10-27-17 The Drowning

Little tale from my Art Studio:
I set out this week to purposefully do a painting “wrong”.
First, I didn’t use a pre-sketch. Then, I got scared to use a good piece of canvas or wood, so I ended up using scrap plywood I found in the alley and new-to-me materials, different weird paint colors, and a super-wide composition and complex subject matter. Three days in, and despite my best intentions to mess this thing up, it was turning out quite nice. I was having more fun painting than I had in a while.
But that wonky alley plywood was too wonky to ever be able to “frame out” So, I decided to cut the piece “square”.
Almost half-way through the cut, my saw blade buckled and snapped, leaving a horrid gash in the worst damn place. Subsequent attempts to fix it just got it worse. Now the plywood is still wonky and my composition isn’t as strong because I removed too much.
I succeeded. I played and made mistakes. I learned some valuable lessons: Go ahead and play, Use new stuff, use colors that scare you, don’t worry so much about the pre-sketch, and use quality materials if you want a quality piece.
No piece is precious. Maybe don’t cut it up, but if you did, oh well.
Now, I’ll go get my daughter her Halloween costume before I mess up something that actually matters!

Leukemia Girl (5-12-13)


Kate Albert Ward asked me to draw her “X-Men style” for this Post Defiance story about surviving Leukemia her senior year of high school.

We met by the local middle-school, where the pink cherry trees were just dropping their pedals. I had this idea that her ‘mutated blood cells would blend with the graduation-springtime cherry blossoms, whirling around Kate as her ‘mutant power‘ manifested. The bright orange chemo-bag serves as the dangerous reality check, suppressing her abilities. The orange contrasting with the blue patient pants and jacket. I scanned actual hospital gowns and scrubs for her clothes. I climbed up on the fence and took some reference shots down through the cherry tree branches. I layered these ideas together, then I had to imagine her ten years younger and without her hair!

It was a powerful, and emotionally rewarding assignment, although I never heard much feedback on it. It proves to me that when an illustrations does it’s job, and serves the greater story, nobody notices it at all.


Around the Theatre with Kids (3-16-2014)

Megan and I produced this three-minute short video for the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts education programs. It was featured during their annual Star Chefs fundraiser.

Original Music, “Ghost Light Blues” by Britton Sukys

03-08-14-Title-Card-&-Frame-Size-TemplateThis is the title card background used for text shots. I painted the flowers in gouache and watercolor, and used Super Irish Breakfast tea for the gold wash.03-08-14-TitlesMegan and I met working in the theatre waaaay back in 1995, so this project seemed like a call to give back to the art form that has given us so much. This was done with watercolor and Bic cristal pen, and was used as the background for the shots when the kids were talking.03-15-14-Claire-Rottweiler-Color"Words, words, words.” – Hamlet (Act II, Scene II)
Claire recounts the first time she was on stage. She was a rottweiler, and had, like, three lines.03-15-14-Spaghetti-Burger-Love-ColorOur video was the result of interviews with five students, conducted by Megan. The interviews focused on why the educational programs are important in their daily lives. This illustration accompanied Mike explaining how negotiations could bring about something perfect, like spaghetti AND hamburgers. Kids are funny and you never know what they’ll say!03-16-14-Mike-AloneAll of our work has a transformational story arc. In this video, our hero is Mike, who goes from a lonely kid to one with many great friends.03-15-14-Claire-Cross-Right-ColorI had fun drawing Claire. Here she is explaining that while she doesn’t use her lessons about crossing over to stage right in her everyday school-life, she does learn a lot about other people, which has been very important in her inter-personal relationships.03-16-14-Undre-Dance This is Undre, he is a Dancer. He has learned about the joy you get from self-expression.03-16-14-Mike-Fear-ColorThis is Mike, again, not allowing his fear to bite him!

I wanted these shots to be quickly understood, because they are only on-screen for a second or so. I chose to give them the same stark blue and gold color palette, and used the spotlight to focus the audience’s attention. This was a big event, noisy and crowded, with drinking and eating. Three-minutes was really as long as we could expect to hold their attention. We drowned a lot of kittens (cut a lot of great lines and scenes) to trim down two hours of interviews to three-minutes and still convey the fundraising message the client required.

It took Megan and I a total of 45 hours to produce this three-minute video.

I invite you to look at a previously produced video we made for the Foundation for Early Learning in 2012. This video, Around the Table with Kids, has a very similar style, and was produced in much the same manner.