Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Inky Bliss

Participating in the last couple of Inktobers has left me with a full notebook and a treasure trove of drawings I never would have gotten around to otherwise.  Here are some of my favorite ink drawings from 2017. Prints are available, just leave me a comment, or find me on Facebook. I hope your year was full of creativity too. If not, let's start something in 2018!  mark

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spring Training is here!

Yordano Ventura, digital   PRINTS AVAILABLE (a portion of proceeds go to Royals Charities)

#SalvySplash (Eric Hosmer and SalvadorPerez), pen and ink sketch DIGITAL AND PRINTS COMING SOON

Charlie Leibrandt, brush and ink sketch
Paul Splittorff, pen and ink sketch

Mark McGwire, pen and ink sketch
Stan Musial, acrylic, spray paint, ink on canvas 36"x48"     PRINTS AVAILABLE

Lou Brock, acrylic, spray paint, ink on canvas 36"x24"             PRINTS AVAILABLE

Bob Gibson, acrylic, spray paint, ink on canvas 36"x24"              PRINTS AVAILABLE

Goose Goslin catching a goose egg, pen and ink sketch

Jimmie Foxx, pen and ink sketch

Sandy Koufax, acrylic on canvas 8"x10"
The Super Bowl is finally over so now my mind is moving on to Spring and Summer sports. Baseball Spring Training starts on Valentine's Day so I thought I'd take a look back at all the baseball art I did in the last year. From sketches to digital to huge paintings, I guess I had baseball fever. My fever broke in October, however, when neither Missouri team made it to the 2016 postseason. But hey, there's always next year! And that's what it's all about.
Leave me a message in the comments if you would like an 8x10 print ($25 + shipping)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Coloring book inspiration

I am currently working on and researching a mural project about the Ozarks. Studying Ozarks folk tales recorded by Vance Randolph. My research took me to photos of Silver Dollar City (SDC) in Branson, MO. I live in Springfield (45 minutes away) and my family has season tickets to SDC. I have always loved the old timey theme and the subtle artistic genius it took to create this theme park. From funny advertising posters pasted on the walls, to engineering plans for some outlandish invention, to the cartoonish shapes of buildings, it all works together to give a fun atmosphere that has sparked my imagination my whole life. Another place that feels like my mind turned inside out is the City Museum in St. Louis, but that's another story...

I am from South Kansas City and my first visit to the "City" was when I was about 5 years old. My family went camping in Southwest Missouri with my Montgomery cousins from the hills of North Missouri. I don't have too many memories from the trip except the ones that ended up as family legends (apparently I got car sick in my uncle's van?!). I do remember snippets of Silver Dollar City: Fire in the Hole and the Flooded Mine are two rides that stood out to me. I vaguely remember asking my parents what a Baldknobber was– I think there were some in costume walking the streets that day. My second trip was ten years later as an excursion from summer youth camp.

One treasure my parents must have bought me that day was a coloring book. It showed hilarious cartoon scenes of the attractions and the bearded heroes. I didn't color but a couple of the pages, but I have carried it with me through many moves and have it in my collection of "inspirational" art books.
See, there's his name. Somehow I missed it all these years.
Until last week, I had no idea about the artist, though it has his name inside the front cover. Dennis Jones recently posted some of his original pages and re-imagined a couple of the drawings 35+ years later. Apparently he grew up close to Springfield and went to school at Ye Ol' Southwest Missouri State University (where I graduated from) and did this coloring book fresh out of art school. I always admired the characters in this book. They were so goofy and had crazy feet! They were my heroes. As I look at the drawings now, they are in a cartoon style made popular by Jack Davis who I didn't discover until after college.

I never bought many comic books as a kid, maybe because they weren't funny. I liked (and copied) super hero art, however, but could care less about the fantasy story line. I became frustrated that the story would progress so slowly from magazine to magazine so I gave up. I think I would have liked MAD Magazine, but it was not allowed in my house (I got in so much trouble one time for bringing home a pack of Garbage Pail Kids cards from the drug store). I am the oldest of three boys so I think my parents had a pretty tight reign on what I collected. (My youngest brother, however got to buy a Weird Al Yankovic CD in middle school!) Lucky!!!

I like weird things.  I think it's in my DNA. My wife rolls her eyes a LOT! I always loved an "Alfred E. Neuman for President" poster my uncle John had hanging in his closet at my grandparents house in Unionville, MO. I could stare at that face for hours (I'm sick, I know). Uncle John also had red, velvet paisley wallpaper. I think he and I were cut from the same cloth. When I was 16 or so, my grandparents moved to Chillicothe, MO and I snagged that poster off the door and today it lays crumbling in a make-shift envelope at my house. A relic of the '60s. I need to restore it somehow so I can hang it on my own closet door.

