Creek

This summer is flying by, lots of stuff going on right now but I promise when all this settles down, I’ll get you all caught up to speed. Till then, here’s a painting of a creek – Acrylic on Board. Sorry for the potato quality picture, a new camera is in the near future for […]

creekThis summer is flying by, lots of stuff going on right now but I promise when all this settles down, I’ll get you all caught up to speed. Till then, here’s a painting of a creek – Acrylic on Board. Sorry for the potato quality picture, a new camera is in the near future for me though, so stay tuned for decent photos around this place.

Detail_creek

DareDevil

Is a pretty damn good show. I have yet to see a netflix original I haven’t enjoyed. I also love the fact they don’t really hold back on the character to make it suitable for network TV.  Lot of blood, still haven’t seen the suit, but I whipped this up while watching Matt Murdock kick […]

Is a pretty damn good show. I have yet to see a netflix original I haven’t enjoyed. I also love the fact they don’t really hold back on the character to make it suitable for network TV.  Lot of blood, still haven’t seen the suit, but I whipped this up while watching Matt Murdock kick some butt.

daredevil2

Tired

  The more I get accomplished, the more my mental stresses disappear, only to be replaced with those of a physical nature. Nobody tells you that if you are on your feet all day with less than perfect posture, it’s gonna take a toll on you. I suppose that should go without saying, but it’s […]

 

The more I get accomplished, the more my mental stresses disappear, only to be replaced with those of a physical nature. Nobody tells you that if you are on your feet all day with less than perfect posture, it’s gonna take a toll on you. I suppose that should go without saying, but it’s never really something I’ve taken note of before. Don’t lock your knees, that’s the trick! Yet I never look down while standing to see unlocked knees. Bad arches cause locked knees, a twisted back, and a sore neck as well. So I guess the moral of this tangent is to do some foot arch exercises and work on your posture. Otherwise you might feel tired and sore after a long day. Not too sure where I was going with this, but I felt the painting needed some sort of text to go along with it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.20.38 PM

 

“Tired Eyes”

Acrylic on Board[Size of a small Microwave]

 

A Story About Bitcoin and Art

In 2014 I discovered bitcoin. Yeaaa yea I know I’m a bit late and that train has passed, it peaked at over $1000 per digital coin, and crashed hard. NASCAR: Scary as hell to be in the car while flipping and burning, wondering if you’re gonna come out of the whole thing with your shoes […]

In 2014 I discovered bitcoin. Yeaaa yea I know I’m a bit late and that train has passed, it peaked at over $1000 per digital coin, and crashed hard. NASCAR: Scary as hell to be in the car while flipping and burning, wondering if you’re gonna come out of the whole thing with your shoes on and life intact; awe-inspiringly breathtaking as a spectator. I stumbled upon a community of people, completely untapped by a very large percentage of the world. The crash scared all the front runners and fly by night investors away, and what remained was a supportive group over 200k strong who are still holding onto that dream of a new way of living, universal digital currency.
It started with somebody looking for some promo paintings and artwork for their website header. Normally my go-to solution for online payment is Paypal. Not this job. He was unable to sign up for paypal for some reason unbeknownst to me. “Do you accept Bitcoin?”

“Of course I accept Bitcoin.”

The way I look at it, anything can be worth what people are willing to pay for it. This goes for everything and anything that can be exchanged for whatever your heart desires. Had he wanted to pay me in head of cattle for the job I probably would’ve declined, but let’s take this time to ask ourselves why we put the values on the things that we do. Who is to say that a cow can be traded for 2 lambs and a goat? Nobody but the trading parties involved. We give the same seemingly arbitrary values to the paper currency and the gold that backs it. Things are valued for the usefulness they possess, as soon as something stops being useful, it’s no longer valued. Just ask all the VCRs, CD players, and soon to be Cable Companies.

That being said,(At the time of typing this) One Bitcoin is trading for 236.11 US Dollars. Clearly they are giving it enough worth to keep things afloat. That’s for the investors though, for the small businessman it’s a whole different game. Prior to that website artwork I had done, I was catering to only one form of payment. I was competing with the entire field of graphic designers, but as soon as he said “Do you accept Bitcoin?” I was only competing with the other Artists who also accepted it. Like the 49’ers of old, I had stumbled upon what appeared to be an untouched goldmine. I feel like I don’t have to go toe to toe with the big players out there, and the same goes for any other business. The people within the Bitcoin community want to see it prosper and do well more than anybody. For this reason alone, they are far more accepting to creative types and the little guy. For every person they guide into Bitcoin, the more worth they have, the better it is for everybody in the long run.

