvas…24 Dec 2011

These three paintings were a Christmas gift for my mom.  She hinted that she would like a nativity scene.  I employed the help of my three kids to make it a family project.  They did all the painting of colors.  I simply cut and assembled.  If I ever did children’s book illustrations, it would probably be in this style.

 

 

2011 #16

December 7, 2011

Grace...30x40 acrylic on paper and canvas...23 Nov 2011

I finished this one right before Thanksgiving and finally got around to taking a picture of it.  I am never happy when I have to photograph my work.  There are lighting and glare issues, color issues, and I feel like it looses a lot of close up details.  I only use a Canon point and shoot camera, so I am not really working with the gear for pro-shooting.  You got to see this one in person.  Believe me, so much better.  With my smaller paintings I usually scan and get good quality images.

This is the first painting where I followed through on the idea of using the leftover cut paper to make smaller paintings…which I call “singles” (like one song off an album.)  I would take breaks from working on the “big” painting to finish some smaller paintings (see my previous posts.)  I like where this is going.  I need to get through Christmas as I dream-up the next project.

2011 #15

December 2, 2011

Swan Flight (Grace B-side)…8×10 acrylic on foil, paper, canvas…01 Dec 2011

Leftover paper and used materials from my latest painting turned into a “b-side” for my current project.

Grace Outake

December 2, 2011

Swoon (grace outake)…photo…01 Dec 2011

I have really been fascinated with all the leftover paper cut from my main projects.  I see short-little potential in these pieces of paper that are on their way to the recycling bin.  That’s all.  Enjoy!

2011 #14

November 21, 2011

Grace (swan dance edit)...8x10 acrylic on paper and panel...11 Nov 2011

This is the lead single off my new upcoming album.

My  latest painting is almost complete.  As I have been working on it, I have seen the potential to do a few singles, b-sides, and remixes at the same time.  This edit has been made by using leftover material samples from the original painting to create a smaller piece.  I thought I would take a break from the main painting to complete this smaller piece as an introduction to the themes of the larger painting.

I have had this idea floating around in my  head for a while, so here is my first shot at it.  We’ll see how it goes.

This is a video “demo” (sketch) for the concept of my new album (painting.)  It is a simple melody in the most basic way: cut white paper with light and shadow.  I quickly shot this in one take with a handheld camera and left in all the background noise…the music in my studio, the kids talking and running across the wood floors above, etc.

video still

November 13, 2011

video still from Grace "demo" light and shadow mono mix

This fall has been fantastic and has been moving quickly.  It seems like forever since I have posted any new work.  I have slowly been working on a new project of which I refer to as my “new album.”  I am going rock and roll on this.  My album will feature some demo’s, for the collectors a single (radio edit), maybe some besides, and the finished piece.

The above picture is a “still” from a quick little video I took.  This is a demo of what is to come with the new album.  This demo is mono – white on white- using shadow and light to create the image of a figure.  I will release the “demo” video soon, followed by the single, before the album comes out.

Process Sketch Video #2

September 6, 2011

Do you remember all the snow we, in Kansas City, got this last winter?  We were so ready for summer.  It has been a hot summer, but these last few days have reminded us how wonderful Fall is.  I shot some video images of painting I was working on last February.  It was a snowy month and I wanted to work on a snow themed painting.  I finally got around to editing those images to show some behind the scenes of work in progress.  It is cheesy as all get out, but I hope you enjoy the look inside my studio.

Watch on Youtube for higher quality.

 

2011 #13

August 30, 2011

portrait of a broom head...11x14 acrylic on magazine paper and panel...28 Aug 2011

Portrait of a Broom Head is the companion piece to Portrait of a Mop Head.

A couple of weeks ago I submitted Mop Head to a juried show and learned that they extended the deadline for submissions.  With the extra time, I thought I would paint Broom Head and submit the two as a nice little couplet.  Again this show is themed around janitorial supplies…inspired by and created by.

I need some time to think about what to work on next.  Either big or real tiny.  Sometimes the tiny painting serve as a transitional piece between bigger ideas, but for right now I need to plans some drills for U7 soccer practice tonight.

