Some New Things

This is former President John Tyler.  He is most distinguished for assuming the presidency after William Henry Harrison caught pneumonia and died a month after his inauguration.  John Tyler assumed the presidency after the end of a bit of panic concerning the line of succession.  He was responsible for the annexation of Texas.  I did this for a project that might be taking up some time in the next couple months.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to develop it into a full-on oil painting.
Here is a somewhat recent piece for the Weekly Standard accompanying a funny article by P. J. O’Rourke.  I find his last name hard to say.  I feel self conscious when I say it aloud.  Same with the word “rural.”  Those double “r’s” get me.
Below is my sketch, but stupidly, I forgot to put room for the title.
I tried to hurry and work up a rearranged sketch (below), but PChalk suggested some minor changes that made it unnecessary.
And below is the final minus the type.  I’m glad of this arrangement because it allows the kids to be bigger, and they’re more fun to paint anyway.  I wish I had just a little longer to refine it, but that’s a bit of a constant refrain.

Cool Job!

Wednesday night I got an email from Philip Chalk.  Now first let me say that I am very familiar with Philip Chalk’s work as an Art Director at the Weekly Standard, mainly through the blogs of Thomas Fluharty, Jason Seiler, Gary Locke, and Dave Malan.  Still, my email inbox seemed such a foreign context for his name that it didn’t immediately register as the Art Director I admire, and for a moment I thought it was a scam email telling me that a bank representative in Uganda needed help extracting some funds.

He had an assignment to illustrate an article.

I got the AD Sketch on Thursday noonish, and sent him the Final at two o’clock on Friday.  I had a little trouble with Mr. Obama’s likeness and for a while his face looked somewhat like a California Raisin’s, but Mr. Chalk nudged me in the right direction, and I think it ended up looking okay in the end.  I find it difficult to think critically about a likeness after staring at it for so long.  When I woke Friday morning to resume work, every fault stared back at me, whereas Thursday night, I thought it was spot on.

Anyway, it was a great job, I learned a lot, and the deadline was exhilarating.

Edward Scissorhands 20th Anniversary

This piece is for Sebastian Meynard’s awesome Scissorhands20th tribute blog/show.  The scan is a bit contrasty and the background looks more patchy than the painting does in real life.  I like Tim Burton most in monochrome because it’s in monochrome that he best shows off his German Expressionist influences.  So here’s my contribution.

And  here are some grainy pics I shot while I was painting it.  I tried to make it look like the pictures were taken from a lo-res spy camera as it zoomed past on a train.  I think you’ll agree that I succeeded admirably.

Fan Art

From time to time people post fan art.  I decided to do some of my own and it was a toss up between Batman and Peter Robinson.  I chose Peter Robinson.  If you don’t know who he is than you probably haven’t enjoyed his interview program on the web.  It is called Uncommon Knowledge and it is surprisingly different from the conversations that occur on cable news networks.  Twenty-four-hour news networks counterintuitively breed fast paced manic shallow exchanges.  Networks pit their guests against one another in 30 second increments and nothing gets analyzed very deeply.  By contrast, Uncommon Knowledge displays a good variety of people who are encouraged to articulate their thoughts more deeply than your average interview program or news show.

In short, this program is everything I’ve always wanted Charlie Rose to be.  It is significantly better than Charlie Rose.  Peter Robinson is always well prepared for the interviews.  He regularly quotes from his guests’ books and frequently presses them on the finer points of their theses in contradistinction to Charlie Rose who interviews his guests like someone with Attention Deficit Disorder.

If you have not yet seen this Uncommon Knowledge, you should.  You can watch it on fora tv, or if you prefer to watch more recent episodes in bite-sized portions you can check it out at NRO.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Daniel Hannan (MEP) on the European vision of productivity vs. American vision of productivity.

America & Europe with Daniel Hannan: Chapter 2 of 5 – Uncommon Knowledge – National Review Online

Daniel Hannan (MEP) on the connection between European Welfare and childbirth.

America & Europe with Daniel Hannan: Chapter 3 of 5 – Uncommon Knowledge – National Review Online

Claire Berlinski analyzes the secret of Margaret Thatcher’s success.

Thatcher & More with Claire Berlinski: Chapter 2 of 5 – Uncommon Knowledge – National Review Online

Harvey Mansfield critiques grade inflation at Harvard.

The American Academy with Harvey Mansfield: Chapter 3 of 5 – Uncommon Knowledge – National Review Online

Sebastian Junger speaks about the intimacy of war.

War with Sebastian Junger: Chapter 2 of 5 – Uncommon Knowledge – National Review Online