Untitled

 

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This painting will start off a collection of posts showing Chris’s abstract art that are painted on paper. My interaction with abstract art has always come with the argument that abstract art is simple & easy to do. However, abstract art has always been my favorite art form. I am always curious to hear what the artist is thinking while he is painting the piece. Does the artist have a central theme while he is painting abstractly or is the art random expression? This painting caught my eye because of the sense of chaos & the use of colors.

The title of the painting being “Untitled” allows the viewer to make up his own mind about the emotions being expressed and I believe that a personal evaluation allows for the viewer to get the most of the art. My favorite part of this painting is the white paint, “interrupting” the background colors. This painting reminds me of Risk, a war game that I used to play as a kid. The different colors represent the different armies trying to spread their territory, the white and red colors seem to be at war as the white lines spread like fingers trying to control the red area. This painting represents beautiful chaos to me.

Viewing Stages of a Painting, Five

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The title of this painting is “Sad Mary”… this title is purposely vague to leave it up to the viewer as to which “Mary” this painting may refer to. In image 1 you can see that this painting started out as a work on paper – it is “clipped” to the easel on the left for reference for the larger painting.  The first pass of the larger painting was spontaneous and only took a few minutes.

I worked quickly with large brush strokes and even let the paint that ran off her chin remain as it became more complete.  In the earlier work Mary looked masculine and I gradually softened the lines and shapes to make her more feminine as I continued. The started the skin tones in black and white and added color as I went along.  In the final version Mary looks noticeably sadder than the previous three.  I increased the size of the inside of her hood as I went along. I ended up subduing the black shadow throughout the painting by the time I completed the final draft. I moved away from the orange color in the bottom left corner. Then, I shifted to a more yellow shade in the upper left corner in the final draft.

Funny the processes used in painting – it just happens and I have learned “when to stop” – which is an art of it’s own!

 

Viewing Stages of a Painting, Four

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Sometimes in the painting process I reach a point where I don’t know if I should continue painting or leave it as it is.  For this particular painting, John the Baptist, I reached a point where I was pleased with the progress and I left it dormant for a week or so. When I revisited the painting I decided to add some flesh color and I really think it breathed new life into the painting.  Which version do you prefer? Lighter or Darker skin tone?

Viewing Stages of a Painting, Three

This painting is from the FARM Art Show at the Madison Morgan Cultural Center in late 2014.

The show paired artist to a specific farm in Morgan County. I choose the Lambert Farm.

The original idea for this painting and all 6 paintings I did for the show, came to me after talking with Robyn, my wife about painting Lambert Farm as a number of different American Modern Artist… and I ran out to my studio and made a color pencil sketch to capture the idea quickly.

Below is the original color pencil.

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This painting ended up on a 6 foot wide by 4 foot tall canvas. This is the painting in progress on the large canvas. Note the color copy of a second study I did in Adobe Illustrator taped to the upper right of the canvas for reference.

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I have added details, see below. I used a gutter cover that had uniform holes in it to prevent objects from falling into your gutters to start the dot pattern in the sky… what a nightmare. I painted and repainted those dots!

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Below is the finished painting that was in the FARM Art Exhibit.

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Enjoy,

Chris Cook

 

 

Viewing Stages of a Painting, Two

Here is one of my favorite paintings… really love the concept of taking a Picasso painting of a Spanish tragedy and using the painting look and style to tell the story of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald on Television on the 60s.

This is the third and largest version of the painting I have made. It is 6 foot wide and 4 foot tall.

First I used the 9 grid system to transfer the underlying composition/drawing. Here I have started roughing in the painting… getting the figure and ground separated.

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This next image you can see that I am defining the characters faces and bodies and making the background more solid.

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Below I have added more details. The background is more formed. Notice some of the earlier details were whited out to start over.

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Below is the finished painting.

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This painting is not for sale – I may be dreaming, but… my idea is to donate this to the Georgia Museum in Athens, Georgia or the Morris Museum in Augusta, Georgia.

Enjoy,

Chris Cook

 

 

 

Viewing Stages of a Painting, One

I have had questions over time about how I work (how an artist works really). I do sometimes take quick snap shots of different points I get to in a painting. I am doing a little series of posts that will show some of the stages a single painting goes through as I develop a work. I do have different starting points… sometimes pencil sketches on paper, or a small painting on paper first before going to a larger format. But, like with the example below of “Matthew Listening by Candlelight” I started with an overall wash of a dull color. After it dried, I took a smaller brush and dipped it in some left over brown and started drawing from a photo reference right on the canvas.

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The next day, I went out to my studios and mixed brown and dark blue together to make a near black and with a pretty wide, flat brush laid in all the darkest parts away from the imaginary candle light source. (the photo reference was a man sitting outside in bright daylight). I used a mix of yellow oxide and gray to dab at the highlights.

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After that, I used the three previous color mixes and filled in the rest of his face. Finally a sloppy wet mix of medium dark to tone the entire canvas down giving it the old candlelight look!