2011 #12

August 19, 2011

portrait of a mop head...11x14 acrylic on magazine and panel...14 Aug 2011

I’ve been busy this last month.  A trip to Wisconsin to visit a friend and catch U2 in Minneapolis.  A vacation with my family down to the Emerald Coast of Florida.  Getting the kids ready for school that started this week.  Starting up of fall soccer.  The list goes on.  I am sure pretty sure I am not alone the busyness of the last few weeks.  I am just stating this to make an excuse for not being too productive in the studio.  However, I did manage to complete this “Portrait of a Mop Head.”

Huh?  A mop?  I know.  It is a strange subject matter.  This is my submission for a juried show with a theme of janitorial supplies…inspired by and created by.   I created the image by applying paint with paper towels and sponges onto discarded magazine paper.  The Juror extended the deadline for entries, so I am going to work on a companion piece…”Portrait of a Broom Head.”

2011 #11

July 18, 2011

beagle...8x10 acrylic on magazine and panel...17 July 2011

Here is my pet art contribution to the 2011 “Art Unleashed” art auction.  I used this piece as a chance to experiment on some ideas I had brewing in my head.  I painted on magazine paper and then cut up to form the image of the dog.  With magazine paper I was able to use minimal paint and control how the color and tones of the image behind could bleed through the paint to create some interesting layers of texture.  However, magazine paper is very difficult to work with.  It is extremely thin and on the verge of falling apart.  The paint never really adheres and can easily be scratched off (until sealed.)  There is a fine line between something that could be good and utter disaster.

This turned out pretty good for a pet portrait.   Hmmm.  Does anyone need a pet portrait?

2011 #10

July 13, 2011

Sovereign...16x20 acrylic on panel and cut paper...03 July 2011

I have been thinking a lot about tornadoes this last spring.  As a Kansan, tornadoes have always been a part of my life.  Not physically, but the idea and possibility.  We have our movie, our drills at school, our monthly siren test, our keen sense to identify tornado weather, our family rituals during the warnings, and our over-the-top storm coverage from local media.  We have a love affair with the tornado and we long to see one someday as long as it is safe and out in the farmland.

I remember my freshman year at the University of Kansas the sirens were going off and we were instructed to the basement of our dorm.  But a large group of us traveled up to the 7th floor to look out the windows facing southwest.  The 7th floor in Lawrence is probably one of the highest elevations in Kansas and a perfect lookout over the plains.  We saw some wild thunderstorms and cloud formations, but we did not see a tornado.

And then there is Joplin.  Wow!  That is real.  Not this romantic version of something terribly wonderful, but just terrible.

-Sam

2011 #8

May 18, 2011

Circular #2...9x12 acrylic on blueprint and panel...17 May 2011

I like a clear idea, unity of a theme and running with it for a while.  I may do one, two, or three more of these circular abstracts.

2011 #7

May 10, 2011

Circular #1...9x12 acrylic on blueprint and panel...08 May 2011

A few months ago, I salvaged from the bin a nice collection of old blueprints.  I have been eyeing them and waiting for the right opportunity to incorporate them into one of my paintings.  So I am going to test them out on a couple of circular abstracts.

-Sam

2011 #6

April 19, 2011

lines and squares...4x5 acrylic on paper and panel...18 April 2011

This is how I work…I paint paper on a drafting table.  I almost always use scrap paper under the paper I am painting to protect the table from overpaint.  Sometimes I find that the scrap paper with the overpaint of different colors has a unique randomness and I see potential.

This has always been one of my themes and a goal of my work:  TO FIND BEAUTY AND POTENTIAL IN THE TRASH, LEFTOVER, DISCARDED, BROKEN AND UNINTEDED.

So I look at the piece of grided paper with random paint splotches and try to figure out how to make it interesting.  I debated several ideas and go for a line patern with a limited color wash and then I cut away with my knife.

Sometimes, I just need to do a quick project.

2011 #5

April 12, 2011

Park Inn Hotel...16x20 acrylic on paper and panel...09 April 2011

Here is a quick photo of my latest painting.  In 2009, I was on a work trip in Mason City, Iowa and I came upon this gem of a building while exploring “main street” of this small town. Park Inn Hotel was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1909.  Currently, this empty building is being rehabilitated back to its original glory.  Check out this website for more info:  http://www.wrightonthepark.org/

I took a few pictures around the building that I intended to some day paint.  (I can now check that off my list.)  The colors of my painting I took from a detail of the inlaid blue-ish and red-ish tile and the tan-ish cream is from the face brick.

