Thursday, March 3, 2016

Swamp Triptych

Last year I was commissioned to paint a triptych for a collector in Louisiana.  When autumn arrived, I had to slow things WAY down due to the arrival of my daughter, Ivy, my teaching schedule and my MFA work at Texas State University.  I've finally finished the commission and continue to work on other commissions for other (very patient) collectors.

I had never attempted a triptych before, but was always fascinated by their narrative potential—like large comic book panels created in oil paints.  They tell a story and/or aesthetically work together.  Sometimes the "panels" have a particular hierarchy, with the middle panel dwarfing the other two.  This is evident in work produced by many painters during the northern Renaissance:  

The Crucifixion Triptych by Rogier van der Weyden

The triptych became a great vehicle for Biblical narrative (sometimes paired with extra-Biblical narrative).  Triptychs were so large they had a permanent position in churches or were created as portable reminders of Christ's sacrifice.  Hinges could be added between the panels and the paintings could sit on flat surfaces, much like modern-day picture frames.

Hieronymus Bosch's famous The Garden of Earthly Delights shows a highly fantastical interpretation of the human story including an account of Creation, human thriving and damnation.

Several centuries later, Max Beckmann took a more theatrical approach to the triptych format:

 by Max Beckmann

Francis Bacon used the triptych to create iterations of his nightmarish portraits:

Three Studies of Lucien Freud by Francis Bacon

Someday, I hope to experiment more with this style of visual storytelling ...maybe when I finish my thesis.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dark Matter

This painting has been hanging around my studio since 2009 and I finally got around to finishing it up this summer.  The subject matter is very different for me, but it shows my love of the pulp fiction cover art from the 1930s and 40s.

This image shows the early stages of the painting

Detail shot

Final Work:  24x33 inches, Oil on Panel

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Portrait of Bonnie

Painting a spouse can be a scary endeavor.  Bonnie is not only my biggest supporter, but also my harshest critic (which has benefited my work greatly over our 10 years of marriage).  So trying to capture her likeness, nuanced expression and personality was daunting...that's why this has taken me two years to complete.

This painting was inspired by a visit to Cà d'Zan, a beautiful mansion in Sarasota, FL where John Ringling (from "Ringling Bros" fame) lived with his wife, Mable, in the early part of the 20th century.  There was a great portrait of Mable in their vast living room and I realized that my own bride should be immortalized in paint. 

Here are some process shots and the finished piece which also features our cat, Penelope.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Seventh Knight

The past few years I have filled my "creative time" with various design projects, comic books, class preparations, teaching, illustrations and work initiated by a second Master's degree.  Needless to say, my painting hours are few and far between.  It is still my first love, creatively speaking, so the time I am able to paint is golden.

This past fall (2014) I was commissioned to paint a "knight" for a central Mississippi company.  I've enjoyed working with this collector in the past and enjoyed discussing the potential symbolism, color and tone of the commission.  I started by collecting reference material from around the studio (I do have several, small knight statuettes laying around) and acquired a book showing armor & weapons throughout history.

After doing the preliminary work, I started sketching and decided on the following composition:

Using the sketch, I drew out the figure onto the 36x48 inch canvas and began blocking it in with oil paint and large brushes.

Below is the finished product after the detail work with smaller brushes.  I ultimately decided to go with gold flourishes based off of 16th century "parade armor" from Belgium.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Year Without Painting

It was a rainy afternoon in Salzburg, Austria, when I found my love of painting.  The Salzburg Museum was sitting, almost vacant, reflecting into the drenched, ancient streets and my Dad & I decided to check it out.  We had already seen Mozart's birthplace and wanted to soak up as much of the city as possible in the finite amount of time alotted in our itinerary.  I had just finished a semester in London and we were traveling "the continent", taking it all in:  Famous sites, food, and art...lots and lots of art.  Rock star paintings that I had only seen in textbooks!

 *Hamming it up after a long walk up to Hohensalzburg Castle.  Scenic view.

The exhibition at the Salzburg Museum was unassuming, however.  The featured artist was neither a mainstay in textbooks nor did he start any art movements, BUT he created paintings that excited me.  His name was Albert Birkle and he made me want to paint.  His portraits are distorted and sometimes grotesque, but his use of color and exaggeration are unique and I wanted to emulate that.  My Dad and I were the only 2 people in that museum that afternoon...a perfect way to view paintings without distraction or haste.  My Dad noticed how much I enjoyed Birkle's work and bought me the exhibition book on the way out.

  *Albert Birkle's book featuring an image of death and an old lady...creepy but great!  This also marked the beginning of an insane obsession with art books (as I write this I am eyeing a 20lb tome of the H. Matisse MOMA Retrospective from 1992...purchased 2 hours ago).

After 3 months abroad, I came home, found some old canvas panels and tried to paint from my Europe photos.  Needless to say, the first efforts were not great, but it was a start!  I took a few painting classes in college that really helped me work with brushes in a more effective way and allowed me to become comfortable in the medium.  As the years rolled by, I continued to paint night after night and during any free moment I could find.  Soon, it became clear, that this activity was more than a hobby.  Anytime I saw people, the first thing they would inquire about was my painting.  It had become part of my identity.

 Between 2002-2012, I was a very active painter (some years were more prolific than others).  This changed in October 2012.  Two days before I was set to go to my alma mater, Mississippi College, to present a new painting to the Art Dept, my wife and I found out that she was pregnant!  With this news, I decided to hang up the oils temporarily, so I could explore less toxic/smelly mediums and devote more time to my wife.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 comes to mind.

 *On July 4th, eagerly awaiting my son's arrival (He came on the scene 9 days late, in true Quarterman fashion).

A year has passed and I'm slowly building up the gumption to get back into oils.  I write all of this as a reflection and an explanation on my absence from oil painting.  I still look back at Birkle's book for inspiration and look forward to what paintings 2014+ will produce.

Maybe Flynn will want to paint with me's hoping!

*Enjoying some time in the studio as I work at the illustration table.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Hinge: Lion of Judah

The bottom-right cornerstone of "The Hinge" is a lion.  There are many references to lions in the Bible, but it is included in this painting specifically because it is an ancient symbol associated with the Israelite tribe of Judah & one of the names of Christ (This symbol is one of my creations...influenced by medieval depictions of lions in heraldry).  

In Genesis 49:9 you can see the earliest reference of a lion in association with the tribe of Judah.

In Matthew 1:3-16 you can see the genealogy of Christ and his association with the tribe of Judah.

In Hebrews 7:14, the author clarifies this connection.

In Revelation 5:5 the name "Lion of Judah" is used in reference to Christ.

Jerusalem's Coat of Arms

The Hinge

For years I've wanted to create a painting that reflects my Christian faith, but it has been difficult to come up with an idea that I haven't seen a million times in classic art (specific scenes fr
om the Bible) AND muster up enough confidence to produce something reverent and not trite (sorry, modern Christian art). I wanted to approach the canvas as a means of worship, like Makoto 'Kinkade' to be found in his work.

Finally, inspiration happened when I was asked to show several pieces at Mississippi College this fall. The following piece ("THE HINGE") is my single visual interpretation of the Gospels. Look for symbolism related to: Parables, Miracles, Names of Christ, Life of Christ, and the Triune God. 

Over the next few days, I'll post images of the panels individually and discuss the verses and symbolism therein.