Archive for painting techniques

Peter’s Crazy Aunt: inking the line drawing. With a note to fathers.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Line drawing on canvas for Peter’s Crazy Flibbertigibbet Knucklehead Aunt Dances on the Strand to the Music of Bach, and Clifton Chenier (The King of the Bayou)”, acrylic on canvas, 60*80 cm, 21 Dec 2011

Follow the lines carefully and feel the muscle and bone. Since she’s young, there’s a concavity under her arm save on the left where the triceps is pulling the forearm up. If I extend my arm as she does on the right the triceps is not involved. The deltoid muscle (I think that is its name) above the biceps is not a plain curve, rather, one that strives toward a triangle ever so subtly. I draw on running and dance to think about this stuff.

Her “over the shoulder boulder holder” or bikini top shall be dark in tone and not express much chiaroscuro. It’s going to be tough to express that the shorts are denim. But the folds, and loose threads, work. Yes, they express vaginal thoughts. Boo hoo. Just because she’s dancing and it’s hot doesn’t mean she wishes to do anything more than dance. If I can run to the store shirtless and attract nothing more than hostile or interested stares, very rarely, women should also be free to mosey around comfortably as we said in the Hong Kong Slutwalk.

A friend said her waist is still too narrow, but I need it to twist in such a manner that from the angle of view it is narrow indeed. The violence has to mediate the calm delight of her face, and the peaceful geometry of her legs.

She is not en pointe, instead caught leaping. There’s an insistent dropped vertical line from the shorts to the toe but very delicate chiaroscuro of the knee interrupts slightly.

This is not intended for laddie magazines. Instead, I am quite serious about it. The dance is what makes us human even at the end of time, dammit. It expresses joy and sorrow. Your real artist doesn’t represent an Idea because he’s a lecher who wants to objectify females, even if he IS a lecher who wants to objectify females, he does so because God created woman as release 2.0 and rectified the design flaws in men (baldness, love handles, anger management, etc.), and the female figure, in Western art, has always represented ideas and the transcendental.

Sure, Felibien asked Poussin to put a lot of pretty girls in Poussin’s Rebecca at the Well. But Creation Theology teaches us that “God so loved the world”. It’s the fundamentalists that hate it.

In a dysfunctional family such as my family of origin or the situation in which I find myself now, speaking of love is an insult, and I realized with amazement…this is like the situation in Fundamentalism, where the pious actually prevent you from talking of God lest you, an ordinary slob, make some doctrinal error, step on someone’s toes, or open an old wound.

A friend who’s done business in Cairo says it drives him crazy: the cab drivers, stuck in traffic, who put spoken, not sung, recitations of the Koran on their tape deck. For some Islamists believe it is blasphemy to get enjoyment from singing the Koran. There are horrible YouTube videos of a woman transformed into a dog (which the police need to investigate) because she “did something” to the Koran, and my own Catholicism is not free of such brutality.

Shakespeare stopped making references to religion after the Puritans increased their power after King James’ accession and his late Romances take place in a pre-Christian world.

Likewise to express love is an insult in a dysfunctional family, and I really got my tit in a wringer yesterday over that one, which makes it painful to go on.

But one of the most beautiful things my recovery plan teaches me is pure Duty, not doing that which thou lusts to do, not today. Stopping short, keeping your paws off the nuclear option. Speaking to yourself in the manner of Jenny Holzer (PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT), complete, gnomic sentences, commands, surrounded, as in the Wanderer, with serpent shapes. Abraham and Isaac.

I will hold off on any moves until I meet with my therapist and continue with this work and my other constructive projects. I might even have some sort of film deal. I must use my time constructively.

“We must bear all. O hard condition”

Shakespeare, Henry V

“Muss ess sein? Ess muss sein!”

Beethoven: Listen!

A Note to Fathers, and Prospective Fathers Who Are Artists

Fathers! Stay with your wives and children. It’s a lie you can co-parent. Instead, your wife will be overburdened with their care and YOU will pay the big bucks. As the kids grow older you will grow apart and you’ll be an embarrassment to them. A joke.

Here are some things you can say NOW to save your marriage.

“Yes, dear, of course.”
“I have jumper cables and know how to use them.”
“Let me fix dinner. The kids like rice, beans and octopus with hot sauce.”
“I love Pride and Prejudice.”

Here’s what not to say.

“Aw hon.”
“I need space [no, you don’t.]”
“I was drunk. I met her inna yard.”
“I love Flashman.”

Because of the systematic and world-wide oppression of women, I regard actually marrying one as equivalent to joining the Marines or the 101st Airborne division: a full time job. You’re an artist? Forget it. Don’t get married. Ever. Because she’s oppressed and prone to clinical depression, we don’t need YOUR vaporings, can you dig it. And check it out: the Marines and Airborne let you go after a couple of years with a fat pension assuming you don’t get killed.

But YOUR reward is…you get to grow old with her. And married guys get killed or wounded slightly less than Marines or Airborne in the course of their duties.

Hoo ha!


