Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let's talk Life and Art again.

        Hello my friends. I need to bring you up to speed with all that has been going on the last few months, and for me it hasn't been pleasant. Those of you that have been following my career know that last year, 2010 was a year beyond any dream I ever had or wished for. So many wonderful things happened, I wouldn't even know where to start. If you weren't here then and want to know, I suppose you would have to read back through the older blogs. With that said, the things already signed for this year blow last year away on every level. But this year, 2011 started with a major thud.
      From the beginning of the year to last week I have been plagued with medical issues. It started with my lower back going out for several weeks and  because of the intense pain I had no choice but to start taking Hydrocodone, the strongest version of the medicine as well as Tramadol.  While I was on the pain medications I went into a very deep depression. It lasted 2 months and took me to very dark places. I lost the will to paint, draw or do anything really. I just existed each day.  None of the things that normally excited me or made me happy had any effect. With the love of Madison, the kids, and my close friends I finally pulled out of it. Most of it was caused by the pain and then sickness brought on by the side effects of the pills.  The good news is that none of my old ailments bothered me and we actually have them well under control now. My sugar levels are excellent all of the time and my blood pressure is well within acceptable limits. I've only had 2 chest infections over the winter compared to having pneumonia 5 times last year. So my lungs are really starting to improve. It has been around 20 months since I quit smoking, and I am convinced that quitting when I did saved my life, but I have had to fight every step of the way to recover and I know that the fight is not over.  As long as I can see improvement, that alone gives me strength to keep on fighting.  Life has kicked me on my arshe over and over my whole life, but I am just to stubborn to give up and I cannot accept defeat. It is just not part of who I am.
     Just so you know and understand, this last year with all the International attention, there are those that keep trying to change me. Bless them. Madison isn't one of them, neither is Tilly, but there are folks that think I need to change my "Image" . No worries, I refuse to do that. I tried it for about 2 months and felt like a fish out of water. Why change the things about me that my friends and fans like?  I've gotten this far by being myself and being straight up with everyone. I think I am going to keep doing what I have always done. True, I have grown up a lot and growth is what life is all about. It is the same with art, and where going to talk some art here in a little bit, but I want everyone to know about these other things first.
    I don't know about anyone but me, but I have been in agony and tears for the people of Japan. I have always loved the country and the culture, but now seeing what those people are going through and the incredible strength and courage they are showing has inspired me as a man to reach to new levels and understand their beliefs and culture even more.  I am keeping them in my prayers constantly and I hope you are to. Prayer does work, no matter what your faith is.
   I know you all have noticed that I mention Tilly a lot and with good reason.  Madison and I both trust her and believe in her. She has done a great deal to help me with my career and never, not once, asked for anything in return. The woman almost has her law degree (less than a semester away), she owns her own publishing company, she is a best selling ( Millions and Millions of books sold) author, was one of the top models in the world and one of the smartest consultants I have ever talked with.  For some reason she really believes in me and my work and over this last year we have became the best of friends. So in a lot of ways, Tilly is a huge part of our lives now and a hug part of my career. She is going to help me reach the new goals I have set for myself, again asking nothing in return other than friendship. 
    I honestly feel like all I have to do is turn out the best work I can, and miracles are going to happen because of it.  Another thing that really has me stoked is Madison's book  "The Bone Extractor"  She has a fantastic editor working with her on the book and it is really becoming a book I believe will sell to a main stream publisher. I am going to be using the same editor to help me with my books as well.  So, now that I am out of this funk, I have to be careful not to let the things that lead me into it doesn't happen again.  When I am painting now, I am keeping a heating pad in my chair on my low back to keep it relaxed and doing all I can to keep off the pain medicines. I really have to start kicking butt an to do that I have to keep healthy and keeping a positive attitude.
     In the next blog I will have pictures again and a finished painting.  Right now I am just trying to get to square one again. Okay, lets talk art for a little bit and mainly about color. I have really been learning a lot since I came back to painting in oils, and as I said a few blogs back, the more I think I know, the less I actually do. I told you something last year that I am going to change up on you. I gave you a basic formula for mixing flesh tones, and when your first learning, and even for those of you that believe in painting flesh in 4 values (like comic book artist for instance) and only using one basic color combination, the formula I shared with you is way beyond that. After all it was created by American Master Howard Pyle.  But as I am growing as a painter I am seeing that rules are made to be broken, once you understand and master them.
     Always learn the rules to how it is all done, such as color mixing, or the basics of design and values. The very basics of drawing using shadow to create form, shape and weight. Once you have master the basics, then you may be ready to break the rules and move beyond them.  For instance mixing and painting flesh colors.  Always remember that the lighting, setting, the colors surroundings and the race of the subject  are going to determine a lot with the flesh tones, not to mention the temperature of the body, whether it is warm or cold.  If it is in action or has been, there will be more red in the tones of the flesh.  So what I am saying is that there is no simple cut and dry formula for painting the flesh. Even in passion, the tones vary compared to normal.  But these things are for the Artist to learn and I don't know if a lifetime is enough to Master this. I have come a long ways since my training, but this isn't something that I was taught. I was taught the basic formula. Daniel keep stressing to me that I already knew everything I need to know, he was simply gonna turn the key to unlock the knowledge that already was in me. Damn, that used to drive me up the wall trying to figure out what the heck he meant, but now I do. If you really want to learn to paint like the Masters, then the first lesson you need to learn about flesh is to learn the naturally warm and cold spots on the human body. Start with that, and remember that nature and your "eye" are the best teachers you can have. Learn to use and study them everyday.
     The thing that I truly realize now about myself is that I am on the road to becoming a Master. I understand things now that just 2 years ago I couldn't even fathom, and the "Art" is what matters to me, not the fame or attention. My goals for the next few years is to set new standards and to make my fellow artist think in ways they never dreamed of before.
     I said this before, but I was prevaricating.  I didn't want to admit my body and mind wasn't ready for the challenge, but it is now. It is time to rock, and if you want, I will take you along for the ride. After all, it wouldn't be no fun without you! Love and Hugs.
"May the Darkness Comfort You"


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