“Harem Painting,” a large-scale, 4’X4′ acrylic I completed in April of 2013, has a lot of different narrative, historical, composition and design elements.
The narrative is that the Bedouin prince on the left is about to sneak up and disable the harem guard to retrieve his princess, who was kidnapped by troops of the evil Sultan and forced into the royal harem.
The story is inspired by the pulp novel covers of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, which often included similar melodrama in exotic locales.
The reason I started this painting, however, is that I was inspired by nineteenth century Orientalism in art. Harems were popular subjects among European painters, and each female figure shown in my painting is patterned after a figure shown in a painting in this genre.
I’m proud of the way the different lighting situations act in this piece. The harem is lit in bright orange from the torches and oil lamps, meaning the nothing is visible outside the windows. The unlit hallway is dimly visible by moon and starlight, however. I picked this juxtaposition because of the way orange complements blue — my favorite colors to use when I set up opposing color themes in a painting.
The viewer will also notice the ornate Arabic script and design elements adorning the architecture, tapestry and carpets. I cribbed many of these elements from photos of the Alhambra Moorish palace in Spain, while others I devised myself in the spirit of medieval Arabic design traditions.
Below is my Flickr slideshow showing my process for creating this painting from conception to completion.
The idea for the composition of this painting comes from medieval European and Byzantine religious iconography. These are actually displayed in two glass-fronted shadow boxes that hinge in the middle, and the yellow portions are overlaid in metallic gold acrylic.
The theme is secular in nature, however, with the left panel depicting the constructive pursuits of man like science, medicine, art, music and agriculture.
Conversely, the panel on the right is rife with symbols of greed, war, fascism, rape and mob violence.
You’ll notice a comet in the top right corner of the right panel, the appearance of which has been historically interpreted as a harbinger of doom.
And there are naked chicks in there for good measure.
See my process in creating this piece from conception to completion in my Flickr slideshow below:
I’ve always found animals doing people things to be super hilarious. I’ve taken it a step farther than children’s books usually do to have apes and elephants and raccoons doing pretty arbitrary stuff.
I like this idea. If you take all those Disney and Pixar movies and have them take the animals as people metaphor to its logical conclusion, you get Sammy Squirrel the structural engineer or Farrah the Phlebotomist Finch.
Sometimes the effect is just amusing – like a clever joke with raccoons and songbirds.
Other images, like “Ape Surgeon” are hilarious, but really unsettling and pose deeper questions about how much control we really have over the world and our own mortality. (My assertion is “not a ton,” in case you misread that message.)
“Jazz Painting #4” depicts an imaginary quintet composed of jazz legends.
Music and musicians are subjects endlessly fascinating to me as a visual artist. Being a musician myself, I’m fascinated by the art form’s precision. That’s why I always try to make sure the musicians I paint are shown to be playing in harmony.
See a slideshow if images in chronological order showing my process in creating a painting like this.
Here’s my Flickr slideshow showing all five paintings in my Jazz Paintings series, starting from the most recent to the oldest, which I completed in 2005:
I did this illustration a few days before Thanksgiving in 2012. I pattered it after Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” painting from his “Four Freedoms” series.
Rockwell shows a masterful command of light in the white-on-white table service and curtained window in the dining room.
I decided to see if I could mimic the master while turning the image on its head; a bunch of turkeys sitting down to a bountiful family meal of man flesh. I may yet turn this idea into an oil painting. Happy Thanksgiving!
I did this small-scale acrylic painting in honor of John Minor’s (pictured in the bow) 2013 retirement from his career as a high school history teacher. His family (also shown in the boat) commissioned the piece as a Gift.
Obviously, with this painting I spoofed Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s 1851 masterpiece, “Washington Crosses the Delaware.”
This feature illustration was the cover for the Orange County Register’s Sunday sports section at the kickoff of March Madness 2009.
I created the image with a combination of ink and acrylic on illustration board, which I then photographed and manipulated in photoshop.
The interesting thing about illustrating for the Register at that time is that they had recently downgraded the quality of their newsprint to the point its white was less bright and the paper more porous. No matter how high-res your image, it would only appear at 72 DPI quality.
This is a slideshow of my illustration and design portfolio.
This image shows two companion pieces titled “Nature: Day,” and, “Nature: Night.”
They hang in the nursery of Jenny and Connor White of San Clemente.
Connor grew up in Southern California, while Jenny was raised in Oregon. All the nocturnal animals and plants in the “Night” illustration are native to Southern California, while all those in the “Day ” illustration are native to Oregon.
The media I used for these comprised ink and colored pencil on illustration board.
The two images in this post are 11″X17″ posters I digitally illustrated and designed in Adobe Illustrator. The event, a production of the iconic 1996 play, “The Vagina Monologues,” brought in hundreds and raised more than $5,000 for charities that help prevent violence against women.
My favorite design work includes posters, and I value good working relationships with printers to get the best prices and print quality I can find.
See a complete illustration and design portfolio in my Flickr set slideshow below.
Fine art, murals, illustration, photography, writing and editing