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Sweet Tooth

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 26th, 2009 in Mask Paintings, Palette Knife Paintings

One of the darker sides to living in Las Vegas is seeing the number of people who have succumbed to their inner demons. Addiction is something that gets its teeth into people and they find themselves spiralling out of control. As I was painting my most current piece this was the train of thought that I found myself on. As ominous looking as the subject matter of this painting is, I really didn’t want the title to end up too dark, so I started thinking about all the addictions people can have besides the obvious biggies. To me an addiction is defined not only by its control over the person but the impact it can have on their health, their finances and their family. Besides the obvious addictions to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling and porn, you can be addicted to food, TV, tanning, candy, soda… you name it, you can become addicted to it. So, I went to the thesaurus and something that popped out to me was the slang term “Sweet Tooth”. I knew immediately I had found the perfect title. So far, everyone who has heard the title of this one gives a little chuckle, as I hope you will.

This painting is of my son Eric’s Halloween mask from this past year. He loves the scary skull stuff, as you’d expect from most 14-15 year old boys. I really layered the paint on with my palette knife and then used a natural sponge to create mega-texture. After using my palette knife to bring out the majority of the mask’s features I picked up a paint brush for the first time in a while and got busy with the details. I love how the earlier textures affected the flow of the paint coming from my brush. I had mentioned in my previous post that I was starting to really miss using a brush, and I think this is the natural progression. We’ll see…

Sweet Tooth – 10″x8″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Completed 1-24-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.


Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 21st, 2009 in Mask Paintings, Palette Knife Paintings

For my latest painting I didn’t want to say anything heavy. I realized I’ve been dwelling too much on all the negativity in the air of late. So, I just painted. It was time to mentally, emotionally and physically take a “Breath of Fresh Air”. So, I did…

To me, there is nothing that compares to the smell of leaves as they are just starting to fall from the trees in Autumn. What makes the smell seem even sweeter is the crispness of the air. I can almost feel it in my nostrils as I type this.

With this painting I further explored the use of the palette knife. It’s almost like I’m sculpting a painting. I glob and dab and smear and layer the paint onto the canvas. Then I scratch and push and wipe the paint that’s on the canvas. It is really a lot of fun. An interesting thing occurred to me as I was wrapping up this painting – I’m starting to miss using a brush. So, who knows what’s next? I know I don’t…

Breath of Fresh Air – 16″x12″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Completed 1-19-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.

Precious Time

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 15th, 2009 in Mask Paintings, Palette Knife Paintings

The currents of life continually push me towards the precipice. I’m still fighting those currents, but sometimes I feel my toes kicking out over thin air. Maybe I can start gaining some ground soon… Boy, am I tired, though…

“Precious Time” is a painting from a photo of a Venetian mask sent to me by one of my Artscuttlebutt.com pals, Painter Patty. I had never painted anything with this much rich and vibrant red in it. What a challenge that ended up being. To keep the red rich while creating the nuances of value was one of the hardest painting exercises I had put myself thru in quite a while. I loved the challenge, though, because without it I’d get bored…and where is the fun in that?

BTW, This painting was done entirely with a palette knife. I am sure having some fun with that tool.

Precious Time – 18″x24″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Completed 1-13-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.

Honorable Mention

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 7th, 2009 in Art Exhibits, Mask Paintings

For the past month-and-a-half my painting “Afterglow” has been hanging in Palatine, Illinois in the “Life’s Unique Journey ’08” juried exhibition of the Northwest Cultural Council. I’m proud to say it received an Honorable Mention!!! I’d like to thank the juror, Theresa J. Parker, for including me in the exhibition and awarding me this honor.

You can see “Afterglow” and the other winners on the Northwest Cultural Council’s website. The direct link is:  http://www.northwestculturalcouncil.org/concerts.html

Afterglow – 20″x16″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Painted 6-7-08

©2008, Don Michael, Jr.

Funny Business

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 6th, 2009 in Mask Paintings, Palette Knife Paintings

Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying. Of course, then hysteria is probably just a giggle away…

This is of a Korean “old man” mask that I picked up at Disney’s Epcot Center several years ago. I’ve painted “him” several times now, and anticipate painting him again in the future. I love his sharp angles and the expressive nature of the carving. On this painting I decided it was time to explore the triad color scheme using secondary colors, which I hadn’t done in a while. I chose a combination of colors that was new to me. My palette consisted of Phthalocyanine Blue, Yellow Oxide, Titanium White and Permanent Magenta from Windsor & Newton. Using the Magenta as my red made it very difficult to mix to my darkest colors. I wasn’t sure at first if I was satisfied with the final results…but, I find it’s growing on me.

No Laughing Matter – 20″x24″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Completed 1-5-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.

Who ‘dat?

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 3rd, 2009 in Mask Paintings, Palette Knife Paintings

I have always enjoyed contrast. Whether it be color, or value, or subject matter, I like to put things together that at first seem like they don’t belong together- but when viewed more closely draw us in. I placed a Venetian half-mask on a Hawaiian Tiki mask for my most recent painting and had a blast coming up with a composition that relayed a story for them. I liked the idea of something ugly trying to hide itself behind a veneer of beauty. I chose a background of deep space with many stars to symbolize both those who are already enjoying stardom and those who are enjoying a meteoric rise in popularity or power. As I painted this piece I reflected on how everyone tries to hide who they really are, usually as a defense mechanism. But, then I had to creep myself out by thinking of the term “Cult of Personality” and what that phrase really means.

As people ascend to power or popularity they do everything they can to distract us from who they really are. They put up a smoke screen to keep us blind to their real intentions or their real personality. If we get too close to figuring out who these people really are they put every media at their disposal into action to distract us with propaganda and misdirection. We see it in so many arenas: politics, the movie industry, the music industry, religious leaders, corporate leaders, the list goes on… If we were to get behind the veneer of beauty, celebrity, self-righteousness, and contrived back-stories in those we adulate I’m afraid we would not like what we see. And then we would have to question our allegiance and devotion to these individuals….  Now you can see why this thought creeped me out.

What’s an artist to do? A painting that started out as a fun exercise developed into something with deep and dark connotations. Oh well, so be it…

Cult of Personality – 24″x18″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Completed 1-1-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.

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