25 November 2009

When a panda offers you a gift certificate...

This is the first holiday season for the Panda...and I'm not sure what to expect. I'm geared up and I'm fast and can handle several paintings in the next few weeks. ...but if you want painting by Christmas ... or Hanukkah or New Years or even Ground Hogs Day order soon. Right now I can do it. I'll give you a timeline if you order.

However, in keeping with the sometimes lazy spirit of the season, I am also offering the option of a Panda Licking on a Light Bulb Gift Certificate. Really. It's easy as can be. You'll barely have to think. You can be hands off and let the recipient choose the subject matter of their choice or you can take this opportunity to spend quality time with that special someone, plotting out the painting together, filling it with all of your tiny hopes and dreams. ...or whatever...

The Gift Certificate is the same price as a painting, $53 US, which covers everything, including my blood sweat and tears and 1st class shipping. I'm putting an expiration date of January 7, 2011 on them because that will be the Panda's two year anniverary. I've committed to keeping this blog going at least until then. And if they can't decide on a painting in a year, someone should probably put a stop to it. Right?

The lucky recipient of the gift certificate will be mailed a handsome card featuring the inspiring new paint-by-number Panda Licking on a Light Bulb logo (as seen above) by artist and designer Nikolas Kouzes. Inside the card will be an official gift certificate and a short explanation of this blog with the info on how use it. On each certificate is a secret code (practically unbreakable and devised by me while in a very lucid state of mind) which will be quoted for online redemption along with their request. The rules will be the same as always. It's one certificate for one painting. Any subject regardless of complexity. Always 3.5" x 5.5" acrylic on wood.

To order a gift Certificate just click on the Buy Now button on the right hand sid of the screen.

To order a painting email me at:
You will then be sent a secure invoice through PayPal and I will contact you with any questions.

I will be posting a new Painting this week...

20 November 2009

An olive tree's Orthodox dream...

Here is a variation on the olive tree painting I made earlier this week. This is a second painting reworking the request from Mary Antonakos on the subject of our friend Diane Katsiaficas. I am very pleased with the original, but when I was writing the blog post for it, I thought of a different approach.
What we have here is essentially the same painting as An olive tree's dream... which I posted earlier this week. It has the same subject matter, the same composition, same basic colors (I didn't even clean my palate), I just decided to force a byzantine style onto it.
One of the things that Diane and I have in common is that we both love, and are heavily influenced by, Byzantine art. Why not reference this?
Here,I imitated elements from paintings of the Eastern Orthodox World that spanned more than 1,500 years. Almost all Byzantine work is about figure, so this is unusual. I poured through several books of Byzantine art studying the sparse backgrounds. (Something I loved doing). Beth was unimpressed by the original birds I put in the sky, so tonight she paged though hundreds of images to find better birds for me to reference. She was right so I changed them. (But turned down her suggestion of adding the ominous black bird that looks over St. John the Theologian's shoulder as he writes Revelations on Patmos).
The actual painting of this came very easily to me. This is a style that I love but have never attempted to adhere to strictly. Very fun for a me (believe it or not)!
One thing this blog does is give me plenty of painting exercise. It 's keeping my art muscles fit. (... where ever they may live).

Since this painting has no owner, I'm going to send it to Diane Katsiaficas. There is nothing better than sending someone unsolicited art. Right?

Thank You Mary Antonakos for starting this ball of wax.

...and thank you to whichever part of my obsessiveness it may have been that made me explore this again.

17 November 2009

An olive tree's dream...

This painting is a request from Mary Antonakos. I've recently had the pleasure of meeting Mary at the National Hellenic Museum where she is one of the curators of Neolaia/Pathos, an exhibition of "young" Greek artists in which I currently have work. When I met Mary at the opening, I instantly liked her and we've kept in touch since through the magic of Facebook.
The subject of Mary's request for me is our mutual friend, the wonderful artist, Diane Katsiaficas. (Diane is the other curator of Neolaia). Mary asked for a of portrait of Diane and Greece. But not a literal "portrait".
I met Diane Katsiaficas a few years ago when I was in school at the University of Minnesota where she has been a professor for years. Both being Greek, we had an obvious connection. (If you haven't figured it out yet, everyone in this story is Greek). Diane Katsiaficas is a ridiculously talented artist and she smiles a lot. That's hard to beat. But when preparing for this painting I realized that I don't know Diane very well.
Since they are close friends, I asked Mary to send me some stories about Diane. Mary talked about visiting Diane's house on the sea near Athens and how Diane cares for the land and the house with her own hands. Mary made the suggestion of a painting that is light and airy using olive trees and birds.
I looked at Diane's website again for inspiration. The image on the home page is an olive tree. I knew I had to use a tree. I liked the idea of flying birds. We are talking about Greece here, so blue has to be the dominate color, right? There you have it.
My painting isn't completely light and airy. I remembered a work of Diane's that I saw a couple of years ago about the terrible forest fires that have recently plagued Greece. I wanted to reference this. (Every Greek I know has some kind of forest fire burning in them, for good or otherwise).
I originally had a full fledged inferno burning in the background but I decided to go back and tame it to a yellow glow. I didn't want this to be a literal burning landscape. I wanted it to feel more dream-like and subtle. I watered down some of the colors on the surface and sanded areas to keep everything from being too well defined.
The way things came out with the yellow halo, it almost looks as if the tree is thinking about the birds. They might only be the tree's dream. Roots and wings.
In retrospect, I maybe should have approached this painting differently. Diane and I both very much love Byzantine painting. I could have made visual references to that... but I can explore that later...

Thank You Mary Antonakos, this has truly been a joy. .
..and hello, Diane!

Here are some links to check out:
I Space : http://www.ispace.uiuc.edu/ (Mary Antonakos is the gallery director here).