Friday, February 24, 2017

My Entry For February's Nibblefest: Buster Keaton Tribute.

 "Railroads are a great prop. 
You can do some awful wild things with railroads."
~Buster Keaton

Tribute portrait of Buster Keaton

What's this...?  
Nibblefest Art Contest time again already? 

I always say that February feels like the longest month of the year, despite it actually being the shortest month of the year.  I suppose it's because usually by this time Winter starts feeling tiresome and relentless, with the promise of Spring a very welcome change indeed.  And so the days of February typically stretch on.  And on.  

 Not so this time around though.  February has zipped right on by before I even had a chance to catch my breath.  It helps that I have a lot of freelance work keeping me on my toes right now.  Nevertheless I did still manage to enter this month's Nibblefest Art Contest.  February's theme is "Better Late Than Never", which is a chance to revisit any monthly theme from 2016.  I somehow missed September 2016's "Balancing Act", so that's the one I chose.   And so I considered and rejected several potential  'Balancing Act' concepts before settling on this one.  An ode to Swan Lake or some other ballet classic was on the table briefly, as was a possible tribute to Harry Houdini.  Eh, I did like these ideas and might want to explore them further someday.  But for now they've been filed away, and I concentrated instead on the late/great slapstick genius of acrobatic silent film balancing acts, Mr. Buster Keaton....:

Oils on 6x10 Wooden Plaque

The following is my Nibblefest auction description...:

"Buster Keaton"

This is my entry for this month's Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC), the theme for February being 'Better Late Than Never", in which we get to pick a theme we missed in 2016. I missed last Sept's "Balancing Act", so I chose to do a portrait in tribute to the classic vintage film star, Buster Keaton. Painted in oils upon a 6"x 10" upcycled wood plaque, this unique original is signed and ready to hang.  

Buster Keaton, my entry for the theme "Balancing Act"

 (Note to the winning bidder: As per the nature of oil paints, this piece may need just a little wee extra time (up to a week) to fully cure/dry before being safely shipped to its new home).  

"The Great Stone Face", In Progress....

 (Also to note: Just so the new owner is not too surprised, they will find a 'gingerbread man' cut-out (see photos) on the backside of this piece (which was originally the front of the plaque before I repurposed it. Hey, 2-for-1...! )   

I missed the theme "Balancing Act" back in September, so I was happy for the chance to try again. I chose to paint the late, great silent film star, Buster Keaton, because he was so well known for his physical comedy, or Slapstick. He threw himself around constantly in his movies, performing ever increasingly complicated acrobatic stunts -- at times downright dangerous ones...!  Often involving automobiles and/or trains -- it was a 'balancing act' for sure with all the fined-tuned timing it surely took to pull off. And always accompanied by the most deadpan expression, earning himself the nickname, "The Great Stone face".


We are lucky to have a really neat and unique non-profit here in my town, called The I.D.E.A. Store -- a small 2nd hand shop specifically intended for the re-use and re-purpose of various and diverse arts/crafts odds and ends.  The store accepts donations of used materials and supplies of all ilk -- unwanted assorted sundry bits and pieces that might likely otherwise be destined for the landfill.  Because one person's trash is other one's treasure!  The shop offers these donated items cheaply to the public, with proceeds going to our local school district.  Many years ago I wrote here in my blog about my own personal moratorium against the purchasing of new art supplies, whenever I might be able to avoid it, in favor instead of recycling or up-cycling as often as I can in my creative process.  Obvious exceptions to this over the years have included new paint and brushes -- though now The I.D.E.A. Store can sometimes help even with that as well, managing as I have to occasionally find acrylic and oil paint tubes in decent condition and even a few gently used paintbrushes.  I found a wee table top easel that I was in the market for and that I adore and utilize constantly. I also make it a habit to regularly check for the wooden plaques I so love to hoard -- and have scored many there, including this sweet little 6 x 10 incher I've used here for my Buster Keaton tribute.  The original 'front' of this plaque featured an interesting little cut-out gingerbread man.  I have painted upon what was apparently the 'back' (which is now the 'front') -- so the winning bidder will discover this little gem when they turn Mr. Keaton over....:

A sweet little Gingerbread Man on the back.  Bonus!
 In any case, I really love our little I.D.E.A. Store, and wish every community could have one (maybe someday as this up-cycling trend becomes increasingly popular) -- so handy, and helpful too for keeping a lot of random homeless bits and bobs out of our local waste stream....

Mr. Buster Keaton upon a 6x10 upcycled wood plaque

Friday, February 10, 2017

My Kafka Tribute for EBSQ's January Exhibit Theme: 'Metamorphosis'

"I cannot make you understand.
I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me.
I cannot even explain it to myself..."

~Franz Kafka, "The Metamorphosis"

I entered the EBSQ "Metamorphosis" exhibit with this little tribute portrait of Franz Kafka -- because please, "Metamorphosis"...?

What else could it possibly be but Kafka...?


'Metamorphosis' In-Progress Photo

The following is my statement over at EBSQ:

My entry for the "Metamorphosis" exhibit features a small portrait painted in tribute to Mr. Franz Kafka, author of the 1915 novella, "The Metamorphosis".  Mr. Kafka gazes steadily out to us, his head held protectively within the pinchers of an extraordinary fantasy insect. 

When contemplating a subject for this month's theme, but of course this classic tome was one of the first things to come to mind.  For many of us, myself included, "The Metamorphosis" was required reading in school -- a tale of woe about a young man who unwillingly and inexplicably metamorphosizes into a huge and fearsome-looking insect, and how this unusual and unfortunate circumstance negatively impacts his life, as well as the lives of his family, who go on to ultimately reject him in his given state.  Throughout his long and drawn-out ordeal, the young man/insect is stuck within his house, unable to leave the four walls of his room for fear of public reaction to his condition. Hence I felt this little segment of found, wooden picket fencing that I used for my painting support an especially good fit for this project, being as that it is rather "house shaped" at that.  And while I don't want to include any spoilers of the story here to those who haven't read it, suffice it to say the protagonist does not come to a good end by the last chapter of the book, hence we have as part of the insect's body a wee painted skull. 

So let this be a warning to all, shall we....?  Please try not to transform randomly while sleeping into big creepy insects, if you can at all avoid it.....


Happy to say that my entry won "Member's Choice" (1st Place) in the 'Metamorphosis' show, yay!  This involves a cash prize -- thanks so much, EBSQ...!   (Plus I have plans to hang this locally, at a cafe here in town that has put out the call for original art).