Category Archives: acrylics

1 Year After the Zombie Apocalypse / illustrated / warning: not for children

90% of the population is either a zombie or dead. No one knows if the zombies are actually dead or if this is a disease because dead people don’t walk or eat. No one even knows what day it is. All communications are cut off.

All the living that can shoot a gun became cowboy vigilantes. Every surviving psycho with dreams of mass murder is out there happily killing zombies in new and creative ways and it’s a vast empty quiet country except for when they go on a zombie genocide mission.

The people that can’t shoot bugged out to the hills.

The stench from the rotting corpses is nauseating from miles away. Some people with pre-existing medical conditions choked to death because of it.

It’s lawless and dangerous like nothing we knew before. People are starving because all the canned goods have been looted and there is no crop coming to them.

This is my self portrait. I covered myself with zombie blood and guts to disguise myself so the zombies wouldn’t bite me and slowly stumbled out to do some looting.

I saw the aquarium store was broken into so I expected to see dead fish but someone took them for bait. I took all the filters. People are giving me food and I’m sewing cowboy masks for them with two layers of fabric and activated charcoal hand quilted in.

This is a rough idea for an intro to my zombie story. If any of my writer friends has a suggestion, feel free to advise me.

This is me writing my zombie story / mono print

I need to do more zombie research so I can put myself into the character.

I just found out that comments from bloggers aren’t coming through every day. It must be a WordPress glitch because I didn’t change anything. Sorry if this happened to you. I always respond to comments if I get them.

I want to write a book about zombies / mono prints

Is this a flower? Darn it. I wanted to make a picture of zombie guts.

I’ve been watching zombie shows lately. They’re pretty good, funny too. I really like the creative ways they use zombies. Now, you may say, “Chris, stop watching zombie tv and get to work on art!” That’s what I tell myself then I watch more zombie tv.

The shows are an inspiration but I want to write about the zombie apocalypse more from the zombie point of view. Don’t any of my writer friends beat me to the story because this could take some time. I want to write it up the best I can. I’ll need an outline.

It’s horrible to be a zombie and then the living smash your skull. That needs to stop.

The sound effect for the skull bashing is always the same, like celery snapping.

Have you watched any zombie shows? Do you have any thoughts about it?

I’m not getting all of your comments. It must be a wordpress glitch. Sorry if this happened to your comment. I didn’t change anything and don’t know how to fix it. Tech support is a pain so I might have to wait for my daughter to help me and she has a busy schedule.

About Bigfoot

He’s hiding behind trees. All you can see is giant fangs and glowing eyes. The eyes have been reported as red, blue, or yellow and sometimes the Bigfoot is only seen as a fuzzy black shape.

I watched a series on Discovery + called “These Woods Are Haunted” It’s mostly about Bigfoot but there are stories about shape shifters, demons, werewolves, ghosts, and ETs. The stories are scary but it’s only people talking with the same shots of woods showing in different stories and the same sound effects of growling, hooting, howling, etc. They added sound effects later. The sounds they capture on tape aren’t convincing. It’s the kind of show you can have on and do other things and listen. The scariest sound effect could have been a rattle snake slowed down and it was only in one episode.

They can’t seem to get a very good photo. The pix are so blurry or maybe the Bigfoot interferes with the electronics somehow. This series sees Bigfoot as evil and supernatural and the people will go outside to follow the Bigfoot after it was banging on the cabin. Why do they go out after it? Why doesn’t the Bigfoot break a window if it wants to come in?

I wonder why the Bigfoot throws heavy rocks instead of stones which would be easier to aim at the human. They never can hit the human with the rock. They only want to scare you. They act territorial but the Earth belongs to humans. I think if you could remain calm they would go away.

They could be guard dogs for ETs. They used to be shown as another humanoid but now the Bigfoot stories are getting more weird. The people talk about feeling like they’re being watched and I remember reading somewhere that scientists did a test where they watched people and the people never knew they were being watched, so that might be the imagination of the people and if you’re paranoid to start with then you might be imagining the whole thing.

They crash through the woods like elephants then they just vanish.

These are just some of the things that the shows give you to think about and the best story is in the 3rd season but they’re all good.

I’m pretty sure there’s no Bigfoot around here. I would never camp out in the deep woods alone or to look for them. Are they real or just a good story? I’ll never be able to answer that question.

These are acrylic mono prints with paint left over from my tide pool painting and some palette knife scribbles in the teeth.

Indian Summer at the Tide Pool

I could work on this more but I’m calling it finished. I learned a lot.

