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Monday, December 22, 2008

New Painting!

This belongs with my "stripes" series. I am happy to say that its finished. well, almost. I plan on going over the painting with a clear varnish. This painting will be the oddball of the series. I say this because this is the only painting that is clearly a portrait. In all the other paintings (in progress), the foreground and the background share more equal roles. The picture I took of this painting isn't that great, mostly because it's still wet, so theres a lot of glare. I plan to take better pictures of it, when its is all dry and varnished. I didn't want to wait until then to post it. My schedule has been ridiculous and very busy, so I'm very happy that one of these many paintings I've started, is completed and I wanted to share it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Unfinished Business...

Right now I'm in a location with a lot of unfinished work, and no materials or space to do anything about it. Which I guess is okay for now. Although I am excited to work on them again, I think some time to think them over might be good.

This first piece is about 3 years old now. It started as a vertical 6ft. tall collage, and was later reworked and cut in half, the other half was reworked as well. This piece was at the beginning of my college senior thesis. My main material for my senior thesis was etch a sketch, and this piece was an early experiment where I was attempting to work etch a sketch images in with other materials and mediums... one of my experiments to remove etch a sketch drawings from its red frame, and work them more like fine art material. I have always really liked this collage, but I never got it to a stage where I could consider it complete. Right now I am thinking I would like to remount it, and possibly create a companion piece to it. Possibly create a diptych. I haven't decided yet.

This little painting I happen to be pretty happy with as it is. I just haven't really decided on if I want to re stretch it or not. To be honest, I really just felt like posting this one.

This painting I started about a year ago. I had plans for it, but for whatever reason I wasn't into it after too long, and I started something else. Looking at it now, I'm seeing a lot more possibilities, and I think I have a direction planned out for it. Maybe something a little more playful and surreal.

I don't have much to say about this. I don't plan on changing the composition much, if at all. What I am sure of right now is that I want to take that figure and possibly push it to be more realistic, and give the negative space around her more depth.

Before last summer, this collage, was actually three different collages. All three collages were about taking roads/paths in one way or another. Now it has become more of a reflection piece of where I have been, and the 'on the road' lifestyle I've been stuck in the past couple years. Its coming along. And, although I'm content with it now, I can see myself altering it in the future.

Gesture drawings

Just a few of my gesture drawings I found..

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Bad Case Of The Stripes...

This piece, right here, is one of several new paintings I'm working on. The focus of these paintings are figures and fabric, but the theme is stripes. Although its not intended, I can see that my recent focus of religious art, due to my job, has influenced this painting as well as a few of the other paintings in this new series.
I was ready for change. Change in size. Change in materials. Change in focus. I am still painting figures, but my attention is on the fabric and pattern, and how those elements play against the figure. With the selective colors and materials, I have found these paintings to be strangely decorative a contain a slightly twisted elegance.
I dont have too much to say about this painting right now, but I'll try to post the progress as my stripes series becomes more complete.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Today, I found this image of a painting/collage I had done in sophomore year of college (about four years ago). It was 6' wide and 3' tall, and it was made up of oil paint and wax medium, along with twine and paper that had been soaked in a water/glue mixture. So it had a lot of texture to it. At the time this painting was a big deal to me, it was the beginning of my transition into mixed media/college work. I feel like that transition completely recreated the way I make art, and it finally put me on a path that that kept me motivated and productive.

As of this past summer, the painting no longer exists. Like many of my paintings, I saved a few pieces of it and scrapped the rest for parts for future paintings.

AND, as it turns out, today happens to be the Birthday of the girl in the painting, and seeing as i randomly found this image today, I thought it made sense to post it and write a little about it. So, here it is.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Father Mazzuchelli

Here I've copied a painting of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli (1806-1864)- Declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1993. He's kind of a funny looking guy, but he has a pretty impressive resume.
This was assigned to me by the company I work for. I don't do a lot of painting in this style, and my reference image of the original painting was about 1.5 inches tall. So, this provided me with plenty of challenges.
This version I did, (I was told) is significantly larger- 2x3 ft. I have made some small changes from the original. Most, intentional with the purpose of creating a copy, but hoping to keep it's own image. I am happy with the results and I think it will be put to good use.

Through the month of October, I have been working on several smaller personal choice paintings, and im hoping that i can finish those up sooner than later so I can post some. It a new series for me and i like where it is headed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Two Men and a Dove

Well, this is what I have been working on. The painting belongs to Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Kewaskum. It was pretty gross with dirt, dust and animal feces. It was missing a fair amount of paint down the middle of the canvas, and the wooden frame was in bad shape. I made a new wooden frame for it and tossed out the old one, so now its clean wood and the painting should be somewhat lighter. I cleaned the front and back of the painting and patched the few existing tears and weak spots in the canvas. With the amount of paint that had come off the painting, it was fortunate that I only had to rebuild a hand and redefine the red fabric.

