28 October 2010

The Amish are Here with their Big Dogs and Scary Tiny Trains....

 Here is the final painting for Linda. It is a present for her husband Tim's brother Richard on his birthday. (That makes him a brother in-law). I finally got the story for this one.
Here is what Linda sent me:

So now I will tell you – the Amish man IS Tim’s brother Richard – who is not Amish but LOOKS so Amish that we often get odd looks from people when we are out in public and he’s getting out of the driver’s seat of a car, etc.  I can see them thinking “No buggy?” 
He loves dogs – all kinds, all sizes, but when I first knew him  he had bloodhounds and coon hounds – big dogs.  And he and Tim love to work on model railroads…neither of them have much time for the hobby anymore but Richard’s attic is completely devoted to an entire model town & railroad…I know they would both spend all day up there if they could.

The look of this piece was inspired by those weird, awkwardly abstracted early American Paintings. I'm talking about those odd, stiff, 18th century paintings that are lush and subtly disproportionate in a jarring way. For whatever reason, the people in these always look uncomfortable and something questionable is always brewing in the skies behind them. 
...or this 
and I love this one 
In many ways, the Amish early American history. They are very devoted to a specific time and place. I've never saw (and can't find any images of) Amish art, but I would imagine there work would look something like the paintings linked above. Actually, I don't know if the Amish are allowed to make fine art. They may be all quilts and baskets all the time. But quality quilts and baskets!
(Leave a comment if you know anything about this).  

Thank You, again Linda.... and Happy Early Birthday Richard!... every early...(I don't think it is until January...)

13 October 2010

Before it gets all Amish up in here...

These are a couple of preliminary drawings for my next Panda painting. Here are the elements I was given by our returning friend Linda :

An Amish man (with a long grey beard)
2 dogs of any kind (not toy dogs, dogs with heft)
A model railroad or at least an engine with a couple of cars.

I don't know the story... but I think I will wait 'til I finished to find out. If I was meant to know, Linda would have told me.

One thing I know is that I need to be careful here to make the man look distinctly Amish. The first time I started drawing him, he looked too Hasidic. The beard, the hat, the dark jacket. I erased the mustache before I put the ink down and "Bam!", obviously Amish! Also, after a little research, vests and plaid shirts help create the Amish style. This makes it less Warsaw 1860 and more Pennsylvania 1860.  And rural is key.
I'm not sure which of these drawings I like better. The 2nd certainly is looser, but I kind of into the odd formality and the man's rigid stance in the top drawing.
Just to be very clear here, these sketches are not finished pieces. I make them only to play with the composition before I dive into a final piece. They're a time saver. When I don't make them, I usually end up doing a ridiculous amount of repainting or adding weird elements just to keep a visual balance.(As opposed to the other weird elements I add.)

I'm not sure which way I'll go with this... but I am open to suggestions. That's what the comment box below is for. Or leave your remarks on the Panda Facebook Page.