Peter’s Crazy Aunt #11: All This Useless Beauty (Cluster of Rainbows)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 18, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “State of Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 18 Dec 2010 10:00 PM (final grisaille state)”, acrylic on canvas, 20″x30″

Edward G. Nilges, “State of Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 18 Dec 2010 12:00 PM (initial colour state)”, acrylic on canvas, 20″x30″

Edward G. Nilges, “Tryptch for Peter’s Crazy Aunt”, desaturated photographs of acrylic painting, 18 Dec 2010

Edward G. Nilges, “Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps, for Peter’s Crazy Aunt”. Photograph of detail of acrylic painting montaged with accidental photo of same and part of a painting made at Open Space, Lamma Island, 2010. 18 Dec 2010.

It’s at times such as this she’d be tempted to spit
If she wasn’t so ladylike
She imagines how she might have lived
back when legends and history collide
So she looks to her prince finding he’s so charmingly
slumped at her side
Those days are recalled on the gallery wall
And she’s waiting for passion or humour to strike
What shall we do, what shall we do with all this useless beauty?
All this useless beauty

Good Friday arrived, the sky darkened on time
‘Til he almost began to negotiate
She held his head like a baby and said “It’s okay if you cry”
Now he wants her to dress as if you couldn’t guess
He desires to impress his associates
But he’s part ugly beast and Hellenic deceased
So she finds that the mixture is hard to deny

She won’t practice the looks from the great tragic books
That were later disgraced to face celluloid
It won’t even make sense but you can bet
If she isn’t a sweetheart or plaything or pet
The film turns her into an unveiled threat

Nonsense prevails, modesty fails
Grace and virtue turn into stupidity
While the calendar fades almost all barricades to a pale compromise
And our leaders have feasts on the backsides of beasts
They still think they’re the gods of antiquity
If something you missed didn’t even exist
It was just an ideal — is it such a surprise?

Elvis Costello

The Siren (below in a non-likeness) thought that black won’t work with the relaxed gaiety of the figure, but La Sirene doesn’t know any more than I do where this is going (cf notes below about artistic originality), and I am interested in its Goyescas: the idea of painting a beauty surrounded by a black. Which means the clash of pink and black is now part of my intention.

I remain fascinated by the initial application of colour to chiaroscuro and am enchanted by the possibility of the human face. Modernism seems superficial. I want the depth, the space, of Richard Strauss, the late Strauss, the Last Songs of 1948.

The strength and errors of my drawing unreconciled, shining through, the firmness of the figure, here I stand, ich kann nicht anders, walking towards the TSA scanner at the airport.

Peter’s Crazy Aunt #10

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 6, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Colour Study for Peter’s Crazy Aunt”, photo of state of painting as of 6 Dec 2010, coloured pencils.

Peter’s Crazy Aunt #9

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 3, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “State of Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 3 Dec 2010”, acrylic on canvas, 20*30 in.

I FOUND the phrase to every thought
I ever had, but one;
And that defies me,—as a hand
Did try to chalk the sun

To races nurtured in the dark;
How would your own begin?
Can blaze be done in cochineal,
Or noon in mazarin?

Emily Dickinson

Peter’s Crazy Aunt #8: Some Dancing to Remember

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 30, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “State of Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 30 Nov 2010″, acrylic on canvas, 20×30”

Edward G. Nilges, “State of Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 30 Nov 2010″, acrylic on canvas modified with Gimp, 20×30”

Her mind is definitely twisted
She’s got the “Mercedes-Benz”
She got a lot of pretty pretty boys
Who she calls friends
Seem them dance in the courtyard
Sweet summer sweat
Some dancing to remember
Some dancing to forget

The Eagles, Hotel California

The wash chiaroscuro is finished: the grisaille has been started.

The shoulder further away from the viewer needs to be a veritable cascade of light going down from where it hits her hair.

Her hair is a memory of an experiment with dreadlocks.

There is a lot going on on her tummy and legs.

Above all, she dresses not to entice nor entrap but for comfort and to survive with part time work as a model. Part of my inspiration is passing through Hong Kong’s International Financial Centre on the way to work, and working to survive as a film extra.

IFC is often the locus of model shoots especially in the small hours of the morning, and sometimes one sees positive troupes or herds or flocks of models, smashingly dressed at their own expense, clomping towards an assignment. This, and working recently as an extra where we had to look much more fabulous than real airline passengers, but played real airline passengers, brings to my attention the reality, oh the humanity, of fashion models.

Indeed, I have a vision of a near-future society in which the actual wealthy become so twisted in their souls that, in a Picture of Dorian Gray, they are all ugly, so they hire fashion models, working at minimum wage, to represent them. For to me the pictures of fabulous people one sees all over Hong Kong are no longer pictures of fabulous wealthy people, but of people, working for next to nothing as fashion models and English teachers simultaneously, loaned the expensive clothes, and, as it were, warriors for the working day.

I need only to put on my little bespoke Hong Kong suit to become the glass of fashion, like Leonard di Caprio in Titanic. It is all surface.

There is, perhaps, a one to one correspondence between the body and the soul.

She has two hands. One graceful, on the Happy Sun Dress. One absurdly clumsy, the problem being a monster thumb. This shall get the Pentimento treatment.

