First of all, I am very pleased with how the trial run of my "Red Wolf" prints came out. They are 10x12" and printed on velvet watercolor paper with an 1" border. They look almost just as good as the painting. I only have just a couple of these left before I order more, so if you're interested in having one soon contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Only $30+shipping.
Hello, I hope everyone is doing well. It's been a busy couple of months for me, I've been doing lots of commissions (so much fun to do!) getting ready for shows, and I did a video interview! I kinda wish I spent a little more time decorating my work space, but alas! I'm still really happy with how it came out. Thank you so much JC Tovar!
I recently made a joke on Facebook that I had a painting caught in a Zeno dichotomy paradox. The more I thought about it, the more I think that it is a great metaphor for the creative process, and pretty much matches my own painting process.
For you who don't know, or don't remember (I think I first learned about in in high school but I don't really remember. I know that I did have to google it to remember the guy's name though) Zeno's dichotomy paradox is that, when traveling to an end point, one must first reach the halfway point. Once reaching this halfway point, there is of course a new halfway point that you must cross before reaching the end. This devision continues until it becomes impossible to reach the end. This video explains it pretty well.
For me, the first few days of painting seems to go by really fast. I get the base coat, the sketch and place where I want the darks done within the first couple of days. "Alright," I think, "it's now halfway done."
I spend the next two or three days just painting the fur, which around this point I feel like again, I am halfway closer to being finished. Additional elements take a couple of more days, and so on and so forth. As I get closer and closer to being finished, I seem to get less and less accomplished. And the painting never quite gets "finished." There is a saying that a painting is not completed, only abandoned.
I think that this is why a lot of people stop creating art. They keep expecting to reach that finish line with their work, and they cannot, and it can be incredibly disappointing sometimes. I'm not saying that there aren't artists out there who do work that is wonderful and complete within an instant. I know that they're out there doing wonderful and complete work. But I would be really surprised if they too, did not encounter a similar struggle. I heard that if, while painting, Lucian Feud, was not happy with how it was going, he would have to start the painting over again from the beginning. So he too must have struggled against this perfection.
The point I guess I'm trying to make is to not quit when making your own creative work. To know that every artist looks at their work, and think that it's not quite good enough to be done, but it's damn close enough.
I've been interested in doing a simple step-by-step guide into my painting method for a while now. I get a lot of questions into the materials and process the I use, and I love seeing (and showing) all of the work that goes into a painting. So here it is: A simple step-by-step tutorial on how I paint. I'm going to be painting a red wolf, which is kinda a nice change for me.
I paint with gouache, which is a opaque watercolor. It allows for vibrant, rich colors that finish to a matte finish and intense detail. You can also paint on almost anything with gouache. My favorites are wood, paper and aquabord, which is a special type of panel made especially for water mediums. They are also made by a local Austin company, Ampersand. They have a variety of panels for whatever your purpose and medium. For this, I chose to use aquabord.
This is the first step that I do. Color is a very interesting thing. By playing with warms and cools, you can really achieve depth in your painting. By doing a 'warm' wash before I lay the 'cool' blue will make the background color 'pop' more, and also create an interesting feeling of depth. I'm painting a red wolf, and so the background needed to be 'cool.' Neutral colors will read 'warm' on a 'cool' background, and visa versa.
Next I lightly sketch out the figure in pencil and start figuring out what will be the darks and the lights. I usually figure out the darkest parts first, and then work up to painting the lighter areas.
One of the things that I found out that I love about painting wolves is that their fur varies in color. Red wolves have ginger, grey and white fur on different areas of their body. I used warmer colors where I knew that I wanted redder fur, and more neutral colors where I wanted the grey fur.
This is where I start painting the fur (sorry for the weird angle and shadow.) I use a pretty small brush, and just follow the direction of the hair. I like to use a lighter color so that you can see the different strokes.
Ok, here's a better angle! I do an off white next, and start filling in the lighter fur areas. I also start lightly laying it over the darker areas as well. Using thin layers of paint allows for the previous layers to show through. The white paint then becomes light grey, light brown or tan depending on the colors beneath it. Layering white on top of the blueish background makes it look as if the shadows have already been painted.
This has the off-white fur painted all over now, using thinner and lighter pressure where the darker parts are. I also went ahead and started painting the eyes and added some more details in the mouth and ears.
Now it's about adding the darkest darks and the lightest lights. I added more depth to the eyes, and lightly layered darker paint to create shadows. This step is really about just taking the time and making sure that the shadows are the correct shade and hue.
And that is basically that. I wanted to keep the background simple to allow all of the detail in the wolf to stand out. To see it full size you can go over here.
Thank you! Let me know if you have any questions that I can answer regarding my process.
Something very exciting, and just in time for the winter holidays, is that I'm now offering giclée prints. My first one is of Unify, shown of the left. They were done with a local Austin company, Skyline, and are super beautiful! They are 12"x15 and printed on fine art paper.
If you are interested in buying a print, you can order one though Paypal now. Please message me at klcjenkinon@gmail to receive an invoice. I have only a few of these left, so if you want your's before the holidays, now is the time to order!
Also in the near future, I will be doing prints of other works, so if there is a painting that you would love to own as a print, please let me know and I will try and make that happen. And then, in the new year of 2014, I will for the first time ever be taking commissions. If there is something that you want painted by me, be it wolves, foxes, bears, mice, dogs, cats, people, places, or anything else, I will do so at only $1 an inch + additional cost of materials.
