Saturday, October 15, 2016

In Memorium

"In Memorium" oil on panel, 6 x 6 inches

Painted this little work of art using a real still life set up, with a badge leant to me by an officer of the law. He was very protective of the badge of course so I gave it right back to him. The black band around the badge signifies that an officer has been killed in the line of is a gesture of respect.  Had to mostly use a photo reference that I took of the still life since I could not keep the badge. For the blood I looked at photos of blood online and used water droplets too as a reference. The result is that the blood looks a little too contrived but it's the meaning behind the painting that is really more important than technical skill here.

I'm not usually a controversial person, nor am I trying to be here but I have a deep respect for police officers and detectives. I have some family members who have worked in law enforcement as well. My brother-in-law is looking to retire soon after many years in the service (my sister, his wife also worked as a 911 dispatcher and warrants clerk for a number of years).  In addition, I have a cousin who worked for the NYPD homicide division for some years before retiring. And recently, my soon to be 18-year-old son has expressed  his wish to make a difference by joining the force after college. I don't think people realize that in addition to putting their lives on the line for us (if that isn't enough), police officers endure much emotional and spiritual strain just from all the hardened and neglected lives they interact with on a daily basis.

I am sure there are rewards to the job that will warm their hearts at times and help to remind them that they are doing a noble job, but mostly they see and experience the darkest side of life this side of heaven. So.... while I do believe that black lives matter and that we need to understand the reasons why people of race are discouraged/concerned that they are not treated fairly, we do need to continue to protect and offer support to our law enforcement folks. We can't function as a nation without them.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Grinzinger Hauptplatz

"Grinzinger Morgen" 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

Back some years ago, I was fortunate enough to live in a picturesque little village located in the 19th district of Vienna, Austria. Grinzing is known for it's quaint wine taverns (heurigen) that are frequented by tourists eager to try the area's home-grown wines. Living there brings back some of the fondest memories of my life: the slow pace of living; virtually no crime; countryside/vineyards interspersed among the neighborhoods; and charming historical buildings (no high-rises). On our second tour of Vienna, we lived in a garden apartment located on a little cobbled street (Probusgasse) only a few yards away from an old historical building were Beethoven lived. Around the corner was a Teddy Bear restaurant that was likewise decorated--a place my children loved to comment on whenever we strolled by it. Another well-known area of the district is Grinzinger Hauptplatz depicted in my latest painting above (from a photo I took in 2005). Behind the yellow building is the parish church of the area, Grinzinger Pfarrkirche. I generally don't do landscape paintings but I do have a plan to paint some of my favorite areas from around Europe that are meaningful to me. Back when I lived there, most businesses where closed on Sundays so things were very quiet on that day save for people out on walks and the tolling of the church bells (something that roused my romantic nature as well as my spiritual side). This normal cultural phenomenon was especially meaningful to me as I generally liked to set aside my Sundays as restful days out of respect for God, though I do admit as an American it was also something I had to get used to. When I painted this scene, I wanted to evoke the quietness of the morning. I had meant to paint more loosely but above is the result (reminds me a little of an  Edward Hopper painting though hopefully a little more cheerful). Thanks for looking. :)

Little Video

Have recently completed a still life painting and while painting it, I thought it would be good to take pictures of the progression. Though...