After doing a much larger scale piece involving tortoises that didn't quite work out, I painted this more modest version, yesterday:
This will likely be shown at my show at The Pence on the 22nd. It's 18x24 inches, ink and watercolor. Generally, I'm satisfied with it, but there are limits to this technique. It's more of a colored drawing than a true painting, done in a similar style as my earlier pot-bellied pig. Like the pig, the palette is a little saturated and not naturalistic at all, sort of giving it a storybook quality.
This kind of painting is more of a pure pleasure. I don't have to worry about anything complex in the composition, and once the drawing is done I can take pleasure in making marks and lines. Besides, they're just such gorgeous animals. I like drawing anything with wrinkles and skin folds, and elephants and pigs and turtles can give me that excuse. Once I start drawing human beings this way, though, people have a very different reaction. I used to do more figurative images with these kinds of textures, and at some point I'd like to return to that approach, but for now, I suppose I'm purposely catering more to my audience (now that I actually have an audience). I like having an audience.
I like it when people enjoy my work. Doing work that doesn't appeal to most people, considering how much time and effort it takes, is something I don't have the emotional stamina for at the moment. I think the more I cultivate a real audience, the easier it will be to do more personal images on the side that are more purely for me and a few like-minded others. During college I had a great love for the German Expressionists and The London Figurative School, and for a while I combined that love with inspiration from the lyrical line work of Hokusai and one my favorite cartoonists as a teen, Rick Grimes. If you get a chance, and are curious, please give Rick Grimes' fan site some love:
I'd like to check out Rick Grimes.
It's some amazing work, but unfortunately his style and subject matter haven't found their audience yet outside of a few of us like-minded folks. It's very hard to invest so much time and energy in work you know will only be appreciated by a very few, and if the cliche of the "struggling artist" applies anywhere, it applies here. It's sometimes thankless, and a little brave, and so I hope you'll give his work a chance. If you like it, e-mail him and let him know. It's always good to know that there's one more person out there who appreciates what you do.