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Heart Progress and Lemon Zotz

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 20th, 2012 in Eye Candy: Zotz, St. Jude Hearts

I’m in the home stretch of my Ginormous Heart marathon. I hope to have it finished by Monday. We’ll see…

Meanwhile, this is where it was yesterday when I called it quits for the day:

Ginormous Heart is Progress

I did quite a bit more on it today, but I’ve decided that I will not be showing anymore updates until the final unveiling.

Today was also my demo day at Michael’s. I used it as an opportunity to work on the last of my Eye Candy: Zotz mini-series.

Lemon Zotz – 4″x4″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 1/19/12

©2012, Don Michael, Jr.

I really fought this one, and totally hated it while I was working on it. After giving it a few hours and looking at it again I’ve now decided it is the best one in the series. Go figure…

Now I think I’ll call it a day. Tomorrow will be a new day made just for painting. I can’t wait…

Happy Creating!

A Pair of Zotz

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on January 6th, 2012 in Eye Candy: Zotz

Tonight I will be taking part in Las Vegas’ downtown monthly art extravaganza called First Friday. In preparation I will be heading downtown this morning to ‘tweak’ my walls of paintings. This involves setting up, rearranging a bit and – most importantly – hanging all of the paintings I’ve finished since last month’s First Friday. As I was boxing things up to take I realized that even though I felt I’d slacked off a bit because of the holidays I had still finished a total of 12 paintings in the past 5 weeks. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself…

Below are two of them, which are the latest additions to my Eye Candy: Zotz sub-series of palette knife paintings…

Watermelon Zotz – 4″x4″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 1/3/12

©2012, Don Michael, Jr.

Cherry Zotz – 4″x4″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 1/5/12

©2012, Don Michael, Jr.

I am now 5/6’s of the way through the series. I only lack Lemon Zotz…

In other news, I will be teaching my first Acrylic Painting Class of the year tomorrow (Saturday, 1/7/12) from 2-4 pm. If you happen to be in North Las Vegas at the time, feel free to stop in and have some fun with paint.

Happy Creating!

The Year in Review & Grape Zotz

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on December 30th, 2011 in Eye Candy Series, Eye Candy: Zotz

As another year draws to a close it’s impossible not to reflect on where I was at the beginning and where I am at the end.

Personally, it was a roller-coaster ride of emotions with some severe lows balanced by wonderful highs. All-in-all, my family and I know that we are truly blessed as we enter 2012 healthy, whole and still in our home. God is good.

Professionally, I started 2011 as an artistic nomad. I was in the middle of a transitory period that found me floundering around as I searched for relevance in my artistic endeavors. Not being one to sit idle even when at a loss, I continued to experiment and explore – creating many pieces, but few that truly felt ‘right’. One of those experiments was to design a few masks using blank pre-made paper mache’ masks that I’d found online. I’m really glad that I did, because those home-made masks would become a conduit to something new and exciting for me – my Eye Candy series of palette knife paintings. (more on that shortly…)

I believe that there were three huge game-changers for my work that occurred during the first half of 2011.

  1. The painting I did for my brother, David’s, book cover, The Door to the Sky. This was the first major ‘non-mask’ painting that I had done in several years. It was a fun challenge that ended up informing several works as the year progressed.
  2. Painting the two hearts for St. Judes. Most of March and April were spent painting those two hearts, but all that work ended up being not only a blessing for our local St. Judes hospital, but being a blessing for me and my family. Little did I know at the time that I was ‘tithing’ forward… (The blessing I refer to was a huge one and can be read about here.)
  3. The painting I did for the event called Circus Couture (which can be read about here) was probably one of the biggest of these game changers. The painting I did for them, Dare to Believe, solidified a direction I was considering for my Over the Under-Schmeerings series.

As 2011 progressed I found that all of the experimenting I had done while in my search for artistic relevance had been laying the groundwork for something bigger and better in my Over the Under-Schmeerings series. I have since done several major pieces in this series and have ideas percolating for several more. I’ve never been more excited by a series and I cannot wait to see where it all takes me.