The rest was color matching. It was still time consuming, but it kept me from having to use too much imagination and allowed the painting to keep very close to its pre-damaged state. I know the pictures I’m providing aren’t very good for detail purposes, but they get the point across with pretty clear differences between the before and after states of the painting.

Now comes the part where I watch paint dry and wait to apply varnish and give it back to the church.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Friend Elizabeth and myself completely reworked a giant drawing I had made/used as a backdrop to an installation I had created about a year ago. I enjoy the results, so I thought I would share some "in progress" images.

Conclusion to Kewaskum... almost.

Here are some images of the finished Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Free of its previous shades of pink, it now has a tan and cream color scheme, holding on to similar gold highlighting along the curves and edges of the architecture. The new replacement gold has a much brighter shine to it, which I am happy with. Especially in the lines along the walls and ceiling. The new colors make it a relaxing atmosphere to be in, and the shine in the gold along the walls sparks a bit of life into everything. there is a dark clay type red used as an accent color, and I did a bit of gold leafing on areas like the crosses at the bottoms of the arches.

The Church is done, but Im not quite done with Kewaskum. details on that will come up when i complete that project... and if i get around to posting it... This company is keeping me busy, and when I stay busy I usually stay happy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Places

Okay so here are a few images of Holy Trinity, the current church I am working on. Although these images are from earlier, right now its at the point where we have repaired and primed the walls with a completely painted sanctuary. Later on I will get around to taking and posting those pictures. This is a really nice church, and I feel like end of this project will have promising results. Though, there is still plenty of time to change my mind. Ha.

The pictures above are from the oyster roast/silent auction/leukemia benefit at Sprecher Brewery. I donated a landscape I painted in Maryland for the auction, and I was one of four artists that was asked to bring in work to show/sell. I had a lot less work than everyone else because i work 3 times as big. But my work was also completely different. I basically walked passed the older guys with their smaller still life paintings and put up a huge painting of a bare-assed girl with dreads. haha. I didnt sell any of my big paintings, which I'm completely content with for many reasons. But, my donated piece did sell, and Im glad it did. That landscape was one of a few on-site Maryland landscapes that I have really held on to. So I hope that who ever bought it enjoys it. I talked to a lot of people, all which were a lot of fun to talk to, so it turned out to be a good night. It was good to get my work a little exposure, something I dont attempt to do very often.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Replacing Angels

I have spent the last week and a half living in the studio, painting like crazy to finish the two winged ladies to replace the two that were peeling off the ceiling in Holy Redeemer. these would be the old paintings (I dont know who did them):
Turns out that these two paintings were painted with oils directly on to the layer of latex paint on the ceiling, so they didnt last long at all. I went to remove the loose flaking paint spots and within one shot, half the painting came off. So, rather than patching up dying paintings, I created new ones on canvas. I painted them to better match the original paintings placed on the rest of the ceiling (signed by J. G. Schmidt). I painted the same angels with the same instruments, I just changed up the composition, and gave them more youth. I also increased the amount of detail since these two angels are viewed at half the distance of the paintings done by J. G. Schmidt. That guy really knew what he was doing. And even though I will say that my paintings are great improvement to the previous angel paintings, my paintings in no way compare to those done by J. G. Schmidt, and I didn't expect them to. But I am still very happy with my angels.

As of tonight I have finished painting the second angel, and with the help of a friend I finished the gold circle design around the first angel.

Angel #1:

Angel #2:

haha. I like this image of Nic making use of our studio.

While I finished up the second angel today, Andrew helped out and started the gold ring on the first angel. He saved me about 7 hours of work. If you ask me, thats awesome.

So I finished the last bit of gold that Andrew didnt get to, and this is what the first finished angel looks like. I think today was a pretty successful day to add to a pretty successful week and a half. when the second angel dries it will get a gold ring like the first, and I will have both angels varnished, cut out and I will be on my way back to madison to install them where they belong.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thoughts For A Serious Etch A Sketch Artist...