2011 #4

March 28, 2011

RECONCILED (woman at the well)...4'x6' acrylic on panel...27 March 2011

Here is a picture of the end result of a live painting that I did at my church.  The message series has been on reconcilation and yesterdayss message focused on the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well as a picture of barriers to be crossed when it comes to race, status, gender etc. that divide us today.  You can listen to the podcast here.  At the end of service there was a special song and I had about 5 minutes to create this painting.  I have never done a live painting before, nor a performance sort of painting.  The painting itself is more about the process than the end result.  I started with some word images pertaining to the message and smudged them out to form literal images and then wrote more words around them and eventually covering them up with paint and then at the end revealing the image of Jesus and the woman at the well along with the word RECONCILED.

I can’t believe I did that.  I usually spend days working on a small painting and here I was attempting the largest painting ever for me (4’x6′) in under 5 minutes.  Although there were hours of prepwork and planning.  I am thankful for my church that celebrates all forms of creativity and allowing me to use my gift.

2011 #3

March 2, 2011

postman...30x40 acyrlic on canvas and paper...28 February 2011

Sorry…the picture is kinda crummy, but it looks good in person. 

I have been working on this wintery themed painting over the past month…I guess I was inspired by the ‘big’  blizzard and all the snowfall we have had here in Kansas City.

These larger paintings take me a while to do, since I can only pluck away at it a few hours here and there…mostly over the weekend.  I already have an idea for a smaller painting to do next.  Hopefully, this will only take me a couple of weeks instead of a month.  I just like to keep rolling and start thinking about the next project, it keeps the mind fresh.

-Sam

Process Sketch Video #1

January 25, 2011

I took my little flip video camera down to the studio with me this weekend and tried to capture some working shots to show process.  It is my goal this year to document my work in these little one minute clips and set it to some fantastic music.

Music:  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart “Lost Saint”

View a better quality version at YOUTUBE.

2011 #2

January 24, 2011

fools gold...4x5 acrylic on paper and wood...22 Jan 2011

This painting happened by accident.  I feel like I am always trying to clean up my studio.  I made such an attempt this weekend only to be distracted by a piece of scrap paper that I was about to throw away.  This paper was originally placed under other paper that I was painting to protect my table.  I saw a little segment on this paper that I thought was interesting and I started to work with it.  I found an 4″x5″ architectural wood veneer sample that I used as my background.  This is why I can never finish cleaning my studio…too many distractions.

2011 #1

January 19, 2011

Mylin Brimm - The Gift of Now ... 8x10 acylic on panel and paper...10 Jan 2011

About a year ago, my friend Mylin saw this little quick sketch in my journal of piano keys set upon an abstract background.  He told my right away that it looks like an album cover or something he would want as an album cover.  He wasn’t kidding.  Mylin remembered the sketch and asked if I could create album art with that original sketch in mind for some new songs he was working on.  We talked over some ideas and I listend to some demo’s of the songs.  It was a lot of fun to work on and a dream to work with-in the music community.  Music and art…two of my favorite things.

I will add a post, when the songs are available.

2010 #22

January 4, 2011

Moose...12x12 acrylic on panel and paper...25 Dec 2010

My good friend has a place called “The Moose” in Colorado and he kindly lets my family stay there when we need a  vacation.  This last summer, I was inspired by all the Moose decor and knew I had to do a moose inspired painting for him.  I promised him this was my last moose painting.

This painting was done similarly to #18, in that paint is applied to panel board and the rest is made from cut “onion skin” paper.

This was my last finished painting of 2010.  Hopefully 2011 will be just as, if not more frutiful.

2010 #21

December 13, 2010

White Elephant...4x6 acrylic on paper and bambo...04 Dec 2010

This is my yearly “white elephant” painting for the white elephant gift exchange party.  My mantra is to “put the white elephant back in white elephant.”  I put this painting together by finding some scrap magazine paper that had been painted with the remaining paint from an earlier project.  I also had a sample of bambo hardwood flooring which I used as the panel to paint.

I have been kind of quiet lately, but I have many projects coming up.  I needed some time for a break (November is a very busy month for our family with 3 birthdays and Thanksgiving.)  I have used that time to reorganize my studio (and Iam still working on it.)  I have also been working on an album cover for a friend.  I painted the world on 20 panels as part of the kid’s Christmas Choir performance at our church…and lately I have just been enjoying the Christmas season.  I have a lot of ideas that I want to get started with.  I expect January to be busy/fun month.

