Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cogito ergo sum...I think...

-tinker toy molecule no. 2

 tinker toy molecule no.2

 12-in. x 12-in.

 oil on cradled panel

 I think that one of the most appealing aspects of the act of painting is that I have time to let my mind wander a little. Not that I don't concentrate on what I'm doing ( remember Albert Brooks in Broadcast News? "I'm singing...and the same time..."), but there are parts of the painting process that allow for a little intellectual "meandering" occasionally. Things like:

 -Shatner is actually a GREAT actor on the original Star Trek series. I don't know why that part of his career is such a joke. If anything, HE is the "straight man".

-Strandbeest is one of the coolest things I've ever seen!

 -Children's drawings are wonderful and somewhat inspiring!  If they're young enough, a kid will attempt ANY subject because it typically doesn't occur to them that they might fail.

-Do you really have to "register your hands as lethal weapons" if you're some sort of Karate-Master-guy?

-I wonder what percentage of information that is exchanged is "checked" by "Googling" it first?

tinker toy molecule no. 2 ( detail view)

tinker toy molecule no.2 ( detail view)

 -Bernie Kosar was a great quarterback. However, his "Kryptonite" was the fear of being sacked. All it took was one hit, and Bernie was out for the rest of the game. Its like his bones were made out of pretzels or something...and only he knew this. They call me Mr. Glass 'cause my bones break like glass.

-Are you really a "folk artist" if you have a website and sell t-shirts?

-The Ian Fleming books are fantastic, BUT...this is the one case where I think a movie rivals the book. The character development and backstory are way more evolved in the 2006 film version of Casino Royale than Fleming's book. Why did Felix never get his own series?

-John Malkovich was in a Transformers movie? He must have a really big house payment or something, right? Gambling debts?

-The guy who "sold" the idea that the cargo-short was an acceptable fashion choice to the American male needs to be shot in the head! Oh, the porkpie hat-thing needs to go too. Either we all wear hats or none of us do.

-If Steve McQueen were alive, do you think he'd be the kind of guy that would spend a lot of time..."updating his status"? What does this mean?

The answer is "No".  You don't have to "register your hands as lethal weapons" if you're a Martin Kove kind of guy. There is no such law in the United States. I just Googled it. Pin It Now!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ottosaurus wrecks

ottosaurus wrecks, 18-in. x 18-in. oil on cradled panel
ottosaurus wrecks
18-in. x 18-in.
oil on cradled panel

 I actually had to make this dinosaur. Well, by "make" I mean I had to buy it and cover it with a juicy red spray paint. I wanted something that had a similar attraction to the way that a cherry ChapStick makes you want to take a bite out of it. Anyone?

 This is also the reason that I painted this in a series of transparent glazes over a monochromatic underpainting.

ottosaurus wrecks ( underpainting), 18-in. x 18-in. oil on cradled panel
ottosaurus wrecks (underpainting)
18-in. x 18-in.
oil on cradled panel

 I used Gamblin's Galkyd with a little ( 10-20%) of Gamblin's odorless mineral spirits as my medium in addition to my paint. This gives me a lean and somewhat matte surface that dries fast. This matte finish also gives the transparent colors a nice "toothy" surface to grab as well.

  When the surface was completely dry, I applied the paint with Galkyd and a little stand oil to add some "slip" to the paint. Also, the principle of "fat over lean" builds a dimensionally and chemically stable painting surface. Oh, when I say "little", I mean no more than 10% oil. Any more than 10% oil to the mixture will cause the paint to "buckle". When I say "buckle", I mean that it'll look crappy and uneven.  You should think in terms of a stained glass window, or series of colorful panes of glass applied over a black and white image. Each layer of glass adds a little more depth. You should also be mindful not to use too much medium. Let the color do the work.

 The great thing about this approach is that although it seems a little formulaic, it really isn't. With each glaze of color, the painting gets just a little richer to the point that it becomes almost addictive. You never really feel like you're finished just because it's so satisfying to caress the surface with another layer of succulent color. The act of applying more paint eventually becomes a little self-indulgent pleasure that continues to fulfill as you follow the form.

 I can see why it took Axl Rose so long to finish Chinese Democracy. Each time you "polish your apple", you get the wildly intoxicating sensation of the promise of a little improvement. The problem is that you need to put it to bed at some point and move on to something new.

 Oh, by the way, that album is awesome! Yeah, it took 15 years and cost over 13 million dollars (incidentally, the most expensive record ever made). How can you go wrong with SIX lead guitarists ( one of which who might just be the musical wunderkind Buckethead)? Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Never roped a steer cause I don't know how...