New things however, take a lot longer to get around to the big dogs. The companies who are sucking up all of your would-be customers and profits, you know who they are. I think Bitcoin can provide an excellent head start to earn clients and build your business before they catch wind of it and move on in. The other aspect of tossing your business into the mix are the digital possibilities. My mind continues to be blown by the generosity of people on the internet.

You’re walking down the street and there they are. Singing slightly out of tune and playing a few chords on their shabby guitar with their bandanna-wearing husky in tow. Every now and then you toss em something (life sucks sometimes, I get it.) Most of the time you walk right by, averting all eye contact so you can carry on with the day and pay off your student loans. Then there’s the people who look at them with complete and utter disdain. “Get a job!” “Get a haircut!” “Take a Shower and get a job!” and they walk right on by. The world can be pretty cruel sometimes.

Had that same ruffian sang the song, recorded it, and posted it among the Bitcoin community, I’m sure you would get a similar effect, minus the biases based on appearance. As impersonal as it sounds, the same song gains so much more attention and value by being recorded and archived for all of humanity to stumble upon and go back to it later on in their day. What would normally amount to being a passing tune for a couple minutes and lost into oblivion, is now a reusable tool to make somebody’s day a little bit better whenever they want. Not that live music doesn’t have a place in my heart, I’m always joyed when I see excellent musicians playing in public places, but the tipping economy and payment options Bitcoin provides lets you play for tips to a lot bigger of an audience.

The internet is one massive city

Bitcoin allows people like myself to set up a digital easel, and start busking for virtual tips with what’s the equivalent of a chalk drawing in the park; People walk by, see a cool picture and toss a few bucks into your hat, for brightening up their day. This just lets you stumble around the park on your phone while you’re stuck in a meeting.

chalk_btc_by_obilex_900x

Animation

an·i·ma·tion ˌanəˈmāSH(ə)n/ noun 1. the state of being full of life or vigor; liveliness. 2. the technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the movie is shown as a sequence. I wish doing one caused the second, or the other way around. Seems like […]

an·i·ma·tion
ˌanəˈmāSH(ə)n/
noun
1.
the state of being full of life or vigor; liveliness.

2.
the technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the movie is shown as a sequence.

I wish doing one caused the second, or the other way around. Seems like every time I attempt to get really hyped up to complete a task, I end up falling short when it comes to the final execution or the quality of the product. Alternately, when I do have a moment of brilliance, it seems as if it was never intended. If the completion of one animation done out of sheer procrastination, imagination, and boredom animated me right into the completion of the next task. One I probably have less motivation to finish. A chain reaction of productivity. I suppose this is why actors make their films in cycles. They tend to make their money film, then do a personal film, then one for the academy etc.

At the end of the day, I guess I’m at least making progress on keeping my website somewhat up to date. Three posts in a a week? I must be losing my mind! Used to go months without updating this thing, but I have been receiving so much love from every corner of the world for my art so I figure I should try my best to give something, anything back. Let’s hear it for animation.

Animation

Silhouette Thumbnails

space2

Today was pretty slow, a lot of repetitive website bullshit. I wonder if I’ll ever figure it all out enough to really detach myself and just work on art and not have to worry about getting people in front of it. I suppose that goes for any profession though; all the electricians in the world […]

Today was pretty slow, a lot of repetitive website bullshit. I wonder if I’ll ever figure it all out enough to really detach myself and just work on art and not have to worry about getting people in front of it. I suppose that goes for any profession though; all the electricians in the world want an audience of some sort, at least in the sense that they will be seen by the proper people. That “actress” that moved to LA waiting to be seen at the right audition, news stations, street performers, green peace marketers, and the like. Everyone just seems to be looking for that support network and attention. With my daily traffic on here being around 75% new visitors, and 25% returning, I can see that I too have a constantly changing audience.

A new set of people entering the movie theater, some came back to watch it with a friend, others because they enjoyed it so much the first time they wanted to relive it all again, others only come back to poke holes in the plot. Truth be told I never really think there is a plot. Just sort of moving from project to project and seeing what sticks.

Today though, I made some space ship silhouette thumbnails in hopes to continue developing my brainchild

ships

Life is one big maze of people trying to take your money.