The water looks different every time I go there and I’d change it but I’m not sure exactly how to do that so I’m stopping now. Water is a difficult subject for me to represent but the more practice I get the better. Some day I’ll say, “Yes, I nailed it.” The wind, current and sand bar keep changing the direction of it but it has many textures and colors that are hard to match.

A couple people talked to me yesterday and one guy said he paints murals. He was particularly interested in this part of the painting. It probably looks like I painted a lot of skinny lines but it wasn’t that hard to do since I used my palette knife. The trick is to make the paint runny and put down small blobs of paint then scrape through them with the palette knife.

That guy told me to take my art to the local nonprofit and I said no, I checked them out and they are the same as Richmond. They will take my entry fee and not hang my painting. I know already. If all the artists are doing fast easy paintings and asking $100 and I enter a difficult painting that took months and ask $1000 it will be rejected. He told me it’s the same for muralists and his entry fee is $50. And they don’t like his style or something. Also, I don’t want to pay $35 to get my name on the Plein air group email list because I don’t need the group and don’t want to enter the juried shows, so, it was good to talk to someone who knows what a rip off the art world is. I mean, if you know the cards are stacked against you how many times are you going to throw away the money?

The masking fluid worked to help keep my little figures from getting lost in the different textures of paint. I saved them after doing the people in the underpainting stage by covering them with masking fluid then after finishing the water and sand underpainting I peeled off the masking fluid and they needed touch ups but they aren’t too weak. If I tried to paint them on top as the last step they would show the other paint textures underneath.

The figures were a difficult part of it and had me hung up for some time until I could get a plan worked out. And the weather stopped me from working on this because it’s easier to mix the right colors in Plein air than it is to mix colors at home.

The whole painting is done with a palette knife except the figures. I used a brush for them and I think that was a good idea. There are art critics who think a palette knife painting shouldn’t have any brush work and there are critics who are purists that think digital manipulation of a photo is a no no. Some artists think using white paint is cheating in a watercolor. I don’t care about those rules. At the academy they said you should vary your brush strokes to add interest and create focal points. My old teachers who were harsh critics might not complain about me mixing a palette knife and a brush in the same painting or using masking fluid to keep my figures stronger.

Painting with brushes is easier than painting with a palette knife. The palette knife goes out of control more often. See the spooky house? I messed it up and didn’t feel like fixing it. It’s not spooky in real life but I am. hahahah This is why an artist’s life comes out in a painting even if you don’t want it to. If you are an artist who had some weird things happen to you in the past like I did, maybe you get obsessive about that stuff and wish you could “live in the present.” I say, if you’re obsessive about something you should keep trying to work through it. Eventually you can accept it and learn some life lessons from it. If you try to stop your brain from the bad memory you won’t ever get the lessons. The good thing is that sometimes dark stuff shows up in your paintings and you know where it comes from but no one else does but they might notice the dark and it will be interesting to the art viewer. You can use that. Know what I mean?

This is the medium I wanted to try to use. It doesn’t work for painting in the couch like my Maroger medium that I use for oil paint. To paint in the couch is great because you put a layer of medium on the dry painting and paint on top of it. The medium “couches” the paint. Maroger medium makes the surface slick and you have practically no drag on the brush but this stuff dries too fast to work like that. Also, this medium dries a little cloudy and Maroger dries clear.

The masking fluid worked as I planned and my little plastic cups kept the paint wet for weeks! Those were some of the questions I found the answers to through this painting.

This represents me connecting with nature.

Finally! We have some nice cool and sunny weather after a whole week of yuck weather. I did get out to walk on trails when it wasn’t raining but I had to put my painting of the tide pool on hold again. It was a bummer.

I’m so excited about the tide pool painting!! OMG!! I’ll post it tomorrow when I can get some good photos of it. It’s finally finished.

Wow, I’ll tell you, hanging around at home for a lot of days is a little depressing and then when I can go back out to paint in Plein air everything is ok.

acrylic mono prints

Tide Pool painting debriefing / close ups only

When I went out this morning to paint, the sky was pretty with thin wispy white clouds on blue sky and I decided to go over the sky on my painting again to make it more interesting. It was fun mixing up a runny light blue and a runny white, scraping the two colors on top of my underpainting and smearing them a little then blotting some off with paper towels.

I don’t throw away paper towels from my fast food lunches. They’re not very absorbent but I can use them to blot paint or wipe off my palette or palette knife. This whole painting is a palette knife painting but I might use skinny brushes to redo the figures.

