Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Key.......

    Hello my friends. I am so happy to be here with you again. It think it safe to say now that my health has improved greatly and the reason for my illnesses has been dealt with. As an artist, I love to draw and paint all types of images. I love to express myself in a lot of ways. One of my biggest joys is doing portraits. Here is a new one of a dear friend, Deborah Collard.....
Deborah and I have been friends for several years now and we have had some wonderful times together. She took me on my first "real" ghost hunt at Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Alabama. It was filmed as well. I was a "guest star"  Even Patrick Burns was there for the event. That and all the time I spent in Birmingham was without a doubt some of the best times of my life so far. There are a lot of awesome people in "Bamaham" as I like to call it. lol
       Speaking of portraits, they are one of the best training things a artist could do. It really develops you "artist eye"  For instance, if you are drawing or painting a car or a landscape, if you get it a little wrong, no one can really tell unless they have a really good eye. But if you don't get a portrait right, then it doesn't look like the person you are drawing or painting. There is no room for mistakes and how well you do a portrait proves and shows how good you really are as an artist.  So I encourage any artist reading this to make doing portraits part of your normal routine, that is if you really want to be the best you can be, and personally I can't imagine a person not wanting to be the best they can be. Isn't that one of the points of living?
    I am going to give the artist reading this a gift. The best gift I could ever give any of you. I am going to tell you the "big" secret. The one that can make you great, the one that will separate you from the rest of the pack. The one that will change your life as an artist forever, I am going to give you the key. 
   Why, you ask?  Why not?  I am not a selfish person and the last thing I am worried about is someone taking what I have. That is ridiculous. There is only one me and one person that can paint and draw the way I do. I have my audience, and you have yours. So why not share this with you? Although you may not understand it right now, but if you do what I tell you, you will in time.  An when you do, you will be able to learn in ways you never have before and my friend, you will soar and become something very special.
    So here it is.  When I first started training under the Master, I was more grateful than I can ever put into words. I still am, and I always will be.  By doing what I am doing right now, I am keeping the promise I made to him.  I figured I would be going to school per say, and that I would have tons of lessons to do. I also figured I would have to do a lot of studying and everything else that goes with it, and I did. Most all of those lessons I am happy to share with you, but the lessons and the studying is not what me start growing in leaps and bounds, and I still am. I am no where near my potential.  I am very excited about everything I do because I know with each new piece I grow and learn things that no one had to teach me.
    When I was telling Daniel how grateful I was for all that he was doing for me, he simply said to me "I am just opening the door to the knowledge that is already inside of you. I am just turning the key, you are the one that is teaching."  I was blown away by that and had no frigging idea of what the heck he was talking about, until 4 years later.
    I am going to tell you a few very simple things to do, and you do them on a regular basis. Make it part of your day, part of your routine.  First, study nature and everything in between. I mean REALLY look at things and study them. See how the light works on the object, learn to see what colors are really in something. Do you think that something that is white is really white? Look closely, very closely.  Do this everyday with everything you can. Eventually you will get it.
   Nature is by far the greatest teacher there is for us. Everything you need to know about color, values, composition, perspective and contrast schemes is there. Just learn to see it, and then learn to draw it how your eyes see it.  Once you learn to draw it, you will be able to paint it.
   By no means are you going to become awesome overnight, like all things, it takes time. But what I am telling you now will put you on the right path.
   Next thing is to learn to draw people. Learn to do quick studies of a persons body language. I sit with a sketch pad while watching a sports program, and I quickly sketch what I am seeing. By doing this you are learning to draw with a "relaxed" feel. This will really help you with your anatomy and all that goes with it, and like I said before, do portraits.
   There is more that I will tell you as we go, but for now, just work on these things. Reading is good too, study everything you can. Hell, Youtube has some awesome "How to" video's  to watch.  Now honestly, not everything you are going to read or see in a demonstration is right. That is for you to decide if it will work for you and if your comftable with it. Take what you need and leave the rest behind.
   So that is all for this blog, next time I see you, I will have some pictures of the New "Chainsaw Sally" painting in the works.
  Blessed Be and "May the Darkness Comfort You"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A New painting and more major news.....

       Hello my friends. Thank you for sharing your time with me once again.  I have been very busy again and a lot of things are happening that are really amazing. But lets start with the painting above. It is an oil painting and measures 17 x 22 inches. It is called "Dark Fairy" and you can purchase prints of any size and quality at this link.  The model is Superstar Tilly Rivers, and the original already has a home.
      The next painting coming up will be one of the "Chainsaw Sally" paintings. I am working on a couple of portraits at the moment as well. One of my friend and Ghost Hunter Deborah Collard and the other is an Oil Painting of Tilly.
      After I finish the first painting of April "Sally" I will be starting a painting for a new client, Kane Hodder.  That's right Kane Hodder. I have a agreement with him to paint him as much and as often as I want. If you watch horror movies, you know that Kane is the present day version of Lon Chaney, the man of 1000 faces. Kane has played countless monsters on the big screen, including Jason of Friday the 13th, and his most recent movies  "Hatchet" and 'Hatchet 2"  Here are a few stills of Mr. Hodder.

