Wednesday, February 5, 2014

PEZ Update, Spring Shows, How Long Did That Take? and Super Bowl Work

Just about every day after work we sit down to watch a little Star Trek The Next Generation on Netflix and I put in an hour or 2 on this piece before taking a shower and hitting the bed. When I paint at night I feel like a hobbyist doing their hobby. It’s kinda fun and sad at the same time, I mean, what I do for a living is the same thing I do as a hobby which is the same thing I do when I have free time. I guess that’s just the way life as an artist goes, there’s really no way of walking away from it.

Production for the Spring/Summer shows has begun, we still don’t have all the dates set and we’re still waiting to find out if we got into a few other venues. You can find our tour dates as we post them on our site and Facebook of course. Here are the stars I have been excited about all month, well all January. We have a few extra pieces we made for the Armadillo that didn’t sell, but we need to crank out more hearts and more “new” pieces. We both have ideas for my solid pieces and stripe pieces and a few other things we want to do and now is the time to make them all. The push for the Spring/Summer shows isn’t as bad and the Armadillo push since we have a few weekends thrown in there between shows where we can work but it’s still a big push. 

So I started this one piece, yes Hannah let me be creative with her medium. I have been thinking about squares for a while now and finally we are going to see one come out. We have come up with a very important difference between our styles. It seems that when I do an abstract piece people want to see a subject and just don’t get it. But when we do a subject in Hannah’s style it seems like it throws people off. So with my circles we do subjects and with the cans we do abstracts and people don’t seem so confused when they walk into our booth at shows. 

Ok, so I wanted to share with you the time it took and what we had to go though to make another piece. First of all it took me about a year of asking everyone I know and met both online and offline to find someone who not only drank Monster but was willing to wash and save them. Then after I found someone, they saved cans for about 6 months before we were able to get together and to get the cans in our hands. While hauling the cans back out to the ranch a mouse somehow appeared in our van.

After about a week and about 20 cuts on my hands we had all the cans clean, cut up and organized by color. We already had the wood cut up into the sizes we need from preparing from the Armadillo so we didn’t need to spend anything time getting the boards all setup but we usually have to drive about 15 miles to the Home Depot to get the wood and team it up with dumping and groceries. Then we take a few hours to cut up all the boards to the right sizes. 

Hannah will paint anywhere from 4 to 10 pieces, given the space, a day and get them all grided up too. We may also pick the can colors we are going to use in that same day and she might even get a few pieces cut.

The actual shape of the heart is where all the concentration and effort comes in, this takes about an hour or so but only cuz Hannah has it down.

Then she punches out the rest of the pieces and puts them in a jar till I can get around to it. When I get the piece I go at it like a machine and bang it out in about another hour or 2., just depends if it’s my first piece or fifth piece of the day. 

Now all we need to do is get frames online, which takes a few weeks to come in and really no time to put together and put a wire on and get it up on the wall. Pretty simple huh? Far from it…

This year was the first Super Bowl in about 15 years since I didn’t have any beers. We ate carrots and celerly, I drank water and wished it all was chips and cheese and chilly. Hannah did let me have a candy bar and I ate it very slowly and I really enjoyed it. Even though it was the greatest holiday of the year I still got a little bit of work done. I knocked 2 out of the 3 aspen trees in the first piece of our new body of work. I know it’s been taking awhile to get these all done but I’m trying little by little. We thought about how the background is going to look and I think we have it all worked out, all we need to is finish it then make more.

Being from Denver I was really sad about the game but I kinda wanted Seattle to win cuz of all the crap that one guy got for saying he was the best. It didn’t really matter to me all I wanted to see was a great game not a blow out. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book 2, More Cans, Keeping Warm, More Book, Letter K, Even More Cans and Book

With the cold we had really been putting in some serous hours in on the book. I have hit my 100th hour of work on this book, it’s been a slow process, but we have tons of other stuff to do. This is the piece at the end of the book where Goodnight Dog comes out of the Zoo and sees her person. As you can tell Dog is ready to head off for another adventure. 

Just as we finished cutting up all our cans and started working more cans show up around the studio. These Dr. Peppers come from Hannah’s Dad’s friend that rides out here all the time. He told us that they stopped carrying the can at the H.E.B. he goes to and holds up a bottle. Thanks a lot H.E.B.

Then Hannah’s Dad hid all these cans all over the place, a few were in a buggy we all drive around, some were in a trailer by the place we park and a few were in a bush down the way. Well they are all now washed, cut and stored for later.

On the plus side as we look forward to Olympic cans from Coke flooding in we finally were able to get our dirty, cut up little hands on all the polar bear Coke cans from Christmas. A special thanks to Libby for sneaking them from her husband before he threw them away.

If you guys know nothing about Libby she is Hannah’s sister and the one who takes all the cool pictures of us. She also rocks an amazing Mom and Pop shop type screen printing business, if you are an artist with pretty simple designs and want them on a t-shirt hit her on up Etsy and request a custom order and get it done.

