Monday, November 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dali in Atlanta

Here's Ken outside the High Museum in Atlanta along Peachtree Street.

The High Museum is featuring an exhibit of Salvador Dali's paintings. My friend Ken and I took in the show recently. I brought with me a certain disdain for Dali as a self promoter.  I was quickly impressed by the man's skill, intellect and hard work. He was clearly a master whose paintings challenge your visual perception with their scale, detail and bizarre subjects. Ken's son, Will, put it most simply, "weird!".

There were two documentary films featured in the exhibit which I had not seen before.  I listened to him narrate a "happening" which featured a pig sty and female model while he directed a small crew in a TV studio. It gave me a better understanding of his thinking and the term, "Dada".  He had a wonderful accent speaking English. If you follow along you hear him rattle off directions and nonsense that becomes a kind of "blah, blah, blah". That is until you pick up a few more words.  He brings you back to a sudden understanding of his idea. He entices you in, lulls you with run-on sentences, then snaps you back to attention. He was very amusing.

There is also a scene or photo I recall where he kissed Andy Warhol. This section of the exhibit labeled him a favorite of the "jet set". I came out of it with a genuine admiration and affection for the man and his art.

Returning home to St. Augustine I found a postcard on my office wall with a Dali painting. I had forgotten it was there. Its not featured in the exhibit. I have it because of the bicycles.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Art Walk Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Art Walk is held each first Wednesday evening of the month. Registration is free once an artist is approved and space is available in Hemmings Park right across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Downtown Library.
I took the time to prepare an exhibit of my prints for the September Art Walk. My focus was to promote online print sales which feature images based on my paintings on canvas and recent paintings with a computer. I am very pleased with the quality of the printing and brilliance of the inks on paper. These prints were framed and matted examples with complex designs, subtle colors with intense brush work. My web site,, does a good job of displaying the image with a special magnifier to zoom in on the details of texture and brush strokes.

Space is limited in this setting and it is a challenge to produce a display that must be very portable and quick to assemble and take down. It all has to fit inside an SUV! I was thinking of all the trade show designs I had seen. Inside the pop-up display tent you might notice projected animations of my paintings. These were like time lapse recordings of the drawing and painting process. The coated cloth inside the "big top" served as the silver movie screen. As it got darker the animations could be seen through the fabric from a distance.

Carolyne could see that the crowd flow was behind us. We quickly reversed the entire display to take advantage. I hadn't done a sidewalk show in decades but the location encouraged me to try it this time. I captured some photos of our visitors and folks in the park but I wouldn't post them without their permission. People were very nice and took interest in the pictures as they enjoyed their evening walk. Heavy rain spoiled the ending as we hustled to pack up and protect the pictures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Waves Do It

"Waves Do It"

This picture represents the challenge of transforming a quick, imaginary drawing into colors. It defies words that can label the objects, action and meaning in the image. As the practice of painting can include a mental exercise akin to synaesthetics, this image is the visual record of that performance. There is a special decision-making process, which connects a gray-toned form in a drawing into a color seen on a palette. Forms come forward or backward suggesting the illusion of depth. Some lines refuse to dissolve entirely into the shape but remain around it. The drawing dominates the painting. But they all have color now too.
This image does not include a horizon. It suggests a visual world outside its frame. These things are passing through, falling, bouncing and wafting like heat waves. And that can be my title, "Waves Do It".
I imagine this under some viscous media like liquid or thick gas. There are characters with sharp edges and segmented bodies reminding me of sea horses. There is a bulbous form with something inside and a hole to look into. Some things are gone leaving only tracks and trails. Is it possible to paint a form that does not remind one of a natural form with a name? This business of art is the root of the artificial.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Art Walk

