31 January 2011

Before the Dogs Hula...

This is a preliminary sketch of a painting for Heidi, who won a Panda Gift Certificate at the Bridge for Youth fundraiser last fall. The Bridge is a youth shelter in South Minneapolis and Panda Licking on a Light Bulb has contributed to their silent auction for the past couple of years. (Here is a link to last year's winner...)

Heidi's request was just a single sentence. "I'd like a painting of a traditional hula dancer dancing for a group of dogs."
I can do that. But I'm not sure exactly why she wants this painting. I assume it is meant to be just plain funny and I'm going that way with it... but could it be a social commentary? Right? And why did I automatically assume she wanted a female hula dancer. There are certainly Big Hunky Polynesian Dude Hula Dancers as well.

Interesting thoughts... but I think this is on the right track. If I'm off, please tell me, Heidi!

27 January 2011

The Deviled Egg Has Successfully Lassoed the Horse!

Here is my final painting for Deviled Egg Lassoing a Horse. This one was tricky in deciding how realistic I should go here. I'm making a painting so it should be a full painting not just a cartoon. BUT, for a painting it is a slightly unusual subject matter. You have to really be  illustrative and clear as to what is happening. No one is going to just say, "Oh, yeah, deviled egg and horse".
I must admit, I like Beth's quick line drawing better than my final product. In many ways it makes more sense for something this goofy to exist in that form. However, I was obligated to make a painting here. So why not take the subject seriously. It is set it in a typical romanticized Western background. I wanted the painting to seem earnest.
I did put a goofy smile on the horse's mouth to add the "they are pals just goofing around" narrative that Beth had requested.

But here's an alternate, more action filled narrative...

The Deviled Egg was hired on to capture the runaway horses of a wealthy Texas Oil Baron.  The Oil Baron took a big chance on hiring a Deviled Egg to do this important job, but he liked the cut of the egg's jib. In this scenario, we would see the Egg really sweating to prove his worth. He would realize he was representing his entire race. Can he do it???

... but instead they are just having a fine time in the sun. Nothing wrong with that!
So it is what it must be. Deviled Egg. Horse. Lasso.

My next painting request is a hula dancer... dancing with dogs. I'll post the drawing within the week...

07 January 2011

Beth's Deviled Egg Drawing

Beth wasn't too excited about my preliminary sketch for her painting request, Deviled Egg Lassoing a Horse, so, she took matters into her own hands and did her own drawing. That's my Beth!
Beth' s Drawing
I have to admit that it is much better than mine. However, the horse does look a little like a fox with a mane.

It turns out she wanted the horse and the egg to be friends. I initially thought the Deviled Egg Cowboy was earnestly trying to wrangle a wild runaway horse. ...but this makes more sense....(?)

I honestly do love the way Beth draws.  I sometimes ask her to do drawings for my other blog, The Id Detangler, and they are always great.
About a year and a half ago, Beth had some ideas about a painting I was making for repeat Panda participant Leon Mott. She thought I should add hands holding lighters in the air (like a monster ballad was playing) in the foreground. For some reason I disagreed. Beth thought she should make her own version of the painting. I gave her a piece of wood, just like I use, and handed over my paints. Beth drew it quickly and confidently and then painted for about 20 minutes and stopped. The break hasn't ended yet. I think she realized painting is harder than it looks. (But she told me painting is boring. I do kind of agree...) 

Anyway, I will be taking Beth's drawing strongly into consideration while I make this painting... We'll see what happens!

06 January 2011

Devilled Egg Lassos a Horse!!!

As is tradition here, I asked Beth to make a request for the Panda Licking on a Light Bulb's two year birthday. Last year she gave me Panda Hugging on a Strawberry, but it was a difficult decision for her. She had a hard time chosing between that and Deviled Egg Lassoing a Horse. So this year the chose was obvious. The Deviled Egg wins!!!

A life-like rendering of Deviled Egg Lassoing Horse
You may ask yourself, "What is the story behind this?". The answer is simple, no story. It is what it is. Just love it for what it is, Deviled Egg Lassoing Horse, and don't ask many questions!
Above is a preliminary drawing. I think with this one, the simpler the better. ...but it should be an action shot to show off the Deviled Egg's wrangling skills.

Stay tuned for the finished painting...

04 January 2011

The Panda Comes Out of Hibernation!

Original Panda Painting
If you haven't noticed, this blog has been sleeping for the past two months.  Why??? I decided I needed a break to work on some other projects and rethink what I'm doing here. Believe it or not, this is a very time consuming project... (and it's certainly not making me wealthy). But I love doing it! So, I've decided to turn the crank on the Paint-on-Demand machine again and see what comes down the conveyor belt to me.

You may ask, "WTF has John been doing with his time away???" My response would be,  "Don't use that kind of language with me, I've got some other projects!" I've been making some new large paintings for my Signals series. Been writing the monthly exhibition reviews for mplsart.com  (the best visual arts calendar in Minneapolis, where I live). I've also (inexplicably) started a second blog where I interpret the dreams of readers. Really. It's called the Id Detangler.
(I just checked it's stats, and it seems that the Id Detangler has become very popular in Germany this month. I don't have a clue why.)
Detail from Signals painting I'm currently working on
I will be slowly changing the look of Panda Licking on a Light Bulb and updating some features over the next few weeks. It is going to get some special love and attention from me... 

Under-used Panda logo designed by Nick Kouzes
Later this week, I will be to post my two year anniversary painting. This will, again, be painted from a request by my lovely wife, Beth. Last year she chose Panda Hugging on a Strawberry. And of course, the first year her request was Panda Licking on a Light Bulb! (Hence the name of the blog). After that, I have a couple of other requests which have been patiently waiting. ... and I will tackle some tiny paintings which I have promised as gifts...
Panda Hugging on a Strawberry
But, as I said, I'll be putting in more time here over the next few weeks, so this would be a good time to send me the request you've had buried in the back of your head. Dig it out and send it. Paintings are still only $70 each (a fraction of what I usually sell my work for). And I'll paint anything. Anything! I haven't turned down a request yet!