Yesterday I woke up, far too late than I would like to admit. Groggy from my slumber, I flailed my arm down by the side of my bed in search of computer. My daily routine, if I can call it that, is to check my phone or computer at some point, see if anyone still […]

Yesterday I woke up, far too late than I would like to admit. Groggy from my slumber, I flailed my arm down by the side of my bed in search of computer. My daily routine, if I can call it that, is to check my phone or computer at some point, see if anyone still knows I’m here, that sort of thing. We all do it, check our gmail, check that instagram, check your messages, voicemails from drunks while you slept, the snap chats, or simply walking to your mailbox when you get home from work or school. We all look for that pat on the back, nod of approval, that basket of cookies and the ever popular birthday check. It’s the best feeling in the world, an unexpected treasure chest in your day. It’s when you get that feeling, only to have it ripped away without barely knowing you had something. That is what will really take the wind out of your lungs.

I get an email from

“Jackson Greene
Jan 4 (2 days ago)

to me
Hello There,
My name is Jackson Greene from Las Vegas. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes your piece of work. I’m also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too, You are doing a great job. I would like to purchase one of your Paintings available and ready for sale as a surprise to my wife on our anniversary. Also, i Will appreciate if you can give me the price quotes of any available works of yours ready for immediate sale,and let me know if you accept check as mode of Payment.
Thanks and best regards

Jackson”

Now I get these emails all the time. I LOVE getting these emails. This is basically an “I have money, I want your art, show me what you have available and I will buy one right away.” or an “I love your work, I want a commission, here is what I’m thinking.” They always catch me off guard and I still get a funny feeling, that awkward teen in the parking lot, cool kid A waves to cool kids B and C who HAPPEN to be right behind me. “Who ME?” It always gets me, a couple seconds or minutes at most, that some random person I have never seen before genuinely likes the art I make for fun, and not only that, they want to PAY me for it. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that particular part of this career, its just so darn fun to have big serious people PAY me for my imagination. Most of the time these emails make my day, my week, my month or year – Depending on the price-tags attached to them.

Yesterday however, this kind email from a caring, loving husband Jackson Greene from Las Vegas was nothing more than a SCAM.

I always have a habit of googling the random names attached to some of my art commissions or print purchases, trying to turn them into more than a linked grouping of letters. See if I can pick up on their vibe, hopefully pass it on in their commission. Most of the time it ends up as a guessing game with thousands of John Smiths. Yesterday turned out to be a little different. Jackson Greene from Las Vegas turned up a search result claiming him to be a scam artist, using the same email and same name. Apparently this dude will request art from somebody, pay in a check, but OVERPAY in the check they sent. They then ask you to send the excess through a Western Union money order, and then cancel the check. If you are an aspiring artist who’s lazy Tuesday gets blindsided by a big sale, you might get caught off guard. A lot of shady stuff going on here in cyber-space.

I have learned a lot from this experience though and hopefully I can pass it on to you.

1. GOOGLE SEARCH is a very very powerful tool when it comes to business, money, life in general. There is no reason you can’t type in a person’s name who you are about to exchange goods, services, your hard earned money with. It takes literally less than 5 seconds to do. Where any sort of money is concerned, just type in what you are doing and you would be surprised at some of the results. This includes finding deals, coupons, promo codes, or in my case, not doing business with a KNOWN scam artist.

2. Carry more physical stock of paintings. Most of my art, I will make for a particular reason, either a commission, or gift, or just to keep as my own. I have a fair amount, but not as many as I would like. Had this email been real, I feel like I don’t currently have a wide selection to choose from. I need smaller canvases, medium ones, and a few more large canvases kicking around.

3. Not only have more of them, have a BODY of work. I mean, have say, 8-10 paintings, all of them in the same style, same subject material, same medium, or same vibe. Had some interior designer hit me up and said “I need 6 paintings for this big room” there is no way I could provide 6 paintings that could tie a room together. They are all so random. 3 paintings of rappers, 2 mountain landscapes, 2 animals, a few spaceships, etc. I paint what I want, when I want, but don’t have the ability to unload a lot at once. This is something I am going to work on in the new year. whelp, you heard it here, I just made a resolution.

4. Learn and grow from mistakes and setbacks. Rather than get down on myself all day, I used this as a wake-up call of sorts. It shed some light on some things and I’m leaving the day with the money I had started with, a few things learned, and a painting still on my wall.

It’s pushing 2:30 AM. Made this.