We drove up to Jacksonville for the monthly Art Walk produced by the Downtown Improvement District. Other cities like Denver and St. Augustine also have events like this to promote art and their businesses. They do a great service to artists in Jacksonville and it looks like a good opportunity. It's very accessible. You could even arrive by boat! There was a big crowd around the London Bridge Pub at Ocean and West Adams St. Artists in the old public library building really suffered without air conditioning and lighting. I realize it's free.
I also came for the table tennis demonstration but it was just too hot for me. We wandered around until we found Hemming Park and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The staff there was very nice to let us in late after hours. They deserve more recognition as an art destination. It's up to artists now to improve their contribution to the event. I wish I knew who to credit for this mural with the sign in it. It was the most memorable thing I saw.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mouse on Wheels

It's been some time since I posted anything new. During the past six weeks I've had numerous starts on various ideas. I tried working from new drawings, old drawings, photos and directly, without an idea or drawing. Yes, there are times when I don't have a new idea. I just keep trying to make an original picture anyway.
This most recent picture is based on a pencil drawing. I liked the sketch and challenged myself to evolve it into a painting. This one was hard for me. I used no color references or samples. I just followed my whim, so you could call it "whimsical". I had to call it something. Of course, it's not a picture of a mouse but it does have something like wheels. Just last night the image of an item found in Tutankhamun's tomb came to me. It has a similar form to this picture. Can you tell which piece it might be?
There is also a major feature in this painting that I will not reveal until some sharp viewer can guess that also.

All images are copyright Michael Velkovich and my not be reproduced without permission of the artist.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Musician and the Fish

This figure interested me for some time yet I couldn't resolve a solution to include it in a painting. With the addition of this fish form I setup a relationship between the two. The painted environment was developed gradually. I wanted a new color palette. There needed to be some ambiguity. Is this air or under water? Why does the musician float? I hope there is some suggestion, some connection between the visual elements and music elements.
Here are some detail views.

All images are copyright Michael Velkovich and my not be reproduced without permission of the artist.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Denver Art

I recently returned from Colorado where I had several excellent visual experiences. My brother, Peter, and my nephew, Mark, guided me to some wonderful art and an interesting film. We saw, "Exit Through the Gift Shop". It's a documentary about street art and much more than that. It features some well known types like Banksy and Fairie but the main character is a guy with an obsession. He video tapes his life yet never looks at his tapes. There is a message to this flick and it has to do with the contemporary art market. Wait until the end and you will get it. I enjoyed it especially because I shared it with Mark, a young designer, who just earned his college degree. It was showing at the Mayan Theater on Broadway. This is a great little venue for indie films with interesting decor inside. I recommend seeing them both. As for street art, I enjoyed the early graffiti found in New York City during the 70's more than what is featured in this film. Some of that graffiti could be quite painterly without being pretentious. There is some excellent street art around the world today but I just don't remember seeing much of it in this film.

Denver has made a major commitment to contemporary art, especially outdoor monumental sculpture. To see two of my favorites go to the Denver At Museum and the Hamilton Building designed by Daniel Libeskind. Outside in Martin Plaza you will find "Big Sweep" by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, then look up across the street. You will see "The Shootout" by Red Grooms. The Hamilton Building is striking from the street and can be quite disorienting inside. It must be a tremendous challenge for the museum staff to mount pictures. My favorite sculpture inside is "Floating Man" by Anthony Gormley.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Five Blades

"Five Blades" developed from a pencil sketching session. This one held the most potential. I am including several variations and details.

The painted gradations between colors bring out the form and its surface.  The negative space is brushed with strokes that make the surface appear semi-transparent.  This layering of brushwork creates a visual texture and depth.  The five green blades come forward and hover. Their surface is opaque and creased. The egg is nested in supporting plasma.  Arteries with valves and connections are flowing yellow.  Its shell glows from within yet there is also an external light from below. The lower shell reveals organs with a cool, healthy blue.  These forms are connected to the yellow arteries at poles near the egg's surface.

All images are copyright Michael Velkovich and my not be reproduced without permission.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Le Bicycliste

"Le Bicycliste"

Although this picture is not originally about cycling, the form is clearly there. This recent version is derived from an earlier colored drawing dated September 1981. It's a great pleasure to be able to pick up my older ideas or projects and develop them further. Although there are elements from the past work in this newer version of "Le Bicycliste" their proportions are changed. Much of the texture and color remains. I've included some additional drawings from my sketch books done in the 1970's.