One of the jurors in Richmond that liked to reject my paintings from the juried shows told me, “Don’t mix two styles together.” And I was like, wha? I don’t even know what style is what. I guess since this is a palette knife painting I shouldn’t use brushes at all but I’m going to.

After I got my sky to where I can call it finished I knew I really need to go over the whole section of background trees again. We have a week of cloudy rainy weather coming in, if you can believe the forecast.

You can see the sand in the paint. It’s ok. That’s all the proof you need that this is an actual Plein air painting.

I like the clouds without any sharp edges because I don’t see clouds with sharp edges in nature.

I’m calling this tree in the middle ground done, and maybe the grass is done too.

So, I guess if I had to name my style I’d have to call myself a realist most of the time, because I try to match the colors of nature, but they are still not exactly realistic.

Sedge and sand.

If you really want to do realism, copying a photo won’t do the trick. The camera has its own realism and the naked eye has its own realism. Neither one is exactly real no matter how hard you try to represent accurately. Real is something between the naked eye and the camera but not exactly either one as far as I can tell.

Sand, sedge, reflections on water, nearest tree in top left of the photo still unfinished.

I don’t know about you but half the time I can’t tell what’s real in life and what’s fiction, so how can you tell what’s realism in a painting? No matter how real I can make it, my own interpretation of real is how it ends up. I mean, even if I’m trying to copy nature to the best of my ability this is still my interpretation and if you got 100 realists to paint the scene the paintings would all be different. Or maybe the juror who knows styles would say this isn’t realism at all! Who knows. I hope you know what I mean. Everything is each artist’s interpretation no matter how much you try to be realistic your own self, life, experiences or whatever, shows up in the painting.

Tide Pool painting progress report

This only needs another 6 or 8 hours to finish. I think it will work out. I have a start on the water but need to go over it again along with the whole painting which needs another coat, except I’m finished with the sand , probably. I’ll decide later.

I peeled the masking fluid off my figures and I think it worked. You can see where some paint got through the masking fluid on her shirt but that’s ok, I was planning on going over the figures a second time. I can make it a little neater, next time it rains and I can’t go out to paint.

The little boy is in the shade but I could make him brighter and more clear when I do another layer. I need to do a touch up so his sand castle is showing up from the rest of the sand.

Oops, don’t worry, I can fix it. She’s messed up but she could be a good focal point if I make her look better.

I still have some of these colors that are staying wet in plastic tubes. I open the tubes and spray water in when I don’t use them for a few days.

I think this figure will still show up when I go over the water again and give it waves, but first I want to put another layer of color on the figures and then put more masking fluid on top to protect it from the paint mess that will happen when I do the next step.

The weather has been really changing a lot lately. We have a cool sunny day followed by a warm cloudy day and some rain then sunny and cool again for the past couple weeks.

Tide Pool painting update

I didn’t start on the water yet because I need to plan a few hours to get it going and it would be easier to see with the sand painted first. I’m excited I got this far. This is probably over half finished but I need to go over the whole thing again, not sure about the sky and sand but they might be ok like this. I was planning on putting some marsh grass on the sand in front of the big tree on the left.

Every time I go there the water is different. Today it was calm and reflections were on the water but most of the time when I’m there I don’t see a lot of reflections except on the closer shallow water on the left .

When I started the background a couple weeks ago we didn’t have as much fall color and now more is showing. The first time I painted it I used a light gray green and yesterday I added some shades of orange on top of the green. I want to brighten up the orange a little more and do more on the whole background then when it’s dry, make a thin glaze to go over the whole background and try to give it some aerial perspective. Still a lot more to do on the background but this is ok for a start.

You can hardly see the little boy working on his sand castle but he’s under a layer of sand colored paint with a coat of masking fluid over him. That’s the top of his little round head on the tan tinted canvas paper. When I start on the water I’ll cover his head with light blue and when it dries peel up the masking fluid and it will be like Christmas if it works and my little boy becomes visible. I hope you can see what I’m talking about. I think it will work and I can pull my little figures out. I think it will work.

The grays and brown scribbles over her head are wet sand and it will have bright reflections of water. Then the tan paper will be blue and I’ll be able to take the masking fluid off her too. Sand is sticking to the masking fluid and it’s all over the painting. The more layers of paint you put on top of masking fluid make it harder to peel off and the more time you let it on the paper makes it harder to get off too. Sometimes when you try to peel off the masking fluid the paper rips. We’ll see. Everything’s an experiment and might not work out as hoped. I did a little masking fluid and acrylic experiment before and it wasn’t bad but this is still iffy.