Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reach For It - by Jeff

Here's another painting for my New York show. I replaced the stuff on the actual billboard with my monkey and an inspirational message: "YES! Reach for it!" Isn't that inspiring? Don't you want to buy whatever it is that the monkey is selling? I certainly do.

42" x 42" oil and encaustic on panel

Terry Rafferty recently asked about my technique for painting on all my little squares. I started doing it a few years ago as an experiment, and I liked the feeling of the process and the finished work so much that I never stopped.

I start with one of my own photos, and I separate it into a grid. Then I view only that part of the photo that corresponds with the tile I am painting. Lately I have been starting with a sketch in black ink, using a Kuretake brush pen. The squares are cut from 1/4" thick MDF, and coated with two layers of grey gesso. I sand the gesso lightly to create a nice, smooth surface for the brush pen.

After the initial sketch is done, it's just a matter of painting what I see: square by square. I'll usually visit each square about four times, depending on the complexity of the image depicted on that square. I let the form and the color values vary from square to square, which creates an interesting effect. I always try to treat each little panel like a painting unto itself. When I put them all together I get the strangest sense of seeing something new, even though I painted each little piece!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Brother Eddie's - by Jeff

Last August my family went on a cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary. I saw this funky, abandoned restaurant while walking through Nassau, and I knew I had to paint it. There are a lot of closed businesses there, and a lot of new ones springing up. You get the feeling that people are very resilient in the Caribbean! But it makes you wonder: what killed Brother Eddie's? Was the food terrible? Was it the global economy? I bet it had something to do with the fact that meals are included on cruise ships. Eddie's probably doing a brisk business in T-shirts at the straw market now. I'm sure he'll be fine.

Brother Eddie's - 42" x 60" oil and encaustic on panel