Monday, January 24, 2011

On Bears and Packers

The Chicago Bears lose the NFC Championship game to their oldest rivals, the Green Bay Packers, yesterday at Soldier Field.  This football match-up was one of the most anticipated in years.  the Bears & Packers have the longest continuing rivalry in the National Football League, going back to 1921.

The Packers prevailed over the Bears 21-14, and advance to the Super Bowl.  I originally wanted to write about how great it was that these long time rivals got to play each other in the play-offs for only the second time in 90 years, but the big story in Chicago today is the questioning of Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler's 'toughness.'   Cutler was removed from the game early in the second half, after hurting his knee late in the second quarter.  Ultimately, an MRI on Monday revealed a knee strain.  However, because no one was sure which play caused the injury, and the Bears only listed him as questionable (meaning he might return), many thought he gave up on his team in their most important game of the season.  Other NFL players, analysts and fans began to question him in tweets, causing his teammates to rush to his defense.

Cutler is not popular among fans and players; he displays a 'who cares attitude' when dealing with the media.  But in 17 games this season, he has been sacked 57 times, and hit about 130.  He missed one game due to a concussion, and that was because the NFL requires concussed players to pass tests by the medical staff before being cleared.  On Sunday, it was reported by the Chicago newspapers that he lobbied to go back in the game, but was pulled by the Bears medical staff.  Cutler is also a Type 1 diabetic, which means he must take special care of his body to battle his disease.  

To question his toughness is ludicrous--if he were to quit on his team, I believe he would have done so months ago.  I'm sure he was understandably upset that he could not continue, if though he was having a poor game.  But the amount of criticism that Cutler has received- even from players on other teams- is inexcusable.  Football is a violent game, and the types of  injuries players endure are remarkable.  I would think that his brethren would understand that. Apparently, from the comfort of their own homes, they don't.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has always been a favorite holiday of mine.  Even while we are in the midst of winter here in the Chicago area, I always tried to embrace the romance of the day, and do something a bit special for my wife. Believe me, we don't have a lot of money, and I wish I could give her what she deserves.  But sometimes it's just some flowers, or a massage, or little things to help you remember the romance.

Valentine's Day isn't even celebrated in Catholicism anymore as a saint's holiday, and it's romantic heritage seems to have started from Chaucer.  Yet, it is one of the biggest "Hallmark" holidays of the year.  Cards, flowers, candy, dinners, even engagements all are given on Valentine's Day to loved ones.

I have often received commissions for Valentine's Day.  Many husbands like to give their wives custom boudoir or nude artwork of them--we all like to think of our women as glamourous.  And many women commission me to do something like the attached for their men.   It's a great was to feel sexy, and often it doesn't involve nudity.

Currently I am working on such a piece for delivery later in the spring.  And we are talking to a couple of other husbands  regarding commissions of their wives in sexy attire (or no attire) shortly thereafter.

I am running a special for Valentine's Day....8 1/2" x 11" custom black & white drawing for only $125.   It's a nice gift for someone special in your life, and it's a great deal.  But I need to know by Saturday, Jan. 22 to get it to you in time. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

On Chiaroscuro and Nude Art

While looking up art related stuff online yesterday, I came across one of my favorite art terms, something I try to use in my own illustrations.

The word chiaroscuro is defined as the strong contrasts between light and dark.  By exaggerating these contrasts, you can create the illusion of 3 dimensions in a 2 dimensional piece, which makes it more dynamic, and more interesting to the viewer.  

For me, that is often easier said then done.  I struggle sometimes with being too literal in my art, and not taking 'leaps of faith' with the exaggeration of tones in the reference photos.  And, graphite is not always the best medium for getting real black tones; since the darkest you can get in most cases is with the Ebony pencil, and that is still just a dark gray.  

To the left is probably my best example of chiaroscuro--it is an illustration of Playboy's Miss June 1979, Louann Fernald.  Although the reference photo was already a dark black & white, I really had to be conscious of recreating the dark tones, and press down as hard as I could to achieve this final result.  Must have come out okay...Louann bought one last year!

I have new commissions starting this month, and my goal is to really work on these contrasts, and make the ladies 'starring' in them pop!

I'm very interested to learn from other artists how they achieve chiarascuro in their own work.