Evil Space Queen

Evil Space Queen

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright

painting on Surfside Beach

Deep in the heart of Texas is where I found myself these past two weeks. After arriving in Houston, I was greeted at the airport by my lovely girlfriend Lizzie and we promptly went out for dinner. We ordered an appetizer of fried alligator tail which was my first time eating reptile, it was absolutely […]

Deep in the heart of Texas is where I found myself these past two weeks. After arriving in Houston, I was greeted at the airport by my lovely girlfriend Lizzie and we promptly went out for dinner. We ordered an appetizer of fried alligator tail which was my first time eating reptile, it was absolutely delicious. Ordered the Texas Redfish dish with dirty rice (they wouldn’t tell me exactly what was in the rice and said I didn’t want to know – After finishing my plate clean, I learned it’s a Cajun dish consisting of white rice cooked with onions, peppers, chicken livers, and herbs.)

Houston Skyline

Houston Skyline

Then we took a trip to downtown Houston, well one of the downtowns. It is such a sprawled city with no zoning laws, that it has developed several “downtown” areas. The city hall building is something straight out of Gotham city. 1940’s fonts and murals covering the ground floors and ceilings. It’s a very beautiful building with some nice exhibits in the welcoming center, you just have to get past some of the tourist trap gift shop displays (you get that kind of thing anywhere though.) One exhibit caught my eye, a flag and patch which flew on the space shuttle Columbia, accompanied by a model of the the rocket and a lengthy history of the NASA program in Houston.

Space Shuttle Columbia

Space Shuttle Columbia

Bound for the coast, we headed to surfside beach near Galveston, Tx.

Our Navigator

Our Navigator

It’s been far too long since I had smelled the ocean air, 7 months in a landlocked Colorado will do that to a person. We spent forever driving up and down the beach looking for the public bathrooms, the spot our information said had free camping. After about 30 minutes, I hopped out and asked an old fisherman about it. Apparently Hurricane Ike had hit the area pretty hard and they hadn’t replaced much of the public amenities since. He had a pretty good haul of fish for the day though, three poles in the sand, bobbers in the surf, lonestar cans in the back of his truck. Can’t think of a better way to shop for dinner. We drove down the beach for a ways until we were the only people in sight, both directions.

All alone on Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach is Empty

The brisk 65 degrees and wind off the sea kept most locals inside, or back at their winter homes. Too cold for them. My friends up north were dealing with over four feet of snow in Buffalo, and single digit temperatures in Colorado, this felt like a tropical paradise in comparison. I spotted a great blue heron land just outside our camp and managed a photo through Lizzie’s binoculars.

Surfside Great Blue Heron

Surfside Great Blue Heron

Set up my easel, generously loaned by a friend in Boulder. It’s very compact when broken down, no bigger than a few sticks – Very good for travel. Tried to get some plein air painting done on the back of an old sketchbook, but I kept getting distracted buy the sunset. Started out with a color palette, then 15 minutes would go by, and it shifted from yellow/green to red/yellow to red/orange to orange/purple. The end result wasn’t much to write home about, but it served it’s purpose. I learned to work fast and worry about detail later, to stick to my original colors. Looking back now, I wish I had chosen to do four 15 minute color studies rather than a one hour landscape study. During the day hours you can get away with taking a bit longer on an outdoor painting, you just need to establish your shadows and stick to them, don’t work on one half of the piece and then by the time you get to the other side of the canvas, time has passed and the sun is at a different angle entirely. Be consistent across the board and worry about detail later on.

painting on Surfside Beach

My setup for painting on Surfside Beach near Galveston, TX

The next day we packed up and headed into Galveston, TX where we stopped for breakfast by the Pleasure Pier, home of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Our original plan was to head another 3 hours up to the big thicket in eastern Texas, but the sun and 75 degree high for the day made us change our mind. Spent the rest of our morning on the beach basking in the sun and painting instead. Again, the only locals we saw were either walking their dogs, jogging, or taking Christmas photos – All bundled up in coats and long sleeves. The looks we got.

Historical Galveston is a VERY neat place, once the largest city in the state, it was crippled by a hurricane in the early 1900’s and never got back on it’s feet. They moved shop to Houston and it turned into more of a vacation spot than anything. The buildings that did survive the hurricane are astonishingly beautiful. Old architecture with lots of French and German influences. It reminded me of a cape cod town up north, but things still screamed Texas. We took a self made, self guided tour around the city, stopping at an old bishop’s house (massive stone building that survived the Hurricane) as well as the remnants of the Pirate Jean Lafitte, a Frenchman of questionable values. He was a complete badass. Dude made Galveston his home for several years, commanding a fort, and building home which had cannons pointed at the bay and treasure packed within the walls. Eventually he was forced out of the area by the US government upon which he burned his house, burned the fort, and burned the TOWN to the ground. He then sailed off to South America.