  This next one is from Hatchet 2
   I don't know about you all, but I think this is about as cool as it gets. I am going to paint Kane in all types of ways, including a painting for his Biography coming out in Oct.
   All the agreements are signed and this is the beginning of a series of paintings that I am going to be calling "The New Masters of Horrors' and I will be working with a lot more of the greatest horror stars of our time.  BOOM!  Just like that, another dream comes true.
    If I seem a little giddy tonight, I am. lol. I have been working long hours again and taking care of a lot of business. I have found me a printer that I think I will be letting handling all my printing needs. They showed me some samples today of prints from my work, and I felt like they where very impressive. Another great thing is that can print the pencil work I do for my paintings for me, so I can paint a copy of the pencils instead of the original pencil work. That means I can sell my pencil work for my paintings now and get an extra few hundred dollars for my work.
    I took some new pictures of my studio setup, since I added a second easel I would like to share with you.
  I took these pictures starting with the left side of the room working my way to the right wall. The drawing area is behind where I am taking these pictures from. What you are seeing in these pics are about 1/3rd of the studio.
     Here you can see where I added the second easel. The large canvas is for Tilly's Portrait. I know some of you could care less about this, but as an artist I find it cool to see how artist set up their work aera's.
   You can see in the corner where I have my computer, scanners, and printers all set up.
    I really like the green light at night. It gives the studio a cool feel to it.  Personally I feel like your studio needs to be a happy place for you, if you spend the majority of your life in it like I do. Now I just need to get some of those artificial trees like I use to have back in NC before I moved.
    Next week when you her from me, I'll have plenty of new work including the start of the "Chainsaw Sally" painting. So until then, Love and Hugs. "May the Darkness Comfort you"

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"


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Quick Explanation

     I feel like I need to post this because I know a lot of you come here looking for new posts from me. The last few weeks, and probably for another few weeks I don't know what to expect. I am having a problem that seems to indicate that I am having problems with my Gall Bladder. I have been in the emergency room about it last week, and am seeing my Doctor on Thursday about getting an ultrasound done on it, and possibly surgery.
    As it is I am in a lot of pain off and on and I haven't been able to do much of anything creative, although I keep trying. I will keep you posted on how this all goes, but until it is resolved, I don't think I will be able to do my normal things. Love and Hugs everyone."May the Darkness Comfort You."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The fire is starting.

       There is a song by an old Metal band called Metal Church "Start the Fire" which is really states the frame of mind I am in right now. Hello my friends, I hope and pray that you are all well. I am doing fine and my health is really improving day by day. This time last year I was in the hospital with pneumonia for the 4th time in that year. This year, I have only had to deal with a chest infection 3 times, and we nipped it in the bud as the saying goes. Now that we have a treadmill at home, that is really helping to. This last 2 years has truly been a miracle for me. I guess that the powers that be want me around for a while longer. Personally I am hoping for about 30 more years. That should give me the time I need to conquer the world, as the saying goes. lol
      I am probably making a huge mistake, but I have finally figured out what it is I want to do with my work and how I want to move forward. I bought a second easel this week and on it i am going to do nothing but canvas paintings. I want to be something more than an Illustrator, I want to be an artist. I know it is in me, and I know now that is what I have been longing to do. So I am going to be trying all kinds of new types of paintings. Things you've never seen from me. It will still mostly be dark, but different. I am going to start searching for a gallery soon either local or in Detroit that will show and sell my paintings.
    20 years ago I don't think that would have been an option, but now I see my type of work in more and more places. I want to build a group of patrons that collect my originals. I want to keep a few and give some to my friends, but overall I want people who like or love my work to own an original or 20.
    The last several months I have been feeling burnt out and knew that I needed a change, but I just wasn't sure what the change would be. Then in the middle of the night I had a dream about the future, maybe, and was seeing all these paintings from me yet to come and it was very exciting. I could see that my style had really evolved and my work had become very unique and different that anyone Else's.  So thinking about that I started coming out of the depression I had been in for so long and now the flame is burning inside of me again. The "Eye of the Tiger" is coming back and it's  about damn time. I should be done with the "Dark Fairy" painting by the weekend, and then I will show you that and the changes I made to the studio. 
     Switching gears I think that for one thing last year I wasn't very confident that I would live much longer, but now I feel like as long as I don't do stupid things I can be around for many years to come now, and that is another thing that is really motivating me. Another thing that really has me pumped is my studio and just all the cool things I have now that I never had before. I know a lot of you folks have a much nicer studio and stuff, but to me what I have now is beyond anything I ever hoped for. It was just 3 years ago that I could only buy 1 tube a paint a month, now I order 20 tubes at a time, whenever I want. So thats huge for me. So all these things combined has had a very positive effect on me and I feel like I can emerge myself in painting and learning now.
    Like I said in the last blog, I am not going to make any promises to do anything anymore. I will just do what I can when I have time. If I want to paint, I don't want to have to stop to do something I really don't want to. That totally takes you out of the creative mood.
    Another thing that I am excited about is that Madison bought a HUGE LCD tv, and now when I watch something on TV it's like being at the movies. I was watching an original episode of Jonny Quest last night, and I haven't seen it or any of them since I was a child. It was really exciting and emotional for me. I recently got all the original Astro Boy cartoons from 1963 and I hadn't seen them since I was 6 years old.  Just awesome.  To me, these are the things that make me feel rich and I don't know how I could be happier?
    I have love now, the first time in a very long time. I have a family that loves me and I get to do what I love everyday. I am blessed, very blessed. Well my friends, it's family time. Much love and hugs. "May the Darkness Comfort you"