In May I did a palette knife painting of one of my own mask creations on a 5″x5″ canvas that would start something that continues to this day. I titled that painting Butterscotch because of her coloring. Later, I realized I had discovered a new naming convention that I could use on a few paintings – titling them after different types of candy. When I posted the fourth of these paintings my friend Celeste left the simple comment, “Eye Candy”, and voila! the series was titled. On a personal note, I am so glad that I had started this series because when my family and I went through some dark times in July it was these little treats that helped to keep me painting and sane. (that story is referred to above with “tithing forward”.) After happy times returned and as the year has progressed I continue to create these tasty treats and am proud to say that the one posted below is the 50th in the Eye Candy series – and the 3rd in the Eye Candy: Zotz sub-series…

Grape Zotz – 4″x4″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 12/30/11

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

All-in-all I would consider 2011 a successful year as an artist. I painted almost every day. I shared my love of painting in my Michael’s/Grumbacher workshops. I created several book covers. I did some design work. I created several masks. I got into some shows. Most importantly, I fellowshipped with art friends all over the world.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s weekend. Party well, but party safe!!! I want you all back for more art chats in 2012…

Happy Creating!

Orange Zotz and Others

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on December 28th, 2011 in Eye Candy Series, Eye Candy: Zotz

Well, I finally awakened from my Christmas stupor and headed back into the studio for the first time in over a week. I think that’s the longest break I’ve taken in nearly 4 years and I was starting to go through withdrawals…

Part of getting back to work entailed heading out to Michael’s Arts and Crafts store to do another demo to promote my upcoming Acrylic Workshops. Happily, I walked out of there with a new addition to my Eye Candy: Zotz series…

Orange Zotz – 4″x4″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 12/27/11

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

As I was preparing Orange Zotz for posting I realized that I had forgotten to post about another Eye Candy painting I completed last week. I had originally intended to use it in my Christmas greeting post, but completely spaced it out. It probably has something to do with all those holiday spirits… 😛

Crimp Ribbon – 5″x5″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 12/19/11

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

Oh yeah… I also realized tonight that a piece I had started on early this year is actually finished. (I originally wrote about it here.) All I needed was the title and it came to me just seconds after I decided the piece was indeed complete. All I had to do then was sign it, date it and add a clear gloss finish…

Keeping An Open Mind – 12″x12″x4.5″ – Acrylic and Paper Mache’ on canvas – Completed 12/28/11

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

This was originally an experiment which incorporated both my 3D mask paintings with my Over the Under-Schmeerings paintings. As you can see, the 3D is actually UNDER the Under-Schmeerings and there is nothing OVER the Under-Schmeerings, but who’s really keeping score? Since it’s really hard to get a sense of the 3D element from a straight on photo, I thought I’d include a sheet of multiple views…

Keeping An Open Mind – alternate views

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

Now it’s time for me to go rest my eyes after a happy, long, and fruitful day of creating. I anticipate even more fun tomorrow – oops, I mean later today…

Happy Creating!


Last Thursday I started on an Eye Candy painting during my demo at the Michael’s in North Las Vegas. I wasn’t able to work on it again until Monday because of having so many irons in the fire. One of those irons was the Acrylic Workshop that I had scheduled for this past Saturday at that very same Michael’s. Below you can see my class getting ready to get started…

Of course, I forgot to use my camera during most of the stages of painting, but at least I remembered to get a shot towards the end while they’re all still hard at work…

And, thankfully I remembered to get a shot of them with their finished paintings…

Thanks, Ashley, Elle and Joe for being such good sports. You all did a GREAT job with your paintings!

The rest of my weekend was spent with several non-art type projects that kept me from the studio. However, on Monday, once I got the family all off to school and work, I was finally able to settle back into the studio and get some painting done. I completed the aforementioned Eye Candy painting which you can see below. It is named after one of my favorite candy bars, the Zero bar, which is the only thing that I will allow to pass my lips that has peanuts in it. (In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I HATE peanuts – and especially peanut butter. Bleck!!! But in the case of the Zero bar the almond flavoring masks that grotesque peanut flavor pretty well.)

Zero – 5″x5″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 12/12/11

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

Then, tonight (Tuesday) I gave another demo at Michael’s and came away with the following almost completely done. I just had a few minutes of work left on it when I got back to my studio…

Apple Zotz – 4″x4″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 12/13/11

©2011, Don Michael, Jr.

This is the first in what will be my new Eye Candy sub-series, Eye Candy: Zotz. I’ve never tried Zotz candy, but I do like their name. There will be 6 Zotz paintings before the sub-series is complete.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m going to be working on something totally none-art for most of the day and will probably be wiped out by tomorrow evening. But, I hope to still find a little time to do a bit of painting. We’ll see…

Happy Creating!

Copyright © Don Michael, Jr.