Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mask from the past

So I had to put the "Happy Huntsman"  aside for a bit as I was starting to lose forward momentum.  For me, paintings are a lot like rebound relationships.  At first they are all fun and exciting, and it's all about fantasizing the various possibilities of life with them.  Then they start to reach a stage where you realize that they aren't quite as good as you thought they were going to be.  After this, you find yourself starting to avoid  them and really only come back out of boredom.  This is so much like the stages of my paintings.  Sometimes I will even "break up" with my painting at which point it goes in the trash, especially if that painting was really needy all the time. 

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to make a really unsellable still life.  The basic rule is; the more your friends like the piece, the less likely it is to sell.  Apple and silver platter, bam, gone the next day.  Gas mask and crates of wood; better be looking to peddle this off as a Christmas gift.  See chart below.

Anyway, doing still lifes are painfully boring unless you at least have some cool objects to look at.  I found an old WW2 gas mask, some wood, and a little hornets nest for this particular setup.  I know what a lot of you are thinking, "But Dave, what does it mean?"  I have no idea, but I know it looks freaking awesome.  If you really need an answer, it's about post-colonial existentialism seen through a male gaze set against interpersonal meta-cognition...and stuff.

 Just did the oil transfer in this pic if you look closely.
 Start of Ebauche
Ebauche done (more or less)



7 comments:

  1. I guess I'll comment cause I get the feeling you are painting this because I told you people in my field like skull paintings and shit. Anyhow, anything can appeal and sell if it strikes a chord. Some things are more universal and others more niche... paint what you like and chances are other will too.

    As to your painting... do the object justice. The viewer who likes darker subjects and might appreciate a gas mask may not care if its hanging on a crappy old box looking lame. What I'm saying is that you need to carry the theme thru the whole image and make a particular FLAVOUR (Canadian spelling) for the image where it is of an obvious genre. Mixing cool gas masks and lame still life props isn't giving the work a strong and cohesive feeling. Now lets pretend you are lame and can't do anything other than render things (which we know is not true), you would at least want to have a cool burnt box with some NAZI book and some cools skulls surrounds Mr. Gassy. You would at least make a pile of objects that connote a theme and scream out to the one buyer that yearns for gasmask art. Now we both know you are brilliant and will make a great painting out of this with an unexpected and well thought out twist which punches the viewer in the gut... but in case you're pressed for time, add a few skulls or something.

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  2. Sorry, my snarky comment sounded better last night. I just want to push you to make this type of theme full-on and complete. (Maybe try painting this sort of thing with artificial light, even trying some red-colored rim light.) I know you've already committed time to this set up and it takes many hours to get to this point. Since you've drafted the mask and set your lighting, maybe the solution in this case will be to either simplify or ignore other elements. Why paint stuff to fill space if it doesn't enhance the theme? You can always crop and re-stretch the canvas later.

    Anyhow, just trying to push you... Hope that helps.

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    1. I was so hurt by that comment that I started cutting myself...another slice of chocolate cake to bury my sorrows.

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  3. The gas mask will be great, and I just might be stealing that line about existentialism. We all know how terrible it is to paint things that you just.....like or think will make a great painting. I once read that if you painted something with a skull you should be prepared to own it forever (hmm, maybe a gift...) I have just been working on a painting with a skull, black widow, crow with a death card in its beak, hourglass of blood, a snake....all on a stone shelf with a portion of a creepy old epitaph carved into it. And I don't care if it is full of unconventional things, I am having a blast painting it. Oh, and did I mention the femur bones flanking either side, made of expanding foam and boy, do they look old and fossilized. I digress.. love the work on the site, plus the practical information and your sense of humor...keep it up.

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  4. Wait, so your friends get the blame when your work doesn't sell?

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    1. Of course. I have learned in any relationship, be it friendship or spouse, that blaming the other person for everything works extremely well. Just the other day I cut myself juggling knifes in the kitchen; clearly Kate's fault.

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