...and I sure ain't a fixin to startin' now!

untitled cowboy/rodeo guy, 18-in. x 18-in. oil on found paper

I'm a cowboy who never saw a cow
18-in. x 18-in.
oil on found paper

  I come from a long line of craftsmen. Well, I suppose the term "craftsman" might be used a little loosely in some cases, and perhaps the term "hack" might occasionally be a little more apt. Other designations could be things like "good with tools" or "knows his way around the business end of a( insert name of tool)". I kinda like to think of myself as having a little breath of all of these descriptors.

   My grandfather was a drunken loser who killed himself with cyanide.

  Okay, let me back up. My grandfather was a jeweler who, on occasion, "took to the spirits". One evening after a series of tragic ( and I suspect comical) drunken "misadventures", old "Pa" guzzled down a pint of gold-plating solution. Gold-plating solution contains cyanide. Gold-plating solution also has a giant skull-and-crossbones prominently emblazoned on the bottle with a series of fairly straightforward and "easy to read" warnings indicating the outcome if you should happen to drink this shit. 
  This happened in 1977. Incidentally, the same year the Bing and Elvis died. So... I guess you could say it was a pretty rough year for the Lange family. Here are few vignettes that might give you and indication of what sort of guy he was:

-He was proficient at darts, bowling, poker, and shooting pool. Hmmmm? What do all of these recreations have in common? Survey says...DING! "Things that are found in a bar".

-His proposal line to my grandmother was,"Marry me, baby! You're built like a brick-shithouse".

-Once, I was riding in a car with him, and I opened the glove compartment. I noticed it was completely filled with salt and pepper shakers. When I, a 6 year-old boy, asked about this his reply was,"Ah, I got some shitty service in a couple of restaurants".

-When my dad told him he was marrying an Estonian, his only response was,"Is that white?".

-When my dad was a little kid, Pa took the family on a vacation, and he ended up "disappearing for a few days". "Disappearing for a few days" is a family code for: he got drunk and shacked-up with a hooker..." for a few days". Pretty sad. However, it gets better. When he finally came back, the kids ( my dad and his sister) asked if they could go to the carnival that was going on in town. His reply was,"Nah, we ain't doing that shit! I went yesterday and it sucked!".

  Okay, all of that being said. "Pa" had a few artistic leanings. He made these cool murals on the walls of the basement where, frankly, nobody would ever see them because he was embarrassed or something . "Pa" wanted to keep his painting "in the closet," so to speak. I think the exact quote was,"Hey, just because I like to paint it doesn't make me a 'fruit'!".

  There's a point in here somewhere, right? My point is that I've always been fairly dismissive of "outsider" art and anything in that milieu, but I think I've been a little closed minded about this. Yeah, whatever! I guess the need to make "stuff" apparently will surface irrespective of social or practical restrictions. I'm going to try some new things. 

  My "inspiration" ( and I hate that word) for this painting and some of my newer work involves using "found objects" ( I hate that one too) as the support for my imagery. I want to try to make some things that fit within the arena of "what if this is all I got to use, man?".

  The restriction of the actual fragility of paper as well as making the composition harmonize with existing text and imagery is also appealing to me. Paper is particularly challenging due to the fact that I also want to make paintings that are completely archival, and there's A LOT of preparation to ensure this. I also refuse to use acrylic paint. It feels like cheating or something, and I know I can navigate through the chemistry to make it work with oil paint. 

  I'd like to think that old "Pa" might have secretly been a little proud of things I made over the years in spite of the fact that he would have also suspected that I was... a "fruit".

Pin It Now!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

oui oui oui (all the way home!)

oui oui oui, oil on panel 12" x 12"

oui oui oui
, 2012

oil on cradled panel

12-in. x 12-in.

I've actually kind of always identified with the cartoon characterization of the pig. He likes a good meal, a fair amount of napping, and he's clearly intelligent.

I say intelligent because this version of the pig doesn't spend a whole lot of time "cleaning up" (i.e. he's a slob). This little character trait is one that I valiantly defend with one of my favorite contretemps of all time:

Being overly neat and organized is illogical!

It's illogical and I can prove it with my old pal...SCIENCE!

The Second Law of Thermodynamics ( Entropy) tells us that in a closed system (let's house, for example) the clean, tidy, organized version has low entropy. All of my books are on the shelf. My oil paints are organized by brand, color, and opacity. My little toy cars and robots are neatly arranged in a decorative, carefully arranged fashion.

