I’m supposed to be working on my novel for NanoWriMo, but I got distracted today. Suddenly I’m concerned about Geisei, which is coming up soon in December and I really want to WOW people. So I came up with a new painting idea. Here is the very rough mockup. It’s complicated, but rather than do it all in detailed oils, I’m going to try making an elaborate pencil sketch and only doing very light colors with chinese water color paints – this should make things
much faster and it will probably look awesome.
It’s way too busy, I know, but it’ll mostly be like a line sketch. I’ll get rid of that “buy it now” too… although I like the facebook and twitter buttons because the painting -besides being a tribute to Steve Jobs, is also about social media, herd mentality, leaders and followers, etc.
I’m also going to start focusing on making design versions of my ideas, to get them out in more formats… so here are closeups of my garuda and ganesh hybrids, I’ll make them into Tshirts soon!
Today I forced myself to carry out my ‘paint in public’ plan. Theoretically, it’s a great idea: I go somewhere famous and local and paint in public… people crowd around and I give them all my business card. It’s a way for me to get free and easy exposure. However, when I actually arrived at the Confucius Temple in Tainan today, having skipped breakfast,
carrying too much junk (easel, paints, canvas, etc), drawing a lot of attention to myself wasn’t appealing. And let’s face it – as a foreigner in Taiwan, I already draw attention to myself. Setting up my easel and canvas is about the same as lighting myself on fire or screaming “LOOK AT ME!!”. Taiwanese people are naturally curious and won’t feel self-conscious about standing beside you and watching you paint – I know, I know, that’s the whole point of me being there, right?
But I’m an indoor artist. I don’t mind being in the spotlight – but painting in the spotlight… any way, I finally made myself set up, in a little corner, put on my headphones and ignore all the people that came up behind me and took pictures of me as I painted. Not very social. Definitely counter-productive to my intentions. I managed to finish this not terrible painting in a few hours – I did it without sketching or anything first. I’m trying to learn how to do impressionism; I’d like to make my own canvases rougher, darker, more alive. Obviously, I’m not that great at it yet. Next week I’ll go back and paint the same thing again, bigger, without the headphones.
Here are two new paintings, both of which show Jesus in Taiwan and problematize the influence of Christianity on Asian culture. The first was inspired by a similar picture but with Jesus actually hugging the geographic leaf shaped island of Taiwan; which I found absurd and sickening at the same time. (“Jesus loves you, you strange, foreign, Asian country, and you are under Jesus’ love and protection, regardless of the fact that 90% of you worship strange Samurai-esque gods.”) I change the Taiwan into a Taiwanese baby, and put these two fierce but very common local spiritual entities in the background peering over Jesus’ shoulder. The point is that Taiwan already has some big, tough, mean and very popular gods who demand to be worshiped. Who does Jesus think he is – some white, English speaking long haired hippy – coming in and picking up the babies as if they need to be rescued?
The second is a little more fun. Based on a picture of the triumphant, risen Jesus. I wanted for some time to have this Jesus ripping apart a lamb, spraying blood everywhere, to show the happy, blissfully ecstatic Jesus worshipers smiling while being bathed in the blood of the lamb. But it’s much more funny instead to use this stuffed toy sheep, which is very familiar in Taiwan, and to have Jesus in a party scene with lots of hot Asian girls. The themes that emerge are many: Christianity as post-colonialism and the relation to the white guys in Taiwan who are so popular with Taiwanese girls who just want to experience Western culture (but are often taken advantage of); the fact that Christianity has very little influence on many Taiwanese girls, who go out and dress sexy and flirt with guys anyway; the fact that the poor sheep is being bled to death for the sins of these party animals who don’t give a damn…
Anyway, it should be pretty interesting.
I wanted to finish tonight, and got close… besides a few small details she’s done – and looking awesome if I do say so myself. The white spots in her hair are spring onions (I’ll paint over them in green). 7am, migraine from some bad Thai food, it’s moon festival and a typhoon is on the way.
Oops. On the far left is the original; not quite finished but basically there. This week I’ve been ‘detailing’ some of the paintings that I did too quickly. However – I feel like the original, colorless, plain girl had a lot of sophistication. Now she looks kind of like a whore, and there’s too much distraction from the main idea. Still… it looks more ‘finished’ and complete which is what I wanted. What do you think? (Update – I’ve decided it’s the blue eyeshadow I don’t like the most – going to tone it down.)
