Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Virtual Paintout - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland - Shankill Road
15x20 watercolor

This is my October effort for the Virtual Paintout. This month was Belfast. I did a lot of web searching about, to find where in Belfast you could get a view of the world famous mural/wall paintings. So I did my Google street viewing and found many murals on many streets but loved this view on Shankill Road with what appears to be some kind of horse and buggy race that was rounding the corner. I was well into painting this when I discovered that someone else had found this very view and posted it on the Virtual Paintout site. I wasn't sure what to do at that point - and being that we were going out of town, (etc., etc.) I chose to go ahead and finish this and post it anyway. I was thinking that I could choose another view and do it before the end of this month - but I'm running out of October and have not even started my next blues musician.


October (or Gary's Wheelbarrow)
12x16" watercolor

I felt the need to put something up. We've been celebrating my daughter's birthday, which meant getting ready to travel then spent most of last week at Edisto Island in South Carolina. Now we are getting ready for a birthday party and guests (which means some serious house and yard work). I was able to paint this last week before we left. We left Boone and it was a glorious autumn. We came back to winter - see what can happen when you leave town!

This piece was real hard to photo - I guess because it is dark with some contrasting lights. So here it is, sorta. I had too much fun, which I think is evident here, with the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and an eraser guard. On the one hand I like that you can tell what I used, but on the other I've always felt that technique should be hidden - so I guess you can say I'm undecided. I've been trying to finish my effort for this months Virtual Paintout - I think I can post that one tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Reverend Gary Davis

The Reverend Gary Davis
22x30" Watercolor 300 lb. Arches cold press.

This is the first in a series of paintings I want to do of old blues musicians. The idea came from my discovering You-Tube videos, as I was generally astounded with what I found to be available with music. Artists such as Gary Davis are there to study and listen to without having to seek out specialized music collections or spend anything to purchase the music. Even though Gary Davis is rather famous, and his music is now readily available, I chose to start with him for a number of reasons. First - he was one of the world's greatest guitar players. He was unselfish and taught guitar to many young folks back in the day - the quintessential bluesman. His influence is unquestioned. Finally, along with Blind Boy Fuller and Brownie McGhee, he was considered to be a practitioner of what is known as the Piedmont style of blues and guitar playing - originating in the Carolinas and in south central Virginia.

I'm thinking that the first one in a series like this can take the longest to do. This one took me a good little while - not so much in the actual painting, but in the research (so to speak). My first thought was to do imagery deriving solely from on-line video captures. The real good old ones are over-contrasty, black and white and often out of sharp focus. So I found myself taking screen shots of hands and so on. I found myself researching the kind of guitar Gary Davis played (Gibson SJ-200) and down loaded many guitar reference shots, etc., etc.

So now I'm looking at Blind Boy Fuller - but haven't found any actual video images of him - yet. I do not intend to copy a single photograph (someone elses composition and copyright) - but to create a composite representation in a way that somehow expresses my impression of the artist after reading bios and recording histories and, most importantly, listening to the music itself. I've got lists laying around everywhere of possible blues artists to do - I'm thinking the more obscure the better.