Monday, July 04, 2022

“Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.” – Keith Haring

July 4, 2022

It's been a minute. I haven't posted on the site in a good while, however I have been trying to keep up on YouTube. So if you happen to be missing the content I usually share here and want to see what I'm up to more often, drop by the channel and say hi. I've been spending most of my spare time sketching, drawing and inking. I've also been doing a few gouache drawings here and there. 

A page from my sketchbook.

Small portraits.

Reference from a Karen Jurick painting.

Reference from a Karen Jurick painting.

 Ink and watercolor drawing from an Alfonso Dunn drawing.

The woods at night.

Tree drawings.

Pencil and watercolor sketch from reference.

Sketch of Ethan near White Water stream.

 Gouache painting from s Shirlene Perrin photograph.

 A bird in a tree at White Water State park.

 Ink and watercolor of a 1974 Toyota Corolla wagon.

 Ink and watercolor of a 1974 Toyota Corolla coupe.

 An ink drawing from Maximillians Triumph.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Black Hills and Badlands Field Sketches

 Here is the full video of field sketches from my trip to the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Field Sketching in South Dakota

October 2021

"Happiness, not in another place but this place, not for another hour, but for this hour." - Walt Whitman

This past summer I traveled to the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota with my wife and son. 

We spent a week there at a place called the Hisega Lodge, which was nestled in the hills near a vibrant stream and the lodge was staffed by awesome owners Mike and Tara. We immediately felt at home. 

Most of my time was spent in the Black Hills area filming an adventure motorcycle training course that my wife was participating in, here is a link to that film. I filled all of my spare time in the Black Hills National Forest and Badlands. I took photographs and took reference sketches, thumbnails and wrote notes that I used to do the drawings and paintings in this sketchbook. The work below represents a glance into the sketchbook. I will upload the finished work to YouTube sometime soon. 

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Springtime And Hope

 “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” – Nelson Mandela

April 4, 2021

There's so much to sketch and paint and I am really looking forward to seeing the world in person again. The weather is turning warmer in these parts, and people are getting vaccinated. The world is starting to see a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel we've all been in, and it feels very, very good. 

For the past year, a group I co-founded called the Saint Paul Underground Artists League has been meeting every Sunday on Zoom. We sketch, draw, paint, laugh and talk about everything and anything, and it has been awesome to share the time with other Artists. People from all over the world join our Zoom call and it's amazing to see the work they do. 

Here are some things I've been working on this past few months.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

We Endure.

January 17, 2021

"Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- Robert Frost, 1915

America is in a tumultuous and precarious time. No one can ignore it. I can't ignore it.

We are struggling for our national identity. Many wonder if we will we choose a dark and terrible path or the angels of our better nature?

I remain hopeful our people will choose wisely and that our nation will endure, our democracy will survive and we will be strengthened by our universal and unique American experience. 

We are not what the narrow lens of violence says we are, or what a man in an Oval Office tells us we should be. We are united and bound by our belief that America is, and always will be, a place where freedom is a reality, and the promises of justice can be ultimately realized.

Still, it has been a stressful and heart wrenching time for many of us here in America. 

Art shines a bright light in the darkest places and it is through our art that we find hope. It is through my own art that I find peace in the storm. Maybe this is a shared experience among Artists.

Here are some recent sketches and paintings:

Friday, November 06, 2020

A New eBook. A Nation In The Balance.

November 6, 2020

America's greatest strength has always been its hopeful vision of human progress. - John McCain

As I write this post tonight the American election for President hangs in the balance. I don't really want to talk about politics in this post, there are too many people talking about politics already, I'm just recognizing the situation in my country. We all hope for a peaceful outcome and to see every vote counted, which is the foundation of any functional democracy.

Some big news for me this past month. I published an eBook. It consists of the sketches and paintings and in the exact sequence they exist in the original sketchbook. It contains all the work I did this summer, as I shifted from watercolors to gouache. The book is available for Apple devices as well as eReaders and Kindles. I used the online publishing site, Blurb. 

Here a link to the book if you are interested in buying it and owning digital copy of my work. I also added commentary to the book, which explains the work and my thinking at the time.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Autumn Is Upon Us And Then A Long Winter

"With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells...
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;"

Excerpt from the poem, "To Autumn", written in 1820 by John Keats

I was reading somewhere that fall will be short and the winter will be more snowy and likely longer than average up here in Minnesota. Every Winter brings it's own set of challenges in the Upper Midwest, but this year will be different. We are in the middle of a global pandemic and many people have already been isolating for months and months. 

The wintertime in Minnesota usually heralds a period of isolation for most of us regardless, but in the days before the plague, you could get out to the mall, or walk through a Target, or go to a concert or play. Now those things pose a dangerous health risk for many, and those people are going to look for ways to survive and even prosper this winter. They will want to ward off the inevitable winter blues and cabin fever. 

Why not take up painting or drawing? 

If you already paint and draw, why not plan out how you can improve those skills. I've made a commitment to sharpen my own craftsmanship and to try to help others. I'll be posting videos on my YouTube channel which will demonstrate some of the techniques that have helped me over the years, and there are literally hundreds of great channels out there, offering this content for free. 

I'll be sharing a list of my favorite places to learn in a future post, but for now you can check out Steve Mitchell at the Mind Of Watercolor, or James Gurney's channel. If you are into art, crafting and saving money, check out Lindsay the Frugal Crafter.

For my own part I am scheduling time to draw and paint every day. It's all about making something a habit, even if it only means I spend ten minutes on a sketch, at least I am doing that much and that much is often enough. I also want to study more on the fundamentals of color theory and light, because unraveling the mysteries of art is very rewarding and very interesting. 

Here is some of my recent work in a 3 minute sketchbook tour.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Every Day Objects And Places

August 20, 2020

"Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Lately I've been doing more sketches of every day places and objects. Water towers are a common site her in the Midwest where I live. Familiarity of objects that surround us, but we hardly even notice, as if they were part of the set, in the stage that represents our lives environment. If you look very closely at these objects, whether they are old buildings or water towers, they have a unique character. 

Creating paintings of the places and objects of our lives is an interesting challenge. How do you make power lines or water towers the stars of a scene?

Using a limited pallet and sometimes just two colors, is also something I'm getting more used to. I'm studying the work and instructions of James Gurney, the author of Dinotopia and extraordinary painter of both imagined and every day places and objects. 

I think you can connect with these common objects in interesting ways when you decided to see them differently or put them into a dramatic scene. It's wonderful to explore a variety of, "stages", and, "sets" for these objects and places. Here are some recent paintings and if you want to see these as I complete them, please check out my Instagram at Owings Art.