What started as a simple neckerchief reminded a serious Fashionista of my acquaintance of Lanvin jewelry. So I looked at Lanvin’s baubles. My word. Big and clunky seems to be the rage.

Basically, women are sold clothes with less fabric than men because this cuts costs. Men insist on clothes that more than cover their bodies, which are more twisted and stunted by industrial and office life: they got de board shorts, absurdly long, they got de Brooks Brothers shirts with the sleeve over the base of de hand.

Whereas women are forever pulling down the shirt that reveals. They didn’t mean to wear it to entice, they have instead been told that it is fashionable, just as I am (at times literally, as in Kailua Kona) told to lose the Eighties running shorts and get board shorts.

In the case of Peter’s Crazy Aunt, she figures that the Knucklehead top is to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, since it settles the question of what shall be revealed once and for all, and comfortably. Plus it’s hot outside the terminal…very hot. For the overly cool plane she has any number of layers in that magic bag.

Peter’s Crazy Aunt #5

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 21, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Four Stages of ‘Peter’s Knucklehead Flibbertigibet Crazy Aunt as of 21 Nov 2010”: photos of incomplete acrylic painting, 20×30 cm on canvas with gimp highlighting (rightmost photo)

The first stage is charcoal over the image cast by a low power projector that uses new technology to be inexpensive but casts a blurred image at this scale.

The second stage is ink over the charcoal.

The next stage is the start of the ink wash chiaroscuro.

The fourth is a study in how things shall highlight using a Gimp airbrush.

They mock the Nude, so do the Lewd
Judge her skirt lengths and his Speedos
They know not my subtle art
‘Tis meant for only “weirdos”.

I am the dancer and the dance
I heed not your Remonstrance

She’s not “too thin” instead her Shin
Grows immaculate without sin
Seeking to find the light
And whatever is, is right.

– Apologies to Emily the D and Ralph “Waldo” Emerson

Lana Sutton: Rocky Top

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges “State of a Portrait of Lana Sutton, Holy Terror and the Dancer of Dawn, as of 24 Oct 2010”, acrylic on canvas, 12×17 in.

Edward G. Nilges “Detail of State of a Portrait of Lana Sutton, Holy Terror and the Dancer of Dawn, as of 24 Oct 2010”, acrylic on canvas

Edward G. Nilges “State of a Portrait of Lana Sutton, Holy Terror and the Dancer of Dawn, as of 24 Oct 2010”, acrylic on canvas, 12×17 in.: black and white chiaroscuro


The mountain sat upon the plain
In his eternal chair,
His observation omnifold,
His inquest everywhere.

The seasons prayed around his knees,
Like children round a sire:
Grandfather of the days is he,
Of dawn the ancestor.

Not done climbing the mountain by a long shot. Discovered that I do indeed have to get down with a small brush on even broad structures, because her blue skirt is coming together, looks less scratchy.

Daniel V. Thompson (author of The Practice of Tempera Painting) emphasizes the utility of black in traditional European painting.

Black was the cheapest colour in the mediaeval and Renaissance painter’s cabinet. It was just burn charcoal, carbon.

Now, some sort of art skewl Myth of Authenticity got started with the Impressionists: Don’t.Use.Black.

Bullcrap. Black is the color of my true love’s hair. Well, it used to be.

Where was I. Bullcrap. Black is the line, the horizon, and the Impressionists denied death.

The Spaniards, Velazquez and Goya, they knew about black. The non-negotiable colour.

My sessions in part a conversation between black and white: es wahr eine Wunderliecher Krieg, der Todt undt Leben rungen.

But I also grab a big brush, dip it in paint, wipe nearly all the paint off, dilute it until there are only a few atoms of pigment, and glaze my heart out, following white down her entire figure on the left, sienna and even my nemesis Cadmium Red down the center, and black and sienna down the left, for it is dawn, when things are lit from the east.

The drawing and the original chiaroscuro are preparations for this moment, when the light shines in the darkness, and highlights appear.

The black and white chiaroscuro above is simply the current state of the painting unsaturated using Microsoft Office Picture Manager. It shows the truth of her right forearm. It does catch the light of her mountain dance. It shall.

Continual refinement, no compromise. If gal were paying me, she’d be impatient for me to make an end. Unless it were fixed price and woman didn’t want it right away. But she ain’t. Labor of (Platonic!) love. Celebration of all the girls who ever danced, alone, with another, or with me, including one little number in a mountaintop park in San Jose years ago dressed Indian style. Ah, memories…

My cellphone camera is the pits but I cannot afford a decent camera. Sucks.

The first movement of Beethoven’s “Rasumouvsky” quartet builds into a wall of sound. Not compromising with the Prince Esterhaz, nor with the Prince-Bishop of Salzburg. Self ownership. For another.

Lana Sutton is a dancer, musician, gardener, environmentalist, chef, natural foodist, political activist, pest, gad-fly, uppity woman and Mayor Ron “Show Me the Money” “27 dollars for a printout” Littlefield’s worst nightmare in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who doesn’t mow her lawn. This painting is based on photographs by Native Son.