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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Izzy the Happy Dog

Checkered Past, acrylic on board, approx 8x12", 2010, SOLD

The Charleston House is a gallery in Montgomery, AL which has been gracious enough to hang and sell many of my works. One of the employees there, Brian, is a good guy and a genius furniture designer. If I could trade my best piece of art for one of his pieces of furniture I still think that I'd owe him a few grand. One of the perks, I think, of having Brian's job is that he can see all the cool artwork that rolls through the gallery. That's how I came to do this painting of Izzy, Brian's dog. He wanted to get something done for his mothers birthday and thought an original piece of art would do the job. I took it to the gallery on Monday and he was really impressed. I hated to get rid of Izzy because the truth is that just looking at her exuberant expression brings a smile to my face. It was a worthwhile job and I hope Brian's family enjoys it. - Jared

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tade & Grayson

Grayson & Tade, graphite, each 11x14", 2010, Portrait Commissions
Here are two more children's portraits for a generous patron of mine. Over the years, I have learned several methods of rendering a figure in graphite that work for me. Unfortunately, non of the methods that I find successful were taught to me during my 4 years of undergraduate study, which had a major of Fine Art.
As I mentioned not too long ago, Robert Barrett's book Life Drawing gave me some really great thoughts on drawing accurately and quickly. The most helpful tidbit from his book was the initial toning of the paper. I have therefore made it a habit to lay a thin coat of 4B or 6B graphite over the entire figure to be rendered, blending it all together using a chamois. I usually have a contour line drawing on the paper before this toning step which I have spray fixed to the paper.
I use a gum eraser to remove highlights and then add darker shadows, repeating both steps as needed. The speed at which I can complete a graphite portrait is much greater than before when I used to build values from and all white surface, using harder leads and gradually working to softer, darker leads.
I liked both of these portraits a lot, though I will confess that I thought the background behind the young man looked a little too similar to a nuclear mushroom cloud. Kinda sucks when you see things like that in a piece of art because there's no "unseeing" it. The likenesses are accurate so I guess that's the most important thing. Enjoy - Jared

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Old Yeller

Ol' Yeller, acrylic on panel, approx 8x6.5", 2010 $150
(scroll down to purchase)
I can remember watching the original Old Yeller movie from 1956 when I was a child. I really wanted to shed a tear when it was obvious that dogs don't live forever (Honestly, I probably did cry while watching it in my Kindergarten class). The element in all great animal related stories is their sense of loyalty to their masters.
Many of you probably have your own stories of being protected by your pet in times of danger. My wife and I just recently bought a home with enough property to have a dog but until then we weren't able to even think about getting one due to the impracticality of apartment living. We did have two cats during that time of our lives (fortunately, Roxy and Norah are still with us and healthy as ever), and I can remember a time when Roxy, our oldest cat, started making sounds we had never heard before as she sat in front of the AC unit. After just a couple minutes it was clear that she wanted us to come over there and investigate. When we did we quickly found smoke coming from the unit due to an electrical short in the wires. We called the maintenance men and had it repaired, all thanks to our alert and loyal feline friend.
This painting conveyed the idea of a dog's loyalty. He's sitting and waiting for any need his owner might have. So remember to be nice to your pet because they might just keep your house from burning! - Jared

Monday, April 12, 2010


Tuckered, acrylic on board, approx 8x6", 2010 SOLD
(scroll below to purchase)

I have been asked be a few friends to start painting labs. I agree that labs are a familiar family friend and many folks have a lab or grew up with one. I thought this little tyke was a great first subject. I can totally relate to this fellow; exhausted and straight out of energy. Forget a cat nap, I want the doggie coma that this little one is enjoying.
Now that spring is here and the yard beckons, I am feeling more and more like crashing in the middle of each day after I have been hazed by clouds of pollen and bruised by all the landscaping that my property requires. May your hard work be fruitful that you might have rest - Enjoy. Jared

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Breaking Wind

Breaking Wind, acrylic on board, 8x10", 2010 SOLD

I really dig the humor in this piece. The ears of this Great Dane were what initially grabbed my attention and the colors really played off each other. Danes are huge animals, sometimes reaching over five feet in height. I imagined this particular composition resembling a window in your home. I thought it would be stranger to see a Great Dane looming behind the pane outside looking in, just over the window base.
After finishing this piece I was very pleased with the eyes of this mongrel. They seem eerily life-like when it's hanging on the wall. Hope you enjoy - Jared

