Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thermopylae


This piece took me a long time to finish, because it seemed to be missing a central theme. Not every painting needs one, but this one did. There are a few layers to this painting, because of my adjustments. But I'm satisfied with the results. 

In my description, I say "This painting is about facing unsurmountable odds, the best that you can and believing in yourself. In the end, you'll be remembered for your courage and your enemies for their weakness. This piece contains, among other things, a few references to the battle of Thermopylae, where King Leonidas and a number of Spartans, generally accepted as 300, fought off thousands of persians under the command of King Xerxes."

It's not quite out of my system just yet. ;-) I'm also finishing up a simple composition now, somewhat minimalist and that painting will be photographed and probably uploaded tomorrow. THERMOPYLAE will be for sale on eBay tomorrow, just follow this link after 7PM PST.

On other fronts, my Navigator is still in the shop. It's been stressing me out to the point that I was up until 4AM last night. They were supposed to call me today, but I guess I won't hear from them until monday. I've already looked into replacing the air ride with a coil conversion kit from either Arnott or Strutmasters. Strutmasters seems cheaper. We'll see. I am still blindly hoping it's the relay. 

Also: Watched "Savior" (1997). Amazing performance by Dennis Quaid. Very violent in parts yet very beautiful and sad with a message of hope. Not typical Oliver Stone. I could identify with Quaid's character and the movie did not sacrifice one ounce of believability to satisfy conventional movie formulas. Highly recommend if you can endure some pain.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Satchmo!


I listen to a lot of different music while painting, and sometimes the track I'm listening to influences the images beyond expectation. Such was the case with Louis Armstrong's "Mack The Knife", recorded in 1956. I have learned that it was he who, while improvising, immortalised the name of Lotte Lenya in the lyrics. Brilliant!

As I listened to the song I thought of not only Satchmo's performance in that studio in 1956 but also of the story he was telling. My favourite version of the Brecht play "Threepenny Opera" is "A Opera Do Malandro" by brazilian master wordsmith Chico Buarque, but the versions by Armstrong and later Bobby Darin are my favourite recordings of Mack the Knife.

Enjoy this painting, now for sale on eBay.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

King Leonidas

Today I bring you "King Leonidas".  Anyone who watched "300" and "Meet the Spartans" can see that Leonidas is a mythical archetype of what a man should be like.  The 40x30 painting can be purchased here. I might have prints made, I really like this one.

This painting is about celebrating strength and masculinity. It's about being a man. I don't know why being a real man is looked down upon nowadays and demonised by the over-sensitive mainstream media. A real man is not just a war-mongering violent stereotype. Any fool can build up strength, but it takes heart and wisdom to be a real man. Ultimately a real man is one who makes sacrifices for his family and provides for his wife and children the best way he can, without neglecting them. In the old days of Sparta this was celebrated and men were held to high standards. So this painting is for the King Leonidas in you, because when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Or goes antiquing, if they're so inclined. ;-)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Return of King Minotaur


I've finally received the archival prints for KING MINOTAUR and they're beautiful! To celebrate, I've put one up on Etsy and one up on eBay. The eBay one is slightly cheaper but it's on auction for 10 days. 

KING MINOTAUR - the original painting - came in a wave of inspiration during my 8 month exile last year. I was very satisfied with the painting but even more interesting was the effect it had on my collectors. It sold on auction and ever since, I've had people ask me if I would sell them prints of the painting. It's simple yet raw, colourful yet masculine, stylised and gritty. I knew it had to be the first one I'd have made into prints.

Looking at them now I can tell this was definitely a great choice. The matte prints look beautiful!

Today I started a new underpainting. Let's see where that will lead. This morning I had to carry a very large and heavy painting to the UPS store by hand since I still have not fixed the Navigator. I should have named that car "Christine" like Stephen King's literary creation.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Curse of the Navigator

The expense of repairing my car will keep me from acquiring art supplies I somewhat need to keep going. I'm not kidding when I say moving back to LA in February cost me every penny I made in the last 6 months. But I'm glad to be back, I just need to start networking with the local galleries again and try to move some inventory.  And also I have a few digital art supplies to buy as well. I'm looking forward to a Wacom Intuos3 tablet and an oversized scanner. Maggie is working on our children's book at the moment and she has a decade of experience with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop etc. and  I think the mixture of traditional illustration and digital art will look really good. I read a children's book online not long ago named "Alena" and while the illustrations were really good, they would have looked even better if the illustrator had actually illustrated by hand instead of relying so much on digital tools. A good example of compromise is the work of John Nez, right now my favourite children's books illustrator. He utilises traditional methods and digital art and I'm very impressed with the results. 
Anyway, what happened to my car was that the air suspension stopped working. I suspected it might just be the relay, but I might end up having to repair the entire suspension because when it stopped working I was miles from home. So I drove all the way home banging up and down on the axels. Not good, considering the size of the Navigator. I miss the Miata at times but there was no way to carry around large canvases in that. 
Currently on eBay I have the painting "The Big Snit", which I post on this entry. It's named after the Richard Condie film of the same name. I love Condie's work and have probably seen his entire filmography by now. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Etsy


So today I finally added an item to my Etsy account at a great discount to see what sort of attention it brings. I've been told that the clientele is a lot different from eBay. We'll see what happens.

The painting I chose for Etsy is one called "Gold Standard". As sometimes is the case with my paintings I've decided to juxtapose very adult political themes to very child-like themes. This painting revisits several of my childhood daydreams from a time when I never even imagined how terrifying adult life would be. I don't want to explain it away, just look at the painting. ;-)

My Etsy store can be seen here: http://christianmengele.etsy.com

Also, my car is messed up. The rear suspension is broken. I should never have bought that thing.