I’m back at school (4th year Masters) taking a very light load. In 3 weeks I have an exhibition at 102 gallery in Tainan. I’m mostly working on cleaning up/improving some of the paintings I did for the last exhibition that I may have rushed, however I’ve also got two new ones in the works:
I absolutely love how this one looks half done, all rough and white… I kind of wanted to sign it and move on. Gotta learn how to do that half done thing I appreciate. (A lot of great portraits; most actually, are a nicely blended 3d face, maybe folds of clothes, and then a super rough, almost abstract or solid color background… my backgrounds are more often than not too busy.) Despite telling myself to finish the drawing before I start painting, I’ve still to sketch in the hands of this one (it’s a puzzle – she’s holding the last piece. Who knows how it’s gonna turn out.)
The idea for this one is still awesome, and it’s looking good – even though her head is too small and her body looks like a linebacker (big and buff) the pose and facial expression is still pretty much what I wanted and I’m happy with it. I’ll give her some more color, a little more dimension… hope to finish by Friday!
This painting is about as tall as me; making it just about double all my previous canvases. I had the idea for awhile – even before I connected it with Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. As usual, the sketch and outline is amazing, but it gets seriously sidetracked with my messy underpainting (I underpainted in acrylics this time, based on some online feedback about that). The colors should be pretty striking though; bright blues, oranges and greens. Is painting beaches as backgrounds becoming a theme for me? When I went to the Art Taipei 2009 convention last week I came home dedicated to painting ‘clean’ paintings (because all the paintings in Taipei were super clean). I figured if I want to be one of those kinds of artists, who sell paintings for tons of money, I need to make my paintings into finished projects. This…. is still a good goal. Mostly it means working on a piece, polishing it until it doesn’t look half finished, like I gave up too early (a lot of my paintings look like that, I’m going to go back and spruce a few up).
Here’s 7 paintings that are almost finished; I have to finish them sometime tomorrow, and then hopefully varnish everything. With my portraits, I have almost 50… there are about 5 more that I won’t have time to finish, but at least I’ll have something new for the next exhibition. And geez, I have a lot of paintings. Good thing this gallery is so big. Now I just have to sell them to make room!!
I have a little more than a week before the blue truck comes to take my paintings to the gallery. I just checked my studio: I have 4 half-finished paintings, and 7 that I’ve only sketched or outlined! Crickey! I busted out these three today. The little girl with the sign (I think I’ll call ‘guilt trip’) that says “buy this painting” is going to be great – I love the beautifully depressing gray background. I went for a heavy shadow on my shower man (maybe I’ll call it ‘conservation’?)… I know it looks funny now, and I hope I haven’t ruined the background, but once I do all the flesh you’ll barely notice all those shadows (unfortunately – kind of defeats the purpose of painting them, unless I can keep them there and paint around them like I did in the Mao painting).
Finally – ‘fortune cookie’ is looking good. A few little decisions really bring out the irony: the beautiful, sunny blue sky, the vibrant beach, the pink sweater… what would be a very nice afternoon – and then that bizarrely dark message… 🙂
Oh yeah – and, although I feel I rushed it and could still do some work on the faces… ‘Rubrix girl’ and ‘knockers’ are finished for practical purposes.
I’ve decided it’s ok to swear because I don’t think many people visit my blog anyway; I’ve been using facebook a lot and it’s way better for letting people see what I’m working on. Today, as I sometimes do when I’ve been painting and I cross from “this looks terrible, I’m not sure I can pull it off” to “Damn, I’m awesome”, I realized that I am the shit. In 5 years I will have galleries and collectors around the world begging for a piece of the action.
There are other great artists, doing other great stuff, and many are even better painters. But nobody is doing what I’m doing – and there are a great deal many more people who are painting garbage.
Here’s the latest upgrades, I’m almost finished with these three. Does anyone else find it fascinating to see the progression? I guess I should finish a painting, then post all the stages together so you can really see the process.
I love painting fruit. If it weren’t so boring, I’d paint it all the time.