Next month my painting "Drinking Happy Bird", will participate in the Conroe Art League National Invitational. Of 372 pieces entered from 31 states, I was selected as one of the 72 finalist. This is the first year I've entered this competition, but it sounds like a large show.
I was also fortunate enough this month to have a painting sell at McCormick Gallery. The sale was for my painting of The Rolling Stones, "Satisfaction" 45 single. Click the link to learn more -Satisfaction
Happening in the studio, I'm currently working on a painting of a 1960's typewriter. It used to belong to my grandmother who purchased it new in the early 60's. There are many old typewriters from the last century, but not many have a modern, futuristic appearance like this one. Having recently come to admire mid-century modern design, I can't wait to finish this painting.
If you read my last post, you would have seen a very high resolution image of my latest completed painting, the Coke Carrier. Having a high resolution image of my work has interested me since I first saw the Google Art Project (now called Google Arts & Culture) 7 or 8 years ago. This is a collection of images of famous artworks from various museums around the world. Many of the images are of such a high resolution, you can zoom in and see brushstrokes, cracks in the paint layer, and even dust. But what was even more impressive was how much detail some of the artists were capturing in the painting. The one piece that stands out for me was "The Ambassadors", by Hans Holbein the Younger. Here is a link for you to check it out - (The Ambassadors). Zoom in anywhere in the painting and you find incredible detail. While you are on the Google site, be sure to look at some Rembrandt paintings.
Obviously detail in artwork isn't everything, and nor will it replace the ever important content factor of a piece. I don't paint paint all the little details in my work to show off, I simply just like how it looks and enjoy the challenge. Art is a form of entertainment and I find detail in painting entertaining; this is what I'm looking to add to my work - just an extra bit of entertainment.
Being fascinated with high resolutions on Google, I often wondered how such large images were created. Sure there are large format film cameras that create big images, but I don't have access to those. Even though digital camera manufacturers are cramming a lot of megapixels (i.e. 24MP, 36MP, 42MP, 50MP!) into their image sensors these days, that's still not enough resolution to create The Ambassador's size photo. My guess is that they are using digital cameras, but photographing the painting multiple times creating many small images that can be stitched to together in a software to create one large image.
To see if I was capable of doing this for my own work, I tried photo stitching images of my Coke and Cooler painting. There are plenty of YouTube videos demonstrating this technique in Photoshop. It took me a few attempts, but I was able to string along eight images and have Photoshop correctly align and stitch them together. The most important thing I learned was to provide plenty of overlap in each photo - something like 30%. This allows Photoshop more information for where each image should be placed. As you can see from the image below, the technique was a success. I used a Canon SL2 (24MP) with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 to achieve this 95.5MP photograph. Okay Google, I have a large image of my painting, please add me to your site!
Click the image below to enlarge and zoom in.
The idea for this one came out of frustration of having a mental block for ideas. I bought this late 50's cardboard carrier along with some coke bottles I used for another painting. Seeing the carrier flattened gave it a sort of abstract, modern appearance that I liked. From there I proceeded to paint the hell out it. I have had this one completed for a few weeks; I was waiting until Kate gave me a new DSLR camera for Christmas to document this piece. And I recently learned how to stitch photos together in photoshop. So now I can make large images that can be zoomed into. Click the image below to enlarge and zoom in.
My "Drinking Happy Bird" painting has been making some noise in the 74th Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition at the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana. At the opening reception it won an Artistic Award of Recognition, but now that the show has ended the results are in for the People's Choice Award. "Drinking Happy Bird" was selected among all the pieces in the exhibit as the public's favorite. It was a pleasant surprise - I've never won a popularity contest in my life lol!
This painting should be coming home next week. I think I will find another show to submit it to. I've had good luck with this piece.
With one painting returning, I'll be sending another out to Naples Florida. "Jailhouse Rock" has been accepted into Naples Art Association's "National Art Encounter". Without any big solo shows this year, I like to stay busy with these national art competitions.
Happy Trompe l'oeil Tuesday! Here is a painting completed just last night. This of course is a 78 rpm Elvis Presley record and it marks the 40th painting completed since I received my BFA. Some of these letters on the label are of the smallest I have painted - only 1/32" tall!