Merry Christmas!

2010 #20

November 4, 2010

Awakening (melancholy ghost)...30x40 acyrlic on canvas and paper...23 Oct 2010

Dry Bones...group exhibit...739 Flash Space...Lawrence, KS

Dry Bones...group exhibit...739 Flash Space...Lawrence, KS

This is the piece that I currently have on display as part of the Dry Bones exhibit – a group memento mori show about mortality with a focus on regeneration.

With the theme of Dry Bones and a focus on memento mori (which means, remember your mortality), I had a general idea of what I wanted this piece to convey.  But working on it over the last few weeks, the piece as spoken to me in different ways and each are plausible explanations.  So I won’t try to explain the meaning other than I tried to do a tradition memento mori painting.

I have subtitled this piece Melancholy Ghost…here is why.  Over the past few months, I have been listening quite a bit to the Choir’s new album, Burning Like the Midnight Sun.  After I had finished the painting, I happened to be listening to the song off that album called That Melancholy Ghost and for the first time I saw the lyrics in a new light due to my work on this painting.  Here are a few lines:

Just

Yesterday

Your laughter filled the room

Filled the room

Life

Is known to play

Unfunny tricks on you

The stars

Danced into your dreams

Then vanished

Before your eyes

Sad child

Go on cry

That melancholy ghost is haunting your heart

Sad child

Go on cry

That melancholy ghost

Is haunting your young heart

2010 #19

September 28, 2010

Mourning into Dancing...36x36 acrylic on paper and canvas...21 Sept 2010

Here is a picture of my latest painting “Mourning into Dancing” taken at the Anthropoi show in Lawrence at the 739 Flash Space on Mass. Street.  I was at the opening reception last Friday and the whole show is quite impressive.  Try to check it out if you are in Lawrence within the next month.

This is the largest painting I have done since I started this art blog.  I wasn’t sure how my little paintings would translate to a larger scale.  This process was a learning experience and I came away with ideas to do things differently next time.  I had been working on this off and on the last couple of months and I am enjoying a bit of a breather before I start on my next project.

2010 #18

September 7, 2010

untitled...8x8 acrylic on panel and paper...06 Sept 2010

I haven’t posted anything new in a while.  The reason is that I have been working on my largest piece to date.  I have more than tripled the size of my usual paintings and have been working on a 36×36 inch painting.  For me it is a complex piece involving many layers and I have been taking my time with it.  It is almost finished, but not quite.

So, over the weekend, I had this concept pop in my head that was quite simple and minimal in contrast to my current project.  I decided to quickly explore it before it was lost and forgotten.  I like the way it turned out and it has opened up possibilities for future projects.

2010 #17

August 17, 2010

First House to Fly (pg. 87)...8x10 acyrlic on paper and panel...13 August 2010

A few years ago, I was at the library browsing through their used book bin and I found one called Sketchbook with Voices.  I am always working through a sketchbook, so I picked it up for a dollar.  This wasn’t your typical blank page sketchbook…it looked like a normal book with a cover art and the names of the authors who compiled the book.  Oh, and the book looked about 20 or 30 years old.  The Voices in this sketchbook where the words of many different comtemporary artists put into the pages to create a sort of assignment for that page.

My painting above is page 87 and the title First House to Fly is a scramble from the words of Alice Aycock:

…Make a sculpture that will enable you to fly.  Build a fragment that contains your memories of a first house…

2010 #16

August 10, 2010

Dog in the Garden...9x12 acrylic on paper and panel...06 Aug 2010

It’s that time of the year when I do my “beagle” painting for the 13th annual Art Unleashed event.  This painting and many other pet themed art by local artists will be for sale in the silent auction at the Hale Arena at the American Royal Complex on Friday, August 27th 2010.  The proceeds benefit The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City.

2010 #15

July 12, 2010

Neighborhood on Stilts...8x8 acrylic on paper and panel...10 Jul 2010

Another small 8×8 painting from my “leftover paint” series…The color is a combo of yellows, tans, and whites and I can’t remember if this was created from the summer or fall version of the hedge apple tree series.  I spread the remaining paint onto a ripped out page of a nearby magazine.  The idea I had for this piece of painted paper was to create a line drawing without making any lines.  Later I came back in and added a thin layer of white over a few of the cut out pieces to visually seperate certain elements from the common background.