Anyway, being able to reconnect and catch up (on Facebook -Jones lives in Indiana) with one of my anonymous, artistic childhood heroes from the Ozarks has left my mind reeling. Don't take this the wrong way, Dennis, but it's like looking back at a pop star from your parent's college days and wondering whatever happened to them. Then you find out they've been performing in Branson... and they are even groovier today!

I photobombed Greg Brady (Barry Williams) at a Birthplace of Route 66 Festival press conference 2016.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

#blessed I have had a big year sharing my art in ways I didn't dream possible. In 2015 I did my first oil paintings (since college) and displayed (and sold) them through the Springfield Regional Arts Council at the airport gallery. I also enjoyed adding a new skill of LIVE CARICATURE to my list of offerings. In just over one year, I've been lucky enough to draw at 5 events and meet all kinds of wonderful people. From a business grand opening, to a church volunteer appreciation banquet, to private parties, I gained a lot of experience honing this new skill of making funny faces with markers. Through my drawing at an event by 417 Magazine at the Springfield Art Museum, I was contacted about drawing at a private Christmas party last weekend. Thanks to Kyle and Kaye for the opportunity! They told their guests it was their Christmas card for the year. The drawings sparked a lot of lively conversation throughout the evening and really added an element of "ice-breaker" I didn't expect. Kyle and Kaye have a beautiful home, and if you're lucky enough to be invited to their annual Christmas party, it is a treat. Here are some shots from the party.
The gracious hosts asked me to make a custom stationery to draw on that would include a digital caricature of the two of them. I decided to blow it up and bring it to the party as a gift for their hospitality.
I am excited to see what 2016 brings, but when I look back, 2015 was a very good year! May God bless you in the new year as much as He's blessed me!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blondie gets "Hanged"

News from my latest foray into the fine art gallery world: I recently finished an oil painting of Clint Eastwood for a gallery show with the theme of old Hollywood entitled "Glamour, Glitter & Noir: A Celebration of the Silver Screen." It was the second oil painting I've done (in the last month) with water-mixable oil paints which are increasingly addictive. They are so fun to play with and mix on the canvas that time simple slips away while working with them. SO FUN! I have painted with water color and acrylic a lot, but only recently was I turned on to this medium. I started with a digital caricature I had made in Adobe Illustrator to simplify shapes and work out basic details using those precise computer tools. I then projected the image from my computer to the canvas to get the basic framework, then the painting began. I tried underpainting first with a light blue wash which I originally thought would just end up being the final. One color looked cool. But the important parts weren't standing out so I added Yellow Ochre to warm it up a bit. Being the entertainer that I am, I wanted to tell a bit of a story in the space of Blondie's poncho. Since the movies that made Mr. Eastwood famous were (notoriously) made in Italy, I painted Italian landmarks to be the image woven into the fabric. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Coliseum, and a vineyard are all clustered together. I also painted a tag and scratched in the word "ITALY" into the fresh white paint using the sharp, metal end of a math compass. I also scratched some other detailed texture in his blistered, sunburned lips. I wanted an old, weathered barn-wood frame reminiscent of the buildings in "The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly" movie, and asked a colleague's carpenter husband to make one. However that same weekend I found one the exact size and shape at an antique/craft mall in Ozark, MO and snatched it up. The new (old) frame leaned decidedly red in hue so I knew my blue underpainting with yellowish brown highlights wasn't going to be enough. I had to get some red into the painting to make sure the frame looked right. I made notes to myself to extend his chin and add an ominous sunset. I had originally planned on leaving the sky blank since I was in a rush to meet the gallery hanging deadline, but once I finished the main character, I thought of ways I could use the sky to carry out some implied lines and add some more red. I am happy with the final piece, and out of the three I submitted, this one is getting the most buzz. Canvas is 16x20, but the frame makes it around 21x25. Currently for sale through the Springfield Regional Arts Council.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I invented these Post-its

I am taking part in a fun show at my favorite little gallery Arts & Letters tomorrow night 7-10 p.m. The Post-it Show! All artists were asked to submit anything they wanted as long as it was done on/with a 3x3 post-it note. There are some pretty creative people out there. I did my best with my fat markers on the tiny square. The goal is to make art affordable so every Post-it will be on sale for $2 each split between the gallery and artist. Whatever is left after tomorrow night will be for sale the rest of the month of February. Here's a story about it in the newspaper. See you there!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I am getting some mileage out of the Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. paintings I did back at the beginning of the summer. I showed them to a gallery called Arts & Letters in Downtown Springfield, MO and they were gracious enough to hang them for a couple of months. If you haven't been there, it is a cute little gallery/shop that sells handmade jewelry, toys, clothing and paintings/drawings. Meganne Rosen O'Neal and Laura Provance have done a great job keeping things interesting over there. Go pay them a visit and see my stuff! 214 S Campbell