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Sensing (Scopelogados beani), Encaustic on Steel, 18.5" disc, $650, 2010

This piece will be on view at Atelier6000, in Bend, Oregon from March 1st to the 31st. The exhibition “The Stolen Image” is based around artists that use a transfer techniques in their work. This piece is an encaustic monoprint on steel of one of my recent drawings. If your going to Oregon stop in and check it out!

Medias, Encaustic on Wood, 55″ x 6″, $1400, 2010

The Suffolk Art Center in Suffolk, VA is putting on a show titled Abstracts: Borrowed from Reality with the help from curators Pam Rogers and Trudi Van Dyke. The show will feature a number of artists who recently exhibited at the DC Art Center aswell as 6 of my own works, including the piece above Medias. The show will open on March 9th and run to April 15th.

More good news: my piece Chauliodus sloani was recently purchased at the Torpedo Factory Art Centers Patron Show Auction. My work was on donation and all proceeds go to benefit the Torpedo Factory Art Center in my home town Alexandria, VA! Thanks to those that purchased works and for supporting the arts!

 

 

 

 

 

Rain Barrels such as the one pictured can be found @ EcoWise

My newest painting just took a first place award at Atelier6000’s Feb. show Survey: Charts, Maps, Ledgers, Navigation.

My new series is about the final voyage of the whaleship Essex and its demise by ramming of an angry sperm whale leading to a harrowing 89 day, 2500 mile drift by whaleboat. Accounts from the few survivors have inspired sections of the whale attack in Melville’s, Moby Dick, and cannibalism in Edgar Allen Poe’s Narrative of Author Gordon Pym.

To me the voyage and tragedy represent a different era of American history. One that is built primarily on the quest for whale oil. Aside from the obvious romanticism of man at sea and the hardships thereof, the dubious task of taking down so large a mammal by hand relates humankinds ability to willingly enter into stupendous circumstances and risk everything. Harpooning a whale could take the better part of the day, with the whole whaleboat team rowing for miles upon miles to kill the whale and then haul it back to the boat for processing. That of course is if the whale didn’t rend their boat to splinters and send them all awash with a flick of its tail. Whaling was a primal enterprise and truly, few lines of work were as dangerous or as grizzly. These whale crews were also explorers, escaped convicts and slaves, outcasts, and men searching for themselves at sea. Their trade put them not only at risk of the elements, but presented enormous strain on their bodies, psyche, and thus their futures.

My series is not about glorifying the hunt or the killing of these whales, but it is about the idea of setting yourself adrift and truly pursuing something. I am interested in thinking about what these people experienced not in the eye of the whale or moment of the hunt, but in the world and sea around them as they drift the vast oceans and brave the unknown and volatile environment so far from the comforts of land. The pieces focus on place, in fact specific points on the map, and distinct moments as I see them through the eyes of those who may have traveled before me. They are not based on photographs and internet queries, but narratives and course plotting’s of travels past and of ideas of an invented ocean that perhaps my history as a human knows better than my own eyes.

This series is still being built and the ideas around the pieces must to have room to grow and evolve, but for now this is the path I have laid out to navigate.

 

The Specimen

 

So I was out watering the garden today when I heard a loud rustling in the grass. To my surprise a wasp was going to town on a large white moth with black spots. I rushed in for my camera and tripod and captured the 5+ minute battle (massacre) on tape, here it is condensed for your study! I am trying to find out if the wasp was merely after a late Tuesday breakfast or if it was trying to find a home for its little wasplets. I identified the moth as a Leopard Moth, male due to its yellow banding, and the wasp I believe is just a common wasp, which I think are not parasitic. I posted it to “Ask a Biologist” to see if they can give me the ringside details. In certain moments it looks like the wasp is stinging the moth, in another about half way through the video the wasp goes to the moths underside and begins to chew it in half. In any case, I kept the moth, post mortem and post wasp snacking, for study to see if anything occurs. I am certainly glad that wasps are not big enough to eye me up for lunch.

-Photo credit: Michelle Bright

 

Last week, Michelle and I went to a beach below the Town Lake Dam on the Colorado River. She was photographing the refraction of light in water in relation to depth for a project about hot springs.

So I set about looking for neat objects and stumbled on a lime stone fossil of what I believe is an Ammonite from some 251 – 65 million years ago! Based on its shape I thought it was a ancestor of the Nautilus, turns out its not. Its one of the earliest cephalopods in the phylum Mollusca,who’s lineage is now extinct. Needless to say, I spent the next hour or so scouring for more fossils. Alas, I was only to find patches of crumbling limestone with the occasional partial shell of some tasty clam of the past. Nothing to warrant exhuming from its rocky confines.

Below are a few pictures of the fossil after I found it and after I cleaned it out only to discover more rounded sawtooth ridges which helped me identify its likely time of existence.

The ridges are called sutures. Read the description below and pick which one you think it is, if enough people agree than we probably picked the right one!

Three major types of suture patterns in Ammonoidea have been noted.

Suture patterns:

  • Goniatitic – numerous undivided lobes and saddles; typically 8 lobes around the conch. This pattern is characteristic of the Paleozoic ammonoids.
  • Ceratitic – lobes have subdivided tips, giving them a saw-toothed appearance, and rounded undivided saddles. This suture pattern is characteristic of Triassic ammonoids and appears again in the Cretaceous “pseudoceratites.”
  • Ammonitic – lobes and saddles are much subdivided (fluted); subdivisions are usually rounded instead of saw-toothed. Ammonoids of this type are the most important species from a biostratigraphical point of view. This suture type is characteristic of Jurassic and Cretaceous ammonoids but extends back all the way to the Permian.

Post your guesses!!

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Back in July, during my month long stay in VA I took up wood cutting. Since that time I have been working on a series of prints that are based off of 1592 spanish map engravings of sea monsters. Through the series I’ll be progressively cutting prints to look more and more like what creatures those bewildering 1592 sea monsters might actually be. The pictures above are all working proofs.

I am also working on a collection of small prints that I am creating En plein air of different locations around the Austin area. My first was Krause springs, working vigorously for an hour on site and enjoying some cold water swimming! You can see it in the pictures as the smaller print in the top right corner. This collection will either be bound as a book or possibly printed as one large print made up of however many blocks I decide is enough.

So far it has been a lot of fun and I am learning wood cutting fast. I am a bit disappointed that while I learned a lot from Dan Miller, that I was too busy painting and etching during graduate school to take advantage of his woodcut classes. Anyway, I am enjoying the process now and its fun to teach yourself something new after 6+ years of art schooling.

 

My latest projects:

  • A handmade canoe paddle to enjoy all the beautiful waterways of Texas Hill Country. Made of epoxy laminated Ash and Spanish Cedar, the finished product will be glassed for strength and to bring out the natural character in the wood.

  • A new painting which draws from Turner and Albert Pinkham Ryder. I am continuing to expand on my narratives about exploration and the sea while pushing ideas about interdisciplinary mediums. This paper on panel piece will have many different layers from a grisaille underpainting, oil painting surface, encaustic, printmaking techniques and many glazes both encaustic and old master.

Keep an eye on later posts to see how they progress!