I sat on this concept for a while.  I knew I wanted crooked lines with a few feature blocks, but wasn’t sure how to execute it.  I waited and sketched a few ideas until it looked right and the bells went off.  I like it.

2010 #14

June 29, 2010

boy with boat...8x8 acrylic on paper and panel, pencil...28 Jun 2010

The blue colors of this painting is the leftover paint from the background of the Spring version of the Hedge Apple Tree.  I didn’t have a much leftover, so I grabbed a nearby architectural magazine and applied the remaining paint before it all dried up.

I have two more sheets with leftover paint applied to them and I keep looking at them and trying to find the potential.  I know its there, but I am waiting for it to hit me.  I like these little projects…they are like design challenges.  Make something creative and beautiful…out of this!  You have till midnight.

2010 #13

June 21, 2010

Yellow...8x8 acrylic and ink on paper and panel...19 Jun 2010

While I was working on my last series…the hedge apple trees…I tried not to waste any paint from all the color mixing.  Rather than having paint dry on my palette, I would reach for paper and brush it on.  With nothing in mind, I have made a several color swatches on paper and my intention is to use these to create a series of small paintings.  This “yellow” was the color of the leaves from the fall season.  The goal is to try to figure out how best to use these color samples to create something that I find meaningful.  I think the leftover paint is worth redeeming.

2010 #12

June 15, 2010

Hedge Apple Tree: Fall...acrylic on panel and paper...09 Jun 2010

Hedge Apple Tree: Fall is the last of the four seasons project.  These have been a lot of fun to work on and at the same time pretty labor intensive given the deadline I had to meet.  These trees are made by painting and cutting out the negatives space between the branches.  There are no painted lines on these projects.  Sometime in the future, I intend to make remixes (if I can uses a music term) of all four of these trees where I will incorporate the positive space that was left from my painted paper.

For the immediate future, I have a some ideas for a few small and quick projects.  I just want to experiment a bit and create a few sketch like paintings and do it in a quick manner that is not so labor intensive.  Then after that I think I’ll go big.  We’ll see.

2010 #11

June 9, 2010

hedge apple tree: summer...11x14 acrylic on panel and paper...27 May 2010

I finished the “Summer” version a couple of weeks ago, but have since taken a mini-vacation with the family and made preparations for my First Friday June reception…and…focused any remaining time on finishing the “Fall” version of this tree.  “Fall” is finished, which is great because it wraps up the series on time.  These painting needed to be finished by June 12th and I have a few days to spare.

I want a nap now.  I will post “Fall” soon.

I currently have a solo exhibit of my recent work up at Rosemann (1526 Grand BLVD, Kansas City, Missouri.)  Friday June 4th (5:30-8:30) will be an open gallery reception in conjunction with First Fridays in the Crossroads Art District.  I will be there and we’ll have lite appetizers.  So if you are in the area please stop by and say HI!

Also, setting up right outside the gallery space MY SCIENCE FICTION TWIN will be playing a stripped down acoustic set (7:00-8:30).  Come enjoy their gorgeous and smart pop songs.

info below:

2010 #10

May 18, 2010

Hedge Apple Tree: Spring...11x14 acrylic on panel and paper...16 May 2010

Spring is here for the Hedge Apple Tree.  The dark green buds are starting to appear and the grass is at a young bright age.  Gone are the greys.  The sun is shining with a yellow-tinge to the baby blue sky.  The rope swing is down and the kids are ready to play.

2010 #9

April 29, 2010

Hedge Apple Tree: Winter...11x14 acrylic on panel and paper...28 Apr 2010

I have been comissioned to do four paintings of this hedge apple tree.  One painting for each of the four seasons.  I have taken a bit of time to study the tree, take many pictures, and figure out the approach that I would take to capture this tree in the different seasons.  The tree is amazing.  It looks as if the main trunkline branches have battled each other over the years before reaching a mutual understanding.  At first my approach was going to find view that I thought captured the tree and use the same view on all four seasons.  But how do you define a tree like this with one view?  There is so much personality at all it’s corners, that I am going to do each season at a slightly different view.

Lucky for me, we had a late winter/early spring snow and I was able to see how the snow rested upon the branches.

