It’s been a busy month, what with studying for the JLPT, organizing things for the move, such as shutting off the utilities and turning them on at the new apartment, and packing things up. I really haven’t had that much time to paint (hopefully I can make up for that with ample painting time starting next month). I did manage to get one done this month though: a new chicken, The Gangster!
I recently ran a Call of Cthulhu game set in 1920’s Boston and NYC, and the final game had a pretty fun car chase/shoot out with a bunch of cultists/bootleggers/gangsters. I had such vivid images in my head after that I really wanted to paint a gangster, so I sketched out this chicken one day and spent this week painting it. I didn’t use any lemon yellow this time so it didn’t have any trouble drying. On the other hand, though, as it’s a pretty dark painting, it was really hard to get the colors and values right in the scan. They’re pretty close to the real image, though the bricks on the wall are just a bit bluer than in the real painting.
As promised, here is the counterpart to yesterday’s post.
Sadly, it didn’t dry up to 100% today, but as I need to submit it tomorrow there’s really nothing I can do. Fortunately, there’s only about a 3 millimeter area of yellow that’s not dry (everything else is) so it only made a tiny speck on my scanner glass, which I was easily able to wipe up.
This painting was a quick 1-day deal which took over a week to dry… If you saw my Facebook page no doubt you saw me complaining about it. I think it was due to a new yellow paint I used in the background. Everything dried quickly in a couple of days except for that yellow corner. By Monday I was getting worried it would never dry in this humidity (it’s the rainy season now) so I left it under the air conditioner for 2 days. That didn’t help very much, so yesterday I put it outside in the sun all day long. That did a good job, and after one more day of sunning it, it was finally dry. I actually painted a pair of chickens — his wife is on another panel — but the other one is not dry enough to scan yet. Perhaps another day sitting in the sun will do the trick.
It’s a pretty simple piece because of its size. It’s on a very small wood board and I did it for a show/competition next week based on this size image. Hopefully I’ll be able to post the other panel tomorrow. They look pretty good side-by-side. In fact, I think they would make decent men/women restroom signs.
It’s been a long time coming, but finally the paint is dry and I was able to scan this huge painting. It took about two weeks to paint, and I’m sending it to Nagoya for a gallery tomorrow, so I was able to scan it just in time. It took 9 separate scans and a lot of stitching to put this image together, so the color isn’t entirely uniform in this scan. Other than that, I hope this picture speaks for itself. And I hope it’s been worth the long wait with no new artwork. You can click the painting for a larger version.
Mutiny (The Swashbucklers)
And here are a few details of the individual chickens:
I worked on this one simultaneously with the Founding Father, but I fought a lot more with the background, and the paint took a lot longer to dry, so I haven’t been able to post it. But finally I have deemed (hah) it dry enough to scan, so here it is! The 20th Chicken of the World: The Eskimo.
I wasn’t sure what to name this one at first. “The Eskimo” was the idea that popped into my head but I had it in my head that the term can be offensive, that Inuit is the correct word… I guess it turns out that’s only in Canada. In the US, Eskimo is an acceptable term (and more importantly, the Eskimos in the US actually prefer it to other terms). At least so says Wikipedia. I also wasn’t sure about naming it after an ethnic group as opposed to it’s occupation (“The Dog Sled Rider?”), as most of my other chickens have names like “The Shogun,” “The Emperor,” “The Legionnaire,” etc., with a few exceptions like “The Viking,” “The Aztec,” and “The Zulu.” Is that offensive? I don’t know… I don’t really think so. I could have easily given them generic names like “The Sailor” or “The Warrior-Priest” or “The Chieftain,” but those terms are kind of generic and not very descriptive or immediately obvious as to what they are.
For these past two chickens I’ve been trying a new kind of paint. It’s called Aqua Duo by Holbein. It’s oil paint, but its suspended in a water-based medium that allows you to thin it using regular water instead of toxic solvents. I had been really itching to return to oil paints after painting so many yokai and kami-sama in gouache and acrylics, but because we have a 1-room apartment shared with a small bird, I didn’t want to risk using any solvents when I can’t leave the window open for ventilation. But these have done the trick! I was pretty skeptical at first, not the least of which being I didn’t want to spend $100 on new paints if they were going to suck… But they really are great! You can mix them with oil-based medium or water (though not at the same time), they dry at the same speed as oil, and mix exactly like oil… Well there’s not really anything to say except that it is oil paint — it just can be thinned with water. After the water evaporates it’s permanent, so there’s no worry about getting it wet once it’s on the canvas. So I think I’ll be using these as much as I can from now on.
I’m working on a couple of commissions now, which I’ll post as they dry, and after that I hope to get back to doing more chickens. Thanks for reading!
Being a long-time Philadelphian (well, 5 minutes outside of Philadelphia anyway), I’ve been pretty interested in American history — particularly colonial American history — for much of my life. Particularly, I’ve always been a huge fan of Benjamin Franklin, who is perhaps my favorite person from history; he’s an American da Vinci, if there ever was one, and the US would not be the same today (or might not even exist today) if not for him. He was a true polymath, a renaissance man: statesman, printer, author, inventor, among other things. So this chicken is an homage to good ol’ Ben and Philadelphia, with Independence Hall as a backdrop
The Founding Father
I hope it can also serve as a reminder today that even in our country’s infancy, our founding fathers were just as divided over political issues as we are today. Maybe we can remember that no party — Democratic, Republican, or other — truly holds a monopoly on the dreams of the founding fathers. I think that’s an important point especially today, as we face a rising tide of passionate political grandstanding and claims that one party has lost sight of our past, or that one party is not representative of “Real America.” Ben Franklin would have called bull on that one and reminded everyone that we are all true Americans, from those of us whose ties go back to the pilgrims to those of us who just swore a citizenship oath this morning. Farmers, suburbans, and city-dwellers; intellectuals and idiots; we’re all Americans, and the only un-American thing is attacking your countrymen as “un-American” for having different ideas.