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Enjoy.

Chris

 

Lakelife Magazine – Chris Cook Artist

Wow. I am continually surprised and grateful for interest in my work. I get emails from time to time with comments about one of my paintings or an occasional walk in from a tourist to look around my office that serves as a “gallery” of my work.  However, this latest article about my paintings has really hit the mark.  I am getting stopped all over Madison with people saying, “I saw that great article about you”. 

 

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I am so thankful for Beverly Harvey with the Eatonton Messenger/Lake Oconee News for writing the story in Lakelife Magazine.

The article is in their latest magazine – Winter 2014. If you do not already have a copy, please go find and one in the Georgia’s Lake Country area.

The issue is overall very nice and I am so proud to be right in the middle of it.

For those who are interested, go check out the Publicity Page on my website (click here) to see a list of other mentions of my work out there – you may be surprised!

Thanks,

Chris

 

Just Trying Something New

I have painted many different subjects, in many different styles and even experimented with different media. In looking at my website, I noticed that I do not often paint Still Life paintings. After working so hard to make the deadline for the Farm Show at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, I had to take some time off to rest.

In visiting my art studio after 2-3 weeks after that rest, I took a stab at still life. I wanted to work on my “brush work” and keep them loose… so I painted all of this series (so far) with an oversized brush to force the looseness.

Take a quick look at the early results – what do you think?

 

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Why Did Judas Kiss Jesus When He Betrayed Him?

portrait-of-marie-thérèse-walter-1937-1.jpg!Blog

Pablo-Picasso-Painting-020-500x338My inspiration for this particular painting of Judas Kissing Jesus (I have painted up to 10 versions of this subject) was Picasso. A Picasso painting of a lady, the yellow lips… When I saw this painting in one of my many books on him, it popped right into my mind. Judas. Those odd colored lips. The odd way to identify Jesus, the kiss from Judas… weird huh? Oh well, that is the truth, the way it came into my mind.

Then I had to explore other paintings by Picasso to get my reference for Jesus and oddly enough found it in another Picasso painting of a female. (see the two images with this article)

With this start I just made up the other characters in the painting. I unconsciously added an extra finger on Judas’ hand that is “pointing out Jesus” along with his kiss.

Judas Betrays Jesus with a Kiss
Judas Betrays Jesus with a Kiss

In searching for an answer to – why a kiss – I found this nice article on a website called Jesus-Story  (http://www.jesus-story.net/betrayal.htm)

After Judas left the upper room where they had been eating, Jesus washed the feet of his friends in an act of godly service. Then they went out to a garden across the Kidron Valley, a garden they must have known well. Jesus prayed there, but the peace of the garden was shattered by the arrival of a contingent of guards and officials. They had come to arrest Jesus. With them was Judas.

Because there were many pilgrims around, it was necessary to have a sign (the kiss) to identify Jesus. If there had been a struggle the wrong man might have been arrested, especially in the dark. A kiss was normal enough; it was the way a pupil greeted a Rabbi, and Jesus had been a teacher to Judas. Mark, writing in Greek, uses an emphatic form of the verb katephilesen. Judas kissed Jesus with more than usual fervor and affection.

Jesus submitted quietly to the soldiers, but spoke some final words to Judas: Friend, why are you here?

The words can be read as a loving rebuke, but they can also be translated as Do what you came to do.

 

Just add this to the many, many questions that I have about the stories of Jesus.

Chris Cook

Painting a Painting 3 Times

Not sure if you noticed, but sometimes many artist paint the same painting multiple times. I have read that some great artist, like Robert Motherwell did this because he still felt he had to work it out, that earlier versions were maybe “not it” – was quoted saying “maybe now looking back, it could have been an earlier painting that was it”… Artist like Vincent Van Gogh painted the same painting multiple times to give one to his friend and brother but liked it enough to keep one for himself.

For me personally, this happens for several reasons.

  1. I notice an older painting and take a renewed interest in it and paint another version of it with a fresh look at the original.
  2. I feel that if I sell it (haha) that I might regret not having it around, so I paint another exactly like it (or as close as I can)
  3. I want to share it with friends and/or family and (like Van Gogh) want to have one too
  4. I looked at the original and something bugs me and I take another shot at it (like Motherwell, maybe the original was it?)
  5. I have a wild idea that maybe a museum would want the painting and paint it larger to be more in line with the works in a museum.
Jack Ruby Murders Lee Harvey Oswald on TV
Jack Ruby Murders Lee Harvey Oswald on TV

The second and the last reason above is the reason is the reason for painting the theme of Ruby shooting Oswald again and again. I stuck with the original theme which was to mix Pablo Picasso’s Painting of Guernica (black and white with a little brown) with a still from the television footage (black and white) of Ruby shooting Oswald on live television. Both the painting and the images of the 60s event seemed to have something deeply in common, something that has not changed since men have been on earth – a propensity towards violence to gain power over another person or group of persons…

Maybe I paint paintings multiple times because… I can?

Chris Cook