The process is similar to my other work.  The tree is the painted black and brown background on the panel.  The greyish blue sky is painted on paper and then is the cut out negative space around the tree.  The snow is also painted on paper and cut out.

Spring is up next.  I will start work on it tonight.

2010 #8

April 13, 2010

Secret 6...acyrilic on paper and panel...12 Apr 2010

I like to see a thing I know has not been seen before.
That’s why I cut my apple through to look into the core.
It’s nice to think though many an eye has seen its ruddy skin
Mine are the very first to spy the five brown pips within.

-unknown

******

This painting is inspired and altered from a picture I took of Basilica Di Sant’Antonio in Padova, Italy.  When traveling, I like to take a lot of pictures…but I don’t like to be too obvious about taking pictures, so I will hold my camera down or close into the chest without seeing what is being captured in the lens.  This produces a lot of awful pictures and surprisingly some good ones with unique framing.  I hope to find a few that I might spark an idea.

2010 #7

April 5, 2010

Secret 5...acrylic on paper and panel...04 apr 2010

…It’s no secret that a conscience can sometimes be a pest
It’s no secret ambition bites the nails of success
Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief

Over love… we shine like a
Burning star
We’re falling from the sky
Tonight

A man will rise
A man will fall
From the sheer face of love
Like a fly from a wall
It’s no secret at all…(Bono)

This painting is inspired by a picture I took  in the Piazza del Santo outside the Basilica Di Sant’Antonio in Padova, Italy.  Along the colonnade, there was a vendor set up with religious icons for sale.  I don’t know if these were souvenirs or an aid for worship.

2010 #6

March 22, 2010

Secret 4...12x12 acrylic on paper and panel...20 Mar 2010

O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Song of Songs 2.14

2010 #5

March 9, 2010

Secret 3...12x12 acrylic on paper and panel...09 Mar 2010

SO bashful when I spied her,
So pretty, so ashamed!
So hidden in her leaflets,
Lest anybody find;

So breathless till I passed her,
So helpless when I turned
And bore her, struggling, blushing,
Her simple haunts beyond!

For whom I robbed the dingle,
For whom betrayed the dell,
Many will doubtless ask me,
But I shall never tell!

-Emily Dickenson

2010 #4

February 24, 2010

the growing tree...30x40 acrylic on canvas and paper...23 Feb 2010

The Growing Tree is a collaborative painting I did with my son’s first grade class.  Instead of fundraisers, the PTA at his school has an annual banquet and silent auction at the local country club.  Each class is responsible for providing a class gift and so “The Growing Tree” is the class gift for this auction.

 The concept for this tree is similar to my winter tree series.  Specifically this one here.  The scale is much larger.  It went from an 8”x8” panel board to 30”x40” canvas. 

Here is the process of how this was created:

 Step 1 – Paint the Background.  I met up with about 10 students who were able to stay a bit after school one day.  I brought in the blank canvas, and easel, a bunch of paints, and cheap brushes and an old bed sheet to protect the floor.  I split the students into groups of two.  I would then squirt some blue and white and maybe mix-in another color onto the canvas the group of two would spread that paint around for a few minutes.  Then it was the next groups turn to repeat that process.  Each group had about 3 or 4 turns.  I encouraged them to paint on top of the previous work and to use big broad strokes…squiggle, circles, and to ride it like a roller coaster.  This created a pretty neat layering of color and gave the background a uniform look rather than 10 individual looks.

 Step 2 – Paint the Circles.  We passed out 22 random pre-cut circles on different colored construction paper to the 22 students in the class.  There are 3 different size circles on the painting – 3”, 3-1/2”, and 4”.  At first I was going to use the same size, but I felt the painting would be more dynamic if the circles were not uniform.  The students were sitting at tables in groups of 3 or 4 and I passed out plates that had the basic colors and paint brushes.  The instruction was that they could paint whatever they want – crazy color designs or more concrete like something you would  find in a tree, but the most important instruction was that they were to paint over the entire circle so that the original color of  paper was not visible.  This was really fun and they all had a good time.

 Step 3 – Paint the Tree.  This was my only visible contribution to the project.  Everything that is black was done by my hand.  Basically, I painted the tree on to the canvas.

 Step 4 – Add the Circles to the Tree.  Once the tree was painted, I used a gel medium to apply the circles onto the canvas.