After a beautiful warm weekend the arctic blast came back for more, we saw a lot of sleet and below freezing temperatures. We loaded up with propane and were ready. People tell me all the time to keep warm or stay warm when the cold hits. I wanted to share with you guys the way I draw when it gets cold, just so you know I am keeping warm. Not only do we run a little electric heater and cycle the propane heater on and off but I have a smaller mini electric heater aimed at my hands. This helps with keeping my hands from hurting from the cold, or just hurting, plus it keeps the paper and pencil warm and it comes out darker for some reason. I can’t wait for the sun to come out. 

Remember when we went to the Texas State Aquarium to get pictures of dolphins? Well I wanted to share the drawing Hannah came up with for the book. 

We will probably use this one but I still wanted to do all 3 since I never drew a dolphin before and who knows, people might want to gobble them up.

Put in a little time on the Letter K and got it done. I really wanted to get all these done last year but there is just so much I want to get done. In the hopes of just staying productive and getting everything done I am spending a few hours a day working on every piece of art I have going, well at least a few of all the different ones I have going on. It just seems like I have more ideas than time and all of my ideas sound so good. If you want to buy any prints of the letters I have already done click here, they are only 20 bucks each.

While I was playing around Hannah was starting another batch of hearts and my new favorites, the stars. We made a star for the Armadillo and it sold pretty fast and as smart little artists we pay attention to stuff like that and make more of what people seem to want to buy. It also helps when we get a bunch of RockStar cans to use to make the corners and points with.

Then a little work on the main dolphin for the book and some good news. A little shop we just started working with called Relics Jewelry and Gifts is hosting a little chalk event for us. I told you this was coming, we ordered some chalk, I have some knee pads left over from my park skating days in Denver, and rain or shine (well not in the rain) this First Friday I will be down on all fours in Bastrop, TX drawing Dog on the sidewalk outside, I just hope it’s not that cold. I am also working a few other things with some other places I already work with. We need to go scope out the area and see if we could get away with some chalk here and there. Any chalk artists out there with tips or hints? I would love to hear all about them. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Colder Than…, Hearts, More Shows Please and My Diet

The Colder Than… Art & Photography Show was today (January 23, 2014) and I am saddened that I wasn’t able to go but knowing the temperature was down near zero makes it ok. This has been my third winter outside of Colorado and the wonderful snow. I kind of miss it but I wouldn’t want to experience it living in a van. I mean even when it gets cold in Texas I wish we were in Arizona. But living in our old apartment with that amazing view would be nice.

The show itself is the first time I am showing a Goodnight Dog inspired piece to the world. In trying to build the Goodnight Dog brand and build the character as something more than just a dog in a children’s book, I found that I need to put Dog in different situations. Also it helped us get better at drawing her, with themed shows you have to match the look of the show. I wish I could be a part of more shows like this but I can only make as much art as I am making.

Cuttn’ It Loose does these themed shows every few months and I am trying to keep up to be a part of them all year.  That makes for about 4 or 5 Goodnight Dog pieces and that’s a lot of practice in coming up with a new idea, sketching it, drawing it up and painting it. I want to thank Kyle Banister for the pictures and for including me. As always I am looking for more things like this so soon we will be adding more.

Got a real good start on these 4 hearts but didn’t realize we didn’t have very many nails. We won’t be able to get to the store till next week or so, so, these will have to wait. All the pieces are cut out so when we get the nails they should move super quick.

Then little by little I have been putting paint on my piece for another show at Cuttn’ It Loose. I am having a lot of fun with these paintings and am looking for more and more venues to show these types of works. Both in Texas and in Colorado, so far I have 2 more themed shows, a Mustache show and a Da Vinci inspired show. I might get to paint on another guitar for Guitar Town in Copper Mountain which is cool cuz it’s like the weekend before the show we do in Copper. I also want to do a Fiesta piece and a Day of the Dead piece for something, not sure what, but if I make them they will come, right?

Ok, well, this past weekend was one of the first social times since being told I can’t eat or drink all I want. Do you know how hard it is to sit by a camp fire into the night with the stars right above you and not drink beer? The only thing being offered was sausages and tortillas, chips and cookies and more beer. Then Mel the cook had steaks, then burgers. Oh boy did I want some cookies and way too many beers, but I was good. I did really well on this, my first test of eating out in the real world, it’s going to be tough but on the plus side I am already down to 210, from 217 if my math is correct and 3 inches off the thickest part of me. I am going to do this and get in shape for real this time. I got my first “you’re looking thinner this weekend” I had always hated that part, only cuz I don’t like being the center of attention, unless it’s at an art show and about the art. I am going to think of it as a positive thing and hopefully use it to help me along.

As far as the sticking to the no sugar, no processed foods, no red meat diet, oh and no beer or bread diet, damn that’s all my favorites, I am finding it pretty easy to do. I am lucky I have never really given food much more thought than it goes in and it comes out. Only now I am given a few select items to eat and I can mix them anyway I see fit. So, a fish, lettuce, celery, bean and blueberry taco isn’t out of the question and guess what, it’s actually pretty good. Playing to my non-fondness for food and seeing it as merely a means of survival is going to help me in sticking with this diet, Week One Down.