30 September 2010

Paul and Marbles Dream...

Here is the final painting for Paul Garbis. As you can see, Paul and his buddy Marbles are drifting off to sleep. As reality fades, images of the friends favorite things slowly materialize...

Paul is biking across an open field with Marbles riding on the handlebars. It is a bright, sunny day with no wind at all. The boys are very pleased and surprised to stumble upon a brand new electric oven sitting in the middle of the field. This is perfect because they are both hungry for cake and Paul is a good baker.
Paul scavenges though the field and finds some wheat stalks, sugar cane and the pods from a baking soda plant. He harvests them and refines these ingredients in a make shift mill that Marbles had ingeniously patched together from an old tuna can, an ancient sparkly white stone, and a broken black comb. Some spit is added to lubricate the parts.
The refined dry ingredients are mixed together. A blue egg is dropped to them by a friendly sparrow flying over head and a lost woolly goat allows them to squeeze some milk. 
Upon opening the oven, Marbles finds a cake pan,  frosting and blue birthday candles.
Since there is nothing to plug the oven into, it is only logical that Paul and Marbles have to create electricity themselves. The friends each hold one prong of the oven's plug and run around in circles flapping their arms and dragging their feet to get static going. They can't stop until the oven reaches 400 degrees. It is exhausting.
Paul is so tired by the time the cake is done, he falls to the ground to rest. Marbles frosts the cake, lights the candles and sings "Happy Birthday". Then, Marbles cuts the cake and gives Paul the biggest piece. It is delicious! 
The friends stretch out on the ground and laugh and eat the cake as they watch the clouds slowly move across the sky...
 Ssssshhhhhh......... Let's not interrupt this dream.

09 September 2010

Preliminary Sketches Before Baking...

Paul and Marbles Dream.
Here are a couple of preliminary ink drawings for a painting commissioned by Nick and Sarah Garbis as a birthday present for their son Paul. The drawings are of Paul surrounded by some of his favorite things.

Here is the list I was sent to work from:
 Most important......in order: Marbles, book(s), cake (Paul bakes solo now), bike, Paul, piano.

Quality time with an enormous stuffed panda bear.

And here is "Marbles":  

As you can see, I got everything in but the piano which, in my defense, was ranked least important. Five out of six is not bad.

In my mind, the top sketch of Paul and Marbles collectively dreaming of a cake is the stronger of the two. It has a soft, ethereal feel. Plus, the cake and candles suggest a birthday. (But maybe I'll replace the oven with a piano. ...and use bright colors.)

I'll post the painting as soon as it's completed, probably early next week.
... and I promise, I'll resist the urge to have Marbles "licking on a light bulb" ...even if Beth pushes it!

03 September 2010

Cornell University... and no one loses a limb!

This is a gift for Avery from her mother, Jaime Johnson, who is very proud of her daughter's achievements and entrance into Cornell University this fall.

Here is part of what Jaime wrote me:
 My oldest daughter recently graduated from high school.  This was a child born in considerable adversity.  I was young, single, and completely uneasy about raising a baby.  Her birth really sent me into a tailspin and I considered adoption, but then ultimately stepped to the plate and embraced what was before me.
I set aside many dreams and goals and maybe, in a sense, placed them on her.  Money was tight and life could get lonely, but she excelled beyond my wildest dreams!  Who knew I would have an AP Scholar, a National Merit finalist, et al.?

Jaime also told me that her daughter loves the Big Red Cornell thing (the school's bear mascot)! I placed a bear on the lawn in front of Myron Taylor Hall at Cornell's Law School. This could be a fear inducing scene but it didn't go that way. The bear is not tearing anything limb from limb or attacking any other Ivy League school students. He wonders at peace.
A blood-lust painting may be more popular... but I thought this was more to the point. Could be intimidating and scary, but it doesn't have to be. Just like college. Right?

In the sky, I added an landing airplane to commemorate Avery's arrival to this beautiful school.
I love watching airplanes. Every time I see a plane, I can't help but get a little dreamy in the head. I think about where it is going and who is on it. (I live on a flight path, so, you can imagine how time consuming this is). This is the first time I've had a chance I've had to use a plane in a Panda painting without it seeming gratuitous. (Or is it?).

Anyway, thank you Jaime for the opportunity to paint for you and Congrats to Avery!!!