Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tattoo La Palooza / "Owlthulhu"

16" x 20"
Mixed Media on Aquabord

TattooLaPalooza was back in June, so this post is a little behind. None the less, I had a blast there and the above image is a product of the recent studies I did with other art(ist) styles--namely Ashley Wood and Ukiyo-e--and I'm proud of what came out.

It seems I get a really good energy from working around other artists. Jeff Dekal, even though he is soft-spoken at these events, gave me some sound advice. I was working on sketched of owls and ideas as I hadn't decided on what I wanted to do. He came over and said, "You can prepare, but sometimes, you just have to just go for it". Simple enough, yes, but as I sat at the precipice of design and fear as it was live art being done with people walking by, it was the right thing I needed to hear to just get to work.

I even tried something new with the pallet knife for the moon coloring. The bars were an accidental measure to compensate for making the circle and owl so far to the left, but it invariably lent itself to the overall geometry and balance of the piece.

I'm happy of this amalgamation of the Sacred and the mythological with a touch of the Horrific. Glaucus, the Owl of Athena, combined with the symbolism of the moon (read: circle and outer space) and the addition of the Lovecraftian tentacled face meet in an interesting intersection. I loved watching the reactions from the people walking by who were attracted at first to the owl, and the moon, and the general appearance, but were then intrigued and even repulsed by the realization of that bit of green near its mouth...

Attraction and repulsion.

Accidental as it were, it worked out very well. My next piece is of a bear.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Traditional Illustration / "Time and Death and God"

Ye olde workspace.

"Time and Death and God" [Series]
8" x 10" (each)
Mixed Media on Aquabord

Figure Stock: Felixdeon (deviantART) -- Time (Ukiyo-e), Death (Ashley Wood), God (Personal)

I really like how this series came out. It was a fun experiment to do three pieces in three different styles. I decided to go with Ukiyo-e, Ashley Wood and a personal style. The hardest was definitely the Ukiyo-e, but I learned quite a bit about the aquabord surface and its absorbant qualities in regards to ink and damar varnish spray.

The pieces are based off of the imagery from a section of Chapter 8 in Brave New World and their name is derived from the last sentence, "He had discovered Time and Death and God."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Traditional Illustration / "... and God"

"... and God"
8" x 10"
Pencil, Ink and Acrylic on Aquabord

Chapter Eight:

"At the full moon, in the Antelope Kiva, secrets would be told, secrets would be done and borne. They would go down, boys, into the kiva and come out again, men. The boys were all afraid and at the same time impatient. And at last it was the day. The sun went down, the moon rose. He went with the others. Men were standing, dark, at the entrance to the kiva; the ladder went down into the red lighted depths. Already the leading boys had begun to climb down. Suddenly, one of the men stepped forward, caught him by the arm, and pulled him out of the ranks. He broke free and dodged back into his place among the others. This time the man struck him, pulled his hair. "Not for you, white-hair!" "Not for the son of the she-dog," said one of the other men. The boys laughed. "Go!" And as he still hovered on the fringes of the group, "Go!" the men shouted again. One of them bent down, took a stone, threw it. "Go, go, go!" There was a shower of stones. Bleeding, he ran away into the darkness. From the red-lit kiva came the noise of singing. The last of the boys had climbed down the ladder. He was all alone.

All alone, outside the pueblo, on the bare plain of the mesa. The rock was like bleached bones in the moonlight. Down in the valley, the coyotes were howling at the moon. The bruises hurt him, the cuts were still bleeding; but it was not for pain that he sobbed; it was because he was all alone, because he had been driven out, alone, into this skeleton world of rocks and moonlight. At the edge of the precipice he sat down. The moon was behind him; he looked down into the black shadow of the mesa, into the black shadow of death. He had only to take one step, one little jump. … He held out his right hand in the moonlight. From the cut on his wrist the blood was still oozing. Every few seconds a drop fell, dark, almost colourless in the dead light. Drop, drop, drop. To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow …

He had discovered Time and Death and God."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day / "Mugen"

8" x 10"
Ink on Aquabord

Mugen reference.

Here is a piece I did for Amber on Mother's Day. Mugen is more than a son-figure to her, he is an amazing ball of happiness that brings a smile to her face every day. He was also at the Vet a couple days ago and was VERY sick. I figured a portrait of him would be a fun way to show her just how much I love them both.

On the artistic side I absolutely adore this new surface I am working with. It's called Aquabord and it's a clay that has been adhered to a masonite board. It's archival and absorbs akin to watercolor paper, except there is no warping! Plus when you erase pencil from it, it doesn't mar the surface like watercolor paper. And it's already mounted to a surface.

Now I have to figure out how to make it wall-hangable without framing it. I used a mixed epoxy to attach to d-rings and tied a wire to it. It dried for 5 hours. When the gallery (a bar) hung the piece (another one I did yesterday) it was up for a short while before falling from the wall and chipping the corner of the piece. Fortunately it was a piece I had done purely for fun in a 'beer inspired' art contest, so, no great loss. Live and learn!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Advanced Painting / [Law] & [Battle]

"Goddess Series: Iaculus Ipso [Law]"
© Vaughn Reynolds 2012
22" x 28" Oil on Canvas

Here is painting #2 of the Goddess Series in it's current state. I am working on this one and "Proelium Omni [Battle]" (pictured below) simultaneously. These two pieces are also the first pieces where I personally photographed the models for the paintings.

