Monday, January 23, 2017

Malcolm at the Art Museum

I always bring my friend Malcolm to the art museum. People stare at him at first, but then he charms them with his stories.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Clarence Doore, pulp artist



It wasn't that long ago that men's magazines had covers like this. It takes some mental effort to imagine an elephant as a "killer brute" attacking a scantily clad woman.


The illustrator who painted that cover was named Clarence "Boo" Doore (1913-1988). He's best known as a specialist in pulp themes.

Boo was a distant relative of mine. My great-great grandfather, John Hopkins Gurney, was his great grandfather.


The extended family spent summers in a camp in Maine. That's my grandfather Dan with the hat driving the touring car. Boo is the little blond-haired boy sitting directly behind him.  


Clarence Doore did this cover for a story in TrueWeird Magazine called "Fish with Human Hands Attacked Me." 

Other magazines he worked for included: Cinderella Love, Flyboy, Football Thrills, The Hawk, Kid Cowboy, Romantic Marriage, Space Patrol, Tales of the Sea, Tops In Adventure, Wild Boy, All Man, Animal Life, Battle Cry, Champion For Men, Fury, Male, Man's Adventure, Man's Exploits, Rage For Men, Real Men, and Rugged Men.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Extinct Giant Owl

Behold the giant prehistoric owl, Ornimegalonyx.


It was the top predator in Cuba until 6,000 years ago. It was the largest owl that ever lived—about 40 inches tall, weighing more than 20 pounds, with long legs and fierce talons.

Its stubby wings might have extended its glide in a foot-first pounce attack against a giant ground sloth many times its size.

The reconstruction is part of the ¡Cuba! exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the sculpt is by Jason Brougham.

Link: AMNH Website

Friday, January 20, 2017

'The Devil Draws!'


When he tried sketching in Albania around 1849, Edward Lear (British, 1812-1888) encountered some opposition from the local residents.

"No sooner had I settled to draw than forth came the populace of Elbassán, one by one, and two by two, to a mighty host they grew, and there were soon from eighty to a hundred spectators collected, with earnest curiosity in every look; and when I had sketched such of the principal buildings as they could recognize, a universal shout of 'Shaitán!' (Devil) burst from the crowd; and strange to relate, the greater part of the mob put their fingers into their mouths and whistled furiously, after the manner of butcher-boys in England."

"Whether this was a sort of spell against my magic I do not know...[Later] one of those tiresome Dervíshes—in whom, with their green turbans, Elbassán is rich—soon came up, and yelled, 'Shaitán scroo!—Shaitán!' ('The Devil draws! Devil!') in my ears with all his force; seizing my [sketch]book also, with an awful frown, shutting it, and pointing to the sky, as intimating that heaven would not allow such impiety. It was in vain after this to attempt more; the 'Shaitán' cry was raised in one wild chorus—and I took the consequences of having laid by my fez for comfort's sake—in the shape of a horrible shower of stones, which pursued me to the covered streets..."

From Journals of a Landscape Painter in Albania (The Balkans) by Edward Lear

Thursday, January 19, 2017

One-Minute Notan


Here's a challenging exercise for practicing brushwork: Try to paint a scene or object within one minute, interpreting it in a notan design, using black gouache and a big brush. 



A minute goes by very fast, as you can see in the video. (Link to video on Facebook)

Not only is there no undo button, but also there's no time for hesitation, and you have to use a brush fully loaded. Materials used: smooth bristol board cut into a 5-inch square, black gouachesynthetic round brush size 12.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where should I dump my waste water?

Mike Simpson asks:
I have a question about what you feel is the hazardous effect, if any, of disposing watercolor waste water onto the ground or plants, etc.?

Mike,
I guess the best answer I can give you is to bring along a big container to dump the wastewater in and then dump out the water responsibly when you get back home or back to your hotel.

The same goes for cleaning the palette, by the way. My wife makes me clean out my palette in the shop sink because if I do it in the kitchen, no matter how neat I try to be, a speck of cadmium yellow always shows up in the sink or on the pot scrubber.

Although some pigments such as titanium white are relatively inert in watercolor our gouache, it's hard to know what hazardous materials might be in an actual jar of wastewater. If you use cadmiums or cobalts, etc., there are going to be some toxins in the mix.

Some pigments can also stain a sidewalk, stone, or a ground surface, and that's not good. And appearances matter. Even if you know what you're dumping is innocuous, it may not look like that to someone walking by, or someone organizing the event. One artist in a group who accidentally drops their palette or dumps their wastewater in a sensitive location can wreck it for every other painter who comes later.

Also, some institutions such as colleges have to follow very strict OSHA rules. They get in major trouble unless every artist follows very strict clean-up practices, which involves designated buckets for wastewater. All this is even more important for oil painters who deal with solvents. So it's a good idea to ask around to find out what's OK.

Please be sure to read the comments, which has some expert insights about what happens to toxins after they enter the waste stream.
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