Thursday, October 18, 2007
I started painting pelicans a couple of summers ago. I have always painted birds, I now have several large finished paintings of pelicans. They seem to have a number of virtues: reserved, comic and graceful, wise and unpretentious. Definitely not taken with fads or trends. Not as nervous, curious, or aggressive as gulls. They mind their own business. These are shown at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz.
Email me about the availability of prints and giclees...
I paint daily, which should not be unusual for a painter!
Any serious artist should work at their art every day, and a professional should work 8 hours per day. Why? Because that's what other professionals do! The daily painting "phenomenon" is as old as the hills. It used to be referred to as "ala prima" - "all at once", or "in one sitting." What is new is people being able to leave other occupations and do what they have always wanted to do - paint.
When I paint miniatures, I generally don't do only one. I see them as practice sketches or "studies", learning about a specific subject or lighting. Like "daily paintings" they are done quickly and generally, not concentrating upon details, but on the overall impression. These poplar trees grow at the south end of the SF bay, and indeed, all over the bay area. Pick one! (Before more of them are cut down.) These originals are available for $100. See more at www.fine-art.com/marte8.
I have also done a number of intaglio etchings. This etching of a seahorse was done in the early 1970's at art school. Drawn on a metal plate with a compass needle, it was then put through a press to created a print. (Rembrandt also did etchings, in addition to his marvelous paintings.) I refer to my seahorse drawings and etchings as my "Hippocampus" work; the hippocampus was so-named because it resembled a seahorse to the doctors who first dissected it. A lovely woman neuroscientist bought one of these from me once.
My watercolors and etchings keep combining and recombining. The seashell is an icon for me symbolising my father, who brought this one home from the beach in WWII before I was born. Sorry about the watermarks - I have gotten thousands of clicks over the years. I just wonder where they are all going.
At some point, I started to combine my figurative work with my etchings and watercolors. These became the bulk of my contemporary work. They took on a graphic editorial illustration feel, and even explored historical elements, like the Lincoln face.
In art school, I did a number of drawings for a scientific illustration class. My favorite of these was the iguana. It started as a pointalism project (done only with black dots) and advanced to a pen and ink drawing. I also did an etching of it (drawn on a metal plate with a compass needle.)
I had always been fascinated by jellyfish, but it was a rather unorthodox subject matter, even for wildlife painters... Encouraged by the Visionary painter, Bill Martin, whose work hangs in the SFMOMA, I painted a series of them, starting in 1973.
While I was at Lockheed in the 1980's, I had very little time to paint... I was raising my two children and holding down a fulltime job. But I did manage to paint several large finished wildlife paintings: the Falcons, the Discus, and the Rhinos.
While I was at Lockheed in the 1980's, I had very little time to paint... I was raising my two children and holding down a fulltime job. But I did manage to paint several large finished wildlife paintings: the Falcons, the Discus, and the Rhinos. I started painting seascapes and landscapes a few years later...
Since my childhood in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, I have been obsessed with birds. Wildlife in general amazes me, but birds in particular are fascinating. Raptors, the birds of prey, are exciting for their drama and fearlessness. They also made me aware of environmental issues. These beautiful peregrine falcons were so endangered in the 1970's that there were only 120 left in California!
Through college and thirty years of my career, I made a
living in Silicon Valley as a graphic designer, commercial artist, technical illustrator, and art teacher. In 1998, I started to build web pages (like everyone else on the planet.) When the dotcom crash in 2001 eliminated the contract jobs that I subsisted on, I started to paint fulltime. As the jobs came slowly back, I painted between contracts, and finished all of the "early work" that every artist does - all of the familiar classics of the art world, everything that I didn't get to complete in art school. I'm still at it...
I started painting as a child in western Pennsylvania. My mother was an accomplished artist, and she sent me to formal art lessons at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. Because I learned to draw in that setting, among dinosaur skeletons, geological specimens, anthropological artifacts and classical Greek architecture, to name only a few, I always saw art and history and science as inseparable. At the "Tam O'Shanters" Carnegie Tech's children's art program, I was required to take notes from a formal lecture on one side of the paper, and do a color crayon drawing based on my notes on the other side. We had to perform well, or we were not invited back. Several times, I was asked to recreate my drawings "at easel" - on stage - as a recognition of my skill. In 1963, my parents moved the family to California, and I was disconnected from those lessons, but I continued to draw and paint. Eventually, I majored in art in college.