"Iaculus Ipso" is inspired by the heroic and tragic story of Hypatia of Alexandria. My original idea was to make a Goddess of Law, and by law I mean cosmic and scientific law, not the martial type. My professor gave me Hypatia to research and what I found blew my mind. I uncovered things even the professor didn't know about that totally fit into the direction I wanted to go. She was a Neoplatonist, and in this school of philosophy there is something that resonates strongly with me and will be a part of this painting (which isn't shown above yet!); this concept is known as,

"The One" -- "The totality of being may thus be conceived as a series of concentric circles, fading away towards the verge of non-existence, the force of the original Being in the outermost circle being a vanishing quantity." ... This is part of the reasoning for the solar system that will be represented as a 'halo' around the figures head, with her head being the sun, falling on the crown and third-eye chakra.

As for the fish, which you may ask about, they are coelacanth and represent Christianity, which consumed Hypatia in a horrific way.

"Goddess Series: Proelium Omni [Battle]"
© Vaughn Reynolds 2012
22" x 28" Oil on Canvas

I had some loose ideas I had researched for inspiration to the Goddess of Battle. There are a number of Greek and Roman Goddesses whom fit the bill, but I wanted to make something wholly original.

I was fortunate enough to go on an art trip to Italy where we traveled through Rome, Florence, Verona, Venice and Milan. While in Rome we visited the Vatican museum. I would go into further detail on the trip, but that's for another blog post... So, while there I was finally exposed to classic sculptures and I was, to put it lightly, blown away. So I decided to keep an eye out for a figure to inspire the painting. I came across Juno Sospita and found the one that fit what I had envisioned!

Fortunately for me my roommate participates in Medieval festivals and competes in period combat. So, I borrowed his spear and his friends shield. Coupled with my cloak and a mask I had just purchased in Venice I had all the props for the model.

It was an interesting experience working with a person who had never modeled before, and since I'm new to shooting models for a painting I too was learning. It was fun and we ended up getting some great shots.

I chose to place her against a scrubland backdrop to give her more of the medieval European feel, rather than something too abstract. I have an idea I've been playing around with for her hair to make her seem more cosmic... but I'll leave that as a surprise!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Advanced Painting / "Faucibus Orc [Nature]"

"Goddess Series: Faucibus Orci [Nature]"
© Vaughn Reynolds 2012
22" x 28" Oil on Canvas

Here she is with her fur coat all grown in! Coincidentally I just started watching Season One (yes, I know) of The Game of Thrones. I've read book one of the series, and I'm excited about how its playing out in live action! Now I look at this painting above and think, "winter is coming!"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Advanced Painting / "Faucibus Orci [Nature]"

"Goddess Series: Faucibus Orci [Nature]"
© Vaughn Reynolds 2012
22" x 28" Oil on Canvas

Here is the almost finished version. When I get the time I'm going to glaze some color into the fur coat to break her form out of the now snowy birch-tree laden background. Now on to "Iaculus Ipso"...

Monday, February 6, 2012

TattooLaPalooza / "Faucibus Orci [Nature]" 2.0

It only took me a month, but I finally put some time aside to put up my pictures and experiences from TattooLaPalooza which happened on January 4-6th, 2012 in Miami!

Below are four progress shots of "Faucibus Orci" as I worked on it live at the show. I went with oil even though it's not really something you can rush through live at an event. The piece developed out of an image of VampireVoodoo I saw on Tumblr that I really liked. She's wearing a Spirit Hood and has a cherubic face contrasted by the septum and dimple piercings. I then thought just painting the chic would be too generic and I happen to love horns/antlers so I tossed those in. I also appreciate all things cephalopod but didn't want to put tentacles in this one, so I went with the eye; but it later turned into a goat eye which I will explain later. So with these elements I thought the piece was starting to come together well, but it needed something more. So I decided to go pop and put some acrylic swipes and drips for the underpainting of the piece.

While I was working on it, a guy walked by and asked if I had been in Juxtapoz. While that might sound like a compliment, it actually meant what I was doing was very derivative and looked unoriginal (unless I happened to be that artist from Juxtapoz)... so I spoke with some of the artists who happened to be my friends who were also painting live. Jeff Dekal suggested I add a body to the bottom of the piece so it looked less pop and so I got to sketching. I decided I would give her the Renaissance Jesus blessing hand position and turn the piece into an Earth Goddess piece riddled with religious symbolism that meant nothing except what the viewer might impose on it. I happen to like reading about semiotics and this is a fun way to integrate it because art can be so symbol-heavy.

I extended her hood down over her shoulders and left one breast exposed for fertility.

I started an Advanced Painting course the week after starting this and was allowed to use this (and the series I intend to do) as my assignments for the quarter! The piece is taking on more life, but I won't be posting those images just yet. ;)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

TattooLaPalooza / "Faucibus Orci"

I will be posting up a full chronicle of my weekend with progress shots of my new personal piece, "Faucibus Orci". I love how the piece is coming along because it was one that sort of developed on it's own.

More info to come in the next few days!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TED / "Can art change the world?"

JR's TED Prize wish: Use art to turn the world inside out.

JR, a semi-anonymous French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out. Learn more about his work and learn how you can join in at