Animated painting runs 35 sec. Loading time will vary!

I still have my French-made Motobecane ten-speed bike that I bought at the PX in Germany in 1977. I've been around Europe and the U.S. with it. There are a lot of great memories of places and rides with that bike. It was my main set of wheels until a few years ago when I upgraded. I still maintain it ready to go. Bicycling is a favorite sport I can still participate in for recreation and I enjoy visiting places that accommodate cyclists. There's much more support in the U.S. for cycling since I returned to the U.S. in 1980. I often see riders around the St. Augustine area and my neighborhood is great for bicycling.

All images are copyright Michael Velkovich and my not be reproduced without permission of the artist.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Arch Duo

This digital painting is based on an original ink wash drawing on paper. The imagery is entirely imaginary.

CLICK on the image to enlarge it. Use the Back arrow on your browser to return here.

I offer a representation of the final picture and a video animation from drawing to finished image in 2 minutes. Loading times may vary!

All images are copyright Michael Velkovich and my not be reproduced without permission of the artist.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I have found a method.

It’s a method of picture making that is personal, intuitive and sustainable, a method that is productive and engaging. Engaging for me because it includes a mental challenge, a visual game and technical skill.

This is a journal and a letter to friends who have shown me support. It's an effort to repay them for their interest in my work.

The method begins with drawing. With a familiar tool like a pen, soft pencil or ink and brush, I rapidly mark up pages in sequence. It’s the mark making that releases the flow of visual juice. As the marks evolve to forms, many qualities and elements arise: the quality of a line as it grows across the paper to be met by another line that forms a shape. The shape has associations to the visual world that brings up images and words, labeling an idea from memory. The gaming element is that specialized thinking that can includes visual experiences, art history, training, and technical skills. Now imagine all this condensed in an instant as the pen stops, lifts up and begins anew in some other direction.

Within an hour or two I’ve got a small collection of drawings, some only taking a moment. The decision when to flip the page and move on is part of the game. I don’t go back to alter anything. One or two will be much more developed beyond the spontaneous sketches. It’s within those more complex drawings that the visual game plays out. During this drawing phase my awareness is focused and perception of time is altered. As soon as I realize that I am following some conventional form or direction I abruptly change it. When the free flowing line begins to depict a form I can label with a word, such as a head, flower or landscape, I make a turn that denies that recognizable thing from becoming.

I choose a drawing with the most potential. It has to be transformed to a fully colored picture. It’s quite a leap for a black line or gray shade to become a form in full color. What colors to choose, how they will relate to the whole composition and what qualities of light will they depict? I’ll photograph or scan it to a digital format. With a computer I can adjust it. Brightness and contrast are altered and some elements may be erased. It’s possible that the drawing may be cropped or stretched. I use software that simulates painting using a stylus and small tablet. The drawing becomes an underlying image, a map of the painting to come.

This digital painting process has some attractive qualities. Some are an enhancement compared to paint and canvas. Some are a remarkable simulation of the visual and tactile qualities of brush painting. I enjoy the ability to zoom in to a detail and zoom out to view the picture as if from a distance. I often rotate the picture. This aids the judgment of composition and form. The pen and tablet method are awkward at times. After all, you are disconnected from the image, viewing the cursor on screen while doodling on a small pad. It takes practice at a new skill. Rotating the image on the screen allows me to align the stroke to a natural, comfortable angle aligned with the gesture from my wrist.

Mixing colors is much faster digitally. Colors and palettes becomes more organized and easy to save. A color can be matched from any source including earlier paintings, photos or saved color samples. But the traditional color mixing of paint is remarkably well simulated. Digital color mixing gives me choices I don’t get from a tube. One more quality trumps the paint and brush method. Use all the color you wish and it’s all free!