Happy Fall everyone!
This has already been a pretty busy week. I began a new piece on Saturday, and I'm about 2/3 done with it I think. Before this one, I had been feeling pretty uninspired. And one of my cardinal rules for painting is to never wait for inspiration to come, but to seek it out. And when I'm not painting, I need to be drawing or doing something. So before this painting, I had been doing a few small nature studies in oil, and some sketchbooking of pretty much anything.. mostly copies of 19th and 20th century figure and portrait drawings. The key is to keep busy with something while also figuring out what to paint next.
...Enter the band Disciple. They just released a new album that they produced themselves via Kickstarter. Everyone who donated to the Kickstarter project got the digital copy of the album emailed to them 2 weeks in advance. So I've already been listening to this sucker for 2 weeks, almost non-stop (Yes, I'm listening to it right now as I type). Anyway, the reason they decided to go independent on this new album is because they wanted full creative control over their music, and didn't want anyone filtering out songs. As it turns out, so many of their songs in the past that mentioned "Jesus" specifically by name were left off of those albums. But not this time. This new album called "Attack" actually has a song called "The Name" that has inspired me a lot, and it is about this very thing... that if we dare to call ourselves disciples, then we should never be afraid or ashamed to speak the name of Jesus boldly without reservation, regardless of the consequences in this 21st century world that hates Jesus. And if you're curious, here is the song:
So that along with a number of Scripture passages from Romans and Philippians have inspired me with this newest painting that I'm working on. It is by far my most intense painting in a long time. I wanted to do something far more bold and meaningful than just a portrait or figure with a clever title. This had to speak loud in its narrative, and even louder in its imagery. I'm calling it "To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain", and here is a small detail of the progress:
It really isn't much, I realize. But to give away any more would give away too much at this point, and I want everyone to see it all at once when it's finished. And if you are unaware of what the symbol is in this preview, that'll be explained later too.
So in between painting sessions with this piece, I did a little "fall cleaning" in the studio. It's not quite done. I've got quite a bit more organizing left to do. But I decided to redecorate and cover up some wall space last night. Another source of inspiration is literally surrounding yourself with art, even if it is your own junk:
Well, it's a lot better than stacking them in the corner of the room... which I already have a LOT doing that right now.
My last order of business for this week is coming up on Friday. I'm finally heading over to paint Mason's portrait. As I mentioned before, he is a high school senior this year, and instead of having a senior photo session, his parents have commissioned me to paint his portrait from life. And again as I've mentioned before, I am excited for it! I'm a little nervous too. I've painted portraits from life plenty of times, but this one marks the very first time I'll actually be doing it for a commission. Hopefully all that "practice" will pay off.
Once again, I just wanted to put it out there that I am offering this service to everyone else as well. If you are a parent of a high school senior (or any grade really) in the Kansas City area, then I hope you will consider letting me paint your son or daughter's portrait for their senior year or other occasion. This will be something that will last for generations in your family. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for all the details!
That's all for now, but as always stay tuned for more very soon!