Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Javier Bardem and Bird Bingo

I keep meaning to catch up on vacations with some landscape paintings, but I'm still stuck in my faces phase.

Javier Bardem is in the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie (which I haven't seen yet).  The trailers for Pirates reminded me that he has a good face.

Remember him as the villain from the James Bond movie Skyfall?
dude, you're creeping me out a little

He also looked scary in No Country for Old Men
oh, now you're really creepy

But in real life, he's a pretty handsome guy.  So I had to paint his face to try and understand it.
8" x 8" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas
His face confused me.  It's an unusual shape.  Plus his eyes and nostrils are not symmetrical.  It could be better, but I'm done.

Instead of painting, I spent a few days drawing birds on the computer.  Then I wrote a little code and developed an adorable Bingo game.  If you like sitting on your porch staring at the birds, maybe you will enjoy it as much as Nate and I do.

I created it as a page on my blog just to make something quick that we could play. It turned out so cute, now I kind of want to turn it into an app somehow.  Add more birds, maybe add some options.  I definitely want to draw more bird icons.
Give it a try!  Each time you load the page, it shuffles the birds in a different order.  So you can sit on the porch with your friend, load the page on your phones, and have a legit bingo game.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rutger Hauer

Today I painted yet another actor with a great face: Rutger Hauer.  He is the Dutch actor that was the replicant "Roy" in Blade Runner.  

His other movie that I love is LadyHawke

I guess I painted the LadyHawke version of him.

8" x 8" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Henry Cavill

Willem's and Mads' faces were fun to paint because there is a sinister element to them.   Or just a touch creepy.  Just enough to make it interesting trying to capture those features.  

To change things up, I decided to paint Henry Cavill, the actor that plays Superman.  Henry looks heroic and classic.  Kind of perfect.  I found a picture of him where he's in strong sunlight.  I like the dark shadows it makes.  

8" x 8" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

I even captured some little veins on his forehead.  His perfect gorgeous forehead.

Before I finished it, I showed Nate what I was working on: 
He thought I should leave him without eyes and let it be evil Superman.  

Painting faces is fun.  Who should I paint next?  Nate has suggested Kevin Bacon and/or Christopher Walken.  I'm also considering Jack Nicholson.  Not sure.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Mads Mikkelsen

After I finished my Willem Dafoe painting, I wanted to do another distinctive face right away.  Mads Mikkelsen is a Danish actor.  He was the villain in the James Bond movie Casino Royal.
handsome, yet also creepy

Like Dafoe, his face is slightly mesmerizing to me.    So I started painting him... and then let it sit unfinished for over three months.

To my delight, Mikkelsen was in the latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One. 

rocking the Nordic rugged vibe

Awesome movie!  It inspired me to go back and finish the painting.
12" x 12" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

His eyes, brow, and snarly lips seem like his signature characteristics.  I think I spent 3 hours on his upper lip...

Now he is hanging in my kitchen under the spice rack.  Willem is hanging in our half bath.  They are strange little paintings and the make me really happy.  I'm filling our house with my weird art just like the mom from Beetlejuice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Willem Dafoe

Even though I'm not great at it, I love painting faces.   When I'm messing around with some little detail, something that seems unimportant, suddenly that detail makes the whole face look right.  Getting the eye's centered just right, or a tiny line around the mouth that sets off the whole expression...  I like when it suddenly comes to life.

Today I was inspired by Willem Dafoe.

12" x 12" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Love his face.  His cheekbones, his jaw...  very distinctive features.  And it seems like he can go normal / handsome
Dafoe in Mississippi Burning

or odd and scary.
so creepy

Sorry my painting doesn't do him justice.  It ended up looking like a Clint Eastwood / Willem Dafoe mug-shot mashup.

I googled him to find a picture, and ended up finding this interview he did.

I've never heard of The Old Woman.  It's got Dafoe and Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Now I want to see it.

That interview and some of his quotes on IMDB made me like him even more.  Seems like he is creative and good at what he does, but also low-key and grounded.  You go, Willem Dafoe.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Expressing myself with 80's lyrics and movie clips

Yeah.  That's where I'm at.
So I guess we're getting used to not having Bailey around.  Sadly.
On the advice of a friend, I've been trying to write down all her idiosyncrasies and habits before I forget them. Nicknames we had for her, legendary stories, etc.  I think that was a good tip (thanks A.M. <3 )

Hopefully those memories will soon eclipse the memories of her last two days.  Which were like visiting Mordor.  And the first few days without her, which were like this:

Oh, Chicago.  You sage.  You know what's up.
Being without you
Takes a lot of getting used to
Should learn to live with it
I don't want to
Being without you
Is all a big mistake
Instead of getting any easier
It's the hardest thing to take
-Chicago Hard Habit to Break

This new one can be a sunset or a sunrise. Your choice!

8" x 8" x 0.5" acrylic on canvas

Sunday, July 31, 2016


We put our dog down on Friday.  Our beloved Bailey Lou.  She was 15, a chocolate lab we'd had since she was 2 months old.  Today is 15 years to the day we brought that round little puppy home.

July 31, 2001.  Little 2 month old Bailey

Friday was literally the absolute worst day of our lives.  I knew it would be incredibly sad and painful, but I had no idea. I'm almost embarrassed by how hard I'm taking it.  We were able to have a vet come to our home so that she would not be stressed in her last moments.  It couldn't have gone better.  We believe it was the perfect timing.  Her life had recently crossed over to having more discomfort than joy.   We saw a rainbow.  All signs and experience pointed to it being the right decision on the right day.

But despite all of this, I am hit by grief harder and darker than I've ever known.   Harder than losing my favorite grandpa.  Harder than my parents' divorce.  I'm so sad, I feel like I can't breathe.   There's a constant lump in my throat and knot in my stomach.  All I can do is think about her life and death.  It's similar to when you finish a really engrossing book  - you're not ready to stop reading, but there's no more.  My mind and heart are still living in a story that's over.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Yesterday (Saturday) I was walking our other dog, Jodie (a 12 year old Alaskan Malamute) and we passed by a retired couple's home that I talk to frequently.  The woman asked how Jodie was.  I said pretty good, but slowing down with age. The woman unexpectedly said something about how hard it was to let pets go at the end.  I started bawling. Very ugly crying.  When I told them about Bailey, they were so kind and said they thought it was harder to let a dog go than to let people go.

Other friends have said that, too.  A dear friend said it was harder to lose her beloved pet than her dad.  Who, by the way,  was a wonderful man who she loved very very much.  This is really comforting to me because I am so sad, I keep thinking I must be crazy.  But maybe not.  Why is losing a pet, an animal, so so SO hard?

Now my days stretch out ahead of me, and I don't know what to do with myself.  Taking care of Bailey had crept in to be a big part of my daily life.  Only now do I realize how much my routine revolved around being there for her.  I feel pathetic and grieved and lost and relieved.  
Bailey's last day.  A belly full of cheese and beef snacks.

I miss Bailey so much.  I hope I can stop bursting into tears soon.
I guess my mental energy and my time will open back up now. Maybe I'll start painting more again.

10" x 10" x .5" acrylic on canvas