Studio Closeup #49

Welcome to another Studio Closeup here at Let’s travel to outer space! Why should the billionaires have all the fun? Today is a work in progress that I started a couple weeks ago. I wouldn’t say the underpainting of this piece is quite finished yet. I still have a lot of wrestling to do with it. The diorama inside is cut from a 1964 children's book illustration of space travel. The top and bottom borders are painted with black gesso. That’s right. Black gesso. Until a few years ago, I had no idea black gesso even existed! The black gesso I currently have in my possession is not chalky. And until this week, I had no idea that my new and improved chalky gesso guys ALSO make black (hopefully chalky) gesso. So a bottle of that is currently in my DickBlick shopping cart. In the meantime, I’ll probably experiment with chalky tempera paint on top to tone down the shine of The Universe.

Art blog 49 A
The Museum Series: Space piece in progress
Art blog 49 B
Closeup of diorama inside.
Art blog 49 C
Making art action shot.

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Studio Closeup #48

Title: The Museum Series | Okapi
Year: 2021
Media: Acrylic Paint, Paper Diorama and Collage on Wood Panel
Total Dimension: 6” x 6” (1.5" Cradle)

This diorama was made from a stamp of an Okapi. I find these creatures fascinating. They're often referred to as Africa's unicorn and are super secret elusive animals that live by themselves (not in herds) in the African jungle. There's a beautiful life-size Okapi diorama featured at the Milwaukee Public Museum that I can never get enough of when I'm there. This is not the last Okapi piece I plan on making. Film slides of this creature are virtually nonexistent, so imagine my surprise when I located a couple Viewmaster Reels that have Okapi's on them(!) There wasn't enough room to include any of those tiny films inside this piece, but I do have bigger Okapi dioramas planned that will feature them.

Art blog 48 A
The Museum Series: Okapi
Art blog 48 B
Detail of inside diorama

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Music Mondays: Carolaoke Song #41

I used a different pair of headphones to record with today. Professional mixing headphones from AKG and it was a a bit of a struggle trying to "record" with these. They're too big for my head and the audio plays below my earholes so everything is off and annoying. The pair of headphones I usually use to record with are PortaPro Koss headphones which sadly finally lost their life today probably due to too many "mishaps" catching on kitchen cabinet handles and doorknobs in the past. I will be ordering a new pair hopefully in time for next week's Carolaoke because that's the low budget way I record vocals. I was really surprised how a different pair of headphones really affect how I sing the song but now I know. And that's what my music experiments are about. Please enjoy my Carolaoke scratch track of The Eurythmics' "I Saved The World Today". Despite my headphone woes, I really enjoyed being able to sing again after my little music intermission this past summer.

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Studio Closeup #47

Title: The Museum Series | Arctic Sea Ducks - Common Eider
Year: 2021
Media: Acrylic Paint, Paper Diorama and Collage on Wood Panel
Total Dimension: 4” x 4” (1.5" Cradle)

Well, no surprise to anyone I’ve been far down the rabbit hole making my items, trying my best to tune out the insane world around that seems to be getting crazier by the minute sadly. I check current events on the internet to keep aware, but too much threatens my mental health so I do it with extreme moderation. Instead, I follow a lot of museums, zoos, aquariums, artists, musicians, photographers, "retroists" and animators in my various social feeds to limit the despair factor, get inspired and remain positive and somewhat hopeful for the future. Today’s Studio Closeup is a smaller version of the panoramic Arctic Sea Ducks piece that was posted last week. Let’s hope there are real Arctic Sea Ducks in the future. Enjoy, please stay safe and keep well everyone.

Art blog 47 B
Arctic Sea Ducks: Common Eider
Art blog 47 A
Detail of diorama inside.

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Studio Closeup #46

Title: The Museum Series: Arctic Sea Ducks
Year: 2021
Media: Acrylic Paint, Paper Diorama and Collage on Wood Panel
Total Dimension: 6” x 12” (1.5" Cradle)

Regarding The Museum Series, I cannot remember if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but the “white borders” on all the pieces are representative of the walls and halls of an actual museum. For this piece, I’m keeping both top and bottom borders gesso white to also suggest the snow and ice of the arctic. The line that goes through the bottom border represents a history timeline and the button for the diorama lights is the placement on said line. I’ve been listening to a lot of what I call “Wind Music” lately (Kelvin Mockingbird Radio on Pandora for the curious) because it reminds me of the music/background sound effects they play to add ambiance to the museum exhibits. The Japanese Teahouse exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum is one of my favorite exhibits. They pipe in relaxing Japanese flute music overhead to add to the stillness and tranquility to the exhibit and it’s totally awesome. The igloo you can sit inside of is probably my most favorite exhibit there. They pipe in wicked winter howling winds overhead and there’s a glowing fire inside the igloo that is quite convincing.

Art blog 46 A
The Museum Series: Arctic Sea Ducks
Art blog 46 B
Left side detail.
Art blog 46 C
Right side detail.
Art blog 46 D
Detail of paper diorama inside.

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