If you check out my googlepages website, the page displaying images of some work I had done with an Etch A Sketch (http://evan.crain.googlepages.com/etchasketch), there is an explanation of why I choose/chose to work with an Etch A Sketch. As of recently, I have discovered that you can find that page in a search through google, which I didn't think was possible before (I have no problem with that, I am making more of a matter-of-fact statement). But, the reason I bring that up is because some guy who seems to be very enthusiastic about Etch A Sketch art, and creating it, happened to come across my that page of mine and respond with an email. There is something about that email that I find problematic. He quoted me on my disliking of main stream Etch A Sketch drawings and imagery shown over the internet and T.V... such a small line of such a large paragraph of an explanation as to why I chose to create work involving Etch A Sketches the way I do. He proceed to introduce his work with "I guess you haven't gotten around to looking at my stuff?" I'm just not sure how to read that. Maybe he's being cute or introducing himself in a playful way... BUT, maybe hes arguing with my feelings towards main stream Etch A Sketch art using HIS work as ammunition. Where do I go with that? My main reason for being uninterested in the work you'll find online or on T.V. programs, is the lack of advancement in the use of an Etch A sketch (Something I stated in that paragraph on my site). I'm not referring to the skill of drawing with the toy, but where people go with that skill.. People don't think to push past that glass screen and red frame. I believe the Etch A Sketch singles out "the line", places the line on a pedestal free of other forms and mediums. Everyone spends hours making images, working hard to hide the line. Sounds pretty ass-backwards to me. I'm not saying that images of people and places can't or shouldn't be drawn on an Etch A Sketch. I'm saying if your going to use a drawing device that works purely off one line, show how the line is part of that image, how it moves through the figure. Show why the line is important and emphasize that. I definitely encourage non literal ways of approaching that as well. If you don't feel the line is important or if you're one of those people spending hours to hide the line... why the fuck are you using an Etch A Sketch? Paintings are cool too.
Don't think I'm saying I'm any better or any worse. I use the Etch A Sketch with all that I have been saying in this post as goals, and what I hope to accomplish when I do use it.
But, getting back to that email, I looked at his work, he definitely has the coordination, but his work still looks pretty much the same as all the other skilled Etch A Sketch artists that you'll find interviewed on late night talk shows or in newspapers. Its still lacking the originality to blow me away. He has skills. But I think he has settled with the standards.

So you know how to use the thing... where you gonna go with it?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Discovering Older Paintings

I recently found some pictures I had taken of some paintings I did in high school. I was excited to find them. But I just realized this evening that Jessie, the girl in the paintings, had copies of the pictures of these paintings and had posted them a long time ago. Haha. I most likely knew that and forgot, so finding these pictures wasn't such an amazing discovery after all. But thats okay, finding old work is always something I enjoy. Theres an energy or something vibrant and positive about these high school paintings that doesn't appear so much in my post-college figure paintings. I need to find my way back to that stage where i block out technique and just enjoy pushing paint around. If I can find my way back to really enjoying the medium, the the image,(in one way or another) will work itself out in the end.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Plans to Improve

Given to me about 2 months ago, i am finally getting around to planning a way to fix up this Squier Strat. Although the friend that gave it to me bought it for cheap, I still think he paid too much for it. the body actually looks like it was made from Pine. It has poor soldering, and theres a nice sized crack running through the inside area of the body. Everything would benefit from a good cleaning as well. I Thought about scrapping the whole body and making a new one from scratch, and though i totally haven't ruled that out yet, I'm probaby just going to make some repairs to the original body and strip it of damaged finish. Id really just like to focus on the decoration and reassembly, and if I keep to the standard body size it will be easier to replace the needed parts. Some of the hardware has rusted, but the pick ups sound good and the neck is in good condition. Rather than using my artwork to decorate this guitar, I have asked an amazing artist/friend to come up with some artwork for it. If she follows through, the outcome of this project will be pretty awesome.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Today was a day of possibly a new beginning, and what better way to document it than to start my first blog entry. 2007 pretty much cleaned me out... emotionally, creatively...and financially. But I decided to restore my optimism for 2008. A new year, a new beginning, and excitedly waiting for a show of my work in mid Jan.

Although the show left me with bittersweet feelings, and little to come out of the effort put into it. Overall the opening night was a lot of fun (though I was really sick and loaded on pain meds) and there was a great line up of bands that came and played without out any compensation in return. I was really lucky. Not so lucky with the owner who did next to nothing. He didn't even take down the old work that was on the walls.

TODAY is an example of a way the show actually did pay off. Through someone I met at the show, I met a Milwaukee painter. I talked with her, and shared work for a little while this morning. Shes young.. 2 years older than me, but living life as a painter and doing well for herself. It was great to finally meet someone in Milwaukee who actually knew how to accomplish something.. someone that actually works towards what she wants rather than just talking about it. Finding that in Milwaukee is a rare thing, and I feel somewhat relieved that i know at least one person like that around here.

BIG NEWS (for me anyway):

I finally have a studio space. Its in a cute building in the Bay View area of Milwaukee. Its a good deal, and a positive working space. I have keys and everything, tomorrow I will go and fix it up and bring in some materials so it can be waiting for me when I get back from work in Madison next weekend. Nothing these days move very fast, but I really think this could be the beginning of something good.