 Step 5 – Varnish.  After the piece was complete, I added a gloss varnish.  This really make the colors POP!

 This morning I took the painting to the classroom for the kids to enjoy before it is auctioned off this weekend.  I took the above picture with my hand held camera, so I am sorry it is not the best quality.  This was a fun project.  Kids love to paint and I think it turned out well.

2010 #3

February 17, 2010

Secret 2...12x12 acrylic on paper and panel...16 Feb 2010

Regarding  the “Secret” series, I am interested and exploring these things:

  • square panels – I have been using 12×12, but I just love squares.
  • the image with-in – I like the idea of not taking the image to the edge of the panel and the asymmetrical placement.  It adds to the “secret”…it’s a glimpse and doesn’t reveal the whole story.
  • one color at different values.
  • the hidden narrative interpreted from my personal photos.

We’ll see where this goes.  I plan to do a few more in this style.  This next week I will be working on a piece that is a collaboration with my son’s first grade class.  It should be fun.

2010 #2

February 8, 2010

Secret 1...12x12 acrylic on paper and panel...07 Feb 2010

Conceptually, I am pretty excited about this new series that I just started.  For now,  I think I will name the series “Secret.”  As I do a few of these, I will re-evaluate to see if  that is the right title.  I have a few concepts that I have dreamed up in my head and I will see if I translate them on to panel.

I am also excited about an upcoming project that I will be facilitating with my son’s first grade class.  Twenty-two kids will be collaborating on a single canvas to create a painting that will be auctioned off as a PTA fundraiser.  Thematically, the painting will be similar in concept to my “winter trees” series, but on a larger scale.

2010 #1

February 1, 2010

workmanship...11x14 panel board...31 january 2010

January has been a really busy month for us that ended with an open house exhibition of  my 52 paintings from 2009.  The prepartion for this exhibition was a lot of work…from painting the 3 main rooms (living, dining, kitchen), to prepping the artwork (painting the edges of the panel board and installing hanging wires), to hanging all the artwork, to creating invites (and trying to invite friends to come in a way that doesn’t feel awkward-“come see my work!”)…Let’s see, what else did we do?  Oh yeah, cleaned the house and my wife made a lot of delicious food.  That was hard work, but the end result was a very fun and joyous time.  I was delighted and humbled that so many people came and they all offered me nice and encouraging words.

In the middle of all of that I was finally able to complete a new painting to kick off the new year.  “Workmanship” is part of the “Little Things (I should have said and done)” series.  I feel like I need a nice little nap and then I’ll be ready to jump back in the studio for some more work.

New Year New Goals

January 12, 2010

First off, I want to thank the many people who took interest in my weekly painting project of 2009 and thank you for the words of encouragement  both publicly and privately.

Let me give you some 2009 behind the scenes info:

  • My first 4 paintings were on a flat 8×10 panel board.  I then realized these are kinda nice, so I graduated to using an 8×10 panel board on a 3/4″ cradle.  I felt the could be wall hung without a frame.  Then I really started splurging as I increased my size to 9×12 panel board on a 1 1/2″ cradle.  I think these look really nice on the wall.
  • My process (idea)…I would use a journal to document ideas that I could reference if needed.  I might have loose idea in my head and I would use Monday thru Thursday to let that idea brew and come up with a concrete concept.  Sometimes there were moments when Friday came and panic set in because I had been too busy to think.  Usually there was a lunch hour trip to the art store to pick out a panel board.
  • My process (work)…I had the lofty idea that I would be able to work a little bit each night, but that never really became the case.  This was a weekend project and more than that this was a late night weekend project…Fridays and Saturdays.  Start time was dependent on getting kids to bed or at the close of any other social activities.  I am a night owl, so it was no problem working late into the night.  As a rule, I tried shut down around 2am, but sometimes you want to finish a certain element and then there is clean-up.  Early on I would finish a piece late Saturday night, but as some of these projects got more complex, I found myself working on Sunday and sometimes even as late as a Tuesday.  This would really cut down on the time to dream up a new idea.  With kids and morning activities, I was never able to sleep in.  I lost a lot of sleep last year.
  • My process (art)…as I made clear with my goals, I wanted these paintings to be simple and minimal.  My first painting was probably the purest expression of that idea.  From there I somehow wanted to see how far I could take it by making it more complex.  I would still love to get back to that original idea.  My “Winter Trees” series at the end were an attempt.  I also had the idea to paint paper and use with the painted panel boards.  The idea was that I could create a catalogue of painted papers to use from project to project.  That worked sometimes.
  • That is all I can think of right now.