We would say that this version of my house has low entropy. The "neat" version is one state of an infinite possible variation of states where all of the other versions would be described as messy (or high entropy). The entropy increases relative to the degree of disorder relative to that ONE ordered state.

So, for me to return my messy (and more natural) house to the ONE ordered state that everyone thinks is SO important, I will increase the entropy (and disorder) due to the expense of energy required to return it to that state. The high entropy state is more auspicious (and natural) than the low entropy state.

I win!

Thank you, Science! I dearly love you.

Little pig, little pig, let me come in.
Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.
Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down! 
-The (Big, Bad) Wolf

This is not to say that my lovable cartoon piggy doesn't have his failings. He might be a little lazy, AND... possibly a poor craftsman. All of the extra time he collects through not expending (wasting) energy tidying-up should be used wisely.

Time is valuable, and look at all of the energy we didn't expend to get more of it!

By wisely, I mean he needs to spend that time building things that any jerk (or Big, Bad Wolf) can't easily dismantle (or "blow").

I guess if we take anything away from this short film it would be the validation of the rumor that The Big, Bad Wolf does, indeed, "blow"!

Here's a little movie I made using a more direct painting method where I apply the paint directly as opposed to a series of layers or glazes. One lady emailed me to let me know that she found my commentary "annoying". It probably is.


Pin It Now!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

tinker toy molecule no.1


tinker toy molecule no.1, 2012

12-in. x 12-in.

oil on cradled panel

The tinker toy set is really kind of cool. This is the 1957 version with the different colored "sticks" as opposed to them being all red.

That's not the cool part.

The cool part is that the set is inspired by the Pythagorean theorem, and the sizes of the sticks increase relative to the holes on the spools to equal the square root of 2. This enables you to make right triangles that consist of two 45° sides and a 90° one!

I feel a little sad for the 21st century kid. Many have stupid names ( and we all know what I'm talking about...), and are stylized by mommy and daddy like some kind of accessory item in order to make mommy and daddy appear like "the cool parents"... which, sadly, they are not.

Seriously, does every 9-year-old boy need to look like he's a member of Blind Melon?

That's not the sad part.

The sad part is that the 21st century kid's toys, quite frankly, kinda blow. They don't really have any toys that foster any level of creativity or imagination. Lincoln Logs, Legos, and primary-colored building blocks cannot eclipse the blinding radiance of the Nintendo 3DS. Even that dumb-ass Vincent Price Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture-thing got you to carve an apple into a creepy little head!

I'm not saying I didn't log-in a few thousand hours playing Snafu on the Intellivision, but I occasionally picked up a crayon too.

Actually, now that I think of it, why would the game Snafu have held my attention for thousands of hours? The Nintendo 3Ds IS way cooler! Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Litany for the City

otto lange, art work for Litany for the City book.

My painting Songbirds is the cover art for the book Litany for the City by Ryan Teitman and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Yes, this would be a poetry book.

Admittedly, most of the poetry that I'm au courant with is typically five lines, and often includes words like "Nantucket", "Lunt", or "Frick".

Here's a little part of one of my most favorite poetic works by Joseph Elliot:

You got the peaches, I got the cream
Sweet to taste, saccharine
'Cause I'm hot, so hot, sticky sweet
From my head, my head to my feet
Do you take sugar, one lump or two?

I've pondered this very passage for more hours than I can recall. I think that the emphasis of "Hot!" and more importantly "Head!" truly explicates the primitive human impetus for male boosterism. It also forces one to delve deep into our very essence and ask the vital questions that we have ALL asked ourselves at some point in our lives:

Do you take sugar?

If you do, is it one lump...

or is it two? Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

1971 or... when I was one ( year old)... "it was a very good year".

otto lange,oil painting,coca-cola,coke

1971, 2011

24-in. x 18-in.

oil on cradled panel

The 1971 Coca-Cola can was stainless steel AND aluminum ( pronounced AL-oo-min-U-um, right? ). 1971 also means...

-dumb little hat?

-fighting crime in a Santa Suit?

-watching Roy Scheider smoke 8000 cigarettes ( and look cool doing it!)?

1971 means The French Connection, baby!

1971 might also mean...

-shooting a guy with a mouth full of food?

-having pseudo-porn style hair... and still being a cop?

-elevating being a smart-ass to an artform?

"I know what you're thinkin'...", 1971 also means Dirty Harry!

Oh, and 1971 also means one of the greatest albums of all time!!


Only YES can get away with an eleven minute "single".

1971=Awesome! Pin It Now!