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Behind the Scene: Preliminary Sketches

Lyndon B. Johnson Study, graphite, approx 8x10", 2010 (Click to Enlarge)
As you've read in past posts, I have been blessed with a slew of portrait commissions from one patron, five to be exact. All are of Democrat Presidents past and present. I thought you may enjoy seeing snippets of how I work to achieve a preliminary sketch for a client. In this case, reference photos were needed to begin. Once I select a reference for the sketch I create a contour line drawing lightly on the paper and spray fix it to the surface. You can see the contour lines in the first image if you click on the picture above.
I then use a 6B graphite stick to lightly tone the entire portrait area, evenly blending all the graphite with a chamois. I then use various erasers to remove highlights, namely a gum eraser.
The next step is to add the darker values in the facial features and shadow areas, as seen in the 2nd image above. Lastly, I refine the sketch in its entirety, going back and forth with erasures and shading as needed. I find that much of my time is saved by toning the paper first. Robert Barrett's book Life Drawing is an excellent resource for advice regarding rapid accurate rendering of the figure and was a great learning tool for me. Click here to see his book and art.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Pop Culture Icons for Local Fine Dining

Audrey Hepburn(SOLD), Chuck Norris, Mel Gibson, Dr. MLK
each, acrylic on panel, 2010
$1200/ea @ Charleston House Gallery or Buy Now below

These are additions to an ongoing series of pop culture icons which is on display at the very successful Chop House restaurant in Montgomery, AL. I wrote about the original set of portraits which were the centerpiece of my undergraduate painting thesis exhibition. You can read the original post here.... I have had suggestions coming from all directions and from every viewer: my students, friends, restaurant patrons and employees, and more! So the biggest challenge has been to decide who to portray from the current list of 1000 names.

Originally, the B&W series were individuals that I think are aiding and furthering the degradation and demise of American Exceptional ism as we've know it. The Color series were people that I respected for their courage to hold onto time tested traditional morals and who are openly mocked and ridiculed by the elites in media and press. Needless to say, my doubts were legitimate when the owner of the restaurant, Patrick Skelton, suggested hanging the portraits in his establishment. Honestly, who wants to eat an expensive meal while an incensed Rosie O'Donnell looms over your shoulder?

I have changed the qualifications for the new B&W and Color submissions. The new additions will be era-based; icons from days long past will be in the B&W set, while current icons will be in color. This will be more straightforward for the viewer, save me research, and will be more marketable (not many people buying OJ Simpson art). If you are interested in purchasing one of these works please contact The Charleston House Gallery. If you're in Montgomery, stop by the Chop House for a night of fine dining and fine art. Enjoy - Jared

Choose Celebrity to Purchase

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Bluejay for Grandma

Mr. Bluebird , acrylic on canvas, 24x18", 2010 NFS
Last Fall, my wife and I were house hunting for our first place to call home. We were under the gun with an agreement to move out of our apartment and no luck with the hunting. It seemed that every house we really liked had serious internal issues not visible to the naked eye. Also, we really wanted to get out to the country and away from the noise and chaos of the city. We eventually stumbled across a gorgeous home in a little town 20 minutes to the closest city in all directions. The seller of the home had just gone through a divorce and was getting rid of the house for a low, LOW offer. Even better the home came with enough property for me to fire rounds from my guns without anyone getting upset!!! It was great.
The seller, however, wasn't interested in meeting us half way and threatened to walk away from the negotiation table if she had to pay much in closing costs. This wasn't something we really planned on financially, so we went to my grandmother (VERY grudgingly I might add) to borrow the funds we didn't have and we became homeowners (although technically we'd be paying on it for the next 30yrs...I've never understood why they say "homeowner")
Not too long ago, my wife and I were ready to cut my grandmother a four figure check to repay her for her generosity and her loan. In addition to the loan repayment, I wanted to give her something else special that she could have forever. I put this painting together and it now hangs above her bed. I hope that God blesses her with all her needs. There is no one that I know who has a heart more of gold than my grandmother. She was raised in poverty and has always wanted to give her loved ones anything they need. Her generosity is definitely to a fault but I would gladly covet for that sin over any other. May she live another 80 years!