This is a “portrait” of Axle, and a short story of (metaphorical?) love and loss. Axle used to sit by the side of the road between my small city and the town where my oldest daughter lives. With a peachy tan complexion, and wide eyes, Axle became a mile marker of sorts. One that my grandkids and I came to view as “our old car by the side of the road”. “There he is” they’d say, “there’s Axle”.
I had given him the name Axle due to the obvious fact that his front axle was broken, his tires askew. This just seemed to add to the charm of our roadside friend. It’s pretty accurate to say that we amorphized this charming old truck that, week after week, year after year sat vigilantly waiting for our passage.
The thing is that, Axle was not entirely forgotten by everyone other than us. Someone diligently repainted him every year. That is, for a few years anyway. Someone loved Axle as much as we did. He was never moved, or covered, but someone cared. He sat in a small patch of land between the road, a stream, and woods beyond.
Through the changing seasons, the glaring sun of summer, the fall of the leaves, the blowing snows of winter and when the wildflowers would bloom next to him, Axle was there.
But then something changed, some time passed since his last paint job, and the rust became more prominent. He was still charming, maybe even more so in his aged look, but something was definitely different.
And then came the day he was murdered! I drove by one spring day on my way to get the kids, and saw something that, well made me irrationally angry, and sad. Someone had shot Axle in his right eye! Our loyal mascot had become someone’s careless target.
I didn’t mention it to the kids, but they of course noticed. What could I say, there are just soulless people in this world. I just told them that ‘maybe someone would fix him, and he’d be back’, and we went by.
But that was not to be. Months went by and poor Axle sat forlornly with his fatal wound.
And then one day I drove by, and Axle was gone. I tried to console myself that someone was going to give him a new life. We were never to know. He was just gone.
Its funny how sometimes seemingly innocuous things can bring out feelings more than the things that are what most would consider really important. Maybe they’re a sort of surrogate emotional object. One that is easier, less dangerous to express our feelings about. I still miss him.
I think that right now, at this moment in history especially, we need to hold onto the little things that we may not be thinking about as much as usual. I’m glad that I had decided to paint the picture of Axle. It’ll always be a nice reminder of being with my grand kids and those sweet, silly moments that are really the most important moments.
There is something that has occasionally been on my mind; my increasing “body of work”, or my “oeuvre” to be more professional. I consider myself a working artist. And although I sell my fair share of paintings, I find that sometimes my creativity outpaces my output, so to speak.
When this happens, I will sometimes try to curb my creativity a little. This only works for a short time as apparently I tend to be somewhat compulsive about creating art. I then try to focus more on getting my work “out there”. But as any artist knows, this isn’t always the answer either. I often wonder what to do. What do other creatives do?
The three photos above, are from a series of paintings I had done that I had entitled “Horse Power”. It was a series of large (3′ x 2′) oil paintings I had done of vintage automobiles and horses. I did sell these three. Yay! I think that having made them as a series and having marketed them as such may have helped. I had sold two of the horse paintings from this series as well. I want to mention here that I by no means painted them specifically to market them this way. I love and appreciate both horses and vintage and other cars, so painting them is something I both wanted to do and enjoyed doing.
Above left to right are “Axle”, (who has a bitter sweet back story that you can read on my Etsy add for him), “A Nice Day for a White Dress”, and “Basil” (who is a personal favorite of mine). In the second row, left to right are “Sade” “Fire” and “Sherman” These pieces are all 3′ x 2′ and are ready for their forever home. They can be purchased by clicking on “shop” which will bring you to my sale site. (A little side note; I noticed that when viewed on a cell phone, that the above photos are not in the same order as viewed on a laptop. There are three rows on phones so in that order they are; 1st row; Axle, A Nice Day For a White Dress, 2nd row; Basil and Sade, and 3rd row; Fire and Sherman).
So, selling as a series is one option, Another is getting your inventory together, and having enough prints made to set up a tent at open air festivals and markets. Every aspect of which, is extremely time consuming, and may possibly add to the issue.
I want to say, that the other reasons I personally want to sell more of my work. (aside from feeding my family, heheh ), is space, which I only have so much of. And the fact that, (and I don’t want to be morbid), but I won’t be around forever and I don’t want to leave things for my family to have to take care of. But also, and this is a big one for me, and it’s not ego, I want people to not only see, but to personally have and enjoy my work. It’s important to me, I care about it, and I’d like others to do so also.
I have heard of other artists who have “liquidation” sales. I find this term cheapens our work. I’ve also heard of artists who will actually throw away or even destroy some of their work to “make room” or “move on to their next projects”! The thought of this is beyond distressing to me! One thing I have done in the past that helps open up space, is to have my work “on loan” at local venues. I’m sure there are other options that may be of interest to artists. If you have any other ideas, let me know, so we can share!
Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!
Having had some dental issues in the last few weeks, I didn’t get a chance to post anything yesterday. But as they say; “Better late than never”! I have wanted to post a series of photos that chronicle the making of a painting for some time. About a year ago I was given a commission and I had photographed many of the stages of creating it. I feel that this is a good representation of the making of a commissioned piece. So here I give you, “Mack”.
I was asked to create a painting that represented something that is very important in the lives of this family, for their young son. The father is a truck driver, and their son is crazy about trucks. Other than that, I wasn’t given anything else in particular to go on. I found this to be a good thing as it gave me a little more free reign to design this heirloom for them. As Their son was still quite young, but kids grow quickly, I decided that it should be playful, yet be something that he would be OK with having for some time as he grows older.
In this first image, you can see where I had lightly sketched in the body of the truck, and the beginnings of aspects that would make it feel more substantial. I then added some paint to begin “fleshing it out”.
Blocking in the background gave me an idea, and feeling of place.
In this photo I began to paint the sign on the side. As you can see, I left highlights where the metal of the truck bumps outward. I thought at this point to leave parts like this to give the sign a somewhat “worn” look.
Here I began to block in different areas to give it more depth.
At this point I started to add some fun elements. As you can see, the truck is now hauling a load of candy, peeking out from under the tarp at the top of the truck.
In this image I’ve blocked in a layer of under painting to begin building on and continue giving the painting more depth. I also added the name of the truck.
In the above three images I had begun to give the truck more realism, filling in the tires, and adding highlights to the fenders.
Here I’ve added more candy, and lights to the top of the cab of the truck. At this point I also began changing the walls where the “dig” was, showing that this was a candy “mine”.
Things were coming together, and I then added more whimsy to the over all look of the sign.
Here I added more highlights, and color for depth, as well as added the name of the young boy to the door of the truck.
After adding some work on the back and fore ground,(and adding a shadow of a man driving), this painting was finished!
It is always a bit nerve wracking to do a commissioned piece. You never know if the client will be pleased with the finished product. But I’m happy to say, they loved it! I hope you enjoyed seeing how this painting came together, and I hope to do more like this in the future. See you next time!
It is always exciting for an artist, to have someone love and appreciate their work enough to purchase it. I’m happy to say that, “Big Blue” has found a home and is on it’s way as I type this. As some of you may have guessed, I’m obsessed with elephants. I care a great deal about their plight in the world today. I urge everyone to boycott all institutions that use elephants, or any wild animals for so called “entertainment” purposes. What happens to these loving, family orientated, exceptionally intelligent, caring animals, who have critical thinking, and mourn their dead, at the hands of humans, is beyond horrific. I will always try to keep this blog on the lighter side, and primarily about art, but this is something that touches my heart. I am gladdened that there are others who also love and appreciate the treasured gift that we have in the elephants of our world. Speak up, be ethical, do what you can, when you can. Their existence depends on it.