The second piece in something I've been holding on to for awhile since it was a commissioned wedding gift from my Aunt Cindy to my now Uncle Jeff. Before they met, my Aunt Cindy found out about Jeff and quickly wrote those things down on a Post-It note. She held on to it and when Cindy and Jeff got engaged, she wanted to preserve this Post-It note in painting form. They were married last Friday and I can now post this painting as finished work. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Holmes!
Finally!!! I started this painting over a year ago and just finished it last week. As with most things, this piece took longer than I anticipated. I worked on it on and off through out the year. It measures 40" x 32" and as always, oil on panel. The "Coke and Cooler" painting is the largest painting I've done since 2011. The original plan didn't call for a lady bug, but I thought I needed something to get the viewer closer to surface of the painting. Hopefully, I can submit this to some local competitions, and then later feature it in my next solo show.
I really let time pass - it's been 3 months since my last post! What have I been up to? Well, I still haven't finished the coke cooler painting, but it's close. In the meantime, I painted a small commissioned piece for a family member, designed new frames for the paintings, and traveled to Jamaica for a honeymoon.
I'd like to share the small commissioned painting, but since it's a surprise, I don't want to ruin it.
On to the new frames. I'm tiring of my regular frames of the last 6 years. Also, I've had trouble reinforcing the mitered corners since the frame material is very thin. This results in some of the glued mitered corners cracking and coming apart. To fix this, I decided to ditch the old framing method and start using contemporary floating frames with spline reinforced corners. You can see how I did this in the pictures below with a spline jig I built to use on the router table. I also changed material from red oak to walnut. These frames definitely take more time to build, but I do like how the natural walnut looks with the paintings.
Lastly, Kate and I took our honeymoon in Jamaica on the last week of April. We had a good time at the resort where we stayed, but the bus ride to and from the Airport does make me grateful to live in the US. It's nice to be back home. We did take some photos, but neither of us got shutter happy. The last two photos are from the flight home. You can see that little assembly of tall buildings is all of downtown Chicago.
Yikes, it's been 2 months since I've posted here. Mostly because nothing exciting has happened since the wedding. I'm still working on the big coke cooler painting and it's progressing painfully slow. There is probably still a few more weeks of work needed on it. I did pick up a small commission from a family member. It will be a nice change of pace to start another piece.
However, last week I found out that I was awarded 2nd place in the 11th Biennial National Art Exhibition hosted by the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, Florida! I have two pieces in the show, "Remembering Iwo Jima" and "Drinking Happy Bird". The drinking bird won the award. Check out Judge Steven J. Levin's comment:
"This is a stunning piece in all respects -- composition, drawing, color and modeling -- and it makes one smile."
I'm humbled to win this award and quite relieved to have my shipping expenses more than covered. It was expensive to ship two crated painting down to Florida. $111 for the pair, one way!
If you want to see what took home 1st place, click the link below. This painting well deserved top prize.
1st Place - Sandra Kuck
Yes, it has happened; in a relationship for 10 years, then engaged for another 2, and now officially married. I don't post much here about my personal life, but I think it's worth noting life events. For the last 6 months it has been nothing but wedding talk around here, and it has been making crazy! I was incredibly nervous to stand up there and say "I do" in front of 150 people. Drawing attention to yourself is an introvert's worst dream. However, as Dec. 9th drew ever closer, I felt fine. Not too much anxiety and feeling much better about the wedding than I thought. With a few drinks of liquid courage, I sailed through the big day with ease and comfort. My new wife looked beautiful thanks to my sister Kasey who is a make up artist - I'm not the only artist in the family. See her website here - Make Up by Kasey. Here are a few photos of Kate and I, finally married after all this time.
In the previous post you saw some work in progress images of the Rainbow Cone painting. I've been working on this piece off and on, but now it's finished. This is one of those paintings that I cannot believe I didn't think of sooner. Granted this is the first year I tried an authentic Rainbow Cone, two to be precise, but I have known for a while that this ice cream is a Chicago favorite. I was skeptical at first with this 5 layer cone of assorted flavors, but I really enjoyed it. However, you must go to the creamery and have them make you one for the full experience... it cannot be replicated at home.
If you missed the first part of this story here is a link to the initial post. http://www.nitpickyartist.com/blog/work-in-progress-and-new-painting-idea
Kyle Surges's Oil Painting Blog
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