Monday, March 30, 2015

The End of Lent

This being the beginning of Holy Week and since Lent is almost over, I thought I'd put up a drawing I have just finished. This is the temptation at the end of Jesus' 40 days of fasting. It's from my brand new drawing book that I just started working on in the last few weeks.

I think an important thing not to overlook here is the fact that this was a real temptation. Por ejemplo; if someone offered me a couple of tickets to... the Final Four, Wimbledon, the World Cup, the World Series, the Super Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Orange Bowl, or any combination of them, if I would just do X; it wouldn't be a real temptation since sports hold absolutely no interest for me. (Honest. I couldn't care less. It's not that I have anything against sports, per se, I just can't manufacture an interest in them. Now you know.) So for it to work on me, there would have to be a much different kind of temptation on the table. I can think of about a dozen things off the top of my head...

Anyway, back to an actual temptation, Jesus had to really be tempted if this episode was to have any real meaning. As such, I have tried to show him emaciated and weak. At least physically weak. Since I have never fasted for that long, I have no idea if 40 DAYS of fasting leaves one spiritually weakened or strengthened. I assume it would be immediately weakening or Satan would not have chosen that time to act.

The little bat-winged speech bubble is not quoting any scripture, rather it quotes something else. I'll give a very special no-prize to anyone who can tell me where that line comes from. I suppose if you give in to the temptation of the devil... err... Google, you could just look it up.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sins Committed Sins Remitted

My post on Monday was kind of a cheat. I know that. But then again, this new baby is sucking an awful lot of energy out of our family. It's funny how 7 to 10 pounds of fury and need can run a whole family! Eva is our sixth child and, as such, one can be forgiven for thinking I would remember how difficult newborns are. AHA! That's exactly where they get you! If you remembered how hard it is to have little babies, then you would never dream of having another one. "Never dream"... of course we don't dream now... since we NEVER SLEEP! Or, I should say, my wife never sleeps. I'm sleeping okay, but I have sympathy exhaustion. It's the very least I can do.

We must press on with my narcissistic need... errr... commitment to explicating my work to an inquiring public. It's time to talk DRAWING BOOKS! Specifically the drawing book done immediately after Family Resemblances. As I said, I spent about 4 years making that book and I didn't want to do that again. So I made a much thinner book in Sins Committed, Sins Remitted. 

Sins Committed, Sins Remitted. Those little designs between the words are crosses of persecution.
Albrecht Durer starts things off the right way.
As I was going through this book to get some images to show all my fans out there, I realized this book was filled with collages. I don't know if that means I really liked some of my old prints or if it means I was exceptionally lazy. Probably both.

Actually what I think happened is that I used a strange kind of laid paper that was two-sided – blue on one side and buff on the other. It wasn't really conducive to drawing as much as it made a great surface for collage. It's funny how materials can go a long way in dictating imagery.

This man is a liar and he has begun to believe his lies.

The drunken minotaur
I have written about minotaurs before, so there's no need to rehash all of that here. But it seemed like a good idea to draw a savage minotaur with a martini and a dainty cigarette. The alligator on the left was the beginnings of a design that I was commissioned to do.

Yeahhhrrrrrrrgghhhhh! :-)
 These guys sing for joy. They exult in their excellence as they are the mighty brachiosaurus and the cunning ceratosaurus!

Oroboros, Jormungandr and a very small tribute to Doug TenNapel
Pig and Alligator
Here's more stuff from that alligator commission. The client wasn't sure exactly what he wanted, so I tried my best to give him full-throttle coolness. There's a hog skull and an alligator skull and crossbones here.
Bird and Skull

The North Museum in Lancaster, PA had a great collection of stuffed birds on its bottom floor. I spent a lot of hours down there looking at those birds, but this is the only drawing I ever made of any of them. The skull is from an old woodcut that I recycled.

This is a small and colorful book. I like it very much. It took about a year to finish. I took some time off before my next, unorthodox book. The one that I will write about next time...

Monday, March 23, 2015


Babies are hard. Even harder than I remembered. More later.

Monday, March 16, 2015

How Owls Got to be That Way

I did a couple of drawings on commission the other day. My friend has written a few stories for the Rafiki Foundation. His stories are meant to be used in a Logic curriculum. But I think my drawings don't have to be. His stories tell of how hyenas became nuts, why owls sleep in the day, and a couple other things. They're a lot of fun!

This is a direct "quotation" of Francisco Goya's Capricho "What a Golden Beak!" (Below)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Romans part V

This is the end. Not of the book of Romans, but of my drawing. I ended it in chapter 11 whereas the actual book has 16 chapters. What's the matter Clark, did you get lazy? Did you run out of paper for your scrawling? I didn't get lazy, but I did run out of paper! But that's not why I stopped in chapter 11.  I'll tell you why in a minute.

First, let's deal briefly with what's going on. My official, super MFA Advisory Inquisitorial Committee asked me several times what I was trying to do with this drawing. That was a difficult question for me because I really wasn't sure. They asked if I was trying to proselytize. I settled on the idea that in addition to everyone else who looks at the work, the artist is also part of the audience. So I put myself in there listening to the campus preacher... who is also me. the idea is that I am "preaching" to myself. That I need conversion as much as anyone.

Campus preaching!
(And here's a bonus for those of you who attended the University of Florida, the building in the background is Turlington Hall. For clarity's sake I opted not to put in the gigantic rock that looks like a monstrous baked potato – I regret this now. Anywho, Turlington Hall is a sort of crossroads on UF's campus and a lot of the campus preachers would harangue the crowds there. Or at least they did 10 to 15 years ago. I have no idea if they still do.)

That weird snake-y vine is a stand-in for the olive tree that St. Paul actually talks about. I took artistic license here and grafted branches onto a vine instead of the olive tree since I needed a visual element to link to the very last section of the drawing.

This last part is where I thought there was a nice symmetry with the beginning of the drawing. If the opening of Romans begins with a warning to everyone, then chapter 11 issues a warning to those in the Church. So I decided to end it here, where the end was a refined restatement of the beginning.

Here I am, talking to myself.
There are also a series of 8 hand-colored etchings that go with this drawing (my MFA is in printmaking after all), but I don't have scans of them. They take elements of the drawing and "explain" them by quoting specific passages of Romans.

This is my MFA thesis in a nutshell. I have opted not to try to explain everything, partially because I have shifted views slightly here and there and also because there are exceedingly few things in the world more tedious than reading the decoder key to artwork. This is a picture meant to be looked at, not read about.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Family resemblances part II

Here's the part where I tell you of my woes. Many thousands of you will have missed my post on Monday. Because there wasn't one. I will just chalk it up to the fact that I have a newborn along with five other kids and a lovely wife who need my attention. If keeping a blog could be construed as a rather selfish thing to do – especially one that is almost completely about my own artwork – then writing one while life is swirling at hurricane speed most certainly is.

So this is my version of a clip show. All of these are from Family Resemblances just like last week. As I said, I really love that book and want to show you a fair bit of it! (Not all of it, not by a looooong shot!) We have lots of woodcuts, collages, maker and watercolor work.