Saturday, November 19, 2011

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013 Entry

Today I posted an entry to the Smithsonian Institution's 2013 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. I just finished this painting, titled "Portrait of a Modern Father," today.

Some of the comments I made in the entry:
Title: Portrait of a Modern Father.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Size: 24"x36".

Description of “Portrait of a Modern Father”:
To steer their families safely through today's many challenges, fathers must step outside of their comfort zones, trusting that as they hold up their candle of experience and inspiration their way will be lighted for a step or two ahead. Recognizing that they do not walk alone increases their light.

Artist's Statement:
Whatever we do in this life is bettered when we do it for others. Our world is bettered when our goal is to bring joy, uplift, and change hearts.

Are there any special circumstances surrounding the creation of your portrait?
As a father, I stepped outside of my comfort zone this year when three of my children left our home within a few months of each other. They were excellent young men and women but had been struggling, drifting as they tried to find their own way. We were all grateful when their divergent paths, some of which were very painful, brought them great growth, joy, and satisfaction. Today we are all wiser and happier, and grateful indeed that we do not walk alone.

I will finish the companion to this piece, which is titled "Portrait of a Modern Mother," before the end of the year and submit it to the Portrait Society of America's 2012 International Portrait Competition.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Softcover Edition and Price Break

I have created a softcover edition of my book, The Christmas Orange. My preview copy looks even better than I had hoped. The glossy cover and satin pages hold the color beautifully, and the great review I got from James Gurney looks excellent on the back cover.

The price is lower, too. If you buy the unsigned softcover edition from my publisher, the price is only $24.95, shipping extra. If you buy the book from me, I will sign it and ship it for $30.00.

Of course, you can choose to buy the original, hardcover, premiere edition from my web site. This version is signed and includes a signed, 8"x8" print of "While Mary Sleeps" .

Either way, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving and a very merry Christmas season.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend In Arts Heaven

Thanks to a generous invitation from James Gurney, I spent last Friday and Saturday with him, his gracious wife Jeanette, Jean-Baptiste Monge and Margot, Garin Baker, and Armand Cabrera in touring art sites and openings in the Wilmington area. We visited the Brandywine River Museum, the Frank Schoonover Studio, and the Delaware Art Museum, being joined by Kev Ferrara, Eric Millen and Kristina Mah. And that was after attending Gurney's lecture Thursday night at MICA.

The goal was to attend the Howard Pyle opening at the Delaware Art Museum. Great stuff, great times, great conversations. The details of each event are covered in the sites listed below. To me, the best part of the weekend was the time spent watching and listening to these great artists, observing how they interacted and how they went through galleries, and learning a lot from their conversations. I deeply admired their learning, experience, and passion. These folks really feel strongly about the art profession, and drinking in their feelings was a marvelous treat.

I was also touched by the support each of these artists enjoyed from their families, only some of whom were in attendance, but each of whom made it possible for them to move forward with their careers, some at great sacrifice. I add my wonderful wife to this list, and I am grateful.

And special gratitude goes to James Gurney, whose gracious invitation made the whole, unexpected weekend happen. Thanks again, Jim. I was an amateur among experts, but I learned a lot. Thank you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

James Gurney Reviews "Christmas Orange"

James Gurney, New York Times best-selling author of the Dinotopia book series and recipient of the Hugo, World Fantasy, Chesley, Spectrum, and Colorado Children’s Book awards, has reviewed my book, "The Christmas Orange." Here is what he had to say:

“Terrific. Beautiful. A really sensitive presentation with a deep and meaningful story. The message is universal and powerful, with the orange as both a visual and narrative element that really resounds in the telling. The cover image, with the girl's face in shadow, but still smiling, is very evocative, and perfectly executed. The varied and imaginative use of color throughout is impressive.”

Thank you very much, Jim.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas Orange Holiday Price Drop

My publishers have announced a holiday price reduction for my book, "A Christmas Orange." If you order a copy from them before November 30 and enter the promo code "BIGTEN" at checkout, you save $10.00. As an added incentive, I have dropped my part of the book price as well. Just go to my bookstore to preview and buy the book.

If you want the signed premiere edition of the book and the included print, you'll have to order it from my web site.

Letter to My Son

Below is an edited excerpt of a letter to my son Ben (third from right, above), who is serving a mission in Guatemala for the LDS (Mormon) church.

 Hey, Ben. I'm in Altoona, PA this weekend at an illustration conference called Illuxcon.

Each year I learn something about humility. These folks are good! And many are students, or lifetime hobbyists like me. To meet their standards I'd have to double or triple the quality of my work. Most impressive, most instructive. Most humbling, and, if I'm not careful, very depressing.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm very pleased to be doing work as good as what I'm now doing. I'm also very pleased to see the impact it has on others. At some point, if I keep working, I'll come up to their levels, or better. In the mean time, I'll keep trying.

I am grateful for having such a marvelously supportive wife (far right, above). Sheesh! Ben, if there is one goal you must have in life, it is to marry someone as patient and supportive and sacrificing and loving as your mother. She listens to me moan and watches patiently as I suck my thumb because I can't be this big artist guy yet, but she is unflagging in her love and support. And she occasionally smacks me down, too, which is very good. All in great love. If there is one valuable attainment in life, it is to follow God's guidance to such a woman as that. And living so that she feels good about and has joy in that support.

Example: She completely re-decorated the living room walls, putting my religious artwork all over them, making it into a sort of Lester Yocum gallery. Wow! She arranged things exquisitely, too. What a great lady. I must admit, the entire tenor of our living room has changed. There is a palpable power in that room, a great feeling for good. I am most impressed. I makes me feel good, for sure. Especially about her.

I love you. God bless you. Thank you.


Illuxcon 4

I'm at Illuxcon this weekend, enjoying the animated, focused fellowship and learning that happens in this fantasy and science fiction annual event. This is my fourth year; I've attended every year since its establishment.

One of the most impressive things to me at this event, besides the quality of the original paintings and prints, is the eager hunger in the eyes of the participants. They want to learn; they want to grow. They are serious about taking in the advice they get from the lectures and demos, and you can see the enthusiasm in the faces of those who made it into the showcase.

Being here charges my batteries, humbles me, and sets a standard of quality in my work, every year much higher than before. I am grateful to be among such humble, friendly people.