I have taken a much-needed two-week break.  I have been able to lay on the sofa and watch a movie on a Saturday night without the worries of meeting the deadline.  Actually, the only painting I have done recently has been the walls of our living room, dining room, and kitchen.  But I feel guilty and I am itchin’ to ge back to work.

I have been asked what my plans are for 2010.  I tried to come up with something clever like 12 paintings in 12 months, but that seems like a let down compared to last year.

2009 taught me discipline, so in 2010 I want to focus on freedom.  I want to be free from deadlines and restrictions.  I want to paint larger pieces that take longer time to develop, but at the same time work small if I want.  I might paint one piece a month or three.  I want to take more time to develop ideas.  I want  my sketchbook to take on more importance.  I want to slowly pursue the business side and learn about the art world.  I’d like to pursue more shows.  And I’d still like to capture a song into a visual.

So please check back often to see what I have been up to.

-Sam

Week 52

December 29, 2009

Cafe on the Square...16x20 panel board...27 Dec 2009

Painting # 52 – the last of the year.  This painting was actually a commissioned piece for a Christmas gift.  I am sorry for the poor image quality.  Since it is a larger size than my others, I could not scan it…so I shot it with a hand held camera.

Anyway, thanks to my friends who bought original artwork and I hope you enjoy this added embellishment to your walls.

Stay tuned as I figure out my future plans…

A lot of people have been asking me if I plan to sell these paintings.  The answer is yes…all paintings are for sale.  If you are interested please send an email to gfsamwagner (at) gmail.com.  My prices are very reasonable.

Week 51

December 22, 2009

red bird on snowy tree...8x8 panel board...21 Dec 2009

Ahh…One more week and then I need to take a much needed break.  I have really enjoyed doing these trees, because they are most in line with the goals I set out at the beginning of the year.  Simple and minimal.  I really need simple and minimal now.  This month of December has been crazy busy – in a good way with all the fun Christmas activities and family traditions, but also busy with many different art projects.  Besides my weekly paintings, I have done two white elephant paintings, helped coach my first grader  complete two paintings for fine arts program at school, and I am working with all 3 of my kids on a painting project for Christmas presents.  Oh, there is another project I am working on, too.  Busy, busy, busy.   So that is why (right now) I really enjoy these simple and minimal paintings.

Week 50

December 14, 2009

Winter Tree...8x8 panel board...13 Dec 2009

Again, this is another attempt at a real simple painting.  Things are getting super busy around our house, so the more simple this can be will hopefully mean less stress on me.  This tree was inspired by a Christmas lighting display in my neighborhood.  Instead of the traditional light wrapping around the tree, it has balls of lights hanging from branches.

White Elephant 2009 #2...5x7 canvas...11 Dec 2009

This weekend my wife and I went to another Christmas party with another White Elephant gift exchange.  I found another 5×7 canvas in our basement that had been previously painted by the kids some years ago.  The fun part about reusing this canvas is working with the existing colors already on the canvas rather than totally paint over and start fresh.  On this one, moreso than my previous “White Elephant,” I let the origianl colors show through and I just covered the canvas with a white translucent wash and then added a sort of ground and horizon line.

Week 49

December 8, 2009

Snowy Tree at 30 Degrees...8x8 panel board...07 Dec 2009

So…the “White Elephant” was a bonus painting and this is the official painting for Week 49. 

I thought I’d try to end the year by going back to my original vision with simple ideas and minimal color and hopefully projects that are less time consuming.  With the Christmas season and the end of the year fast approaching, I have so many things to do and I don’t want to get stressed.

White Elephant 2009

December 6, 2009

White Elephant 2009...5x7 canvas...04 Dec 2009

Each Christmas season, there is always a party where you are suppose to bring a “white elephant” gift.  I have made it my motto to put the white elephant back in white elephant.  Rather than finding junk in the house to get ride of, I thought it would be nice (and fun) to do a small and quick (although it never is) painting of the infamous white elephant.  This is my third year, so I think I have a tradition strarted.  And yes I did find a canvas to reuse in the basement.