Sunday, February 19, 2012
Gentle Giant is a band that was active in the 70's. I was introduced to their music by some friends in college. Gentle Giant music is an interesting mix of rock/jazz/Celtic/classical music. They played instruments not typically associated with a rock band: cello, violin, recorder, xylophone, etc. The interesting thing was each member would play several different instruments during each set!
They have one song which really spoke to me, and in fact was the inspiration for the title of this blog. "Peel the Paint" spoke of not accepting things at face value, but digging deeper to see what you find. I've adopted this attitude in life. I try not to accept things on the surface, but look for different meanings.
I painted this tribute to the band in 1983. Perhaps it was a bit ambitious for my skill level at that time. Nonetheless, I am still proud of the piece, and am happy that it now resides on the band's official web site. It was painted in oils on masonite.
I've painted musician Stevie Ray Vaughan several times. This one was done on a 20"x20" stretched canvas. It was given to me by a friend. I painted this on it and gave it back to him! Canvas boards are my preferred bases for my paintings, but I occasionally use the stretched. This particular canvas was so rough it was like painting on sandpaper!! It had such a thick tooth to it. I had sanded it down a bit before I started, and when I had begun painting wish I would have taken another layer off. In a way, it had an ironic twist to it.
I've read that the guitar strings Stevie would use were so thick, and so far off the fretboard that the average guitar player could even bend them, let alone play them. he had extremely strong hands. I felt that I could soldier on and overcome the thickness of the canvas. Much of the time this was being painted his music was playing on my stereo.
This was a commissioned piece, done late last year. I really have never been a big fan of the Creature, but he has plenty to make up for my indifference! I've seen a few of the films he's in, but they never really clicked with me the way the other Universal characters did. Plus he's a bear to paint! All those scales and fins... I must admit, visually he's an interesting subject, and I always say I'll never paint him again, but usually end up doing so.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Every Saturday night around 9:30 or so when I was ten years old I'd drag my parent's black and white teevee from their bedroom to my room to watch Scream-In with the Cool Ghoul, Dick Von Hoene. It was mix of comedy and horror, as he showed all the classic Universal monster films, and did skits during the breaks. The Ghoul was hilarious! He had song parodies, location shoots, and special guests. He also did a dead-on Karloff impersonation.
I never found a copy of his record album, The Cool Ghoul's Phantasmagorical Funky Phonograf album until it was digitized and put online. Very nice momento. Something about him and his show resonated with me. I think it was his humor, his warmth, and his concern for his audience. Most of what's missing in today's teevee celebrity.
So here's to the Cool Ghoul, with thanks for being a special part of my childhood.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Growing up in the 60's-70's we saw some great stop motion special effects for that time. Most of them (if not all!) were accomplished by Ray Harryhausen. Jason and the Argonauts was a special favorite of mine. Those skeletons with swords!! And that Medusa!! Scary, scary stuff!
I was asked to paint Ray for a private commission. I jumped at the chance to pay tribute to a pioneer in special effects, and a great artist! Here's to you, Ray!!