A big thank you to everyone for all of the love and support. Happy Holidays!
For of those that know me personally, you will know that I am not a big fan of winter, despite (or rather because of) growing up in Alaska. I've been known to shiver at anything below 70 degrees. When people ask me why I moved to Austin, I credit the warm climate.
For the past week of so, it's been cold though. Not really cold, just about 50 degrees. I remember winters from my childhood where it reached -50 degrees, and we would still have to go to school. On days like that, it was so cold that science inclined teachers would sacrifice a pot of coffee to show the effects of differing temperatures.
Thankfully, it'll never get that cold in Austin.
I've recently started a new project called For Displaced Mountain People. It's some of my line drawings of mountains on acid-free notecards. Each one is hand drawn, and therefore unique and one of a kind.
I started making these because I know others, like myself, who grew up around mountains, and after living in a city without them, miss them. They are meant to be given as gifts to these people, which is why I choose notecards to draw on. They will be for sale soon, around $13 each.
So send someone a mountain.
About a week ago today I became sick. I mean, very sick. Worse than I felt in a long time. I don't want to get into any specifics, but I was unable to keep even water down for about four days, and continued feeling really lousy for about three more days. Thankfully, I'm feeling better now, and it has also given me some thoughts on being sick, and the rest the comes with it.
When you get this sick, time kinda just stops. Maybe it is the lack of sleep, or maybe it is something else. It could be that you go so far inside yourself that the external world really doesn't matter. Everyday annoyances really don't register, you don't get angry. Today is the first day I felt annoyed since getting sick, then again, it was also the first day that I drove.
All I know now is that I feel better, and it feels like coming back from vacation. After a week, the city's subtle movements are now noticeable with the changes in signs, changes in construction, and this time of year, changing of seasons as well. It's almost like I went to bed on a hot summer night, had a weeklong nightmare now just slowly dissipating, and it's now autumn and things are feeling crisp again. As crisp as things get in the fall in Texas anyway. It's also October, which of course means Halloween, a favorite of mine since a kid.
Autumn is also the time of harvest, the time of abudence before lack. It is the time of year to really honor the ebb and flow of life. And with that, I am trying to not view my sick week as a missed week, but a week in which I watched all of season 2 of New Girl.
I lived in Anchorage, Alaska from about the age of four to eighteen. I don't remember too much of school, not being there half the time, but I do remember learning about bears. Or rather, about how to deal with bears.
Starting in grade school (actually called Bear Valley now that I think of it) we learned the difference between brown, grizzly and black bears and what to do if we ever ran into one. Polar bears, living mostly up north past the Artic Circle and at zoos were not considered as big as a threat as the black bears that went though our garbage cans, and could climb up trees, or like the grizzly bears who because of their sheer size and grouchy attitudes were the most terrifying to me.
When you go camping in Alaska, you will see signs saying how long it has been since the last grizzly attack, how numerous they are in the area, and if it happens to be a special time of year for bears. You sew bells into your clothes, carry bear mace, and practice playing dead.
Despite, or maybe because of the fear that we do have for bears, they are one of the more endearing animal archetypes. There are teddy bears of course, the little and big dipper in the night sky can alternativly be called the little and big bear. And then there is Winnie the Pooh, the Three Bears, bears drinking coke, fuzzy wuzzy bears, bears filled with honey, and bears named Smokey, among numerous others.
It seems as if our love for bears outshines the fear. And there is something fascinating about bears, they do seem remarkably human after all. Their diet doesn't seem that different, neither do their body movements or priorities. At the same time, they are obviously very different. Unlike monkeys, who can seem a bit too human at times, bears will always be fundamentally different from humans in their expressions and attitudes.
It is this combination of familiar and fear that I believe make them into such a strong archetype, one that is still found in current myth and media. They represent the instinctual animal part that is in us. They represent the earthly body, with its heaviness and hibernation. It is these thoughts that have started my new series of paintings of bears, which I am just now beginining to flesh out.
Here's a video of a Russian dancing bear to end this. I have mix feelings about this video, as I do with any "wild" animal preforming tricks for humans, but I do feel like it illustrate the simularities between us and them.
I pretty much love anything Isabella Rossellini does. She is perhaps best known as a model, and for her role in Blue Velvet, but she has recently taken to some peformance art where she acts out the more intimite lives of animals. I stumbled upon a book/video series called Green Porno a couple of years ago at a local artsy bookstore, then called Domy Books, now called Farwell Books. Isabella Rossellini is dressed up in these amazing theatrical animal costumes, and she acts out the somewhat bizarre courtship and mating habits of different animals in a scientific but humorous way. Here's one of my favorites.
She also teamed up with Burt's Bees and did some videos about just how awesome bees really are. There are three videos in total (although she also does a different and interesting bee video in her Green Porno series.) All of them are highly educational, and also touch on ways that everyone can do to help the bees.
And one more.
Recently, I was listening to an interview where she was talking about how altruism is not just a human trait, but one that can be found in lots of animals, mostly with mothers and their young. This had lead Isabella to her next and latest series, Mamas. There's only a couple of videos so far, one a spider who is consumbed by her babies, and another where she is a hampster that consumes her babies.
I won't show any more videos, leaving you and youtube to do the rest, but every last one is amazing and fun to watch. The lives of animals are fascinating, and the way Isabella Rossellini playfully presents them is a joy to watch. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.
Kelsey Jenkinson is a 27 year old artist in currently living and working in Austin, Texas.