My trip then took us to Austin where we visited both friends and family. Then onward to San Antonio. We found ourselves caught in the middle of a supercell thunder-hail storm of doom.

STORM

STORM

Ducked off the nearest exit and waited it out under a gas station overhand with 30+ cars packed in with the same idea. Once the storm had passed, we were back on the road to San Antonio. I was determined to find the Alamo’s basement.

THERE'S NO BASEMENT IN THE ALAMO!

THERE’S NO BASEMENT IN THE ALAMO!

Upon arriving in San Antonio, we met up with my cousin/lifelongfriend/brother/partnerincrime Ryan who by chance was there for a weekend teaching conference. He has been in Spain and London for the past 3 years, so it was quite a shock to see in in San Antonio of all places! We settled on a Denny’s after realizing the parking situation in downtown SA is atrocious (as well as the drivers, we almost got run over by a taxi while in a crosswalk.) Denny’s has never been so fun though, it’s always nice to catch up with somebody close. A mariachi competition had pretty much taken over the restaurant a few seconds after we had been served. At least 60 contestants decided to get Denny’s before their trips home, we got there at just the right time.

DENNY'S

Met up with Ryan in San Antonio

Lizzie’s sister was kind enough to house us for a few days, I didn’t get much artwork done, but we did see a ton of stuff. I took a LOT of reference and texture photos for my library to use in future paintings. My favorite part of the trip was the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. They have all of the Texas ecosystems, vegetable gardens, and two Bio-domes with artificial climate control with tropical and desert plants.

San Antonio Botanical Gardens

Lizzie in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens

BIO DOME in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens

BIO DOME in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens

I took a TON of reference photos for the future, but I highly recommend this if you are ever in the San Antonio area. If I was a resident, you bet your ass I would have a membership and be there every week painting or sketching a different plant. We hit up the Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk the next day. The Alamo is very strange in the fact that there is a massive city downtown surrounding it. When I thought of the Alamo before, I pictured a little building on the Texas frontier. It’s a lot of people, a lot of buildings, and a lot of 10$ parking lots. The inside however is a delight, all very informative, and the museum itself is free!

Now lets talk a little bit of the San Antonio riverwalk. My cousin Ryan had mentioned it the other night and described it as very “Disneyworld.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Everything seemed to geared for tourists, expensive, cheesy,trinket shops with played out only in Texas slogans. There was no room for locals in a place like this. Not one dive bar or greasy texmex food. No mom and pop shops at all. You could really tell that the Riverwalk property cost a mint, and the people who bought it weren’t concerned with the business of those who operate the day to day affairs. I can’t imagine a waiter could afford to take a lunch break at any of the establishments more than a handful of times a month. It was all the more sad after reading the historical plaques mounted on the walls along the walk. The lead architect and planner of the project intended it as a river oasis of life and business for the people of San Antonio, and it has drifted so far from that into a harbor for tourists and the elite. We had enough of this city and It was time for turkey anyways.

San Antonio Texas River-Walk under bridge

San Antonio Texas River Walk under bridge

Thanksgiving in the Texas hill country was more than I had hoped for. I was welcomed with open arms to Lizzie’s Aunt and Uncle’s Ranch near Johnson City, TX. 150+ acres of Live oaks, deer, cows, horses, good people and great food. We journeyed an hour or so out to Enchanted Rock, or “The Heart of Texas” a massive pink batholith. The entire place is surrounded by legend and tales of ghosts. Years of erosion formed small pools of water which are supposedly footprints of ghosts, forced to walk the surface of the rock for eternity. Neat stuff!

Enchanted Rock Ghost Stories

Enchanted Rock Ghost

We headed back to the ranch for a wonderful turkey dinner and concluded our trip with the lighting of the Johnson City courthouse. A small town tradition that has been going on for 25 years now. we were presented with a 20 minute fireworks display topped off with the christmas lights covering the entire building. Santa and Mrs. Claus were nice enough to grace us all with their presence as well. Full of funnel cake and a corn dog, we drove back and soaked in the small town charm and big christmas spirit, excited for what December has in store for us. All festivities aside, I did have some time to do some outdoor painting at the ranch. Oil on board.

Windy Hill Rd Johnson City Ranch

Windy Hill Rd Johnson City Ranch